Sunday, 29 August 2010

Tea shops and stools of repentance

Repentance seat, Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews
Candidates' Conference, St Andrews... last of 5.

Having arrived here at morning tea time on Friday to meet the new folks, I was able to wander aboot the toon on Saturday morning while they were in a safeguarding session.
This was a wee wander with a purpose: wanted to revisit Holy Trinity Kirk in St Andrews to take a few more pic's.  Quality a little better than last time, but suspect a higher level camera is needed really, and should have taken the tripod.  Anyway, was a nice Knoxian/ discipline jaunt and the beadle was soooo incredibly lovely and enthusiastic about the treasures housed around the kirk.  Not only did he obligingly allow me to take the bits and pieces off the repentance seat [left] for a clearer pic, he allowed me into the locked room where I knew smaller stools of repentance were tucked away [right] to take pic's as well.
Stool of repentance, Holy Trinity, St Andrews.
Some very nice, tho modern, carvings in there, and then he opened up a door in which a swag of beautifully polished communion silver was stored.
He was lovely and I was a happy amateur historian :)

I do like my supervisor's way of describing how quickly Reformation was accepted in St Andrews;
the sense that change was so rapid that the good folk of St Andrews woke up Catholic and went to bed Protestant.  And the notion of iconoclasm as Protestants having a 'smashing time'.  St Andrews is a wonderful place for just wandering around and going 'ooh' as you walk past various buildings with various bits of history [yup, the technical term!] but it's also rather excellent for the sheer amount of tea shops.  Two were sampled yesterday....

Meanwhile, back at the conference, I suspect I am probably a nerdy geek-girl but I quite enjoy these things.  I think it's the people-factor thing.  I've worked out there are two ways to approach conference:
1/ pick the thing to pieces and be very critical and set up a circle of negativity...and probably in the process hate every minute, or/
2/ just hunker down and find the good stuff - and there is good stuff and good craic as well.  It's very cool that folk are so willing to give of their time and experience and it is also excellent to see all the folk you're training with - and to meet the new folks.  There's a sense of support and solidarity about it all that I like.  But I am 'miss silver lining girl' as a former spiritual director once noted!
The only down-side, really, is that I am indescribably tired and my brain feels like mush, and there's so much work to do before handing this in on the morning of the 12th for the Board on the 17th - but the work is coming along much more happily now and a happier supervisor makes for a happier supervisee.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

still waiting, still writing, still breathing

Looks like miracles still happen: my Board date was shifted.  Actually, it's been shifted 3 times since my last post due to combinations of clashing schedules, holiday, zombie apocalypse and even the Papal visit... okay, so I was fibbing with regard to the zombies, the rest, including the Pope, is true. 
Would be rather entertaining to see zombies and Knoxy battle it out in the quad.  I suspect if they were Protestant zombies, they'd probably be okay... ;)
The lastest state of play is a date for the 17th Sept.  Three weeks to have all my writing done and then submit.  One week of reading it all again and anticipating questions having spotted fatal flaws.  And this is just 1st year.  Crumbs.  If I survive and get to 3rd year I'm not sure I'll live through the viva.  Handily, I have just sorted out my will.....

National Library of Scotland: home sweet home?
In the meantime, I really do feel like I've taken up residence in the NLS...
It's a nice 'office away from office' while our postgrad space is being refurbed, and not having to shove through buskers and tourists up the Royal Mile is a plus.
And I also have a friend who works there, so the occasional conspiratorial grin is exchanged amidst the hushed and scholarly atmosphere.  The downside is not having my own books about me to work from.

This is the 3rd attempt at this wretched chapter... as in mostly all new, as opposed to just editing and footering about.  I truly hope that I've got the focus right this time around.  It's an odd business - reams of data and working out how to analyse and order it.  Which is why it was probably very gratifying indeed on Sunday afternoon to do physical battle with the evil ivy of doom infesting the back wall. 
Bwah hahahahahaha.
Although the gazillions of baby spiders crawling about after was a tad disturbing... empirical evidence suggests that there is one huge very cheesed off mama spider plotting murder.
Perhaps I might just take the sleeping bag with me tomorrow when I head back into the library.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

So, I'm guessing we don't get the extension then?
The deadline of doom fast approacheth and sooooo much work yet to do.
Preparing for my 1st year PhD board - interrogation by a panel of 4-5 academics who will have read my sample chapter, and also my extended proposal outlining the research, methodology, why there's a thesis-shaped hole in the field of research, and chapter headings and a brief precis of what will appear in each chapter, as well as an extended bibliography.  Proposal's mostly fine and dandy, just needs tidied.
Chapter, however, is in its 3rd attempt; at least this time around I think I may have found the focus.  Hmmm.  Added to which I have been boxing up the books I keep on my desk in the office because our office is being refitted - fabulous timing.  I shall be living in the National Library for the next several weeks.  All this by way of saying I may not be around as much as I might normally be.  3 weeks and counting.  I'm feeling the need for chocolate - or cupcakes.
*twitch, twitch*

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Apocalypse Bakery

My lovely friend Clare is a theologian and a cook... and has decided to jump into the blogosphere. She describes her blog Apocalypse Bakery thus:
'Every night, I dream vividly about one of two things. The first is cake, making beautiful delicious cakes of every flavour. The second is the apocalypse and the survival of the human race in the face of nuclear explosions, technological uprisings, epidemics and even zombie trees waging an environmental war against the Capitalists. Hence, whilst awake, I have an insufferable need to bake cakes and an overwhelming desire to save the world from devastation. My life’s work is finding a way of combining the two.'

An uber-scrumptious cookie recipe kicks off the blog. You'll find her over here.  She is probably one of the best cooks and theologians I know and falls into that rare category of one of life's very inspiring and gracious people. :)