Monday 2 am.

Done. Thesis, bibliography, contents page. Turned into pdfs. Irritating formatting issues solved. Emailed to several different email accounts in both pdf and non-pdf versions. Saved on the little stick thing. The nicest sleep I’ve had for ages, though too short.

It’s now 7. 18. Must get up, pack up, get to train station to go to Leeds. Exhausted. But feeling oh so much better than yesterday.

I think I can, I think I can

Just in case you assume I’ve been floating on a wave of euphoria for the past week – well, no. It’s been a bit of a slog, to tell the truth. Which will continue in force over the weekend. But then I will be done. Part of me doesn’t want to let go. I cannot believe how much I have learnt over the past three and a half years, and I would write a lot of it so differently now if I were starting again! But the supervisors say it is good enough – more than good enough – and holidays beckon. And I will be able to revisit it with my hard-won expertise and do lovely things to it before I release it to the big wide world.  So. Two more days, and then printing, binding, celebrating!

Happy

  • I have a lovely concluding sentence.
  • My supervisor told me he thinks my thesis is very good indeed.
  • I just ate my lunch in the sun; the sky is blue and bright.
  • The first blossoms powder the trees. The willow trees along the canal haze green.
  • Only one week to go!
  • Spring is just the best time to finish a thesis.

Step by step

Finished the conclusion yesterday. The supervisors are looking over it, and I’ll probably bash it into shape a bit more when they’re done, but it’s a relief to have written it. Very strange experience, writing the conclusion. Slightly terrifying. (I realise I’m sounding like a broken record at this point, but hey.)

The first of my lovely proof-readers gets back to me this afternoon. I’m currently in the library, trying to rustle up the energy for one last blitz on my Webb chapter. Ugh. Tired. It will need at least three days of undivided attention.

I went for a most beautiful walk along the canal in the misty light yesterday morning and took photos. I’ll put them up soon if I get the chance.

Currently alternating between tiredness and nervousness and excitement. Right now just tired. Which is, in some ways, more relaxing than the other two! It sunk in yesterday that I’m going home soon and will get to see my family and old friends – hooray! And before that I’m going to America which is also awesomely brilliant. So. Only ten days of hard work to go. Eep!

In which the travel gods smile on me and I have some wonderful friends

The trip over to Bingley went relatively smoothly and several minor disasters were averted with surprising ease.

  1. I accidentally got onto the train with Michael’s work key card in my pocket, but managed to post it back from Oslo train station in the fifteen minutes I had to spare.
  2. I couldn’t find the charger for my English phone but my cousin Richard in London lent me a spare one of his.
  3. I forgot my power adapter! I forgot it last time too, and last time I had to buy an expensive multi-adapter plug from a computer shop in town because Boots in the train station didn’t have any Europe-England ones. But this time they did! I was so happy I thanked the check-out lady profusely and she admitted she remembered me from last time…

Anyway… Everyone is taking such good care of me. I stayed with Richard for a night in London and he cooked me dinner! This is a first. His fiance is having a good influence on him. It was also just lovely to catch up (haven’t seen him for months and months). So nice to have at least one person over here who has known me my whole life! We stayed up till two drinking wine and were a bit wrecked the next day, but still…

Am now staying with the lovely Vic who thinks nothing of surrendering her lounge room to me for three weeks. Waiting for me was a parcel from Mum, ugg boots stuffed with fruchocs and cherry-ripes! Bliss! (So am nice and toasty wearing ugg boots and the jumper she knitted for me. ‘She likes to keep you warm, doesn’t she’, said Vic. And very thankful I am too.)

And my wonderful Michael is doing what he does best and planning a holiday in the midst of the five million other things he has to sort out at the moment. So – yeah. I’m pretty lucky.

Two weeks left for the thesis! I cannot believe it. It’s just the strangest feeling. When I put it all in one document for a trial run, and saw chapter four beginning on page 180, I felt what can only be described as vertigo. Like I’d been climbing a massive building without looking down, and I suddenly realised how high up I was.

I met with both my supervisors this week and they were very impressed with the new stuff I sent them. I pretty much re-wrote chapter two and they loved what I did. Supervisor one said it would have been good enough before but that it was much better now. I wouldn’t have been happy handing it in as it was before I fixed it, but now I am. So… hooray! It’s ready! It’s fine! There’s still plenty to do to it over the next two weeks – final editing of chapters, conclusion, and smoothing over chapter four, but two weeks is definitely long enough. I started putting together my contents page today. Strange, strange, strange…

Progress report

Photos by Michael.

Well, I can declare the two quiet weeks at my desk a success. While none of the chapters I was working on is quite done, Murray is 95% done, Webb is 50% done, and theory chapter is 75% done. And I have clear plans for the remaining sections. By the end of today, I want to have shaved a large chunk off the Webb chapter, and hopefully smoothed off the edges of the Murray chapter – basically redone the conclusion and thought of a nice sentence to put at the end of the introduction – so I could hand it in tomorrow if necessary, even though it would be nice to have another day to sift over it. And really there’s only one good day’s work left in the theory chapter.

The very lovely thing is that formatting issues I thought were going to be a problem won’t be. I had a test run today of putting it all into one document and justifying the right margin as well as the left – and it worked perfectly! Didn’t muck my poem quotes up at all! I’ve been having a problem with varying sizes of footnote numbers in the different chapters, and that solved itself too. I was also worried that it wouldn’t fit into 300 pages (that’s the page limit), as it’s slightly over the 100,000 word limit, but it’s coming in rather nicely at 282. So I have space to play! And don’t have to spend hours cutting down bits that in all likelihood could do with cutting down but will be ok as they are. And, best of all, Michael showed me how to  turn it quickly and painlessly into a pdf so I can print it off on the uni printers without problem. (I’m using Open Office instead of Word, and the computers at Uni don’t have Open Office, so I was foreseeing all sorts of problems.) All this translates to HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!!!!

This weekend I’ve been planning some post-thesis adventures – meeting Michael in the States in early April, and going to Aussie-land for three weeks after that. Really looking forward to hanging out with my family again.

So, the end of March really is D-day. And, yeah, you probably won’t hear a whole lot from me before then. I’m off to the UK tomorrow. Outside is constant sleety snow. But when I’m back here in May, there will be sunshine late into the night, and lupins lining the roadsides, and green everywhere.

Late night footnote checking

About to call it a night. Listening to the Beatles (it’s necessary to listen cheerier and cheerier music as the night goes on). Remembering this night. Can’t believe it’s only two months ago. As ‘Penny Lane’ plays, I can smell the smoke of spurting fireworks, mixed with the just-rained-on sea smell of a winter much milder than this one. I rememember jumping up and down. Holding someone’s hand. Belting out ‘Hey Jude’ over the smoky, sparkling square at the top of my lungs. All the glittery lights. It’s still going to be a good year.