Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Sunday 13 November 2011


Feeling a bit on the gloomy side today. Outside it is damp and dark (dreich - there's no good English equivalent, really); I'm feeling a bit miserable about the politics going on on the Allotment Minor site; I've two charity bids to get in by next Friday with the usual difficulty of herding committee members together; I still haven't written Tuesday's lecture; I just seem to have too many juggling balls in the air at the moment and I haven't the energy to run and catch any that stray.

On the plus side (there has to be one somewhere) I finally finished typing up Service of the Heir yesterday morning. It still needs to be gone through with a fine-tooth comb, but it's a milestone. The trouble is I'd rather read the next one than go back over this one again! The other plus is that I told all my students on Monday to go and give blood if they could, and apparently they pretty much went in a body and did so. I went on Wednesday - remaining aloof as ever! Well, it's usually a bit of a stampede at the university, and I'd already made an appointment at the transfusion centre. Then Number One Cat's turn at the vet that evening for his boosters: he'd obviously decided he'd show Number Two Cat how to behave and was very good indeed. He's losing a bit of weight in his old age - time was the vet would back off into a corner as he emerged from his carrying box!

On the realistic side (there are three sides to everything, I find - even pieces of paper) I have to remember that I had pizza on Friday night and a wrap today and gluten does give me fits of depression (or serious indigestion). I think I'm glutenised. Glutenated? Hyperglutenated? Bah!

Sunday 6 November 2011

Mud and grouting

It's a wonder I can type this evening - an afternoon allotmenting, including a blitz job with my fellow plotters on our shared polytunnel, then home to grout the new tiles in the bathroom. Fingers fizzing with nettle stings. The last of the runner beans picked, and the pak choi, as there was a frost last night. The plot looks strangely unfamiliar without the bean canes up.

I had to cancel a lecture last week as there was already a class in that room. My class, assembling themselves in the foyer of the building, offered to follow me up the stairs and take on the other class in unarmed combat, but I suggested they go and read quietly somewhere instead. I went to see my secretary who accused me of being fussy about rooms again - I wasn't aware we were reduced to room sharing, but there we are! Anyway, she booked me into another room, which turned out, as far as I can see, to be a converted corridor. Some of my students were so far away I offered to get them binoculars. The whiteboard was tiny and fixed behind the fixed desk, so the lower third was completely invisible, the middle third was invisible if I was behind the desk, and I couldn't reach the top third. There was, of course, a new box of chalk. I offered to have a World Tour teeshirt printed for the class with a list of all the locations we've been in so far, then thought (a) they might not all fit and (b) there might still be more!

The coffee for the 9am tutorial is going down well. Not that they're actually drinking it, but they seem to appreciate the harmless eccentricity of my bringing it.

Two more lovely evenings working on Service - itching now to get on with the next one, but that's a treat that's going to have to wait! And it's almost certainly much worse than I remember ...