gnommi: (Default)
Kew Gardens were gorgeous in the spring sunshine, and the apple blossom was in full bloom.

Pagoda in apple blossom

More photos here
gnommi: (grargh)
Where am I? Where have I been to? Where am I going???... 2016 edition )

Here's last year's (I seem to have missed 2014 somehow),
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. I'm still a bit of an overworked navel-gazer, but despite it being a bit of a fallow year for travelling and keeping in touch with people, I am ceasing to be massively stressed about things (or at least ceasing to acknowledge or notice being bothered by as much).
gnommi: (Default)
Where am I? Where have I been to? Where am I going???... 2016 edition )

Here's last year's (I seem to have missed 2014 somehow),
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. I'm still a bit of an overworked navel-gazer, but despite it being a bit of a fallow year for travelling and keeping in touch with people, I am ceasing to be massively stressed about things (or at least ceasing to acknowledge or notice being bothered by as much).
gnommi: (grargh)
Where am I? Where have I been to? Where am I going???... Again )

Here's 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. I'm still fundamentally an overworked, navel-gazing sod, easily distracted by dead stuff, making things and travelling, but I actually AM cheering the hell up (or at least ceasing to be bothered by as much). That counts, right? Next stop "Kids these days don't know they're born", "Hey, you! Get off my lawn", etc etc.
gnommi: (grargh)
It's been just over three weeks since we moved from Southampton to Kingston and I started my new job in a crazy university lab in Bloomsbury. To say that I am enjoying it is an understatement - I can't remember the last time I felt so consistently un-stressed! Teething troubles and packing/unpacking/bill-wrangling woes notwithstanding... Getting to work takes about an hour by overground and underground, but I've so far managed to get a seat on both almost every time, and my fellow commuters seem reasonably chilled and genteel.

Working in Bloomsbury is just amazing - I've been walking the 10 mins to the British Museum most lunchtimes, eating my packed lunch on the wall outside, and then taking half an hour or more to walk round the exhibits before a swift trot back to the lab. So far I've re-visited Dr John Dee's scrying equipment in the Age of Enlightenment (near the naughy Priapus paraphernalia), discovered the Islamic World galleries at the Montague Place entrance (which boasts a beautiful metal harpy and some stunning lustreware) and done a flit round Asia (Tibetan skull cups and many-armed deities).

My lab is also right next door to the small but perfectly formed (and free!) Grant Museum of Zoology, which I've been to twice. I fully intend to adopt a specimen there - I have my eye on a particularly gnarly one. The infamous jar of moles is already taken, obviously! I honestly can't believe I work so close to so much amazing stuff (The Wellcome Collection is also less than 10min away) - even better than when I worked next door to the Hunterian!

parrakeet parrakeet

We also live less than 10mins walk from Richmond Park - a haven for grazing herds of deer, flocks of loud green parrakeets and cheeky, Hula Hoop and milk-snaffling jackdaws. It's a strange place and reminds me more than a little of the New Forest in places. We've already walked round it for hours and still only seen a tiny fraction. Pembroke Lodge, about an hour in, does amazing cream teas. The riverside in Kingston is also really lovely in the sun, and we've made friends with our neighbours who are threatening to take us pike fishing in their boat... we watched the new Godzilla with them and their kids last week, which was brainless fun. GO GO GOJIRA! I also seem to have become resident neighbourhood biologist, and spend almost every evening identifying and explaining some fungus or insect or other for the local yoof, which is pretty satisfying.

switches store cylinders

Yesterday we went to the awesome Pimlico District Heat Undertaking as part of London Open House (thanks [ profile] squirmelia and [ profile] swh for the heads up). Also free, and involving an enormous amount of clambering up scary industrial ladders and squeezing through crazy engine rooms and forests of curly ducting - the view from the top of the immense (2,500,000 litre) thermal store was astounding. We followed up by a great lunch and wonderful beer (Mad Hatter Sorachi Saison for me - om nom nom) at Cask. The best of my photos are HERE.

Music-wise, whilst I really miss the Fo'c'sle folk club, we tried out the altogether larger Ram Club in Hinchley Wood, which involved quite an exciting bus ride into the unknown, but which ended up in a stirring performance of sea shanties by Jenkins' Ear and the other half talking concertinas with one of the members until late. We've been practicing duetting mandolin (him) and mountain dulcimer (me) recently but are nowhere near performance standard!

All in all, I am almost wishing I'd taken the plunge earlier - can't wait to get the spare room up and running so we can have visitors!
gnommi: (grargh)
so the fatigue seems to have been caused by folate and Vitamin D deficiencies. how I got them nobody seems to know. Malabsorption is one guess but it's not a perfect candidate. oh well, been treated, feel better.

several months agoI got offered a job in a cutting edge department in a London University, which I turned down as it would have involved a pay cut, which when extra commuting costs (~£6k pa) were considered, was simply not possible to live on. The head of department then called me up and asked pretty much what it would take for me to go and work for them. Lots of negotiating and months later, they improved their pay offer by around £10k. Definitely an offer I couldn't refuse! So, Job From Hell with People I Love is no more, from the end of today and hello new job from September 1st.

