Tuesday 18th February – Wobbling planks, acid-base titrations and running at dusk

March 4, 2014

A bit of a restless night but hopefully still managed to grab seven hours sleep which doesn’t seem too bad compared to the slightly frantic nights back in the UK before heading to Germany. First job of the day was to check all of the tanks again and once we’d done that it was time for breakfast, which seemed very early compared to the day before – bonus!

Not sure whether I’ve mentioned my breakfast plans yet…No? Well I’ll fill you in: on the way out I was a little alarmed by reading through a report from a previous trainee that mentioned that anyone with special dietary requirements should contact the hosts prior to travelling since the food on offer (the placement is catered for by the host family) is very meat-heavy. Now, being a lactose-intolerant vegetarian this could pose a problem. So, with a little help from mum I managed to pack my breakfast of champions – porridge with almond milk, peanut butter, ginger, dates, seeds, mixed dried fruit and spices.  As it turns out, the worry was overblown, the Sturms are incredibly accommodating and even on a farm in Bavaria there is plenty to eat. That said, I am very glad to have my porridge – it’s like a little slice of home every morning!

Tim getting a digestate sample from the fermenter - stand back!

Tim getting a digestate sample from the fermenter – stand back!

After breakfast, we started on the testing again. Aside from a few wobbles on scaffold planks, testing went by largely without incident and consumed the vast majority of the day. We’ve drawn up a few spreadsheets to calculate the dry matter, total anorganic content (looking at the literature I think this actually translates as the amount of calcium carbonate in the digestate) and the FOS…no idea what that stands for at the moment but I did know…

Lunch was roasted potatoes with cumin seeds (a great idea) and salad. As Tim and I started getting into the groove with the testing, things started to move a bit more slickly and we finished sometime around 5pm. Thorsten mentioned he was training for a marathon in April and tended to go running on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and invited me along for the shorter, 10 km, midweek runs. Despite being a little apprehensive of being able to keep up with him (I hope I didn’t slow him down too much), we managed 13km around the Obenzenn area as dusk fell. Getting cramp at dinner meant I may have to think twice about whether to go with him on Thursday but we’ll see when the time comes.

We had hard boiled eggs painted an array of bright colours as well as the normal cheese/ bread/ ham options. And would you believe these special Easter eggs didn’t taste any different. I mean the cheek of painting the shells of eggs and then just being left with normal eggs inside. Disgraceful. On the other hand, especially after the run, I was desperately craving protein and they were oh so welcome!

Was hoping to get a bit of work done this evening but I fear that a combination of the early starts, physical work, running and glass of local wine with dinner (which was really quite tasty) may mean I fall into bed relatively soon (it’s 21:15 at the moment).

Still, dear diary, for once I’ve managed to write you on the right day. So that’s a big bonus. Maybe I should go to bed as a reward.

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