Topic: Uncategorized

Thank you Manchester... It has been a pleasure!

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📥  Health, Uncategorized

Hi everyone!

This is the first of my blogs which I have written away from my desk, I am currently writing it whilst working as a nanny (it is afternoon nap time of course!), which is much harder than I originally thought and will keep me busy this summer. I miss Manchester already, I had such a lovely send off last week, it feels strange not to be there anymore!

I thought in my last blog I would reflect on some of the skills I have developed, including technical skills relevant to my placement alongside some transferable skills which will be very beneficial in my final year of study, as well as in my future career.

blog7a

blog7b

I thought I would also highlight a few of the other things I have learnt; firstly preparation is key... how does the saying go? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Everything is more likely to run smoothly if there is some planning put into it, some things are still likely to go wrong but not as many things that would go wrong without preparation. Leading onto my overused saying throughout my blogs of not everything in research goes to plan straight away, it doesn’t always go wrong but there can always be setbacks. From this I have learnt to keep calm before getting stressed out, take time to think about the options available. In research there are always tasks that need to be completed, which will save time in the long run when everything is back on track, so I have learnt that when these setbacks do occur it is worth thinking ahead and working on other tasks which need to be completed. Finally I think that if you are looking to do a work placement working in research it is also important to note that you get out what you put in! I had some amazing opportunities whilst working at Salford and the experience has been invaluable, I have learnt so much! I wouldn’t of chosen a different placement at all and believe that this one was the one for me.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Have a fantastic summer, I can’t wait to get back to Bath!

Emily

 

The Last Hurdle

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📥  Health, Uncategorized

Hey everyone!
It is nearly over and I can’t believe it, where on earth have the last 10 months gone?! I have had a great time in Manchester and will be really sad to leave work next Thursday, although I do plan to come back for a few days here and there over the summer.
In terms of my project I am now further with my data analysis (Matlab still confuses me) but I have managed to analyse the data for 18 subjects.. with over 200 peak values per subject this took longer to organise than I originally thought! My personal aim was to collect and analyse a set of data for 20 subjects before I finished my placement. After next week I should hopefully have done this, I had a meeting with my supervisor earlier this week and he said that over the summer there may be an opportunity to publish some of my work, which is really exciting!
I am still waiting for two pairs of orthotics to arrive from Spain, they arrived last week but both of them had been manufactured wrong so had to be sent back. This setback has delayed testing the final subjects, alongside this the equipment I need has been fully booked as one of the gait labs is been refurbished from next week and won’t be back up and running until later in the year. They hopefully will arrive by the end of today and I will be able to slot the subjects in around everyone else before I leave next Thursday, I know I am going to be cutting it fine.
I have learnt so much from my placement but one thing that I think I learnt on day one (I guess I may have mentioned this before) is that research does not always go to plan straight away. This can be very stressful especially as unlike a regular 9-5 job in this environment you work to deadlines, so when one thing sets you back it has a knock on effect to many other factors. During my placement there has been such a strong emphasis on that ‘you get out what you put in’, I am now much more able to take responsibility for my own learning. I think this is going to be very beneficial in my final year of study and in my future career, especially if I stay on into post graduate education.
Alongside leaving my placement I will be sad to leave Manchester in general, I have made some friends for life here and as a city it is fantastic. I never thought as a country girl I would have so much fun in what I think is a massive place (my friends in London don’t really agree), I just love the fact that the city never stops and that there are always people around in the centre whatever time day or night.
In other news Manchester United won the premiership, that is also really exciting and I am thankful for the opportunities working at Old Trafford this year has given me! I mean Fergie knows who I am, how cool is that…
I will write my final blog the week after I finish, I will reflect on the most important things I have learnt and how this placement has affected my personal development.
Thanks for reading!
Emily

 

Nearly 21...

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📥  Health, Uncategorized

Hi guys!

I can't believe it is the end of February this time is flying by, I am just about to embark on a very busy few weeks by the end of which I should hopefully have a pair of custom orthotics for each subject alongside having collected some pressure data.. fingers crossed.

I have started my data collection journey, so far I have (with the help of a podiatry student) taken a foam impression box of each of the participant’s feet. There are varying methods of taking the impression depending on the type of orthotic required. In my project participants were positioned seated with their hips and knees flexed at 90 degrees, they then are asked to rest one foot onto the foam box, the foot was then positioned into subtaler neutral and then pushed down into the foam to make the impression. This sounds very simple but does require quite a lot of effort to push the foot into the foam.

