Friday, 25 June 2010


really takes it out of you!
First there is the stress if submitting and waiting for your paper to be accepted. Then comes the writing part - always difficult for a researcher! You read and read and read and then read a little more before deciding that perhaps your abstract which is now in print on the programme, was maybe a little ambitious.

The you write - it takes time, especially if you decide images would be good, and that a power point would look incredibly professional!

The you edit - this is always a painful process! Normally you have written far too much to fit into 20 minutes but of course, every word is essential if you are to give a good paper!!!

So you start the painful process of carving off all the delicious sounding words you have conjured up during the reading and writing process and nearly always you end p with what can only be described as a shell of a paper! BUT! it is twenty minutes long!

Then you have the usual paraphernalia of travelling round the country (why are these conferences always way, way down south???) Packing, organising childcare, making sure you have all your handouts, printed paper and power points, saved and replicated in a myriad of forms, just in case something should go wrong!

Then you arrive - orientate and find that your first desire, the night before you are due to present, is to get rip roaringly DRUNK! Of course - you don't! That would be just plain suicidal!

After a night tossing and turning in a strange bed, in a slightly teenage smelling room, you wake completely unrefreshed and stomp off with one hundred bags, pen drives, folders, water, and laptops under your arm to find your venue - usually about 3 miles from your accommodation - or is that just me?

Sweating like a pig and looking like a sun- fried squid you arrive to find that the person who was due to head off your panel has failed to show (no excuse - why do people do that?) and that the carefully prepared timed to the second paper now has to be adjusted to fill the space - so you quickly put back all the delicious sounding words you have so carefully excised the day before in order to survive your now generous 30 minute slot!

The Q&A goes well, you can answer the questions and colleagues mention post-panel that you 'sounded' very knowledgeable and like and expert - erm that would be because I AM KNOWLEDGEABLE AND I AM AN EXPERT, otherwise the last two years will have been for nothing!!!!

When they go well you fly out of your panel and spend the rest of the conference in a halcyonic daze of praise! When they go badly you feel like sloping off to the nearest bar and drowning yourself in a vat of cheap wine! Luckily for me this one went extremely well and I came away feeling refreshed and motivated and ready to write a bloody good PHD!


Monday, 7 June 2010


So working from home seemed like a good idea at the time.

It always seems like a good idea until you realise that you are not actually 'working' at all! Merely wandering aimlessly from study to coffee machine and back again, fiddling on the t'interweb and opening and closing prospective works of unadulterated genius - if only you could actually WRITE THEM DOWN!

So I have been 'at home' for the best part of a month and the productivity has all but ceased. I am trying to kick it up a notch today by actually printing off my latest opus (the paper for CU) and making it work!

I have excuses coming out of my ears, the kids have been off, I have one permanently lurking because of 'study leave' - such an oxymoron at 16! A shift worker who wanders in and out of my house at all hours of the day and night requiring love and attention, inconvenient bank holidays which throw everything out of the window - then of course there is SUNSHINE! Such a rare occurrence in this god forsaken place that its appearance warrants taking time off - in case that is it for the rest of the summer!

Ah when you realise all the things that you need to wrangle with in order to get an hours peace it seems so futile - so you decide to start 'later' wander off for yet another cup of something hot and caffeinated!

Then, when you do feel the muse upon you, and actually write something, disaster strikes. Hit print - nothing happens. Well nothing is a slight exaggeration - three pages of sixteen appear, THEN nothing happens!

I LOATHE PRINTERS! I have yet to press the print button and for a document to appear trouble free.

the Printer Deities hate me!

Luckily the Computer Wizard was on hand to help me out and I do have a full document to edit this afternoon ... but why oh why can't these things just WORK when you need them too!