Monday, September 29, 2008

Well, I've tried! There's this electronic database of eighteenth century printed sources, called Eighteenth Century Collections Online. It is fabulous - I can't get enough of it, and I find it really exciting. I can access it through my Glasgow University Library account. Hundreds and hundreds of digitised books from the C18th. I tried to explain the romance of it all to my boss today. I'm not convinced that I convinced her.

I tried to explain it to my middle son, aged 12, just now. He could just about understand how exciting it was to be sitting in a warm house with electric light and a computer, looking at an electronic "photocopy" of something that was first read 218 years ago by candle or oil-lamp in Edinburgh town.

When I tried to explain it to SuperSpouse, though, he was as bemused as my boss. So I won't try to explain to any of them the excitement of finding a squashed fly between the folios of a mediaeval plainsong manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and wondering if it was actually a mediaeval fly ...

I ask you - where's their sense of history? Do they not have that feeling of being somehow connected with real people from all those years ago?
Images from Gale Digital Collections, with very grateful acknowledgements.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weight Watchers have a lot to answer for. Specifically, their ginger and coconut creme caramel - which I tried to cook last night. I needed preserved ginger. I ordered it in my online shopping, a couple of weeks ago. The first week, it came in sunflower oil, so last week I went to Asda and bought something more suitable ...

... or at least, it looked very suitable, until I tried to cook with it last night. At this stage I realised with horror that it wasn't in syrup. Making the caramel, I was deeply suspicious of the thin 'syrup' that I was measuring out of the jar - until I realised that it wasn't syrup at all. Can't make caramel out of vinegar. Hmmm....

Any minute now, SuperSpouse will come home from Gourock, our friend Ian will appear from Bishopton, and we'll have a nice Sunday lunch. With Apricot creme caramel to follow. Hope it tastes okay! Any suggestions what I am to do with two opened jars of ginger, one in sunflower oil and the other in vinegar? Use the COMMENTS box and let's get a debate going!
As to losing weight - well, what do you think? It goes on much easier than it falls off.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A weekend in Leeds, a week in Glasgow, then a weekend in Halifax - well, I've had a great time, but it was tiring.

Faced with the harsh reality of having got little research written up, I looked at my annual leave total and realised that I did actually have three days still to take before the end of September.

I took them. The word-count is now up to nearly 10,000, and it feels as though I'm back on track.

Not that I've been glued to my desk all the time, I might add. We've had two birthdays in ten days in our house. I've done all the routine domesticity. I've played for a funeral. And I've been "Mum's taxi" with a vengeance.

To be continued.... when I'm more awake!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Destination: Halifax, Yorkshire

(More anon ...)

Leeds last weekend, Glasgow all week, and down to Halifax tomorrow - what a hectic social whirl!

I was in Leeds for a conference called "Music and the Idea of the North" - organised by the University in commemoration of Leeds Town Hall's 150th anniversary. I spoke about Alexander Campbell's Highland song-collecting. (What else? Sometimes I feel like his reincarnation!)On Saturday night, we all went to a fabulous concert in the Town Hall. And on Sunday morning, nice and early, I cadged a shot at the equally fabulous 3-manual organ there. (Widor's Toccata in trainers with no music? I managed the first two pages from memory, and that was all. Managed the whole of the Bach D minor Toccata, which was better.)

* (If you hadn't guessed, I just LOVE town hall architecture. Victorian civic pride at its best!)

It seemed a shame to head back home for a mere six nights before heading down to a place only 20 miles from Leeds. However, work had to be done, and Glasgow is home.


This weekend, I'm taking Viola-Kid and Saxophone-Kid down to my college room-mate's 25th wedding anniversary celebrations. Cello-Kid is doing a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award trek. SuperSpouse is staying at home to collect the trekkers at the end of the trek.


Viola-Kid isn't at all excited about a 4-hour train journey, even though he's never been on a train further than Edinburgh in his life, and I'd have thought tomorrow would have some novelty value. Ah well! Watch this space to find out how it all went.


If one thing is certain - no research has been done for a few days. I hang my head in shame, but if there's no time, then there's no time. Can't put extra hours in the day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Night of the Tacky-back Plastic

Last night, Viola-Kid was assigned the task of decorating his new Geography manilla wallet. He did it in oil-pastels, and was none too pleased to discover that the colour came off on the hands of anyone touching it. Did I say, none too pleased? He was panic-stricken.

And so it happened that Pseudosupermum abandoned Chapter 1 of her thesis, and leapt into her car at 10.35 pm. Off to the 24-hour supermarket in search of tacky-back plastic.

It wasn't easy to find, but I did find some. I bought three rolls (to be on the safe side), and proudly bore them home. The wallet was covered, the crisis averted, and Viola-Kid went off to bed.

We got up early this morning, so I could take him to school early for a music practice. I needn't have expected gratitude for my efforts of last night. That was last night. Now I had cruelly woken him up to go to a practice that HE had wanted to attend, and I was all things bad! I found out later that everything went pear-shaped after I left him at school. The teacher leading the practice was off sick, but the school forgot to notify the musicians, who all sat waiting for quite a while before anyone else turned up and worked out what had gone wrong.

I walked for about 100 minutes today. I feel so virtuous! I took the car for repairs, walked to work, made an unscheduled visit to the university mid-day, and walked back to the garage after work. Is it any wonder I can't concentrate and have achieved precisely nothing this evening?