Favourite blogs for Matt's thoughts

My favourites » The den of the little microbiologist

May 27, 2014

Headaches and knots

So, El Beardo and I are planning a wedding. Which, as you can imagine is Very Exciting. And Oh So Stressful.

I sort of understand the evolution of the Bridezilla. I think it comes from two sources:

1. The expectation that the bride does most of the planning (not the groom)
2. The mantra that “it’s your (your plural) day.

This would be fine, if in doing 1, you were allowed to exercise some control over 2.

Unfortunately for me, I am what is known as a people pleaser. I just want to keep everyone else happy. And I am trying. Oh boy am I trying. I’m trying to involve everyone that wants to be involved. I’m trying to meet my maternalworriers expectations/sooth her worries. Am trying to keep the price down. Am trying to not upset anyone with the guest list. But at the end of the day it’s a losing battle.

I now understand why some people go so insane and just steamroller over other people’s opinions, because frankly most of the time they are Not Helpful. Of course, I haven’t done this and have nearly stopped caring about any of it. Apart from the marriage bit of course – looking forward to that. But mostly, the whole process sucks.

September 27, 2013

Exciting times

Exciting times in the world of this little microbiologist.

1. The bearded one finally got around to asking me whether I’d stay with him just a little bit longer. It took a trip to Denmark and a strategically placed cannon, but I gave in to the tears, wailing and general begging and said yes. So, it looks like I’m going to be stuck with a beardy for the rest of my life. Who’d’ve thought? So, planning a wedding. Which was exciting for about 5 minutes until QUESTIONSQUESTIONSWHYDOYOUHAVETOASKMESOMANYQUESTIONS?!?

Turns out I’m not as into wedding planning as I thought.

2. I have created the ultimate microbiologists fantasy, that is a range of microbe themed top trumps complete with awesome cartoons!

You might think I’m joking, but I’m actually not. Bug Battles. They exist. I have boxes of them in my office. I didn’t do the cartoons (a Good Thing), but I came up with the design, did most of the writing, all of the editing etc. And I think they’re seriously cool.

Ok, I would, I’m a microbiologist. But do you have a cartoon of Ebola on your wall? See. I win.

3. Ooh I have a house! This news is a year out of date, but the fact remains, we own walls. And a roof. Although we knocked down some of the walls. And removed a layer off all the floors. And all the wallpaper. In fact the roof is pretty much the only thing we haven’t changed. Even the garden was de-ground forced (deathslide decking begone). House ownership surprisingly unexciting (money comes out every month), but the fixing stuff up and making pretty is quite fun.

Note to house buyers insistent on buying a ‘fixer-upper’: don’t have a ‘vision’ or a ‘concept’ for a room you’re redoing. Go to B&Q, buy a nice kitchen/bathroom set. ‘Concepts’ are for when you have a)unlimited resources b) lots of time, and c)a builder with the patience of a saint. That said, I do adore our bathroom, but boy did it cost us b, c, and more of a than we planned. Not that we had much of a to play with in the first place…

September 22, 2011

We're going on a house hunt

It’s time for me to grow up and join the adult road. None of this free-livin’, rent-payin’, irresponsibility malarky for this increasingly ageing decreasingly little microbiologist. Oh no. It’s time for me to settle down and get a mortgage.

Option 1. Buy house currently living in (affordable I think). Maternal pragmatist has pointed out it’s in catchment area for a good school

And there was I thinking our ‘ceramic floor which is ceramic but designed to look like not just wood flooring, but laminate wood flooring’ was my primary concern. Oh no.

Option 2. Buy other vaguely affordable house somewhere closer to work.

Hmm unknown territory here..Potential for wierdy neighbours, bike thieves, collapsable roofs, and flooding. Oh the dilemma.

Option 3. Buy wildly expensive 3 bedroom house and live off noodles.

Eh, eh bien. I do not know. But I go examine 4 houses on Saturday with the bearded one, and try and look grown up. I work for a University doncha know.

February 04, 2011

Things behind which it is not much fun to be stuck while on a bike

  1. Rubbish trucks
  2. Buses
  3. Recylce trucks
  4. First-gear cyclists
  5. a car which can’t make up it’s mind about turning left
  6. Buses
  7. White vans

I should, however, remember I am not a car. Repeat to yourself Anna, I am not a car. There. Now stop giving way to the enemy.

November 11, 2010

Never ever

I never thought I’d see this day. The day when I open up an email with a conference programme in it and see my name down as a keynote speaker. I’ve only just mastered the art of eating choc ices without giving myself an ice-cream moustache and now I have to speak with authority?


March 30, 2010

It's science, but not as we know it.

