Category Archives: Life

Updating the “About” page

When I started this blog over nine years ago, back in February 2010, I made an about page that said I was 41 years old and had been happily married to Fiona for 17 years. I said I was father to three boys: Daniel (12 years old), Matthew (10) and Jonno (7). And I included this photo of my with them, crouching in front of a whale jaw in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History:

Me with (left to right) Jonno, Daniel and Matthew, in front of a baleen-whale skull at the Oxford University Natural History Museum

Continue reading

Advertisements

Head in the Clouds

Our family was away from 24th-31st July, cruising in a boat on the Norfolk Broads. In fact, we were in this specific boat, “Glistening Light”:

During that week, my middle son Matthew had a burst of creative energy, and wrote and recorded an EP of five instrumental tracks (six if you count the very short track “(edited)”), which he titled Head in the Clouds. It’s very sunny, optimistic and quirky.

Continue reading

Taking down trees in our garden

We’re fortunate to have a lot of green space out the back of our house — it came about because we moved out of London to rural Gloucestershire, and the prices of property vary wildly between the two places. There’s about an acre all told — some of it garden, some of it largely unused field.

When we moved in, there were basically no trees on the land at all (see above, taken from the top floor of the house in November 2005, a few months after we arrived.)

Continue reading

A treble clef in the wisteria

Late last year, I spotted a treble clef, growing naturally, in the wisteria on the front of our house:

Continue reading

In one month, I’ve lost 6.4 kg (14.1 lb, 1 stone)

On the 13th of last month, having just got back from a fattening week in the USA, I weighed myself after my morning shower, and registered 105.4 kg. Today is the 13th, exactly one month on, and I weighed in at 99.0 kg. That’s a loss of 6.4 kb, which is almost exactly 14 pounds or, as the England have it, one stone.

Here’s how it was done:

(That’s just a single spicy crab roll in the photo, by the way: I cut it into twelve narrow slices instead of the traditional eight thicker slices.)

Continue reading

Clematis growing on wooden pallets

A few years ago, I leaned a couple of wooden pallets up against the side of our woodshed, and forgot all about them. In the mean time, some clematis has self-seeded and started climbing up them. Now I don’t want to move them.

See also: Death and life in the woodshed.

Don’t neglect the thing that’s most important to you

My friend and occasional co-author Matt Wedel is finding it hard to make time to write paleontology papers, in among all the administrative responsibilities that have accumulated as he’s become more senior at his university. He observed: “I need to recultivate the ability to Just Say No when it’s time to do paleo.”

This is an example of an important and pervasive problem: whatever is most important to us becomes — for that very reason — a kind of background-radiation thing that we do whenever we’re not doing something more urgent. But what that often means in practice that everything else is more urgent, and we paradoxically neglect the thing that is most important.

I am convinced this is a big part of why marriages fail.