Polar Bear Swim

Our medicine students raised money for charity today by going for a swim, in fancy dress, in the sea. Bear in mind (pun intended) that it’s January and the water’s pretty chilly. They called this the Polar Bear Swim. Some of the staff got involved too, notably Phil here in blonde wig and black bikini. It looks as though they were worried more about the fancy dress than about the water. The RNLI were on hand from the lifeboat station across the bay and a film crew were filming to add to today’s weather report.
2007-01-31--Polar Bear Swim 01
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2007-01-31--Polar Bear Swim 06

Light in Medicine

A Medical Photonics workshop is being held at St Andrew’s University today and tomorrow, and is a stage to discuss how light can be used for a range of clinical purposes from diagnostics to repair.
“Biophotonics”. Good word.
I mention this for two reasons: 1) part of my research is with biophotonics and joint disease; 2) the conference is at St Andrews, the home of golf!
I wish I’d been paying more attention to this last year.
Medical Photonics Workshop 2007 link.
BBC article.

Minor Sport?

I thought I had taken up a mainstream sport, particularly compared with my previous sports of cycling, rock climbing, mountaineering and triathlon. Apparently golf isn’t as popular as I had been led to believe, according to the amount of news coverage and the British public’s level of interest.
Matt Slater on the BBC website says, “Dear readers, an apology. Over the last few months we in the British media may have given you the impression that this is a nation of spineless losers that prefer remote controls and TV dinners to sporting equipment and hard work.”
“It appears we may have been wrong. It’s just that we’re not very good at the sports you like watching and reading about.
“Football, cricket, rugby, motorsport and athletics…sorry, not much doing there. But cycling, equestrian, gymnastics, rowing and sailing…you probably missed it but we can do those.”
Golf too. The commentary points out that while we only have 2 tennis players in the top 100 in the world there are 13 golfers in the top 100, 3 of them higher ranked than Murray. Luke Donald has had more than a few Pro Tour wins too. You can compare CVs on Wikipedia:
Andy Murray’s Wikipedia entry
Luke Donald’s Wikipedia entry
BBC Article link.

Birthday Party

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Jack had a huge birthday party today, with all his friends and classmates invited. Organised pandemonium. Weeks and weeks of planning, preparing, hunting, ordering, buying, cooking, baking, cutting and bagging culminating in 2 hours of party. Jack and all his mates had a great time making things (masks, frogs, crowns, mice, etc), playing traditional party games and the obligatory running around and shouting at each other.
My God I’m glad it’s all over. We’ve got a so much stuff left over that I should flog it on eBay.
I’ve got photos to upload, but I’m not sure where to put them yet – probably up on Jack’s website.

High stress levels in colleges and universities

So it’s not just me that’s feeling like a salmon again. A recent survey by the University & Colleges Union has picked up on this, and many of the reasons for it. They cite long hours, increasing work loads, responsibility without authority, and pressure from management. Personally management over my position has been good for me, but I can agree with many of the other causes and could add a few of my own.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) general secretary said “We are deeply concerned that so many of them feel undervalued – 72%” and “…not only do the staff suffer but their students also suffer as a result and it’s not good for the colleges in the long-run either.”
UCU article

Jack’s 4th Birthday

Jack has been very excited with the build up to his birthday. He is very much into all things firefighter-related (thanks to Fireman Sam) so was very, very happy to be able to dress up like a firefighter, utility belt and all. He had a tea party with a few friends, and will have a large Fireman Sam themed party on Saturday with many more.
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Fireman Jack! (If he knew I wrote that instead of “Fireman Sam” he’d tell me off).
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Birthday cake number 1. His friends sang Happy Birthday in both English and Welsh (I was impressed). Kim will be making a fancy Fireman Sam cake for the weekend party.