Tag Archives: family

Of supervision and family

Supervision went OK. Lots of comments about the chapter of doom, but largely cosmetic and bits which need more fleshing out, and basically considerably less work than the previous chapter needs. So that’s good. I want to spend the next week or so planning the changes, plus writing a conference paper (the bulk of which is already done, phew) and planning a journal article which can be relevant to nursing as well as the thesis, as I need in the next couple of months to get myself back on the nursing register in order that I am able to apply for jobs (I want to apply for some distance-tutoring work, but the closing date for that is in May even for the course which doesn’t start until February next year!).

And in family news, we are going to be an aunt again 🙂 (another one on HD’s side – my sister assures me that the niecelet is the one-and-only time she’s ever going through that!).

New Year

IMGP6379 We had a really lovely new year which we spent with some friends in York. After an amazing meal cooked by one friend we walked up to York Minster with a bottle of champagne and saw in the New Year with several thousand drunk people! One of our friends there is a bell ringer who has rung before at the Minster for New Year, so she was really looking forward to hearing the bells, but once the first “Bong” of midnight sounded the cheering and whatnot was so loud you couldn’t hear a thing!

IMGP6381

A couple of days later we headed further south, firstly to see my parents and then to see HD’s parents and pick up the last of our stuff. My mum is recovering really well from her op – she showed me her war wounds and they are healing really nicely. We got back to Glasgow yesterday, and today the early alarm so that I could get a good amount of work done at work was a bit of a shock to the system, though not as bad as it could have been I guess (I’m expecting it to get cumulatively worse as the week progresses.  Groan). One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to do at least a 9-5 day Monday to Friday at work as I really need to get my act together for a much more important resolution, which is to finish the thesis in 2009! I arrived at work at exactly the same time as the guy who shares my office (well, I suppose I should say I share his office as he was there before me!), it turns out that we have exactly the same resolution! (the 9-5 one anyway, he’s still got 3 years of his PhD to go). He reckons he’ll last till Wednesday, I’m at least giving myself till the end of the week!

Talking of resolutions, my various ones this year are (in no particular order):

* Finish and submit my thesis in 2009.
* 9-5 Monday to Friday working (at least) in order to achieve that.
* Lose weight. Having weighed myself this morning I am the heaviest I have ever been in my whole life, and I want to lose 24kg. Which is mathematically rather handy, as that makes 2kg a month (or about a pound a week in old money). I intend to do this through not snacking between meals, not buying chocolate (though I’m not going to be precious and if anyone gives me chocolate I’m not going to refuse it or make a big deal of it), having smaller portions and no seconds, and only having a glass of wine with a meal (usually if we have wine I tend to have 2 glasses). I reckon that will at least arrest the upward (and outward!) direction of the weight, and if I have to do more then it won’t be too difficult. I’ll also try to go to the gym a couple of times a week.
* Read the Bible daily. I don’t think there’s any point saying “Have a daily quiet time” as that just won’t happen, but having gone through (still am there really) a really dry patch I think that daily reading will at least be a step in the right direction.
* Try to reduce my overdraft and not spend money frivolously.

We’ll see. I think most of these are reasonably manageable.

Anyway – happy new year everyone!

Christingle

I guess one way of looking forward to the coming of Christ (something I’ve already explained I’m struggling with a bit this year during the current dry patch) is to look back. This morning’s service was action-packed if nothing else, being both Carol Service, Christingle Service AND a baptism (all 3 elements together worked really well – and still managed to take less time than the usual communion service! But I digress).

Some of you know I’m not from a church-going family, so church didn’t really feature in my childhood much apart from when my school orchestra and/or choir did concerts in churches sometimes. However, my late grandmother (whom we called Nanny – she died when I was 7 or 8 ) did sometimes go to church, and occasionally we would go with her, if there was a service which might be good for kids. So, one of my very earliest church memories, I guess I must have been no older than 5 or 6, is going to the Christingle Service – I remember precisely nothing about the significance of the Christingle or anything much about the service itself, but remember really vividly walking back home with my mum and nanny and aunt and sister and my sister and I both holding our oranges and shielding the still lit candle trying to protect the flame from being blown out. I remember the orange wasn’t beautifully decorated like the ones at St Frodo’s this morning, with red ribbon and sweets as well as the candle, these ones were literally just an orange with a cross drawn on it in red marker pen and a small candle. But, I remember that even from that very early age there was just Something about church, about Christianity, which just Felt Right, and that feeling never went away, even though I never did anything about it till I went to uni at 18 and joined the CU. Seeing those Christingle oranges this morning brought that all flooding back – the fact that God was calling me, little me, all those years ago.

