Monday, 8 August 2011

Countdown to Main Clearing, Prevention of Scurvy and the Rabbit Proof Fence

This is our last week in Early Clearing and next week we begin working in shifts to cover the hectic A level results week.

I am continuing my lunch-time ‘Cultural Enhancement Programme’ as a welcome diversion between the intensity of sitting all morning answering enquiries and busy afternoons doing the same.  I spent one lunchtime in the Maritime Museum shop and found an interesting book on the history of scurvy – an odd choice you might think,..but I am rather odd in that I find all sorts of weird information quite fascinating.
Scurvy was the major killer of sailors on long sea journeys and a ship that set off with a crew of 2000 could expect to return having lost two thirds of that number, most of them dying really horribly due to lack of vitamin C in their diets.  The idea that making sailors drink a lime juice mixture  would prevent such a devastating disease was met with scepticism for decades as the fashion was for such dodgy treatments as cupping, and bleeding.
My latest forays have been to the campus library.  My course is based at Avery hill so the books here in the Greenwich Maritime Campus are very different. With the humanities courses based  here there are lots of novels and DVD’s to borrow.  I am looking forward to relaxing tonight to watch I’m Not There– the story of Bob Dylan and The Rabbit Proof Fence – a film about the ‘Stolen Generation’ of mixed race Australian Aboriginal children who were removed from their full blood families to be indoctrinated into the white community with the ultimate aim of annihilating the Aboriginal race.

My cycling programme is going well and last week I finally managed to ride to the top of Greenwich Park without having to push the bike half way.  Browsing through the library I discovered a book on cycling that says I can burn 8 calories a minute.  If I keep on cycling regularly this adds up to about 11 kg of fat a year!  So I can look forward to ending up very svelte by this time next year which will mean more retail therapy!! you see Clearing isn’t just Clearing – it’s a whole different way of life!

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