Thesis Avoidance: No More!

Well, not only have I been avoiding the thesis, I have been avoiding my blogs. It’s all writing and if I can demonstrate capability for mindless blogging, then thesising should not be so difficult. The only reason my laptop has made it out of its protective sleeve in recent months has been so I can enjoy the numerous televisual joys I’ve purchased from iTunes or do work on the Finding Aid for the Access Press archive that I had been entrusted with doing for the library. Oh, and emailing my niece and nephews, not that they ever respond! Just because, for example, my nephews have been busy doing a soccer tour of South Korea with their club, Monaro Panthers, they think that’s an adequate excuse for not responding to their favourite aunt. [Upturned nose and huffy flicking of hair]

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Anyway…

So. My Magnificent Octopus, you might be wondering. How is it going? Well… I did get chapter 4 re-drafted. It was massive and apparently I got rather lost in all the great information that I wanted to share, so it need not have been so massive and traumatising. My brilliant supervisor, my brilliant and ever-patient supervisor, has done her editing magic and given me ideas on what to cut. I will do this once I have stopped procrastinating over chapter 5. Yes, chapter 5 has been getting the procrastination and avoidance treatment I gave to chapter 4, so two months on, possibly longer, I can’t bear to find out the truth on that, it’s still not finished, but it will be tomorrow! Yes, I know I say that a lot, but… Oh, and it is not as if the extraneous stuff from chapter 4 will go to waste because I have a paper on violence and emotions to write for a symposium in three weeks time, so I shall pop some of the good stuff into that. (Bloody hell! When did September decide to show up?!)

Anyways… The reason I decided to bloggy post tonight is that, THE END IS NIGH!!

No, I have not decided to stand upon a cliff top and throw myself to the mercy of the Poseidon and his human-loving shark friends. Nothing that drastic. No, I have just made the decision that I have to finish this thesis!

No, why I am here is that I am publishing my intention to FINISH the blasted thesis for a NON-NEGOTIABLE Submission Day of 2 December 2013.

There are several reasons for this, not least of which is the fact my brother is heading to England in December to collect his son, my nephew, to join us in Perth for Christmas! Apparently he has purchased a ticket for me to escort Jackson back home in January 2014. And, I’m feeling the love, my ticket is one-way! I like to look on his gesture as motivation from a loving sibling to get his procrastinating sister to finish her thesis and forget his comment about it being his way of getting me out of the country. (Charming!) So, I wouldn’t want to waste a free ticket to the UK seeing as I want to relocate there anyway.

Secondly, my supervisor has told me that she can’t be doing with me in Doctoral Candidate mode any longer and I need to get it finished before Christmas so she can get on with her life. Yes, completely justifiable after 7 years! Besides, she has threatened to take away my iPad until it’s done, so I have to show some Grown-Upedness or I’ll lose my life line to the world and my sanity. (Over dramatic much!)

Thirdly, I have a ticket to see Miranda Hart on 13 March 2014 and I can’t miss that!

Fourthly, several of my fellow Australians have just elected a sexist, racist, hypocritical moron to run the country and I can’t bear to stick around and see them all regret it. I am going to head to England where they have a Slimy Lizard slithering all over them. Oh yes. Much better!

And finally, I’m 40 years old! I’ve been procrastinating over this for 7 years! My thirties have been taken over by poor people, hospital reforms and sixteenth-century Paris! (Well, avoiding them.) Not to mention sixteenth-century French accountants with appalling handwriting and minute takers with even worse handwriting!

In addition, and not that this is a huge consideration because, quite frankly, I’m their child and they are obligated to me until death do us part, but I think Mum and Dad are ready for me to leave the spare room and, given that they are about to move into a retirement home, well, I think that might be a hint. (You can see where my brother gets his charm from!)

So, it’s happening. No more avoidance and procrastination. I’m in completion mode. Well, actually, I think Calvin of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ has put it quite well. The faucet of creativity is at last flowing and my Magnificent Octopus will finally be completed. My mental state come 2 December 2013? We shall just have to see.

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If you can be bothered responding to my bloggy post with some positive, “YOU GO GIRL!!” comments, that would be so lovely of you.

Help save Wellington’s Battle of Waterloo stronghold

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For those of you who love history and wish to preserve historic sites for the enjoyment of future generations, please read the follow article from the latest issue of the Society of Antiquaries of London’s electronic newsletter Salon, issue 304, 9 September 2013.

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“As the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo approaches, the Daily Telegraph recently published an article concerning the work of our Fellow Martin Drury as joint Chairman (with his Belgian counterpart, Count Georges Jacobs) of Project Hougoumont. This project leapt to prominence earlier this year when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that the UK Government would donate £1 million towards the £3.2m needed to restore this key Battle of Waterloo site by 2015. A further £1 million has been promised by the Walloon regional government, and £600,000 has been secured in private donations so far, leaving £600,000 still to be raised.

 

Joe Shute, the journalist who wrote the Telegraph report, describes Hougoumont Farm as ‘largely unchanged from when, on 18 June 1815, it was the centre of action throughout the Battle of Waterloo. Of the tens of thousands who died that day, 6,500 men were killed, or suffered terrible injuries, at Hougoumont. The Duke of Wellington, joint commander of the Allied army who took on the French alongside Field Marshal Blücher’s Prussians, regarded the farm on the right wing of his position as the anchor that secured his line. The French launched ceaseless attacks, pounding its walls with artillery and eventually burning down a château that occupied the centre of the farmstead. At one point, Napoleon’s troops surged inside after a burly French lieutenant called Legros smashed through the main gate with an axe. But still the 4,000 defenders held strong. “No troops but the British could have held Hougoumont,” declared a triumphant Wellington following the battle, “and only the best of them at that.”’

