Wednesday, February 25, 2009

other people's taste

At the last count I've lived in 14 different rooms and flats since I left home at 18 (12 years ago - can it really be that long?!) All of them were rented, and most furnished. So I've lived with furniture bought by other people for most of my life, and some of them have had quite strange taste. Take this as a case in point:

This is a framed poster from my current flat - someone apparently thought 'Bert's Bath' would look lovely on the living room wall. I disagree. I think it's hideous, and is likely to give me nightmares. It is currently hidden from view in the spare bedroom.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

guess what?

After another long and rather crazy summer, in which I got married and moved flat in the same week, my life is finally starting to settle down again. There were many weeks of living amongst unpacked boxes. As soon as we were nearly done all our wedding gifts arrived, and we were surrounded by boxes all over again. But now I have some time to spare I can start blogging about my humdrum and rather boring life again. Hurray!

Here's one for starters. Can you guess what this is:

Here's a clue, we just had a parcel delivered from Chris's family in Greece. Yes, it's our next year and a half's supply of olive oil - all 10 litres of it. As well as olive oil we got Greek sweets, Greek honey, pistachio nuts and Mars bars (rather randomly - apparently Chris's family hasn't realised we can buy those in England!). Most of it didn't last long, except the olive oil.

Friday, July 11, 2008

hidden treasure

I've been living with Chris for almost a year and now, and have found that life with a partner isn't quite the same as living on my own in lots of small ways. For example, as a single girl I used to take great comfort in buying a slab of chocolate, or a tub of ice cream, and eating a little bit every day. If I try to do the same thing with Chris in the house, whatever I buy will have disappeared by the next day. And no amount of manipulation, cajoling or pleading will persuade Chris that it is fundamentally wrong to eat someone else's chocolate. I have decided drastic steps need to be taken, and have started hiding my chocolate stash in my underwear drawer (luckily Chris doesn't read my blog, so he will never know ... ha ha!) I haven't figured out what to do with the tubs of ice cream yet. I wonder if they can be disguised somehow using an empty frozen pea bag. Probably worth a try.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Chris and I went back to Birmingham last week to do more weddingy stuff, like deciding all the readings and declarations we'd like to use in our ceremony. We have to do let the registry office know ten weeks before the wedding so they can make sure we're not trying to sneakily slip some mention of god or religious music into our civil ceremony (... is it only ten weeks now? ... yikes!) We borrowed a book of suggested readings, most of which were horrifically soppy or just plain ridiculous. My vote for the most ridiculous poem of all contained the following lines 'Does love look like a pair of pyjamas or the ham in a temperance hotel? Does its odour remind one of llamas or has it a comforting smell?' ... Huh? ... Coming a close second was the poem that began 'All choices are the wrong choices' - I'd love to know if anyone's ever chosen that for their wedding, and what the audience reaction was.

I am getting lots of training in being decisive - I've never had to make so many decisions in my life. At our meeting with the photographer we had to choose the size of our wedding album, the colour, silver or gold for the writing on the inside page, whether we want it standard or custom-designed, do we want the photos formal or casual, black and white or colour, matt or glossy ... I get dizzy thinking about it all again.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

busy busy

As you can probably guess from the lack of posts I've been really busy recently. What have I been doing? Um ... not quite sure. All I know is I've hardly had a spare minute. I think there were just thousands of little things to do that came along all at once. Easter was mainly taken up with wedding plans - we met up with the florist, my hairdresser, a beautician and the cakeman. I came back with a list of about ten things to do, not one of which I've managed so far. Chris has been working like crazy - last week he was working in Milton Keynes, which meant leaving the house at 8am, and getting back after 10pm. He did that for five days, then worked at the Cambridge branch for another five days. He actually gets two whole days off next week, so he might actually found out what it's like to have a good night's sleep again! So I reckon most of my activity has just been to keep me out of the house when it's empty (and keep me busy when I'm home alone). Like last weekend, I decided it was a really good idea to defrost the fridge-freezer. It took hours of course, but it kept me busy, and now we have a really clean fridge!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

like mother like daughter

My mum often goes shopping at the supermarket at the weekend. She carefully makes a list of everything she wants to buy, going through the cupboards to see what we've run out of, and asking everyone around if there's anything they want. She then forgets to take the list, and ends up buying whatever random stuff she happens to see on the shelves. She does this every weekend. But here's the scary part - I did exactly the same thing last weekend! So this is what I have to look forward to. A lifetime of forgotten shopping lists. Speaking of supermarkets, why is it always the most embarrassing item in your basket that the check-out guy can't scan properly?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

trials and tribulations

I went to a really inspiring seminar yesterday, given by Sir Iain Chalmers, who has been (to mention one of his achievements) director of the Cochrane collaboration. He talked about lots of really important topics in healthcare. One that I was particularly interested in, since it is close to my area of research, was his discussion of research synthesis in reports of clinical trials. For a long time he has been arguing that research papers describing clinical trials should put their results in the context of previous research, including a research synthesis (or meta-analysis) to update existing knowledge with the new evidence gained from the trial being reported. To someone not involved in clinical research this may not seem a terribly important matter. But here is just one of the examples (and a particularly heart-rending one) that he gave of how this might have helped in the past. For a long time parents were advised to let babies sleep on their fronts, until evidence came to light of an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in babies sleeping in this position. Trials were carried out as early as the 1970's, and if a systematic research synthesis had been conducted after each trial this fact would have been recognised much earlier, potentially saving the lives of thousands of babies. Even though the seminar room was packed with people, you could have heard a pin drop at this point. It really brought home to me how incredibly important is all the work being done in this area, and how much I love being a part of that (even a very small one!)