I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Closing out the first week with a little poetry

The first week of semester is always tough. Even when everything goes smoothly there's a lot to manage; and lots of little details to sort. One of things I have to do these days, too, is make sure workloads are evenly distributed in the English program. We have a very elaborate system that counts everything; but no simple computer programme to which everyone has equal access. Our IT support seems to be slipping behind our needs.

Anyway, it was also the week for meeting my new 3rd year class (lecture on Sir Gawain, amongst other things), and my fourth year honours seminar (also Sir Gawain, but in a different context: next week, John Mandeville and Margery Kempe in Jerusalem, with Carolyn Dinshaw as tourguide); and my two new MA students. We had a talk from Stephen Knight for the Medieval Round Table (Celtic and Christian elements in English romance), and the Middle English reading group met for the first time this year. We are going to read Wynnere and Wastoure (it is SO bizarre to have people turn up with my edition: I "forgot" to bring in my own copy, as I always find it hard to return to work I have done in the past).

I was very nervous — as I am every single year — before actually meeting the people in my honours class (9 enrolments and two or three auditing: perfect numbers), and being in the room with the 80 3rd year students. But now I have crossed that bridge, the semester looks as if the teaching will be fun.

Last night three of my girlfriends came over for a glass of wine after dinner. Sometimes these four families all get together: our sons are all about the same age, and have shared different childcare, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools. In fact, three of the boys are currently forming a little jazz trio (bass, drums, piano), so our pride knows almost no bounds.

But last night was girls' night, and very pleasant it was too. Just at the end, after one had gone, another started talking about Robbie Burns. She's a Scot, and an actor and is learning "To a Mouse" as a Christmas present for someone in her family. With a little prompting, she slipped into character, accent and voice, and performed it for us: utterly mesmerising. What a lovely way to set us up for Friday.

I was in the office this morning wrestling with the software and the workpoints; and then some more cumbersome software for some last minute additions to the "publications workbench" for the online record of research, but now I'm home. I'm going to tidy my study; do a little Italian homework; then head down to the gym, and get ready for Friday night.


LanglandinSydney said...

Lovely post Stephanie --I'm teaching SGGK Hons too, and had 9 the first week. Fingers crossed they'll stay ...

Hey, you forgot to mention the nice news this week (news to the world, at least) that you're one of the three keynotes at the 5th International Piers Plowman Conference, Oxford, 14-17 April 2011!

Ceirseach said...

Hm. So I might have to head over to Oxford next April, then?

(Also: hi Lawrence!)

My sister's (Scottish) partner is passing through Canada on a teaching/concert tour and stayed in Ottawa for a night two days ago, and addressed the haggis for us. Now little baby Elizabeth seems to be trying out Scottish vowel sounds. I shall have to read her some more Chaucer to encourage this!

Stephanie Trigg said...

Hi you two! Thanks for that, Langland: one of the reasons not to talk about that talk is because it is such a terrifying prospect!

And Ceirsearch: much easier from there than from here...

Ceirseach said...

Yes - I'm considering wandering across in November or October anyway because there are some mss in the British Library that will need inspecting!

Alison said...

Lovely to hear that Burns lives on in Melbourne! I'm a huge fan of Burns (he lived near where I grew up) and actually won the Burns Scholar Prize for my recitation of 'To A Mouse' as a schoolkid !

daniel said...
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