The Road to Gjirokastra, Albania

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when it’s 39°C, a man in possession of a chemical toilet that hasn’t been emptied for a week is in need of a black water disposal point.

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Fier, Albania, A Lakeside Layover

“We need to stop talking about it, for Kai’s sake.”

Mark and I were still trying to rationalise the incident. How Kai got out of the truck. How a small pup, normally fearful of other dogs, got close enough to a wild canine behemoth to be bitten and shaken to within seconds of death. Then how, when we sought help at a veterinary pharmacy and asked for antibiotics, they injected Ivercen, an antiparasitic for livestock which is irreversibly lethal in some dogs.

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the library door

Adrian (my fellow Librarian, and husband) and I have recently been planning a long dreamed of trip to Australia. I floated the idea of travelling around Australia in a camper van. After further consideration we came to the realisation that as neither of us are at all good with creepy crawlies, in a country where every creature is trying to kill you, we might have a bit of unexpected drama. We quickly re imagined our itinerary to involve some nice hotels.  I suggested that sometime in the future we try a camper van or RV somewhere less dangerous. How hard could it be? I wondered, to be self-sufficient and out in nature in say, Europe or Canada?  Which brings us on to this months First book review, its Adventure Caravanning With Dogs : To Hel In A Hound Cart by Jacqueline Lambert and published by Amazon in December 2022


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Dalan Beach, Vlorë, Albania – Paradise Lost

Every day, humans take five billion photos. According to one source, we have created 12.4 trillion throughout history, but what is the most important photograph ever taken?

Is it the blurred and indistinct ‘View from the Window at Le Gras’, the earliest surviving photographic image, created by Frenchman Nicéphore Niépce in 1826? The first man on the moon? History’s first medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895, showing the bones in his wife Anna Bertha’s hand?

I am a biochemist, and therefore biased, but many argue that it is Photo 51, an X-ray diffraction image captured by Rosalind Franklin and Ray Gosling in 1952. This tiny nondescript image enabled Watson, Crick, and Wilkins to deduce that the structure of DNA was a double helix. Knowing the structure clarified the mechanism by which DNA could replicate itself – and the genetic blueprint it carries – exactly.

The trio won the Nobel Prize in 1962.

Photo 51 helped them unravel the secret of life.

Of course, these are earth shattering examples, but one morning in Vlorë, Albania, I took the most important photo I’ve ever taken in my life. 

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