Peter Knight's Web Site
Things for me, friends, family... and passers by

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november 2001 Pete's Letters:
Open letters to friends and family

Why these letters are here:
I used to think the "one-letter-serves-all" approach was a bit impersonal, but over the years it's become pretty clear that I'm not very good at keeping up a regular correspondence even with the people who's addresses I haven 't lost. May be this will be better than nothing! If you read this, send me a note by way of reply! 
(Follow this link for some of the letters I've received out of the blue from visitors to this site) 
March 2004
April 2004
June 2004
August 2004
September 2004
November 2004


All other years

March 2004.
Well, it's March already and this is the first time this year that I've had a spare afternoon in which to think about updating any of this web site. That has to say something about the mis-organisation of my life! We've been busier than usual because Debbie is working part time on a research grant job as well as doing her regular part-time library job, as well as dealing with all the winter work of looking after Meg, etc, so until Meg goes out for the summer we're a bit short of spare hours!

All the cats and dogs and bunny and the birds and the fish and the horse are all well, and keep asking me why I haven't put any recent photo's of them on this site. OK, OK, I'll do the photo's instead of feeding and walking you this weekend. No? You can't please some creatures!

Debbie took this of Captain Oates
Debbie's work in the lab (funded by the Leverhulme Trust) is going well, and I have been invited as an all-expenses-paid guest speaker to a meeting in Brussels where I will give a talk about the work we've done! Here's a picture of Debbie in the lab, and here's a .pdf file of the little information sheet on the lab door Debbie's lab notice

The work on the second-edition of the dissertations book is done (until the proofs come back from the publisher for indexing!), so that's another book trundling through towards publication, but with two other books due to go to the publishers this summer I am not short of things to write! I'm also keen to start writing up papers on the recent work I've been doing (with Debbie, Richard, et al.) on the basal ice.

Little Stumpy has received his honourable discharge after 2 years of excellent service, and been replaced just this week by a brand new car for the dogs to mess up! The new one is a Seat Ibiza Sport TDi 130. If anyone's interested there are details and reviews at and I may one day get around to doing a little web page for the new car... but not just yet I'm afraid... too busy. On which note - that's all for now! So long, Stumpy... :(

April 2004.

Emily and the dogs.
At the start of April we had a visit from nephew and niece Jack and Emily. We had a lot of fun doing things like going to the pictures (Scooby Doo 2), ten-pin bowling,  dog-walking, horse-riding, piano-playing, story-writing, clay-pot-making, drawing, and eating LOTS of Easter eggs! Jack and Emily stayed for a few days and we had a lot of fun. Click on these pictures of Jack playing the piano and Emily walking the dogs to see bigger versions.

Jack playing piano

Here's me answering a question from
Dave Sugden after my talk in Brussels.
As soon as Jack and Emily left I had to fly off to Brussels to give a talk about the work that Debbie and I have been doing on our Leverhulme Grant. It was an all-expenses-paid trip as an invited speaker, with the bill picked up by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office. These photo's were taken by Bert at VUB and posted on the workshop website after the meeting... I hope it's OK for me to copy them here!
It was nice to be picked up at the airport, looked after for 2 days, accomodated in a fancy hotel and then dropped back at the airport! Thanks very much to Reggie, Roland, Frank and the teams at ULB and VUB (the two Brussels Universities) for their hospitality. It was good to meet up with people that I hadn't seen for years like Roland, Reggie, Jean-Louis, and David, and to meet a few new people as well.

Part of the group photo taken after the meeting
Now that the Attheraces TV Channel has gone off the air Debbie is missing her constant feed of horse racing so we went to Haydock for an afternoon at the races! It wasn't quite summer weather, and a day at the races is not cheap entertainment (especially if all your horses lose) but it was OK. Over Easter we are having a few "quiet" days at home before getting back to work. Here's Debbie catching a few early-season rays of sunshine outside the back door!

We've also started to explore some of the "urban countryside" walks that Stoke has to offer. I've been intending to do this for years, but finally we started with some tentative steps along the canals around Hanley and the River Trent south of Stoke. Very interesting. Next time I shall take the camera and binoculars, and will report back here on what I find! 

June 2004
Busy, busy, busy! Bought a blow-torch. Am reading (again) "The Great Arc" about how they surveyed India, and have just read "Eats Shoots and Leaves" (a sort of semi-humorous plea on behalf of punctuation). Also still (re-)reading Harry Potter 5 and a book called "Uncertain Science, Uncertain World". Bought a 2-handset cordless phone set, so Debbie doesn't have to miss races by going out to the hall when people phone! Yes, the racing is all back on telly now! Getting close to deadlines on a couple of book contracts, and have just come out of the exam marking period. Could do with a holiday, but no time, really. Must do something about this. All pets fine. Car fine. Debbie fine. Didn't mean it in that order, of course! Debbie has finished her official (salaried) work in the Lab, but it went so well that I want her to carry on! Lots to write up. Got another 3-year deal to write progress reports for Progress in Physical Geography (weird), was invited out of the blue to write an article about "Glaciers and Glaciology, but leaning towards art and history" for the "Interdisciplinary Journal of Science", and have somebody that wants to buy my drawing of Steve McQueen... hmm, not sure I'd sell that one unless they offered me a LOT of money! 

