Tools, Organ Blocks & Getting in the Hallowe’en Spirit

Noticeably it’s been getting busier in the mortuary, just like it’s been getting darker and colder in the evenings. We’ve not been short of work at all, while also trying to streamline some processes and make ourselves more efficient. Our manager would like us to get into the habit of working in certain ways that make more sense, for example the tools we need to be in the right places and the right time rather than hunting around for them. I’m all for this, as it makes a lot of sense to not only ensure our work flows a lot better but also make our lives easier! Might take some getting used to though, as I’ve really just got my head around how things are now and in some ways I have to change some habits even if newly formed ones! We also had a delivery of new tools with some exciting additions for me to try when I eviscerate and reconstruct.

You might think the tools we have are quite basic but there’s a lot of different ways to eviscerate. For example, you might like a short handled scalpel while someone else might prefer a long handle to hold. Then there’s different blade types and shapes for the end of that scalpel, there’s pointier ones, curved ones and it really depends on preference. Although I have been told to try them all because you never know when you might need to use a different type, for example if stocks run out of the one you like or you go to work at a different mortuary and they don’t have that one. The rest of the tools are much the same; varying in shape, size and (for want of a better term) ‘pointiness’.

Even down to the needles we use to stitch, they are much bigger than the sewing needle you might use in crafts but they too come in different shapes. At our mortuary we tend to use either an ‘s’ shape one like I prefer because it sits nicely in my hand, or one with a flat part and then a deep bend in it. If people are interested I can do further posts on the tools as I familiarise myself with them! I might well do this anyway as I find if I talk about them I learn more myself.

I’ve had a few chances to have a go at eviscerating over the last few weeks and I’ve got a lot better at the parts I struggled with before. I’ve been trying to get my head around removing the organs in three blocks, the first block is easy and fine but separating the second and third is still flummoxing me a bit. Again, would people like to know more about these blocks and how they are examined? Let me know! I would, of course, warn you if I was to start going into detail about things like that.

https://www.haveringmuseum.org.uk

Outside of work, I had a quiet weekend mostly. Saturday I went to the local museum as they were having a talk on vampires which looked interesting. I couldn’t help noticing that I was the youngest person in the room by about 30 years, but it was enjoyable and amusing in places. It was the first time I had been to the Havering Museum and it’s small but worth a visit if you’re from around this area. After the talk I went to work for a couple of hours to catch up on booking people in. When it’s busy it makes sense to do this so we don’t have lots to do on Monday on top of our other work. Other than that I spent the weekend watching the new Sabrina series on Netflix and a lot of movies. It was a very restful couple of days!

Tuesday 6th November at 7pm!

Upcoming next week is the Upminster Death Cafe which is looking to be very exciting. If you have never been to a Death Cafe before then why not pop along if you can and see what it’s all about? If you’re not local to Upminster then there is certain to be one near you! Try looking at the website and search by postcode. If you think you would like to come or would like to know more, please message or email me and I’m happy to discuss your questions or concerns.

Only a few things I love more than a Snapchat filter and one of them is Hallowe’en

Wednesday is Halloween and I’m looking forward to it a lot! I’ve always loved Halloween, and I have had my decorations up since the start of the month. We get a few neighbourhood kids knock for sweets and then I like to watch a scary movie or two.

That’s it from me at the moment, but if you have any questions or would like to hear more on any of the things I’ve discussed then let me know.

MG x

Cats & Death

You might know already, but I am a cat person. As I write this, my youngest cat is dreamily watching a YouTube channel made to relieve cats of boredom and anxiety. My eldest is sat on a blanket recovering from his latest trip to the vets. Like my Instagram bio states, I’m all about cats and death. However, you might not realise just how connected those two things are and why this is a perfect combination.

Ruby watching her anxiety combatting videos

Rocky is still a poorly old soul

If you Google ‘cats and death’ you get some odd results. Particularly interesting is whether cats can smell death and a news report of a cat in a nursing home who predicts who will die. Oscar and his little visits to patients are explained in this video but it would seem he can sense something, thought to probably be a smell, in the patient and recognises those that will die soon. He sits with the patient until their death, curled up with them until their last moments. A study and a paper was presented in a medical journal about little Oscar, concluding nothing but presenting the evidence he can sense the incoming death of a person.

Then there’s others like the video of man who fakes his own death in front of his cat to see what he does, not surprisingly the cat is fairly indifferent to its owner’s dramatic demise. I must try it some time but I have a feeling my two would have a very similar reaction. Linking to Oscar, maybe they just intelligently know that it’s fake and won’t be fooled by our silly ways. Cats are pretty intelligent, my Ruby figured out how to open a door within a week of living with us.

