It began as a blog about completing a thesis, it became a blog about everything but completing a thesis, it ended with a complete thesis.

Friday, December 31, 2004

A questioner questions...

It is a bright fresh morning here in Barton, a sparrow has just fallen from the chimney pot.

Over the past week (a period of intensive Christmas distraction), what has happened on the fronts 'new town', 'new love' and 'unwritten thesis'?...

Well, can't say much for what's been happening in Barton as I've not been here much. However, my familiarity with the town has continued to grow. A pal from 15 miles west has shared info on which of the town's pubs may be sources of agreeable football distraction. Beyond that, the local rag continues to amuse and bemuse, whilst the day-to-day musings and updates from m' co-dwellers inform me further.

'New love'... hmmm... I did indeed meet Emma for tea in town on the 28th, was all very convivial, but at the same time mutually inquisitorial. I was semi-rocked to discover that she knew of me before we'd ever had direct contact with one another. It seems that in a former (and oh so very brief) 'good chum' of mine we had a mutual acquaintance. I am told that said chum had tended to wax lyrical on the subject of Shane Wexford. Most peculiar. I chose not to enquire as to the detail of such lyricism, was disturbing enough to think that a confident impression of me could have already been formed. The lyricist - Siobhan (a good though troubled egg) - remains a part of both mine and Emma's distinct social circles. Anyway, back to tea on the 28th, I did raise the subject of the nature of Emma's relationship with Ed (formerly referred to as "the father of my child"), and this is where the wriggling began. A clear term such as 'fiance', 'partner', or even 'boyfriend' (a term that is sufficient for the primary school years alone) was not attached to Ed. However, this much was gleaned: their son Alex (3.5 years old) was not planned, and was conceived only 9 months into their relationship (3 months later the pregnancy was recognised). Initially, Ed was very uncomfortable with them seeing through the pregnancy. Emma and Ed then had some relationship counselling to talk through this and them. Quite fascinating, but a bit too delicate an aside for further enquiry - on this occasion, Emma said that "A rejection of an unborn child would have felt like a rejection of us" (the implication being that Ed's commitment to a long-term relationship would have felt slack). Later, noting a general air of lovelessness, I asked "do you think you've stayed together (as this was my inference) because of Alex?". The response: "I sometimes wonder about this". Things then turned to the more gentle subjects of human behaviour during sales shopping, other mutual (work-related) acquaintances, and our unwritten theses. I think it's fair to say that we parted feeling more learned about one another, and having both appreciated the effort that we'd each made to meet up. As it was a day-time encounter our meeting didn't have the edge that an evening meeting (with 'date' undertones) might have had. Upon checking my email yesterday - first time in about a week - a message had been sent early evening of Dec 28th by Emma saying she'd enjoyed meeting and chatting, and that I asked good questions. I agreed with all of this. Not so incidentally, in fairly tight-fit denim trousers, pointy-toed boots, and a fairly light-weight shirt under short jacket, Emma had looked stunning - in person, I'd proffered a lazy "you look good", to that she said "thank you". As she is 'with' Ed I'm treating her as an interesting, attractive, highly fanciable, though out-of-bounds personage. I will gladly do further socialising with her, however, with Ed working away from home a lot I am keen to avoid becoming the 'bloke wot fills the quiet times' - out of me, the piss must not be taken. So, already - this is post 3 of 'N.T.N.L.U.T' - I think we should add a barrel of salt to the term 'New Love' of this blog's title - 'New Point Of Social and Relational Interest' isn't quite so punchy.

In terms of the thesis, I had a very interesting chat about one strand of it with the male partner of a friend reecently - his own early years biography shared a lot of cross-overs with what I've been writing about. This was good for the thesis-writing psyche - in reminding me that to some people this will be pertinent and interesting reading. A hint of the blues there? Heh, it'll all be different next year (approximately half a day away). New year will be seen in with PhDist pal Kay, her sister, and her sister's military chap-friend. Board games and amateur cocktailing has been spoken of.

