Friday, 27 January 2012

End of another week

Evening folks,
So it's the end of a slightly strange but certainly educational week. Academia (and life in general) can be odd at times. Anyone else noticed? Anyways, many wonderful things to rejoice in including my first real Zumba class (I've been doing Zumba for a couple of weeks with the Wii at home but this is the first time I've made a fool of myself in public - fortunately there were lots of other happy fools there too!), burgers at our new favourite Homemade Burger Co, playing a couple of games of Rayman with D (I like computer games where I get to help!), looking forward to the Royal Rumble at the weekend and listening to Australian radio for the tennis. The more I sit here and think about my little world, the more happy I get!

Tomorrow night I am off to watch Encore, our student-led production at the LPAC. They have all worked super hard and I'm looking forward to a couple of musical numbers. Before that I'm hoping to manufacture a tidy house (I think that involves me actually getting the duster out though I live in hope that my special cleaning fairy will arrive) and eat breakfast somewhere delicious with D. We have been discussing this year's holidays and, after the adventurous travels of last year, we are hoping to explore some new corners of the globe and, in true Warden style, meet some new great people. This week I came across Tolkien's great quote again: "Not all who wander are lost". I think that's probably true of me in many ways. I am a bit of a wanderer by nature (not an intrepid traveller, you understand, just a wanderer) and am hoping for some new inspirational wanders in 2012.

Have a brilliant weekend.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Borgen and Bullseye...

...this has been the slightly odd televisual combination chez Warden this week. Last week was a great start back to university. There were some brilliant classes with some inspiring students. And then two (count them) full research days. I sent off three articles and nearly finished the fourth. On a roll! And then we had a very happy weekend looking at cars, eating at Uncle Henry's and stroking beautiful horses.

And so to our TV watching. I am a little obsessed with Borgen, the Danish political series. It is incredibly acted and avoids cliche very effectively. I'm in love with the fabulous Birgitte and, at one point today, actually thought 'how would Birgitte respond to this?' Hmm... They are showing Bullseye late at night on Challenge and it makes us feel all nostalgic, even though I didn't catch it first time round. Great jumpers, magnificent hairdos and the marvellously natural Jim Bowen at the helm. Watching this shows you, not just how much television has changed, but how much society has changed.

This evening I am crashing on with reading book proofs, watching University Challenge and preparing for tomorrow's documentary theatre class. All fun and games.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Big day... new book is now available for pre-order on UK Amazon. How exciting!

This topped off a great start to the new term. Today we had 6 straight hours of Documentary Theatre. Lots of fun had by all - lots of laughter and meaningful chat. Tomorrow is Modern European Drama and then I have two days of hard core research. I am loving this term so far!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Goodbye 2011

So, I realise that I appear to have written the last two posts the wrong way round, but it only just occured to me that I hadn't really reflected on all the good things to have happened in 2011. I like a bit of reflection so let me share some of the things that have happened:

We travelled...a lot.
As a Scotsman D is a natural-born traveller. I am less so, often preferring the everyday comforts of home to living out of a suitcase for a week. Actually, given that our family live all over the country, that we enjoy taking holidays and that I am doing a bit of travelling with work, we probably spend a fifth of the year living out of bags. I have no idea why we bother with wardrobes! This year we have had the pleasure and privilege of swimming in the sea in Norfolk, exploring the beauty of the Scottish Highlands (I have to do this twice a year no matter what, otherwise I start going a little crazy - thanks to Charlie and Liz for always being so gracious in opening up their home to us!), climbing the Great Wall of China and wandering through the parks and streets of Beijing, and revisiting our fab friends in Seattle and journeying up to Vancouver and Whistler. If we haven't bored you with the photographs, then you can bore yourselves - check out our photo albums! Add this to jolly weekends at weddings and gigs and we really have been 'out and about'.

We listened to some amazing music
I now feel like a seasoned gig attender. This year I have seen Yes, Iron Maiden (I know, cool huh?), Roger Waters and Whitesnake. In a couple of weeks we are catching Steve Hackett and then in June we have tickets to see the wonderful Bruce Springsteen. There are two guys I still want to see live: one is him. I love how gigs challenge your expectations and bring you into a community. I am very glad to have discovered new music over the past few years, though my heart is still with the folkie tones of Rudsambee!

We explored Lincolnshire
While we don't live in the most exciting place in the world, there is a lot to be said for this county. I love heading up to the farmers' market and talking to my hummus man. The cathedral is still as beautiful as it was when we first arrived. Trips out to Doddington Hall and Uncle Henry's are always so fun, as are walks through Whisby Nature Park or Bransby Horse Home. Yes, it is quiet and sleepy, but Lincoln is a fun place to be.

