So far, so good.  I’ve managed to successfully avoid doing any work on my PhD for two weeks.  This may not seem like a cause for celebration (indeed, bits of me are itching to open a book or rifle through a few ballads or even do some filing) but I am extremely poor at doing nothing.  I find it very, very difficult to switch off, so the fact that I’ve taken two weeks off for the first time in a year is quite an achievement (and last year I only took two weeks off because I was moving house, so I wasn’t exactly doing nothing, I just had too much else to do!).   So this week we’ve been on a lovely walk from Chipping, we went cycling round Brockholes nature reserve and yesterday we went to the sea-life centre in Blackpool so that my little one could meet the Octonauts.  Such are the joys of combining parenthood with postgraduate research.  This evening we all went to choir practice, having joined the local church choir.  This is something I haven’t done for years, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The school term begins in the middle of next week, which is when I go back to work.  Plenty to finish off before the new semester starts.

sizergh castle gardens

sizergh castle gardens (Photo credit: scpgt)

I think it might be a fortnight since I last posted an update on my work, but as it’s been the children’s Easter holidays, I’ve not had all that much time either to work, or to write about it on my blog.

There have been several family trips out, for example to Brockholes and Sizergh Castle,  and a couple of  walks.  This morning I spent baking with the children (that is, we baked biscuits and cake together, not me using them as ingredients!).  I took advantage of a couple of  days when my sister looked after the children to go to the John Rylands Library to read some of the books that they won’t lend out.  The second of the child-free days I spent trying to identify the subject of one of the ballads I’ve been looking at.  I found her, quite by chance, in the middle of the afternoon, but her identity opened up a whole new set of questions which I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to.

It’s not been easy because although I want to play with the children and be there for them in their holidays, I’m eager to get on with my research.   At the times I’ve been able to do a bit of work when the children have been at home, I haven’t been able to give it my complete attention, nor have I been able to spend any extended time on it.  Now this makes a difference to what you can actually do.  It means that I have to find little bits of things that I can do and complete, or that I have to do secondary reading that I can leave whenever I’m needed.  It’s not that work can’t be done, it’s just that it can’t really be planned and I have to be flexible.

I have arranged a meeting with three of my supervisors the week after next.  My plan for tonight is to finish off the musical analysis of the ballad tunes so that at the beginning of next week, when the children go back to school, I can edit the work a bit and put some structure into it.  At the moment, it is a list of ballads with their analysis and it needs sorting out before I can let my supervisors see it.