30 March 2011

The end of the world?

You know that the apocalypse must surely be coming when the weather goes completely crazy backward. Here in Ireland it is not raining. It hasn't rained properly in at least a week, maybe more. I will appreciate it while I can, but how long that will be I do not know, surely this is a portent of doom. In a country with a regularly good climate, one might make such predictions on account of storms and dark skies. Here though, that is the norm, and this beautiful weather is surely the calm before the end of the world. In the pacific there are earthquakes, here there is sunshine - same level of unusual in these phenomena.

On the bright side, it means t-shirts and eating lunch out of doors and going to the beach on the weekend. Despite my most firm intentions to jump in the water I wimped out and barely even went for a paddle, it was that icy. Instead I learnt to hula, something I have never been able to do before. It was a big heavy exercise hula though, which made it a lot easier but at the same time left me with sore muscles and a big bruise on my hip! Still, I went out the next day and brought one of my own because hula is fun. Unfortunately the weather forecast predicts rain come the weekend, which is sad not only because I don't want rain but also because this weekend's plans include a picnic and going hawking! As in you have a hawk, on your arm, and you let it fly off, and then it comes back. It will be something pretty amazing no matter what I'm sure but so much better if it was a nice day. Maybe the forecast will change?

I also, yesterday, had the most exciting news. About a month ago I entered a competition, sort of like an essay competition, about how my research makes an impact to Irish life and society. Well, yesterday I got a call and am one of the five finalists! Which means that in two weeks I must go to Dublin and give a presentation, I guess about the exact same topic. There are two prizes (and only 5 finalists, that's rather good odds!), one to be given by a panel of judges and the other by an audience of secondary school students. Both prizes are 2500 euro! This is the coolest thing that has happened in ages - I get to go and present in front of people, and might win a prize! It will relieve the boredem of trying to write up my work.

So that's all from me for now but not to worry because exciting events are coming up so I will have plenty to write about. The hawking, a trip to Dublin, and soon Mum will come visit and then we will be off to Paris! Then in another month there is a work meeting in Belgium and a training course in Germany. Hopefully the Germany trip will be a few months long and an opportunity to travel around a bit. So bring on the summer and let's hope the end of the world holds off for just a little while yet!

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