Un/fortunately, commuting options from Southampton to London have been seriously reduced since I last did a daily ther and back for my PhD... So we eventually decided to bite the bullet and move. So in a fortnight's time (movers permitting, but that's another story!) we'll be leaving Southampton and taking up residence in Kingston Upon Thames. Not exactly a bustling metropolis, but a darn sight less of a journey to work, and hey let's not scare the horses!

so yes. London types BE AFRAID! I'll be working round the corner from the British Museum...
gnommi: (grargh)
This week has been a bit of a curate's egg - the first three days of the week were characterised by me feeling increasingly unwell, culminating in a sudden, huge stomach upset on Weds. Thursday I felt better than I've done in a month - so much so that I managed to go for an hour and a half long walk to take photos after work. Today I've felt largely rubbish again, though still better than at the beginning of the week. Goodness only knows what the hell causes it: dizziness, numb extremities, tiredness, blurred vision, dyspraxia, facial discomfort (especially sinuses) and bloating seem to be the key symptoms.

Anyway! Here are some photos I took yesterday - the light was perfect :)

Skyflowers snakebloom cor

And now: THE WEEKEND! Tomorrow is tapas with Caroline and Sunday I plan to do sweet F.A.
I've painted my nails (I've been doing that a lot lately, having iridescent bits of colour around to waggle is very good for your sanity...) Today I am on Orly - It's Not Rocket Science, which can only be described as a kind of insanely sparkly mossy zomboid sludge green. Probably not the most flattering shade but OOOO SHINY.
gnommi: (grargh)
Spent the past weekend in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire for a friends wedding.

Coalbrookdale chruchThe Iron Bridge.King Stone, Rollright Stones

We stayed in the former Coalbrookdale Literary and Scientific Institute, along with about 60 other academics/wierdoes/gamers/circus performers/spontaneously ululating Iranians/combinations of the above for the weekend and availed ourselves of a glut of information regarding the area's industrial heritage, in addition to almost killing ourselves by overindulging in glorious Persian food.

Ironbridge itself is an area of considerable natural beauty and it's hard to believe that in the 18th century it pretty much resembled the gates of hell, due to the intense mining, smelting, casting and shipping going on in the valley. Apparently, Abraham Darby, Quaker and pot-maker, developed a lazy but very effective method of smelting iron for casting, involving coke and thus, as they say, the rest was history. Iron everywhere for everything in every possible over-decorated configuration and lots of industrial revoluting. If I'd had sympathy for the decline and eventual closure of the Literary and Scientific Institute, it was somewhat diminished by learning that at least some of it's members had been responsible for a great deal of extraordinarily repulsive and impractical showboating Victorian cast ironwork. We went somewhat decorative foliage-blind following a trip round the Museum of Iron. Didn't stop me from accidentally buying a cast iron beetle boot jack and a book on beam engines though, and it certainly sated my giant cog-ogling proclivities.

The journey up was eventful, with Google maps taking us nobly away from traffic and happily close enough to the Rollright Stones to warrant a swift diversion to see the tiny knobbly stone circle as the sun went down.

Some of the better of my photos are here.
gnommi: (grargh)
I might try updating daily for a while - just to get a handle on moods/events/linkages.

This last fortnight has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I applied for a job as senior biomedical scientist in technical development in the UCL Advanced Diagnostics unit about 8 weeks ago, and had forgotten that I even applied when I got an interview last week. Interview went amazingly, the people were friendly and enthusiastic and generally "my kind of people" and the post seemed pretty much perfect. I got offered the job the following day and was ecstatic, even though it would have involved moving to London, which I have always been very loathe to do.

Then I saw the pay offer...

Basically, taking into account the high cost of moving to London or commuting, it would have been a salary drop of about £600/month. I just can't sink that kind of reduction :/ So I had to turn it down. Very disappointed. BUT! At least now I know that for the right job I actually would consider moving to London - so that's useful. Also, getting offered a senior position in a prestigious, cutting-edge institute was a great confidence booster.

Then I went to scope out a job I got invited to apply for in Southampton - instant no. The same deal as I have now, but in a less well-thought of hospital in a grubby windowless lab furnished with broken, uncared for equipment from the dark ages. And Even More On Call (BUT THINK OF THE MONEY,THE BEST THING ABOUT ON CALL IS THE AMAZING MONEY - said the manager with ££ in his eyes...). Yeah... no.

