Tuesday, 18 December 2018

End of the Year

Well, that was quite a term. The last time I posted was July! That is the longest I have gone without publishing a post. If you are still hanging on in there then 'thank you'. I have been using twitter for day-to-day work updates (that's cs_warden in case you are interested) but have otherwise rather disconnected from social media and things. In the face of ongoing political unrest and fear-mongers, I (like I am sure so many of us) have found that the less time spent online the better. I am rediscovering the joys of reading, watching the occasional film or tv show, and hanging out with friends (we had 20 folks round here on Saturday night for Christmas fun and games!).

However, lots of noticeable stuff has happened so it is probably worth a blog post.

In the past few months I have been concentrating on starting well at Loughborough. I am pleased to say that it has been a great move. I am surrounded everyday by excellence: my colleagues are smart yet friendly (a winning combination), the students are brainy yet open (ditto) and the campus is just a wonderful place to be, especially when the sun shines as it did almost all summer. My first few classes at Loughborough have been fun and I have enjoyed teaching the new material. Publications have been...erm...published and, most brilliantly, the Wrestling Resurgence project (for which I am commissioner and co-commentator) continues apace. I don't think any of us can quite believe that we are now a fully fledged arthouse wrestling company that promotes pay-per-view events. Do check us out if you are interested: instagram or our vimeo pay-per-view account if you want to watch a show (and you really should!).

In other news...we gained a new nephew (welcome to the world, Harry!). I/we jetted off for conferences in Munster, Germany and Columbus, Ohio. We still love travelling around as much as ever. After our two trips to amazing Japan, I have been learning Japanese at night school. It is hardcore but it is also fun to challenge myself in new ways. It is good for academics to make themselves intellectually vulnerable in this way; I am not a natural linguist but am so enjoying it.

And now we are nearly at Christmas. This week I am finishing bits off: completing article edits, spending grant money, planning next term's teaching material. I love sitting in front of the Christmas tree with the lights on as I do this, even when it is dark, grey and rainy outside as it is right now. We are looking forward to a little break in the Warden household. We'll have some days in Edinburgh and then we are heading off to Vienna for new year to fulfil a lifelong ambition of dancing the Blue Danube waltz through a Viennese square at midnight on the 31st.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas time and a wonderful start to 2019.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Settling in and back to Japan...

The past few months I have been settling in to life here at Loughborough University. So far I love it: it is a great institution full of positive, smart people. And, bonus, I am able to head out to the cricket pitches at lunchtime to catch some overs (just one of the great things about working at the best sports university in the world!). Projects continue apace: we had our second Wrestling Resurgence show which was an amazing night. You can see all the images and film here. One of my amazing collaborators has just secured £17000 from the Arts Council for the Wrestling Resurgence project: it is incredible to think how far we have come in such a short space of time.

We headed off to Japan again in June. We were in Tokyo and Kyoto last year so this year we were a little more ambitious and travelled right up into the north, visiting an amazing onsen (natural hot bath). We explored lots of new places: Kanazawa, Matsumoto, travelling over the Alps, Sendai and the surrounding coast, Kamakura and many more. We started the trip in Osaka where we experienced our first significant earthquake. It measured 6.1 and was the strongest quake Osaka has experienced for 60 years. It was very odd to be shaking about on the 13th floor of our hotel! Here is a picture of the amazing place we stayed in Northern Japan: Nyuto Onsen. With the atmospheric mist, it felt like a scene from a Studio Ghibli film!

Since our return, our house has been full of visitors from Scotland. It has been lovely to see everyone! We have lived in our new house for nearly 6 months now. I still have some little jobs to do (anyone want to come and do some painting?) but we feel very comfortable here. And I am training myself to be a better gardener: our potato haul was particularly impressive and our sun flowers are shining out despite the lack of rain in the East Midlands. We are rather desperate for a downpour!

And now we have the rest of summer stretching out in front of us, a summer of little trips (to Norfolk, Edinburgh, Germany, Portugal) and work. I am writing new articles and researching for a new book; it is pleasantly unusual to be focusing almost entirely on new projects. It feels right to be starting at Loughborough with new things ahead.

And a final 'hello' to my dad who always reads this blog and has been a wee bit under the weather recently :-)

Wishing everyone a restful, productive summer!

Monday, 9 April 2018

New things

I write this from...my new office at Loughborough University! I am absolutely delighted to have taken up a Senior Lectureship in English and Drama here as part of the institution's Excellence 100 programme. I know I have moved to a really brilliant University and I have already met a terrific bunch of people. Projects continue apace but it feels brilliant to be completing these projects in such a illustrious place of learning. And, of course, we are already well into the sporting culture here - D and I have already cheered Loughborough on in the basketball finals!

We have spent the last few months getting settled in our new house. We love it there - we have plenty of happy frogs (and now lots of frogspawn!), loads of birds and are gradually getting the garden in order. The house has been so comfortable from the moment we moved in and we've already had lots of folks round.

Apart from these two rather enormous changes we have just been enjoying pleasant days. We've been to Anglesey to celebrate my aunt and uncle's anniversary, have been to Edinburgh for Mother's Day and have been watching plenty of basketball (Go Riders!) and, of course, wrestling. Last night was Wrestlemania so I was up until well past 5am and then started my new job this morning (don't tell anyone!). Overall, it was a good first two thirds of Wrestlemania - great women's match, brilliant mixed tag, great opening triple threat. It did gradually die away a bit...though this might be because we were rather tired! We have a bunch of new Wrestling Resurgence projects coming up so have been particularly following the exploits of the British wrestlers out in New Orleans.

The next few weeks are just focused on getting into life at Loughborough really with some happy weekend treats in store - seeing dad in his first musical for a while, dinners out, family visiting. Moving house and jobs give me the opportunity to really think about the way forwards, new challenges and what we should be doing with our time and resources. We are both pretty excited about this new chapter in our lives!

Wherever you are in the world, hope life is good.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

2018 has begun!

I sit typing looking out at our snowy garden. 'Garden?' I hear you cry, 'but you live in a flat!' Ah, well finally D and I have bought our very own house. After three years of trying and numerous dead ends and false turns, here we are in our own house in the East Midlands. We are delighted with it. It felt like home from almost the moment we stepped in. And gradually we are filling it and enjoying times with our family and friends.

Moving has taken up much of January and February really. It really is a time-consuming (slightly stressful) thing to do. Apart from that we have been watching a lot of basketball! We recently got into the Leicester Riders basketball team and have been to three games so far. I have always loved basketball and the Riders are one of the best teams in the country. It is great fun. Here's hoping they win the final in Glasgow! I have watched a fair bit of Winter Olympics and we've been exploring our new neighbourhood.

Work has been busy and full. All the proofs for the various projects I have been part of over the past two years seem to have all come in at exactly the same time! Fortunately that means I'll be able to tick them off my list pretty soon. I'm also in the midst of putting together a large grant application with a couple of friends. We're also planning for the next in our series of live wrestling events as part of Wrestling Resurgence. We have an exciting card lined up for our next event in May. Workwise I have a BIG announcement but will put that off until my next post when I can announce it officially.

In other news, we have booked our second trip to Japan. We'll be heading out in June for a couple of weeks. If you want to find out what we got up to last year then check out the 'photos' section. This year we'll be taking a different route and experiencing a Japanese onsen and ryokan. All very exciting.

Well, here's hoping the next time I write that the snow will be behind us and spring will have begun in earnest. Cannot wait to see some flowers and sunshine!