With three legs, half a tail and shaved patches, I’ll admit he’s an odd looking cat.

If you look a little deeper, there are a number of links to cats and death throughout the past, for example in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians mummified cats regularly, worshipped cat headed deities and used them in their art. It’s well known they were definitely cat people, holding them in high regard. Through the UK, cats have often been part of superstitions around death, this is explored at thegreatcat.org and seem to mainly concern the cat either having influenced or indicating whether the dead person had gone to heaven or hell. Cats have been revered or hated in many different ways in the way no other animal seems to be. Makes me think of witches with black cats as familiars too, especially at this time of year!

Black cats in particular have always been considered unlucky at least, if not a harbinger of death and doom. Black cats play a large part in the superstitions that surround death, like one jumping over a dead body would make it a vampire, or encountering a black cat at a funeral meant another death was imminent. I wish I could say this was not present in a modern and rational world but our poor Ruby really struggled to find a home after she lost her leg and most of her kittens to a dog. It’s felt people definitely thought she was an unlucky little one to have around. A comprehensive list of folklore and superstitions can be found here.

Unlucky to some extent but lucky to be alive! Ignore the evil look in her eyes…

You may think I wrote this post just to share photos of my cats and you may well be about 40% correct but I’m sure some of you don’t mind that at all. Apologies to all the dog people out there, but all I can say is why not both? I like dogs too, just cats a little bit more. I can certainly appreciate a lovely dog, or a basket full of puppies like I saw on Monday at the vets. However it just shows, cats and death go paw in hand so it’s not so weird to write my blog while sat with my cats around me. More death topics and an update on my week to come over the weekend!

MG x

Body Farms- Yep or Nope?

Would you like to see a Body Farm in the UK? It’s a simple question but one that seems to provoke either a very positive response or a rather negative one. It would seem a lot of people either don’t know what that means or have only a small idea what it would mean if one did exist. Add to that the feelings of disgust at human bodies being left outside to decompose, plus confusion about the legality or morality of such a place existing, it’s not such a simple question at all.

In fact, as I learnt at the weekend, there is no real good reason as to why a Body Farm, or Human Taphonomic Facility, does not exist as yet in the UK. Yesterday I attended my final event of the London Month of the Dead at Brompton Cemetery, a talk titled ‘The Case for a Body Farm in the UK’ presented by Dr. Anna Williams. This talk was a comprehensive one, and the most interesting of those I have attended recently by far.

I guess I should explain what a ‘Body Farm’ or ‘Human Taphonomic Facility’ actually is. In other countries around the world, most prominently in the US, there are insitutions like these. The basic principle is very straightforward and research is conducted into human body decompostion by placing donor bodies in certain situations or conditions and monitoring them for periods of time. The idea behind this being to get a better understanding of not only how bodies decompose but also being able to better interpret decomposed remains. The potential of the research being conducted is fairly endless in the amount of variables that could be examined. The ability to explore different environmental conditions alone is so vast I can’t imagine you could stop thinking of different ideas, let alone when you then combine these possiblities with the huge range of different physical and chemical aspects of the body too either due to lifestyle or other impacting factors.

I would like to specifically mention one of Anna’s comments during the talk that I found fascinating. She explained how it would be interesting to compare the decomposition of a vegetarian versus a vegan and then also versus those of a meat-eater, on the assumption that the different bacteria in the gut due to their diets would have a different affect and alter the decomposition presented! Something seemingly so obvious but I would never have thought of that before. That alone is just one example of how different aspects of lifestyle can affect decomposition.

Personally I would encourage people as a whole to read into this subject matter further if they are interested. As Anna stated, there is no legal reason why such a facility does not exist yet in the UK. In fact the impression she has of the situation is that a lot of people would like to make one, but are waiting for someone else to be the first person to take the leap into the unknown. Most people I speak to are all for this to happen, and the kind of people who attend talks are those who are wanting to learn more because they like the idea it would seem. It would definitely be more interesting to hear from people who have reservations or are completely against this happening.

There is a lot of information online about the existing facilities and also the UK desire to have one. Anna has put together a survey for people to fill out and have an opportunity to have their say which I encourage you fill out. The Twitter handle for this movement is @HTF4UK and there is a blog here. I genuinely want to help this cause and get poeple talking about it. Dr Anna Williams is also on Twitter @bonegella. Huge thank you to Anna for sparking this idea in my head and for a brilliant talk! I have pinned my badge to my coat and willing people to discuss this with me from here on in.