Ta da!

Well, I suppose if being a “snot specialist” isn’t a claim to fame, I don’t know what is!

December 24, 2009

On the nth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Snow sleet and ice,
Two broken windscreen wipers,
and a bill for one hundred pounds!

December 05, 2009

Bad–ass leukocyte

This sort of thing makes me very happy

July 27, 2009

Published at last

There some sights that warm the cockles of your soul.. and this is one of them :



July 13, 2009

All I really want

Eh bien, I am a rather sleepy but marginally less confuddled microbiologist. Now this may have something to do that come Friday I shall be jetting off to Spain for a week in the sun with colleaguewithgenerousparents. However, I do still have to give a seminar on Friday on a topic which is controversial to say the least and likely to bring a whole host of evil questions upon me. Further more I have several funding applications to try to pull together with people all over the country who don’t answer emails.

So, it may be because various Good Things have recently happened to me:

1. I went, I auditioned, I passed. Woot! I am now involved in 1 play and 2 choirs. Can’t believe I have put this off for so long-rather exciting to be getting involved in so much. And the choir audition was fun-especially the oral tests (there’s no way of saying that without it sounding dodgy, so snigger away while I roll my eyes and sigh).

2. I went up to Shropshire for much drunken cavorting and general s’moreage. And lots and lots of meat. Lots of meat. Never seen so much cooked meat. Mmmm…meat. And discovered a new part of the country which is Very Pretty

3. I went to Burgundy avec les parents to a tres charmant petite maison a la campagne. Mmm soleil et beacoup de fromage. Et cycling around from little picturesque village to little picturesque village and getting lost in a wood. Twice. On two separate occasions. Same wood. Oops.

4. Saw friendwhoisimportantgovernmentpersonage and had chocolate cake and enjoyed sun.

5. Purchased tres pretty shoes. Oooh spotty.

6. Assortedchums from Cambridge visited last weekend and we went to Longleat which was so much fun!! Have been once before but not done safari etc, and girliefriends and I went to see Lord Bath’s murals, which if you haven’t seen I thoroughly recommend*.. but watch out for the last room..oooh matron!

7. I got to play with an M.I.S. robot in a pink building today. Tres exciting.

8. I have done lots of ironing. happy sigh

Enfin, I deserve them not, but they have made me a happier bunny. Just need to work out what on earth is going on in my head with regard to other elements and I may yet achieve sanity. Who knows! Watch this space..

*not for quality. Yuck.

May 21, 2009

Cool rider

As part of my new job, I go and look at interesting and innovative new technologies, and see where possible collaborations lie. This is something my new boss is very keen on, and it’s great to be in such a forward thinking area. This is however, slightly beside the point. On Wednesday, such a collaboration led to my boss, another colleague, and I driving to Leicester to attend several meetings over two days. Such a trip necessitated a hire car. And since boss is rather senior member of organisation, he qualifies for rather good things. Having blithely asked his lovely secretary if I could be put on the insurance for the (at that point unknown) car, just in case. I went on with life, expecting not much. However, boss was not in mood to drive, and so I was to split the journey with colleague.

And so it was, that in the course of my work, I got to drive one of these:

Yes, a Jaguar X-type (automatic). Whizzy.

I normally drive a 1.1l Fiat Panda (love love love my little car) and was rather scared at prospect of driving car significantly larger, faster, more expensive and less manual than my little Panda. And having driven it, I still love my Panda. I can’t afford a Jaguar so there’s no point in repining. However, I did appreciate the following benefits:

  • No tailgaters. Clearly if you are driving such a car you have the capacity to go whizzily. You get respect from Audis. (I know!!!!)
  • Responsive acceleration. Normally if I put my foot down, Panda makes a noise and then about 10 seconds later gets up to something resembling the speed of everyone else. In the Jaguar, I put my foot down and whiiiiiiizzzzzy. Hello A34. Who’s the Daddy.
  • Automatic gears make traffic jams much easier. Yes I know, that is partly the point, but I didn’t realise just how much easier. I didn’t stall-because I couldn’t!
  • It’s actually possible to have a conversation at whizzy speeds. Because there is no engine noise. None. It feels like you’re gliding.
  • It’s surprisingly easy to drive. I was expecting it to be fiddly/cumbersome/easily reversed into a)other cars, b)miscellaneous walls, or c) people, but the little beepy things help and it doesn’t feel that much bigger.

Upshot is, I want one please. I would like to keep it, polish it and take it out on weekends to meet my mother. And father. I think my paternalengineer would particularly appreciate it. And maternalworrier might realise that I am to be trusted with her BMW…. gooooaaarn.

