Sunday, 27 February 2011

a jolly (exhausting) weekend

Oh what a jolly weekend it's been! Today I've been out for the first bike ride of the year with some lovely women, round town and through the woods, and plenty of cafe stops. I got thoroughly wet and very muddy, and had an excellent fun! It felt so good to be out, even in the rain.

And even after only 4 hours sleep. Ahem.

My mum, auntie and cousin visited yesterday, as my auntie wanted to buy a pair of shoes from this fabulous shop, which is not far from here. I've walked past plenty of times, but never been in, so it was a little adventure in itself.

Look at those sewing machines! And really, is there anything more fabulous than purple shoes?

There's been quite a bit of baking this weekend too, although goodness knows where I found the time. Fairy cakes, a lemon drizzle cake, and my second attempt at bagels, which I'm sure would have been as lovely as the first attempt if I hadn't forgotten they were in the oven...

They were rather crisp when they came out...

So all that, plus a post-phd fancy dress party, and an afternoon of tea and toast with a friend, has meant I'm rather worn out. Do you think they'll notice at work if I take tomorrow off to sleep?

Thursday, 24 February 2011

working at home

It's not so bad, this working at home malarkey...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

photobooth silliness

I'm feeling quite giddy and silly today - no particular reason, other than having got lots of work done, having a lovely new place to store my wellies, and having picked up my cowboy boots from the menders with lovely new heels on.

So in honour of that, and the fact that it's Tuesday, and because, well, why not? I'm sharing a little photobooth silliness with you.

I've only recently discovered photobooth - if you don't know it, the laptop takes photos of you!

So here's me, with a cup of tea (naturally) - four times, because I didn't realise I'd pressed the button that takes four photos. I can see a lot more of this daftness coming in the future!

Sunday, 20 February 2011


Look what Peter pulled out of an old hessian sack this week! Leaving aside the fact that hessian sacks in themselves are Very Exciting, never mind what's inside them, this one really did bring about a fair bit of happy-skippy excitement.

Can you tell what they are? Old wooden printing blocks, literally hundreds of them, all different sizes and shapes and letters, all with decades-old ink still on them.

Peter's dad has been a printer all his life, and Peter worked with him for a while, and at some point rescued these blocks from being thrown away. His dad, so I'm told (and I can believe it), said "what do you want those for?? They're rubbish, we used to burn those in the stove to keep warm when we were apprentices!"

But Peter, with an eye for things-that-future-girlfriends-will-find-interesting-in-twenty-years, rescued them anyway, intending to cover an entire wall with them, but never quite getting round to it because our house is 110 years old and there isn't a straight wall in the place.

So. Here we are with an entire sack of the things, and now I have no idea what to do with them either. Apparently they're too worn out for printing professionally, but that wouldn't stop me printing on card with ink I wouldn't have thought. But I'd only want one of each, so there's still plenty left for a Project.

Did I tell you we're busy turning our house into a Palace?? Well, we are. Which mostly seems to involve Taking Things Apart, building shelves, and sawing things in the middle of the kitchen, but which is also unearthing some lovely forgotten treasures, and setting us off on all kinds of bizarre decorative adventures.

So, any suggestions for what we can do with all these?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

sunshine and spring

Well, I'm not entirely convinced we can say it's spring yet, but there's been some gorgeous sunshine around the place this week. I just couldn't resist taking this picture in the corner of the kitchen the other day, with the light streaming in through the living room window. Our kitchen is usually quite dark, and it just felt all lit up and colourful and spring-like.

I've also been hanging out of the attic window taking photos of the sky...

Hmm, a bit of a grey cloud sneaked in to that last one, see, we're not quite as far as spring yet!

(I'm still rather giddy at being PhD-free, so I'm sure there'll be a few more 'isn't everything great?!' posts to come in the next few days...)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

it's a beautiful day

It has indeed been a beautiful day today. I've run in the rain, danced rock n roll around the kitchen, baked bread, made a roast dinner, read, pottered, listened to Radio 4, and created a notice board.

Although now I've done it, I'm not entirely convinced I can put anything on it, because I'm too busy enjoying the background fabric...

Friday, 11 February 2011

would you just look at that

I've had rather a sense of deja vu today.

