Around the University

It was dry again at lunchtime today so I slipped my camera in my pocket and headed out again. As I wandered through Professors’ Square I spied a crow hopping around. He obliged me by staying still just long enough for me to take this:


I was aiming for the Lion and Unicorn staircase outside the Uni chapel, as a colleague had reminded me of it:

Lion and Unicorn Staircase

I walked around and stopped on the South Front and looked over at the Art Gallery:

Through the leaves

Then down the stairs past loads of willowherb:

Great Willowherb

stopping halfway to look at the bandstand:


and then down to Lord Kelvin:

Lord Kelvin

Crossing over to the other side of the park I noticed this statue of Carlyle – like  a butterfly emerging from his chrysalis:


Then back up the road past Pearce Lodge gate (apparently the oldest building on campus):

pearce lodge gate glasgow university

and back to work – past more wild flowers in a flower bed:

Wild Flowers


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Over the last couple of days I’ve written and posted about 24 postcards as part of Karen’s postcard project.  That’s a lot of writing! I’ve got lots of ideas about making cards, but it’s been ages since I did any, so this time I used some cards I had given to me a while back – and I had a lot of fun matching cards to everybody:


Then I logged into my online postage account. Well, I don’t know if the Royal Mail have hiked their prices right up or if it’s yet another effect of Brexit – or both – but post to the US is an awful lot more than last time. Last time I sent cards I am sure they were only £1 each to post – this time the same option was £2.25 – which worked out to quite a lot. So … there was a cheaper option of £1.37 – and I think these are truly described as snail mail as apparently they will take up to 42 days to arrive. Luckily this project is not time bound then!


Edit: later, when I Googled for UK – USA postage rather than going through the Royal Mail links, I did find air mail for £1.05/£1.33 for letters of 10/20g So that’s annoying and a relief!

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A Lunchtime Walk

It was dry at lunchtime today and I had my camera with me, so after eating I headed out to Kelvingrove Park for a walk. As I walked along by the river Kelvin I noticed how many flowers were in bloom:


And how the Uni tower kept peeking through the trees – like here:


and here:


Until I reached a bridge over the river where I could see it clearly:


As I wandered back up the hill I noticed this wild flower garden at the back of Disability Services:

Wild flowers

Then back to work, better for clearing my head.

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Pretty gardening

Off to lunch with Niall’s family today, so I tried to cram as much into the morning as I could. First I made raspberry ice cream with some of the berries from our garden. Yum – it’s lovely (will have some for our tea tonight):

Raspberry icecream

The I ventured out into the dreich day to look at the garlic we’ve been growing – not a big as we’d like, but really not bad:


Lots of them had these little nubbins just above ground level:


As I was pottering around outside I picked up my window boxes and put them on the kitchen and study windowsills (sorry, cats):



I am now sitting at my desk looking at the floods of rain:

Rainy day

Pretty flowers though 🙂

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The ethics of remixing

I caught a fascinating conversation on Twitter yesterday about various issues around remixing. Here’s some of it:

Today we decided to take up Scott’s suggestion and start a Google Doc to share our collective thoughts about the types of considerations we should be making when we remix others’ work and what is acceptable/unacceptable practice. I don’t expect to get any easy answers to this, but I do think there’s a valuable conversation to be had, so here’s an openly editable Google Doc for us all to talk this over. In case the embed does not work for you, it is also here. Please join us 🙂

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Last day on Mull

Friday was our last full day on Mull and it rained ALL DAY! At first, having a quiet day to do some PhD stuff was appealing, but neither of us really settled to it, and by late afternoon we both had cabin fever. So I got tea ready to cook later and we wandered up the road to the nearest pub – a mere 45 minutes away. It turned out to be a fairly nice evening, and after a few pints we headed home. As we walked down the road Niall pointed out this postbox – it looks as if it has hair growing out of the top of it. These weeds are tenacious little things:


Wandering further, we noticed a familiar silhouette perching up above. Buzzard!


