Everyday Trivia

Living with Osler

For far too long I have neglected writing about my current residence. The house itself is quite famous because it was built and for many years inhabited by a guy who has been described as the “Father of Modern Medicine.”

Sir William Osler was a physician, clinician, pathologist, teacher, diagnostician, bibliophile, historian, classicist, essayist, conversationalist, organiser, manager and author. In short, your average Oxford don.

My mum forwarded me a couple of quotes of his from this week’s Journal of The Danish Medical Association:

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt (on the art of medicine)

Go to bed. Put a hat on the bedpost. Drink whiskey until you see two hats (about the best remedy for the common cold)

He is known for other brilliant pieces of advice:

…listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.

Remember the abdomen begins at the neck and ends at the knees.

Punctuality is the pure essential of a physician. If invariably on time he will succeed even in the face of professional mediocrity (source).

In addition to my house being steeped in history, I have recently learned that my opposite neighbour is pretty famous, too. Punctuality aside, it is easy to feel mediocre around here – Oxford is a bloody brilliant place to live.

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Sloe gin

Sloe gin
I used a pint of gin (Tanqueray, export strength), half a litre of sloes, and 150 grammes of sugar. Now, it is time to sit back and wait (impatiently) for at least three months, interrupted only by the weekly shake of the bottle. Once properly infused, it will take on the colour of port.

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I know it’s ridiculous…

…but I still get excited when I strike a good deal on eBay.

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Every little hellps

Every little hellps
Sainsbury’s, packed full of kids, on a rainy Sunday in November.

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Quote of the day

I do not believe we can know anything merely through science; it is too precise, too rigid a tool. The world has a thousand tendernesses into which we must lean so that we may understand them before we learn what the sum of their parts represents… Only the sailor knows the archipelago.

-Jean Giono, L’eau vive

PS. Excerpt stolen from Jean Malaurie’s The Last Kings of Thule. As mentioned earlier, if you have yet to read this book, your literary life is far from complete. And while I am at it, Ultima Thule is, as the name indicates, the most comprehensive introduction to Arctic life and exploration.

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Quote of the day

Oxford is like a shelter for all the misfits of the world.

-Vikrom Mathur

PS. Mind you, this quote comes from a man whom I recently caught frozen in a ponderous position in the middle of a public path. He could not remember for how long he had been standing there, just that he ‘had a brilliant thought.’

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Hypothesis of the day

PhD clutter
The amount of clutter generated around me is inversely correlated with the number of days left to the thesis deadline.

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On blood, sweat, tears and return on investment

Traditionally, philanthropy and fundraising events have not taken on particularly important roles in Scandinavia due to the fact that the welfare state has provided such goods. In the UK, however, social problems, and their solutions, are of often left in the domain of private enterprise, whether corporate or individual. This post is about the latter category.

Recently, with the arrival of sites like justgiving, I find my inbox clogged up with requests to support this and that person in undertaking this and that ‘challenge.’ I am all for the principle of democratising and finding new ways of generating aid, and, the hypocrite I am, even set up a profile myself.

I have perhaps spent too long time in a business school now, but whenever I support something like this, I want value for money, i.e. the fundraiser in question should do something out of the ordinary vis-a-vis his or her skills, otherwise I might as well find a charity of my own liking.

So when you contact me because you are planning to run 10km, jump off a plane with a parachute on your back or take your mountain bike for a spin over a couple of hills please be warned, this bruva ain’t supporting ya.

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Domesticated deception

I am rarely absolutely certain about things, but there is no use denying the matter of factness of, um, the fact that my mind is doing all sorts of things to escape the bloody thesis.

Recently, I have found myself planting a herb/vegetable garden and plotting the next great expansion; I have collected elderflowers and am now in the process of making cordial; and strangely enough, I feel a profound desire to bake stuff and become an apiculturist.

How very masculine…

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Come on Jeroen, let’s share it. I would be happy if you gave me just 1 per cent. And no-one would notice anyway.

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