From the Ashes of Disaster come the Roses of Success

Monday

Well this has been a day of interviews.  Most of this morning was spent travelling to Loughborough Uni to interview a couple of people.  Due to their odd parking arrangements (no easy visitor spaces) and the streets all around having a “No university parking!!!” rule I ended up parking about 1.5 miles away (I always forget quite how HUGE their campus is).  Still, what’s 3 miles walking – yesterday I walked over 25 miles!  Came back via the shops, had lunch and then got set up for my afternoon interviews.

Mine isn't quite as poshI had two of them, and yet again more fascinating insights came out.  Both were quite lengthy, but as always I scribbled lots of notes.  Just as well because I didn’t think to check that my software for recording was switched on!  It wasn’t – I’d turned it off to do the phone test on Skype, and then forgot to turn it back on.  I know I clicked on the “record” button, it even showed “recording on” but, clearly there was some sort of software issue that resulted in it not bothering to record the conversations.

Pissed off was I!  Especially considering how giving all of the interviewees were once again, feel a bit like I’ve let them down. Cross with myself here.

However, my notes were copious and while I might have missed a little of the details, I quickly wrote both of the interviews up while they were still fresh in my mind.  Even managed to record a few of the authentic quotes.  Thank you pen and paper, once again you have proved more reliable than more advanced technologies.  I suppose on the plus side it did mean I’ve written up two interviews and have nearly finished a third, where I thought it would take me a bit longer.

Tuesday

Ring glub.  Fizzle.Another day, another disaster.  Bit of a theme this week.  Two interviews this morning that went very well, and recorded perfectly this time.  Even one of my interviewees from yesterday offered to send me a few extra notes, bless them for their kindness!  Then I remembered I had a dental appointment – so ran out of the house.  Got there and back fine, but due to a long set of circumstances that I won’t go into here, my shiny teeth clearly confused me as managed to throw a pair of trousers into the washing machine with my mobile phone in the pocket.

Arg. Rescued it after two or three minutes and it’s currently drying.  Maybe it’ll work.  I suspect it might not. *sigh* Suggestions for a new mobile handset appreciated   Sank into a bit of a funk after that, but eventually emerged to transcribe two interviews.  And then heard some not so great news from Mrs Llama’s family.  It is not shaping up into a great week.

And it’s only Tuesday.

And I still haven’t done any more work on the philosophy essay that’s due on Friday. *double sigh*

Wednesday

Not far from the truthMorning spent working on philosophy essay.  Annoyingly just got into it when I had to go out to the Research Practice Course.  Thankfully this is the penultimate week for this, which is good as it’s started to be more of a burden than a benefit now in terms of available time and activity.  This week we had a very good session on research ethics, which I wish we had had much earlier in the programme.  All the same it was a very interesting session.  Made me wonder that if ethics was taught to all school children, that maybe we might have a better society – rather than capitalist greedy ME TOO thought that seems to pervade our school system.  In the second session we looked at Environmental philosophy, during which I just about managed to avoid jumping on a soap box.  Just.  Environmental issues, and certainly personal life choices as they impact on our global biotica are something that keep me awake at night.  There’s only so much as an individual can do, and it seems society won’t do anything until we all fall into the environmental abyss.  Thank you UK Gov for setting an agenda to do things by 2050, when most of the people alive today will be dead or too old to care.  *mutters*

Oh, and yes, I managed to fall down my stairs at home and bruise my back and buttocks quite badly just before I went out.  Ow. Ow. Ow.  Bad week continues.  Managed to break one of the stair rods when I reached to grab hold of something to arrest my fall. Whoops.

Thursday

Ouch...oh, it's not realOnly one interview today so I was able to not only get the essay all but finished, but also write the next draft of my research panel presentation.  I’m desperately short on time this week to give to this, and I’m very worried that I’m not going to do a good job on it.  I’m also a bit worried it’s going to eat most of my Sunday up writing it as well.  Today’s disaster was much milder in that I cut my finger open on an exposed nail on the stairs.

No, not one that I’d exposed by falling down yesterday ok!

Also heard back from an editor of a journal I write book reviews for.  Seems one of my reviews has got the publisher a bit annoyed – oh dear.  Re-read the review and decided I stood by it, which thankfully so did the editor.  Looks like I’ve another book to review in the next few weeks as well, which will be a nice change.  Then again it is on electrochemical dynamics so I might regret saying that.

Friday

A busy morning finishing and submitting the philosophy essay.  It’s far from perfect, but also far from slap-dash.  All the same I’m not that happy with it when all is said and done, and really wish I could have found more time/energy/enthusiasm to spent on it.  But it was done, and after a light lunch I jumped in the car and headed up to Durham.  You see I have a conference there tomorrow, and there was just no way I could do it there and back in a day from Leicestershire.  The drive up was…interesting.  Took two hours to do the first 50 miles (thank you Friday afternoon M1), and although I later drove right under the tragic accident on the M62 the rest of the journey actually wasn’t too bad.  I’ve not been to Durham in years.  When I worked at the University of York I went there a few times a year, so I’m fairly familiar with the city centre.

CALL...THE...AA!!!I was staying a few miles out of town in a cheap hotel (since I was self-funding the whole conference trip – my dept doesn’t have much in the way of cash to cover these things), which seemed rather nice.  Had free WiFi too and breakfast included for 10 quid less than a Premier Inn (my normal overnight resort).  Went out for the evening to meet a friend and her husband for pizza, beer and a spot of DIY Dalek construction from washing machine geekery.

Long story.

When I got back to the hotel I discovered there was a wedding reception in full swing. Joy.  I really needed a good night’s sleep, and thankfully it did shut down around 11.30pm.  Of course the couple in the room next to me took this as a signal for some all night wall-hammering, bed shaking, very demonstratively loud love making.  Thankfully only at 1am and 6pm…but it didn’t do much for a restful night’s sleep.

Resisted shouting “You go girl!” or similar encouragements through the wall…just.

Saturday

I like being in the humanities - the meeting locations are nicer than STEMConference day – very, very good.  Met quite a few nice folks, learned plenty, felt inspired.  Once next week quietens down, I’ll write this up.  Oh, had lunch in Durham Castle.  Which was nice.  Then drove home through a sunny, sunny evening which was lovely.  Or would have been had I not been so tired out from the neighbours’ antics the night before.  Made it home in record time (well under 3hrs), and in time to share dinner with Mrs Llama.  Okay, to fetch dinner for Mrs Llama and myself.

Slept the sleep of the dead.

Sunday

Me. Right about...now!A hard day to get going – don’t like 7 day working weeks, but late morning I finally got on and wrote my presentation for tomorrow.  Had lunch, and then managed to drag myself away from You’ve Been Framed long enough to polish it, and rehearse a few times.  It’s not bad actually – a bit wordy but solid enough.  We shall have well (or not) it goes down tomorrow.  Dead nervous, despite my supervisor saying he felt very confident about me and the proposal.  This is the first viva-lite I’ve got to face, and while I’ve heard from other students that it’s not so bad – you can never tell.  For all I know I’m going to get someone who’ll rip me and my thoughts apart.

Right, now to sit back and finally have some weekend – while there’s still some daylight left!

Oh and yes, my rump is still quite sore. Ouch.

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