I watched a lot of theatre
I guess this comes with the territory but I have found myself in darkened auditoriums a lot this year. Other than my students' work, my favourite productions have both been at the Sheffield Crucible: Othello and Company. Both absolutely amazing. Live theatre is just the best, even if I do get a little too much of it on a day-to-day basis.

We made new friends
For us, 2011 was a year of either making new friends or strengthening relationships. We've had great times of intense chat and bright days of waterskiing (there is a picture of this somewhere!). I am very grateful that, even while we are both so far away from our buddies elsewhere, we have made new friends here.

I finished a Book
It has been quite an exciting year work-wise with a raft of new challenges. And I actually finished British Avant-Garde Theatre. It is exhilarating and a little sad to finish such a major project. It has dominated our lives for a long time! And now there are a load of new projects to grapple with! I am so glad to have such interesting work and I'm looking forward to all that 2012 will bring.

There is probably plenty more to say but overall 2011 was categorised by a spirit of thankfulness - for our families, friends, health and happiness. Good times, undeserved.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

January silliness

At this rate you will only get two posts in the month of January! Wow, it has been non-stop so far! As soon as we got back from Auld Reekie, we were straight into final marking and assessment modulation. This is a rather long-winded admin task. Every term it confirms that I am no administrator and renews my respect for those people who are! We are nearly done but I am still online at nearly 8pm awaiting the final marks. It'll all be sorted by tomorrow though.

And then I got sick...again. Actually felt pretty rough this week and now poor old D is a bit sniffly. I have just about recovered. The new courses are coming together nicely and I had some research encouragement from Stateside - new publication on its way this year! Apart from all this, I've been finalising arrangements for the two first year courses I am coordinating. Am excited about both of them!

Last night to celebrate me feeling better and to give ourselves a little time out, D and I went to the cinema. We had tea at Homemade Burger Co., our current fave, and then spent a lovely evening with RDJ and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes: game of shadows. Interestingly, here is a film that gets better as you go on. It starts rather slowly really but by the final chess game, it is really all quite enthralling. I like what everyone is dong with the Sherlock Holmes' stories right now. The BBC series is very different but equally compelling.

So, as for New Year Resolutions which I promised to share with you, here goes:
Get things in order and keep them in order. I have systems for everything but so often they all fall apart. I would like to have plans/schemes and stick them this year.
Try Zumba. D got me the game for my Wii Fit and, now I'm feeling a little better and have done a new year yoga stretch (ouch!) I feel ready to go. I like to mix up my fitness regime sometimes. This past 6 months hasn't been brilliant as I've been under the weather a lot. Determined to regain the fitness levels I had this time last year.
Read more. It may sound rather odd, given my job and the amount of reading I do each week, but I don't actually do that much 'reading' e.g. enjoying or meditating over a really brilliant book. Hoping to do a little more of that this year.

So, there we go. I'm going to put our Tesco order away - thank you Mr Tesco Man for helping me carry everything up the stairs! To leave you with an interesting image: I managed to eat a whole can of mushy peas on my own tonight. Wow! How good are mushy peas? D and I have very different ideas about fish and chips. For me (North England lass) they are naked without mushy peas. For him as a Scotsman (actually specifically as a Edinburgh laddie) they need salt and sauce. If you haven't tried Scottish chippy sauce then...I wouldn't.

Anyways, on that culinary note I'm off to finalise the marks for release tomorrow, to sort through the shopping and to drink more tea.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy New Year

So, we're back in Lincoln after two weeks of travelling around the UK seeing family and friends, eating far too much food and climbing mountains in waist-high snow! We've had a wonderful holiday and, despite racing about like mad things, we both feel pretty rested and ready for 2012. We both did remarkably well for Christmas. I am still getting to grips with my iphone but can now tweet on the move (hoorah, you say?), I have a lot of new clothes and am looking forward to spending vouchers for weekends away and meals out. We feel pretty blessed by everything really.

Just so you don't presume I spent all the festive season lying on a sofa eating chocolate, I also spent a day in the National Library, finished the marking and completed the new module handbooks. All is coming together for the new term although the house still needs a bit of a sort out (Christmas paper everywhere) and I still have some lectures to write and dissertation supervisors to assign. We are, however, getting there and my jolly half hour of planning in Edinburgh's Valvona and Crolla has helped to sort out the next few months. I foresee a busy few months of research and teaching. Go me!

And so, I'm going to carry on with the second marking. Will post more about new year's resolutions later in the week. I have made some for what it's worth. They are mostly based around my new Zumba Wi game!

Oh, and happy birthday to Big Dave, world's best father-in-law and avid reader of Molemaison.