I have a fixed holiday contract whereby I get a certain number of days of holiday a year. Cranfield University are very generous and I get lots of holiday days to go do things other than research. However, this holiday system this year has been thwarted by two things. Firstly, I love my job and don’t tend to take holiday unless ordered to by powers greater than myself [ED: *waves*]. Secondly, this year when I did take holiday, I used it to set up my own company – which is about as relaxing as juggling with hungry weasels while naked.

The result of all this is that this year I’ve had bugger all holiday and I’ve got lots of holiday days left to take, otherwise I’ll get a snotty letter from HR. So I’ve taken the second half of December off.

Holiday wake up

But as per my pervious holidays, I’m not exactly good at taking time off. Here are some of the science things I’ve found to occupy myself with over the Christmas period

Errant Science!

Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean the posts will stop. I’ve got THREE special posts for Christmas week and New Year’s week. I’ll be posting them on Mondays over the Christmas period because…. I forget why but there was a good reason. The one I have for next week is something I am particularly proud of as it required me to use a rhyming dictionary.

While I’ve got some time off, I’ve promised to sort out my Errant Science store and get a load of requested artworks up on there for people to buy. I’m sorry it’s not ready for Christmas but it’s an amazing time sink and I’ve just not been able to do it yet.

Also as you may have noticed my art style has changed thanks to getting a new drawing app. It might take a while to adjust but with a bit of practice I should get the hang of it soon!


So as I think I’ve mentioned before, I am happily dragging my son into science by getting him a huge range of cool science-based toys to play with. Last year I put together a custom science kit which we’ve used a bit over the last 12 months. This year I’ve got him an amazing LightUp electronics set which I got from backing a Kickstarter 2 years ago!! I plan very far ahead…

But as I want to be able to help my son play with this after he opens it, I’ve decided it’s my duty to spend at least a few evenings playing with it and coming up with cool stuff to do. That sounds like a plausible reason right?

Xmas with a scientists


As mentioned, my son has a cool science kit. Some of its contents were a bit old for him last year but now I think we can start messing with some of the cooler experiments. For example, I read an amazing way of doing electrophoresis with agar which (if it works…) would be really exciting.

If we find experiments that work well, I’ll write them up and post them here for comment. Last time I did this I got loads of suggestions from other parents and they were amazing.


I’m pretty sure that my brain would rebel and exit through my ear if I tired to relax and do nothing. For me, the most relaxing thing I can do is either read books or play computer games. Thanks to some long flights this year I’m pretty caught up on my book reading, so this Christmas I’m devoting a little time to my much neglected computer game hobby.

For the holiday period I’ve bought myself a copy of “The Talos Principle” which is a surprisingly hard puzzle game intermixed with a whole heap of fascinating philosophy. The game is split up into 4 key areas and so far the first (and easiest) one took me about 4 hours to complete, so it should keep me busy for a few weeks.


Finally, this year I’m cooking not only a delicious Christmas dinner for my Grandparents and my family, but I’ve also agreed to cook a multi-course banquet for 14 on New Year’s eve. I absolutely love cooking and I’m quite looking forward to spending the time making amazing food. Especially because I just finished this brilliant book on the science of cooking and this year I’m gonna get weird with it!

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1 Comment

Steve James · 19 December 2014 at 10:18

You know by now that my management style is not to issue orders, so i’ll see you in the lab on Monday

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