I’m writing this in late August, while Twitter is alive with posts on what people have accomplished, or not, over the summer, and the guilt they feel or don’t. It’s got me thinking.

summer steps

summer steps (copyright Jenni Hyde)

There were so many things I planned to do this summer:

  1. Rewrite and resubmit my Pilgrimage of Grace article.
  2. Write and submit my music article.
  3. Start work on some new music research
  4. Chase up a book chapter that was supposed to be being submitted for publication but I’ve heard nothing about.
  5. Prepare my teaching for Lancaster after Christmas (yes, I know I’m a precrastinator, but something always seems to crop up).
  6. Immerse myself in some reading.
  7. Have a holiday.

Well, I managed 2, 3 and 7.

So what have I done?

  • presented at 2 international academic conferences (total time away – 1 week, but then there’s all the preparation on top of that).
  • taught on the summer schools at Edge Hill and Liverpool Hope (again, the teaching time was about a week, but there was plenty of extra preparation time).
  • spent a week trying to work on my music research, but without it really going anywhere – ultimately a quite depressing experience because I’m not sure it’s going to work.
  • spent a couple of days reading up on pedagogy.
  • had a week’s holiday in a trailer tent in the Isle of Wight, where I did Absolutely No Work Whatsoever.
  • spent a day in Birmingham talking to the Open University History Society.
  • spent a day at Alder Hey Hospital for a follow up appointment with my daughter.
  • had a meeting with the manager of my local library about an event in October and then spent half a day working on a proposal (more on that later).
  • binge watched Midnight Caller on YouTube by myself.
  • watched several episodes of Fake or Fortune with my daughter.
  • had breakfast with a friend (one morning).
  • visited the Other Academic In The Village (one morning).
  • did a week’s work on the Pilgrimage of Grace article, before abandoning it because it’s already too long and the reviewers’ revisions would make it longer still.
  • trawled the State Papers Online looking for further hits on ballads and suchlike for two days.  This is work that is unfinished.
  • spent a day preparing the season’s materials for the Bolton Historical Association annual mailout.
  • applied for two non-academic jobs, for which I didn’t get interviews (two days).
  • marked the exam scripts from Edge Hill (two days).
  • climbed Parlick (one day).
  • had a day shopping (this is only remarkable if you know me!).
  • booked a trip to London (half a day).

These are the most significant things that spring to mind.

So, time flies, and actually, I’ve achieved a lot.  It just wasn’t what I set out to do, which is why I am having a hard time not feeling like I’ve wasted the summer (a feeling which is completely ridiculous – even more so because at the moment, I don’t owe anything to anyone except myself).