Monday, 24 November 2014

Blimey O'Reilly, where does the time go?

For the past two weeks I have had 'write blog post' on my to do list. And here we are finally! Term kinda took over for a while back there. It has been a super busy time but full of exciting things, little trips, fun days out and big changes. So let's go back a few weeks:

Since last we 'spoke' I have taught a whole term of classes on academic skills, dissertation and the musical. It has been a pretty good combo and I've been fortunate to enjoy the company of some lovely, hard-working students. I've been a great Asia gig and a fantastic WWE (wrestling) event. I've been down to London (work), across to Manchester (twice) and through to Nottingham (a lot!). We've had a brilliant if windy weekend up in Scotland with the clan in celebration of Uncle Charlie's birthday and a lovely weekend in Cardiff meeting the newest addition to our family: my sister's (Smelly's) gorgeously cute new son. I've ridden a lovely new young horse called Blossom who is a bit of a handful and watched a collection of great films including both first parts of The Hobbit and Dallas Buyer's Club. Oh, and I've finished the proofs for the new book (out in February), actually written some words of the next book project (relief!) and started work on an enormous new project that will run to over 1.5 million words (not all written by me). And in our spare time we have been (hopefully successfully) house hunting.

So all quiet then! Teaching has now ended and I can launch into some proper writing time...after I've been to meetings in Oxford, completed the marking, taught an MA class and written some new tv programme treatments that is. The weather has cooled down here in rural Lincolnshire and the animals are all preparing to bed down for the winter. The mornings and evenings are darker, and I have to remember my torch for the nighttime walk home. But all is good and jolly. We're beginning to make Christmas plans and are looking forward to a couple of weeks of family, food and general festive jolliness.

I hope wherever you are that life is treating you well

Monday, 22 September 2014

Political ups and downs, and the start of term

I write this while watching last night's WWE Night of Champions: some good matches so far but missing poor ol' Roman Reigns. The past few weeks have been a time of refocusing and throwing ourselves back into Lincoln life.

I had a very jolly week at the Theatre and Performance Research Association Conference at Royal Holloway. It was a really brilliant conference and I caught up with a lot of old friends while meeting a good many new folks. Unusually the keynotes were absolutely amazing, especially Jacky Bratton's rather spectacular and inspiring call to arms for the theatre history community. We had a wonderful graduation day; the sun shone as it always seems to on graduation day and everyone looked very smart and happy. Last year's third years were a really extraordinary group of talented people and we'll miss them around the LPAC. I've been working on a heap of new and old projects: book proofs, a couple of edited collections and some funding bids. It's funny but just as the new term appears on the horizon, suddenly you realise how many little jobs you have to finish before the students get back!

We've also managed to squeeze in some fun: a lovely day out at the Collingham Show meeting lots of lovely doggies and eating good food, a trip to the theatre to see Time and the Conways (an excellent production despite the brutally long first half!) and the customary wrestling watching.

For the past few months our lives have been rather dominated by politics. Being married to a Scotsman and having lived for six years in Edinburgh, we got rather into all the debates. In fact D watched absolutely everything (not an exaggeration!) on the referendum. And it came and went. I won't write too much about the fallout on a blog but if you have spent any time in our company over the past few days (or indeed follow me on Twitter), you'll know how we feel.

Anyways, Night of Champions continues in the background and I need more tea before University Challenge starts. Hope this finds everyone well. To those it applies to, have a great term: here's to inspiring teaching, protected time for research and Autumn adventures.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Summer adventures

Well, it's been quite a summer. We travelled for over three weeks, perhaps the longest trip we've ever done together, and I have so many great things to tell you about that I don't know where to start!

