Saturday, 23 June 2012


There hasn't been much for me to report on the medical front these last couple of weeks, a situation I'm quite happy about! Last weekend Katie and I decided to go away for a few days. We headed first to Rutland Water to see the ospreys (you can check out the nest on the web cam here:, then headed further north to stay a few days in Alnmouth in Northumberland.

On the Saturday we had arranged to be taken out by a local wildlife guiding company to look for red and black grouse and short eared owls on the North Pennines but the evening before our trip they advised we cancel due to the forecast rain and wind. We decided we'd spend our day visiting Newcastle instead. We enjoyed the art galleries and museums, the highlight of which was a visit to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Most "contemporary art" isn't really to my taste but it was impossible not be impressed by Janet Cardiff's "The Forty Part Motet". She has taken an arrangement of the choral piece "Spem in Alium Nunquam Habui", written in 1573 by Thomas Tallis, and recorded each of the forty voice choir on individual tracks that are then played back through forty speakers arranged in a circle around the audience. The effect is very compelling, hearing the music coming from every angle, almost like sitting in the middle of the choir during a performance but with every singer facing the listener. I couldn't help wondering what Mr. Tallis would think if he could be placed in the centre of the bare white room surrounded by the forty strange black boxes from which his music flows.

Whilst the weather was grey and wet for most of our time in Northumberland we were very lucky to enjoy a day of unbroken sunshine on Monday when we visited the Farne Islands. I spent a couple of hours trying to get a picture of a puffin in flight with a mouth full of sand eels, not an easy shot as they fly very fast when they come back into the islands. I didn't quite get the photo I wanted, but did manage one or two reasonable efforts:

My next chemotherapy cycle is due to start on Wednesday so I'll post a further update once I'm back at home after that. 

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