an odd sort of downtime…

I sat at my desk in uni, it’s 18:00 and so time to switch off for the day, except I find I can’t. I’m kicking myself for leaving the connector for my phone at the flat, otherwise I could sit and flickr all my lovely shots from the most recent stint in the field. The internet connection at the flat has a lousy speed and all sorts of dropped packet type problems, so I refuse to do it from there; it makes me swear too much!

So I’m blogging, reflecting. It’s been a reflecting kind of day, and sort of a reflecting kind of week. I shall explain.

For the last month or so, I’ve either been on fieldwork or (ostensibly) on leave for sickness and my birthday, or frantically planning said fieldwork and starting to sort out the data. Before that I was concentrating on my Transfer, which is now due in 38 days (eek!). It has been very non-stop, with little time to think or reflect on what I was actually throwing so much energy at. I was organising a conference here at the uni as well, which went off today without any noticeable hitches, apart from one of the speakers keeling over mid-talk; she’s fine, but it was a bit of an adrenaline moment!

I went to flag fen this time last week having not really stopped and taken stock for a good two months. There has been an enforced ‘halt’; being on fieldwork, especially with no TV in the evenings, no convenient ways to procrastinate and while away the time, plus lots of thinking time when actually surveying. The conditions were so nice I could muse, ponder and enjoy working, unlike at Yellowmead which was a constant battle with the environment. I realised some important things about where the research seems to be pointing, but also, looking back at the reading I have done and how to resolve the problems I was having with my Literature Review, in terms of structure and tone. Then today, I gave a poster at the conference. I had lots of good questions from people about my work, and I think often it is only when you totally step back from it and try to explain it to someone who hasn’t been working on it for 18 months, that you realise how much you know, how much you have already done or figured out. All in all it is a very nice feeling.

I feel like I should be crashing; I’ve not slept in my own bed, at home, for a week now and it was freezing at night out in the fens. We pulled two 12 hour + days to get the work done, not to mention all the travelling (and the trauma of leaving part of the kit in Southampton; thankfully there is a spare or I’d be on a train right now flying home to pick it up in time for someone else to use it tomorrow!). But I’m not. For the first time in ages I feel confident and fired up about my work, and like I have the energy to do something with it. I know though, that if I plough off headlong into intricate data processing or writing volumes, I’ll either get too stuck into a tiny aspect and loose the bigger picture I’ve rediscovered, or all fed up and hopeless again with a tiny aspect that isn’t working right. So, the plan is to head back off to the flat and sit down and try to get this big picture onto some paper (or the virtual equivalent!), and plan my time ’till the Transfer deadline. I have a wedding to go to in that time as well as some other non-phd commitments (such as publishing my MSc dissertation- watch this space!), so careful planning is needed.

I also need to phone my Dad and wish him a proper Happy Birthday, as I was rubbish and rushed off my feet last night, so sorry Dad!!

Or maybe it’s just the volumes of proper coffee I consumed today during the conference? Perhaps it will all wear off and I’ll be asleep by ten!

I’ll upload the photo’s from home and tell you all about Flag Fen over the weekend, so bye for now,

Neko x

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