Friday, August 31, 2007

Oops! I dropped the hamster!

I've taken the day off so I can play for a wedding this afternoon. I'm doing research this morning. The hamster cage didn't smell too good, so I took the lid off, and took the cage itself through to the kitchen and put it on the worktop. As I turned to lift the lid of the kitchen bin, I must have caught the cage.

You can guess the rest. Litter tray, stinky litter and hamster (fast asleep in his house) ended up upside-down on the kitchen floor.

Right. Never mind about "I'll just sort out the laundry and clean the cage then sit down to work". Out came broom, dustpan, kitchen mop and bucket ...

Oh, you're worried about the hamster? Seems fine. The somewhat shaken and stirred veteran spent the next fifteen minutes gleefully feeding his face with fresh lettuce and hamster seed mix. I tell you, he's a survivor, that one!
How much autonomy did Robert Burns have with writing his songs for George Thomson? I've got the gist of his responsibilities with the James Johnson collection, but I'm still working it out with regards to Thomson. Got more books from the library, so I'll plod on.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


We lead an interesting life in one of Glasgow's rougher neighbourhoods. After a weekend of three arson attacks on empty council flats just down the road, the council saw sense and had the burnt-out shells demolished the following week. Leaving one family in the middle, presumably awaiting an eviction order. I wouldn't want to be them, knowing the next fires could affect their home.

The fire-brigade's efforts, and then the demolition team's efforts, have provided more community entertainment than we've had laid on in decades. Local youths have swarmed in to see the fun.

Anyway, all is still and peaceful at our end of the street ... most of the time. Our own neighbours have been doing extensive renovations, and have had massive piles of rubbish in their front yard in between trips to the nearest dump. Today, there was just a big cardboard box of rubbish - a mere nothing, compared to what has been thrown out in the past.

Sniff, sniff - hmmm, a smell of burning. Yes, someone had set fire to it. I grabbed the nearest bucket, which happened to be the plastic wastepaper basket that we keep in the dining room, and did my neighbourly bit. Our neighbour suggested that it could just have been a carelessly discarded cigarette stub. Yes, it could have been. But the odds are that it wasn't.

Meanwhile, at work, I've been doing library inductions for new users again. This time, it was to foreign students currently learning enough English to start their course in September. I devised what was essentially a portable flip-board with useful words and illustrations. (Sometimes I even surprise myself.) Luckily, it worked!


I intended to read up what Robert Burns had to say about Scottish folk-tunes, this evening. Somehow it hasn't quite worked out how I planned. And now, nearly 11 pm, I need to hang up some washing and have a bath. Sorry, Rabbie - some other time ...

Monday, August 27, 2007

PseudoSupermum has discovered GradBritain, an online magazine for British postgrads. There's lots of good stuff there, though PseudoSupermum found herself grinding her teeth when it came to an article on "the academic assault course" that is actually the library. An assault course? The UEA Library? (For God's sake, I worked there once. I never knew that students regarded it thus.) The short-term loan lady is "the fiercest staff they can find" (yikes!), sternly "patrolling" her desk and barking from time to time. Good grief, and there we were thinking we were approachable ...

Then there's another article about whether or not to start a family during your doctoral studies. I feel another article coming on - whether or not to start doctoral studies during the raising of a family whilst working full-time already...

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Brian May, rock-star from Queen, has finally got his doctorate, only 37 years later. He therefore officially qualifies to be my hero. Only he had a glam career in between times. As for me - I'm still a librarian. Sigh!
Image is from Brian's website -

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No more Mrs Nice Guy!

That is to say, I'm TIRED of putting away everyone else's stuff, TIRED of asking everyone else to put their stuff away, TIRED of people's complaining, and especially TIRED of being taken for granted by a grumpy teenager.

The two who have not yet got teenage hormones have not yet got the idea of healthy food. "This bread has BITS in it!" Pick, pick, pick. (Yeurghhh)

And I bake a cake - not quite Domestic Goddess stuff, but tasty enough - and proudly produce it at tea-time. I ask for forks to be fetched. Not a big deal, really.

"You should have brought forks through when you brought the cake. Why should I do it? You should have thought of it."

Right. Or should I say, NOT right. Tomorrow I'm going to be a normal, not supermum. I work all week. They can eat plain white sliced bread and shop-bought cake. Do I care?