August 2004
Why am I always so busy: no time to get photos on this site! What have I been doing? Nephew and niece Jack and Emily came to stay. Teresa and Matthew came to visit. We visited Mom and George. Debbie has gone to lots of race meetings. I got the proofs of the new 2nd Edition Dissertations book dealt with and sent back to publishers. Got the first draft of the GA Glaciers book written. Am busy compiling all the contributions for the big Blackwell Glaciers book. I did a little bit of TV filming for the BBC at Apedale. I have to get some brand new modules sorted out for teaching in October. I have to get a paper written for giving at a conference in Sheffield in September. I don't have time to sit here writing to you lot!

September 2004
Well, OK, I'll make time!

Olivia at Christening
Louise, Olivia and Emily.
This on the left is little Olivia Grace Thompson, my niece (Debbie's brother's daughter), with her Mum Louise at her Christening. I was Godfather! That's a bit of me on the right holding the service book and there, peeping out from behind my hands, is Emily, Olivia's big sister. 
And here on the right is another youngster. This is Stop, the pigeon. Stop was virtually drowned in Meg's water bucket when I found him. I thought he was dead, but when I fished him out of the water he blinked at me so I brought him home, dried him off, warmed him up and now he seems to think he lives with us! He was too young to fly when I found him, but now he's learning. If he's a homing pigeon, and he thinks this is home, I guess we're stuck with him. Stop, the pigeon
Stop, the pigeon.
My explorations of the local area have been continuing, not only with the "urban walks" I mentioned earlier in the year but with some more rural explorations of the glacial landforms around the west of Newcastle. I've learned an awful lot about the local area in the last few months, and it turns out that I live somewhere even more interesting than I realised! I'll put some of my new-found knowledge to use in my teaching this year. I have been helped by making a connection with folk at the Apedale Community Country Park and Heritage Center, and was also lucky enough to get a guided tour around some of the sand quarries of Cheshire. Every little helps in putting together the pieces of the local landscape puzzle. I even got to be filmed by the BBC talking about Apedale... although I didn't really know much about it! If you can bear to watch it, here's the video (.ram file), and here's the BBC web page about it.
We've had a few little drives out in the car this month: I went to Sheffied for the day for a conference (gave a talk about the work that Debbie has done in the lab this year), and Debbie and I have had a few days out to make the most of the last few weeks of Debbie not being at work over the summer. One of the places we visited was a Shire Horse Centre where we met all the horses and loads of other animals including some rather fetching pigs. 
shire centre
Debbie and friend.
Pig and friend.
We also had a trip to Manchester Airport for breakfast with a view of the planes taking off. If we'd combined the pigs visit with the airport visit, the most unlikely things could have happened! On which note I can announce that I have just got more letters after my name! I am now a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). I have a certificate and everything. Check out the RGS web site.
By the way, my new book (or rather the new revised improved and updated version of one of my old books) is due to be published on 5th November. Let's hope it goes with a bang. If you see fireworks around that time, no doubt they are in honour of the book (hem hem!). It's £19.99: a real bargain and an excellent stocking-filler for all the family. I've got two more equally exciting new books close to publication, so watch this space (well, a space somewhere lower down this page or on the 2005 page!) for news about those.
Kalaman, by Debbie Here's a new painting that Debbie has been working on. It's Kalaman: a famous racehorse that she met on a stable visit in Newmarket. Debbie's paintings are getting better and better, but I just haven't done any for ages. It's about time I got around to it, or Debbie will get so much better than me that I'll never be able to catch her up again!
autumn leaves at keele
And here's what it's like 
at Keele just now... 

November 2004
Winter's upon us again... wet and windy and not entirely warm! Our friend Gen came to visit with James and Rachael and we went for rides on Meg, but it was all a bit chilly...

We've had a nice lot of visitors recently. Richard and Zoe came round and cooked us a nice roast dinner, my Mom and George came to see us, Debbie's Dad and Elaine came and took us out to lunch... it's been a regular social whirl! Trouble is, we're so busy at work at this time of year that we don't seem to be able to return many of the visits! Roll on Christmas!

That's all for now, thanks for tuning in, please drop me a line!

(Follow this link for some of the letters I've received out of the blue from visitors to this site)

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