Tom showing me how to take a foam impression

Tom showing me how to take a foam impression

An example of a foam impression

An example of a foam impression

These impressions were then scanned using a 3D scanner from which I created a mesh of each foot, however due to various complications with software when trying to design the custom orthotic to fit the impression this resulted in a change of plan yesterday. The software was also in Spanish.. so if I ever am stuck in Spain I hope the words open, save, template and mesh will help me out! It was decided that filling the impressions with plaster and then scanning the plaster casts would provide a much better image with a lot less noise, due to the fact it will be like completing a 3D scan directly from a foot, I will then create a new mask for each participant from these scans. Yesterday I went in to the plaster room early before any lessons started and filled all of the foam boxes (I think I got just about as much plaster on me that actually went into the impressions). After the plaster had set I then had to sand and file the casts down which I then scanned as I did originally with the foam boxes. I am now in the process of designing the custom orthotics using the same Spanish software but it is working! My stress levels were pretty high yesterday and I had to keep calm as I had to ensure that the custom orthotics would be manufactured in time before easter as most of my subjects are undergraduate students, this should be all okay as everything is going to plan now so for the first time in a few days I am back to grinning like a cheshire cat!

I really enjoyed making the casts.. it was very messy though!

I really enjoyed making the casts.. it was very messy though

Some feet ready to be scanned

Some feet ready to be scanned

It kind of looks like something from a horror movie

In other news next week United are playing Real Madrid which I am very excited about (I am slowly turning into a football fan), I have a feeling there will be some big names in the box for that match! I noticed last night on my way home that Rooney was making an appearance in a book store in central Manchester,  people were going to extreme lengths to get into the store and try and get a photograph it was absolute chaos. I just strolled on past not even phased which made me realise that my position at United has also given me some amazing opportunities to meet people from varying backgrounds and in all different professions, whether that be part of the team working for United (footballers included) or clients who visit the box.

Doing an unpaid placement was a big worry of mine before I started in Manchester, I was worried that having to also work a part time job would mean I would be at work every day of the week which could almost ruin my placement year. However this has been the complete opposite mainly due to the flexibility of my placement, the fact that every day is different and the casual basis of my position at Old Trafford. My job role as a research fellow does not really entail the 9-5 set up, the added flexibility means that even if sometimes I am in the lab first thing in the morning at 7am or until 8pm on other days I can start at 11am when I have not got as much to do. If you are currently worrying about taking on an unpaid position, then no need to panic jthere are ways to work around it.. make sure you speak to your supervisor as early as possible and hopefully like mine they will be very understanding!

A week today I also turn 21 and I am super excited! I have booked the day of  and a few people are coming up to York for the weekend who I haven't seen since the end of 2nd year so it is going to be wild! I am sure I will update you in my next blog about how it goes and I will hopefully be near the end of my data collection.. wish me luck! 🙂

Emily

 

New Year Update...

📥  Health, Uncategorized

Hi Guys!
Happy New Year to you all and I hope you all had a good one. I can’t believe how fast this month has gone. It is crazy to think I have been here for 6 months now! I was pretty busy in the run up to Christmas at both Salford and United, so having two weeks off whilst the uni was closed was a most welcome. It was good to get back to Yorkshire too, gods own county and all that…

It was nice to go back to the countryside over christmas!

It was nice to go back to the countryside over christmas!

For the first few weeks of January I was helping a PhD student in the lab, I can’t really say too much about the project, as it is a fairly new concept which is being kept ‘under wraps’, but it did involve motion analysis. I was using free standing cameras rather than the cameras fixed in the lab so it was a challenge in itself, setting the cameras up so that they could see the movement is fairly complex and it did cause a lot of stress, especially as, for one subject everything would run perfectly and then 30 minutes later in exactly the same set up everything would run far from perfect. However, after a lot of early mornings and large coffees, we did eventually overcome the challenge which allowed for some ‘good’ data to be collected and the last few days actually ran really smoothly.

Apart from the lab work, I have been putting a lot of planning into my study, this has ranged from making a gaant chart to work out the time scale of the project to emailing (what feels like hundreds) of potential subjects persuading them to basically come and walk in the lab for me. I never realised how much time and effort goes into planning and organising - before you can start thinking about data collection, even small things like the fact I had to find and buy 10 pairs of suitable trainers (I went for sport directs finest). My challenge for the start of Feb is too learn how to use ‘Matlab’, so that I am able to analyse my data, It took me long enough to install the programme on my laptop never mind attempt to use it, the girl who I got the software from left me a note with it which quite simply read ‘Welcome to hell’…

Buying ten pairs of the same trainers felt a little strange!

