Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Girton at 150

At the end of June, Girton College celebrated its 150th birthday with a weekend festival of events.  I spent the Sunday at the festival with Harriet, listening to the talks and taking a few pictures.

The first event I attended was by Clive Oppenheimer, Professor of Volcanology at the University Geography Department (i.e. one of Harriet's colleagues).  The talk concentrated on his collaboration with Werner Herzog in the making of Into the Inferno - a film about volcanos commissioned by Netflix.

The main hall on the college had been decorated with bicycles covered in garlands of flowers, and very good it looked too.

While 2019 is the 150th anniversary of the college's foundation, it's also the 40th anniversary of admitting men as undergraduates.  I remember this event very well as it happened during my third year at Downing college, and I knew several of the male "pioneers".  Dr Roland Randall - another colleague of Harriet's - was one of the first male fellows at the college, and he chaired a fascinating discussion about the trials and tribulations of an institution becoming co-educational.  Incidentally, Downing went co-ed in 1980, the year after I graduated, so I missed all the fun.

The final talk I attended related to two Greenland expeditions, over thirty years apart.  The first, run jointly by Cambridge University and Imperial College London in 1963, managed to climb - and name - many of the mountains on the Stauning Alps.  One of the peaks was named after Girton, and a second expedition from the college in 1998 set out to re-visit it.  The two speakers were Professor Mike Graham and Dr Fiona Cooke, who were on the first and second expeditions respectively.

Avid readers of this blog (are there any?) will remember my adventures a few weeks ago, re-photographing the images to be used in the "Girton Peak" talks.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

When Isla met Nova...

On Friday morning we finally got to meet Nova: another labrador, a few months older than Isla, belonging to some old friends of mine who have just moved back to the area.  Ironically, I first met Nicolla and Chris just after I got Amber (we had daughters who went trampolining together), and they had a black labrador called Luna.  Now the tables are turned: they have a dumb blonde and I have a black bullet.

Nova is on limited rations when it comes to exercise since she has a problem with her elbow joints.  As a result we've had to wait for ages before the pups were able to meet, and then only in the back garden.  We needn't have worried about them getting along, although it has to be said that Isla was distinctly "in your face" (as is her character) and poor old Nova was tiring of her attention after an hour or so in the firing line.  At the beginning they were both pretty playful, however.

Unsurprisingly, Isla decided that "elevenses" would be a good idea, and became terribly calm and obedient while the biscuits were out...

...but, of course, Nova decided that she wanted a piece of the action too.

What a pretty girl.

Apart from being darker in colour, and slightly heavier, there was a distinct resemblance between Nova and Amber.  Here's a picture taken when Amber was almost exactly the same age as Nova is now, and it's clear that they're very much alike.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Fathers' Day Tradition

Doing something once is a novelty; but, in our family, doing something twice definitely becomes a tradition.  So it was that Issy, Isla and I headed to Salhouse Broad in Norfolk for the second (annual) Fathers' Day swim.  Readers of this blog may remember that, a year ago, Isla wasn't exactly enthusiastic when it came to entering the water (see here).  What a difference a year makes.

What Isla may lack in style, she more than makes up for in enthusiasm.  She's a natural swimmer too, and now absolutely loves being in the water.

I thought it was about time that Isla met a frisbee for the first time.  She wasn't quite sure what to do initially, but she soon got the hang of it was catching the frisbee like a pro.

After a couple of hours swimming, fetching and catching, Isla was cream-crackered and it was time to head for new (and excellent) snack hut at Salhouse Broad.  Thoroughly recommended, with free biscuits for dogs too.

Friday, 21 June 2019

End of an Era

Wednesday marked a major milestone, in that I retired from IPV after more than 24 years with the company.  We formed Telemedia Systems (as it was then known) from the late, and much lamented, Olivetti Research Laboratory in order to commercialise our work on computer video and audio over high speed networks.  Almost a quarter of a century on, and the integration of Broadcast Television with general computing is now all but complete.  Indeed, computers are so powerful - and networks so fast - that much of the functionality is now handled over the Internet and "in the cloud".  The end of an era for an embedded systems engineer who prefers to work with real hardware, so time to move on.

My retirement cake was a work of art, as well as being absolutely enormous.  The crowning glory was a replica Fuji X-T2, which was correct to the last detail.  Issy, eagle-eyed as ever, managed to spot a spelling mistake in the retirement message, however...

So what's next.  Lots of dog walking, definitely.  More opportunity to do work with the Royal Photographic Society and Cambridge Camera Club.  More one-on-one and workshop teaching.  More time to do the jobs at home which I've been putting off for many years (e.g. the dripping tap in the downstairs loo).  Who knows, maybe more of my own photography and keeping this blog up-to-date?  Only time will tell.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Give Peas a Chance

With plenty of fruit under our belt, it was time to tackle vegetables - in this case, peas.  These were eaten with exactly the same alacrity (and, it has to be said, lack of coordination) as everything else. 

Sadly I had to leave Joe in Bristol, but it was an absolute joy to spend time with him.  He's a real sweetie, and I look forward to plenty of "adventures" in the future.