Thursday, February 07, 2013

Cake and friendship

Not gardening-related, but I wanted to record for posterity the most gorgeous cake, and thank the person who made it, who has come to be a friend of mine.

A few years ago, I was head of the department in which I still work. I didn't like being head of department, but that is another story, thankfully another one with a happy ending. A lady came for an interview to come onto our Foundation Degree in Food Technology course, of which I was the course manager. She sat in my office, and explained that it was a long time since she had been at school, had brought up a family, and had a young daughter. She wanted to do something for herself, and that something was to do the foundation degree.

We went through the course and what it entailed. As I explained the modules (which have a heavy science and technology bias), Sam came out with: "I can't do science" and "I can't do maths". But she could. She could combine study for a foundation degree (equivalent to the first two years of an honours degree), with being a mum to a lovely daughter. OK, so quite a few "mature" students do that. But Sam's daughter has Spina Bifida and is confined to a wheelchair. Sam combined undergraduate study with being a mum, and regularly going with her daughter to Alder Hey hospital for complex operation after operation. To while away the time at the hospital, she would even take her assignments.

Sam completed the Foundation Degree, and took the brave move to top this up to a full Honours degree with us. Let's face it, by year 3 of a degree, even full-time students tend to have sobered up and to start working hard. Combining this with looking after a family and all of the time she and her husband spent with Beth, and working with Go Folic (see Sam and her daughter here) and the effort is Herculean.

This September I saw Sam graduate with a 2(i) Honours degree in Food Technology. I was so proud of the lady who sat and told me that she couldn't do maths or science.

What I forgot to say is that Sam has a host of other skills, and one of these is cake decorating. She runs Top Tier Designs. And she made Thomas' first birthday cake. It's perfect. Thank you, Sam x

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Green(ish) wall

Monday, February 04, 2013


Ten years today since the saddest day of my life.

One year today since the happiest day of my life.

Happy first birthday, Thomas x
Happy birthday, Dad x Something nice to celebrate on your birthday now x
Miss you always, Mum x