Saturday, 2 January 2016

My review of 2015. Part 2: July-December

July: Early this month 7th/8th I was delighted to recieve a phonecall from HR offering me the role at Withington Girls School I'd interviewed for last week. I accepted without hesitation and was and am still happy. So later on this month I handed in my notice at Bury College. Goodbye long commutes. Also eary this month I bought a new phone. An iphone 6. This is my first iphone and friends kept telling me I would never look back once I had one of these. How right they are, I am still loving it. They maybe expensive but worth it. I hpe to hang onto this particular model for some years yet! On the 19th of July something amazing happened. I recieved a long email offering me membership on the Board of Scientific Advisors for The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association  Of course I accepted as I love this organisation. I was very happy and floating on a cloud for a few days. It still makes me smile and guess always will. This is definiely a great highlight of the year for me. I then also accepted another wonderful opportunity which will probably be a one off. From Monday 27th until Sunday 2nd August I lived on a boat on the italian Island of Ischia doing whale research. I have blogged about it. A beautiful experience I shall remember fondly but never got to see enough cetaceans ;)
 August: My trip of the year with 3 other fab volunteers came to an end on the 2nd. Nothing else exciting happened this month. I finished working at Bury College on 20th.
September: The first of this month saw me excited and a little nervous to be starting my new job at Withington Girls School. The first day was an induction day and it turns out there were 16 newbies including me. It was interesting and all newbies are lovely people, also including me lol. It didn't take long for me to feel like I've worked there a long time and I mean this in the nicest way possible. Everyone who works here is lovely and we get a nice free lunch everyday. There is even a gym on site too which is also free. All of our girls are nice and clever girls. This school does alot of outreach and feild trips to places within the UK such as Wales and internationally by volunteering in developing countries such as Uganda and Gambia. I will probably volunteer to go to Uganda next year. On Sunday 13th I went along to MOSI for a coffee morning for returning science festival volunteers. Enjoyed it alot and now know who the returning volunteers like myself are. It was good to meet our new coordinator Pen whom I saw alot of during the science festival.
On Wednesday 30th, we had a visit from the Duchess of Gloucester who came to open our new chemistry labs. I expected a hello and or a wave and a smile at the most but she shook my hand and stood chatting for abit. She took her time and spoke to us all. So down to earth as were the people who came with her. She was lovely and we were all chuffed and happy after seeing her.
October: The hightlight of this month for me is always the Manchester Science Festival and I enjoyed it as always. I got to make several visits to Salford University this year and meet more lovely volunteers whom I can only hope to meet again in the future. I have also blogged about each event I worked at on the science festival. 22nd October until Sunday 1st November.
November: There are alot of events going on at MOSI next year. I am not sure why but I do know that our science festival will be 10 years old and so the festival will be even more special. All I know is that a special event devoted to graphene is planned :) Anyway this month I committed to 2 mini science festivals which take place in late January, early February 2016. Looking forward to that too. On the 30 which was a Monday we had a school trip with our GCSE students to The Palace Theatre in Manchester. Science Live!This was a series of talks by well known scientists including Alice Roberts, Andrea Sella, Sir Robert Winston to name just a few! A fab day and nice way to end a month!
December: The first always special to me as it is World AIDS Day and I wore my red ribbon as usual and enjoyed the heartwarming feeling of reading online messages and comments from friends and contacts.
On a personal note, we acquired a new home.Very exciting! We signed the contracts on Thursday before Xmas and then got the keys the folowing Tuesday. Naturally we went and had a look around. Everyday except Xmas and New Years Days we made 2 trips per day moving stuff including one day when buldeirs came with our new bedroom furniture and assembled it for us. I felt bad about them not finishing till Midnight! It took longer than the xmas holidays to move everything and I don't feel like I have had a rest. Glynn and I are both exhausted but very happy.Can't wait to actually move in.

I haven't read any books this year because I discovered free online courses so I still read and learned alot I guess. I did this with Future Learn and boy does the time go when doing thses. I covered subjects such as Food safety, the constellation Orion, science of nutrtion and Internet of things. I will miss these in 2016 but want to spend next year catching up on my reading. On NYE I finally recieved my copy of Saving Bletchley Park by Dr Sue Black. A book whose publication I helped fund and thus my name is listed in it at the back. Imagine by surprise and delight when I first go on Twitter today and the first thing I see is that Sue has been awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list! I couln't be more thrilled for her and what a way to end the year.

So to summarize, the highlights for me are seeing Queen in Concert, changing jobs and homes, joining the Chemists Without Borders and Starfish teams, Whale research in Italy. I hope 2016 is also a good one for me and for you too. Love Sarah xxx


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