Buying ten pairs of the same trainers felt a little strange!

The project is well underway now with my hopes to start ‘casting feet’ for the custom orthotics in two weeks time. I am going to be working alongside an undergrad podiatry student called Tom who will help me out with the casting - this will not only benefit me with his podiatry knowledge and experience, but also gives him a chance to get more involved in the research side of things too. I went to meet him for the first time this morning and while I was waiting at Costa I did feel like I was going on a blind date! I am really excited to get the data collection underway and get back in the lab.

I thought in this blog I would write about some of the other challenges I have had to face since I started in July. You may remember from my previous blogs that I have spent a lot of time helping with a project, where the main researcher was based off site. We decided, at the end of September, that before Christmas we would have collected data from 25 subjects, whom I would recruit and organise for testing (which was challenging enough - with 4 separate sessions all completed in different labs).

I had to carry out the kinematic and pressure testing alongside another research fellow and then I did some foot scans. The idea of been in charge of collecting this data, at this early stage in my placement was fairly challenging in itself, but I also had to organize when the subjects would come to each testing session (working around other lab bookings) and dealing with the researcher, who was based off-site and who has only had 9 days in England since September. This meant that at times I had to make some crucial decisions on the project and when a few things started to go wrong I had to take responsibility and keep calm! After we had collected the data, I had to send four data sets from each subject to Ireland for analysis, without losing any data and keeping the information confidential etc. From this whole process I have learned that good communication and organisational skills are vital, whether this is done over skype/telephone/email or between me and my supervisor in person.
Another important thing I have learnt so far is that research does not always go to plan straight away. Everything may make perfect sense on paper, but in the lab it is a ‘whole new ball game’. If you are looking at going into a research related placement, this may be a good thing to take on board, perseverance is vital and a positive outlook will get you further (and less stressed) than a negative one!

Emily

 

The 10gen Interview Process According to a 7 and 9 Year Old

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📥  Uncategorized

Interview Process

Something a little different today - I thought readers might appreciate a look into what my boss' two children feel the appropriate process for a 10gen interview is. I certainly wish this had been the case for my interview (though not sure I'd have passed the 'artistic past' question!).

 

All for the love of feet...

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📥  Health, Uncategorized

Hi Guys

I thought I would write this blog entry based more around how I ended up here, my placement is similar to others on my course, linked to my job and the environment I am working in, but the main subject area is slightly different in some respects. Working as a research fellow at the University of Salford has really allowed me to put my skills already developed at Bath to practical use alongside helping me to learn new skills and work with different equipment. I'm working in the foot and ankle biomechanics department, meaning that everything is very feet related… to some people I imagine this would be their worst nightmare, but for some reason it is a big interest of mine which is why I think I am enjoying my time here so much!

I guess that when it came to looking for placements I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do, podiatry had always been a career aspiration, even before applying to Bath, but I still applied to a variety of placements ranging from working in a school to performance analysis, I even got offered a couple but I still wasn’t sure (now I know I made the right decision).

I was not sure whether I would find a placement linked to podiatry, I did a lot of research and worked out that if I went to work in a private practice I would probably take on the roll of receptionist so to speak (stereotypical intern.. making the tea) as I am not qualified. The idea of working in a research environment came from one of my lecturers, this would allow me to get hands on experience working on a variety of projects and also work alongside some podiatrists - bettering both my sport science and podiatry understanding. I did my research and got in touch with my supervisor here at Salford explaining what I wanted to do, he invited me for an ‘interview’ and it went from there. Thats how I ended up here in Manchester (as a bonus my supervisor might be able to organise some work 'shadowing', for me in the new year).

What I'm trying to say is, that if you are currently thinking about doing/looking for a placement then always try to find one which interests you. There is such a wide range of placements organised by Bath that to most people this won’t be an issue (it may even become tempting to just go and do something that you don’t really care that much about) but if, like me, you have a different interest, then do pursue it, it is worth it! I think the main aim of my placement is to work out what I would like to do in the future. Whether this is to go and study podiatry after I graduate or whether I want to carry on my education and complete a masters, hopefully at some point before the end of my placement I will know which route I want to take.

