Wait and See

Two things are keeping me busy at the moment – developing my new garden and writing numerous articles.

The bare bones of the garden are now in place and I can see what it will be like – hopefully – in a couple of years. But there are still plenty of empty stretches which will take some time to fill. However I’m enjoying seeing my new shrubs putting out their first blossoms and the apple trees, all two feet of them, coming into leaf.IMG_20190429_100824

And I have seed potatoes chitting on my window ledge in my writing room. Another week or so and I will be able to plant them into one of the new raised beds all ready and waiting. I have plans too, to sow vegetables in the other beds so by summer, I should be able to harvest some fresh, organic produce, that is, if the slugs and other tiny predators allow me and they haven’t fattened themselves up on my labours.raised bed

Article writing, for me, follows much the same process if, again hopefully, a good bit faster. I research my subject first, amassing piles of paper and books scribbled and marked in pencil and adorned with colourful sticky bits. Then I work on a framework, putting down bits and pieces of the most important information that I want to include; the bare bones of the subject. Next, I peruse my notes to fill out the various aspects I have identified in my framework, one topic at a time. I find that my mounds of research materials can be off-putting and I get on better if I can reduce it to manageable bits. It’s not quite so daunting that way!IMG_20190429_100942

Eventually, I have an article that is beginning to meet the demands of the editor or magazine I am writing for. Then to proof-reading and checking the odd fact (some of them very odd!) and a final once over before attaching the article to an email, sending it off and waiting for the response. That’s the worst bit, the waiting. Sometimes you never hear at all. My quickest response (and I’m not saying if it was a rejection or an acceptance) was 40 minutes. Scarcely time for the recipient to read it!

Once the potatoes are planted, it’s a waiting game too. Will they flourish or will some pesky pest make the most of the generous bounty planted especially for them? It’s a case of wait and see. Fingers crossed.IMG_20190429_100930

The Edinburgh 7 Awarded Degrees After 150 Years

My article on the Edinburgh 7 was published recently in the Highlander magazine as The Edinburgh 7 and Their Fight to Become Doctors. It told how, in 1869, seven women applied to study medicine at Edinburgh University. They were accepted but with various restrictions and were the first women to register for a degree at any university in the UK.

cover highlander

After many difficulties, including a riot when they tried to sit an anatomy exam and male students pelted them with mud and shouted obscenities,  they completed four years study but were prevented from taking their exams. This meant that they could not graduate and they were forced to complete their degrees abroad. However, their leader, Sophia Jex-Blake, qualified in Dublin and returned to Edinburgh in 1878 where she was the first female doctor in the city.

article edinburgh 7

Now Edinburgh University has decided to right a wrong and on Saturday July 6th 2019, 150 years after they matriculated, it will award them posthumous MBChB degrees.



The Plaque at Surgeon’s Hall