By now the sky was glorious – I half expected the hand of God to reach through these clouds 😉


Then back to the cottage where Niall pointed out a bush growing through a fence post – bizarre:

Branching out


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Reaching out

CLMooc viz 1

Back in my first ever cMOOC (rhizo14), I remember being at a loose end one Saturday when Dave Cormier tweeted a link to a TAGSExplorer visualisation of all of the tweets hashtagged #rhizo14 and suggested each of us reached out to a few (five?) unconnected nodes and connected up with them. I did just that, and made some lovely new connections. So, if you’re at a loose end today, or at any time, how about sending a tweet to the unconnected nodes in this map? Each dot here represents one Twitter account, and if you hover over a dot if gives the twitter handle and details of whether they have tweeted, or been mentioned. I can’t see a way to embed the visualisation, but the link is here (and clicking through that link will lead you to instructions so you can make your own). Let me know how you get on 🙂

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Birds on Mull

Sitting mallard

Yesterday was forecast to be a beautiful day, and I woke up to find the sun  burning its way through the blinds. So I put up a packed lunch and we headed out nice and early.

We’d decided to head for Pennyghael, as we knew that we’d be able to park there easily. We stopped in a layby on the way to admire the view:

Mull water

Then onto Pennyghael. The views there were stunning – blue skies and sparkling water – which made up for the lack of exciting birds around.

Pennyghael, Mull

Still, we enjoyed watching the  mallards swimming around, and they let us get fairly close to take pics of them. I wandered along the shore looking at stones and shells – this stone nest amused me:

Stone nest

After a while we decided to head off and see what else we could find to look at. We drove north  east, on a winding single track road which followed the coast, and stopped in a parking place to look at the islands – Staffa in the foreground with the Dutch Cap behind it.


A little further on it all got very exciting. As we turned the corner we saw a bird – some sort of raptor – flying past the car with its catch in its claws. We got out our binoculars and cameras hopefully and looked around. Niall spotted a peregrine (not the same bird as we had just seen) perched on a high up rock. I cranked my camera up to full zoom and hoped for the best.


After a while we drove further north, with the Treshnish in the distance. Another raptor – likely a buzzard – hovering overhead.


Eventually we parked back at the boats at Salen and looked at the wildlife – seals, swans, herons, and other sea birds.


Today is a dreich day, so we’re staying home to PhD. Back to Glasgow tomorrow.


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Mooching around Mull


The Rayburn at our cottage was being serviced yesterday, so we decided to go out and avoid the smell of oil. Amazingly, it was looking to be a sunny day, so we grabbed our coats and assorted paraphernalia and headed up to Salen to see how the decrepit boats were doing. Still there, we were pleased to note, and still worthy of a pic or two:


Getting up close to the nearer boat I noticed it has a tree growing out of it:


Then we headed up to Tobermory for lunch. All together now: “What’s the story …?” (OK, that joke might only work if you were a British pre-schooler from 2003 – 2005, or you’re Scottish).


After lunch we drove over to Loch Frisa in the hope of seeing some raptors. Sure enough, as we got out of the car, we saw a buzzard hovering overhead. Too far away to take any photos, though. We wandered down the side of the loch, failing to get any pics of the dragonflies – but the view was lovely.


I did manage to take some pics of some flowers – a spiky Scottish thistle:


And some Scottish bluebells (the English call these harebells):


As we headed back to the car we saw a wren on the path ahead taking a sand bath.


No more raptors, though – just home to take off my slightly scuffed Docs.


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Grasspoint, Mull

Another lazy morning at the cottage yesterday, then out for a walk after lunch to Grasspoint, about 3 miles away from here. With binoculars around our necks and cameras at the ready (Niall took six – yes, six! with him) we headed out of the cottage and walked up the road. Up ahead of us we noticed a little ball of fluff rolling along – a vole:


It was one of those days, as Niall said, when the wildlife was both too small and too far away. We saw a buzzard perching on a far away tree, flying off into the distance before we were near enough to take photos. Trees are easier to photograph, of course – like this uprooted one:


After a leisurely hour or so’s walk, stopping frequently to look at little birds in the bracken, we sat down and took out our flasks. In the distance we could see some brown specks – a herd of red deer:


As we walked along, trying ineffectually to photograph the small, brown birds, Niall “lost” a lens cap (yup, it was in his bag all along). As I waited for him to find it I stood under this spreading oak:


The ground on either side of the road is covered with bracken – standing so tall that the foxgloves have their work cut out if they are to be seen. Still, they are also copious, peeking out like periscopes:


And, finally, as we wandered down the hill towards the “main” road, a scarab beetle marching along:


Then home, with tired legs after a three hour round trip.


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