Sunday, 18 March 2007

Saturday 17th March 07

Well another good day apart from this is the second time I've tried to type and publish my blog, as I had some major problems with it the first time!

At about 9.30 my boys and I cycled off towards St John's Universtiy (difficult to write it this way because for the entire time I've been in York, I've known it as a College) where the Science Week events are culminating. In a large hall there were a wide range of stalls from different organisations with many aspects of science on display, many of them 'hands-on'. The first thing we saw was from Askham Bryan, a selection of animals including two tortoises, leopard geckoes, a weird flattened hamster and a hermit crab. There were other stalls with animals, including one with jars of grain weevils which you could identify using a computer programme, and the Central Science Laboratory with various pests like aphids and cockroaches. CSL also had some non-food crops including oils from rape and flax (linseed) and biodiesel also soap from calendula. There was insulation made from flax and sheep fleece and plastic made from hemp, maize and sugar beet.

The boys had a go with some circuit boards, making a light go on and a hooter sound, whilst I chatted with a chap involved with a science festival, and I wondered whether he'd be interested in my Professor Fiddlesticks Fun Physics Show. He'll be in touch, I hope. We all had our ears looked into using an endoscope with a camera, and the image put on a monitor for all to see our eardrums and earwax. Lovely! The boys watched a minature railway which demonstrated various dangers (such as playing on the track and I rode a static bicycle and generated enough electricity to light four lightbulbs. Our friend Maria was demonstrating a battery using a piece of fruit. She's about to do a PGCE so she can teach at secondary school.

We cycled back after over two hours, using the cycle track again. However the track is only accessable via roads, so we all cycled on the road from and to the off-road track. I know this is a bit of a risk but I am very keen to teach the kids to use the road and there's only one way to do that, and that's to use the road. They're both gaining confidence quickly and I hope they won't ever be 'pavement cyclists'.

Home for 1pm and I spent bits of the afternoon splitting the logs I cut up recently, some by using the electric hydraulic logsplitter and others with the splitting axe or 'maul' as some call it.

At about 4, we had a visit from a lovely young couple Christiana and Riccardo, who are from Brazil. She takes and collects a child at the school our lads go to, and I often chat to her as she always smiles at me. The child belongs to someone she works for, I think. He is doing a Masters or PHd in a parasitic disease, he's half Italian and she's Oriental. They've been married a year and they are lovely. I invited them round as she had asked what all the logs were and why I delved into the school bins, so I thought a tour would be a good idea as it's difficult to explain, easier to show. I'm sad they're going back in May.

After tea and just after the boys were posted off to bed, our Scrabble-playing friend Will came, with his friend Fiona, who is a Scrabble whizz, apparently. Soon after we got going my new friend Taj came round, bearing the promised bottle of wine. We had a good game of SuperScrabble, with Taj looking on, this time, and contributing to the conversation. I won the game but only just. Fiona is a good player and hopefully we'll see her again. They left on the 11.09 bus as they were all heading to the same area of town.

I spent quite a time after this trying to get my laptop to behave but failed. So the blog I wrote didn't publish and just dissappeared. Got to bed after 1.30 am.

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