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, May 21, 2010

Two good stories

Home on Tuesday morning after fabulous conference in Berlin. The whole trip was rushed, but went smoothly enough, even down to the last minute escape from Heathrow on Sunday night before the airport was closed for six hours due to the volcanic ash cloud — they practically frogmarched us on to the plane to ensure an early push-back.

I'll blog the conference (and the surprise arrival of three Australians), and perhaps my paper, another time. I'm just waking up, late Friday afternoon, from two days asleep in bed with a horror cold (the price of international travel, perhaps). Am I well enough for Italian class tomorrow? Fingers crossed.

But it was a trip marred by my own forgetfulness. I left my ipod in the plane on the way to London (knowing that P had bought me a fancy i-pod dock with fabulous speakers that was waiting for me at home); I left my glasses at my sister's place when I went to stay in Bloomsbury for a night; I left my contact lens solution there when I went to Berlin (and had to beg some solution from another delegate as we were out in the suburbs on a public holiday...); and worst of all, when I got home, I couldn't find the little zip-up purse with a selection of favourite jewellery I'd taken with me. I know it's not a very practical vanity, to travel with precious items like this, but they are mostly gifts from P, as well as lovely in themselves, and I do enjoy very much having a small selection of coloured stones and shiny metals when I'm travelling and homesick. There's something so personal about jewellery: a connection to home, somehow. Anyway, an hour after I'd declared the loss at home, I went and checked again through every compartment of my travel bag, and there it was, with everything safe and sound. What a great relief.

Another great relief has come in the form of an email from my editor. We had had a bit of toing and froing about the two reports on the six chapters I'd sent. Both reports were generally favourable but both made lots of suggestions about doing things differently; but the Board has now agreed unanimously to contract the book; and they have said specifically that I should be given free rein to write the book as I choose. One of the board members said the only problem was the readers' reports; and that my ms. was elegant, independent, readable and insightful. Now that's more like it! I will take some of the recommendations and suggestions seriously, of course, but it's a wonderful feeling to know that the board as a whole likes the way I put the book together.

Semester ends in a week's time; I'll see how much I can do before I leave for Siena in July. I'm currently making some very sensible resolutions about trying to travel more lightly — and more efficiently.


LanglandinSydney said...

Great news re the Garter Stephanie! Congrats! Hope that makes up for the lost contact lens solution. And, oh yeah, the jewelry--bummer. So what other Aussies were at the Troilus conference?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

So glad you found the jools!

There might be a very simple physical explanation for the (uncharacteristic, surely?) absent-mindedness. I speak from experience.

I remember reading years ago that the way to pack is to pack what you think you need and then take half of it out. This has worked surprisingly well for me, although one of the things I always pack is a lightweight fold-up carry-bag for all the extra things I end up bringing home.

David Thornby said...

I was going to write a long-winded comment on why efficiency is over-rated, but I have left myself too many other things to do.

Great news re: the manuscript appraisal (i.e. the board's; the only appraisal that really counts!).