Category Archives: College

Academic Writing

I’m sitting in my office/spare room, surrounded by piles of books. The dissertation is nearly at an end, but the final few days are proving to be hard going.

Since I can think of nothing else to write about that won’t take up valuable thinking space, here are the books that have reached the top of various piles of stuff on my desk:

  • Deadly Innocence: Feminism and the Mythology of Sin – Angela West
  • Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives – Phyllis Trible
  • Birth Traditions & Modern Pregnancy Care – Jacqueline Vincent Priya
  • The Book of Common Prayer
  • Families in BritainĀ  – Ed. R.N. Rapoport et al

A question: Can you guess the topic of my dissertation?


I had a congratulatory comment from Mr F this evening (in person, not on blog) on having actually written something. Well, here is another one. Just routine reading round up, but what do you expect the week before the end of term? (Oh help! It appears that I finish college this week. Are they really going to ordain me in a few weeks? It would appear so).

(Read a couple of months ago, but lost under a pile of other books)
Dead Famous by Ben Elton
Now I love murder mystery, and I used to watch Big Brother (only the first few seasons, while it was cool… you know). This book is a fantastic murder mystery and cleverly captures the superficiality of the celebrity culture. Funny, tragic, unsettling. Ooh it was a good read.

Friends Like These by Danny Wallace
Danny seems to make a living out of being on slightly ridiculous quests. Here is yet another one. At times a little laboured, but still funny, it tells the tale of one man’s quest to get back in touch with his past before his thirties consume him.

Shoes in the snow

Ooh loving the new dashboard. Thanks to the Wibsite people for the upgrade. Not that any of you can see any difference of course.

This morning there was no snow outside our house, the 2 inches that had fallen in the night having disappeared. Without really thinking, I put my new shoes on (black ankle boots with a 2 inch chunky heel) and drove to college. Turning into the college drive, I realised that the snow had not melted here and there was a good covering on most surfaces.

A word of advice: don’t try to carry a laptop, a baby and assorted other paraphernalia across snowy ground while wearing new shoes. While we all survived the experience, it was not pleasant, particularly going down the slope towards my study.

On with the day. I need to bring together my current thoughts on my dissertation and share it with the MA group at 12.

Vestment quest part 2

So the things I was still in search of are…

  • clerical shirts
  • a cloak
  • a white stole

Cross Designs appeared at college so I went up to look at their stuff and was really pleased with what I saw. The ladies range was quite extensive, the staff had endless patience with the girls trying on about 15 items each. With the catalogue we were given a complete set of fabric samples. Much time was spent holding tiny scraps of fabric up against each other’s faces to see what suited. The resident colour expert (not an ordinand so able to look at it with quite a detached view) gave strict advice on which colours we were allowed to order. Apparently my colouring is quite tricky, but some blues, greens and browns were ok.

Anyway, I have ordered various things including a clerical hoodie (in brown with blue lining in the hood and round the dog collar). A couple of shirts were also on the list, as well as a very cunning shirt with dog collar insert that is impossible to describe, but here is a diagram.

They offer various colour linings for cloaks. Although extremely tempted by the hot pink lining, I went for a more subtle purply one instead, on the grounds that I’ll mostly be wearing it at funerals and you don’t really want to be a distraction.

So, we are nearly there. Just need to think about the stole now, and maybe a few more shirts. I may well go with Butler & Butler fairtrade shirts.

Vestment Quest Part 1

So… my ordination is coming up in the summer.* This means that I have to take steps to look like a clergyperson. This means that I have to buy vicaring clothes or vestments as they are commonly known. My lovely friend Ellen prefers to call them the ‘special clothes’, which I think just about takes the right tone.

There are a number of considerations to bear in mind.

  1. The C of E gives a grant to cover (quoting from memory here) ‘vestments, books and other necessary items for ministry’.
  2. There are a lot of books I want to buy
  3. I do not want to look like I am wearing a tent
  4. If I dress entirely in black and white, at certain times of year I look rather ill

I need various items:

  • cassock (black floor length dressing gown)
  • surplice (white thing to go over cassock)
  • cassock alb (white/off-white floor length dressing gown)
  • white stole (scarfy thing – can have pretty pictures on)
  • cloak (for wearing in cold churchyards in the countryside)
  • academic hood
  • clerical shirts (with dog collar)

Now as in many aspects of life, there are various emporia from which such items can be purchased. I do not wish to denigrate other companies by naming them the Lidl or Aldi of the clerical outfitting world. But let us just say that if J&M and Cross Designs are the Sainsburys and Waitrose, then Wippells is the Fortnum and Mason. From the experience of last year’s ordinands, Wippells have the reputation of having superb customer service and very high standards. On the down side, they cost a tad more. On the up side, they were visiting college when I was starting to panic that I had missed a lot of the outfitters when I was ill. The result of this was that I ordered the cassock, surplice, cassock alb and a girdle (length of rope for belt – very necessary in the not wanting to look like wearing a tent stakes).

They are being bespoke made. I have never had anything bespoke made before. Even my wedding dress was a slightly altered off the peg number. I will have to travel to one of their branches at some point for a fitting. Photos may be forthcoming if you ask me very nicely.

Marvellous! The quest has got off to a good start. More will follow.

