1. I started my archive work experience on Tuesday. After a guided tour behind the scenes (strong rooms full of stuff that had my historian's instincts kicking in with an urge to dive in and investigate) I was set to work entering 19th century tithe apportionments into a database (a similar project to this one in Devon). I'll be doing this for a while as there is a lot of data to enter. It is a routine job, but a lot of historical research is painstaking collection and transcription of data, and I've done enough of it to know I am perfectly content tucked up in a record office with a laptop, a map, and lists to transcribe.
2. During my guided tour I learned a bit about storing archives. Obvious once it is pointed out, but archives are always in the basement. They are heavy. Very, very heavy. Even in the basement, the concrete floor has cracks. Also, the biggest risk to records is damp. Once damp gets in, mould soon follows, so the humidity has to be carefully monitored.
3. Ever thought of computers in religious terms? I can't say I have, but according to this article on The Apple Blog, Apple is the Catholic computer experience, whereas PCs are Protestant. As a convert to both Catholicism and Macs, I could agree with that!
4. I discovered this week that conkers (the fruit of horse chestnut trees) are supposed to keep away spiders. While I am not in the least bothered by spiders - I positively like them! - I did wonder if scattering conkers around would reduce the number of times I have to respond to yells of "Mum! Spider!!!!! Come and get rid of it!". Apparently not. Last year the Royal Society of Chemistry offered an award to anyone who could prove or disprove the old wives' tale. It was won by a group of school children who conducted experiments that proved conclusively that spiders are not bothered in the least by conkers.
5. We are pet-sitting two guinea pigs from Cherub's playgroup for two weeks, much to the girls' delight. I'm afraid these days Tevye and I are determinedly against getting a pet, so this is a good compromise. We used to have cats, but one died when Angel and Star were quite young, and the second around the time I discovered I was pregnant with Cherub, which just wasn't a good time to get another. Now we find feeding and cleaning up after five humans enough of a stretch not to want to add any animals to the mix. I also suffer from animal allergies, which makes me less enthusiastic than I might otherwise be.
6. Most animals set me sneezing if I handle them, though oddly I'm usually fine with cats, so long as they aren't too fluffy and furry. On the other hand, horses are awful. I posted on Facebook about our trip to the zoo yesterday, and an old friend reminded me of a school trip to the same zoo when I got too close to the horses and didn't have any anti-histamines with me. Yuck!
7. Cherub was very anxious to ride on what she calls a "decker-double" bus at the zoo. How could I refuse such a charmingly phrased request!
Friday, August 06, 2010
Read more quick takes at Conversion Diary