Monday, 29 April 2013

Day out at the Beeb

I write this from my conservatory with the sun occasionally popping out from behind the clouds and silly ducklings chasing bugs outside. Having spent the last couple of hours trying to start a new book chapter, I thought I'd take a quick break and write a blog post. So, the most exciting thing that's happened relates to the blog title...

Last post I mentioned that something exciting had happened that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone. Well, I was invited down to BBC Broadcasting House to be part of an AHRC (Arts/Humanities Research Council) collaborative project on Scottish identity (I know, I know!). It was a great day full of incredible research, amazingly inspirational academics and producers, and the chance to walk through BBC Persia to get to the loo! I had a great time - hopefully it will lead on to other stuff in the future.

I spent the weekend recovering from my London trip, riding Tommy and watching films. Lovely! We are now nearly halfway through our Insanity programme. It has been really tough but I love a good fitness challenge. It's just good fun and I enjoy challenging myself. In fact this term has been all about testing myself, failing, succeeding, testing myself again. This is the nature of academic life but I guess it should also be the nature of life generally. I need to keep feeling I am moving forward: learning new things, being challenged by new things, being tested in new ways. Moving forwards is a great thing!

For those who are interested, the ducklings are doing very well. We have a family of eight who are huge and a family of seven who are smaller. They have started scrapping over the past few days and D has had to stand between them! Harry the hedgehog has also been out more than usual, wandering along in the sunshine. Our garden is full of happy animals! We've also finished Homeland series 1 (pretty good, annoyingly unresolved ending) and watched Moonlight Kingdom (a really beautiful and funny film recommended by D's aunt).

Anyways, the chapter beckons again. I have about another hour to go on it. It's going surprisingly OK so far. We are just about to enter assessments so I wanted to get things done before they arrive. Next week is a monster!


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spring has arrived!

Yes dear friends, Spring has finally sprung in Lincoln. I even read a book outside this afternoon! The ducklings are happily chasing each other about and I have switched the heating down. Phew! I might even drag a t-shirt out of the cupboard at some point.

To celebrate I triumphed at last weekend's show-jumping event. Having only ridden since November, I was a little concerned about tackling jumps but Tommy and I managed the whole course without falling off and I won first place in my category. I even received a rosette which made me turn into a seven-year old Pony Club member. I am so enjoying this new hobby and look forward to every Saturday afternoon when Tommy and I can trot about. We also went to watch Lincoln Ladies football for the first time and, although they lost, it was a very jolly way of spending the afternoon. Other than that, this week I have been taking my fitness levels to new heights with the Insanity programme, a tough 60 day DVD which is incredibly challenging. Call me weird, but I love the pain of great exercise. It is just the best feeling and I am already starting to see improvements after just a week! Watch out Ronda Rousey, I'm coming for you!

Writing has been going well this week as I've been focusing on just 2 projects as opposed to the normal 47. As term hasn't yet started, I've spent happy days quietly writing away and enjoying the peace before tech week starts. I always quite enjoy tech week as it's a chance to see some works-in-progress and stand in admiration watching our superb tech team set lights and do other mystifyingly complicated things. Then we are on with performance fortnight which only gets busy for me in the second week. I also have an exciting opportunity next week which I can't mention yet. Cryptic, huh!

Just so you get a real time sense of my world, the ducklings have just returned to the garden. They generally appear in the mornings but less so in the afternoons so it is quite a bonus. They are adorable and their mum is very attentive, even going so far as to attack our sweet well-meaning hedgehog Harry yesterday as she thought he was going to hurt them. I love living here all the time, but I especially love it when the sun shines and the garden is alive with little animals.


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Still freezing...

...ah, but now I have my new Dyson heater which I have named Doris as she has become a true friend since we picked her up from my in-laws at the weekend. The only problem with living in a big old house is that it can get a little chilly at times. Doris has made everything good.

Easter was a lovely relaxing time: work, family, church, two grand meals out and playing with our lovely niece. We built a rocket out of megabricks and decided to go to the moon. She suggested we take cheese sandwiches and 'Ibena' which sounded like a good idea to me. I also went on my first ever rollercoaster. Theme parks and fairs are not my cup of tea at all but our niece was so brave that I didn't feel I could wimp out. It was shaped like a caterpillar and went faster than I thought it would. In fact I felt so brave that D persuaded me to go on the water rollercoaster. Even he thought it was a pretty good ride. We both got wet through although I had borrowed my very kind father-in-law's Scandinavian coat so was covered from head to toe.

Today we have family staying, D is at work and I am busily completing this ongoing 'can I write a journal article in a month?' project. The answer, by the way, is 'yes I can', although I'm not totally convinced it is good yet. It has a good premise but I haven't really had enough time to thrash it out. We have a quiet weekend in store with some riding, some work and, of course, Wrestlemania which we might even try and stay up for. Those of you who like that sort of thing can enjoy a rundown post next week.

We have also booked our summer holiday. We are off to Abu Dhabi and Sri Lanka for adventures and jolliness. I have requested an elephant sanctuary and the tea plantation. D is looking forward to dragging me on the world's fastest ride at Ferrari World. After my exploits on the rollercoaster caterpillar I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get out of it!