Monday, 31 October 2011


So unlike North America, Halloween in the UK is almost non existent. Very few kids dress up to go trick or treating, and virtually no one has any decorations up, let along a Jack-o-lantern. It's sort of sad. I think about all the Halloweens I celebrated when I was little and it's nothing but fond memories!!

There are still parties where students get dressed up and get drunk, but it's just not the same. Jamie had a few of us over on Saturday to watch a scary movie (modified into a drinking game), some treats, take away, costumes, and of course, pumpkin carving!!!

Hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween!!

Pumpkins done at Jamie's -- mine's the one one the end, next to the penis

Pumpkins at our house - Simon's first jack-o-lantern ever (he's French) on the far right

My blurry self portrait of me as a devil
Jamie as the Lunch Lady from SNL (see video below for a reminder)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Photo Opp!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent last week at the Bristol Abattoir. Well, not only were we there to learn about meat inspection, but we were also there for a photo shoot. Apparently they take the photos so that they know who we are while we're there, but one of the guys that runs the course does photography for his hobby, so instead of just taking random photos, he had us pose in the green house for something a little more organized. Most of us laughed our heads off during this... especially in the "tower of heads" photo. Although a little odd and random, it was fun and it gave us a nice memento of our rotation!

Jamie, me, Hannah, Lauren, Erin

The lovely ladies

My individual shot (which I absolutely hate... when did I get so old?)

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Abattoir!

This week was spent mostly in Bristol at the University of Bristol's Abattoir, located on their Langford campus. It used to be an EMS placement that we were required to set up ourselves, but for our year, the school decided that they would set up this placement for us. It's easier that way, since there aren't a ton of locations to choose from. Thankfully, along with the placement, Bristol also provides us with accommodation! It's nothing fancy.. your usual dorm style bedroom, shared kitchen and bathroom, but it was only steps away from the abattoir. Those of you that know me, know that I eat meat, and that I of course care for animals, but my roommate Erin has very strong views on animal welfare and is a strict vegetarian -- This was going to be a trying time for her! I guess it was a good placement for us however, since this particular abattoir has a low throughput, so they have the time to do things more slowly and more properly, as well as answer any of the students' questions. We had the opportunity to observe electrical stunning of sheep and pigs and captive bolting of cow, along with how each animal is taken apart and inspected.

Friday we headed to Suffolk to an abattoir that processed white meat, mainly chicken. Now this abattoir was completely different in the fact that they process thousands of chickens a day -- apparently one chicken takes 20 minutes to process from gassing to being placed in the cooler. This place was giant and there were chickens hanging in almost every part of each room. As one might expect the smell was horrible -- the OV said she hasn't even gotten used to it! We were able to see everything from when the chickens are brought in to the finished product (chicken for Sainsburys and KFC). It was definitely interesting and I'm glad to now know exactly where my food comes from!

University of Bristol, Langford Campus

Jamie and Erin modelling their best assets ;)

Erin and I on our quest to find internet

Hannah and I not looking forward to our first day in the abattoir

Monday, 17 October 2011

I hate Mondays

So today we had to pop over to the school to watch some animal slaughter videos (we are unfortunately beginning our week of abattoir placement) and then do an online quiz before heading off to not sunny Bristol, where we will be staying at the University of Bristol Langford campus, and spend 3 whole days at a red meat abattoir.

Prior to leaving, while walking down Darkes Lane, I saw the cutest cookies at the bakery, and thought that they could brighten both my and (especially) Erin's day!

Wish us luck on our journey to Bristol!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Ugh.. so sick!

Well, maybe not "so" sick, but sick enough. I'm such a big baby when it comes to being sick. I just want to lay in bed all day (or the couch), and have my mom bring my soup and beverages. Unfortunately, no longer living at home, or on that side of the ocean, makes things like that difficult. Add in to the mix a super uncomfy couch (you know what I'm talking about if you've been to our flat), it makes being sick a lot less comfortable. 

I did have the flat to myself this weekend, as my room mates were either working or out with an overseas visitor, AND I had my reading materials, lap top, loads of kleenex and a variety of meds, so that made things more bearable. Too bad I have to head to Bristol next week to see the inner workings  of an abattoir. Maybe the stuffy nose will come in handy?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

EMS @ Rosemary Avenue Vet Clinic

I spent this past week doing one week of EMS at {Rosemary Avenue Vet Clinic}. It's a small clinic located in Enfield, which makes for a fairly short bus trip from PB. Rosemary Ave was actually where I went to for my very first clinical EMS placement. They were super welcoming, nice, and happy to share their knowledge/teach. They made me feel like I was one of the team, so it's no surprise that I've chosen to go there again. Unfortunately, one of the vets I worked with the first time around, Matt, is no longer around, as he's since moved back to Oz. However, it gave me the opportunity to work with the other vets, Claire and Moira, as well as get to know their new vet, Peter. I'm just as pleased with my second visit as I was with my first, and will happily recommend them to any other student looking for an EMS placement.

