The trouble with summer?

2 Aug

I love summer, but being based in Manchester, in the north west of the UK, we don’t always get one. We do reliably get 3-4 months where we can reduce layers from four to two (and maybe a cardigan!) but we haven’t had a period of more than about two weeks of good sunshine for what feels like years: official reports say the last prolonged period of sunshine was 2006…

But this year we can now declare we HAVE had a summer. A lovely, gorgeous, warm, make-your-veggies-grow-wonderfully, fabulous summer. Which makes motivation for a PhD topic that’s already being tested by political unrest and foreign office blocks on my intended fieldwork all the more difficult. I can read in the sun, I can write/type in the sun, but I can’t ignore it when it’s outside winking at me, and I admit it’s scuppered my ability to get 6 hours good work done each day. And with a lack of 6 hours good work a day comes a huge side order of guilt; I feel cheeky for having time off from the PhD. It’s clearly a common theme in this blog that I feel I should be working ALL the time, even though I know it’s not possible. So I am taking a moment to think about what I have done with this troublesomely lovely summer, and for my own sanity, I’m going to list things I have achieved (note: achieved, not done… I’m making that distinction on purpose!) in these 7 weeks since my end of year 1 viva (many of which have been put off for anywhere from 3 to 13 months… agh!)

Work: Read one whole (very relevant) book and around 150 pages of journal articles/reports. Two days paid academic work. Written about 1500 words, literature searched and planned. About 30 hours blog/news reports on current events relevant to my research. Home: plastered, painted and decorated hallway, lounge, dining room. Sorted the garden. Sorted post and filing,  the car and all those boring chores. Me: made it back to yoga (which makes me very, very, very happy!). Back up to 6+ mile runs and feeling good. Had time with many, many friends in France and London and locally, and lots of fun, days out, evening walks and time with the other half: festivals, art, movies, sport, travel. I finally got into a rhythm with the volunteering, have applied for a couple of interesting posts, and progressed on the freelancing.

And I had a haircut.

Although this summer may feel cheeky because I haven’t been cooped up reading, typing, typing, reading, I might finally be learning that productive time off is what will keep me sane and motivated for the long haul.

ImageI spent some time running in meadows, through woods, along the river. The flowers bloomed this summer so I also ran about and took photos. This picture reminds me of one of those lovely runs… 


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