The Moon: a Geologist’s Tale (by )

Ok I wont bore you with everything but basically I can not express how much I enjoyed yesturday, all the stress was worth it and then some. I went to the office to try and sort out what was happening and apparently Registary removed me from the list when they should not have and it is being chased. Its a good job I checked (which I only did becuase of Carina as I was being nervous and shy and scared of a giant inflatable yellow pig!) it turned out that my lecture was at six and not seven so I almost turned up an hour late!

I windled away the time looking around the geohazards offices with Carina - she's doing a PhD at UCL in volcano early warning systems (basically she's doing a cross over between social science and geology which should actually be quiet useful). You can find out about her project etc... here. I spoke to some of her collegues and got recognised as the wrong person and informed that I had meet a supervior before and was working with someone I'd never heard off - this is what I get for walking around an office for PhD students looking at home. Of course mistaken identity though he recalled my name which was impressive as Carina only mentioned it in passing!

Chatting to others in her office I found that one off them was ex-Birkbeck and the other informed me that the igneous petrologist might indeed now be interested in my project as she has become obsessed with meteoritics - this is useful info.

After double checking everything I was almost late as I was drinking tea and reading my book when Carina suddenly announced that it was quarter to six - eek! And I didn't didn't know my way out of her building!

But as it happened I passed Ian Crawford (the lecture) going the wrong way. He hastily said he'd be back and scuttled off. I found the room having picked up a scared undergraduate on rout who was looking for vertabrate paleo. The first thing that struck me was that there were a lot of women in the room - over half - this contrasts to last time. I felt a pang of sadness that it wasn't the people I'd got to know last time but then I knew that would be the case as even those who resat did that two years ago. I suddenly thought - woaw I've not done geology for about three and a half years - eek.

I sat down everyone was silent.

I managed to have to loudly rummage for my pen and paper.

Then Ian arrived and we delved into the world of lunar geology. To my suprise I guest correctly why the crater near the south pole on the farside is not nicely circular like the other mare (or seas - they are the dark patches you see). i probably didn't use the right terms but I said it had been erroded by other impactors. Yay! I was right but a bit later I stared at the photos of thin section and could not recall the name of the minerals and lunar minerallogy is simple - really really simple. I was staring a Ca-rich plagioclase and pyroxenes and ilmentite. We even had them in cross polars - mew 🙁 And as for the spherals of orange olivine glass at least I remembered that an amorphous glass would come out black under cross polars (cross polars are like a filter on light transmitting microscopes).

We did a bit on lunar stratigraphy where I actually interupted the class to ask a question - for those of you who know me well you'll know I don't do such things lightly as I get shy not to mention the class was over running from what he had origonally said. I asked if the graph was assuming a constant rate of impacts as the number of impact creators is used to date bits of the moons surface - this is obviously relative dating rather than absolute but I was sure that there would have been more impacts early on when there would have been more debris and therefore that would need to be accounted for. I was pretty sure I had even seen somewhere in the distanct past something to do with a high early impact rate.

I got a , 'good question.' Which I always consider a good thing to have said. He did however then point out that there where points on the graph showing the bore hole data brought back from the Apollo missions. In other words the graph was constrained by those data points which where radiometricaly dated (they had used isotopes and was therefore about as absolute as dating gets). This ment the graph was indeed showing that the impact rate had not been continious - I thought doh! I should have seen that! However he did point out that the number of data points was pathetically small.

This is also the data they use to date all the other bodies in the solar system but as far as I could tell its all guestamets and is very very relative. Like assume more impacts on mars per time unit becuase its bigger - I mean how do you actually scale something like that? Also I would have thought that proximaty to say an asteroid belt and/or large bodies such as a gas giant would affect the rate of impact on a planetary surface.

I found myself hooked - I want to find out more. So much so that I spent the train journey home (which was itself very eventful) reading the papers I'd got about isotopic abundence in the moon. Even once I got home which was gone 1 o'clock I couldn't stop and carried on reading.

My main issue with the day was that two train journeys, sitting down for most of the afternoon and then having two slightly longer than an hour lectures acted up my back and pelvis - the pelvis actually started clicking before I got back to Padington and I felt the familiar 'toothache' in my hip and knee. Fortunatly I had come prepared and quaffed a pain killer - I aslo had my special jel with me etc...

The only trouble is that today I felt a restless depression becuase I want to be geologising and not tidying my house. Still more goelogy tomorrow 🙂

Back to Geology (by )

Today I'm going to London for the first day of my MRes - of course there are still problems with registry but I've been told to ignore all that as a formality though the absesnce of a libary card when they want essays in in about six weeks worries me. The other issue that their does not appear to be any room numbers in the paper work they sent me.

I'm heading off to Highgate first to have lunch with Al and co then its over to UCL to scout things out - they might have completely rebuilt the department whilst I've been away like Imperial did and I actually have no directions.

