I write this annual review in some discomfort; for the last two months of the year I have been suffering from sciatica, and although I am better than I was, it is still hanging on. I hope it won’t be too much a feature of 2019!
The first three months of 2018 saw me still as Head of School. It was a difficult time, as documented in another post (2018 – My Annus Horribilis), but I saw it through, while doing a reasonable amount of teaching, including the second run-through of my Digital Forensics module (which somewhat paradoxically didn’t go so well), and my MChem and 2nd year lectures.
In early April, having just finished as HoS, I attended a conference at UCL organised for myself and Steve Parker to mark our 60th birthdays (OK, a year late for me). It was very enjoyable, both from a social and scientific viewpoint, but on looking back, it might have been better (for me) if it had been a bit later, since I hadn’t yet shaken off the effects of being HoS! But I am very grateful to Richard (Catlow), Nora (de Leeuw) and team for organising it. After the Easter Vacation, I had some teaching to finish, and another trip to Canterbury to help the University of Kent appoint a Head of their School of Physical Sciences. This time they were successful, and the chosen person was my preferred one too. Exams started at Keele, and I had a trip to Dublin to do a PhD viva. In mid-June I had my external examining at Huddersfield (for the first time), and Sheffield Hallam (for the second time). (I did my Trinity College Dublin external examining by Skype as I couldn’t make the trip for health reasons). I didn’t attend Eurodim2016 because my time as Head of School had impacted on both my research, and enthusiasm for attending the conference (which can be very political, and I had enough of that!). Nevertheless I was grateful that Mário visited me for a few days after the conference, and we had some useful discussions about research. It was very good of him to visit, and it made up a lot for missing the conference
In August I had my annual visit to the GBBF, which was really excellent, and Angela attended some of the sessions, including the trade session. We stayed in the Holiday Inn near West Brompton tube, which once again proved very convenient for travelling to and from the GBBF.
I saw some excellent exhibitions in 2018, and details are in a separate post (Films, Exhibitions and Concerts 2018), but I will particularly mention the amazing Monet and Architecture exhibition at the National Gallery. Also mentioned in that post are the musical events I attended, but I particularly mention Don McClean and Joan Baez, both in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. I also heard Focus play for the second year running, in the 100 Club.
The autumn was as usual dominated by the new semester, with challenging teaching (5 project students again). Towards the end, when I had the health problems mentioned in my other post, I had to take some time off sick, and couldn’t attend my Christmas conference, (both for the first time ever). This was a serious thing to happen for me. I started the Christmas vacation in a rather poor state, and have been slowly improving, although I have good and bad days. Angela as always has been my rock, and I thank her for all she does, and especially in my bad days.
Thus 2018 finished badly, and I hope sincerely that 2019 will be a better year for me.
PS I should add that because of the medication I have been taking since 10 December, I have not drunk any alcohol since then. This has been my first ‘dry’ Christmas – New Year for a long time!