An interesting week.  I’ve spent most of it smoothing out the  wrinkles in my  epitaph ballad article.  I think it’s nearly ready to go, which is quite pleasing.  The process of refinement is interesting and one that I really quite enjoy, as it brings out the pedant in me.  I’ve spent most of the week trying to marry together the three elements of the article – the research, the historiography and the background information.  I think, now, that I’ve been fairly successful.  I have a supervision meeting later in the week so the first job for Monday (when I’ve been to visit a possible new hall for the Historical Assocation in Bolton) is to send it off to my supervisors to see what they have to say, then I have to decide where to send it.

I’ve also been rewriting the paper on ‘Knowingness and the Mid-Sixteenth Century Ballad’, mainly about the flyting on Thomas Cromwell.   I hope to be able to do away with the script by Tuesday evening, when I give the paper at the Postgraduate History Seminar Series at the University of Manchester.  There will be a repeat performance in Lancaster on Wednesday for the North West Early Modern Seminar Series.  At the beginning of last week, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to it, but having thought it out again I’m much happier about it.  I was trying to cram too much information in, but having taken a lot of examples out and replaced them with ideas, it seems to work much better.  I’m rather looking forward to the chance to discuss my work with everyone on both days. I plan to go out on something of an academic limb, so I hope that there aren’t any people clinging to the tree trunk with chainsaws!  I still have a handout to finish to go with it, so that will have to be a job for Monday too.  Oh…  Monday is tomorrow.  Hmm.  Busy day then.

On Wednesday I went into Manchester.   I spent a nice day working in the John Rylands Library and then went to the Print and Materiality in the Early Modern World seminar, where I heard Angela McShane give her paper on ‘The Seventeenth Century Political Ballad as Subject and Object’.  We had an interesting conversation afterwards, too, which was great.

Then today I started again on the secondary reading that’s been backing up for weeks.  M. L. Bush on the Government Policy of Protector Somerset, but I’m finding it slow and heavy going, if I’m honest.  There’s not going to be much time this week to catch up.


A tawny owl

A tawny owl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may by now have noticed that I like my garden birds.  I have just been standing out in the garden, which backs on to a playing field and beyond that, the countryside, admiring all the stars and appreciating the song of the male tawny owl that lives nearby. I’ve never seen it, but I’ve just compared it with my CD of bird songs and I think it’s a male tawny owl!  And he’s definitely singing, not calling.  There was a very good view of the stars, and I could see most of the Pleiades, which we could never see in Manchester.

I’ve managed not to do any work so far today, but last night I completed another draft of my talk for the Historical Association in Manchester next week, so I suppose that one of tonight’s jobs had better be to practice it.  I did spend quite a lot of time this afternoon sorting out my Bolton Historical Association business.  We’re having to change hall next season, and we have a big event in the pipeline which I’m not going to reveal until it’s safely organised.  But it’s also the time of year when I start trying to put together next year’s programme.  I have several names up my sleeve, but I’m trying to organise something aimed at the 6th form curriculum for October before I do anything else.