I am also really really nervous. The ticket machine at Stroud was broken last night when Al tried to get my pre-booked tickets before he headed for London. He's bought the tickets on his card so I have no idea if I'll be able to get them or not 🙁

Also today is going to be a very long day as we drop Jean off at nursery and I have a window of exactly one train to get back and that is the last one from Padington. Ho hum. Still I have some papers to read (as in ones on lunar stuff which is what the lecture is tonight - its with the guy I didn't get the PhD with yonks ago (just before the wedding (look nesting brackets!))) not to mention a fantastic book about research techniques in palaeontology.

Well here goes. I'm also nervous as I missed the begining of term party - it was on Friday and also they had failed to send a time for it.

Jean’s Second Anniversary (by )

The church here in Cranham gives the children presants on the anniversaries of their christianings and today was the chosen day for Jean to recieve her presant. But unusually for Jean she went mega shy and hid in the pew and didn't say anything for the whole service. She got a little board book and becuase they haven't had a children service since the beginning of summer she also got a birthday candle which we have put into the candle stick holder she got last year.

It was a nice day and we walked there and back even if dad did moan the entire way.

The Wrong Occasion (by )

The day was bueatiful, golden light and the church was old and gothic and full of inscence swingers and stained glass and the one thought that kept circulating in my head was this is the wrong occassion. When I spoke to Carina afterwards she had had the same thought.

I still could not believe it, could not think him gone untill the coffin came in, and to think that he was inside that tiny box made me panic. Its a cave with no way out I thought, and I looked to the cieling in its archetectrail glory in the hope of aliviating the pain. But I saw his girlfriend, saw the hurt and desperation on her face and I cried the tears that had been buring at me all morning. They streamed down my face as I saw her lip tremble - this was the wrong occation.

She should not have been in that church in black, she should not have had to be crying and it shouldn't have been just Alex there in the middle. my thoughts wondered back to the Sunday when I first saw the email. I had recognised her name though Alex called her Maz, and I thought, I thought they were announcing thier wedding or moving in together or something like that. There was a split second of joy before the crushing blow.

Osmand got up to read a poem first and I cried. Then with thoughts of it being the wrong occassion in my head a hymn from mine and Al's wedding. I was destroyed I shook and cried trying to be silent. I couldn't bear Al to touch me becuase Alex's girlfriend did not have him to comfort her. I sang the last verse to try and bring myself back under control.

I read my piece but was bearly able to fight my emotions. I was crying once more before I left the podium and I felt a vague worry that being me and clumsy I would knock the coffin off of the stand. As more and more people read their pieces I saw how much Alex had helped and touched so many lives. I don't think I ever thanked him for his friendship and that hurt so much.

I wanted him to come back and the more I thought about it the more I begain to imagine him bursting out of the coffin splintering wood and scaring everyone and then doing his shy half smile, cheeky and sinser. I fought hysterical laughter and cried harder.

I looked to the stone of the building as I always have and I thought that the stone, the building faced with so much sorrow must remember him and the impression we each carried for ALex would be cuaght in the building's essence.

I thought a mirade of crazy thoughts but mainly I thought, 'Oh god this can't be happening.' I screamed to Alex inside and it hurt.

Outside his scouts held a guard of honour and this rentched me even more. We left to go to the little village church where he would be buried.

And there at his graveside I finially spoke to his perants. His mother who I had heard about (mainly due to a cross over in hat taste) and his father. I could brarely speak to his father. It was like looking at a grown-up Alex with iron hair. I couldn't take it and had to leave the conversation half spoken. This wasn't how we where supposed to meet.

Again the bueaty of the day played upon me and his father commented about the contrast of it with the day he died, I pointed out that he'd love the view. but I looked at the coffin - it seemed so small and insergnifigant somehow. And the red clay with white chunks of stone making up the perfect rectangular whole and I thought, 'he'll forever be caving,' and I fought the tears once more - I thought he would somehow become the bones of the Cotswolds he loved.

We went back to the club where there was food and pictures of Alex and sat with the other Geologists - I had felt guilty as we had left for the internment and had recieved phone calls from other lost geologists and I didn't know how to direct them very well.

I finially managed to talk to his girlfriend and she told me how he'd always said how he wanted us to meet. Again the thoughts - this is all wrong its the wrong occation. I feel a sorrow deep inside of the friendship that has been stolen. As I think Alex would have settled near Cheltenham and we could have mixed as families and Alaric was supposed to start going climbing with him here and stuff like that. I feel a big bit of our future has slid into nothing.

However, I do feel a calm after the funeral but the pain is still there I just sort of see it differntly. Carina said she was glad it was a nice day as when its raining and their a funeral people say the heavens are sad. Selfishly I thought I would rather they where sad becuase Alex had escaped them.

Alex’s Funeral (by )

Such a buetiful day, and I am panicking, panicking about how I look and what to say and weather I am good enough to read at his funeral. I feel like I have to look nice to show what a nice person he is. I know that makes no scense but that is how I feel.

Carina spent last night here which is good because I am cracking up and being angry at Al for not having a clean suit but then thats my fualt as his suit needed cleaning on the Sunday we found out about Alex but I have done no house work no laundry no living since I found out.

I am hoping that today is going to give me some sort of rest from this ache. this hole that burns its way into every concous thought.

Such a buatiful day - this just can't be right, this can't be happening I must be dreaming a bad dream - please let it be a bad dream.

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