Conference skiving (Rousse)

One day at a conference was quite enough for me these days, so I made a good contribution on day 1, then lounged about in my hotel bedroom on day 2. I would have done the same on day 3 had my emeritus professor colleague not turned up at my door to complain about  ‘unprofessional behaviour’.

I argued that (for a biomedical scientist at an information science event) CA had done a fabulous job when she delivered my paper on the second day, and that I trusted her to do the same on day 3. I really was surplus to requirements.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dissertation and desertion (Rousse)

My dissertation was due for submission in a matter of weeks and I hadn’t started it even though I had all the access to resources that I would ever need, now that I lived in a cubby hole in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford.

Meanwhile TPR was on the verge of making it official that he was leaving me. I tried every trick in the book to keep him. I even led him naked round a pork factory. This wasn’t as outrageous as might be assumed: we were invisible, so long as we didn’t pick up the free samples of meat on offer to the general public.

I was convinced that TPR was simply depressed – the small bottle of whisky that he carried around with him was my evidence of this. Fortunately he cheered up when presented with the challenge of cooking sausages, including specialité de la région black boudin, for my French family.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson paves the streets with gold (Rousse)

The latest government scheme to placate the population was Boris Johnson’s initiative to pave the streets with gold – or at least coins embedded into the pavements of Loughborough.

When I asked a man who looked like an engineer if he would fix the wheels of my shopping trolley, he answered that he would do so on one condition: that I helped him prise 50p pieces out of the pavement and give them all to him.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reckless driving on the River Tweed (Rousse)

My father was super-impressed that my school friend PM (was PS) owned the land that ran from the back of her house all the way to the River Tweed.

‘Is the bank solid?’ he asked, as he inched the wheels of the black Range Rover closer to the crumbling sandy ledge above the water.

I drafted a panicky status update for Facebook about my fears of a watery death. However, I was too nervous to post it for fear that my contacts would judge me as a show-off.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New York Times publishes coded message to run Trump out of town (Rousse)

How could this be a holiday if I were sleeping at the lecturer’s desk in front of a class of thirty, all of whom were also extremely angry that the week of sunshine, sea and sand that they had been promised was actually an intensive knowledge management course? I saw that one girl had written in her notebook ‘I did not come here to work’. Nor had I.

True, we at the seaside – the beautiful beaches of the Outer Hebrides – but access to them was extremely difficult down ladders and ropes from the cliff edge beneath the huge old house that accommodated us.

While we were in residence, TPR and our friend JM worked on a coded message for mass dissemination. Towards the end of our stay, it was published on the front page of the New York Times. Positioned in the right hand column next to the main story about Donald Trump, the story looked like a report of the graduation of one of Trump’s children. It was, in fact, a coded call to arms to run the ex-President out of town.

Unfortunately the students did not really understand the significance of the newspaper piece. Disappointed at their lack of interest, I wandered down to the dining room. Here I selected a luxury yoghourt and a pain au chocolat for my breakfast (but not a huge piece of chocolate cake, unlike the enormous woman in a green tent dress who wobbled next to me at the buffet table).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rat and racoon robbers (Rousse)

A rat and a racoon were stealing all the food that I had laid out on the bird table in my back garden.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Funeral phone confiscation (Rousse)

After a young student died while resident at the Manor House at the University of Birmingham, TPR and I were despatched to London to attend his funeral.

The memorial event itself was for a random selection of the recently deceased, all to be commemorated together at once. Some bodies were lined up on a bridge across the Thames in family groups, with many nationalities, races, and religions represented. In cases where the bodies had not yet been brought to the venue, appropriate clothing was laid out to dress the corpses when they arrived.

I lost TPR (smart in his dinner suit) within minutes of reaching the venue for the service. He was nowhere to be seen when a man in a blue toupée accused me of laughing at his baldness and stealing his money. He was terrifying.

In an attempt to avoid my would-be assailant, I hid behind a tall youth. He showed me the score of the Manchester City v Aston Villa game on his phone, which was then confiscated by an armed policeman. The young man pointed out the two Irish terrorist mourners across the room – the real reason for the police presence.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The loneliness of a PhD student in COVID times (Rousse)

It was a lonely life as a PhD student, especially during COVID times when I both lived and worked all by myself in the marble columned museum.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kisser Nick Rhodes (Rousse)

Nick Rhodes kissed me on the lips in a crowded corridor – and it felt like I had fulfilled one of my lifetime ambitions.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dolphins and groping (Rousse)

A problem with swimming with dolphins in dark was that you often couldn’t be sure whether the creature next to you was a beautiful sea mammal, or a man intent on a grope.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment