Last of the Boomers?

From Wikipedia:

Baby boomers, sometimes shortened to boomers, are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. The generation is often defined as people born from 1946 to 1964, during the mid-20th century baby boom. The dates, the demographic context, and the cultural identifiers may vary by country. The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave” and as “the pig in the python”. Most baby boomers are children of either the Greatest Generation or the Silent Generation, and are often parents of Gen Xers and Millennials, or Older Generation Z.

In the West, boomers’ childhoods in the 1950s and 1960s had significant reforms in education, both as part of the ideological confrontation that was the Cold War, and as a continuation of the interwar period. In the 1960s and 1970s, as this relatively large number of young people entered their teens and young adulthood—the oldest turned 18 in 1964—they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the social movements brought about by their size in numbers, such as the counterculture of the 1960s and its backlash.


Date range and definitions

A significant degree of consensus exists around the date range of the baby boomer cohort, with the generation considered to cover those born from 1946 to 1964 by various organizations such as the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Pew Research Center, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve Board, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Gallup, YouGov and Australia’s Social Research Center. The United States Census Bureau defines baby boomers as “individuals born in the United States between mid-1946 and mid-1964”. Landon Jones, in his book Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation (1980), defined the span of the baby-boom generation as extending from 1946 through 1964.


* I was born August 1964 and am at the “end” of the boomers and “before” Generation X. At the cusp of a human definition.

Wot no Referee?

I have not long heard back from one of the two learned societies.

Dear Alan

 Thank you for your email and information, according to our records you are not currently a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. I am afraid if your membership has been lapsed for more than a year you will need to re-apply for membership. You will need to complete an application form providing the nomination of referees and a copy of your up to date CV together with copies of your qualifications, including your first degree and transcript.

 You are now able to apply and submit your documents online, please see below the link to our website which lists all the categories of membership available:”


This means that I do not qualify for membership nor for professional C.Chem. status, simply because there is nobody who could vouch for me in a professional manner. Nobody “suitable” who has any experience of working with me in a meaningful and not ultra-fleeting way for over a decade.

I do not have an up to date CV. The last version must be around five years old…


I thought that this would be the case.

The world it seems requires people to be your referees and to vouch for you even though they could be your pals…

It cannot cope with the socially isolated and one might argue that this is not inclusive.

It is a bit Captain Morgan, me-thinks…

Strange Vocab, Swotting Up and Somewhere Nice

“What would you like to do for your 60th?”

“Be alive…”

This is a genuine snippet of conversation from today. It refers to October 2023.

It seems that we can get direct flights from Rennes to Nice. The place where the biscuits come from. (?) We have had a first scope out for somewhere to go. I have never been to the South of France or Monaco. At first pass it looks possible.

On Thursday we get to see the haematologist for a follow up and a bone strengthening infusion. It looks like I am going to be doing some swotting up on Carvykti {see previous} and T-cells. There must be some clinical trial data that I can access. I have to say that I am a big fan of HAS here in France. They give you data by the metric tonne. It is clear and logical, no bean counter bang per buck mentality, though no doubt this does enter the equation.

It looks like there is an additional line of defence against Alison’s disease.

There is an off chance that I will be better informed than the clinicians in due course.

All in all, this journey into Myeloma has resulted in me having a strange French vocabulary. I probably know some words which your average man in the rue does not. Of course, there are glaring gaps in my day to day vocab still.

I had not heard of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy until today…

By Thursday I will know a lot more…

Life has twists and turns…

Did I Exist?

This morning I have had an email from a learned society informing me that they are having trouble finding my records. It could be because back in those days records were recorded on papyrus with a feather quill in a sloping italic script. It was the age before the widespread use of life sapping electronic forms became common place. In the last century things were done differently.

There is a certificate in a folder in my desk, with a name on it which is the same as the one in my passport. There is no ID picture though.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that I found all these things on a rubbish tip and invented some weird persona. It is however a tad unlikely.

I as I imagine myself now, may never have existed, I could have been redacted.

My cover “story” could be a complete fabrication, an elaborate internally consistent delusion.

I have responded with information and somebody might go down into a basement, blow off the cobwebs and unearth. Or the documents could have gotten lost in the shift of headquarters to cheaper and more modern buildings.