There’s a lack of photos this post so here’s a lovely lion from Brompton Cemetery to make up for it

Apologies for the short post this week and the general lack of posts in the last week or so. Rocks (my cat) is unwell again which has been awful, between that and a busy work week, going into the city for the weekend, plus some other crazy stuff happening I’ve not really had a chance to catch up on much. The next month or so is not promising to calm down although I do have a couple of trips planned where I should be able to chill out and take a step back from the crazy. Keep your eyes peeled for updates but you can also check out my Twitter or Instagram @mortuarygem if you want to see what’s happening. As always, get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

MG x

London Month of the Dead Continues

At the weekend I had the absolute pleasure of spending most of my time within West Brompton cemetery amongst the graves and shielding from the rain on Sunday in the chapel. I’d inadvertently chosen two events to attend that interested me for different reasons but ended up being very close to my heart for the same reason. In some ways I’m glad I don’t look too much into events before I attend so I can have nice surprises like this. In other ways I felt very naive for not realising!

What a difference a day makes! Bright sunshine to dreary rain. Definitely made for a different atmosphere in the cemetery each day.

In the sunshine of Saturday, Laura D and I attended a double session of talks on the topic of the Crossbones Graveyard in Southwark. Long time readers might remember I wrote about this graveyard previously as it used to be a favourite lunchtime spot when I was working at Guy’s Hospital. In the mizzle of Sunday we went to a talk discussing the mass graves of Spitalfields, something I thought would be historical and interesting. However, it proved that both talks had a large, if not complete, basis in archaeology, and those that know me well will know I have an archaeological background.

Lives of London Past – Red Cross Way (Crossbones)

I won’t go into too much detail as always, because I want to encourage you to go to talks and I don’t want to ruin any future ones for anybody. That and it doesn’t seem fair to the speakers to tell you all about their work. However, the Crossbones talk was a brilliant contrast to Spitalfields and I will explain why.

On one side you have a relatively unknown graveyard that was saved from being destroyed entirely due to the work of the community and those who fought to save it. This largely came through the work of the second speaker of the day, John Constable, who wrote a book titled Southwark Mysteries and has a lot of his work based around the figure of the ‘Goose’ who would have worked and lived in the area of the time as a sex worker. Jelena Bekvalac spoke intitially on the collection of 148 individuals who were excavated from this site and are now looked after by her at the Museum of London in Barbican. Her detailed analysis of the demographic of the individuals and some of the insights their bones gave to their lives were really fascinating. It’s hugely important to note that this was only a partial excavation and there were a lot more than 148 people buried there, although many have probably been destroyed or removed by buildings on the site previously.

Some interesting decor by the sponsor Hendricks gin

On the other side, the Spitalfields excavation that Don Walker from Museum of London Archaeology presented was more complete. Thousands of skeletons were removed and the site now has the market on top, although you can visit today and still see remnants like the priory. The research project into this excavation was lucky enough to be funded well, so they were even able to carbon date a lot of the findings. This allows much more precise dating than normal, and meant that certain assumptions about the period of burial were not made and therefore something much more exciting happened in the research into why there were so many mass graves at that time.

It was odd but lovely hearing about archaeology again. About stratigraphy, matrices, site codes, and even a little mention of hypoplastic defects (I might have written a whole 15,000 word dissertation about those delightful little things! I also have volunteered for both the Museum of London, although at their Docklands Museum, and also for MOLA but at their archive in Eagle Wharf Road. It was great in addition to bump into two of the hosts of the Dead Kids Club podcast too and say hello to them! They’re three PhD students from UCL where I studied who discuss different archaeological stuff together in a great podcast. You can listen to it where you get your podcasts, for example here.

So the London Month of the Dead is about halfway through now and I’ve loved the events so far. I think most of the events are sold out but it’s worth checking out what’s available and get yourself to a talk if you can! We have a couple left and I will let you know about them when we’ve attended.

MG x

Where Is My Mind?

As I tweeted on the day, I really struggled to say anything in regards to Mental Health Day when so many others were posting poignant and significant things. I struggled not only because I didn’t know what to say but I also didn’t know how to say it. I almost had too much to say while also having nothing to say all at the same time.

