Yellowmead isn’t exactly Stonehenge….

Sheepstor at Sunset, April 08

… but it has a charm all of it’s own, and as I said in comments on a recent post, it’s mine.

It is also one of the reasons I haven’t been keeping my blogging resolution lately. I went up there for fieldwork on the 14th, when everyone was still very excited about Stonehenge. I had a good but frustrating week up there with Sarah, my amazing assistant and very good friend, but we were stymied somewhat by the weather getting all interesting on us, and having to do some running repairs on various bits of kit.

The photo-set on Flickr speaks for itself in terms of the sheer variety of weather we experienced! On the 15th I was running up and down with the radar in my vest and combats, but by the 18th it was wet and very very windy, and was too cold to really get much done, even in decent waterproofs! The 17th was also very windy, but sunny- the above photo is as we were leaving site as we lost the light. Sunset up there is just magical.

Stonehenge was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I love this bit of the world…. well, at the moment, it’s more love/hate, but that is the nature of doing a PhD, I am reliably informed. The following week I had a sort of week off planned for my birthday, but spent most of it in bed recovering from a horrible cold made worse, no doubt, by the Dartmoor Storm Gods doing their worst to us the preceding week! Sarah and I are agreed that it was actually worse than being up there in January, which is quite some feat!

I did recover enough to have my joint birthday bash with another good friend, Bibby- all and sundry (vampires, fellow phd’ers, assorted geeks and the lovely Cas amongst them) piled to her house for a BBQ which the not-spouse fearlessly did man+fire+meat behaviour at to feed them all. Like all manly men, when confronted with a BBQ and things to burn, he had great fun and didn’t seem to mind all the smoke, which was fine by me! Then we went out dancing and much fun was had by all πŸ™‚ There are photo’s on Flickr of all of that too!

So the start of last week brought me back to PhD-world with a bump, and I spent two days working on my Transfer document (the word transfer has become even more of a swear-word in our house than Dissertation did in late 2006!). I also got to have lunch with Cas- seeing her twice in a week which is a rare privilege these days! Then Sarah and I headed back to Dartmoor, and it appeared the Gods were again having fun with us: This is the view driving West down the M5 just outside Exeter…

Storm Clouds gather

So we got soaked. Again. Sarah is a saint!

I spent the tail end of last week in uni backing up all the data and sorting out a plan for getting another stint in at Flag Fen before all the kit goes off to the summer fieldwork projects. I can’t wait, last time it was amazing. And it has to be better conditions than Dartmoor- it’s flat, and not on Dartmoor! Then Matt came down and we went to see Iron Man, which was simply awesome! I think it’s possibly the best comic to movie transition I’ve ever seen. If you’ve not been yet, stay ’till the very end of the credits- a geeky treat for all fans of Marvels ‘Ultimates’ continuity (which is where the tone of the movie is very much taken from, and is my favourite Marvel continuity).

This weekend I played about with data and played silly roleplaying games too, then I’ve been working on the Yellowmead data some more, and stressing about my Literature Review… early in this process someone warned me that a PhD in the margins between two fields is a tricky thing, and it is!! I’m not sure which areas to focus on- Peat? The chemistry and ecology? Geophysics and data processing? Peatland archaeology and human impacts (past and present) on the Environments? I want to cover all of them, but I can only specialise in so much, and I only have 6,000 words! Furthermore, a ‘Literature Review’ is a very specific act, a way of writing and thinking that I don’t think I have quite mastered yet. Expect a post on how my draft has been received shortly…. I anticipate it to be full of woe!

Oooh, some other things… I’ve been organising our Postgraduate Conference, which I’m really looking forward to. I’ll be presenting results from the fieldwork for the first time at it, and I’m looking forward to catching up on where everyone is at- we’ve all been at various stages of Transfer Hell, and so retreating hermit like into our own work!

I also have a shiny new phone, the LG Viewty. The touchscreen is taking some getting used to, but I like it and the interface is really neat, and slowing down my texting speed is probably a good thing for my bill! I’m having some issues getting used to the media player- the thing only accepts mp3’s and as I use iTunes most of what I have is in mp4 format… I can’t seem to figure out how to rip direct from CD to phone, so I’m stuck with converting my iTunes library and porting the files, which is too big a job, so right now I’m just using my baby iPod (2 gig is enough for me, I just change my playlists often)… The camera is however the reason I got it and it’s pretty meaty- 5 megapixel, decent zoom and proper flash, not an led. It is a vast improvement on my old phone for indoors and nightime shots. So far I like it. Plus it’s shiny and purple and has a cool koi screensaver and I can make the fish follow my finger about the touch screen… πŸ˜‰

(I might be a geek but cute and shiny sometimes wins the day with me!)

I suppose all that was a very long winded way of saying why I’ve not blogged a lot of late. Stonehenge felt very hard to top, and I suddenly had lots of people I quite admire reading, which was intimidating! I’ve also felt that until I got to a certain point with my Transfer, any ‘writing’ I did needed to be on that; PhD comes first, after all.

I’ve been musing about turning 27, the same age my Mum was when she had me, and thinking about why I don’t want kids. I have too much to do! I want a career, to be able to enjoy my free time (not saying there aren’t enjoyable things about kids, but sleep deprivation, nappies, the changes to our social lives…. I can’t realistically say that I think I’d be so happy to be a Mum that it would make up for it). Cas was talking about the won’t/can’t issue with regards to kids. I’m a won’t. I worry that some people will see me as selfish. I don’t think it’s a selfish decision; I know at the moment that I don’t want to be a parent. I don’t have the patience, the money, or the will to do it. I really respect my friends who are; they are to a man/woman doing an awesome job raising great kids that are a joy to spend time with, but it’s just not for me, and I would never ever want to be in the position of resenting my child. I made a bit of a grumpy comment on a related issue on Cas’s post. The Godhead is right…I can’t really tar all of my male colleagues with the same brush, but an awful lot of them assume I’ll want kids at some point in the next ten years; ten vital, career forming years. I categorically don’t. I accept that this might change- I might change my mind, Matt might, the dreaded biology may indeed kick in, but it has started to make me think. It’s also one of the (many) reasons I don’t want to marry Matt; marriage somehow seems to make others think kids are on the menu. Potentially a career busting assumption.

Maybe my feminist upbringing is making me paranoid?

Being ill kinda stalled the fitness kick, but I’m back on track now and last Thursday swam my kilometre in 29 minutes, a personal best! I can now also do the evil plank for more than a minute!! I’m amazed by how much of a difference it made to fieldwork; not so much to what I was able to do in the field (I’ve always had the stamina to walk all day, if needs be), but in how much less it hurt afterwards!

Neko out

2 thoughts on “Yellowmead isn’t exactly Stonehenge….

  1. Thank you for referencing me under the “geek” link, it literally made me laugh out loud πŸ˜€ To justify my pseudonym, if you want mp3 tracks for your phone, you should just be able to plug it into your laptop as a mass storage device and use windows media player to burn cd’s to mp3. it should even be able to write them to your phone for you. It’s not the geekiest way of doing it, but it’s the simplest.

  2. Pingback: A little bit late, but only for the best reasons | Girl with Trowel

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