…and I have been absent from my blog for quite a while now! I got a little overwhelmed with juggling my full time and quite stressful job, with a looming first draft of the PhD deadline, finding time to blog, taking care of the pets, the boy, and myself, and various family obligations. Unfortunately, I knew something needed to give, or my sanity would, and sadly that had to be my blog. Encouragingly, despite not posting in what seems like forever, I’ve been getting a fair few daily hits which is really lovely to see! Thank you all for keeping tabs on me and I am sorry for my disappearing-act.
I don’t promise to be back in a huge way, since I have now got another deadline looming, this one hopefully final, for the PhD final draft in mid-July, so I have a LOT of work on my plate over the coming weeks, as well as a change of housemate, a recruitment process at work which I am in charge of, and a vegetable patch which needs no end of weeding (and spinach harvesting – it’s a good job I love the stuff!), but I hope to post at least once or twice a week, maybe shorter snappier posts, but just to check in with you all! I’ve got a few DIY projects to share soon too, which I’ve been doing instead of working on my thesis – I am the queen of procrastination. If I can’t do some DIY, I’ll clean the house, mow the lawn, bake something, and then when I’ve got no more excuses, I’ll get on with some work. Anyone else do this? Getting very tired of it now that I am so close to the end, I feel like it has been years of sacrificing weekends and spare time, and I just want it to be over.
So what have I been up to in these past few weeks? We spent a lovely long weekend on Anglesey in Wales at Ste’s parents’ holiday home with them and the dogs, lots of nice beach walks at Benllech and far too much food!
There’s been a lot of gardening going on – harvesting our huge supply of delicious radishes and spinach, and waging war on the ever-growing weeds, and nice sunny days spent enjoying the fruits of our labour over BBQs and a glass of wine (yes, I should have been working, I know!).
Then I went to Florence (where my university is) for a week just before my first draft deadline to spend some intensive time in the library. Typically, I went over May Day, and not only was the library closed that day, it was closed the entire week! As were all the libraries. I was forced to wander all over town seeking the elusive café-with-internet which can be readily found in practically every other country in the world, but which Italians seem to eschew (perhaps because coffee is too pure an art form to be sullied by the notion of work). I managed to get a decent amount done though, and actually a break from the internet forced me to think more about my deeper argument, so it might actually have been beneficial! And I also managed to have plenty of down-time to spend catching up with old friends: Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Chianti, Montepulciano di Abruzzo…only joking! Though there may have been some consumption going on over my reunions!
Back home for a week whilst the PhD supervisor had time to read the thesis and then back to Florence again for the verdict (pretty okay, needs a bit more work), this time for an actual holiday, with Ste in tow. We had a wonderful week. Plenty more seeing old friends, some beautiful walking in the countryside (we hiked up to the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci through beautiful olive groves filled with poppies, daisies, buttercups and all manner of pretty coloured flowers), lots of amazing food, and some stunning sunsets. I’ll post more on our trip later, with some more tips for what to see and do in Florence.
Stunning, isn’t it? The way the Arno river reflects the lights of the city and the orange and purple hues of the sky – we sat for hours just appreciating and watching the colours change as darkness fell. Very romantic!
Back from Florence, and back to work (I took three weeks of leave from my job to work full time on the thesis, and another week for our little holiday). I still managed to enjoy some lovely weekends away though. My little sister Tasha and I popped home to see our Mum and Dad in the West Country for a weekend, and visited our Aunt and cousins who live down on the coast in Dorset at Seatown. We had a lovely walk with the dogs on the beach, and then headed back to their for some of my cousins’ homebrew cider, which you can see me sampling in a very ladylike manner!
But mainly, what I have been doing is this. Sitting at a desk (or in a library – our local library was my daily haunt for a while, I even adopted my own desk!), surrounded by papers, usually holding my head in my hands wondering what on earth I’m doing, and almost always accompanied by a little furry buddy – Billy is curled up next to me on the chair here, but it could have been Toto, or the cats. All four of them have been very supportive of my work regime because it has involved hours of lap-time. Apologies for the bedraggled appearance and photography – I was not expecting Ste to pop out with a camera and capture me mid-thesis crisis! You can tell by the eyebrow – I don’t think it could get more raised.
So there’s still a fair bit more of the above to be done – once I finish this post it’s back to it for the rest of the day, until I have to go to pick Ste up from the airport (he’s been in Copenhagen for some web developer conference/booze up thing). Can’t wait to have him home! And then same again tomorrow, and the next day (with the minor distraction of a full work day in the middle), and the next day, until the beast is tamed.
I hope I’ll see you again soon, but I can’t promise it! I will make Fiesta Friday next week though, that I do promise! I’ve got a chocolate orange cake in mind….