[This is the latest in a series of posts introducing you to some of the people working in the Department of Geography. Step up Ro Charlton.]
What do you most enjoy doing in the dept?
Being able to combine researching and teaching the subject I love with a growing fascination for the many different ways in which students engage and learn.
What book are you currently reading?
The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Moshid Hamid
What’s your favourite blog?
A bit behind the times with that one – this blog by default.
What TV show are you watching?
Generally prefer radio, especially BBC R4’s News Quiz and the Now Show.
What music are you currently listening to?
Just now it’s mainly palaeomusic (works by Bach, Saint Sans and Shostakovich), plus a cheesy student-era compilation in the car
Do you have a hidden talent?
Once had a pilot’s license to fly hot air balloons after agreeing to practically sell my soul to Bristol Uni balloon club for three years in order to do the training and then fly for them. We had a sponsored balloon that provided advertising for a local company as we flew over the city and surrounding area, with the pilot taking up to four passengers in the basket at a time. Passengers included students and staff from the university, guests of the sponsors and some of the local farmers in whose fields we had previously landed. The most amazing experience was the solo flight – one of the requirements for qualifying – which lasted about 40 minutes. It was a real privilege to take so many people out, old hands and newbies alike, and to share in the excitement of first balloon flights. One or two, like my brother, had not previously flown in any aircraft. My supervisor jokingly expressed his concerns that flying might result in my untimely demise and adversely affect his PhD completion rates, although ballooning is actually one of the safest forms of aviation.
What one object would you bring to a desert island?
A Stradivarius violin, although it would be distressing to watch it deteriorate with all the heat, salt, sun, sand, seasonal downpours and falling coconuts.
If you could change one thing in NUI Maynooth, what would it be?
The insidious culture of managerialism that is encroaching on us all – NUIM and beyond.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
There was the sorry saga of the Chelsea Girl warehouse – the down-market original, not its recent ‘vintage style revival’. Possibly THE worst, despite involving a small part of the hydrological cycle, was cleaning ‘dunnies’ in New Zealand.
Soapbox or Pet Peeves
Fiddly little brown coins that breed rapidly by feeding aggressively on more valuable coins. Even their pocket and wallet-bursting aggregates are practically worthless.