Wednesday, 8 August 2012

the funding body has a birthday!

The Funding Body (a.k.a. my husband) and I have just returned from slightly over two weeks of positively GLORIOUS cycling through Normandy and a wee smidgen of Brittany. Wow! Wow wow wow.

We've been through Brittany a couple of times before and absolutely loved it, but for a number of reasons - well, actually, just two, finances and stress levels - we decided to do the cheapest and easiest holiday we could think of, which was to schlep the bikes onto the train to Portsmouth (no changes) and thence the ferry to Cherbourg. We felt a bit like we might be letting ourselves down by not making the extra effort to get to the south of France, or farther afield, or even the western reaches of Brittany that we haven't seen yet. Were we ever deluded!

Normandy was fantastic - great cycling, great food, super friendly people. And it offered a good lesson in semantics: just because Normandy is less hilly than Brittany, we should not have somehow concluded that it was not hilly. To say that Normandy is not hilly is utterly and wildly incorrect. Just getting out of Cherbourg is enough to wake up the ol' quads, and we saw a number of crags, gorges, and waterfalls on our many trips up into the sky in our granny gears.

Better yet, I actually managed to shut my brain *off*. Who would have thought it possible? It took a few days - I did try to check my email at one campsite that offered an hour's free wifi - but thankfully, the university webmail kept keeling over and I never did more than skim the headlines. And that was it! Every time I started to think about thinking about my project, I made myself change the subject.

One thing it made both of us realise is how much time I spend talking about this project. What would we talk about, if not about my PhD? Turns out the answer was: not necessarily very much at all. Instead of frantic, intense conversations about design and theory, we had a series of lovely, lightweight, wafting little chats amongst long stretches of companionable wheel-turning.

I suspect that there might actually be life beyond this degree...

...and more to the point, there might actually be a more sensible way of conducting my life while I'm getting it. I made a start yesterday, unsubscribing to loads of mailing lists that are interesting, yes, but not particularly critical to this stage of my project. Then I stopped work in time for yoga, and didn't reopen my email until morning. And now I'm blogging for a bit instead of wishing I had the time to blog for a bit. And soon, I'll be baking a cake for The Funding Body's birthday celebration tonight.

If I can manage the article revisions due Monday by Monday, I'll consider it a success in progress!