Having already posted about the books I’ve read, and the films I saw in 2013, this post is intended to take a general look at the year, and its high and low points.
The year began for me with a trip to Manchester on the 4th January to see White Christmas at a new theatre (for us); the Lowry. We stayed in the Premier Inn, Salford Quays, which had an amazing view across the water to the ‘theatre of dreams’. White Christmas was superb, and we had a delicious brunch in the nearby Chiquitos (Mexican) restaurant the next morning before returning home.
We attended a very nice wedding of two of my colleagues on the 12th January. So far the weather had held, but the next day it closed in, and there was plenty of snow in the coming weeks. We attended the Senior Common Room Burns Night celebration on 25th January, and the snow was so heavy that night that we had to put up some friends who were unable to even remove their car from the car park!
February was relatively uneventful apart from plenty of teaching (although I’ll have even more in the corresponding period next year). On March 5th I attended a very nice reception at the Royal Society to mark Sir Roland Jackson leaving the British Science Association.
On April 6th we saw Helen Mirren in The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre, and went to the Lichtenstein exhibition at Tate Modern the next day. Back at Keele the following day I was involved in helping out with the British Zeolites Association Meeting which took place from the Monday to the Wednesday, 8-10 April. On 12th April I drove to Wenhaston to visit my mother; the trip which should take around 5 hours actually took 7.25 hours! The return on the 15th was marginally better, 6.67 hours. The traffic must have been bad at that time!
On Monday 29th April I attended a project meeting at the AWE with Scott Walker; this may be the last time we go there. With the change in personnel involved in our project there has been less and less interest, and organising this meeting was a significant challenge!
May and most of the early part of June were uneventful, with exams and exam board meetings. I mentioned my marathon external examining week in an earlier post, as well as my nice trip to Amsterdam to examine a PhD thesis. This was Angela’s first visit, and we saw plenty of the city before returning home.
In late June I travelled to Vienna for a meeting with my research collaborators on the nuclear clocks project. This was a successful meeting, culminating in writing a paper which should be published early in 2014. July was relatively uneventful, but in August we had a second trip to Amsterdam, and my annual pilgrimage to the Great British Beer Festival (again documented in earlier posts).
September was supposed to involve two conferences and a visit from my research collaborator in Brazil. In the end, Mario was unable to come for personal reasons, but the symposium I organised in honour of the late Professor Patrick Jacobs was a success. I had also been invited to attend a conference in Goslar, Germany, but was prevented from travelling at the last minute because my passport had less than 3 months validity left. This was extremely frustrating and annoying, but there is no benefit in discussing it any more! Suffice it to say that I have a new passport now, and hope that my next trip (ironically to Germany again, in February) will go smoothly.
The rest of the year, from late September to 20 December, was taken up by our Autumn Semester. My main challenge was, once again, supervising research projects, but I have 4 as opposed to the 6 I had last year. Other teaching went smoothly, but I am expecting more of a challenge in the next semester; look out for posts on this in February and March. We had a weekend at my mother’s house from 21-23 December (and I’m glad to say that the trip both there and back took less time than in April), and since then we have been enjoying a quiet Christmas at Keele.
2013 has been a challenging year in many ways. In 2014 it is likely that both my existing PhD students will complete, and I will have some challenging new teaching, as well as hopefully seeking new sources of research funding. I am helping organise the EURODIM conference in Kent in July, which promises to be good, and there will doubtless be other activities that are as yet unplanned.