Monthly Archives: December 2010


There be dragons.

Isn’t that what you want to write on the blank spaces on maps? The unexplored, unexplained, unfathomable spaces in… er… space.

Well, this is how I see the blank spaces in my future. Not empty, you understand; just not written yet. Waiting to be wandered into and explored.

There be dragons. And some dragons are friendly, even cuddly. Puff, for instance. Some breathe fire, and want to eat you. But they can all fly. And they are all magic. And that alone is worth the unsettling feeling of not knowing what comes next.

Most of the time I know what is coming next. I’m a great list writer. I list everything. The order in which I will clean my house; what I’m going to do to my garden; the shopping; places to visit; books to read; films to watch; music to acquire; letters to write (that’s a new one this year); cakes to bake. So when I don’t know what is coming next, I find that a bit… odd. Exciting, but odd.

January is all mapped out. New Year with my best friend and her lovely fella. A poker game with some splendid mates. Up Helly Aa at the end of the month, which will be magical. And perhaps will feature dragons. And then I begin to Explore Science. And that is where some of the blanks are.

I’m dead excited about it. I’ve already started chapter one of book one, but it’s just explained what it thinks science is. I’ve a million and one questions about that too. Does it have to be measurable to be science? Really? I’m not sure.

Anyway. Global Warming is book one, which seems to me to be a slightly odd place to start. And a contentious one, too. There are two rabid camps: the greeny “we’ve caused global warming and we’re destroying the planet and WE ARE RIGHT” brigade; and the Thatcherite “there’s no such thing as global warming and damn you all I’M GOING TO KEEP CONSUMING AND WASTING ANYWAY” brigade.

I’m somewhere in the middle, if anyone’s interested.

My first experiment is to measure precipitation. I will start this on January 1st, 2011. I have to leave out a container for two weeks, and collect the precipitation. Naturally, I’m hoping for three feet of snow; and we are actually forecast snow on Monday (not that I believe such nonsense – weather forecasters are muppets. But that’s another tale) so it may be an experiment that must be repeated.

At any rate, I intend to get a good head start, because life always manages to get in the way of the studying thing. I’ll have to formulate a timetable, as soon as my course website opens up. I may illustrate it with dragons. A scary fire-breathing dragon for a large and important assignment; a Puff the Magic Dragon for something involving the growing of crystals (oh pleasepleaseplease let me have to grow some crystals).

There be dragons.

I look forward to meeting them all.

In the Beginning…

…there was a Big Bang. Or something similar. And Stuff came into being. That Stuff mingled, and meandered, and heated and cooled; and amongst a lot of other things, Planet Earth emerged.

Then it was populated with plants and animals. Some of those animals were Us.

I would quite like to know how all this happened, and how it all works, and how we can stop ourselves from destroying it all.

This beautiful planet is home, and I love almost everything on it. (The exceptions being sprouts and wasps; but I do understand that they may be useful in some ways.) I think we should look after our home, and understand how it works. And marvel at it, appreciate it and cherish it.

I’m not a total yoghurt weaver (although that last paragraph somewhat contradicts this statement) but I want to Save The Planet. Through the medium of marine biology. So, having no scientific background, and little spare cash, I have embarked upon a voyage of discovery with the Open University.

S104: Exploring Science is where I begin. Which is appropriate, as that is what I want to do. Explore.

So armed with enthusiasm, wide-eyed wonder, and an array of equipment (esoteric and mundane) I wade into the myriad facts, figures and tales of the divine in my quest for knowledge.

This blog will record my learnings, my successes, my (hopefully very few) failures, and my musings on this voyage.

Good luck to all those embarking on a similar journey; and to those who are just curious – I hope this may inspire you to wander into uncharted territory also.