11th May – meetings, Malaysia and more labwork

I shall start by devising a nice excuse for my lack of blogging over the last three weeks. How about the dog ate my laptop? No? OK, what about I’ve been pretty busy with many things including the fact that I’m going to Malaysia to do fieldwork in July! To fill in on how this sudden summer plan came about let’s go back to the week I got back from the NCAS spring school in Scarborough when I was told I there maybe-a-chance-I-could–possibly-if-it-all-came-about go to do fieldwork as part of a little campaign this summer. Friday it looked hopeful, early the following week I started making vague plans and by Thursday at my continuation meeting it was all set.

I’ll take a side step here and tell you about the continuation meeting, basically that, all my supervisory panel and I met to discuss past, current and future work and asses that I’m progressing well enough to carry on with the PhD. Don’t know if I managed to sidestep them with plenty of Malaysia talk or if I really have just been making progress (science is like an impressionist painting, unless you step back you can’t see what on earth is going on) but it all went well. So now I’m busy alternating between extreme business in the lab trying to nail down my current project before I go and endless list making and planning for a summer spent sampling in the sun (I really should check the climatology, knowing my luck I’m probably going in monsoon season…).

The more I think about it logically the more there is to do. On one hand this trip is, for most people going, about gathering preliminary data with the proviso of going back to sample again. For me it may be the best opportunity I get in a while to get some tropical data and so I really need to make the most of it. But planning a sampling campaign on a beach you’ve never visited and analysis on equipment you’ve never used isn’t the easiest task, especially when 12 glass bottles, syringes, flasks, possibly a purge system and various other laboratory paraphernalia isn’t your usual carry on luggage. Sun, sea, sampling and, well, seaweed here I come…

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