And then in the readings, of course we got to Luke 2. I remember a few years ago when I was still in London, I think it must have been 1998 thinking about where I was living at the time and that I was getting ready to work on a hospital ward where I’d just finished a student placement for the early Christmas Day shift, so I was bleary-eyed and running around a bit. I had GLR (now Radio London, nowhere near as good as GLR was but that’s another story) on the radio, and then (as I think still now on Radio London) Jumoke Fashola was doing the early God-slot programme. While I was getting dressed I remember her reading out Luke 2, the story of the shepherds, and I remember when she read verses 10-11 “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord”, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and the story of Christmas never ever felt as real as it did then. This morning the same thing happened, at the same place. I’m guessing God isn’t as far away as he currently feels after all … it’s just taking looking back to realise that there is a future.

Smash :(

I was going to put lots of photos up, of the barge trip and of Helsinki (which was fab, I really liked it), but have been rather distracted this afternoon by the pain in the neck of coming home from church to find that someone had chucked something through one of my front windows. It only broke the outer pane (hooray for double glazing) but I had to get an emergency repair and organise a replacement, not helped by the insurance company being shut and loads of glaziers in the Yellow Pages having out of date or unobtainable numbers but being very helped by the Bank of Dad and by a very helpful glazier who came very promptly when I eventually found one who actually answered the phone. I’m sure it was just a passing vandal rather than a targeted attempt to break into our flat, so I don’t feel really unsafe or anything, but it has reminded me of when I was burgled a few years ago in London and those memories really aren’t very nice so I’d rather not be remembering them (and especially the hassle of getting the window fixed, which took nearly 2 months). So I’ve been having a bit of a Daily Mail hang’em and flog’em rant to myself and am v.cheesed off. Bah.

In other news, HD didn’t get the Aberdeen job, but has another interview (not in Scotland) this coming Friday so hopefully something will come of that. And in other other news, my mum had an operation on Friday (it was meant to be at the end of this month but there was a cancellation so they phoned her up on Thursday and in she went), she seems to be recovering well though and I’ll try to get to see her this week sometime. In other other other news, I’m trying not to think about the essays that were handed in a few days ago while I was away. Just the thing to cheer me up (not).

Northern Ireland

After the Easter weekend, I went off with the outlaws (parents-in-law, sister-in-law and next-youngest niece, but without HD, who still had to work) to Northern Ireland for a couple of days to meet our new niece. The journey took forever (we arrived at Dublin around about rush hour, so it took ages to get through the city), so it was dark by the time we arrived at our cottage. The next day though we headed off to HD’s brother’s and his partner’s place. which is a little smallholding in the middle of nowhere which eventually will be like the Good Life, except not in Surbiton! (They have 4 acres, and so far have 5 or 6 ducks, 80 chickens, a very pregnant horse, a slightly mad dog, and are hoping to get a pig later this year). Our niece Edie is beautiful, really leisurely and calm and sociable and not whingey at all, though as she already has 3 siblings I guess she can’t yet get a word in edgeways. That first day, apart from going for a pub lunch, we just stayed at the house all day, but the next day we all went to a National Trust place called Mount Stewart (stately home with fabulous gardens) where the kids did a dragon hunt (with perhaps a little help from the big kids) whilst the oldies among us just sauntered round leisurely. It was really beautiful there, and I took plenty of photos – it was the kind of place where I could see lots of places I could have had a go at drawing, but I didn’t have my pastels with me and as I wasn’t on my own it wouldn’t have been fair to expect everyone to wait around for me anyway. Later that day HD’s dad drove me to the airport (the rest of them were staying one more day), where I managed to meet up for a quick cup of tea before my flight with my friend (and Kerensa’s) the Media Dahling, which was really lovely – so in a couple of days I did manage to pack quite a lot in.

I took some photos of the family and also at Mount Stewart. I’ve decided that I’ll keep the family ones out of public view, as they’re not of my children, but if I’ve done it right then you should see 4 pictures here including some fabulous Guinness topiary! (if you’re logged into flickr and are one of my friends then you should be able to see the family ones as well). Photos here.

Wiblog entry for 09/03/2008

A lovely weekend down south seeing HD and various family members (on his side) including his cousin whom I’d not met before. Although I now have Scooch “Flying the Flag” going through my head following a frankly rather disturbing impromptu dance routine after lunch today. I’ll be able to use the photos as evidence/bribery material/etc for ages to come!

