Two by two

16 10 2017

It’s been an intense couple of weeks. The NSERC doctoral scholarship deadline was on Friday, which Aimee and Andrea were applying to, and but Sunday to Wednesday I was away, travelling to Chicago for a zoo animal welfare conference at which I, Andrea, ‘Big Emma’ and Miranda were all presenting.

So … this involved helping to prepare two applications, submitting two papers (because having an extra submission with a real manuscript no. looks great when applying for scholarships), writing two references, writing two talks, helping create two posters, and spending two days in a car (a ridiculous SUV), as we drove to Illinois and back (all on top of the normal workload of teaching two courses).

Despite the odd hairy moment, everything paid off and went really well. But once I got back home and finally relaxed, the inevitable happened: my immune system went on sabbatical, with two results: a nasty cold, and a zit the size of a marble on my chin. Time for two blissful days in bed? I think so.

Grass as enrichment

2 10 2017

Just looking at this old photo from Misha earlier this year of one of his hens and Mr Black enjoying some grass given as an enrichment. Now I have hens, I can say that this grass will last about 30 seconds….maybe less….

And in The Times today…

28 09 2017

… from old friend Tim:



Saudi women allowed to drive at last

28 09 2017

Sad that this is actually news, but great that it’s finally happened.

Screenshot 2017-09-27 22.02.24

Quote of the day from campaigner Sahar Nassif: “I’m going to buy my dream car, a convertible Mustang, and it’s going to be black and yellow!”

Hopefully next to go: their disgusting ‘male guardianship’ system.

Best and worst of Guelph

22 09 2017

I experienced the very best and worst of Guelph last week.

At 4pm before my first undergrad lecture of term (10am the next day), I checked on the room I’d been scheduled, and found that my class for 120 students had been given tables and chairs for just 30.  The microphone was also not working as the batteries were dead.


Classroom Technical Support said they’d deal with the mike, but as for the tables and chairs? Phonecall after phonecall yielded no-one who would answer or take responsibility.  So I was pretty trepidatious when I showed up the next morning at 10 to.  Worse and worse, the corridor outside the room (narrowed by rough chipboard as there was building work in progress, and blisteringly hot) was teeming with students who couldn’t get in – the classroom door was now LOCKED! Augh!

Then someone from Physical Resources showed up to unlock it, and as the students streamed in, I begged him to stay just in case the room was still not set up properly.  It was!! Phew! But … the microphone was still dead!! Augh!! Again!!

At this point Physical Resources Guy, said “I’ll run back to my apartment and get you some batteries”. This was even though (as I kept on saying to him) this totally and utterly was not his job or fault. He and his halo sprinted off, and one minute later returned with batteries from his very own home! What a star!!  I wish I’d got his name, but whoever he was, he was a hero, and deserved the enormous round of applause the class gave him.

This place. Sigh. Its sweetness really does, just about, outweigh its shambolicness.



21 09 2017

I spilled water on my keyboard in my lecture today, and now the “f” won’t work.

Jonathan’s special invite

9 08 2017

In Jonathan‘s Inbox this morning:

Screenshot 2017-08-09 18.22.27