It’s drawing dark outside despite it still being a reasonable hour which makes me realise two things: winter is pretty much upon us, and I’m not going to make it out of the house in the light today. Quite honestly, I’m not that fussed after the past two weeks, which have been non-stop: a weekend touring the Lakes looking at Viking Age sculpture, two trips to London, one sleepless night in Heathrow Terminal 5 prior to a flight to Aberdeen for the SMA Postgraduate Colloquium, a couple of days in Edinburgh AND a bunch of uni work. It’s no wonder I have a super painful mouth ulcer brought on by fatigue and a diet of tea and shortbread.
Let’s not dwell on my oral health but turn instead to the SMA Colloquium, my least favourite aspect of which being having to write the word colloquium to refer to where I was – there I go again… It proved to be a great opportunity as a (re)new(ed) postgrad to meet peers from across much of Europe as well as the UK, and learn about their research and where they’re up to with it. Despite the aforementioned lack of shut-eye, my own presentation went pretty well so far as I could tell – I did my best to keep my “trademark” gesticulating and talking to the screen in check, and people said some very positive things about it afterwards. Plus this blog got a shout-out from the chair of the session I was in! The whole event was fantastically well organised and seamlessly executed by Patrycja Kupiec and the rest of her team, and was made all the better by two excellent keynote lectures and one stupendous Turkish feast (mmm, courgette fritters).
Aberdeen as a city surprised me in a good way. Perhaps it was my visit coinciding with three days of as far as I know unbroken sunshine, but the place has a whole lot going for it besides granite, the oil industry and early associations with Sir Alex Ferguson. I’m not sure when or why I will next find myself headed in its direction but I will not recoil at the prospect when that time comes. (I’ll assume familiarity with the many and varied delights of Edinburgh on the part of most of those reading this, so will instead advocate the train journey along the coast between the two cities as a delight, especially if made it on a clear afternoon as the sun is starting to go down.)
Now it’s back to normality and – I can’t believe I’m writing this – the comfort of having a routine. Still don’t think there’ll be much time to spend on posting new bits on here, though as ever I have several pieces in various stages of gestation that will, er, be born before too long. In fact, I put a little something together this afternoon, based around the Surrey Record Society’s newly-published edition of some important thirteenth-century documents relating to royal justice in the county in the early part of the second half of the thirteenth century. The other day I realised that this blog has taken on such an early focus of late that it might make more sense to call it Surrey Early Medieval (or something less nonsensical but which doesn’t infringe the copyright of John Blair’s landmark book). However, as long as I keep on finding little gems like the one that spurred me into action earlier, the name stays.