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
(Follow this link for some of the letters I've received out of the blue from visitors to this site) 
Previous years: 
2001 . 2002 . 2003 . 2004 . 2005
  This year, 2006:
April 2006
July 2006
Aug-Nov 2006
December 2006

April 2006
Well, this really must be a record "late start"! As usual, I'll blame pressure of work and hope nobody noticed the late arrival of this page. Winter has taken a long time to turn to Spring this year, but we are just starting to be able to spend a bit of time in the garden tidying up ready for summer and playing with the cats. I'm not "on duty" for the Spain field course this year, so the students' Easter vacation gives me a chance to catch up with things at work and at home. This year I've been busy both with the final stages of "The big book" (which is due to be published this month) and with proposals for new degree routes that I've been responsible for putting together, as well as my usual work. I've also been putting the first bits of material onto the website that I'm developing. Everything seems to be coming together OK, so now it's a case of first catching up with all the work that I've been forced to let slip and then regrouping and making plans for the next few years. Watch this pace! website
Forthcoming book

Meanwhile, we've enjoyed a visit from Jack and Emily, some winter walks in the country, a trip to the new "Monkey Forest" at Trentham, and a little sea-side trip to Wales. We've been out (or stayed in) for lunch or evenings variously with (Big) Keith and Elaine and Carley, (Little) Keith and Louise, The Girls from the Library, The Girls from Riding, Liz (and Susie), Zoe and Rich and Adam and Simon and the EOG folk, Debbie and Mart, and assorted folk to do with work. I'll let you decide which of those activities each of these photos relates to!

Jack and Emily???

Feeding time at the monkey park?
Does this look like fieldwork?

n-scale 4x4 foot in progress
I've also been doing some "work" on the model railways, including the little 4x4 foot n-guage,  the garden-00 and the indoor-00. My soldering and LED work remains shoddy at best, but it pleases me when my little control-panel lights change colour as I throw the little switches!

I was very pleased to get  gifts and a card from departing students, saying thank you for the help I've given over the years they've been at Keele. I have to say that one of the best bits of my job is that you sometimes (just sometimes) get the feeling that you've actually been able to help somebody and really make a difference. A lot of students don't even seem to want to learn or to improve or to do their best, but when there is a student who does want to, and when at the end of their studies you can feel that you've helped them, it's very rewarding. So: thanks for the book and the jam, and thanks for letting me know that I helped a little bit! 

On a less happy note I'm a hundred and twenty quid poorer after a tyre-shredding puncture led me to engage the services of the kwik fit fitters, and a further hundred and thirty quid poorer for having to have my tank drained etc after I fuelled up my car (a diesel) with unleaded petrol. Luckily I realised my mistake before starting the engine, or else I might have needed a new engine! A hundred and thirty quid seemed like a bargain at the end of the day after we'd feared the worst. Swings and roundabouts, eh? 


July 2006

Collecting the team's 
award on Degree Day. 
Click  for bigger version.
Part of my work at Keele involves heading up the team of lecturers that teach the Physical Geography course. This year, the team won a prestigious University award for "Learning and Teaching Excellence", and I got to go up on stage on Graduation Day and collect the award on behalf of the team! Here's a picture of me in my formal academic gown receiving the award from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. My Mom, George and Debbie got "VIP" tickets to the graduation and had seats right at the front... which is how Debbie got such a good photo! Well done to Richard and Zoe (and me!) for all the hard work that led to getting the award... let's hope the students get the benefit from it that we are aiming for.

So, what else is new? Well, I finally got round to buying some electrofrog turnouts... and I've actually joined the N-Gauge Society. Debbie's sad obsession with lorries has taken an alarming turn for the worse and she has joined the Eddie Stobart Club! We now spend happy hours lorry spotting over cappuccinos at Keele services! Now we take turns: I take Debbie to enjoy the trains around Crewe and she takes me to enjoy lorries on the M6!

We have also discovered the Churnet Valley Railway, and we took Jack and Emily there for a train ride... they even got to meet Thomas himself! There are some more pictures for you, Jack and Emily, here

We went to the pictures see Garfield-2 with Jack and Emily, and to see Pirates of the Caribbean (which Debbie liked because J.Depp and O.Bloom were in it) with Debbie D and Mart. We've had a whole lot of barbecues, my big new book has actually appeared and everybody seems to like it, and I'm going to take the first week in August off as a holiday to celebrate! I've also been helping the launch of a new website by doing some publicity for it! The site is, and it sells DVDs of ice collapse at an Alaskan glacier... check it out! 
We had a  morning out at Manchester Airport... didn't fly anywhere, just went to the airport! I think it was mainly an excuse for Debbie to go onto the motorway and spot more Eddie Stobart lorries!