This afternoon I picked up my thesis and handed it in for the final time. It felt rather different to when I handed it in the first time. I didn't have the same sense of 'good riddance!', more a sense of tying up loose ends, which is much more satisfying.

Of course, I was met with rather a lot of bureaucratic nonsense and form-filling that left me so frustrated and feeling so flat that I just *had* to go to the museum cafe, and then couldn't help but burst into tears when they told us they were closing... But, you know, it's been an emotional day!

Still, I'm smiling again now, and as I went looking for that blog post about handing the thesis in the first time round, I ended up ambling through a whole load of other posts about the PhD too. It's actually quite interesting to have your life compartmentalised according to little blog post tags, and I rather laughed at some of the stuff I came across.

For a start, I sounded every so sensible after I was told I'd need to spend another year writing. I'm sure I've done a whole load more childish tantrum throwing in the months since then! And I found this cheery post, about what I was going to do after the PhD, which set me all to thinking about what I *was* doing after the PhD, and how I really want to sit down and think about some nice shiney new goals for the coming months.

Out of those goals I wrote back in August 2009, it's nice to see I've actually achieved a few. I've got a lovely new job, which uses the PhD, and is fabulous and interesting and worthwhile. I was 2 days a week for a while, and now it's full time, which I said back then I didn't want, but which has its advantages, especially since it's only temporary. I've written on this blog a little more, although I'm not sure I can say it's been consistent or regular just yet.

Oh, and there's a mention of those trapeze lessons again...

One thing I've been planning to do for a while, but don't think I've mentioned yet, is this course. Entirely frivolous and unnecessary, but what fun! And really, after the last 7 years, I'm very much feeling in need of a few weeks of 'living 'meditation' of presence, aliveness and cheery connection'.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

a phd-free week!

Ooh, I'm enjoying life without the PhD! This week has been ever such fun so far. Nice, cheery, gentle fun, starting with fairy cakes at the Women's Institute on Saturday, of course.

And I've been working at home for the last couple of days, up in the attic, which has got a very different feel to it now it's not full of PhD-related paperwork. I can't quite believe I've never had hyacinths in the house before! I'm very much enjoying their bright pink stripiness, and the smell!

Ooh, and can you see what's in the background there? That quilt, on the bed? My lovely auntie made that for me for Christmas, and I'm very much enjoying seeing it laid out on the spare bed in the attic while I'm working away at the desk. Not a fabulous photo, it's been rather grey and dreary round here of late. I'm sure it'll crop up in the background of plenty of photos this year.

I've also had fun playing with my spirograph this week. It's surprisingly satisfying - as is colouring in the little swirls and squiggles.

Tonight, however, I'm working to a tight deadline. I somehow appear to have replaced the PhD with an Urgent Knitting Project - arm warmers for a friend who's heading to the arctic circle tomorrow morning.

I'm thinking she's going to need more than arm warmers.

Best get back to it though, I'm only half way down the second arm, and it's not going to knit itself...

Friday, 4 February 2011


Look at that blue sky! Those tulips! That newly painted bright yellow kitchen wall! I always wanted a yellow kitchen, and now I've got one, hooray!

I've been full of the joys of spring today, and thoroughly ignoring the howling wind and rain (or rather, using it as an excuse to wear my wellies...). And what's the source of all this jollity and cheeriness??

Why, the end of the PhD, that's what.

Yep, that's right, after 7 years and 4 months, I've finally finished.

And my goodness, it feels great. I'm quite giddy with it all. It's been rather difficult to concentrate today.

Tonight we will mostly be drinking champagne, planning a party, and looking forward to the first weekend for 7.5 years when I will be able to do whatever I want, without the underlying feeling that I should be doing something else.

As I said, it's jolly exciting!

I'm looking forward to so many things. Gardening, for one. Baking. Drinking tea with people I haven't seen in a while. Drinking tea with people I see all the time. Sewing. Lying around and doing absolutely nothing. Reading. Running. Lazing around in the bath until I go wrinkly.

Oh, and I seem to remember that A Long Time Ago I promised myself trapeze lessons when I finally got to the end of all this...


Let's just concentrate on the Women's Institute in the morning, shall we??