January 25, 2021

Now, it’s your turn to talk.

WFH: DAY 13. The fall #1. Shortly after finishing work on Saturday, one of the shelf arrays in my study collapsed. The wall, to which they’d been fixed for the last twenty four years (a chimney breast), had become sufficiently damp (due to weeks of incessant rain) for the plaster to soften and loose its grip on the Rawlplugs that were used to secure the screws into the surface. Mercifully, I was sat to the side of structure, rather than in front of it at the time.

The fall #2. On Sunday afternoon the snow fell and, with it, the silence. A silence quieter than lockdown. The silence of unmerited forgiveness; a mother’s whispered lullaby; time passing without moving:

8.30 am: A review of the week ahead. Fulsome. The first week of Semester 2 teaching. 9.00 am: The day began with PhD examination admin. In the midst of a pandemic, few things are straightforward. Caution, clarity, and communication are the watchwords. Most things take twice as long as I expect. My hope is to be able to accompany all my PhD students to the end of their journey, before I reach mine. But that determination is not in my gift alone. I await the university’s decision.

11.30 pm: I returned to work on the second REF PowerPoint. (In the background, outdoors, a car alarm blared. It was at a frequency that makes it difficult to pinpoint the precise location of the source. After a while, you notice it only when it stops.) I began constructing a section on ‘Adjunct’ projects (which are many) related to The Biblical Record CD release:

1.30 pm: On with the task at hand, while composing short responses to incoming mail. (Unmitigated frustration on another front.) 3.00 pm: The car alarm ceased alarming the neighbourhood after only fours hours. On with constructing a section on ‘Dissemination’.

4.15 pm: Into the outside:

4.45 pm: I wrote an emotionally disciplined but firm letter to the Graduate School. A line had been crossed. 7.30 pm: I pushed-on against my will to further the PowerPoint.

The fall #3:

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