News from up North

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lectures, Journals and Chocolate

Even I am starting to get bored with hearing myself say ......I am really busy at the moment.... so I won't start this blog entry with that piece of information ...even though I indirectly have (bugger!). In order to relieve myself from the mental strain of writing my lecture for Monday's class and trying to plow through the mountain of journal articles that seem to be growing on my desk, I have spent 2 hours this evening doing a bit of home-baking. Actually it is Lisa's birthday in the research office tomorrow, not that I needed an excuse, so I have tried a new recipe for chocolate cake which has turned out pretty scrummy! It seems that adding a teaspoon of baking powder and 3 tablespoon's of water to the mixture gives it all a bit of 'oomph'! Well I'm taking it into work tomorrow, so I hope it is a hit.
Tomorrow, I will be joining Lisa for a few birthday drinks after work which will be nice as I could do with a night out.
I can't believe that it is Christmas day in only 2 months! This piece of information was made very apparent to me after wandering into Woolworths to buy some cake tins (mine are in storage at my sister's house) and to my horror, the whole store had changed over night into Toys'R'Us! The household implements section had been depleted from two whole aisles into 2 shelves..... noooo! This was all a bit vexing but I managed to find what I wanted.....but it just made me feel anxious about the pending festive season. Up until that moment I hadn't given it much thought ... I haven't got much money and the thought of starting to plan presents, cards etc. with every thing else that is going on is not good. However I mustn't grumble and I just have to start planning!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What's been happening?

Graduation day July 20th 2007 (l-r Katharine, Laura, Dawny, Anne-Marie, Georgia) aka American, Posh Welsh, Dave, Another American, Greek!

OK so it's been 4 months since my last post, which I admit is extremely lame. If it wasn't for the fact that Amerie put me to shame this evening, I wouldn't even be writing this ....the problem is I have just been really busy! In July I went to the IPrA Conference in Sweden and had a fabulous time. It was all really tiring but good. My paper was well received and I made lots of new friends.

(L-r Anne Furlong (Canadian Professor), Rebekah Johnston from New York and me standing on one of the many bridges in Gothenburg)
Gothenburg or Gutenberg (as the locals call it!) itself was an interesting place, lots of great architecture. I loved the trams, the buildings and the University. I wasn't as keen on the food, the price of alcohol (£5 a pint - scandalous!) and the weather rained all week! but apart from that I'm glad I went.
I returned to Huddersfield and on the next day travelled down to Wales for my MA graduation. Unfortunately, I didn't have the best day. This is due to some ill fitting shoes, some chaffing (which I won't go into!), walking through St Davids Centre with my dress tucked in my pants (extremely embarrassing!), forgetting where the reception was and then getting home to spend the next 3 weeks with tonsillitis! On a brighter note it was good to see the girlies again and of course my saviour Matt, who kindly returned my robe for me as I was in a bit of pain (see aforementioned list of complaints).
So after an eventful Summer, I returned to Hudds and then hit something known as a 'new term' ....OMG what madness! When I arrived here last year it was October 2nd (yes I have been here a year, which has gone very quickly!), so term had already started. The first couple of weeks are just plain bonkers. First years wandering around with maps, looking extremely lost/confused .... Third years just wandering around looking lost/confused......Lecturers wandering around looking ...well you get the idea!
Between my teaching, doing a PCPD course (please don't ask what it stands for as I can never remember, but it's a compulsory teaching qualification), also I have started a BSL course which is great! and the main user of my time my research....I am very busy!
The only good thing is that Hudds have taken on a few more PhD students, so I am no longer in a big office on my lonesome, which is good.
So all in all I am generally contented and at peace with the world long this lasts I am unsure, but I am making the most of my good mood while it chooses to visit me.
So to celebrate my happy state of mind, here is an appropriate quote ...
"Happiness is the sublime moment when you get out of your corsets at night" -
Joyce Grenfell

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Splish Splash ...

Well contrary to popular belief I am not up to my eyes in water, but unfortunately the rest of Yorkshire is. The rain has been relentless, but I am getting a bit fed up with the 'you must feel like you are at home' comments.
Anyway, enough water talk, work is going ok but I am stressing about my paper for Gothenburg. I just hope that I can avoid making a total arse of myself.
The excitement for the day came in the form of a parcel from a local Spa with a £25 gift voucher inside - unfortunately it was not signed. So I had to ring the company concerned and found out that My mate Cheryl was being very generous but also pro-active (as my B/Day is not until next week). It is so nice having parcels, something that was rare when I lived in Wales.
Well that's the state of play at the moment. I have decided to take my laptop to Sweden so I hope to provide a daily description of events. I can't promise it will be half as professional or indeed exciting as Anne-Marie's worldly travels, but I will give it a go.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday TV

There is a debate that rages among the over 35's as to whether you watched Swap Shop or Tizwas as a child. Personally I was a Tizwas child (which may not surprise you - anarchy is my middle name) but my sister preferred Swap Shop .... this led to many an argument in the Matthews' household as we are talking about a time when it was usual to only have 1 TV set per household. I know most youngsters today would think this as being unbelievable - but it's true. I didn't actually have a colour TV til I was 11 or indeed a phone.... how did we children of the 60/70's survive?
The reason for bringing this up is that I have just watched the revived one off Tizwas special and it was hilarious - the Phantom Flan Flinger ... Spit the Dog and Compost Corner were all there. As I watched the mayhem I wondered what today's youth would make of it all? In a world of Power-Rangers and computer games, has the innocence of a custard pie in the face all been forgotten? I personally think that kid's today would love it - it's the TV Executives who 'think' that they wouldn't.
I look at my sister's kids who have every toy/game that is imaginable (and all very costly) but when are they happiest? in the garden throwing buckets of water over each other ... I rest my case!

