brightlywoven: (fangirling)
 I have recently been listening to Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter to lull myself back to sleep after 2am feedings. There's a moment in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Stephen-as-Sirius exclaims "Only innocent lives Peter!" where he sounds almost precisely like his character here

And now I can't shake the idea of Remus and Sirius changing the face of Utoxeter with their serious biznis, drinking whisky and shouting 'damn'. Or Peter and John working at the ministry for magic and dealing with muggle mishaps all the time.  Can I really be alone in this??? Really? Oh ok, maybe it's just all the prolactin and sleep deprivation. 

brightlywoven: woobie revolutionaries in a window, caption 'it is time for us all to decide who we are' (It is time)
My Indefinite Leave to Remain document has just been delivered. So that's that. 10 years of permission to remain and no restrictions on what we can do. 

We will apply to become citizens next year, because you never know when UKIP might gain power and retrospectively strip settlement rights from nasty foreigners what the future holds, and also because we believe in being committed to the community in which you live, if you're allowed. 

I though this timely piece in the Guardian captured for me very nicely the pernicious uncertainty in the whole process (though as ever, don't read the comments). Ridiculously privileged though we are, this uncertainty has touched most of the past 7 years. I'm really going to enjoy living with the knowledge that we can keep building our little lives here. 

brightlywoven: (Yang)
 So I've decided to do a PhD. More accurately, I decided a while ago i would try to, and now I and my supervisors have convinced a funding body to sign up to the project and pay for me and my project.* The process of getting funding has been pretty long and drawn out (I started applying back in October), and culminated in having to defend my proposal to a room full of scary old men professors.**

So some time in the next 6 months (hopefully about November) I'll hang up my stethoscope for a while and get to grips with bacterial genomes. It will be odd after all this time of visiting and living in Oxford to matriculate and be a proper Oxford Student with a college and everything. I'm not sure the working hours will be better, but there will be fewer all nighters. Guess I'll have to rustle up some sub-fusc...

* But oddly they won't pay for me to get the degree. I will be paid salary  roughly 4 times (gross) T's graduate stipend 10 years ago, and the total cost of the department employing me is higher still, but the agency won't pay my fees. This would be inconsequential except if I enrol too soon I'd have to pay about £20k per annum. 

** That's not really fair. There was one woman on the panel. 
brightlywoven: Marius looks scared (Marius face 2)
 I went to see Les Miserable again today. I thought I might love it less the second time, but it turns out I had just the same all-encompassing delight. Somewhere in my brain I know it has flaws, but while watching it I am just subsumed in uncritical loves.

Oh Marius and his little face. 

brightlywoven: (Yang)
 I have just completed 6 months as a medical registrar. I feel older, wiser, tireder, less terrified and more terrifying. 

There are aspects of the job that I love. The process of discovery, the constant challenge, the possibilities are amazing. when the job is going well, it's intoxicating.  Also, I love taking to slightly batty people at four in the morning: it turns out that a slightly delirious 90 year old makes a brilliant companion. I love going in to bat for the difficult cases, I love seeing a patient through a difficult process. 

But it's also knackerating. The rota I worked had an exhausting level of night shift work, so that every 8 weeks, whole weeks of my life seemed to disappear. At some point I need to decide if the highs of general medicine are worth the trials. I suspect that right now is not the time to make that decision

Six months ago I was a terrified pretender. Six months has not made me an expert, but it has made me a Medical Registrar. That person (capitalised in my mind)  is something to which I've aspired for a long time. In the long slow process of becoming, we mark another step. 
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)
 Things that are cheering:

Crocuses growing in the back garden
Oxford in the sunshine, when the light is warm even if the air is cold
Blue sky at 5pm
Good coffee
And for those who felt an inexpressible sense of incomplete resolution of the failure of the Les Mis film to finish 'Confrontation', this video

February has long been my most hated month, and last year it was frankly ridiculous. This year, I'm giving it one last chance.
brightlywoven: (biznis time)
I reattempt my poll, which seems to have been eaten by gremlins. See earlier post, in which I moan about my existential crisis, brought on by the lack of sweetcorn hotcakes with aioli. Yes, really.
Poll #10171 Brunch! (poll now resurrected)
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 11

What do you want from a brunch menu?

