Just got to the end of a pretty hassly couple of weeks. Once again I find myself applying for grants and scholarships to fund my ongoing doctoral studies, but, as ever, nothing is straight forward: the funding body has amended - for the second year running - the application process so that the rather complicated format that was applicable last year has become even more byzantine. There is now in place a two tier system, with candidates applying initially through the university's internal vetting system and then - and only if given the university's backing - a second almost identical application almost to a central handling system that redistributes the incoming forms to the appropriate funding bodies. Whew! At least last year once the application form was submitted to the university I could just sit back with my fingers firmly crossed and hope for the best. This year, even if I get the thumbs up from the internal panel, I'll have to get into gear again with a repeat performance in May. The most difficult thing is contacting my referees - it gets increasingly embarrassing to keep approaching people, cap in hand, for references time after fruitless time. As I continue to fail to find funding, they must wonder what sort of loser they're putting their names to! But they are SO good and kind and uncomplaining - bless them!