I cannot remember who my “sponsors” were. They were probably jolly good fellows, so to speak.

Something is now in motion, what if anything transpires, remains to be seen.


Chalk and Cheese

« Vous souhaitez adhérer à la Société Française de Physique : nous serions ravis de vous compter parmi nos membres !

Il semblerait que vous ayez rencontré un problème en complétant le formulaire d’adhésion : comment peut-on vous aider ? »

This tipped up in my email this afternoon. I had tried filling the on-line joining forms to see if there were any “showstoppers”.

Very positive and welcoming, which is a bit of a contrast to the UK.

It is an example of French ambiguity to the internet. The forms are either very logical and excellent or an afterthought. The form to pay speeding tickets was top of the class straightforward.

This one was also very good…and it being French, it also had a nice regional flavour.

In the space of few days, I have gone from:


To a few days of full-on hard handheld “moto-culture”. The pond has had three tanks of gas worth of water and is near full. There is a low level leak into le Jaudy. This may mean waders on and a session in the river.

Pretty much every muscle in my body is now aching and I will probably not sleep well tonight. Tomorrow night I will crash and burn. This seems to be the way of things.

In MasterChef UK the punters had a chance to work at Core by Clare Smyth, 92 Kensington Park Road London W11 2PN. For a brief while, when I was in the process of getting divorced around 22 years ago, I lived in a very tiny studio flat in Notting Hill just around the corner. And no, I did not meet Julia Roberts.

It is another example of chalk and cheese. From posh, busy and people with loads of wad to countryside, wildlife and quiet.

It really does feel like another lifetime…

I worked out this afternoon that over the last 17 years I have been self-employed and earning a tiny amount for seven years and unemployed and retired for the other ten. There were a few years when I did one team development gig lasting a day.

When I was private tutoring, I used to charge £40 per hour for 1:1 lessons, I included all the photocopying in the cost. Being me there was nearly always about an hour preparation for each “lesson”. I liked to give of my best and not simply wing it. Who knows what I may or may not have done to their mind / educational development. Twenty hours with me 1:1 might have had an effect. 😉

I tutored the child of someone who ran a private art gallery in South Kensington. Their house was lovely and it too had a gallery, big enough for indoor cricket. It was some distance from the high security gate to the big house. They were good people with excellent dogs. I had walked past their gallery at least once a week for ten years.

If I had continued working as an academic it is not unreasonable to expect that my accumulated salary would have exceeded £1 million in those seventeen years.


That sounds imaginary to me.

We are due a visit to our farm supply shop soon.

I need some spares for the strimmer, some more plastic wire filament for it, some lubricating and resin removing spray for the hedge trimmer and a new pair of work boots. The filament is sold in lengths of 200 metres. I am on my second roll.

I still need to fix the lights on the trailer. I have one stop light and only a right indicator working. The weather is good and it is about time.

Day off tomorrow…

There may be some photos of the Breton coast…

How the World “Should” Be

I would like to point out that I do not have a chip on my shoulder. I am prone to observing and commenting yet from a detached viewpoint. I have very few attachments compared to most.

This morning as I circumambulated the pond, the heron woke up and took off. In a short while I will get the big Kawasaki pump out and replenish the levels in the pond from le Jaudy. We have not had rain for a while and none is, as yet, on the cards.

I have been exploring the situation viz a viz two UK based learned societies which I once was a member of. It seems unlikely that I now qualify for membership and a professional charter from either of these. I will await answers to my emails, none as yet.

I studied for my thesis and worked as a postdoctoral fellow with one man who went on to become President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Subsequent to that I helped many members of his research group and we share about a dozen research papers.  I worked briefly with another man who fell ill. I covered both his job and mine, in a time critical part of the academic year associated with degree award, while he was off ill with cancer. He too subsequently also went onto to become President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. I was instrumental under the auspices of the Graduate School of Engineering and Physical Sciences in bringing transferrable skills training into the postgraduate curriculum under the Chair of a woman who became President of the Institute of Physics (inter alia).

One could say that I was “connected” in some fashion.

I did teach physical chemistry for 13 years and was responsible for some curriculum development and pastoral care for a part of that in a well-known higher education establishment.

One might imagine that it would therefore be facile for me to be accepted into these august societies. That might be how the world “should” be.

Things did not work out like that.