We began in Iceland where I finally fulfilled a dream of riding a beautiful Icelandic horse. Wow, they are super speedy but also very comfortable. We also went to the bottom of a volcano (the only place in the world you can do this) and ate at a stonking restaurant called the Grill Market. Next we flew out to San Diego and spent five days at the zoo, Chargers game, pottering in La Jolla and Torrey Pines, exploring the USS Midway and just generally enjoying this amazing and beautiful city. Next we caught the train to LA (actually Burbank) and picked up our hire car. This was the first time driving in the US but D did just great in his massive Chevy Tahoe. We headed up to Malibu where we hiked in the Santa Monica mountains, ate amazing fish, swam in the sea, visited the Getty Villa and drove about enjoying all the little communities that side of LA.

Then we drove up to Topanga and stayed a couple of nights in the mountains in a beautiful, eccentric hideaway. While here we went to the Getty Center, worked out LA style at Burn 60 and watched a performance of Midsummer at the Theatricum Botanicum. We returned the car and headed back to central LA for a few nights for a Dodgers game, a tour around Hollywood and the city, and WWE Summerslam at the Staples Center. Then we flew north to Banff for a couple of days in the Canadian mountains for lots of walking and glacier exploring. We took the Greyhound bus to Lacombe to visit our besties and their sweet family there, and D fulfilled his lifetime ambition(!) by going to the West Edmonton Mall. Then we flew out of Edmonton to Vancouver which remains one of our favourite cities in the world. The weather was warm again (lovely after a couple of freezing days in Alberta) and we took a tour of Gastown, ate amazing sandwiches, watched a BC Lions game, took a trip in a speed boat, visited Granville Island and enjoyed a celebratory last night meal at Market by Jean Georges.

So, just a typical Warden holiday of adventures and excitement. It was such a great trip. We met loads of super cool people along the way, staying in Air BnB homes, visiting welcoming churches, chatting to folks in shops. For the first time ever I have had a bit of post-holiday blues. Usually I am glad to go on an adventure but also glad to get home. This holiday I could have stayed in Vancouver for at least another week enjoying the warm sun and the cool vibe. We've been back three days and I am starting to get used to not having iced tea on tap, not being too friendly in shops and the chilly autumnal weather than has started to arrive in the UK.

This term is full of exciting stuff though so I'm focusing on all that. Plenty of conferences, collaborations, projects, trips. I have completed my term plan for up to Christmas and it is FULL!

Hope your summer was amazing and that you have exciting adventures planned for the autumn.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Research, sport, research, sport

So, summer has been full of excitement so far. The past few weeks have been full of sport chez Warden: football, golf, cricket. A certain gentleman (D) wearing a Mario Gotze Germany shirt was extremely happy with the final World Cup result.

What have we been up to? We've seen both sets of parents and enjoyed BBQs and just hanging out. Living pretty far away from our families means that when we do catch up it is always super fun.

In other news: we signed off all the marks and students received their results. Happiness seemed to be the over-riding emotion of our third years. We enjoyed our research day away on the 7th. Our department has five research groups: I organise the one on Popular Performance. Lots of interesting projects in the pipeline. And I enjoyed a jolly trip to London to participate in my PhD student's performance project. This was the second time we have ventured out to the Olympic Park to take part in this and we had a great day: certainly warmer than the last time we did it!

Apart from this, we've both been working hard in the lead up to our summer trip. The final weeks of July are all about clearing the decks. Often it means pretty long days. My research summer has been going pretty well. After starting with hugely ambitious plans to write a load, I realised that actually the best way I could use summer was to plan the whole book. This has meant days of thinking where I have been disappointed at my lack of words. However, today I finished my final book plan and I am delighted with it. I really feel I've got a strong project now. Cue relief...lots of relief. I've also been writing short articles, sorting out guest editorships for journals and filling in funding forms,  as well as writing my paper for the TaPRA conference coming up once we're back from holidays. All in all I'm pretty happy with the way the research is going.

I've also spent a good deal of time thinking about future goals and plans. Funnily enough I still work from September to September so am more likely to make 'new year' resolutions in September than in January. I've been enjoying a mixed exercise regime and am hoping to ramp this up in the new term, perhaps take on a really big challenge...but that is for the future.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a terrific summer whatever you are doing: a bit of work and a bit of play.