But then I finally seem to have got a collaboration with a major training hospital sorted out after 2 years of fruitless wrangling - which would enable me to do my Advanced Diploma in Dissection, and maybe even the Expert Diploma after that. So hurray! Cue getting drunk on a school night on prosecco and cocktails. I feel much more positive about staying in this post if I can only shift that running-on-the-spot-getting-older-and-less-skilled feeling. Hopefully a proper weekly training course will help.

On the printmaking front, I finished my Foundation in Printmaking and sold FOUR prints at the Foundation Show at Red Hot Press. I'm in a Proper Exhibition at a Proper Gallery mid June! If anyone wants a Private View invite it might be lots of fun. And you get to see my horrible fly prints in amongst nice flowers and more competent arty efforts.
gnommi: (grargh)
Where I try to work out the net change over last year... Again )

Here's 2012,
2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. I can discern from this that I am a miserable, overworked, navel-gazing sod, easily distracted by dead stuff and travelling, but that might actually be cheering the hell up at long last ;)
gnommi: (grargh)
First couple of attempts at woodcuts

My first two attempts at woodcut printing. I've since done some more Gojira prints with chine colle, which are currently drying all over the lounge floor...

Gojira woodcut v2 photo P1050272_zps96039392.jpg

I've also been crocheting octopi like there's no tomorrow for the two craft fairs: current total = 18 octopi, 4 platypi (all for commissions so none to sell yet!), 1 pig, 1 cuttlefish... have started doing Victorian villain octopi in top hats with moustaches, which are kinda fun!
gnommi: (grargh)
As this time of year is traditionally my get-depressed-hide-under-duvet-til-Spring time, I've pre-booked a whole ton of stuff in order to keep busy.

So - if anyone is interested, I am doing two craft fairs (selling crocheted octopi, platypi, other mutant offspring of the crochet hook and maybe prints):

Sunday 24 November, 10-4: Southampton University Art, Craft & Gift Fayre

Sunday 8th December, 9-5: Victorian Christmas at Tudor House

I'm also going to be exhibiting and selling prints (this year linocut, woodcut and etching I think: beetles, landscapes, skulls and OOOOO GOJIRAAAAAAA):

Friday 29th November, 6:30-9: Printer Wonderland

I may not have any fingers left by then, given how much damn crocheting and printing I am doing! RIGHT, OFF TO HOP TO IT :D
gnommi: (grargh)
So this is what I've been working on recently: an edition of 25 prints (linocut and chine colle) for a print exchange (20:20, which I'm doing through Red Hot Press). It's based on some reading around the origins of Beelzebub - apparently he shares some homology with a Greek momentary deity called Myiagros, who was invoked to order the flies from your offerings to Zeus, so that you would win more favour. I made a Pinterest album documenting my progress as part of the workings, and finally printed the last of the edition today. I have 32 workable prints, but as I have to add linework by hand (?maybe), that may all change!


Aug. 21st, 2013 09:24 pm
gnommi: (grargh)
So I've started having organic/free range vegetables/fruit/meat/dirt delivered in a box from a local farm. Riverford, in case it matters. Mostly to make myself learn how to cook, but also because I hate giving supermarkets my money for stuff I don't really want to buy.

These boxes are a bit food roulette, as you can't really choose what you get, as it's all seasonal. So far I've learned to cook broad beans (including a stunning broad bean and courgette risotto, if I do say so myself), weird kinds of cabbage, kaesespaetzle mit blattspinat, how to play padron pepper roulette and how not to joint half a chicken. Chocolate courgette cake was good, afelia was AMAZING, and I've got a whole lot better at cooking in general. I even did a steak, potato, roast tomato and broad bean salad. I know, I know, who am I and what have I done with Nom?!

I'm going to start trying to keep some kind of recipe record here, as I have no better place to do it. I'll try put them under a cut so I don't end up being a recipe bore.

On which note... )

I am going to attempt this later, as I have raspberries in the box and otherwise I will just gronf the lot.
gnommi: (grargh)
Well, Germany was a bit of a washout, mostly for health reasons. Turns out that sedation, root canals, flying, work stress, sleep deprivation, a botched B12 top-up and staying in a beautiful medieval town with cobbled streets and nary a right angle combine to set my balance issues to thermonuclear. Anyway.

I've signed up for the 20:20 print exchange with the print studio I belong to, Red Hot Press. This means making an edition of 25 professional-quality prints by the end of October. Sounds like a long time but when you consider that the press is only open during working hours except for two sessions a month...

Finding a print subject is always hard - I've got interested in flies lately, particularly the bristly, unlovable black, grey and blue jobbies that rub their filthy feet together over all kinds of disgusting substances. Inevitably I ended up reading up on Beelzebub and his supposed malign command over flies and pitched up a Pinterest album exploring the link between flies and the occult and grotesque. But then I came to the conclusion that whilst flies may carry all sorts of pestilence about, they also play a stellar role in decomposition, without which disease would be far more rife. And Beelzebub wasn't always a minion of Satan - originally he was Myiagros, a momentary deity who could be invoked to clear the flies off of your tasty tributes to Zeus. A nice guy...


