Category Archives: Travel

The Numbers

From Home to General Practice Placement:

Total Distance (each way): 31.9km
Times per Week: 2
Speed Zones, Outbound Journey: 50 – 70 – 60 – 100 – 90 – 100 – 60 – 80 – 50
Speed Zones, Homeward Journey: 50 – 80 – 60 – 100 – 90 – 100 – 60 – 70 – 50
Speed Cameras (Fixed): 3
Traffic Lights: 7
Average Red Lights on Arrival: 6
Roundabouts: 2
Golf Courses: 2
Cow Crossings: 2
Cow Crossing Delays Experienced: 0
Rail Crossings: 1
Rail Crossing Delays Experienced: 2
Rail Crossing Delay Duration: 11mins / 8mins
Bridges Crossed: 3
Properties for Sale: 14
Wineries: 2
Winery Delays Experienced: 0
Factories: 2
Smokestacks (Gas Flame): 1
Hitchhikers: 1
Hitchhiker Sightings: 3 (Same Guy)
Minimum Journey Time: 24mins
Maximum Journey Time: 49mins
Early/On Time/Late Arrival (%, est): 30/40/30
Maximum Ground Speed Attained: Fine Exceeds Boyish Desire To Tell
Times Speed Limit Unconsciously Exceeded by Maximal Amount: 1
Times Rihanna’s S.O.S Unconsciously Played On Loop, Single Journey: 11
Total Distance Driven for GP Placement, Phase 3: 2424.4km


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Filed under Golf, Med School, Travel

Apparently Crazy Cat Lady

Our two cats are brothers, different colours but with virtually identical markings. They have lived indoors (and within the limits of the backyard, under supervision) for their fourteen years of life. This has given us all plenty of time to bond as a tribe.

McCat is most closely bonded to me, especially since his brother has become irritable with hyperthyroidism. We have a few things in common. We both like birds. We both like my armchair and its lambskin throw. We both like raw salmon and roast lamb (not together). For a while there, unbeknownst to me, we shared a bedside glass of water.

One of us is a little OCD.

At bedtime, McCat enforces the following routine:

1. Human is to brush teeth.
2. Human is to fill cat’s bedside water glass with fresh water.
3. Human is to top up biscuit bowl.
4. Human is to pat Brother Cat.
5. Human is to seek out Superior Cat lounging place; this step to be conducted under cover of darkness, simulating safari conditions.
6. Human is to advise Superior Cat of imminent bed entry.
7. Human is to stop faffing and get into bed.
8. Superior Cat shall drink water; four swipes of paw on beside table to accompany drink, indicating primal origins.
9. Superior Cat shall sit staring at Human until such time as Human switches off light.
10. Superior Cat shall patrol perimeter, ensuring all doors and windows secure.
11. Human is to assume supine position; left arm to be bent like tea-pot handle.
12. Superior Cat shall grace Human with presence between left arm and left flank; Human is to remain motionless until 4am.

The penalty for deviation from any of the above routine may range from gentle rebuke to forced sleep deprivation, with such penalties administered vocally, by strategic bladder-trampling, or by judicious use of paws to ensure Human eyes are open and airways clear.

Every so often I escape desert the McCat for education-related purposes, such as placements away, or conferences. The Girl does her best to meet his exacting standards of bedtime care, however as she has the Yellow Dog of Happiness to care for, as well as Brother Cat, McCat tends to develop abandonment issues and his vocal and paw-to-face admonishments eventually become unbearable. Or so I am told.

And so it is that I find myself on the phone to the cat. I am fluent in McEse, and though it pains me that my communications are delivered via speaker phone for all to enjoy, it does seem to settle him down.

I can only guess at what “Brrt, brrt, micmicmic meow” means, but I think it’s something like “Hello, honeycat, I’ll be home soon.”

Mock me and I’ll scratch your eyes out.


Filed under Family, Travel

Seek And Ye Shall Find

The search terms which have caused people to find this particular patch of internet are a regular source of amusement to me. Sometimes the search term itself amuses me, and sometimes it amuses me that someone would actually click on the link to this site when it pops up in their results.

So to thank these faithful searchers for the hours of amusement they have provided me, I feel it is incumbent upon me to provide some answers from time to time.

Let’s start with something recent, and I admit, not unreasonable, given that I present myself as providing advice on how not to hit a golf ball.

golf ball not going in the air when hit

Keep hitting it the way you are hitting it. See, I’m qualified to tell you how not to hit it. If you want someone to tell you how to hit it, I’m not the best person to ask. However if I were pressed, I would suggest that you hit it somewhat inferiorly to the current point of impact of club on ball. This should give you some loft.

Loft is such a great word.

in which countries is the term “dad joke” used?