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A great conference

Howdie friends!

So, last week I had the great pleasure of heading down to London and presenting at the British Association of Modernist Studies conference, 'Modernism Now!' It was such a great week of modernist scholarship - loads of lovely folks, some amazing research and a chance to sneak into the British library to do a bit of reading. This conference was all about updating historical scholarship and asking what it has to say to us today. This is one of my central enquiries right now so it was exciting to be at a conference that had this as the focus.

Apart from that, we've had a certain someone's birthday (he is pretty old but won't, unfortunately, ever be as old as me) and I did the 10K Race for Life at Clumber Park. Given that I am still getting back to fitness after my April illness, I was pretty chuffed that I completed it in a respectable (if not particularly speedy) time. It was a really nice place to run anyways.

The end of term came and went. Marks were signed off and all went well. It is lovely to now be deep into research time. I am spending long days reading, writing and thinking. This is one of my favourite months of the year. It is made all the better by the sunny weather, the little family of ducks who are still hanging around, the baby rabbits and (this morning) a bright green woodpecker sunning itself in the garden.

This week I have a few meetings and things, some writing to do and the great joy of the in-laws arriving at the weekend. Hoping for sunshine so we can BBQ.

Hope everyone is doing really well.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Coming to an end...

Today's emails can be put into two categories: interesting researchy stuff and data processing, marking stuff. This about sums up this time of year to be honest. It's a transition period, moving between different ways of viewing the idea of work. While there are a couple of bits and pieces still to be signed off, term is definitely winding down. The sun is out (most of the time) and I've made various plans and goals for the next few months - lots of writing goals but also some off the wall bits and pieces.

So, what has been going on? Marking certainly, but a number of other fun things. A few films (Philomena was particularly good), some jolly reading (a book about John Bunyan and one about the British Museum), a great conference at the University of Hull (where I took part in a performed reading of a C10th play by a nun called Hrotsvit) and some challenging horse riding.

Last night we had the great joy of heading over to Holmfirth for an Asia gig. Asia were my gateway into rock music some 7 years ago, so I have real affection for that band. They played a really great gig - lots of my favourites. It was, however, so loud that my ears are still ringing now. Put three rock legends (and a new lead guitarist) together and you will always have a loud gig!

So as term comes to an end, all my projects get going. I've got a lot on the go right now - books, chapters, edited collections, journal articles, funding bids, and bits and pieces. I've made some very strict plans for this summer in an attempt to get words down on the screen and not worry too much about craft etc. And it'll all be completed with a sporting soundtrack in the background. We are rather spoilt for choice: cricket tests, hockey world cup, rugby internationals, the World Cup (obvs), US Open, Wimbledon. And my beloved WWE never takes a break. It's rather nice to work to the noises of physical exertion elsewhere in the world.

Hope you are well wherever you are.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

A bit of wrestling, a lot of assessing, some personal development and an award!

I've had a couple of great if slightly exhausting weeks. First up, two weeks of performance assessments. I saw some terrific stuff during the fortnight: some really thoughtful, interesting takes on the brief. The two performance courses I teach are pretty tough for first year students to get their heads around, but, by and large, folks did a great job.

As a break halfway through, I attended a totally brilliant personal development workshop called (wait for it...) Woman of Power. Despite sounding rather scary, it was actually terrific. I learnt a heap about body language, selling yourself and identifying your talents. It was very interesting to see that my talents are also my weaknesses. If you are around the Lincoln area then keep a look out for Sue Ritchie's training workshops. She is pretty ace. We have a follow up meeting in a couple of weeks and I have a lot of thinking/prep to do.