So I'm trying to make a piece that brings out the good and the bad in the flesh fly. This is where we're at so far: this is a mock up incorporating chine colle (which I'm doing with PVA and toile de jouy print tissue paper) and pen and ink. The black will be linocut in the final edition, this is just for layout.

Hope to cut the lino block this afternoon.
gnommi: (grargh)
Tomorrow I have Adventures in Anaesthesia and Endodontics. It's all for the best, I suppose but that doesn't help my raging dentistry phobia and the fact that I shall be disappearing to the wilds of Saxony-Anhalt on Thursday, following two fairly major root canal treatments on teeth that are already in a state of gross disrepair. I see painkillers and antibiotics in my future.

Back to things Germanic: we're off to see the besties in Berlin then taking the train to Wernigerode, where we'll get the narrow-gauge Brockenbahn up the Brocken and into the Harz reserve proper. No real idea of what will transpire then, other than walking, beer and probably a lot of lounging around in the evenings and marvelling at the sheer quantity of double denim perpetrated in Tatort...

Maybe we'll see a lynx or one of the famous witches?
gnommi: (grargh)
...there's been a week in Berlin, during which time I discovered the wonders of Liquidrom's spas/saunas where I tried frying in the sauna then walking about naked in the snow and floating in an isolation tank, the astounding Berliner Medizinhistoriches Museum and surreal, deserted snowy forests. Berlin was a lot of fun and just the ticket for relaxing - photos are here.

I went to the Horniman Collection in Forest Hill too. If deformed taxidermy is your bag, you should totally go. Or musical instruments. They have all of them, and you can hear the noises they all make too. And the view over London is tremendous. AND IT'S FREE. Photos are here.

We spent a long weekend on the Isle of Wight, too, at Gothic View, a tiny converted chapel in Chale Green. Went to the endlessly bizarre Blackgang Chine again and walked the Old Blackgang Road (most of which fell into the sea in the mid nineties) as far as we could, and came across an abandoned and ruined nudist camp, complete with naughty murals. The grey stone house at the bottom of that thread is now a ruin, having caught fire catastrophically some time in the last year. Photos to follow, when I get my arse in gear and find a new photo hosting site (see below*).

I've also taken up semi-permanent residency at Manor Farm - they have a never ending supply of Middle White x Saddleback and Saddleback piglets. So good for the soul. Currently undergoing some expensive psychotherapy, which actually appears to be helping, but at £6 a throw, scratching piglets and hand feeding chickens seems like better value.

*I'm truly sorry to have to link to Flickr there, by the way, as it seems to have done it's level best to make my nicely laid out, spaced out, tagged and geo-tagged photos into some kind of unlabelled visual vomit. If anyone knows of any valid alternatives, then do let me know?
gnommi: (grargh)
I decided to take the work bull by the horns again and stop letting it ride me (ooer). Seems to be working so far, though my lieu time shows no sign of decreasing despite me taking two days off. I am going to go back to full time hours, then I can feel more in charge and have more days in the week to take my inevitable lieu time in. Effectively I will probably still be working 4-4.5 days a week, but be getting paid for 5 instead of just building up enormous amounts of unpaid lieu time and not having time to take it. We'll see.

Have been to Death at the Wellcome Collection (twice) and Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men at the Museum of London. Both enjoyable. 

Have also been crocheting like a maniac - here is my Ravelry project page if you are really bored (you might need a Ravelry login - which is free). Currently making a psychedelic blanket to incubate the hobbit in.
I've also taken to collecting interesting snippets in a slightly-wunderkammer-y Pinterest account.
gnommi: (grargh) many museums and galleries of the world I've been to?
I'll try to remember to add to this as I go along (and when I inevitably remember more I've been to)

So here goes, off the top of my head:

Where I've Been )

and for the record, the wish-list:

Where I want to go but haven't got round to )

Where do YOU think I should go?

gnommi: (Default)
Or should that be some yarn ripping?

Anyway, as a change from printmaking, I've finally taught myself to crochet, in an effort to fulfil the other half's request that I make him the cutesy Cthulhu from this book, which [ profile] el_maraca bought for me last year.

Multiplying octopodes

So far I've managed what appears to be a Pacman ghost, a pig on wheels and a stack of octopodes. The wee octopodes are an absolute joy to make, thanks to this pattern.

I shall probably post progressive iterations of octopus on my pinterest, but watch this space. Anyone who would like one: specify preferred colour and I'll see what I can do. Prising them out of the hobbit's hairy paws is proving difficult at the moment, however!