Rosemary Avenue Veterinary Clinic

Monday, 10 October 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

Although I did not get to celebrate this year, I want to wish everyone back home and abroad a very Happy Thanksgiving! This year, as with every other year, the two things I am most thankful for are my friends and family -- see u all in 28 days!

So since I have no pictures of Thanksgiving present, I'll share some photos of Thanksgiving past.. specifically, my first Thanksgiving in England. Enjoy!

Leslie, myself and Lennie (the turkey)
A night out begins....

A few children's games before heading out

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Yay, it's the weekend!

So, despite having to go in for a couple hours on Saturday morning, the rest of my weekend was nice and relaxing. Friday night a bunch of people went for drinks for a classmate's birthday, but since I was freezing cold and tired and due to the fact that I had to work Saturday morning, I decided to forgo the drinks. Very grown up of me, I know. So yeah.. Friday was a nice night in, catching up on my guilty pleasures, the {Vampire Diaries} and {Secret Circle} (yeah, I know.. I'm probably too old for those shows, but oh well).

So post work I did a little grocery shopping and lazed around, then headed over to Emily's for her roommate's birthday/house warming party. Complete with cupcakes, beer pong and great people, it was a good night! It's always good to catch up with everyone too -- since being on rotations we hardly see one another anymore!

A little beer pong action

Sunday was devoted to sleeping in and then heading over to Enfield for a coffee with Jamie and a little retail therapy. It wasn't a super successful shopping trip as I only bought myself a top and a gift for my friend's baby. It was nice enough to just get out and enjoy the day though :-)

The location of Jamie and I's rendezvous

Friday, 7 October 2011

My week in ICU

This week's rotation was Critical Care/ICU. It is fairly laid back throughout most of the day, but is interspersed with moments of adrenaline and organized chaos when an emergency comes in or if an animal crashes. ICU is home to all the animals that require around the clock care, many of which are unfortunately knocking on death's door.

Students are assigned various cases for which we are often responsible for TPR (temperature, pulse, and respiration), organizing any diagnostic imaging, giving meds, and making daily calls to owners, updating them on their pet's progress or sometimes, decline. I was thankful and lucky to have all my cases go home this week, however, the rest of the members of my group didn't have the same luck. It's always sad when you've been working with an animal and it just doesn't get any better.

Despite ICU being an emotional roller coaster, it has an upside too -- You get to spend tons of time with the animals under your care and you are involved in each inch of progress! One of my feline patients was in because he was attacked by a dog. He had numerous problems, but thankfully made it home on Friday, just in time for his young owner's birthday! The owner's were very thoughtful and brought a bottle of bubble for the clinician, and one for myself as well! Double bonus -- animal goes home and I have a nice treat!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

I Heart Weekends!

Yay! It's the weekend (well, technically as I am writing this on Sunday night, the weekend is over), and the weather is amazing! 28 degrees Celsius and sunny -- what more could a tired and burnt out veterinary student ask for? 
View from the bus stop: Sunny PB

So, despite being tired and burnt out, I've decided to make the most of the nice weather by heading over to Emily's house for a BBQ. The night eventually cooled, but was nice enough that you'd be fine with just a cardigan (just a black one tonight.. no stripes). Emily's room mates, Leslie, her BF and her BFF and his roomies came, along with "Brampton" and his roomie -- the Canadian Em and I met at the pub a few weeks ago. All in all it was a good night with good people and lots of laughs!

BBQ Peeps: Em and Tony
More BBQ Peeps

So Saturday proved to be another beautiful day so a Matt, Emily, Aunie, Tony and myself ventured into St. Alban's to go to the {St. Alban's Beer Festival}. Matt, myself and a few others went in 3rd year, when we first moved out to PB and had a pretty good time, so we figured, why not give it another go? I definitely enjoyed the beers I tried much more this year than the last time. Better decision making or a better appreciation for a good beer, who knows? Anywho, it was a good time and I definitely recommend it to future RVCers looking for something fun and different to do in the PB area next October!

Just one of many walls of casks of beer