The days of getting your pals in on a nudge and a wink have passed. There are several kilograms of administration.

It is for me mildly interesting to see how I fit {or otherwise} with the system.

I get a lot of confirmation that it fails to account / cater for the likes of me. I do not fit the norms and the perceptions of the system. There is a systemic failure of sorts.

I won’t be losing any sleep over this…

Compliance and Acceptability.

I have written off to the two UK learned societies to find out if my membership can be disinterred. {We might have to get a court order} If not and I would have to go through the application procedures then I will not get accepted. There will be a box for referees and I have lost my addresses for Wayne Barnes and Romain Poite. I still have Nigel Owens on speed dial from our last drinking session at The Vale Resort in Glamorgan.

I do not meet the criteria to be a member and it is very unlikely that I could get a professional UK qualification as a chemist or a physicist. It is a bit rich given my now non-existing relationship with various people {big cheeses} and the fact that I used to teach at a top Johnny place. But that is what it looks like…no room at the inn…not for me.


Research has suggested that I can get membership of the following bodies on-line and that subject to acceptance at the French chemical society I could join the European Chemical Society.

The Breton branch of the French physical society is active. I could become, on a points based scoring system, a fellow in Sri Lanka.


La Société Française de Physique

European Physics Society (without affiliation – Lone Ranger status)

La Société Chimique de France

Institute of Physics Sri Lanka

American Physical Society


European Chemical Society

Accession to any category of members is restricted to national or international scientific and technical associations and professional institutions and other legal entities that have an interest in chemical and/or molecular sciences and/or are practicing chemistry.

The Association is open to legal persons, which are legally constituted in accordance with the laws and practices of the State, in which they originate or in the European Union. {What the foxtrot does this mean? Am I a legal person?}

Applications for admission to membership are addressed to the General Secretary in writing at least one month before a scheduled General Assembly and must include a copy of the Statute, a description and the composition of the concerned associations/institutions.

As an outsider all this stuff {in the UK} seems ultra-pompous, condescending and a bit up its own arse. The wording is haughty and “We on Mount Olympus might deem to let you, pleb, into our outer circle so that you can bathe in our magnanimous glow. Kneel…”


The industrial grade strimmer awaits… I hear its dulcet call…

Am I Acceptable – Do I Qualify?

As I was waiting at the physiotherapists, I had a train of thought. Some people have professional qualifications, they can appear as post nominals and one can have framed certificates on the wall.

The last time I tried to apply to ResearchGate they did not allow me an account, despite my ~60 publications and a previous “score” up there with many “profs”. I have just asked again.

This afternoon I have the idea to see if I would be allowed to become a member of The Institute of Physics and The Royal Society of Chemistry. I once “belonged” and have the old certificates somewhere.

It is possible that I would not qualify for C.Phys. and C.Chem. anymore.

We shall see if I am unacceptable or not….

I may not qualify…

I can get a patent in quantum optics granted but I may not qualify as a professional.

I am certainly not a jolly good fellow….

What is Left to Do?

On Sky TV when they introduce the weather the airline sponsor sings “Warm memories wherever you go”. To which I add “Tena Ladies”. The warm memories could be down to incontinence.

Yesterday the wife and I were trying to figure out what to do…


I did it and logged onto Saga holidays. We now qualify and could book a trip down one of Europe’s great rivers with others of a similar age. I probably would end up killing someone so it could turn into an Agatha Christie film, “Death on the Danube”.

I had a brief look into travel insurance and the web forms for a quotation ask for your name an address and a telephone number so that they can ring you back to do a high pressure sale.

We really enjoyed the rugby match between La Rochelle and Leinster. So, I had a brief look at property prices near La Rochelle. We would have a good local rugby team to go and see. It would be warmer and less wet than Brittany. At first pass this was possible.

If we stay inside France or the EU there is no need for travel insurance. Otherwise, this could prove prohibitively expensive. I am not the kind of person who enjoys tour guides talking us through “sights” so I guess Saga is probably off the cards.

When people think of retirement, they do not usually imagine hard physical labour.

Unless the cost of living crisis gets very severe it is unlikely that I will ever work again, in the conventional sense.

This is the crux really, I am not sure that there is anything left to do, other than garden and bimble about…

It looks like, providing there is no nuclear war, we shall be here for the summer.