I’m curious as to why you need this information. Is it to be used in planning a travel itinerary? More likely you are employed by a pharmaceutical company and are testing market viability of a new cardiac drug you’re considering naming something like “Dadjokesin”. I will help you regardless: You may add Australia to your list. Of countries, not potential drug names.

cell organelle analogy harry potter

It sounds like something I would know about, but I honestly can’t think of one. If Harry Potter were a Golgi Complex… I think I shall come back to this after exams.

soob medical terminology

This is an important abbreviation, and close to my heart. It is used when writing in patients’ notes to record observations. SOOB stands for “Sitting On Own Bottom”. Sometimes you will also see “SOSEB” which stands for “Sitting On Someone Else’s Bottom”, which is indicative of significant improvement in the patient’s condition.

free air underwear

This is a good idea, but I think I should test the market with t-shirts first.


Filed under Golf, Med School, Travel, Uncategorized

I’ve Been To Google, But I’ve Never Been To Me

It’s the time of the year again where I get to hang out with my grandma. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you may remember she’s had some issues with her memory. And that I’m nuts about her.

New Year’s Day, while I was busy not getting nekked, she was showing the first signs of the effects of eating the Christmas chicken a week past its best. My uncle bought her some Imodium and some Hydralyte. Four days later he took her to the doctor.

By the time I arrived on the 8th for my holiday vsit, she claimed to be feeling much better. She was eating and bossing me about and grumbling about the two liters her GP insisted she drink. On Sunday night she barely slept, and on Monday morning we set off to the GP for a follow-up blood test.

She is an inveterate backseat driver, which these days manifests itself in instructing us all on which route to take to our destination. On this trip, we started by dropping my uncle at the station. From there, I drove toward the GP. She became quite insistent that I was heading in the wrong direction, though it was a familiar road and well-signposted. I pointed out old landmarks. “I’ve never seen this place before!”, she insisted.

While I can follow the ant trails between this city’s suburbs fairly well, and know the road to her GP, I didn’t have the address of the clinic, and with my grandma insisting we weren’t there yet, we overshot the destination by a good ten kilometres. By this time she was quite distressed. We were passing windmills, so we agreed it was time to pull over and let Google Maps do the talking.

I handed Ma the iPhone to settle her down. “Here, Ma – we’re following the red line down to the bottom left of the map. We’re the blue dot. Can you watch the blue dot and tell me if it goes off the red line?”.

She applied herself to the task at hand, offering frequent updates. Then, out of the blue: “It says we have to go to Google!”. Huh? I took a look. She’s not so silly, the logo overlay does kind of look like a suburb.

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I used to fly to Rome a fair bit for work. Those days are long gone. If I could be there tomorrow, these are the things I would enjoy…

Coffee. That’s an obvious one. Walking through the Jewish Quarter from where the bus would drop me off near the Teatro Marcello, getting lost in the strange back alleyways, filling up my waterbottle from an ancient water pipe. Popping out through a ruined archway somewhere near the Portico di Ottavia and getting a slice of pizza cut to size and sold by weight. Mmm pizza with rocket and freshly shaved parmesan. Zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy. Cobblestones. Vespas. Ochre-coloured walls. Ruins. Flowers at the Campo Fiori, not quite sure how I got there. Rounding the corner to see the Trevi Fountain. Gelato, eaten with a plastic spoon from a cone while perched in front of the Pantheon. Men in robes. The Spanish Steps, for Keats and Shelley. Shopping for clothes. Shopping for leather. Those crazy honking sirens. More ruins. Bellinis. Piazza Navona, for the sculpture. Salami. Pasta somewhere, with peas. House wine, red. Dim light. Limoncello. Sore feet. My hotel. Too much velvet, too many mirrors, and strange bathroom linen. Sleeping like a baby.

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Icarus, Going Down.

Sadness… Olympic Airlines is closing down their frequent flyer program at the end of September: goodbye, Icarus Club!

Reminding people of the first plane crash in history was such an excellent way to encourage us all to fly more often.

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Travelling Light

Just because you have a luggage allowance of two suitcases up to 30kg each does not mean you should use this allowance in full, unless of course you are relocating somewhere for a long time or returning home after an extended stay abroad.  I know this because four suitcases are a right pain to lug  into a fourth floor Parisian walk-up.  It also becomes difficult to find vehicular transport between accommodation and airport.  Utilisation of the full luggage allowance may cause you to end up wedged behind a ping-pong table (still in box) in the back seat of a relative’s car.  This could prevent you from seeing the sights of Edinburgh, or any other city.  

Furthermore, you look like a goose and people will laugh at you.  There are never that many contingency-requiring events, unless your journey involves a base camp and walking up a mountain in Nepal.

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