Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Half (Term) Life

Well, at least today was payday - if not for me (I never get paid a bean) , then for the husband, who very generously sees it frittered away on food, mortgages, diesel, Starbucks etc. etc. It seems a particularly long time since money last entered our account and since we were literally down to our last brass razoo, there was a great feeling of relief to know that we could at last afford to use the debit card again without going into the red. It's rather lovely today: warm and sunny with a light breeze, but we've had to make a trip into town to stock up on those things which aren't really necessary, but make life a bit easier when you get them. Baby wipes, new shoelaces, razors, dog poo bags, that sort of thing. Town was busy, teeming with tourists determined to enjoy its history and picturesque nature. I have no problem with that, except it makes the streets a bit of an obstacle course. Fortunately the city-centre is pedestrianised during the main part of the day, although you do see the occasional loon who has not realised this and is forced to run (or drive) the gauntlet of meandering, sausage roll-munching rubberneckers. It's time to renew the bright-eyed boy's passport as it runs out before our summer holiday. It will be his third passport: the photo on his first one was taken at ten days old, and the second at five years. It's a little poignant to see his little life measured out in five year spans. When this next passport expires, he'll only have a year before he applies for an adult ten-year one. How time flies.

Half term is nearly over and, in truth, these holidays have not been too successful. We all seem a bit fractious, pulling in different directions. I think we're tired, bored and a little unsettled, but maybe that's just me projecting my own feelings. I'm uneasily aware that my studies have gone by the board just recently, but it's very difficult to stay fully motivated when I'm not really part of an academic community. There's no-one in my particular field to sit down and discuss ideas over a coffee with. I miss going into uni and meeting up with folks before and after classes - to tell the truth this distance learning is all a bit lonely: hour after solitary hour on the computer, or silently reading. I'm also in limbo again, funding-wise. If I receive nothing again this year, I'm faced with another year of scraping train fares, money for books, ink-cartidges, paper etc. with no prospects of attending conferences or anything above the absolute minimum. I've got enough put by for another year's part-time fees, but it's a bit of a half-life - like being an academic semi-member of the living dead! Fingers crossed, chin up eh? Worse things happen at sea.

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