 

Despite being one of Britain’s most important battle sites, and one that, according to the Iron Duke, ‘turned the outcome of Waterloo’, Hougoumont has become derelict. Restoration plans include turning the dilapidated Great Barn into an educational centre. The empty chapel will be a place of remembrance and the gardener’s house an apartment available for rent to those wanting to study the site.

 

Where a flimsy metal barrier is currently placed across the entrance to keep out thieves and vandals, a replica of the North Gate, which played such an important role in keeping the French out, is being funded by the family of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Wyndham of the Coldstream Guards, one of the soldiers who helped force the gates shut during bloody hand-to-hand fighting. Appropriately, the replica is being made in the estate yard at Petworth House in Sussex, home of our Fellow Lord Egremont, now head of the Wyndham family.

 

The restoration work is informed by three sepia-wash drawings made a few days after the battle by the Prince Regent’s military painter, Captain Denis Dighton, and by sketches made by Turner on a visit in 1817. Despite, or perhaps because of, the years of neglect, it is remarkable how little the farm’s appearance has changed. Drury says preserving this haunting atmosphere is key to the project, about which there is much more, including videos and photo galleries, on the Project Hougoumont website.”

My new blog look

Yes, I am procrastinating, hence the new look blog. I need to figure out some colour scheme issues, but that can wait until after chapter 4 is finished.

No, I still have not conquered that final section to complete the blasted thing. I am not a self-proclaimed Queen of Procrastination for nothing.

I have to give credit to the lovely and talented illustrator and creative genius, Kanako of My Little Paris fame, for my lovely blog background image. I thought it represented me quite well, apart from blonde hair, slim physique and sophisticated demeanour. I am, however, a writer (albeit a procrastinating one), and a happy snapper with a fondness for cocktails, especially ones with a piece of alcohol-soaked fruit skewered with an little umbrella.

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Chin Chin

Thought for the day

“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” — Dave Barry

I like this mental health maintenance approach. Going with that myself. Except I will also include ‘finishing chapter four’ as I am not leaving the library today until that bugger is surfing its way across the Internet into the Inbox of my supervisor to sort the hell out!

Friends

I got to work this morning. Something happened. I needed assistance. I sent an SOS email to my friend. Thirty minutes later, she arrived at uni with the urgently required item.

That is one of the reasons a good friend is the best thing in the world.

Thank you Ariel! I couldn’t decide which ‘thank you’ image to illustrate my thanks, so you get both.

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Is it just me?

I am 40 years old and I find colouring-in a very relaxing activity. Is it just me? It is almost midnight on Thursday 23 May 2013 and I have vowed I will not leave the library until blasted chapter four has been drafted and emailed to my poor long-suffering supervisor.

My shift finished at 9pm. Since then I have eaten my dinner, watched some Stephen Fry in Planet Word, and it is currently playing in the background for my listening pleasure.

While I was ‘watching’ Planet Word, I was colouring-in.

I went in search of a colouring-in book on the weekend. It wasn’t until tonight that I have been able to christen it. I have been using colouring-in as a relaxation technique since 2001 during the long and emotionally-draining job hunt on my arrival in post-9/11 London.

Tonight, I think it has been more about avoiding the inevitable. (It’s always something with me.)

However, maybe, after the relaxation of bringing some colour into the apple-picker’s life and listening to the wonderful Stephen Fry, I might feel able to get on with this blasted chapter and send it through the virtual world to my supervisor before I pass out from tiredness, or boredom, or frustration.

As someone who can’t draw to save her life, well, not anything beyond the basic geometrically unrealistic house and an amateurish cartoon smiley face, I get great pleasure from selecting the colours to bring a little colour-in to technicolor glory. I feel ill-equipped at present as I only have a selection of 12 pencils.

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Pencils are my preferred colouring-in tool. When I am doing it right, I will have a pencil box full of colours and variations on the theme. The sight of a large packet of colour pencils gets my colouring juices going. The choice between the 5 variations of red or blue is part of fun.

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I am pretty fussy when it comes to the colouring-in book. I am not really a fan of these ones tied to kids’ telly shows and films. They don’t feel right for colouring. I am a girl of the 1970s and we had certain styles of colouring-in books that just enhance the whole experience of colouring-in. I have been on what was fast becoming a fruitless search for the right colouring-in book until the weekend when I popped into a newsagency to see what they had to offer and amongst the undesirable telly/film tie-in colouring books, I found it. Thick black lines forming large and happy figures that cry out for a colouring-in by the enthusiastic colourist.

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It sounds like the screening episode of Planet Word is drawing to its inevitable conclusion and I vowed that I would get underway with some writing of my own when that happened. And I mean thesis-writing, not bollocks-ing away on my blog.

I leave you tonight with my current colouring creation. I promise that it will be the only relax-ating colouring I do tonight and this morning, (which begins in 5 minutes). I will, now, finally, return to blasted chapter 4. (That is not its official title by the way. No, it’s ‘Inside the Paris Hôtel-Dieu: The effect of the May 1505 Reform’ actually.)

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Happy Colouring-In!