Now I’m back in Glasgow, and it’s cold! Bit of a panic on the way home, I thought I’d lost my mp3 player (two months after owning one for the first time – that’s a bit careless even for me). But what was lost has been found, so I’m happy again (well, except that I’m at the other end of the country from my husband, but apart from that I’m happy).

I’ve got supervision tomorrow. Feeling distinctly unprepared. But one of my friends who was at my seminar last week sent some really fantastic feedback which I think is going to be very helpful.

What is not very helpful is my laptop randomly CAPS LOCKING and opening new windows (it has recovered now – I hit the keys very hard. I’m sure that can’t be good for it). The wonders of modern technology.

Shipmeets and shopping

Last night we had a good shipmeet up in Glasgow, meeting up with MrSponge and his friends from across the Pond, and catching up with fisher, derf and scz. We went to Waxy O’Connors, and had a good old time discussing English/Scottish/American pronunciation (!). At one point we did divide up into boys talking politics and religion and girls talking weddings and babies – no gender stereotypes there obviously (we didn’t talk about knitting though).

Later today I’m heading down to London, as tomorrow I am going shopping with my bridesmaid. I can’t wait, I haven’t seen her for ages so it will be great to catch up with her. On Sunday HD and I are then going to have lunch with his parents AND my parents – this will be the first time the two sets of parents have met. I hope they behave themselves!

various randomness

A good weekend when my bowels eventually allowed me to get down south – my prediction of an 8 hour journey was pretty much spot on (and, for those of you interested in such things, the Eddie Stobart score was 60, which was pretty respectable and not too far below my record for that particular journey).

HD arrived a day after me, and on Saturday evening we did the obligatory outing to Stoke Bruerne, which is a pretty little village on the Grand Union Canal with a pub by the waterside. I think everyone who comes to stay goes there at some point (in my family’s defence though, it was my suggestion this time).

Yesterday we headed up to the city where we’re getting married, where the shop I wanted to go to was closed, so we went to the cinema instead and saw “Curse of the Golden Flower”, which is really sumptuous visually, I loved the colours, although there were a number of scenes where I did shut my eyes (I’m not very good with screen blood and gore). Blood and gore aside though, it really is beautiful to look at, well worth seeing. I still haven’t seen “The Lives of Others” (or whatever it’s called!) – I would have liked to have seen it yesterday, but we arrived too late for one showing, and the next one would have meant I’d have missed my train.

And now I’m back at work. Today I finally lurched into the 21st century and created my first ever Powerpoint presentation, for the talk I’m giving at a conference down south later this week. I think it’s going to be OK.

I’m off to my book group tonight, for the last time until I’m back in October. I haven’t finished the book this time, as until yesterday morning I had it in my head that we were meeting next Monday, not today. So I had a big reading spurt on the train yesterday, but it wasn’t enough. The book is Anita Diamant’s “The Red Tent”, which is based on the biblical story of Dinah (which merits a passing gruesome mention in Genesis). It’s basically Biblical chick-lit, and whilst it’s not the most intellectually taxing thing I’ve ever read it is a good read, I’m enjoying it. I think what I really like about it is that, when you read about the peripheral Biblical characters who only get the slightest of mentions (or, for example, the lists of huge numbers of soldiers slaughtered in Joshua, or the huge numbers of nameless concubines or whatever), I often wonder about them, and remember that God knows their stories even though the writers of the Bible chose to concentrate on other people. This is basically the story of people who only get a bit of a mention in the Bible, and gives them a life.

out and about

Yesterday I had a day off marking (well, I had today off as well) and went into Cardiff to meet up with wiblogger Chalky. It was great to see her and catch up (as she was so busy at Greenbelt last year so it had been even longer than usual since last seeing her) and share PhD stories (she’s a year ahead of me) and general what’s-happening-in-life sort of thing. We started off in the coffee shop at the Museum in Cardiff (Museum of Wales?), had a quick potter round a bit of the museum, then had lunch at a cute coffee/salad place and then went to another coffee shop for more drink and chat. It was really lovely. PhDs should be like this more often 🙂

Yesterday evening HD and I went off to Englandshire to stay with his sister, bro-in-law and nieces for the night. And their very very very very big dog. Lovely to see them again. Spent this morning watching Angelina Ballerina with I (youngest niece, 3), I have to say I didn’t like Angelina Ballerina very much, she seemed very spoilt and selfish and it was always all about her. But I didn’t say that very loudly. Now we’re back in Walesland, so back to normal now. And I’ll have to do more marking tomorrow.