The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to explain myself. I think I thought it such a hard topic to discuss, and then again I discuss the similarly hard topic of death all the time, so how can I find it so hard? Maybe because I’m not used to talking about it so regularly, but I’m not against the idea. I think also, death is something that happens to everyone and is universal whereas mental health can be an individual thing and you could not be affected by it negatively at all.

Like with death, I do believe as with so many others, that mental health issues should be discussed more. I think the problems with mental health are two fold in that we rarely see evidence of people having problems and the experiences of those with problems are so wide and varied it can range from mild to incredibly severe scenarios. In effect, this makes it invisible until it becomes visible, often in the most awful and damaging of ways.

My own experiences with mental health started quite young, I’d say mid-teens and I still have the faint symptoms now although I accept I could always end up back there or worse than my truly awful days. I mostly suffered with depression, with bouts of anxiety thrown in, which worsened when I moved out from my parents’ house and bought my own flat. I did take medication, the dosage increased until I was on the highest the doctor said I could have. Medication for me was an appropriate thing for three years but I knew when the time was right to come off. By time being right, I don’t mean I was better exactly but I was done with the changes the medication made to me and wanted to try to cope without it. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take it again if I was advised to, or be against someone taking it for the rest of their life if necessary.

Working where I do now, I see the horrible things that bad mental health can do to people. I see suicides far more regularly than I thought I would, and I see families completely unaware there was even a chance their relative felt that way in some cases. I couldn’t possibly explain why it happens, I honestly believe that the evil nature of this range of illnesses can make you believe the worst things and that can mean someone thinking that they would be better off dead. Like with any other illness, I believe in there being hope for these people, but the stigma around discussing mental health problems needs to be destroyed before more people come forward. Especially men.

When I first moved out, I did something I thought was crazier than the thoughts in my head and I started running. I say running, I mean poorly jogging around the park on my doorstep in the dawn light hoping not to bump into anyone else. I did the Couch to 5k programme, then moved on and did a 10k with a friend who asked me to do that as a helping hand at a tough time, followed by many other runs. Running became a time to be able to think about things logically, it was working better than therapy ever could, allowing me to order and catalogue my thoughts. My dream was to run the London Marathon because that is what kick started my crazy-self stepping out the door in the dim early hours in the hope of one day feeling like a super hero.

Proudly completed the Brighton Half Marathon in 2014 and the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2015. I did the Shine Walking Marathon in 2016 but never have I attempted to run one before.

For six years I’ve applied for a ballot place in the London Marathon knowing I could never raise the thousands of pounds the charity places ask you to. Every year you can donate your entry fee if you are unsuccessful and in the post you receive a consolation ‘Sorry!’ magazine and a rather nice running jacket or jumper. This year I’d decided to not apply again next year, to appreciate a sixth jumper and accept defeat. That was until Monday when I saw the familiar red plastic wrapping of a marathon magazine, minus the puffiness of a jumper. I won’t say exactly what I said but it was the same swear word repeatedly for about ten minutes while laughing like a maniac. I’m not certain I can do this, but I’m going to give it a good go.

Uh oh…

I’ve spent the last four days trying to decide who to raise money for because although I can’t raise £2,000, I can try and raise a bit of cash for someone. Originally I was looking at the bereavement or hospice charities but something didn’t feel right, even though that would totally be on brand! Then I saw a little thing pop up from Mind. What with all the amazing posts this week, I also came home yesterday to have a discussion about mental health with my other half unrelated to any of this. Then we popped out and Where Is My Mind? by the Pixies came on the stereo in the car. That settled it really, and I applied to run for them when I got back. Please bear in mind I have to have a health check before I know I can definitely run but I’m fairly certain I’ll be okay!

Check out the work they do because it’s wonderful!

In all of this, I think I just want to reiterate that I think we have a long way to go when it comes to improving mental health but the more and more I see people talking about it on social media or in normal conversation I know we are moving in the right direction. I will put all the effort I can into helping this change.

MG x

Happy 1st Anniversary To Me!

One whole year employed as a Mortuary Assistant/Trainee APT has gone by. What an incredible thing to be able to say. One year on and I’ve achieved some amazing things I really find hard to believe. Our lovely admin assistant bought me a box of French Fancies to celebrate, and I might have just mentioned it a few times more than was appropriate through the day.

Always a yellow one. Yellow is the best.

Brain count is up to 55, it’s slowed right down again but I’m still counting. I can’t wait to get to my next milestone of 75, although I think I will need to add another post it note at some point or devise a better counting system.

We might have got a new label machine in the office and I definitely didn’t play around with it for a while.

