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I am a physical chemist working at the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research and Merton College at the University of Oxford. Please follow one of the links above to find out more about me. The bar on the right of this page has links to other websites. Recent additions to my website are shown below.


If you’re considering opening an account with the Halifax, my advice is don’t bother!

We recently moved house on 28 June. The same morning, I delivered change of address forms in person to our local branch. The woman behind the desk checked them, tapped the details into her computer and said that everything was fine.

Now, nearly a month on and after many telephone calls, our address details have still not been fully changed.

Yesterday, they also altered our joint account, spontaneously, with no authority from us, into my sole name. When my wife rang up to correct this, they refused to discuss the matter with her. When I called later, their operator said that she must have “dropped off the system”. Hmm… it makes one wonder what they would say the same if a few thousand pounds disappeared.

There are plenty of other issues, but I’m that this is enough to leave you forewarned.

Testing with Word

This is a blog post made with Word 2007.


It contains the picture


And another

Two nice Cygwin tips

I found solutions to two long-standing irritations in Cygwin on Greg Coombe’s website.

Cygwin exit gives error message

Does exiting Cygwin sometimes generate a “Terminate Batch Job(Y/N)” message? If so, you’re probably using a Windows batch file to launch Cygwin. If the batch file doesn’t consist of much, then just put all of that information directly into the shortcut. For me, this meant replacing the Cygwin shortcut:

to this:
C:\cygwin\bin\bash.exe –login -i

Cygwin: Can’t quit Emacs using C-x C-c

On some installations of Cygwin on Windows XP, it is impossible to exit Emacs using C-x C-x. After digging around in the message lists, I found out that the C-x key is trapped by the OS. The fix for this is to set a Windows environment variable:

Then quit all of the Cygwin windows and start them up again. This worked for me.

My bank provides OFX format files for download from their Internet banking website. This short perl script ofx2txt converts these into tab delimited text files suitable to be opened in Excel.

I used the excellent bib2endnote project recently as a starting point to convert a DocArc library of references into EndNote format. This method retains any attachments.

Brief notes


Modify “docarc” binary, changing:

sub new
  my $self = LWP::UserAgent::new( @_ );
  $self->agent( “getbibitem/$Version” );


    sub new
        my $self = LWP::UserAgent::new( @_ );
        $self->timeout(60000); # Use a stupidly long timeout!
        $self->agent( “getbibitem/$Version” );

in order to prevent timeouts.

In an empty directory, run “docarc -d -r files dummy.bib ‘*’ ” to generate a dummy.bib file containing the BibTeX references and a directory full of attached files.

Next, install NetBeans and modify bib2endnote slightly to support DocArc’s extended BibTeX fields (code supplied on request).

Run the conversion and load the generated XML into EndNote using Import XML option. Copy all DocArc attached files in the C:\CTR_TMP.

In EndNote, select all references. Right-click and choose to Convert all file attachments to relative links.

Remove C:\CTR_TMP.

Check the library and clean up any errors.

Finally, you can manipulate an EndNote library very easily by copying the files from the .Data directory into a MySQL database directory. They are in MySQL format and can then be queried / modified via MySQL before being copied back. After copying back, replace the .enl file with one of zero length and it will be regenerated form the .data directory after restarting EndNote.


We went for a lovely walk with my family yesterday in the grounds of Blenheim Palace. There are a few public rights of way through the grounds, which you do not need to pay to use. The one we prefer begins on the A44 (“The Causeway”) here

You enter through the green gate marked “95″

All this is shown on Google maps and the Ordnance Survey (grid ref SP435165) shows the rights of way.

Starting at OCMR

OCMR Today, I started a new research project developing the methodology for 31P magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR).

The Siemens 3T MRI at OCMR I will be using a new 8-channel phased-array coil together with a Siemens 3T scanner to develop methods for cardiac MRI.

Jon and Amie’s wedding

Yesterday, we were thrilled to see Caroline’s brother Jon marry Amie. Their wedding service was held at the church where they both work and was a great testimony to their Christian faith.

Jon and Amie


Caroline and I were married on 7/7/7 at St Ebbe’s Church, followed by a reception at my then college: St John’s. The day was absolutely splendid and we are very grateful to so many friends who travelled to celebrate with us. Our wedding photos are available online for friends and family to view. Instructions for how to access them are available on request.

Chris and Caroline in St John's

The groom's party

DPhil thesis submitted

At long last, after months of writing, I submitted my DPhil (i.e. PhD) thesis today. It feels great!

I particularly like this photograph that my fiancée took just before I handed it over at Examination Schools, Oxford.

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