Tuesday, July 29, 2008 


Finally, some days of actual heat. Not summery, warm-ish, but hot. I must admit after four summers here I am still baffled. The first two were painfully sweltering and the last two have been bizarrely cold. Wearing jumpers and long trousers type of weather. So it’s been stunning to have the last few days where it’s been… twenty… five… ish… oh forget it, I’ve got no idea what the temperature actually was. Everything’s reported in Celsius, and I’m still utterly clueless when it comes to translating that into practical terms.

Look, as a scientist I’ve been deeply steeped in the world of metric for many, many years. I know the three most important Celsiuses:
0 º C = 32 º F
37 º C = 98.6 º F
100 º C = 212 º F = 373 K (Oh yea that’s right, I just went Kelvin on your ass!)

When I’m told it’s 68 degrees, I know exactly what that means in Washington DC, and grab the nearest skirt and long sleeved tee, and I’m done, dusted and out the door. Here, I’m at a loss. And I play my guessimation games, “Ok if 10 is like 50 and 20 is like 70, then today is….” but they the time I follow this train to its conclusion I’m well distracted and moved onto some other morning chore that doesn’t involve me getting dressed. It doesn’t help that it could easily be 18 degrees in October, March and July. Seasons here can blend into one, whilst the next week can be completely different from the last and so knowing the temperature is actually rather important. This is why I’ve just given up and taken to carrying a jumper with me always, like an old crazy woman.

(P.S. Did I just use the word 'jumper' twice in that post? #59: Sweaters are called jumpers, for no discernible reason.)

Monday, July 21, 2008 


Yes, back by popular demand (if three people occasionally inquiring could be deemed “popular”). Suddenly not blogging for four months lent itself to some bizarre shame spiral, where each time I came up with the idea for an entry and then subsequently didn’t enter it only made me feel worse than the time before. I also thought I’d have to dream up some protracted excuse for my absence, culminating in some massive mea culpa which again only makes me feel like I’m highlighting my failures as both a writer and a communicator. But if that’s what you’ve come back here for, sorry to disappoint. In actuality it comes down to two points:

1) I’ve been involved in a few very clandestine activities which have been both keeping me very busy whilst not really allowing me enough time to generate much novel material appropriate for interwebs broadcasting; and

2) I’m absolutely broken hearted to be leaving London.

If I’m as madly in love with this city and this experience as I claim to be, why would I want to slowly document the end of the affair? Whenever I start to think about it for more than five seconds, I immediately jump up and attempt to distract myself. I don’t do well with pain; I’m not an artist, longing for the kind of extreme emotion that allows one to then dig deep into the soul and produce a physical manifestation of sentiment to share with the world. I’m a scientist. I use machines and computers and test tubes and spanners and have a lab coat with an actual pocket protector. I stuff my feelings down deep and then cry at inappropriate times while watching movies. So honestly, my head hasn’t been in the best place for blogging. But the thought of leaving this website just stranded and unfinished also nags at me persistently. So, I’m back. Sort of.

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