If you have read all of this, then "well done, what stamina!" I feel I have a cold coming on. Good day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Supervisory politics & a critical lunch...

It is a wet and windy evening here in Barton, a drunk staggers down the High Street chuntering an old domestic dispute to himself whilst the smell of fish and chips appeals to a dog-walker on the other side of the street. Anyway...

Supervisor sent message late Monday afternoon, asking if I'd be interested in joining a few of the university collective for drinks - all very sweet and part-tempting but alas there's only so much bitching about a workplace from very settled staff that a boy can take. Besides, I had 'glop curry' to cook for the household. Supervisor also asked if former co-supervisor (who joined a different university - not so unusual it seems) had been in touch recently - I confirmed "yes" and said that all were to be kept in the PhD progress loop - there is a politics to supervision - something along the lines of "who owns the student?", "who puts in the supervisory work?" and "who will he listen to?". Then again, where isn't there politics.

On matters PhD-related, I did pull out the chapter 5 material though it's fair to say that it's not yet been gotten into - 'twill accompany me tomorrow as I head north for the familial Dec 25th whatnot. Another PhDist chum, Kay, has 'gifted' me with a 40-page monster for 'gentle feedback', must ensure that I'm feeling well-fed as I begin to scrawl. Was supposed to have seen PhDist chum Nicola this evening for co-troughing of the glop curry but - possibly fortuitously - that became impractical - I suspect she's quite close to handing over her thesis, and as she started a year after I did and as I'm feeling tired today, I think I'd have involuntarily spat in her eye were she to have confirmed this. Bollocks to good sportsmanship!

Familiarity with the town of Barton grows further. Outdoor market today looked a bit desperate. A man in the HSBC made some dodgy joke about laundering Northern Irish bank notes that were lifted in a big Belfast bank robbery earlier in the week - he was changing the NI notes into the English variety. Cashier gave an empty laugh and an awkward look, and no doubts reported the transaction as soon as comedy man left. Plonker.

More flirty emails from Emma, we are to meet for lunch in town on Dec 28th. I will ask about the nature of her relationship with Ed. I suspect they're 'together', but she wants out, but has yet to give voice to this feeling to anyone (including herself). I'll not be dabbling if there's 'someone else'.

Good evening.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Not the 'M' word...

Good evening, it is a cold and sleety evening here in Barton.

Unless I'm much mistaken - which I probably am - this should appear as my first 'post' to the blog 'New Town, New Love, Unwritten Thesis' (aka 'The Thesis Chronicles'). If this appears to have worked then "Yah boo and sucks to you former non-blogging self" and "Wello hello newly blogsome fellow". With success, we will see proper substantive posts begin tomorrow or the day after.

As I have alleged in the description of the blog that this is to be related to my ridding the term "unwritten thesis" of the word 'unwritten', I shall begin as I mean to go on. However!... from the off, a promissory note: there will be no use of the word 'motivation' within my postings - that particular 'M'-word rings in my ears as cringe-worthily as any Hollywoodesque nonsense term of the psycho-babblists ever could. Prior to my next post I will have pulled out (from hard-drive, box file or wherever) the draft copy of chapter 5 and given it and feedback on it a proper read-through (prior to amending).

On the Barton front, today I wrote to the editor of the local paper (a weekly paid-for) offering to write a regular column about my alien self adjusting to life here.

On the Emma front (potential love interest), she sent me a huge email today that was apparently work-related (she does research that falls vaguely on my patch), though she deigned to add twice as much prose of generally chatty albeit clever-clever stuff. Whilst these are early exchanges with this character, I have yet to establish some of the more personal details that will figure in how I (get to) view her. Most crucially, what is the nature of her relationship with Ed ("the father of my child" as she briefly referred to him when asked who she lived with - a strangely ambiguous descriptor???).

For now, ta ta.