Time on sands

p1010079.JPGIt may or may not be an urban myth that the Eskimos have a huge number of words for snow.  After a week walking the sands of the Dyfi estuary in mid Wales, I am sure that the Welsh should have at least as many words for sand. Fine sand, medium sand, coarse sand – this doesn’t do justice to the wide expanses of the stuff that fill this beautiful estuary.  We stood on the dunes at the estuary entrance on Day 1, looked across the flats towards the far distant head and gulped at the prospect of visiting tens of grid points between here and there over the next few days.

d071c.jpgThere were small ripples that were hard underfoot, soft underfoot, dry, wet.  Mega-ripples Continue reading

Surveys old and new

snh-course-027.jpgWe had the first meeting to organise this year’s Haddington triathlon the other night.  With all the new building that has gone on in Haddington in recent years and associated changes to road layouts, we have decided to alter the run route this year to separate the cyclists and runners at a few dangerous bottlenecks.  One of our number is going to go out with my GPS to measure the proposed new route.

Coincidentally, I am currently reading The Great Arc by John Keay, the story of how India was mapped, the heights of mountains established, and Everest was named.  Continue reading

Raison d’être

Now that the Standard Grades are over, and school is winding down for the year, I have this niggling feeling that my raison d’être has gone, vanished, disparu.  Perhaps I should write a final blog post, following the lead of AB and Blethers.  Trouble is, it’s too addictive and I’m not sure I could even bring myself to write a spoof.  So you’ll have to put up with me for a little longer.

There is a real end of term feel invading the cage.  GP2 arrived home yesterday with a pile of artwork; I always like seeing what they’ve been up to but I guess this is the last such pile we’ll see as he’s dropping art.  We look and admire and then wonder what to do with it all.  It will sit around for a while and then I will act as ruthless editor and decide which pieces should retain housespace and which will quietly leave the premises while his attention is elsewhere.  I have to say, biased as I am, that he has done some really nice work this year.  The genes are there, on both sides (although they skipped me!), with an uncle who has managed to make a living as a painter and a cousin who graduates any day now from Edinburgh Art School.  Her final year show opens next week so we will go and be impressed by the professionals-to-be.  In my guise as professional aunt, I have hardly seen said niece/cousin in her 3 years up north.  I haven’t provided regular meals, baled her out when she’s been stuck, or supplied income from baby-sitting duties. How can 3 years go by so fast?

I now have approximately 20 fewer pieces of metal embedded in my leg and a shiny new plaster to cover it all although the titanium plate, which I suspect will set off airport metal detectors for evermore, remains.  I have also been assured that I won’t be walking around boulder beaches 3 weeks after the plaster comes off so I’m going to have to phone my colleagues and pull out of the fortnight’s work in Shetland at the end of July.  So no watching otters on low tide at dawn this year.  Oh well.  The good thing is that I’ll have a summer at home, if only the weather would improve.  The downside – we’ll be broke.  But I will be here when the exam results come out.  Good thing or bad thing?  Who knows!

Life’s a beach

Just back from field work in Cardigan Bay.  I’ll write something later but in the meantime, here’s one for Tess


… who I’m sure will tell you what it is!  Although I see she’s busy in London so I might have to leave you all to guess. 

All at sea


tubularia-indivisa.jpgIt seems that most of the Irish Sea – well, the seabed – has just arrived in my back yard, as a result of one of the quotes I did last week.  If I had my camera, which I kirchenpaueria-with-pycnogonids.jpgbucket.jpgmislaid at Dunbar last week, I would show you what it looks like and why I am scared, very scared!  It is one thing seeing a spreadsheet with a list of numbers of buckets and jars – quite another seeing it in the flesh.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to get my microscope serviced and clear my cubby hole in the utility room where it looks like I’ll be spending rather a lot of the next couple of months.  It’s the sort of thing I’d much rather do over the winter, but we can’t be choosy.

Standard Grades start for GP1 today.  Continue reading