Pangolin threat

Apologies in advance for the language, but with pangolins sharing the dubious pleasures of being the world’s most illegally trafficked animal, and a strong contender for host of the SARS-CoV-2, this headline just made me laugh:


From here.

It does seem likely that potentially unsavoury human behaviour may have (at least in part) led to the Coronavirus outbreak which is still slightly worryingly out of control. I suppose that if this leads to a decrease in pangolin smugglery (it won’t), then at least something good will have come out of this whole thing.

In the meantime, we’d better watch out for whatever novel diseases are carried by rhinos, tigers, elephants and hornbills (who knew?), and might be just around the corner as the next potential pandemic.

Progress continues

Back to back to back gym days and it’s only Tuesday. [crowd gasps]
I’m getting the car serviced tomorrow, so I won’t make it four in a row, but hey, the thought was there. I’ll come home and walk the dog instead. Something a bit more gentle with a side-order of snorfing.

Finally, the excesses of the festive season are falling away, and my knee is beginning to recover from the (still bewilderingly) rock hard sand on Struisbaai beach. I’m starting to put a bit of stress and strain on it – a short run here or a quick row there – and I can still walk.

So that’s good.

That said, I’m still giving myself another few weeks before I even consider approaching the health insurance fitness assessment. Let’s at least give me a chance of passing the test and being allowed to live for another year.

Onward and upward.

Staining slides

It’s been a really long time since I’ve done any microbiology. I do miss it.
I had a weird, brief flashback to the lab today. And then, coincidentally, I chanced upon this photo:

Even now, I can tell you exactly what is going on here. You don’t stain TB for several (or more) years and just forget how to do it.

I’d be able to do so much more with this photo these days, though. This was 10½ years and four cameras (and a whole lot of experience) ago.

If anyone out there needs photos taken of some slides being stained (or any other biomedical technique), please just give me a shout. Nice guy, reasonable rates.

a-ha in Cape Town – some thoughts

Last night was really very special. Right up there with the Bergen concert.

A balmy evening, a really well-organised experience, some decent support acts, an appreciative crowd, and – of course – Morten, Magne and Pål doing their stuff up on stage. Really fantastic.

As a celebration of the 35th (weep!) anniversary of their first album, they played all ten tracks in full and in order before moving on to some of their more well-known songs. As a fan and a purist, this was so perfect: the opportunity to hear them play some stuff which I hadn’t heard live since (literally) 1986. Just a remarkable experience.

The Blue Sky was gorgeous, the demo version of I Dream Myself Alive was unique and such a rush for the true fans. Here I Stand And Face The Rain  was powerful, energetic and evocative.

And then done with the old stuff, and straight into the bassy, rocky Sycamore Leaves. Wow.

Shall we play something you all know, now?

asked Magne, and the crowd roared as they launched into I’ve Been Losing You. But I just wanted them to keep playing – whatever.

Foot Of The Mountain, Analogue and The Swing Of Things sounded better than I have ever heard them, Stay On These Roads was beautiful and so well-received and respected, and although we didn’t get Crying In The Rain or the new Digital River, that was just fine. It was almost as if they had tailor-made the setlist for me.

Thanks, boys.

The short, but sweet encore of Scoundrel Days (a personal favourite) with a scary echoey reverb, and a rousing The Living Daylights rounded the evening off perfectly.

Not that I couldn’t have done with another hour and a half.  A really wonderful experience, and one I was so chuffed to have shared with the kids.

Was this my last a-ha concert? Who knows? (After all, I have been to my last a-ha concert several times already…!) I hope not, obviously, because I just love their music and hearing it live is so special for me.

But… but, if it was, then this was a fitting send off. What a truly exceptional evening.

 

All my photos from the concert (15)