View Answers

I can only choose one thing, so I require only 1 delicious choice
1 (9.1%)

I want a wealth of choices, with some fruit and possibly pancake based options in there
7 (63.6%)

Full english or nothing
1 (9.1%)

Time is an illusion, brunchtime doubly so
5 (45.5%)

Something else that I'll put in comments
1 (9.1%)

How important is the beverage component of brunch

View Answers

It's all about the coffee
2 (18.2%)

I like a nice coffee to go with it, but it's not crucial
4 (36.4%)

I'm partial to fresh OJ
5 (45.5%)

Coffe? Give me TEA dammit!
5 (45.5%)

Something else that I'll put in comments
0 (0.0%)

How often, in a civilised society, should one brunch

View Answers

Ideally a couple of times a month
6 (54.5%)

Once or twice a year maybe?
5 (45.5%)

Hardly ever
0 (0.0%)

Never! Mornings are an abomination and should be spent cowering indoors
0 (0.0%)

brightlywoven: (biznis time)
This morning we trialled again the breakfast possibilities of Oxfork - a promising looking cafe in East Oxford. While yet again they produced excellent coffee, and while they exude the sort of ambience I'd expect in my favourite Melbourne brunch spots, they seem to falter on this point. I'm trying to work out why I am consistently disappointed on this point in Oxford.

Essentially what I want is this: a comfy or interesting premises, which serves excellent coffee and has a reasonable array of breakfasty/brunchy options that are sufficient in number or varied often enough that I could conceive of indulging in brunch once or twice a month without getting bored. And I would really quite like something beyond a standard cooked breakfast. Sweetcorn hotcakes, french toast, avocado on toasted sourdough, bircher muesli - all these things were pretty standard in Melbourne circa 2001-2006. And while I have now found excellent coffee in two locations here, the breakfast on offer is a bit boring. At one there a few sandwich/bagel/toast type options, and at this it was pretty much eggs and toast or full english. Yes, both do pastries etc, but I want brunch goddammit!

I'm beginning to feel like Kate in Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul and her desire for a delivered pizza in London. This one shortcoming of Oxford irks more than it should, because it seems such a simple and wonderful thing to desire.  What say you, my friends? 
poll! )
brightlywoven: (harriet)
It's been a year this week since we first looked at and fell in love with our home. Then, the cherry blossom was in full bloom. This year the blossom was bright in January, so now, we have only a few tufts of pinkness, but we have daffodils and hyacinths and snowdrops and some flolloppy crocuses.  And it is our home. When I open the door I feel safe. When I climb the stairs I find my love.

...Let's go in, and hope a house
built from dirt with man's bare first
has learned a woman's habit
of giving out, and being elastic,

the bowed wall with curve
a little more to let us breathe
and the sloping floor will send
me on my office chair swivelling back
to meet your arms, and love rise
through each plaster pore, irreparable
as damp, and spread its spores
on every joist, invisibly, perpetually
brightlywoven: (weavings)
 I was linked to this performance from a forum today, and it really is worth watching: a contestant from Australia's X-Factor auditions and tells his story.

(disclaimer: you have to overlook the heavy handed mood music and the mawkish judges, and the fact they congratulate the singer on his 'courage' rather than him being a very good singer)

While watching this I had the sudden memory of actually meeting his mother, back when I was in high school, as a 'youth and social justice' forum. I remember thinking she was just amazing - funny and wise and compassionate in the face of terrible things.  From what I can work out, that must have been around the time Emmanuel came to Australia for surgery.  Sometimes it's good to know that some people really can make a difference. 
brightlywoven: (Playful)
 Seen doing the rounds on Twitter, I snorted my coffee over this one:

"Rebekah Brooks resigned! Sky bid dropped! NotW extinct! Only four horcruxes left to go and Murdoch will be mortal again!"
brightlywoven: A group of BAMFs in lab coats (science)
 Homeopaths want your opinion on whether they should be allowed to advertise 'what conditions they treat' among other things. 
Have at it!
brightlywoven: (lizzie)
 This might be a joke, but it's the funniest thing I've seen all week. The fish pedicure of births.
brightlywoven: (diamonds)
 After failing to find my stethoscope in the house move, despite trawling through all my possessions, I can only conclude that it has indeed disappeared from my office at work. This is a bit crappy, but it's long gone now. So, in advance of going back to the wards in August, I will need a new one.  I'm thinking the master cardiology is unnecessary, but the student standard one is not good enough sound quality for my ageing ears, so I'll take the middle ground and replace it with another Classic III. What I'm wondering now is, do I go with another deep red/burgandy one like I had, or go for this badass brass and chocolate one. I'm just not sure. Is chocolate and brass totally awesome, or a bit flashy?