* Hurrahs and general rejoicing all round

Forgot to put a title again

Progress has been made with the first MA essay. I now have a plan and I have printed out the instructions I wrote last Easter on how to write essays. Bizarre how I forget what strategies work. Item number 6 on the instructions is (in block capitals so I can’t ignore it) TURN OFF INTERNET. Thankfully, I am only at item 5 at the moment, and likely to stay there for the next few days so that is ok then. Apparently I used to be able to write essays at the rate of 400 words an hour once I knew what I was talking about. So, in theory, 13 hours of writing time should do it. That sounds doable.

Regular readers will be pleased to hear that I only have 5 essays left to do. The end of moaning is in sight.

I am enjoying patronising giving helpful advice to all the first years at college who have greek revision to do at the moment. They don’t believe me when I say first year greek is easy.

In other news, I joined the Mothers’ Union today. Mostly for research purposes, but it will hopefully be useful in real life too.

I suppose I had better put a title here

This morning started a tad earlier than I prefer, at 4.30am. Finally persuaded Rusk to go back to sleep and we then only just got up in time to go to the hospital for a scan. This is following up the infection he had a few weeks back that they only found by chance when we had been referred to hospital for something completely different. The something completely different is now fine, but the aftermath of the infection will drag on until a check-up in late December. Still, can’t complain – the hospital appointment took less time than they had warned and everything looks fine. The radiologist confirmed that Rusk does indeed have two kidneys. Excellent. We really have come out of all this very lightly. I know so many people with very, very sick babies. Horrible though it was at the time going to hospital, at least it was a one-off and we don’t have to go there every week.

I’m now resting for a couple of hours before going in to do my shift at nursery. I think 3 hours with a bunch of under 2s is a good way of testing how recovered I am.


College Open Day today. Very odd realising that all the people I was talking to today will arrive after I have left.

Rusk behaved beeeyooootifully while we were out and was then HORRID once we got home. I suppose that is better than the other way round, but it does make it a whole lot harder.

I am beginning to realise the limits of my capabilities this term. I’m sure I could manage all I have to do if I was well, but I’ve had a nasty cold that is really debillitating for over 2 weeks now. I am beginning to think I need to take a week off to recover. Watch this space.

Aaaaaaand Relax

I finished a piece of work this morning, badly done, but done all the same. This is in an effort to be the good-enough postgraduate, rather than the perfect one. The pressure of needing to finish appears to have kept me going through many nights of less than ideal amounts of sleep. Now I have stopped I am so, so tired.

This evening I have taken time off to finish off my WISE gift (that is Wibsite International Secret Exchange if you were wondering) and wash the biro saying ‘WISE’ off my hand. Don’t know what people at college today thought of that! Just need to sort out packaging and some chocolate if I can find some to fit.

Tomorrow I will be sorting out a secret santa exchange for my sister and various other friends. It is quite nice working out who buys for whom. After that it is on with Greek revision in preparation for a test next week. This is a little concerning since I don’t appear to be able to remember any of it at the moment.

And finally… I blogged ages back about some wonderful pens I found: Staedtler triplus fineliners. I am now totally dependent on them and was very tempted the other day by a set of 20 with lots of new colours in. However, only one of my current set of 10 is showing signs of running out so I think it will have to wait.

A frustrated post

I am frustrated because I have not got my lovely wireless card to work yet with my lovely OpenSuse operating system, this despite doing a bit of research to find out if it was likely to work. I concluded that it probably was, but am now starting to wonder. However, I still have a long wire to use instead, so that is a problem for another day. Part of the problem may well be that there is still a wired network card involved. Enough of that for tonight.

I am frustrated because it is taking me 1 hour and 50 minutes to get from my bed to college. I must be able to cut some of the time out, but I can’t quite figure out where.
T minus 1h50 – alarm goes off, cunningly placed on a high shelf so I actually have to stand up and reach it.
T minus 1h49 and 55 seconds – Battle begins between will power and sloth.

A shower is involved somewhere here, but I don’t think I take longer than about 10 minutes.

T minus 1h10 (sometimes 1h20, depending on if it is a hairwashing day) – stagger from the bathroom wrapped in a towel

Breakfast happens here
Clothes are found and put on or packed
Various pieces of paper are located and packed

T minus 35 – depart by bicycle, gracefully and effortlessly swooping up and down (but mainly up) various hills. Well, sort of.
T minus 15 – arrive in college, hot, dissheveled, red in the face and aching. Bike is put away, copious amounts of water are drunk, now rather disgusting tshirt is exchanged for alternative garb, prayer book is collected, study books and notes stacked ready.
T minus 4ish – stroll to chapel.
WHAT DO I DO WITH ALL THAT TIME? When I was 14, I had a paper round. I used to get up at 7.10am, 5 minutes before I had to be at the paper shop (5 minutes walk away), do the paper round, shower and walk to the bus stop by 8.25am. How is it possible that I have slowed down so much?

On reflection, I reckon the battle between sloth and will power is prolonged. In my half-awake state, I do occasionally catch snatches of arguments about the water being cold and not wanting to get in the shower, but knowing that I will make more friends if I smell nicer. I must be able to save about 40 minutes somewhere in there for more productive activity.

I am frustrated because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

I am frustrated because I don’t have a working laptop.

I am frustrated because tomorrow I have to put my contact lenses in before 7am so I can go to the opticians for 9am.

I am frustrated because I can think of nothing better to post.

On the other hand, I have very many blessings to count. I should perhaps do more of that, rather than ranting about my insignificant woes. Apologies and Happy Monday (or late Sunday if you are reading this before it is Monday)

How are you doing?