For those of you who don't know (or woebetide you, don't care) the WWE has been in town and D and I went to Nottingham to watch the house show. D got front row tickets. There were some terrific matches and being so close to the guys was amazing. Not only did the very lovely Mark Henry throw me his shirt (a useful size 4XL btw) but I got pictures take with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, two members of my current favourite group: The Shield. Here I am with the delectably amazing Roman:

Awesome huh? 

This week I have been down in London to accept an award from the Society for Theatre Research. I am so grateful to the Society for recognising my work. I was a lovely night of celebration. 

We have a lovely quiet weekend in store: riding, tidying, marking and perhaps a film. I am starting to make the transition from teaching into research mode and am setting some pretty tough targets for myself. We'll see how they go. For now, I'm off to do a workout and finish the washing up. Always rock n' roll chez Warden.


Saturday, 3 May 2014


This week I have been mostly learning about tech. It is 'tech week' in the department and students have been busily messing around with lighting and audio things in readiness for performance fortnight which starts on Monday. While this means my days become pretty fragmented and bitty, I do quite enjoy tech week. There's going to be some great stuff coming up... Other than tech stuff I have spent the week doing lots of little jobs: booking conferences, reading books, completing abstracts, finishing dissertation marking.

We have just finished our first BBQ of the year Chez Warden. It has been a rather beautiful day although it's pretty chilly right now. We are now preparing for a rather bigger BBQ on Monday when our dear friends come to visit from Leeds.

This week I was involved in a transatlantic communication through the power of Google docs. It was pretty amazing to be able to realtime chat over such huge distances and to see my colleague edit our collaborative document which changed immediately on my screen. This is all leading to a edited collection on pro-wrestling and performance. Initially I always thought that my pro-wrestling work would just be a fun aside for those days when modernism just didn't float my boat. But it's ended up being a major part of my research portfolio. Rather remarkable really!

Anyways, having spent the afternoon writing an article on the Kelpies, I think it is probably time to shut down the computer, do a bit of yoga and have a chilled evening.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Quite an April!

March might have only had one post but you are very lucky to have an April update at all! It's been quite a month so far having contracted acute viral labyrinthitis. This rather horrible virus gives you terrible vertigo and leaves you feeling super sick. It involved a couple of hospital trips and a week of lying about at my dear ol' mum and dad's house getting waited on. Having been struck by the illness on the Friday, by Thursday I was travelling through to De Montfort to give a paper at the Literature and Physical Culture conference. I was really looking forward to this conference and on Wednesday morning I didn't think I'd be able to do it. But with some parental guidance (you are never too old for that, right?) I made it and really enjoyed the conference. Some excellent, interesting, diverse scholarship on a range of topics. I spoke on pro-wrestling and it went down really rather well. I even got a question about the Undertaker's transformation into the American Bad Ass - that was unexpected!

After that I spent a few days resting up before getting back to writing (today is Easter Monday and I have just about managed to catch up with my work 'to do' list!) and some dissertation marking. Then it was off for a night at beautiful Greywalls hotel. I hadn't really eaten properly since the illness so I was looking forward to a brilliant meal. Although D had to help me out, I did manage my customary double Greywalls souffle! We then headed up to Montrose (to visit family) and then back to Edinburgh for some jolly days with the family. This Easter break has been dominated by a lot of chocolate eggs, Porto and Fi Eggs Benedict twice in three days(!) and Disney's Frozen, a favourite with our niece. I now have the soundtrack going round and round my head.

For the rest of this week: I have a couple of trips planned (to London and then to Hull), a quiet weekend and then three assessment weeks. The next month is always utterly chaotic - long days in dark studios watching upwards of 40 drama performances. Phew!

This year I have had monthly themes that I've tried to work on. After making lots of plans for April, the whole thing was disrupted by the illness. So, my April theme has become 'rest'. And, rather unsurprisingly, it has worked rather well! I have had to take time out of my tough exercise regime. I have slept a lot more than usual. I've simply done what I've felt like. This theme is going to continue through the assessment period...which is going to be a challenge! But I'm determined to take breaks, walk at lunch time and take things slowly.