Anyway back to my placement, since my first blog I have been really busy developing an idea for my own study which should be underway in the new year. As a general overview of the project I will be looking at 'the effect of foot orthoses' and whether there is a significant difference between the effects of prefabricated and custom made during the walking gait cycle. There is a large debate about this in the literature which has been ongoing over the last few years, so I feel this is an important research issue to approach. I am also excited about learning to make custom orthotics, using two different methods and some very expensive equipment such as CAD-CAM software (I always knew making that plastic perfume bottle in year 9 using CAD-CAM would come in useful). I will be collecting kinematic data using a 16 camera Qualisys system alongside a Pedar in-shoe pressure system which I have already become competent using.

Just some of the orthoses I have been working with.. it is pretty easy to get confused which is which!

I have been pretty busy lately, last week at one point I had done 42 hours in three days trying to balance both placement and my job at United (leaving the house at 6:45am, leaving placement at 6pm, then going straight to United 7-2am for three days running is pretty tough, but I do like a challenge!). I also bumped into Fergie in a lift and he knew my name, which made me happy!

I still have a few tasks to do up until Christmas; these include reviewing some literature, planning my protocol and applying for ethics, along with the christmas work do, obviously!

(http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1588380_manchester-christmas-markets-2012-a-guide-to-the-citys-festive-stalls)

I cannot believe how fast the time has gone, Manchester is full of Christmas cheer with the German markets scattered all over town and a massive ice skating rink. The fact that I walk past them is turning into a bit of a problem, a hog roast/mulled wine every couple of days is not doing wonders for me or my bank balance!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Emily

Tracht und Pracht- how my apron told the world I was widowed

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📥  Politics Languages & International Studies, Uncategorized

Oktoberfest

Every year, round about the end of September through to the first week of October, Munich, the Bavarian capital, is hit by an internationally-renowned, centuries-old phenomenon which completely changes the city’s character from a pleasantly cultured air to an alcohol-fuelled haze of sea-shantying, swaying, beer-swilling madness. Locals call this ‘die Wiesn’. Some call it ‘ein Chaos’ and make plans to be out of town for its duration. The rest of the world calls it Oktoberfest.

It all kicks off with a parade of national costume groups from all over Europe, waving flags, dancing, blowing horns, riding horses- there was even a carpenter carving wooden sculptures on one of the floats. They all walk through the city, up to Theresienwiese, the site of the main festivities. Some lovely old ladies, pitying my shortness, let me stand at the front of the teeming crowds lining the street, opposite the Bayerischer Hof (“I’ve translated for the Hof!” I couldn’t help thinking smugly.) A thrilling addition to the proceedings involved whips... men in scarlet waistcoats stood in formation (everyone cowered) and simultaneously struck the ground with a din like gunshots.

What couldn’t have been clearer was that one integral component of the Bavarian lifestyle is traditional dress: Lederhosen with stockings and waistcoats for men, and Dirndls and perky little hats for the ladies. It isn’t just reserved for Oktoberfest; you genuinely will see people of all ages and nationalities wearing them all year round. Around Oktoberfest time (even up to a month before), seeing someone who isn’t wearing it is unusual. It thus became apparent to me that I, a registered Bavarian citizen, could embrace the ever-growing trend myself. I wasn’t a mere tourist, spending a small fortune for something I wouldn’t wear after this visit. No, I was now a Münchner on paper and in affinity. I took a sneaky trip to C&A, along with about half of the western world, or so it seemed, to take advantage of the sale to pick up a Dirndl.

For those who have not yet had the pleasure of doing the same, let me put it thus: Wearing Tracht is like being allowed to wear fancy dress even though it’s not Halloween and you aren’t five years old. It makes you feel special, but not silly, because everyone else is wearing it too; and the special feeling reflects itself in the little spring in your step, the swish of your skirts. I don’t usually get like this about clothes, much to the benefit of my purse- what with that and being a non-drinker, my boyfriend delights in my relatively low expensiveness. But it was just one of those things- I saw it, heavy blue cotton with a print of faded roses, a dainty puff-sleeved lace blouse under it, laced with bright frills and ribbon, and thought immediately, “That one- if I am actually going to do this- is definitely the one.”

