Yesterday I met my supervisors to Discuss the Chapter.  I took
a list of questions and comments, a piece of work on some
manuscript miscellanies that I’ve been studying and some examples of
ballads that fitted some of the categories I’d been working on.  Between
us, I think we’ve managed to find an approach that might suit the
material.  It involves a bit of a change from my chapter plan, but
that’s not a problem for me if it’s not a problem for them.  I feel
quite a lot better about it today than I did this time last week.

Broadleaved woods in Macclesfield Forest

Broadleaved woods in Macclesfield Forest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next week I’m spending quite a bit of time in the archives, doing some more research, then on Friday I’m speaking at Beyond History, a History Lab North West event at Manchester University.  I wrote my paper this morning and I’m looking forward to hearing some of my friends, especially being on a panel with the lovely Rosy Rickett.  So next week should be a bit of a change.

On Tuesday morning, the children started their new school, so I went back to work in earnest, trying out my new study (a great success, but more on that another time).  I spent Tuesday reading a couple of books that I needed to take back to the library, and on Wednesday we had another meeting of the writing group, which went well and was interesting.  In order to attend, I had to brave my first commute to Manchester, which wasn’t all that much fun but at least when I leave here at 9am I miss the rush hour!
I’ve spent the last two days re-writing my ballad chapter as two lectures: one a twenty minute seminar paper for the History and Classics Postgrads at Manchester, sometime this autumn; the other a longer lecture aimed at the Historical Association’s Manchester Branch, which will be in January next year.  As I am currently between supervisors, I thought I might as well get them out of the way now, so that I don’t run the risk of having to cram them in when there are other deadlines to meet.
It’s interesting trying to re-write the work for speech.  Trying to maintain the academic standard whilst making it sound reasonable to read aloud is quite a skill.  I don’t want to read the two papers, I’d much rather talk off the cuff, because that’s how teaching works and it’s what I’m used to.  It also comes across much, much better to the audience.  But I can now see why people do.  At the moment, I couldn’t possibly do it without extensive notes.  I just don’t know it well enough.  So I want to really learn it.  Not every word, as then it would sound like reciting a script, but know my stuff well enough to be confident to talk about it without having my head buried in a sheaf of paper.