Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm just back from a conference at Cumberland Lodge on the Windsor Estate. Wow, what a place! The conference centre is in an old Tudor house that actually belongs to the Queen. The surroundings are superb.

The conference was entitled 'Beyond the Campus', and was aimed at research students looking at what they might do after their research. It was really worthwhile, and also gave me the space to step back and reflect a bit on the place of my research in my life - past, present and future. Do take a look at the web links to find out more and see what a fabulous place it is.

We all gave a presentation to a group of about 12 people doing very different kinds of research. (My group encompassed from oil platform riser pipes to Zimbabwean agricultural economics, and all points in between!) The challenge was to make your research topic accessible to an intelligent audience who knew nothing about the subject. It was my first attempt to speak from a PowerPoint with NO notes in my hand. (Well, I had an A4 sheet on the table in front of me as a security blanket, but I didn't use it.)

Got back home at 10.30 pm. I was knackered but I'd had a great time. Even got some reading and note-taking done, once I found a train compartment with power sockets that worked so I could plug in the laptop.

I've done a total mountain of laundry since my return. Taken Viola-Kid to string orchestra this morning, and Cello and Saxophone Kids to Braehead shopping centre this afternoon. It's astonishing how much you can spend on necessities without even trying...

Mentioned to SuperSpouse that it's now too late to get an online supermarket delivery, so I'm about to make up a list and go out myself. "Too bad you couldn't have done it last night", the Sage One observed. Like, when? 11 pm? After a full conference and travelling up from Windsor??

Did I ever tell you the rule I made up for myself a year or so back? I have this imaginary au-pair. If I'm tempted to go out REALLY, really late for supermarket shopping (except the pre-Christmas run), I ask myself: Would I ask the au-pair to do this? Or would she tell me to get lost.

If the imaginary au-pair won't consider something, then I don't expect it of myself.

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