As it’s Christmas, I thought I’d share a photo of my desktop Christmas tree, which has grown a bit since last year.  I bought it a new pot as a present.

I am, as usual, incredibly busy.  It never seems to stop.  Even when I find myself saying ‘things should ease off next week’, or ‘when I’ve finished x and y I’ll be able to take things a bit easier’, it never quite seems to work out.  I finished the term for Liverpool Hope a couple of weeks ago, and at the same time finished teaching one of my GCSE English and History pupils for a few weeks.  One had already taken a break for mock exams.  So finally I was able to go back to writing my Pilgrimage of Grace article, which I had left earlier in the year to prepare lessons on Of Mice and Men, 20th century European history and civil rights in the USA.  What’s been tough about this semester is that nothing that I’ve done has counted for more than one thing – very thing has been discrete and different.   The private pupils are all studying different topics, which are different again to my teaching for Liverpool Hope and the A-level lectures that I gave for Sovereign Education.  And of course, they are all different to the subject of my own research.  Ah yes, back to that – at the moment, it’s the Pilgrimage of Grace.

I enjoyed spending a week or so on my article in the run up to Christmas.  Not least because it was in better shape than I remembered it being.  At the moment, I’m trying to find out whether there was something particularly subversive about performance, because one of the officials seems particularly interested in whether or not one of the verses was intended to be sung.  When I’ve finished that section, I’m going to send it to a couple of friends to read, in the hope that I can get it sent to a journal early in the new year.  It’s not the only piece of writing in the pipeline, as I’m expecting to hear any day now whether or not the readers have recommended that the book of the thesis be published.  Back in September or October I gave a paper about Mary I, and the proceedings have also been submitted to a publisher.  I’ve also got the germ of another article buzzing in my brain, but sadly it doesn’t look like I’m going to get anywhere near starting the proper research for that in the near future. Because as always, there’s just too much else to do.  I have to do some preparation for the last few weeks of the 20th century history course; I have to finish the Pilgrimage of Grace article; I have to prepare work for my private pupils on factual writing, Romeo and Juliet, Indian history…  I also have a paper to prepare for a conference in Canterbury in a couple of weeks, organised by the very lovely Una McIlvenna.  I think I know more or less what I’m going to say, but I have to organise it!

Merton College

Merton College

And so to the travelling – there’s been quite a lot of that too.  Teaching for Hope in Bury, teaching in Garstang, taking staff training courses at Lancaster University, lecturing for Sovereign in Manchester and Birmingham, and the Autumn highlight: giving a paper at the early modern seminar at Oxford, which was a truly amazing experience and gave me so much to think about for the Pilgrimage of Grace article.  More on that later, I hope.