Anyway, talking of kids mis-behaving was results day at Hudds Uni on Wednesday, so the English Department put a gazebo and bunting up on the front lawn and had a tea and cake party for them, which I thought was a nice gesture. When ever I had my results, it was a quick well done and a pint of 'bow and black' in the SU ...then home. There was only one 'crier' on the day, which is pretty good ..... it just felt weird talking to students about their results and giving advise etc.....I guess I still have problems adjusting to acting like a grown up!

On Thursday night an old friend of mine from BAAE visited me and we ended up having a major drinking session in town. Jugs of various cocktails were consumed and I stayed up until 4.00am reminiscing .... unfortunately Mark had to drive home at 7.00am to Birmingham (2 hour drive) so I felt very sorry for him. I went back to bed on his departure and suffered with a sore head all day!It was nice to catch up but after talking about times and places from years ago it makes you realise how much your life has changed, and mine definitely has!

"As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction" - Irish Blessing

Sunday, June 10, 2007

'Quiet' weekend

Why is it when you say to everyone that you want a quiet weekend, you don't really want it to be 'that' quiet. I have spent the last 48 hours in my flat and haven't spoken to a single sole. It's like being in a religious retreat. I suppose at this point anybody bothering to read this will be thinking .... why don't you just pick up the phone and ring somebody? well I haven't because I always do the ringing ... nobody ever seems to ring me ... well actually that's a lie ... I do have the sporadic phone call from Wales, but that's it. Crikey it does sound as if I am wallowing in self pity, don't mean to. Just a lot going on right now, so I suppose that I have just been too busy to do the ringing people not talking to anybody has just been more noticeable.
Changing the subject completely ... weather's be nice hasn't it? ...

"The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes" - Holly, Red Dwarf II

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Yorkie experience

It has been a very busy week - I've been busier than Paris Hilton's parole officer (topical comment from Dawny...finger always on the pulse of the gutter press). This is because I had to do a presentation in York on Thursday, which was pretty scary. The whole experience made me realise how much work I have to do ..... the room was full of Professors and experienced Doctors who pulled big holes out of my research....but I'm pleased to say in a constructively critical way. Thank goodness I went to York, as it was better being mauled by 20 people rather than by 400 in Gutenberg in July! I also made a few more 'contacts' which is the done thing on occasions like this and had a slap up dinner ...but it was a 16 hour day and I came home and collapsed!
Anyway mustn't keep on grumbling ..... time for bed.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wedded Bliss

OK so I survived the wedding and what a wedding it was too - mighty fine! I was a bit nervous going as I was attending for the first time on my own and without the support of 'the girls', but I am pleased to report that my worries were soon dispelled. The wedding took place in the fine (and expensive) St Davids Hotel in Cardiff Bay. I arrived early as the groom had told me that everyone was meeting beforehand in the bar. As usual Andrew was 'fibbing' but I will forgive him as he did have other things to occupy his mind. So when I got there I was on my own - so a quick tipple at the bar was the thing to do, as weddings always make me nervous. I ordered a glass of medium white wine and a very smiley member of the bar staff informed me that I should hand over £6. At this point I thought she had mis-heard me and thought that I wanted a bottle of wine ... but rather than look complete cheap-skate I paid the lady and sat on one of their comfy leather sofas. The same lady soon brought me over a bowl of hand made crisps and a napkin - I would have preferred a 3 course lunch for that price but I just thanked her...and then spotted Andrew and some guests going upstairs to the function rooms, so I left the crisps, but necked my wine and departed. (note: there was free wine on my table all evening so I didn't need to resort to prostitution to pay my bar bill)
It was good to see Andrew and also a few of the other guests that I remembered from my youth in Brinsons. We were soon called in for the ceremony - I appeared to stand out somewhat in my black ensemble but hey it was a statement! The bride was fashionably 15 mins late, and Andrew was starting to twitch...but then she arrived. As I hadn't met Jane before I really didn't know what to expect but she was sickeningly attractive, tall, thin, blonde, you get the idea.....she looked lovely. I thought at that point that she must have no sense of humour or lack of conversation skills as otherwise she would be perfect...... after the ceremony I met her and she is...perfect. She is such a lovely person and so right for Andrew, they are both so laid back that I was afraid that they may topple over at any point - he has made a wise choice and it was great to see him so happy.
I won't bore you with a breakdown of the whole reception, but it was very nice. This was helped by me sitting next to one of Jane's oldest friends, Gwyn, who is a very witty gay bloke - we got on well and he was my saviour! Unfortunately Jane's Dad couldn't make it to the ceremony so Gwyn gave her away and also make a cracking speech - which totally outdid everybody elses, including mine! It had the right balance of sentiment, humour and appropriateness - I wish I could write one like that...but as it was 5 pages long put put my 1 page poem to I scribbled another verse in a bit quick to pad it out a bit. Anyway, everyone seemed to enjoy it. Before the reception began I only said that my name was Dawn and the response I got was 'oh you're the poem lady' or 'we've heard a lot about you from Andrew' this is always a bit worrying as I am not quite sure was exactly they have heard!
So in summary it was a great day, I got through it and hopefully this is his last wedding as I can't see them ever splitting up. The only thing that made me sad is that he is the last of my friends to get married and I love a good wedding :(

So here's a wedding quote....
"Damnit, it's your duty to get married. You can't be always living for pleasure" - Oscar Wilde