[N.B. I am a little naive car wise.Since the demise of ALF (RIP) 2.7 years ago, I have only had the panda. So I get very excited about these things.]

September 11, 2006

Good things

Good things that have been happening in the life of micriobean:

1. Presented results on Wed. People smiled and looked happy, even though they did ask me to try and explain RFLP. In portuguese. Wooh yay, supervisor happy.

2. Sun finally came out and Colin and I made it up to Pão de Açucar-raaather beautiful.

3. Happiness.

4. Mother arrived, bringing six months worth of maternal hugs, gossip and desire to go shopping :D

5. Mother checked into hotel. Hotel has poool, which I shall be sneaking into.

6. Supervisor has asked me to do more work, which a) sounds interesting, and b) sound relatively straightforward.

Bad things:

1. Colin departed, leaving apartment feeling wierdly empty :(

2. Flowers have died, so had to throw away the only decorative feature of my flat.

So this makes me +4 on happiness. Go happiness!!!!

September 04, 2006

And with a little bit of 'clever' editing…

Voila! We have some results…
Oooh results

Ooooh yay!!!

dances around lab in excitable manner

Problem is I have only two days to get more results and present them in a meeting on Wednesday…..

They are rather pretty though aren´t they :)

May 27, 2005


This has been the topic of some debate recently (for whatever reason..). For those who don't know what I'm talking about, I feel this rather useful diagram might help:

Yes. Beards. I, being a girl, obviously don't have one myself. But I know many men that do. And I don't get it. Ok, there's laziness, which I can understand. And I admit, that in some cases, a guy might look better with a beard. But if you unless you have the softest beard hair known to man, any time you get within, shall we say 'facial contact' (hugs etc..) of someone without a beard, you are likely to inflict pain. Trust me, I know. Am I the only female that finds this a problem? Do I have particularly sensitive skin? And of females that do have regular contact with a beard-how on earth do you cope?

In defence of beards, however, I guess.. there's always something to stroke whilst pondering deep philosophical quesions.

May 26, 2005

sniff.. the failure of a microbiologist (sort of)

Have got sequences back.Judgement has been passed. Most of them are good, but one of them failed(sob), and quite a few of them were messy and have been sent back for further analysis.

Sniff. After all the love, care and attention I have spent on them. It's all been a waste. Ultimately they didn't make the grade. I guess I should show love and support, but I can't help feeling a little disappointed. I've tried, so hard to be there with them and hold their little flagellae and extract their DNA and amplifiy it and give it a clean up. I did everything the manual told me too. I guess there's just no controlling some bacteria. They will rebel.

Damnit. Also means will have to redo lots. Shite.

May 23, 2005

What is the point..

..of an indelible marker pen, when it rubs off in the freezer, thereby rendering majority of stock cultures unidentifiable. Grr.

Any one with great eyesight able to determine numbers from black splodges? Anyone?

May 21, 2005

Happiness is..

..Finding two ice creams left in the box when you thought there was only one.

May 20, 2005

Jumping on another bandwagon

Your English Skills:

Vocabulary: 100%

Grammar: 80%

Punctuation: 80%

Spelling: 80%

Not bad eh?! I knew my mother had her uses..

May 19, 2005


cute but psycho
you are the cute but psycho happy bunny. You
adorable, but a little out there. It's alright,
you might not have it all, but there are worse

which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

May 18, 2005

It's come to this..

Last film I saw at the cinema
Chick flick "Wedding Date" with the biology girlies (fab day that was!)
Was OK, except men aren't like that in real life, and Jack Davenport gets married in it (grrr)

Last film I watched on DVD/on computer/TV etc

Ferris Buellers Day off. It's a classic–forgotten how good it was!
(sadly no more, since my DVD drive snapped and haven't had time to replace it :( )

Films I'm looking forward to seeing
Urmm. Absolutely no idea–will get back to this one.

Total number of films I own
Lots–but most of them are shite.

Five films that mean something to me


1. La vita e bella. Saw this when I was 15 and it's one of the most amazing films I have ever seen–talk about cathartic!!

2. When Harry met Sally. Only saw this relatively recently. I know it's soppy and romantic, but I just think it tells an amazing story, and Billy Crystal rocks.

3. Amelie. It just makes me smile. (but not dubbed)

4. The Italian Job (the original version)–I love the way the cars take on personalities of their own

5. Goodbye Lenin. Parents saw this in Berlin when it first came out (undubbed, obviously) in a tiny east german cinema–said it was amazing. Saw it at the local arts, but saw exactly what they meant.

By no means definitive list–since it really depends on my mood.

Have already had baton passed on by people who would send it to, so I shall just cross the finish line here..