The Secrets of Albertus Magnus: Of the vertues of herbs, stones, and certain beasts. Whereunto is newly added, a short discourse of the seven planets, governing the nativities of children. Also a book of the same author, of the marvellous things of the world, and of certain things, caused by certain beasts.
Published c. 1691. Those 17th century publishers sure knew how to write a catchy book title.
Marmite. Do you love it or hate it? I can't stand the stuff. I do like Twiglets though, which once again proves my theory that humans are weird.
As a brand, Marmite has successfully marketed itself for years. I was researching at the Wellcome Library recently when I discovered this gem of a pamphlet from 1935. Entitled 'Marmite in Medicine and Dietetics' I had no idea that the yeasty sticky brown spread was such a miraculous foodstuff.
Tropical Macrocytic Anaemia
"Although liver extract has proved to be efficient in the treatment of macrocytic anaemia, Marmite, on account of its cheapness, is the method of choice .... even when the red blood cells are as low as one million the response to Marmite in adequate doses is very rapid .... Under the treatment with Marmite, the prognosis of this dread condition is good, and is this investigation we have one of the triumphs of modern medicine." (Journ. Trop. Med. & Hyg., Nov 1st, 1933, p. 340.)
One of the main reasons I started my PhD was to distract myself. It's been many years since I was first at University and this time round I want to do things a little differently. On an academic side, that means taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible.
When the opportunity to take part in a Microteaching workshop for free came up, I had to say yes. After attending an initial workshop to grasp the basics, I was sent away to design my own 15 minute microteaching lesson. The plan was to deliver this lesson to my peers and be judged on my teaching skills. No problemo! I tell kids stories, I can handle judgement.
I decided to teach everyone 'How to wing it without looking like a fool'. Yes. I am a proper grown up.
The first lesson went ok but I made a schoolgirl error by not wearing a watch. There was no clock in the room which meant things were a little more rushed than I would have liked at the end. My feedback was generally positive but I felt I'd played things too safe. I decided to use my second lesson as an opportunity to experiment.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to Lesson 2.
This time I was radical and intent on doing as little speaking as possible. I started the lesson by splitting the group into pairs and giving them a story building activity to work out together. This went down really well and provoked genuine smiles and laughter. I felt this was a good sign. It turns out everyone likes making up stories about a chicken and an egg.
I didn't get any negative feedback for this lesson. Academics have opinions on everything, so to get 100% positive comments was a great confidence boost. I did it my way and it worked. I think this proved me right to take a risk and I will continue trying to take risks in the future.
Having completed the practical workshop elements I now have to complete a written assignment. If I pass, I will gain a new qualification which grants me the right to add some fancy letters after my name. I'm fairly cynical about letters after names, as Broccoli Theology shows. However, it's a fact of life that fancy letters open doors. The microteaching workshops have been really useful and enjoyable. It's also been a great way of playing the system and getting a new qualification for free.
So long as I pass...!