I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the last couple of weeks planning my trip to London. I’ve made arrangements to go to the British Library, the Society of Antiquaries and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, and although I’m a bit nervous (I’ve never done anything like this before), I’m also very excited.

This week I’m also giving my first seminar, ‘Ballads and the Public Sphere in the Reign of Mary I’, which will be an interesting experience. I wrote it at the beginning of September, but I haven’t given it as much practice as I would/should have done. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been extremely busy, because two of my children have had birthdays. My kitchen has been rather like that of someone practising for the Great British Bake Off – there have been lots and lots of cakes!

In other news I attended a course on writing abstracts/proposals for conference papers on Wednesday morning. Considering my somewhat lacking skills in this area, it should have been quite useful, and I suppose in a way it was. The trouble is that I know in theory how to write an abstract, I just can’t quite make it happen. I have also put together a proposal for my new panel to change the thrust of my topic (again!) as the ballads are something I would really like to take further.  I have a completely new panel now, set up by my supervisor especially for their skills:  Sasha Handley from the History Department and Rebecca Herissone from Music.  Work is good fun at the moment.

I’ve also been to my first Historical Association Trustees meeting, which was quite eye-opening.  I think it’s a role I’m going to grow into: at the moment I feel a bit out of my depth but now that I’ve been to one meeting I’ll have more idea about what’s going on at the next one!

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We have now settled into our new home in a small, rural Lancashire town, having been here almost two weeks.  Tomorrow I face my first long commute to Manchester after the move, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it at all, but I hope that point of view as well as many others, the benefits will outweigh the unpleasantries.  Because the plusses to living here are enormous.  The children have a great big playing field behind the house to play on, and the elder two are settling in well to their new school.  From a purely personal perspective, it’s great to have my own study to work in, and my own desk to leave my work on.
Today was the family’s first day back at school, and it’s a while until I get my new supervisor, so I thought that for now I’ll catch up on some of the secondary reading that I need to get through.  I did some work on public sphere and Habermas, then I read some chapters of a book on Scottish music, and finally I read a chapter of Alexander Wilkinson’s book on Mary Queen of Scots and French Public Opinion.