What a mad profusion of colours and fabrics and bijoux. Older women wore more sober colours and prints, but their dresses were the genuine article, passed down to them from their own mothers, down through the generations, and they accessorised them with jaunty little feathered hats and jangling chain belts of charms. Most girls stuck to the traditional checkered pattern, but chose lime green, fuschia pink and sky blue, bearing gingerbread hearts and tiny heart-shaped handbags and heavy glass pendants. Thus musing, and now suitably attired, I braved the crush on the train and did Oktoberfest.
What’s it like? It’s a funfair teeming with all sorts of rides and food stalls, but so much BIGGER. It’s a mad mélange of chair-o-planes, Ferris wheels, rollercoasters, candy floss, Bratwurst, pretzels, candied nuts and neon lights. Oh, and everyone is dressed like something out of a storybook, even the ones vomiting profusely on the grass verge. What makes this fair different is the beer tents, built as solidly as actual houses. I went to the red-and-yellow Hippodrome, where a brass band played before the teeming masses- and of course, every other song was ‘Ein Prosit!’, the cue for swigging and tankard-clashing. Furtively I glanced around. All the Münchners had their apron bows tied at their hips, not at the back. I retied mine accordingly.

In work several days later, I brought the Dirndl out again, and a colleague gave me an amused look. “You’re wearing your bow on the wrong side,” she said.
“Again?!”
She taught me the rules. An uncomfortable thought occurred to me.
“So if you wear it at the back...”
“Oh, whatever you do, don’t do that. It means you’re divorced, or widowed.”
Ah well, we live and learn...

So anyway, if you happen to see someone who looks like they’ve stepped straight out of ‘The Sound of Music’ waltzing around Bath next year, full of the joys of spring, don’t be alarmed, and don’t send for the men in white coats. It’s only me. 🙂

 

Progression and digression

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📥  Politics Languages & International Studies, Uncategorized

The upward trajectory of my A4e career continues with force after meetings in London and recommendations to apply for roles above my own.

I attended a meeting with the communications team in London at the end of last month to discuss my involvement with the company magazine/newsletter (its actual classification is under some contestation after a resize from tabloid to simple A4).

This was a very productive meeting. Mainly because those already involved in the process were jumping at the chance for an extra pair of reasonably experienced hands at no extra cost. Suits me; I am used to going above and beyond my remit to take on projects which are more closely related to my career aspirations than my role itself.

I was set a few tasks whilst at HQ including some media monitoring, and Twitter analysis in relation to the recent news coverage. The Editorial meeting itself was very interesting as I got to see how the magazine itself is constructed and was able to meet their Freelance writer who was an absolute delight! She worked for the ‘News of the Screws’ as she deemed it until its shameful collapse and now has gone freelance despite multiple offers from other newspapers. I always love chatting to people in the industry; it is great to get a sense of what it is actually like.

The member of staff in charge of A4e Voice was also very keen to ensure my involvement was continuous throughout my time at A4e which I was very pleased about. I also sneaked in a cheeky suggestion that maybe they could hire me as a Freelance Writer also when I finish my temporary contract seeing as I have the edge of an insider’s understanding of A4e staff and processes – the topics on which the magazine is focussed. This was reasonably well received, and is something I will continue to work on throughout my time here.

It also got me thinking about increasing my Freelance work from home in addition to my job here. I started to do a little research into sites which marry up writers and contract providers, many of which I am sad to say you seem to have to pay for. I will persevere, if any of you lovely readers have any ideas please comment and share them with me!

I was tasked with four different pieces of work for this month’s edition. Two of which I have already completed, and the other two I have contacted the relevant people for interview ready to crack on when I return from hols.

This month my work digressed further from my original remit. I took part in a training session after having an idea which I thought that could help a number of our customers. I constructed a sheet of ‘buzz words’ interviewers like to hear such as ‘organisation’ and ‘customer service’ and tasked customers to think of specific examples either from previous employment, education or even home situations which highlights that particular quality. I then discussed the importance of providing solid examples and encouraged them to rehearse these examples to create a memory bank of responses they could dip in and out of during an interview.

This training was very well received not only by the customers themselves who said they would be delighted to have me back but by our in House trainer who has been in the business for years! This got my little brain thinking about completing some kind of training/teaching qualifications, as it is always an area which I have been intrigued by.

Another exciting turn of events in relation to my personal development it was suggested to me by my Business Leader and an Advisor that I should consider putting myself up for the role of Advisor should a position become vacant. When I joined, and in my first blog post about A4e I signposted this as a direction in which I would like to head, but I never thought it would be this soon.

The role would have meant I would be taking on a case load over around 80 customers, to manage and develop myself. I would see them one to one and arrange any training initiatives I felt they suited as well as insured they were job searching and fulfilling a suitable number of applications effectively. In addition to this there would be emotional support and encouragement which is something I try to provide in my role at the moment. There would also be the task of sanctioning those that fail to comply, and also a great amount of employer engagement. That is, reaching out to potential employers to ensure they use us as a first point of call to fulfil their recruitment needs.

