31st July – 1st August, 2011

The end of the 30th was lovely. I was sitting in the deckchair in the garden, reading and my brother (+ girlfriend) decided to go on a fairly long cycle ride, to which they invited me along. It was a lovely way to spend a Summer’s evening, seeing all the fields with cows and untamed wildflowers was a beautiful experience. We had a drink in the pub when we arrived and then pottered on back.

The 31st was my brother’s birthday (with everyone of the immediate family there). It started off relatively slowly, but soon got going when we all headed out for a picnic. Again – it was a lovely walk. My brother has a fancy DSLR camera and I was permissed to have a play with it during the day, I was quite happy with the results! (I’ll put some up later).

We’d brought a cricket bat and ball to the picnic and a spotaneous game of ‘See how far you can hit the ball’ started. The idea was that someone did an intentionally easy bowl and the batter had to thwack the ball as far across the field we were sat in as they could. A fairly pointless game, no doubt, but extraordinarily pleasant to do with the family – laughing and spending time together.

Upon arriving back and allowing that food to settle in our stomaches for an hour or two, it was time to set up the barbeque. And what a barbeque it was! Oodles of food – and cream-cheese covered carrot cake afterward. Sadly, it wasn’t good for the calorie counter my brother is presently using! At least he took it in good jest. We also got in a never-before-played game of 3 vs 3 nerf – and what fun it was! It really helps one value family life and what good it really can bring.

On the first I had, to my complete surprise, my first ‘day’ of work in the immunology lab. It was interesting, and I learnt about some research that is being done. My first ‘job’ was to try and grasp this research – essentially proteins are made inside all of our cells, during this process they are folded in a special ‘organelle’ with the overtly fancy name of ‘Endoplasmic Reticulum’ (ER). Ignoring the name, when these folded proteins are in the ER, they may or may not be folded correctly. There is a special protein in the wall of the ER that helps remove incorrectly folded proteins – there are three in total and the point of the research is to find out their relative importance.

My girlfriend was also in London and, since I finished relatively early, we decided to go to the Haagen-Dazs restaurant in Leicester Square and order suitably ridiculous ice-creams that they provide, not from a menu, but a hard-cover book!

We then went to the national gallery and saw some incredible paintings of the royal family from hundreds and hundreds of years ago – quite remarkable to think of the artist touching a canvas all that time ago that you are now right in front of.

Speak to you soon!

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