24 December 2012

Christmas 2012

At Cowieswells, December 2012. Note the house is not quite as finished as it should be!

After reading this I was almost tempted not to write anything this year but then I decided not to be bullied by cynics but I promise  I will keep it short and sweet.

It has been another busy year for us, Sophie is growing-up fast, the house is getting built (although not finished as we had hoped) and time is flying by. Katharine has been working full time, designing large chunks of the house and bringing up a small hyper-active child who doesn’t sleep very much. She is also pregnant and growing another baby that, all things being well, will be born in April  2013. Not surprisingly she is sleeping a lot! Who would have believed that bed at 9pm would have become a norm?

Sophie is almost 2 and growing fast. She is now fully mobile, running, shouting, laughing and generally keeping us busy. She is a bossy little madam who knows her mind (can’t imagine where she gets that from!). She can string a few sentences together and will very earnestly tell us all about her day and what she wants to do next. Collecting stones from the beach is very popular at the moment (guess where that comes from?). We are steadily priming her for having a sibling  and have high hopes that she will make a great big sister. All in all, being a parent is hard work and fantastic!

I have been overseeing the house building and working in between. Lots of travelling to Utah, Spain and the Middle East. Even managed to full fill a life time ambition and do field work in Greenland this summer. An amazing place and playing with guns, helicopters and technowank, while dodging polar bears was a perfect way to spend two weeks in the summer. Apart from that I have spent about ¼ of my time in Norway where I moved into the Fosswinklegates ghetto. Living in town has been nice and gives me a chance to catch up with people when I am in town. Still can’t wait to be living out at Cowieswells and spend as much time as possible there, in between everything else.

Building our new house at Cowieswells  has been a long process and it is now about 3 months behind schedule. We had hoped to be in for Christmas but the weather and Nordan* conspired against us. Its good to look back at the pictures on the blog and see how far we have come in 6 months and when we get in it will be an amazing place to live. Latest guess is now Febuary 2013!

Lots of good stuff to look forward to next year. New child, new house, a bit less travelling (hopefully), fieldwork in great places, buying a tractor and maybe even getting those Alpacas!

In the meantime we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope to see you all in the New Year 

(*Nordan – Norwegian company who make great windows but have an interesting perspective on time keeping and deadlines)

17 December 2012

The Power of the Sea

As a geologist I spend quite a bit of time looking at rocks that were deposited as sediments in shallow marine settings (beaches etc) and we expend a lot of effort trying to understand the dynamics of the sediment transport processes. So it's always good to have a bit of a reality check by studying modern systems.

Last weekend a moderate storm, coupled with high tides created a fair bit of havoc along the NE coast of Scotland especially in Stonehaven. .
Large wave's breaking over the harbour wall on saturday (STV)
We went down there on Sunday to visit Cowieswells to check on everything. All was fine there so we went to the UK's best fish and chip shop (The Bay)  for a spot of Sunday lunch and the damage was pretty impressive.

This is a road - well it was 2 days ago

We are 4 metres above the sea, but check out the size of these rocks. Its amazing to think that waves, breaking against a sea wall would still have the energy to move something so big. Note also the fence in the background has taken a bit of a pounding 
Hmm glad thats not my caravan 

Sophie, with her new friends owl and duck, checking out the distribution of stones in the park 

05 December 2012

ComCab, Aberdeen Taxi

Last week my wife's mother almost missed her flight because the pre-booked taxi didn't show up, despite repeated calls. After 45 mins of waiting our poor 2 year old daughter had to be bundled in her pyjamas into the back of the car and Katharine drove her Mum to the airport. If she had continued to wait she would definitely have missed the flight. They were apologetic but apologies don't get you to the airport.

Then this morning I booked a cab to take me to the train station, again no show. I called them and the drone that answered the phone could only tell me that no cab had yet been dispatched and she had no idea when one would be. I had to take our car which meant Katharine had to walk to work and I incurred parking fees etc.

Once is forgiveable, twice is not.These people are not reliable and, if you need to get anywhere at a set time I would suggest that you and the hundreds of people per day who read this blog avoid them at all costs.

ComCab, Aberdeen Taxi, 01224 353535