The week before last we said goodbye to one of our experienced members of staff who left to go and work at another mortuary. I was sad to see her go, and I wish her all the best in her future at her new job. She taught me a lot in the post mortem room and I’m really grateful for all her help. My other colleague who has been on maternity leave for what feels like forever has confirmed she is coming back soon so I’m really looking forward to having her back in the team!

I’ve been training people and on Monday I have to stand in front of a room full of nurses and talk to them about what we do. I’m actually quite nervous but also very excited in a weird way. I find giving training to others is really good at showing yourself how much you know.

This week I went and got my flu jab at work! I think it’s really important to protect yourself against the flu if you can, and by doing so you also protect those around you. I hope. Last year I got the jab but my other half didn’t, I had a bit of a cold at one point which was easily gotten over whereas a few days later he was completely bed ridden with flu. I don’t know if I gave it to him, but if he’d had the flu jab he probably wouldn’t have been so sick! Some might wonder why a mortuary worker needs to worry about protecting patients. I still walk through the hospital, see family members and my colleagues so it’s not that I never see another living person!

Dr Flu! This year’s flu jab campaign theme at the trust.

Outside of work, Rocks (my cat) has been out of the vets for over a week now, the longest he’s been home since August. Really great to have him home. I missed him so badly and honestly didn’t think he would be coming home at one point.

October is a busy month, what with the London Month of the Dead happening and a few other events. I’ll be sure to let you know when I’ve attended and what happened. The events at the Barts Pathology Museum kick off again shortly and can be found here. I’m also off on a couple of trips next month and planning them has been a lot of fun.

The Upminster Death Cafe is taking a break for October but will be back on the 6th November and then again on the 4th December. We hoped doing an early one both of these months might attract some different people and give us a chance to have a break over the busy Christmas period! I’m also in the works of planning a weekend event for those that can’t get to the Tuesday evening so if you would like to be included let me know.

MG x

London Month of the Dead Begins

Oh wow did it start well! The evening of Tuesday 2nd October, I attended the first event of the month with some friends. Laura D and I arrived at Highgate cemetery at just after dusk, having taken a bus up (most) of the big hill, and then wandered back down Swain’s Lane towards the chapel with achey calf muscles. Highgate chapel has a definite atmosphere which you want to attend at night, a welcoming glow in the dark and a drifting aroma of citrus from the warm gin cocktails supplied (true to the original Victorian recipe we were told!) cannot be anything but completely delightful.

Couldn’t tire of staring at that ceiling if I tried!

Dr. John Troyer began his presentation once the room was settled and suitably plied with warm gin. John is a lecturer at Bath university and the Director of the Centre for Death and Society. His talk was on the principle that humans have tried to extend their life spans, the reasons why, the consequences of these attempts and the results as they stand now. I won’t go into great detail about the event’s contents as such, mainly because I don’t want to ruin any future talks he may give on this topic if you are lucky enough to attend. I do, however what to discuss the thoughts I came away with. Largely, I was fascinated by his declaration that there is no ‘taboo’ around death existing today as so many (including myself) claim. I was also interested by the fact that at the start and also once presented with all of the information regarding that we could feasibly have our lifespans extended beyond what we consider normal today, when the room was asked if we would want to be immortal there was very few people who actually put their hands up. Mine did not go up at either the start or the end.

Firstly let’s look at the taboo, or the lack thereof. John insisted that the taboo was not there because people are actually starting to talk about death. That the fascination and opposite reaction of avoidance of death comes and goes like fashion almost, so the current death positive movement was nothing new nor was it a revolutionary concept. I guess that having never thought of it on this larger scale, I never really considered that it could be part of a much wider change in viewpoint rather than a new concept as such. However, I’m not convinced this reduces the necessity to highlight death as a taboo in current society. Too many people I encounter refuse to think about death, they refuse to talk about it and they are in complete denial that it is something that should be discussed at some point before it is absolutely urgent. To me that is a taboo, because society has, for a long time, made them feel that talking about death is unacceptable. Maybe you could term it in a different way. Maybe this is dependant on location, on social class, on background and on family experiences or connections. Accepting that, I still see that there is an overriding distaste in society to my career and my interests above those who are intrigued or open to the topic. I think I will still continue to describe this as a taboo, but maybe broaden my reasoning behind that term until I see a greater shift in how people think around me.

