16 April 2012

I have just realised that it is only three weeks until I go to Portugal for a conference. It is probably the only real conference that I will go to during my PhD and it's all about biological adhesion. All of the big names in this area of research will be there and I am supposed to be giving a talk about my research. In three weeks.

It's Monday today but it doesn't feel like it because I worked in the lab all weekend. It was awful. It was sort of necessary though, seeing as I did nothing for the entire long Easter weekend. There is still so much to do though. As well as making a presentation and writing a talk I have to keep doing research in the hope that I will have more results by then. And I will have to do a lot of reading to make sure that I can answer any questions that are asked. I also have to repeat an experiment in order to get my paper about all of my microscopy work published. That's not so bad though - I heard back from the journal really quickly and one of the reviewers thought that it was absolutely perfect and needed no changes! The other one had a few comments but the only real change is that I have to repeat something, this time using a control. Which he is very right about, I should have done that in the first place. And then I will probably get my paper accepted and will soon be a published author!

As well as work I now have my pet snake to look after. He has not eaten in nearly two weeks - he attacks his food but does not eat it. His old owner says that is normal, he is just a picky eater. So I will try again this week. I have been trying to let him out every day so that he will be even tamer. He is happy enough to slither around my arms but he really likes to explore, which is how he managed to get stuck inside my office chair over the weekend. I freaked out, I had no idea what to do! I turned it upside down (he was in the gap between the seat cushion and the plastic bit that covers all the up-down mechanisms) and I thought I would have to call someone to bring me a screwdriver to take it to pieces. Then I decided to try and scare him out first and started drumming on the plastic. He came out eventually. I picked him up and held him some more but next thing you know I saw him open his mouth and move sort of quickly. Perhaps he was just yawning, I don't know, but I didn't wait to find out - I freaked (again) and flung him back into his tank because I really did think that he was going to try bite me. Not that it would have done much, but still, I didn't want to get bitten. He is definitely getting tamer, because now when I pick him up he immediately begins to move around instead of staying still in my hands. Yesterday he lifted his head and came straight towards my neck and face and I could not see what he was doing. Perhaps he just wanted to sniff around a bit but I was taking no chances and put him straight back. He spends a lot of time in his cage just looking out of the glass at me. I'm not sure if he can see me, but it really seems as if he can see a little at least.

The weather was nice over the weekend so I went for a walk to take a picture of the swan on its nest (not much of a walk, it's pretty close, just not quite my usual way home from campus). There is always a nest somewhere close to campus, I think that it is the same swan, and she raises her babies on the canal that runs past my building. Sometimes we feed them our scraps at lunchtime but she always steals the food from the babies and tries to attack our feet. I think the babies might be called signets, but I'm not sure. I hear that the eggs are huge but she is always sitting on them when I go past.

Now the weather is absolutely freezing again and I have rugby practice tonight. We had our first game last week and we won! I'm not sure if we were very good or if they were just not so well practised, but I hope that we can keep winning. It's 4 pm so I only have to keep working for another hour and a half. I have some lab work to do but the other lab that I would have to be working in is freezing cold! So I will sit here at my computer and try to prepare for this conference. I hope that it is warm in Lisbon, that will at least make up for having to work so hard until then.

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