Posts Tagged With: london

Police, crocodiles and Penguins

Earlier today I submitted my Best Jobs in the World second round video. When I say today, I mean about 2am. I’m a little tired.

The whole process was intense, in a really positive way. Putting full time work together with making videos, creating social media content, reaching out to traditional media, and planning and pulling off an all-weekend outreach/stunt didn’t leave a lot of time for sleep, and when I did lie down horizontally, my mind was always churning with ideas.

An image of a pedalo boat in the Serpentine

This was a particularly hamstring-stretching iteration of my Quiz.

But being tired was the only real downside. I experienced an outpouring of support and endorsements that exceeded any of my expectations. I had friends who worked their connections, mates who joined me at the pub for brainstorming sessions, family proofreading my CV and getting out and about drumming up support, a gang of willing helpers who dressed in crazy outfits and were mobbed by children, and people I know (and some I don’t!) sending me endorsements from all over the world. Whether or not I make the next round, the last fortnight has been filled with highlights that remind me how lucky I am to know so many great people.

YOU were my ultimate referee - more than 160 of you!

YOU were my ultimate referee – more than 160 of you! (note: the mosaic software was being a bit difficult, so I think there are a handful of duplicates and some people missing :-( But I promise I saw and appreciated every single photo!)

Plus, I wandered all over London with a crocodile and a kangaroo, talking to strangers about some of the most inspiring natural places in the world. I mean, come on! How good’s that? It was so much fun that one of my friends wondered aloud why we don’t just do this stuff for kicks, and I’m a little inclined to agree!

An image of Dave and animals in front of the Serpentine lake

As it turns out, dressing up as a park ranger means people just accept that climbing up on things is the most natural act in the world.

I now have to wait until the 15th May to find out if I’m in the final 3. I think I have creatively interpreted the brief (constrained a little by not being able to work on it during normal hours) but I’m sure lots of the other candidates have come up with brilliant stuff, so I’m going to try to put it out of my mind for a week and just see what happens.

In the meantime, here’s a few of the great people I met on my travels:

An image of Dave, Dave and Squash in Hyde Park

This is Squash Falconer (left) and Dave Corn (right), who are travelling 3000 miles around Europe on Elliptigos (the contraption on the right). Smiling adventurers, raising money for charity – click on the picture to find out about their epic trip.

David and Coppafeel! representatives.

Coppafeel! representatives – a breast cancer awareness initiative aimed at younger people. It was a pleasure to have a chat with them, and such an important subject. Click on the image to visit their website.

Image of Dave on a police motorbike

Also, a big thanks to Officers Lee and Alex for letting me jump on their bike. It’s bloody massive!

And with that, I’m going to put the best jobs in the world to one side for a bit, and think instead about nanocellulose, optogenetics, drones and lego bridges during the day, and, well, a heck of a lot of not much in the evenings!

Oh, and you might be wondering why there are Penguins in the title of this post.

Bit of a long story.

Categories: communication, environmentalism, Fun Things On Land, photos, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rambling in the Heath

I promise I won’t reference Adele in this post.

I had a day off work today, and decided to explore Putney Heath. It’s not the most glamorous green space in London, but it’s probably the most interesting for me.

Unlike the more manicured ‘garden’ parks of Central London, or the rolling hills of Richmond Park, the Heath has a variety of ecosystems, including the often-maligned swamp. I love swamps. They’re smelly, squishy, and full of interesting chemistry and life. You really know you’re experiencing nature in a swamp.

An image of a stump against a reflecting swamp pool

The dark pools were studded with freshly cut stumps, which made an interesting juxtaposition against the skeletal reflections of trees…

I tiptoed and balanced my way through the swamp, and found a brushy field of pea flowers. I’m going to be honest, it was mostly brambles and really didn’t lend itself to photography, but I found a few creepy little guys hiding out.

An image of a spider in a flower.

I’m not sure if my lens-related attention was appreciated.

I found myself wishing for my old 100mm macro lens, because most of the interesting things I found were smaller than my little fingernail. Or, wouldn’t come anywhere near me, in the case of the bunnies and birds.

The only downside was the incessant drone of automobiles. There are major roads on all sides of the Heath, and it’s under the Heathrow flight path, so it’s not possible to escape the roar of internal combustion. Rumour has it you need to go further afield for that…

Categories: photos | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

ZombieLab: crunch week

If you’re in London, I highly recommend you set aside a little time this weekend and come check this out.

Or, if you’re free on Wednesday night, the potential for shenanigans is even higher, because it will be night time and there will be alcohol.

My preference would be for the weekend, because there will be more fantastic brain food than at Lates, in the form of an expanded talks series, an immersive virtual reality demo, hooking up a zombie to a real EEG, and probably less drunk people shouting.

While I probably won’t get to enjoy much of the next week, I have enjoyed elements of the development of this festival immensely. The brain is one of the most complicated things we have studied, and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and explaining it have brilliant and hard-hitting stories to tell.

Categories: communication, Fun Things On Land, Science | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The first of a few

I’ve had a decent amount of time to get out and about with my camera lately, so over the next few days I’ll be trawling through my files to see if I can find anything interesting. Here’s the first result: a serene dusk at the Thames, near my house.

I find shooting in the hour after sunset to be interesting – in England, the sky stays light for quite a while (in summer at least), so there’s an odd mix of natural and artificial light. It also means taller or more reflective buildings continue to pick up a lot of light, while smaller ones rapidly darken. On this particular evening, I was hoping for the light to get that really warm, yellowish glow due to the sun dropping into London’s ever-present smog haze, but instead it dimmed and dwindled to a distinct bluish tinge.

Categories: photos | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

An enchanting, grimy window

Take a look at London’s Overthrow.

“The question is whether these new glass boxes of large size can, over time, submit, surrender, become part of the city. This is something that Canary Wharf, the Docklands financial district begun in the late ‘80s, every day a thuggish and hideous middle-finger flipped glass-and-steel at the poor of the East End, every night a Moloch’s urinal dripping sallow light down on the Isle of Dogs, has never done and will never do.”

It’s got a sort of charm to the badness of the photos, but it draws one into to the world of this big city.

And while I’m at it, here’s a lighter read, but a very good one, and one that not just ‘rich’ people need to take heed of – because most of my readers will be far richer than most in the world.

“And when we hate people, it’s always for the same reason: They refuse to acknowledge that their power brings with it any responsibility. It’s why we hate bullies and dictators and supervillains. It’s why we hate people who benefit hugely from society and then pretend like they’re living on an island with a population of only them.”

Finally, a picture.


An oldie of the Imperial Wharf rail bridge on a peaceful London evening.

Categories: Random Links, Thoughts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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