August to November 2006

A rare and welcome get together with Robin, Ruth, Lucy David and Elizabeth, who came for a visit in August. We also had a nice visit from Gen and James and Rachael... but I don't seem to have any photos from that!

Another month, another rescued pigeon. This is Bendt, a young wood pigeon that our next door neighbour found struggling in her garden. A few days rest and recuperation (and growing up) on our garage roof and it was able to fly away.

Debbie's dream day out: a trip to 
"Truckfest" in September and the 
chance to sit in an Eddie Stobart Lorry!

Dodd the dog and his little pal Kipper the cat doze together on their shared duvet. Dodd has had some health problems throughout the late Summer and into Autumn: he is beginning to get liver problems that throw off his brain chemistry and give him alarming siezures. He doesn't seem too bothered, but they are quite scary and stressful to watch and deal with: the vet has given us medicine to shove up his bum to bring him out of the fits... By coincidence Kipper has fits, too: she's an epileptic cat, which is apparently quite rare.
After we broke our camera by taking too many photos of Eddie Stobart lorries, we had to get a new one and we've been playing with it pretty much non-stop! Debbie took it to Newmarket, I've been taking lots of photos around home and Keele, and we've both been using it for train and lorry spotting duties! Here's a nice shot from Keele, looking south west out of Meg's field towards the Shropshire hills.
A real treat in October: Teresa came to visit! On one of the days Mom and George came up too, and Teresa cooked us all a proper big lunch. In spite of the best efforts of our oven it didn't turn out to be Cinders and Dust or Chicken a la Phoenix! 
Other things I've done recently include a trip to the Churnet Valley Model Railway exhibition, a trip to Manchester Airport to see Debbie's Mom off on her trip to Cuba, a LOT of trips to the vet with my credit card, the purchase of some more n-guage track and pointwork for the new developments on my model railway, another trip to Quik Fit with a nail in my tyre, a lot of teaching students about physical geography, writing an article that the journal "Geography" asked me to write about teaching Geography, working on the finishing touches to a research paper about moraines in Greenland for the journal Geografiska Annaler, arguing (sorry, I mean "discussing") with colleagues and administrators at Keele about the best way to run Geography, breakfasts in Morrison's, writing a grant application to the Royal Society for lab equipment for my low-temperature experiments, selecting a new Physical Geography lecturer to join us at Keele, early morning visits to the livery yard to put Meg out into her field after her cosy nights in her stable, watching "Monk" "Blue Murder" and "Criminal Intent" on TV, helping Colin next door to fix a bug on his computer, holding down an epileptic cat during its fits to make sure it doesn't bang its little head, excursions to the M6 and the West Coast Main Line, walks in the autumn sunshine... There's actually have so much stuff filling the days (and my memory is so time-independent)  that it's hard to remember exactly what happened when. When did Gen visit? When did we drive down to Aqualate to meet Mom and George at that coffee place? Debbie has been to Newmarket a few times, but we don't go far together just now because somebody always has to be on hand to look after Dodd if he has a fit.

I'm starting to think more and more seriously about following up my interest in Westerns (cowboy films) in a more academic context. I'm thinking of bridges between Physical and Cultural Geography and a 3rd year module on Geography, landscape and cinema. I'm thinking I should read more of Antoine de St Exupery: there must be lots I haven't read and lots I've forgotten of what I have read. I'm wondering: if Physical Geography were music, what would it sound like? I've reorganised one of the sitting rooms to make it more comfortable for listening to music and reading. I'm thinking about the art of Mondriaan. I have acquired  4 new bronze coryadors and 4 bleeding heart tetras.

December 2006
I had a Christmas greeting by e-mail today that wished me a "happy, interesting and prosperous 2007". It came from Lithuania and was addressed to me, two Russians, another English person, a Canadian, and somebody from Belarus. One of the nice things about my line of work is that it does put me in the way of many "interesting" things!

Speaking of interesting things, here's a snapshot of Christmas 
in the Knight household. The bird is saying "just try it".
Here's Dodd the medical miracle, enjoying his 15th Christmas!
Merve, and all of us, wish you a 
happy New Year!

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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