You can see from the date of posting that I am late with my review this year, and it will be posted in 2020. This is because we finished teaching so late this year (20/12/19) that everything is a day or so late. However, I notice I posted my review of 2010 on 2/01/11, so I am not doing so badly!
2019 began badly for me health wise, with my sciatica hanging on for the first few weeks of the year. It finally cleared some time in February, and my posts from early in 2019 have more details. However, I did manage the SCR whisky tasting and the Burns Supper, and a trip to London to see some exhibitions at the end of the month ( see post here).
The academic year started as usual with exams, followed immediately by the start of the second semester. My main teaching was the Digital Forensics module, in its third outing. The lectures went OK, but my attempts to include sessions for the students to use the digital forensics software again didn’t really work, and will need further thought for next year. My other teaching (2nd year Chemistry, 3rd year FS and MChem) went OK. Because of the date of Easter this year, we had 11 weeks of teaching before the Easter vacation, so it was exhausting.
The Easter vacation was mainly spent in recovery mode, although I did manage a trip to London for a committee meeting, going on to Huddersfield for external examiner induction (having already done the job for a year!) Then it was back for the last week of semester, and the summer exams. I managed a trip to Dublin for my last external examining, and Angela accompanied me. We had a nice few days and it was a break of a kind, with an overnight stay in London on the way back. Later, in June, I had a combined Sheffield and Huddersfield external examining trip. I also managed a trip to Bath for research discussions.
I had 3 trips to London in July for various RSC events, including one where the RSC organised the hotel that then didn’t seem to have my details (Premier Inn by County Hall/Westminster Bridge). However, it was quickly sorted out. This first trip included the RSC AGM, which was an eye-opener. I managed a weekend at my Mother’s house in late July, which Angela kindly accompanied me on. The trip back was awful – lots of traffic delays – and enough to put me off making the trip again until the roadworks around Cambridge are finished.
We had a very nice trip to London for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (we booked the Radio Times private viewing). This was a few days before the GBBF, which was as good as ever, and is separately described (see post here).
The main event in September was the LibDem conference in Bournemouth. It was my first time in Bournemouth, and Angela came for some of the time. Bournemouth is relatively easy to get to for us (a 4 hour train journey from Stoke). The conference was interesting, and I was glad to be there, although events later in the year (see various posts before this one) rather went against the feeling of optimism at the conference!
Once back at Keele, the semester was almost upon us, and I was in preparation mode. Then followed 12 intensive weeks of teaching which finally finished on 20 December. I managed to attend part of my annual Christmas conference, held this year in Liverpool, and had a nice visit from Giordano (who also attended the conference).
It wasn’t a great year for music, although things picked up in the last couple of months. I have more or less stopped playing for the South Cheshire Orchestra (or at least, while they continue to choose programmes for which I am not required), but the Keele orchestra asked me to help them out for their concert on 21 December. This was a good way to get back into regular playing, and I had unconsciously prepared for that by practicing on those Saturday afternoons when Angela was at her football matches – so I wasn’t too rusty. I hope to keep playing with them when they start their spring programme. Also, with encouragement and help from Angela, I started playing piano again. This was a great development (see photo below).
I have posted separately about politics. 2019 was the year I rejoined the LibDems and got politically involved again, which is good as it didn’t feel right when I wasn’t doing anything! The election was a challenging and bruising experience, and the outcome was very worrying. But just now I am putting such worries to one side, at least for a few more days! No doubt other posts will follow on this topic.
On a more positive note, it’s been a great year for Pokémon Go and Ingress. At the end of 2018 reached level 14 on Ingress, and it took me until November 2019 to get to level 15. Now I am there, I am not in a rush to get to the final level, 16, partly because it requires 16M AP! Instead I am just enjoying playing, keeping the Keele portals maintained, and fighting off any incidences of attacks from the opposition. With Pokémon Go I got to level 40 on my main account, again in November, and I started a second account in February, which is now heading for level 33. As I commented before, I find playing these games a great stress-buster, plus it gets me out walking each day.
So what about the last decade? Well, I’ve managed to keep my music up, been involved in two political parties (not at the same time), and kept my research and teaching going. Specifically on research and teaching, I have published 37 papers, and developed two new teaching modules. I was Acting Head of School for 16 months from December 2016-March 2018. That’s about all I can say just now, and it will be my aim to keep the show on the road for the decade to come. Let’s see how it goes!