Lots of exciting things planned for the next few months: gigs, trips, research, books, films, bbqs, new challenges. Always glad when a horrid illness reminds you a) that illness is yucky and I should be more compassionate towards those who suffer physical afflictions everyday and b) I should use my health to do great things.


Friday, 21 March 2014

Definition of slack...

...not posting on your blog in the whole month of March and it is already the 20th! So sorry friends.
So what has been going on chez Warden? Well, in many ways it has been a quiet month so far. March is the first month in as long as I can remember that I am actually sleeping in my own bed every night. This has been a restful feeling although I do begin to feel in need of an adventure when I stay still for too long. It means that I have been developing strong schedules, thinking about stuff and starting my annual Spring clean which is a little more ferocious than normal this year. But it has also been busy, particularly with teaching commitments and assorted administrative roles. The third years hand in their dissertations next week so everything has gone just a little crazy.

Other than that it's been a mixture of sunny days (like today - truly lovely), Focus t25 workouts (brilliant, short, tough), writing (conference papers and journal articles) and engaging in a really spectacular online course in Russian actor training (disciplining the body and the mind!). Highlight of the month so far was a terrific indie wrestling event in Nottingham. British wrestling is always eclipsed by its brasher, PG-rated, commercial American cousin. But the good folks of Southside Wrestling are really, really good. They work super hard and have some great matches. It was a really exciting day. And I got to see Grado which was a bit of a dream come true.

We've also planned our summer adventure. Every time I think about it I feel super excited: 3 countries, catching up with buddies, riding horses, watching some wrestling, visiting some amazing cities, driving through amazing landscapes. It is going to be huge!

Anyways, I still have work to do despite the fact that I was up at 5am to get my workout in and have really been working ever since. That is nearly a 12 hour day, my friends, and on a Friday too. Good job I love what I do and my little desk overlooking the garden where our rabbits are currently chasing each other.

Have a great weekend y'all

Friday, 28 February 2014

Parties and plays

Now, I should have written a post after last weekend to say 'happy birthday' to Smelly (affectionate name for sister). I should have written about the pleasant weekend we spent with the fam at Celtic Manor in Cardiff and about Smelly's surprise birthday party organised by her rather spectacular husband. But unfortunately this week kinda got away with me there! It started with interviews for next year's students. It was super exciting to meet them all and to see such an array of talent and enthusiasm. Then there came a long day of European funding meetings (a very long day indeed! Although I now feel a little more confident with what on earth this 'Horizon 2020' thingy is all about). Next up, I was down to London for a jolly day at the British Library before heading over to Goldsmiths to give a talk about difficulty, obscurity and theatre. All much fun. And a delicious dinner in the bar next to the University of the Arts, behind King's Cross. Who knew that was there? I spent yesterday in London too, taking a wander around Bloomsbury and the British Museum (the hugest place in the world, right?) before hotfooting it to the Theatre Royal Stratford East to see if I could get a standby ticket for the new version of Oh What a Lovely War!

Now, before I go on it must be remembered that OWALW is one of my favourite plays. It is in many ways (although I know dear ol' Ewan MacColl would disagree with me!) the high point of Theatre Workshop, the company whose work has formed the basis for my research for the past seven years. To actually see this play at the home of Theatre Workshop was, for me, akin to watching Pink Floyd in the '70s or seeing Elvis play in Vegas. I was surrounded by a load (I mean a load!) of school kids from Newham borough who treated the whole thing like a pantomime. Joan Littlewood would have been utterly delighted! It was a spectacular triumph and I had a little cry at the end! It is as challenging and wonderful as it ever was, and the fact that can still make political ministers a bit cross is a sure sign of its quality and power!

