About Me & About This Blog

This website is probably best thought of as a fossil. I want to keep the posts in it available (I re-read them myself) but at present I’m not adding to it.

If you want to read my current writing please look at my two active blogs:

Tales from the Two Lands is a blog of original articles about the fascinating history & culture of Ancient Egypt.

Other People’s Tales is my writeups of Egyptological talks (and trips), and contains several posts that used to be in this blog.

The rest of this page is the About Me that the original blog started out with.

This is the umpteenth re-organisation of my website, and as the “about me” text for each incarnation tends to be written once & abandoned for several years I’ll note here that at time of writing it’s December 2012.

I was born & brought up in Oxford, did the normal school stuff then went to Churchill College, Cambridge to do my undergraduate degree. While I was at Cambridge I met John Patterson who I’m now married to. After we graduated John had a job in Ipswich so we moved here, and have stayed living here for 16 years now. I initially worked in a lab in Cambridge, and then did my PhD at University of East Anglia (which is the university in Norwich). The title of my thesis was “The Collagenolytic Mechanism of the Collagenases” – by training I am primarily a protein biochemist, although I’ve done a fair amount of cell biology and molecular biology as well. Once I’d got my PhD I worked for several years at UEA, in a couple of different labs. I finished the last of those jobs in 2005 and since then I’ve been a housewife.

I’ve had a Livejournal since early 2001, and have used it in a variety of ways since then. More recently I’ve been using it to write up notes and reviews of places I’ve visited, things I’ve watched on TV, things I’ve read, concerts I’ve been to, etc etc. The primary reason for writing these posts is for myself, but it’s nice to have someone to talk to which is why they’re not just files on my computer, or scribblings in a notebook. I decided to migrate it off Livejournal partly to give myself a reason to play about a bit with a new website design and partly because I’m starting to think I’ve got stuff there that I’d miss if Livejournal were ever to disappear. At least if it’s on my own website I still have access to the pages whatever happens.

The title of the blog (“It’s More Fun to be Jack of All Trades than Master of One”) sums up one of my fundamental philosophies, the other way I sometimes phrase it is that everything’s interesting once you know enough about it. Obviously there are exceptions, but as a general rule it holds true for me. This doesn’t mesh well with the way that modern academia (or the rest of the modern world) works – you gain respect (and job security) by being the person who knows everything there is to know about some specialised niche. But I’d rather know a reasonable amount about lots of different things, even when I was writing up my PhD I’d get sidetracked down rabbit holes of “irrelevant” information, reading papers that people had refered to that looked interesting.

At the moment I’d say my primary interests are history and photography. But you’ll also find posts about fiction (most but not all of what I read falls into the SFF genre), music, computer games etc. I’m tagging posts (where relevant) with authors, musicians or presenters.