This PhD has been a long time coming.  I started thinking about it two years ago, when my youngest son started pre-school.  I suppose I should make it clear right from the start that I’m not your average twenty-something graduate student.  I’m in my mid-thirties (‘an early-summer chicken’ was how a friend recently described me), I graduated 15 years ago and after a few different jobs, I spent 8 years at home looking after my children.  Eight years ago, there was only one; now there are three.  Nor do I have the MA that most people seem to think is the only legitimate way onto a PhD course.

And this PhD, when I started thinking about it two years ago, wasn’t going to be this PhD.  It wasn’t going to be Philip and Mary.  It was going to be something entirely different.  I’m not sure what, exactly, but without the help of the man who was going to be my supervisor, it wouldn’t have happened in any shape or form, and certainly not in the shape it is supposed to be taking now.

I’m supposed to be studying ‘The Dynamics of Religious Persecution Under King Philip and Queen Mary’.  That’s the Spanish Philip who (later) launched the Armada against Elizabeth I, and Elizabeth’s elder sister, Mary Tudor, who was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and became known as Bloody Mary.  I’m intending to look at the way the persecution of protestants took off in their short reign.  A bit like the witch trials.  Anyway, there’s plenty of time to say more about that later.

But, as usual in my life, things haven’t gone exactly according to plan.  I arrived for my induction day, full of enthusiasm, to find that my supervisor is on medical leave, and frantic arrangements had to be made to find me a replacement.  As there is no-one in the same field at my university, they’ve had to look externally, which I have come to terms with although it was something of a surprise.  I’ve known my intended supervisor since I was an undergraduate, and really my main concern is that he recovers fully, but nevertheless, it’s left me in a slightly awkward place.

I had my first meeting with my supervisory team today, and I think it would be fair to say that they have misgivings about the research proposal that I had developed with my intended supervisor and are quietly trying to prepare me for possible changes.  Oh well.  One way or the other I’ll get there.