Today has been a rather more restful sort of day. I have had so many little jobs to finish off that it has turned into a bit of an admin day. But I've rather enjoyed lounging around with my computer for company. And now a peaceful evening of yoga, reading, tidying and (perhaps) watching a film is coming up before an almost totally clear weekend. Off riding tomorrow but otherwise we just have some pleasant hours at home enjoying the snowdrops, the increasingly excitable bunnies and the returning ducks.

Hope you have a good one too...

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Lambing 24

Last week was a really interesting one. First I travelled down to London for a rather exciting meeting which I can't talk about really but which hopefully will lead on to big things (cryptic!). Then we headed down to South Wales (through the floods - totally feel for all those having to cope with extreme weather right now) so I could enjoy my Christmas present. Three years ago I got really into BBC's Lambing Live, the programme that shows all the ins and outs of the lambing season on a farm. Since then I've really enjoyed each series, hosted by one of my favourite presenters (actually favourite people on TV): Kate Humble.

So imagine my delight when I received a voucher for my Christmas that entitled me to 24 hours in a lambing shed on Kate Humble's farm. She has set up an initiative called Humble by Nature which allows members of the public to learn more about farming. It is based on a beautiful farm in Monmouthshire. So, I got to spend 24 hours with Kate (who was as generous and down to earth in real life as she is on the telly) and her team learning all about lambing. It was an incredible experience. At 2am on Sat night/Sun morning I got up to check the lambing shed with one of my fellow lambers. Imagine our delight when we found a small lamb sitting in the corner and her mother giving birth to her wee sister as we watched. We took care of the lambs (which is a very gooey business that I won't go in to). It was an amazing, beautiful moment: yet another highlight of 2014 which, frankly, has already been filled with enough highlights!

You'll have to forgive the silly hat/mucky jacket/sleepy face but I thought you might enjoy seeing the picture of us with the girlie twins the morning after:

It was the most wonderful weekend.

Other than all that excitement it's been a steady round of teaching, writing and getting back into a more regular fitness regime with Ultimate Yogi (which I'm still enjoying) and Focus t25 which is like Insanity but shorter.

This weekend is a slightly quieter one - some riding, some resting, some reading and (yuck) some cleaning.

I'm off to bed to dream of the beautiful little twins.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Back to school

This is the first week of term and, after a rather brutal marking schedule, we are back to teaching. I get to teach my two favourite courses of the year: Modern European Drama and Documentary Theatre. Man, I love these modules! They are great fun and really challenge the dear ol' first years. In lecture 1 I encouraged them to roll around in jelly as a performative happening. You get the idea...

Other than that...I went back to the parentals for the weekend as my dad was acting in JB Priestley's When We Are Married. It was a very fun weekend seeing family. And dad was just great. It was rather fun to see him on stage again. I saw lots of people I haven't seen for ages, many of whom seemed surprised that Smelly and I had grown. I guess one grows a fair amount between the ages of 10 and 33!

I don't know if you keep up with my fitness plans but in the past year I have finished two pretty hardcore fitness challenges: GSP's Rushfit and Beachbody's Insanity. I loved both of them so much even though they were really tough. Working out regularly with a definite plan is great and I find it affects every area of your life. Days simply work better when you have laid aside some time to workout. As I have mentioned, January is a month of taking stock and quietly getting back into things. Recently this has included some pleasant walks, some cycling on my bike in front of the telly, some light weights and a tough(ish) run. As February approaches I am about to step it up again. And I have two new workout regimes to go with: Beachbody's Focus T25 and The Ultimate Yogi. The first of these is from the same company as Insanity and is a series of 25 minute workouts. Very good for those times when term takes over and I simply don't have time for any more. The latter is a bit different. When I was in Whistler a few years ago I did this amazing yoga class which I loved so much. Since then I have practiced yoga a little bit on and off. This Ultimate Yogi course makes you practice everyday and involves meditation and hardcore power yoga. Now I'm not totally sure what to make of yoga. As a Christian I struggle slightly with the religious connections, as you might expect. But I so love the peace that yoga brings. I'm going to give it a go and see how it feels. I am really excited about it as the idea of morning yoga practice every morning sounds very appealing...even if it will have to be at 4am in order to get it in! Oooo that is super early! I wonder what you reckon about yoga?

