Wednesday, September 27, 2006

CSI: London

What a day! My work was broken into last night and a whole load of our servers were stolen (as well as two laptops). Apparently, the culprits had got in through the roof and they seem to have known exactly where they were going. Very suspicious stuff.

It was uber exciting though. We had a Scene of Crime officer in and he was dusting for prints and all sorts of other stuff. I was upset they didn't bring any of the yellow "crime scene" tape :o(

The downside to it all was that we were severely limited as to what we could do all day. Surprisingly, I managed to keep myself busy! Tomorrow will be catch up day as I'm off on Friday - hooray!

Monday, September 25, 2006

More candles on the cake.

Well, Saturday was my birthday. My parents visited for the weekend and they seemed to enjoy themselves - phew! We had a lovely day on Saturday being tourists. It helped that the weather was absolutely beautiful! We went on a boat trip along the Thames, which was fab. It's such a quick way to see loads of places, and it helps with figuring out where everything is in the city.

On Saturday night, we all went out for dinner with Graeme's parents. It was the first time both sets of parents had met and it did seem to go well. Thank goodness. The restaurant we went to was excellent - "Ma Goa". It was Indian food but very regional. Everything we had was delicious. I had the most beautiful Korma, which had rose water and nutmeg in it. It was so full flavoured, I am hungry just thinking about it.

Sunday was spent wandering around Covent Garden and having Dim Sum. My parents were a bit overwhelmed by the Dim Sum experience but I think they enjoyed it in the end. Unfortunately, the time came for them to leave all too soon. It's crazy not having them nearby anymore but I am glad they are keen to come and visit often.

I got loads of lovely birthday presents including a fabby sewing machine! I have so many plans for it - I'd best get it out of the box for a start :o)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

I’ve always had tremendous respect for Stephen Fry and after last night’s programme it has increased tenfold. “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive” was a very honest and eye-opening account of what it is to live with bipolar disorder. I was shocked as he recounted stories of stealing and using other people’s credit cards, as well as randomly slapping a school matron for telling him to tie his shoe laces. I can’t imagine being that much of a loose cannon.

I think manic depression is very often misunderstood. I know I didn’t realise until last night just how extensive the psychosis and delusions could be for some people. I was also horrified at how early children are being diagnosed as bipolar in the USA. Some of them are as young as 5 or 6. I just don’t feel that it’s right to have children and teenagers on so much medication that young. Especially, when we have so little idea about how it’s going to affect them developmentally. It also makes me worry that there are other issues that could be resolved to help the child, instead of just shoving tablets down their throats.

Nevertheless, I could empathise with so many of the stories in the programme, despite only suffering from depression. As I said to Graeme “I don’t get the highs, I just get the lows”. I joked that it seems unfair but in reality, I’d rather just be depressed than have to take 15 tablets a day to control every aspect of my mood. I do worry about things like it getting worse as I get older and also, if it will affect any children I have. I know that it is not guaranteed that my children would get depression but I don’t know that I could take that risk. I suppose I should concentrate on the fact that I have coped and, even though some days/weeks/months are a struggle, I do eventually get through it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Hotel Chocolat experience

It had to be done at some point :o) Yesterday, Graeme and I visited the fantastic Hotel Chocolat on Kensington High Street. What an emporium of pure endulgence! While we were browsing in the shop, a lovely man gave us free samples. I tried an after dinner mint crème and it was exquisite. It really was an explosion of mintiness in your mouth :o)

After that, I wasted no time at all in treating us to 3 bags of treats for a very reasonable £6. They are just delicious – the citrus one is so zingy and the pralines are to die for! The chocolate slab is a mini version of the huge £11 ones they do. I might die if I ate all of one of them though ;o)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Woman is fitted with "bionic" arm

This is just fantastic news! It's astounding just how much can be done for amputee patients now. The girl in the article is only 26 and the change this arm has brought to her life is so evident from the article.

I wonder how long before bionic arms which can "feel" are developed. Now, that would be truly astounding.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gig review: Anathema

What a band Anathema is. They’ve undergone an amazing transformation from doom metallers to producers of some of the most hauntingly emotive songs that I’ve ever heard. My worry was that I would go to the concert and they would fail to reproduce the quality of the material on their albums. They failed to disappoint. Despite some technical issues, each song was wonderful. Highlight of the night for me was “A Natural Disaster” which performed live surpasses the beauty of the CD version. I have to admit that a tear was shed. It really annoys me that such a talented group are unsigned by a record label, when there is so much rubbish out there that is.

