Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Balmy summer days

Or, at least I wish that they were. Too much work, too much reading, too warm, too nice outside when I'm in my hutch.

Apart from that, a lot has happened. As you know (for those who were paying attention), I met a man on Friday evening from an online contact site. I was a tad concerned how it might work out - he works in IT, and I had come to Uni to get away from IT geeks. But he was very nice, much better than I had expected, and I had a very pleasant couple of hours. I'm meeting him again this weekend for a walk, and we shall see how it goes.

But, and there's always a but, he is much older than me. I know that I wanted to meet people around my own age because I don't meet anyone older than 30 at Uni, but I realised that because I spend so much time with the juveniles I'm quite used to their ways of talking/thinking etc. We'll see. With any luck we'll end up as friends no matter what else.

I also spent a very happy two days on a 'writing retreat' organised by the University. It was excellent. Twenty of us were put up in a hotel in Unitown, sessions were run by a facilitator, and I got shed loads done. The hotel was fabulous, the food was excellent, and the surroundings perfect. Em and I ducked out of the session on Monday evening, and repaired to a local hostelry where we enjoyed some of the local real ale. A good time all round.

But, into every sunny day a little rain must fall. I went into Unitown this morning, and on the way back dropped into a shoe shop to have a look at the sale. I tried on what I thought was quite a nice pair of shoes, and was seriously thinking about a purchase when the young man assisting me informed me that "...my mum has a pair like that."

No sale.

Friday, 23 July 2010

End of the week

Well, the week is almost over. I've done a moderate amount of work, but as always feel that it's not enough.

I'm on a writing retreat on Monday and Tuesday of next week, which is an excellent opportunity. The University pay for a small group of us to be put up in a conference centre in Unitown, all our meals are provided for us, and the idea is that in this supportive atmosphere, we should be able to concentrate fully on producing excellent prose to form part of our theses, or indeed even a journal article.

What a great idea.

I wish I knew what I was going to write.... I can almost hear the muse packing her bag and abandoning me to my fate. Damn her.

Oh well. It could be worse.

I'm meeting a man this evening - from the internet. I had a chat with myself last week, and decided after some discussion (and you do get very funny looks when you have such discussions with yourself in public - although it's easier since the evolution of the blue-tooth headset) that it was cowardly not to give this dating lark another try. I don't expect to met the love of my life (I'm fairly sure that one of my previous disastrous relationships actually was the love of my life, but just a VERY BAD IDEA), so I will be very pleased if he turns out to be a nice man, who shows little sign of being an axe murderer.

Note to self - over use of parentheses should be avoided....

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Back from my hols

First day back into my hutch after a week away, and I must say that it feels very nice indeed to be back with my cave built from books.

I spent some of my week away working - it was good to be able to do some archival work for a change. I'm not sure if all the information I found will be going into the thesis, but I work on the principle that no research is ever wasted. Plus, I like doing the hands on work - somehow it seems more grownup than just researching in text books.

And, of course, the Royal International Air Tattoo was wonderful, some fabulous planes, and two days in the open air with the other plane geeks - the only time of the year that I feel remotely 'normal'. GoodFriend (GF) and I have decided that next year, we're going to do one of the extended FRIAT (Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo) packages, and spend an extra two days watching the planes arrive and depart. Some times I suspect that we're not like the other girls...

Had lunch today with one of my friends from undergraduate studies. She's looking really well, and is enjoying the work that she does. It's really reassuring that most of the people I studied with have managed to find rewarding work (not always financially), and without too much difficulty. Mindyou, I suspect that it's slightly easier for mature students as we have work experience to put on our CVs as well. I don't underestimate the challenge for most graduates coming out of uni, but for those of us with good degrees in a relatively 'serious' subject (ie Law), seem to be able to find something at least.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Graduate Recruitment

My last day in Unitown before I head off for a week or so. It's not all about a holiday (although that will be nice), I shall be spending a couple of days in archive offices doing some 'real' research. So, I'm trying to tidy up my hutch and decide which books I'm taking with me.

But, it is nice to know that the problem of graduate recruitment is about to be solved. No excuses for anyone not to get a job now, even if it is only volunteer work. Still, the training by MacDonalds should come in useful - especially for those with some of the more questionable degree subjects (equine psychology and the like).

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Polly succumbs to temptation, and greed

Dropped in to see my young friend Polly today while I was waiting for a journal article to print.

"Hello Old Girl. I've got something very embarassing to tell you."

Golly, I thought, at last something interesting to put on the old blog. What has she done? Will I have to tone down her exploits? I was agog.

"I bought a lotto ticket - I'm so ashamed, it's a tax on stupid people, but when I saw the prize money I couldn't resist."

I was deeply disappointed. But it did remind me of my ex-husband who, when the lottery was introduced into this country truly believed every week that he would have the winning ticket, and would expend no end of mental anguish on choosing the numbers every week, believing that he was making his choice scientifically. We had to stay in every Saturday evening so that he didn't miss the draw (these were the days before internet access at home, and even before mobile phones). I tried to explain to him that the probability of his winning was statistically negligible, but he just wouldn't believe me.

And he had passed A level maths in 1981 - just goes to show that standards haven't slipped that much...

But, it does beg the question as to why it was that I married him. I'm still trying to work it out.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Perspective

I had lunch with my friend D today. We graduated at the same time, and for some of our University career would be allocated to the same seminar groups, in which we would pick fights with each other - just for the hell of it - to the bemusement of the younger students. Like me, D is in his 40s, and had a successful career before coming to Uni. He is doing his Masters part-time, as he is the primary carer for his son.

It was very pleasant, to be able to sit on a bench in the sun, looking over Unitown, and we both agreed that this was real luxury.

On another note, I have been watching the situation in Northumbria unfold as the Police try and catch Raoul Moat who has vowed to kill as many Police Officers as possible. Yes, the guys on the ground look like Robo-cop, and it is strange to see the British Bobby wearing body armour and carrying a gun, but I for one, am full of admiration for them. Would I have the guts to follow in the tracks of a man who wants to kill me because of the job that I do? No. I wouldn't.

I am aware that there is much about policing to question - the issues of institutional sexism and racism for example - but what I feel that the commentators miss most of the time is that the majority of Police Officers are bloody brave, and frankly I don't care about their politics, so long as it doesn't affect the way that they do their job.

As for the calls for the Police to be armed or not - consider this: I believe strongly that killing people is wrong, but if I was in the situation that a member of the public was waving a weapon around which could hurt either me or someone about whom I care, I would be extremely pleased to see a Police Officer turn up appropriately equipped to respond to the situation. And I think that you would as well.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Tough financial times

As we all know, thanks to the great British media, the public sector are facing tough financial times. So, I wonder, is it the right time for Councils in Kent to spend money on a bid for City Status?

In my time working in the public sector, it was a rare week when I didn't wonder about the agenda of some of our elected representatives, and it seems that nothing has changed.

Pah. I'm just glad that as a full-time student I am exempted from the payment of Council Tax.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Sweltering in the library

It's just as well that postgrads aren't funded by public money, or I would suggest that you taxpayers demand a refund immediately. I am somewhat late in today (few errands to run, and a pair of shoes to buy - lovely), so I can only wonder at the lack of intelligence of my fellow postgrads.

My hutch overlooks a double height study area, and my ventilation comes from the south facing windows. I was amazed to find that although there are two students in the study area (one wiping the sweat from his face, and the other asleep), that neither of them had thought to open the windows.

When I strutted past them (well, squeaked really - perspiring feet in Teva sandals), and opened all the windows, you could see the slow realisation forming on their faces.

And this is the academic elite? Heavens to Betsy...