Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Chain Letter Continues….

A fellow blogger, Mirabelle Flint at Thrill Seeking Behavior, has nominated me for a ‘Most Versatile Blogger’ award.

The conditions for accepting this award are as follows:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
5. Notify these bloggers of the nominations by linking back to one of their specific blog posts so they get notified back.

As Mirabelle points out, the whole thing is a bit like a chain letter – if 15 people nominate 15 people who nominate 15 people…. eventually the whole internet will be awash with nominations.  But the blogosphere operates largely on word of mouth, and there are too many good blogs that deserve a wider audience, so I’m very happy to accept my nomination, and obey the instructions.

So thank you, Mirabelle – and here’s the logo.

Now, 7 things about me that don’t already appear on my About Me page, in no particular order:

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Yew: the graveyard plant that is now saving lives

In the mid-1990s I spent a month doing research at Aberdeen University. During the week I sat transcribing letters in the library. On the weekends, I explored the coast and countryside in a borrowed van. One warm(ish) day in June, I visited Crathes Castle near Banchory. The castle dates from the 16th century, but what I mostly remember from my visit was the gardens, particularly the tall yew hedges that walled in the different spaces. Yew grows to a great age, and these hedges, well over 9 feet tall, date from the beginning of the 18th century.


Yew hedges at Crathes Castle, near Banchory. Photographer Darren Foreman, from Wikimedia Commons

The day I was there, a gardener was trimming the hedges. Balanced on a ladder, a good 8 to 9 feet above me, he was carefully saving all the clippings in a plastic garbage bag. The work looked precarious, and I asked him why he was taking so much trouble to save the trimmings. He told me they were parcelled up and sent to the Pasteur Institute in Paris, where scientists were working on a cure for cancer.

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