Saturday 24 December 2011


Once again I've been travelling.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Glasgow for a workshop connected with my research project. The purpose was showing people out with the project what we've been doing to get some feedback. Slightly nerve-wracking on my part, I was the only rep from the university for the day we did the demo. It all seemed to go okay though. This was the first time we'd shown our research to outsiders and the feedback was reasonably good, quite an encouragement :-)

As part of it I got to stay in a slightly wacky hotel, the citizen m. I've never had a remote control for the colours of room lights before!

It also just felt really good to be in Scotland again.

The following week I was in Aberdeen - RGU flew me up to give a talk on my research. That was pretty fun too, got some good comments and suggestions, and I got to fly on one of those tiny planes that had a great time landing on the day of great winds. I was going to put the slides online, but I've just looked through them and they don't really mean much without me talking.

In other exciting news, a journal paper I've been working on for over a year has nearly been accepted! Journal papers are where it's at for computing academics (whatever 'it' is), so this is a fairly big deal as it'll be my first one. I have some minor tweaks to do to it before it's acceptable, but it's finally looking like it might just be accepted.

Now of course we're back in Scotland again, this time for holidays. More on that to follow...

Friday 16 December 2011


The fun that one can have with a cardboard tube... Naomi discovered today that the former centre from a roll of wrapping paper made an odd sound when she sang into it. So she proceeded to do that for some time!

She also discovered today that one of her yellow bath ducks squeaks when squeezed. Needless to say it was even more fun when she found that bubbles came out of it underwater, and water shoots out when it gets full up! Sadly no video of that though.

Finally, here she is causing trouble in the kitchen last week. That gate was left open for about 20 seconds before she was through and pulling the cookery books down :)

Thursday 15 December 2011


In a beneficial move for us, our landlords have decided to make the most of England's extravagant sunshine and install some solar panels. (though I note it's not that extravagant a sunshine - according to this map there's not much difference in the same solar energy that falls here compared to Aberdeen!)

We'll ignore the fun that was involved emptying out the cupboard where the loft access is (it's in Naomi's bedroom, so napping that day was a bit different) and skip straight to the pictures of before the work...
...and after...
Thanks to the way the electric's counted, even if we use all of the electric generated by the panels (and so none of it is sold to the rest of the grid), our landlords don't get anything less than they would have otherwise (they get paid a flat rate for whatever's generated), but our bills also go down.

So far I reckon we've saved more than a pound! Maybe in the summer this will be more lucrative.

In other news, here's a geyser erupting from a pancake on Saturday...

Tuesday 13 December 2011


It is advent (in case you hadn't noticed) and we are in the run up to Naomi's first Christmas. Some time ago (while I was still pregnant last year) my Mum came across this and was kind enough to buy it for "the baby".

This year she has also been kind enough to fill each of the little drawers, at my request there is no chocolate in it as I think Naomi is still a wee bit too little for chocolate, so we have experienced many raisins. (Don't think that Naomi is being hard done by, though, she LOVES raisins!

Here she is eating her raisins for the day.

We have developed a post-morning nap ritual of going to the train and seeing what is in it that day and Naomi loves the ritual of it and has now started getting very excited whenever we go near the train, she knows she is going to love the contents :-)

Thursday 8 December 2011


... is what you need. Apparently.

More seriously, it's already nearly a couple of weeks since Naomi's dedication, and a post on it here is long overdue. By way of explanation, a dedication is simply where we dedicate a child to God - we pray for her and give thanks for her, and then everyone else prays for us as a family and makes a promise to help her grow up understanding how God loves her. It's like a baptism (or what is sometimes called a Christening) but without the water - we would like Naomi to make the choice to do that bit herself, and if she does, that she's old enough to remember the experience.

As well as prayers, there was also a slot of parents to share a bit about how much Naomi has impacted on our lives already and how precious she is. We also had a letter from Grandad McIntyre who was sad he couldn't be there.  He told Naomi she was a lucky wee girl because she would get to know about Jesus while she was still little, he also told her to have a lovely life.  Jay had to read it out and she only just managed to hold back the tears for the purposes of letting it be understood by others!

Part of the excitement for the weekend was a number of people visiting. Grandma & Grandad Brownlee, Uncle Ian, Liz and Cat (Naomi's God mother) were here for a few days; we also had Auntie Heather, Uncle Theo and cousins Steven and Holly come for the day, as well as many friends from in and around Loughborough. The house was a bit crowded:

(I also like the classic "baby plays with shiny thing" in the left picture!)

Everyone who came to church that day signed a card, and the children in Lighning Force made some little people to give to Naomi:

We also had the used of the Caves' house to have some room for a party afterwards. Thanks very much! Here's Naomi enjoying having a different house to play in (though it's not like she doesn't play a lot there anyway)

Many of you gave Naomi some beautiful gifts to celebrate the day, thank you so much! There were bracelets, books, a Lomongo Bible that had belonged to (and been translated by) Naomi's namesake, Jay's Auntie Maimie, and a plethora of cards and well wishes.  We really did appreciate them all, it was good to know you were all thinking of us.

We had hoped to share with you a picture of Naomi in her dedication outfit, she was wearing an authentic kilt that her Grandma bought for her.  We were both so busy on the day we forgot to get one but we think that someone in the family will have one, so hopefully it will follow soon!

Finally, we'd really hoped to get a recording of the dedication for those who couldn't be there. As it turns out my memory isn't good enough (every time I learn something new it pushes something else out...) and I forgot to ask for that. We do however have the talk that was given by Mel prior to the dedication, it's on the story of Naomi and Ruth from the Bible so is still relevant. You can get it here.