I'm hoping this will see me though a decade or more, and was going to go conservative, but oh, the pretty shiny thing! Advice plz?!?
brightlywoven: (biznis time)
This consultation released today sets out the Tory plans for changing settlement to the UK. It suggests that any worker coming to the UK on a Tier 2 visa from April this year should be barred from settling permanently. Unless of course they have a salary over £150k. 

I'm not sure what I think about this. My current thoughts are mainly 'thank god I think they're not coming for us this time' and 'only a masochist would move to the UK under these rules.'  Who would subject themselves to the upheavals of emigration knowing, all along, they're not wanted.

If you think that discouraging skilled workers from filling posts in the UK is a bad idea, do consider responding.  For now, I'm going to go and let my palpitating heart settle down and get back to building a future.
brightlywoven: (Yang)
If a storyline from Grey's Anatomy demonstrated a point I wanted to make in an essay, how inappropriate would  it be to cite it?
What if it was really, really pertinent?

brightlywoven: (diamonds)
 Contracts have been exchanged! We are now legally bound to buy a large pile of bricks, that I remember really really liking when I got to look around it 2 months ago.... Hopefully when we get the keys next Thursday I'll still love it. I'm sure I will. There was a bit of a saga over the conveyancing, which eventually came down to haggling over a $100 cost, which seemed ridiculous, but I can see how people break down a negotiation over irrational things.  However all is now resolved and full steam ahead.

I have a very, very long to do list, but we have a man with a van coming (there are at least 3 companies in this burg with names that feature along the lines of 'man and/with/in van'. Is this a UK thing?) This evening I began gleefully stuffing things in boxes. We're going to need more boxes.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts about my dad and my friend. Father has been forced to run on a treadmill with nary a peep from the heart, so he's OK, just needs is blood pressure a bit lower. Friend is out of hospital, home and cheerful, and seems in good shape, though she has a mandatory month off from saving babies from cancer.

Does anyone know any good packing music? So far I've only got this, which is probably a little sadly reflective...

PPS Any recommendations for good internet providers (especially locally)?
brightlywoven: (biznis time)
 Things are progressing apace. Our survey is done, and T and I have recovered from reading the 40 page report. We have decided that the detail was too much for our little renters' brains, but that eventually we will come to understand flashing and pointing and airbricks and all manner of mysteries. The key point is that the house is Not Falling Down (though there was the odd grave hint about the chimney).

So we have spent a few weekends being the epitome of Smug Marrieds, wandering around furniture shops (John Lewis, Ikea and Habitat, oh my!). OK, this was actually rather fun. And Thwecky joined us for an epic IKEA road trip, in which meatballs played a large role, and in which we learned that the many roundabouts of Milton Keynes will thwart even the savviest of sat navs. We have also spent a surprising number of evenings musing over couches ('sofa' still sounds weird to me) and playing with the IKEA wardrobe builder. Rock and roll.

Now we await the judgement of the underwriters on our mortgage application (I have been convinced, by the attitude of the bank, that two employed professionals with no debt and no children pose an extreme credit risk, and they are likely to ask for for a kidney or two as collateral. Also, I hate having to tick the big box marked 'foreigner' on these things.)
brightlywoven: (happy)
I have some terribly, amazingly exciting news, and am just bursting to tell it. However since it's not just my news, I will wait till my beloved agrees to burst with me.

(No. we are not having a baby) 
brightlywoven: (happy)
 That was a nice end to term - a dozen happy people drinking wine[1] and tea in our loungeroom at midnight. 

Assignment in and done, a whole month before any more classes, and promising words from my supervisor. It's time for a late tumble into bed and a weekend of basking in the company of my beloved, and waking up to spring and life.

[1] I like the trend to the newest generation of taruith enjoying a glass of wine or two. I am hopeful for wine/mead tasting in Michaelmas and for a jolly Pimm's fuelled punting party. 


brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)

March 2015

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