The only downpoint to the whole evening was the venue. I found the Scala incredibly small and terribly smoky. I just don’t understand why venues allow smoking in the concert hall. I lost count of the number of times that some idiot nearly burned someone with a cigarette! One thing I really miss about Scotland is the smoking ban.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back to the shimmy!

As you've probably guessed, I am updating my blog with all the posts I should have made over the last few months. I've not backdated them as I don't want you missing anything ;o)

Yesterday, I started my new bellydancing class. It was great to get back to dancing. The teacher was very good and I think she's better than my Edinburgh teacher. She was just so much fun and gave plenty of feedback. I've signed up to go to the Fantasia festival in December, although I'm not sure if I can last through 6 hours of classes.

Tonight, we are going to organise the spare room. Honest!

Tomorrow, Graeme and I are off to see Anathema :oD The tickets were sooooo cheap. I can't believe how many bands I want to see at the moment. What a difference moving to London has made - I'd never be able to see half of them in Edinburgh!

A sad loss to conservation

I can only be referring to the death of Steve Irwin, aka “the Crocodile Hunter”. I was in a Sheffield Hotel last week when I first heard the shocking news. Despite many people’s criticism of the way in which he carried out his work, I still maintain he has done a tremendous amount of good for conservation and wildlife in general. He’s made a great many children interested in nature again and not just cuddly mammals. I think people seem to ignore the fact that he was an entertainer and I think his aussie bloke act was just a way of appealing to the masses. Irwin seemed to have a genuine lust for life and I admire him for that. The world will be a more boring place without him.

So, yeah I graduated (again)

One of the things I missed posting about during the internet blackout was my PhD graduation. It was held on 14 July and allowed me to spend a lovely day with my parents before heading down to London.

It was a beautiful sunny day and I was pretty happy that I got a lovely robe and hood. Some of the colours are pretty dreadful! I met some people who I worked with at the medical school, who were graduating with me. It made me feel less awkward that a lot of people seem to take a bit of time to get their PhD finished. The ceremony was up to Edinburgh Uni’s usual standard – how many graduands can we graduate in an hour?! However, for a moment (probably a nanosecond) I felt proud.

Now, anyone who knows me will know that this has been a matter of contemplation for a while. When I finally completed my PhD and had my viva, I didn’t feel the tiniest bit accomplished. There was no “wow, what a great achievement” just “thank goodness it’s over”. It was like I had become numb to the whole experience. I found this worrying and bit strange to say the least.

I think it’s only now that I am reaping some of the rewards of my PhD that I am realising how worthwhile all the stress was. It’s also completely mental having people refer to me as Doctor :o)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Who would have thought London held such treasures?!

Yesterday, Graeme and I explored the area surrounding our flat. I'd been feeling a bit glum after visiting the beautiful city of Bath on Thursday, so we went on a search for some greenery. We found it in abundance :o)

First, we wandered around Wimbledon Common. It's almost like Braid in Edinburgh. Not as hilly, but it had the same feel to it. There's a tearoom in the centre of it, which does the loveliest cakes too! Although, it could do with some nicer decor and more polite staff really.

Afterwards, we crossed the road to Richmond Park. It's HUGE! You can find bits where you no longer hear the roar of the cars and escape the Heathrow flightpath - bliss. It has lovely forested areas and open areas of golden scrub filled with crickets. There's also proper gardens but we saved them for another day.

The highlight of our day had to be the deer! Can you spot them in the picture?! We were rambling through a forest area when Graeme spotted them. We thought we'd done well getting them on camera, then we got nearer the gates and there were loads! We could get quite close to them including a group of the males.

It was an immense experience for me. The female deer is one of my spirit animals and to witness them so close up was amazing. To see the King of the Forest lazing around was quite something too. At one point, one of the males looked straight at me and it was such a profound moment.

We really are lucky to have moved to such a nice part of London. There are so many beautiful parks on our doorstep. I was so worried about ending up in concrete jungle but now it seems that moving here has opened up all sorts of new experiences.

I want to go back again today :o)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Back from the stone age!

We have broadband again! YAY! I can now blog without fear of losing my job.

Expect more random posts over the next few days - I've loads to tell you all :o)