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Introduction to Environment Science

My Course up online! If you’re in Oxford, book in!

The Knowledge Project

Thursdays 6 – 7.30pm

16th October – 4th December 2014

Peace House, Paradise Street, OX1 1LD

8 classes for £80

Environmental Science is the study of the natural world, how it affects us and how it is changing. This interdisciplinary course combines geology, geography, ecology and sociology to look at the big issues affecting our environment and the way we interact with it.

The environment is all around us, in the food we eat and the air we breathe. It is important to all of us. Over eight weeks you will learn about natural and man made challenges faced by our environment, current solutions and limitations, and the tasks we face for the future.

1. Geography of the Natural World
2. Man-made Problems: Fossil Fuels and Global Warming
3. Man-made Solutions: Renewable Technologies and Low Carbon Design
4. Nuclear Energy and Radioactive Waste
5. Effects of Man-made Materials on the…

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Today at #Scicomm13

“Nothing is so dangerous to the progress of the human mind than to assume that our views of science are ultimate, that there are no mysteries in nature, that our triumphs are complete and that there are no new worlds to conquer.” – Humphry Davy. 


Choosing our music wasn’t really difficult. Early on during the engagement, Guy started ‘collecting’ songs: songs we really, really liked, which had positive messages about love and relationships. Every time one of us got up to dance to something, or said “Oooohhh, this is great!” he’d add it, and soon we had a list as long as our arms and our legs and which definitely wasn’t going to fit into the time we had available at the wedding! So next time someone says they played ‘Mr Brightside’ because it would get everyone up dancing and there weren’t enough happy songs to do that, laugh in their face: they just haven’t done any thinking about it!

From our list, Guy picked out our first dance song and songs thereafter for the end of the reception. Whilst he was technically in charge of music, it was me who picked our entrance song and signing the register song. For the register we had ‘Greensleeves’:

And our entrance song was the theme song to ‘Princess Bride’, ‘Storybook Love’:

We tried really hard to find someone who played the guitar who might be able to do the song live, but in the end nobody was confident enough. A shame, because it played really quietly from CD.

For our exit music, Guy wanted to do something amusing: at a friend’s wedding, they had played the Star Wars theme tune on exit, so he started thinking along similar lines…

I think he actually snipped the very start so that the lyrics cut in earlier on, but you’d have to ask the expert for the details.

And our final important piece of music was something that many of our guests contributed to: the love quotes. We used Vocaroo online voice recorder and set up a google spreadsheet of quotes we liked, which we then shared with friends and family. After they record a quote, they mark it off on the document and email us the sound recording, whereupon we (Guy) amalgamate(s) them into one big file, which is set to music.

We played this on loop before the ceremony whilst the guests were being seated. I’m not sure how many of them noticed it though – again, we could really have done with a louder sound system!

Online Tools

During our wedding planning we discovered several online tools, which I thought I’d mention here as they were pretty useful. They also housed one major advantage over spreadsheets or hardcopy instructions: we could both access them (and so could our guests) from wherever we were – home, work or elsewhere in the world.

We likes the internet!

Gift List

Gift lists are controversial. You don’t want to look like you’re asking for gifts, but on the other hand you don’t want seven kettles. And what about if you have everything you want, but would really like an amazing honeymoon? How do you ask people for money or vouchers? Gift Lists are a “done thing” afterall…

Gift lists worked for us because we found a gift list where you could add things from all round the internet and didn’t have to confine ourselves to one shop which only specialised in certain areas and/or everything was very posh and expensive. I know people like to buy posh and expensive things for wedding gifts, but not all the things we wanted were posh and expensive, and why oblige people to pay more than they or you want them to?

We weren’t able to see who had bought what or their messages until after the wedding (although Kay, who agreed to be our gift list manager, could sort everything!), but we could see what had been bought and we could continue adding gifts!

Since the wedding, we have used gift money to buy some of the other items we were after.

You could also add vouchers to the list, or do what we did – ask in your introduction for whatever else you want other than the listed gifts. We suggested “wine, chocolates, or donations to the blood centre”. We got lots of wine and chocolates.

Budget Calculator

I originally tried to keep track of everything on a spreadsheet, but it ended up as an overcomplicated compilation of maybes and ideas as well as the actual things – planning got messy. And then I discovered, who have a very pretty budget calculator.

You can pretty much see how it all works from the image above.

So we dug out all our receipts and added every single detail. In addition, I calculated that, according to our budget, if little things hadn’t been included – like travel costs when doing wedding-related trips, things we bought and didn’t need, stock ups on things like glue, sellotape, batteries, the whole honeymoon, and et cetera, our “actual” budget would have been 117% of the “supposed” one. So just a warning, if you think your wedding is £15k budget, you will probably really spend more like £17,550.

Which is why obsessive adding up on budget spreadsheets is nice.

Weddingface also offer a guest list, which we and my mum used to keep mutual track of RSVPs and who to bitch about.

A Gift or Two

It’s been a very sunny last couple of weeks, and the Fiance and I have spent much of our time out of doors, as has our cat, which is great, because we had started worrying that she was getting chubby.

And just as we’ve been lounging round on the ratio, the Fiance’s godmother (who is coming all the way from Malta for our wedding) got in touch to say she wanted to buy us an extra gift list gift, because our list was too modest(!).

So we ummed and ahhed, and then told her about the garden table and chairs we had our eye on…

So she sent a cheque. Enough for TWO ourdoor tables and chairs – and told us to spend the rest on wine.

The Fiance went straight to the Wine Society’s site and ordered us a case, 6 reds, 6 whites, because we’ll want plenty of white through the hot, hot summer.

We originally saw the table and chairs in Homebase, but it was last season’s and they weren’t getting it back in. Argos had it, but it was out of stock, so the Fiance set up notifications for when it came back. It came back on Saturday, he bought it, and on Monday the wine and then the table and chairs arrived in a giant flurry.

We’ve been trying to hold off opening gifts, but the Fiance couldn’t resist setting up the table and chairs, so I came home to see them balanced prettily on the patio (seat cushions to follow).

And then we sat outside and had wine (in the Fiance’s birthday glasses) and sweetener-buns with my mum’s homemade plum jam and masses of stag do squirty cream.

I want to open the rest of the gifts already! They’re taking over the library as it is…

100 Days – The Countdown Begins

Today it’s 100 days to our wedding. The date tickers on our gift list and wedding forum accounts have just turned over, and now we begin the deep dark fall into double digits.

14th February is our RSVP deadline (5 days to go).
19th February is the 3 month mark (10 days to go) after which we can book trains for our honeymoon and I can initiate name changing proceedings.
27th February is the day before the Fiance’s birthday, and my final cake trial.
19th March is the 2 month mark.
19th April is the 1 month mark.
21st April is the hen/stag day/weekend.
1st May is our catering deadline for any changes and balance invoice.
11th May is my last day in labs before the wedding.
18th May we travel to Oxford.
And the 19th May is our wedding day!