Monday, January 27, 2014


When I were a lass, Lancaster University was a small dignified establishment which endured a lot of wind and rain. These days it looks  more like a district of Yokohama with glistening modern architecture and blocks of student accommodation scattered among the original buildings. And they've got really serious about learning. So serious that there are now specialised zoned rectangles set aside for this particular activity:
Lancaster University
The language spoken at the university also seems to have changed in the last few years. I'm not sure what it is, and I don't understand it very well. Some weird kind of business speak, perhaps. Presently it is all about Quality, and they are going to employ a Quality Assurance boffin instead of some of the usual boffins. As someone who has read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I find this quite disturbing; that way lies madness.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Swapping grey for green


No regrets yet on swapping the grey walls of my cubicle in Yokohama for the green fields of NW England. Our main occupation is now viewing in the real world all those properties we researched online from Japan. Once we viewed one, we had to look at others for comparison, and thus it has snow-balled into having to view ALL of the ones on the rather long shortlist. Huge range of stuff for sale, so it is a matter of working out which works best for us: great views but bitter winds; no views but sheltered; mountain biking but no shopping; new house but tiny rooms; old house but inefficient; lots of everything but too big and expensive... etc.

Meanwhile, in blueskiesresearch, we have gained unlimited internet access (wooo!), but are still sharing a laptop until our stuff arrives from Japan  in mid-February. This is enough to keep a few things like coding and paper revisions ticking over, which will hopefully be sufficient for another month. Amazingly, James earned a small about of money this week, copy-editing a paper for a colleague from JAMSTEC. Even more surprisingly, he seemed to enjoy doing it! Yesterday we went to an excellent  seminar at LEC, Lancaster University, and met up with a couple of people we know there.

Post originally appeared on Jan 16th as "Swapping grey for green" at


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Side of Whern

A query was raised as to whether this was Whernside. But it was neighbouring Ingleborough. Hard to say where the top of Whernside is, and it might be just out of the frame in the photo below, so perhaps it is safest to say that the snowy bit is the side of Whernside. The bridgey thing below Whern's snowy side, is the famous Ribblehead viaduct...

I find viaducts quite creepy. Here are some more.
Ingleton 3
Ingleton 1


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year

Turkey for Christmas and grouse for New Year, so the ducks remain plentiful on the ponds of Ayr.


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