And I'm auditioning for a spot on Grumpy Old Women next week. (It's a TV programme, and they forgot to invite me.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

I've just been on a staff development day to Edinburgh. The sun shone, and after an interesting visit, we rounded off a good day with ice-cream in Princes Street Gardens. Back to Glasgow - I snoozed on the train - and a meal out before making my way home.
It's hard to see why I'm now so tired. I did a couple of loads of washing, and put away a Tesco home delivery. Changed the hamster cage, got the boys to bed, filled in a clutch of start-of-term consent forms ... and that's about it. I could no sooner start thinking doctoral thoughts than fly! Maybe tomorrow might be more promising.
Small feet - big words

Blame it on the holiday. We spent so long standing in queues at the airport on the homeward journey that my feet have ached ever since. So ... six weeks later, I went to the doctor. I'd already worked out that I have plantar fasciitis. And it's official - I have.

So I now have anti-inflammatory tablets for my foot. Clever, that - the medication knows it has to make its way to my heel. How does it do that?!

I wouldn't have gone to the GP, if it wasn't for the fact that we're nearly at the end of August. I can wear my Orthoheel mules to work in the summer - painted toe-nails look quite pretty, and no-one bats and eyelid.

But when it's chilly, and the students are back at college - and I want to wear smarter clothes to work? No, I don't think Orthoheel mules will do. So I have to get my feet back to feeling comfortable again!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Last night I posted a cartoon from the website. I acknowledged it, as a matter of principle. If you saw it yesterday, but found it had disappeared today, there's an explanation. I realised I should check out what they do. They write or edit your papers and thesis for you. Nice idea, guys, but I don't believe in that kind of thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

560 words!

Now, who would be impressed by the fact that I sat and wrote a mere 560 words for my thesis this evening? It might not seem much, but it is significant because it marks the first tentative steps to overcoming a severe case of writer's block!

The more I read, the less I know. The more I read, the less I remember. The more I read, the denser becomes the mass of information and theories that I have to sift through and reduce to some kind of sense.

So if I've written a paltry 560 words, then I'm happy. It's a start, and if I wrote 560 words every night, I'd make progress at a rate of knots. I doubt I'll manage it that fast.

Cello-Kid has gone back to music school this evening. He couldn't wait to get there. You know, I won't be able to use that epithet soon, because the kid is maturing into a youth, and his attitude to his playing is that of a young professional, not a kid who happens to play the cello. On Sunday evening, he played his cello, unaccompanied and amplified through great big loudspeakers in George Square, Glasgow. The Cancer Research charity was holding events nationwide, and the Glasgow branch wanted a soloist to play for a few minutes before they had their 5-minutes' silence, during the Candle of Hope ceremony. Dressed in a smart dark striped shirt, he looked every inch the composed young man (no-one would have guessed that he had thrown a wobbler at the suggestion, just 48 hours earlier ...), and played like a pro. I was so insanely proud of him!

Okay, so Cello-Kid is becoming Youthful Cellist. On Monday afternoon, his train-track braces came off and he now only has a retainer for the next few months. His teeth are perfectly straight and look fantastic, after just nine months. He and the orthodontist are both very proud of themselves!

Viola-Kid wants to follow in Big Brother's footsteps. It's possible. There is no certainty, though, because you don't know exactly what the audition panel are looking for. You can be good, but not get in. Or you can show promise, and get in ahead of someone with more skill but less promise. Who knows? All he can do is practise. All we can do is encourage, and provide lots of different opportunities to get musical experience. Pushy parent? Who, me? I don't think I'm particularly pushy, but I suppose it depends where you're coming from.

Monday, August 06, 2007

My mother-in-law swore by Gaviscon. So, faced with an array of heartburn remedies in Boots today, naturally I thought of Mam and bought the miracle tablets.

But maybe she used the medicine in a bottle? Those tablets are horrible! Very much a case of "no way will anyone overdose on these - if you don't need them, you won't force yourself to chew them." In a word - Yeurghhh! And I can't say I felt instantly better. Better after a while, yes, but not instantly.

The first picture is from and the next from

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Waving? No, drowning.

Here you see the sad outcome of someone who didn't speak up soon enough. Result? I was almost submerged before they rescued me.

This has been a rather stressful week. I'm glad it's the weekend at last! Even if I am now scrabbling to get any research reading done, having been disinclined to do much during recent evenings.

Want to know my brilliant idea? I've seen a deal for "get fit in 8 weeks" at a gym in the city centre. I'm tempted to try. I need to lose 1.5 stones, fast.

(Otium health and leisure at Thistle Hotels)

Drowning image from