Anyways, the washing up beckons. And then I'd better get everything sorted for tomorrow. Got a pretty exciting few days in store with performances, trips to London, wrestling in Manchester and seeing the fam. Live is full of travels, fun work, writing, reading and workouts right now. Just how I like it!


Friday, 10 January 2014

Rock n' roll marking

What a strange week! The first two days were spent marking first year essays. The marking load was pretty heavy this term but it's now all done. Cue sigh of relief! While I love seeing and experiencing student work, marking is not my favourite part of the job. Giving a set mark to judge a student's performance is, for me, not a perfect way of doing things...even if it is the way education has worked forever. If I had my own slightly hippy way, I would try and do courses without assessment, set up simply for the joy and excitement of learning about cool stuff. Ahem, sorry I will put my anarchist strain back in the box. Anyhow, all the marking went well and I've completed all the admin. Some good work this term. Very much looking forward to this next term - we're on to Modern European Drama again. It is my absolute favourite course. Every class is super fun.

But coupled with this was a very bizarre day. A few months ago on this blog I mentioned a potential exciting project and then left it. Since then this project has taken many twists and turns until Wednesday when something amazing happened. On Wednesday I travelled down to Leighton Buzzard with three Lincoln media grads and filmed part of the EPK for one of my favourite progressive rock bands Asia with the legend that is Carl Palmer (as in Emerson, Lake and...). We had a pretty wonderful day filming. Carl was as kind, generous and passionate as I had hoped and expected. Halfway through the interview (I asked the questions!) it suddenly occured to me that I was interviewing Carl Palmer! Had you told me this last year then I would have dismissed you as a lunatic. We'll see what comes of this over the next year.

I briefly mentioned new year resolutions in my last post (as I recall). Well, my central resolution is just to say yes to stuff. I want to accept every opportunity that comes my way, however odd it might be. Coupled with this, I'm determined not to get anxious about stuff and just to embrace it all. So far this has led to a day with Carl Palmer so it's going pretty well! I have a ton of plans and objectives for 2014 and am genuinely excited about this year.

Hope all's well with you wherever you are. Particularly hello to Uncle Charlie :-)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Happy new year!

Well 2014 is here. We had a rather great Christmas and new year in Stockport and Edinburgh. We enjoyed catching up with friends and family, and eating way too much chocolate. No white Christmas unfortunately, just a lot of rain. I've got to say, it was a bumper year for presents this year: lovely D bought me a trip to Kate Humble's farm where I will be living out a dream by learning to lamb. We also received weekends away from both parents, restaurant vouchers, coffee machines, cash, some lovely new tea and Santa even found his way to Mum and Dad's house to deliver a stocking. Exciting times!

And now we are back and it's time for resolutions and refocusing. January isn't my favourite month of the year to be honest (too cold and grey!) but I always like those months that mark new starts (January and September for me). Once I've finished the marking (still have a pile to go unfortunately!) this term is considerably quieter than last term. And the teaching should be really fun. There is also plenty of other stuff going on over the next couple of months: conferences, projects, trips, invited talks and more.

One of my new year's resolutions is to update the blog every week so you can keep up with life chez Warden. I haven't been so great at this during the past year. I find time just runs away from me. But I am going to endeavour to give you a new post every week. Here's hoping.

Anyway, I have to get a bit of cycling in this evening to try and get this lazy body back into some sort of decent shape. I'm pretty disciplined about exercise in my normal life but during Christmas/New year I give myself a bit of a break and just enjoy some good walks instead. Now I'm well ready to get back into it. January will just be about cardio and stretching in readiness to up the ante again in February.

Take it easy folks