As may be apparent, it’s been a bit hard to concentrate on my phd lately. I managed to read through the whole thing two weeks ago. Barring one chapter, it’s actually not all that bad. The Webb chapter still needs an illuminating spark, but I can almost touch it. The Murray chapter, which opens the thing, is packed with interesting ideas, and is definitely the right place to begin. The other writers I look at refuse to use medievalism to create an Australian identity in quite the way he does. My Randolph Stow chapter, which was such a joy to write, is still my favourite, but at 24,000 words it needs to lose 5000. It will do this quite happily, as the second half is a little drawn out. The dreaded Webb chapter is third in line. And Kevin Hart is a good way to finish, though – again – the last third of this chapter also needs some smoothing, straightening, redefining.
Overall, the experience of reading the thesis was like listening to an orchestra tuning up. All the instruments are crying out, and there is exciting potential, but they need to be brought together, tuned, made to sing. And then there will be music indeed.
I got back to Leeds on Tuesday, and exactly three weeks from then I will be moving to Norway. Yes I’ll be back two weeks later for the Medieval Congress, but that doesn’t change the fact that in the next two and a half weeks I have to empty my room and my house, post all the important things to Norway, and dispose or donate the rest of them. So. One box at a time. And next week I will think hard about my thesis and my introduction, and scour the library shelves for anything I’ve missed, and check my folders of resources for missing pages and mistakes. And all will be well.
In Halden right now everything is in bloom. Suddenly. In the week we were gone, pink and purple flowers swarmed the hill to the fortress. Now lupins crowd the roadsides like birthday candles. And what are they called – those round things that you blow on and the seeds float away – there are flocks of them glowing like moons, waving all their wishes in the evening light. My head is still full of mountains and green fjords and endless sun. Yes, all will be well.