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Inside the Core - February 2021

Inside the Core - February 2021

Regular readers will know it’s my birthday this month, and - as with most of the population - I had a lockdown birthday. We celebrated with cake, presents and cards but not much else. The kids thought it was only right, as they and Mr H all had lockdown birthdays in 2020. The kids made and decorated the cake with no help but a little oversight.

While it doesn’t look like we will get to Disneyland Paris anytime soon, we have booked camping for the summer.  We are going to visit Norfolk, which is a long way from Cumbria so we’re breaking the journey for a few days on the way down (place to be decided) and near York on the way back. A staycation feels more achievable this year than going aboard.

I feel like I need a holiday as I have been trying to attend IRPA15 while still attending meetings at work. This is the downside to a virtual conference; you have to make time for it rather than physically being away from the day job and having nothing else to do other than attend presentations. I also miss the social and networking side of the conference. I saw a presentation which inspired me to try and do something similar within SRP - at a physical conference I would try and speak to the presenter, give them my card and hopefully get theirs in return. But with a virtual conference I have to scratch about to find some contact details or rely on my contacts who may know someone who knows the presenter. Not a very reliable route for setting up a potential international collaboration which is one of the things the IRPA congresses are all about. 

There’s a wide range of topics and a wider still range of talks and posters to digest. I attended IRPA13 in Glasgow and my overwhelming memory is trying to decide which presentation sessions to attend; sometimes there were up to 5 different ones to pick from and once it was gone it was gone. With IRPA15 being virtual, all the talks are recorded and there is so much material to consider whether to watch or not. There are benefits in that you can rewind and pause the talks which is useful if you get a phone call or have to stop for another commitment. At the closing ceremony it was mentioned that the talks will be kept as a record of the congress to be preserved for history, which will be a unique snapshot of current RP issues and thoughts.

At home, lockdown novelty, which was low to start with, has definitely worn off. We are all a little bored with being at home and we are getting to the jobs that almost never get done; you know, sorting out and binning the old paperwork you don’t need anymore (with the address of our old house on, from 12 years ago) or finally sorting out the DIY jobs you keep putting off.

I caught up with some of my SRP mates for a video call games night this month and it was good to have a conversation with different people. We had a drink or three and played a few Jackbox tv games as well as having a good old fashion catch up.

Usually at this point in the year SRP Outreach would be ramping up for Big Bang Science Fair next month and it feels weird not to be stressing about whether we will have enough volunteers on the right days. In 2020 Big Bang was cancelled, but this was only 5 days before it was due to start; so while the event didn’t happen, all the planning did. Hopefully 2022 will bring back large face to face events and we will once again be hoping everyone turns up, we have enough of the right size of t-shirts and enough SRP pencils and sweets to get through the week.

And lastly a short update on my CRadP application. I have written the form and got back one supporter form; I now need to chase up the second supporter form then I can submit it. Lorna Galbraith agreed to have a race with me after my blog in November and we caught up after Christmas with where we were up to. I was further along as I had a bit of a lull at work in the run up to Christmas and used some of the time to progress my application. Hopefully by my next blog I will have submitted it.

You can get in touch on the usual details.

Stay safe, be kind.

Jennifer Humphries
SRP Director of Engagement
Twitter - @jenkhumphries
Email -

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