Would you choose to be immortal, given the caveat that you could still choose to also end your life at any point? Would you have considered in your choice the concept that the ageing process would also need to be halted somehow at a point where life was feasible? It’s all very thought provoking, however personally very little, if anything, could persuade me that immortality was a good thing. Not because I am religious, I am staunchly an atheist, but because I currently do not see a need for me to be around for an extended period above my allotted time however long that may be. I’m acutely aware that my mindset on this could and probably would change if I was faced with knowing when I would die or if it was soon. I’m not certain if working with death has made me very accepting that it will happen. I think it has certainly helped with my anxiety round the fact I don’t know when but I can’t do anything about it. Although, I am certain that this wouldn’t be the same reason for the majority of people in that room not raising their hand in response and it would be interesting to know their thoughts. It’s an odd thing I would like to explore further, but I do know that I really do feel more comfortable knowing that I will die one day rather than knowing that I would never die.

It was a fantastic way to kick start the London Month of the Dead and I cannot wait for the further events I am attending. Financial and time constraints meant I could only attend a handful but I will update you as I go along. Other than this I have a few other events and trips booked for the coming winter months which I am very excited about so keep a look out for those! If you have anything to say on the points raised above please comment or email me too.

MG x

AAPT Annual Conference London 2018

It’s a most excellent start to any morning when you make a cup of tea only to realise that the milk’s gone off. However I wouldn’t let that ruin or darken my day for I was off early to the AAPT 14th annual conference and this year I had some pretty awesome reasons to be excited.

Cup of tea attempt #2

I arrived at the Holiday Inn Regent’s Park to a crowd of people outside. Some people I recognised, fewer I actually knew and a lot more I had no idea who they were. I’ve been lucky to attend a few AAPT events before including this conference last year, it almost feels like I have a tick-list of people to check off each time to speak to, and this year I got a whole load of new ticks. One thing I will say, the people of the AAPT are always so very friendly and just, well, normal people. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like I fit with a job I’ve had, good news really when I’m pretty certain I’ve got my dream career.

Got a little beefeater bear to go with my Cardiff dragon

When I got there I saw an open door towards the registration desks so I rushed in to get my lanyard and bag of goodies. A little pre-emptive as I was immediately told they weren’t open yet and to go stand outside! Oops! Outside I stood nervously catching people’s eyes and trying to figure out who was an APT and who was a bog standard hotel patron. The doors opened not long after and I got registered, then walked through to the conference room to grab a seat and dump my coat. Then it was time to grab a cup of tea and settle on in for the morning session.

Trusty notebook bought by Laura D and the conference programme

There was an array of talks in the morning and the afternoon of a very high calibre. I particularly enjoyed a presentation by a member of the air ambulance crew who described East London as being ‘well, yes, a bit stabby’ while discussing the kind of call outs he went to. I’ve seen the kinds of procedures they use on people who have arrived at the mortuary but I’ve never been sure exactly how they are carried out or why, now I know! In the afternoon session there was also a presentation by a Sergeant from the Metropolitan Marine Police who look after the river along with other areas, for example I never knew they did high areas like rooftops too! Her presentation was a brilliant and informative one, largely explaining what happens to people if they end up in the river and how they are found. Her presentation ended on discussing the SS Princess Alice disaster where a passenger paddle steamer was struck and sank in the Thames in 1865. A larger part of my notes from this section includes a direct quote of a description of the water at Woolwich where it sank being ‘fast flowing poo soup’.

Thought you might enjoy my little sketch titled ‘how people float’ drawn from an impression the speaker did on stage, fish was not in demonstration.

It was a fabulous day and I got to meet some wonderful people. Right towards the end I found out that I was going to receive a certificate for my CPD (continual professional development) achievement over the last year with others, which I then spent the last hour worrying about going up the front. Typical of me! The AGM (annual general meeting) after the main conference also had the very exciting announcement that I have been appointed the Student Representative on the Council for the AAPT. This mean some hard work but I’m so looking forward to working with the Council going forward. I guess this is also a good time to announce that, all things going to plan, I will be starting my full training course in February 2019. It’s going to be a very exciting time coming up!

CPD certificate and my mugshot on the council listing!

Sadly I didn’t get to attend the evening event, I had to get home early but I was also a little grateful for other commitments. When your last talk of the day is about boat disasters and pulling bodies out of the Thames, a not very confident swimmer like me would be a little anxious about a party on a riverboat!!

I’d like to take an opportunity to thank the hard working people of the AAPT who put together and awesome conference again this year. I loved every minute and I am very much looking forward to the next one in Edinburgh in 2019!

MG x

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