Sadly the position that may have become vacant never materialised, but it did however instil me with a great sense of hope about my future with the company.

 

Getting to know you- Münchners are like chocolates

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📥  Politics Languages & International Studies, Uncategorized

And so, my life as a Münchnerin began.

Münchners are like chocolates.

And so, my life as a Münchnerin began.

It did take a while to adjust, I have to say. The train system still had- shock horror- announcements from the drivers, rather than automated ones like in Berlin. Though the prevailing mood in these announcements seems to be ‘bored out of my skull’ (if you are on the verge of slipping into a coma, please do not drive a train!) Often when I hear `Zurück bleiben’, it has been savagely whittled down to two mere pops of syllables- ‘Zük blei’. The stations were different too. My home station, Münchner Freiheit, is a stark contrast to all of the others- fluorescent green tiling, glowing blue pillars and a mirrored ceiling, in which you can see yourself reflected upside-down. No chance of missing that stop.

I had to register as a citizen again, but unlike in Berlin, it didn’t take all day. I did have to get up ridiculously early to queue outside the door, but that was to be expected- Germans’ internal clocks just seem to be set a couple of hours earlier. I was hoping this might rub off on me, and that I would be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, gaily leaping out of bed to embrace the new day with a shout of ‘Guten Morgen München!’

Well... it hasn’t happened yet.

Another thing I learned the hard way is that Münchners do not restrain their curiosity. If you are wearing a brightly-coloured coat or your features are not wholly Caucasian (in my case, usually both), you are likely to incur accusatory stares. Men may whistle or mutter darkly to themselves (thought the muttering might be due to the preponderance of the hands-free earpiece. Either way, it’s a tad disconcerting.)

In my view, Münchners are a bit like chocolates- cold and hard on the outside, but in actual human interactions, the shell cracks and they are actually sweet and soft-hearted. They will give you directions before you ask for them, or start up a good-natured conversation in the lift (us Brits would stare at the floor or fiddle with our mobiles, anything to avoid having to chat!).

One wonderfully quirky Münchner, Ingo Maurer, has a local studio filled with beautiful madness- whole flocks of lightbulbs with wings and lampshades made of glass bottles of cherryade. He designed my neon station too.

So, my daily journey to work goes thus.

I wander round the flat in a haze of exhaustion and throw myself into the lift (not for claustrophobic- there are even scratches on the walls, as if someone’s tried to claw their way out...) The next thing worthy of note is the beautiful St. Ursula church with its pale green dome. If I’m ahead of schedule (or really behind, which I never am, of course) I hear the bell ringing in the quarter-hour. The street connects to an arterial Munich road, Leopoldstraße, home to rows of shops, restaurants and cinemas. Narrowly avoiding death-by-cyclists, I cross into another tangle of side-streets framing the enormous English Gardens. On the corner is a little art shop, whose works I always admire (this means I can let the postwoman on her yellow bike go past without flattening myself against a wall.) In the third window I pass are two little bronze people sat upon a bronze bench, folded like paper- one man and one woman. Between them is a golden apple. The sign declares this to be a ‘Liebesbarometer’- affection portrayed by the distance between the couple. I always peek in to see how they’re doing. Sometimes they’re overlapped, the apple forgotten. But as I write this, they’ve been at opposite ends of the bench, not facing each other, all week. One wonders if things are rocky between the shop owner and significant other...
It never fails to amuse me when I look up from my desk and see a stream of helmeted tourists whizzing past the window on segways with a mild `Bzzzzzzz’.

Sometimes my colleagues and I pop to one of a plethora of bakeries.
“Haben Sie noch einen Wunsch?” said the woman who served me once, handing over the Nusshörnchen.
Did I have another wish? It sounded scarily final. “Yes, I would like world peace with my croissant.”

After work I often wander to Marienplatz, the definite centre of Munich, dripping with high-class fashion and gorgeously gothic buildings, like the famous Rathaus with its glockenspiel. There is a gloriously talented musical group I keep bumping into called Scherzo. Their line-up varies, but most of the time there’s a double bassist, a pianist, a clarinettist (“Please ladies and gentlemen don’t make any video recordings our CDs are here to buy we are taking a short break thank you”) and a violinist, plus a different singer each time. They even bring their own grand piano to wherever they perform. That’s dedication to your art if ever I saw it.
I just had time to get into a comfy little routine before the madness of Oktoberfest hit Munich with more force than the WW2 bomb detonated just down the road from my office, which blew all the windows out and started some fires...

Anyway ... Bis zum nächsten Mal!