Thursday, 9 April 2015
From Norwich to Canterbury via Stratford International yesterday morning to examine a PhD. Train packed to crowded standing only because of earlier cancelled train, hence meet Nick who had booked the earlier train and whom I had not expected to bump into, which allows for a nice chat on the train which is over twenty minutes late into Stratford which means a scramble to catch my connection at the International which, fortunately, is also a mite late. But all is OK in the end. The fast train cruises through Ebbsleigh and Ashford Internationals and arrives on time in Canterbury. I hop into taxi with friendly driver and am plonked down at the Rutherford building.
It is too warm for a winter coat and two heavy shoulder bags. Bad strategic decision.
Time for conversation and a sandwich with Caroline, the internal examiner, before launching into an hour and a half or so of viva, which is intense, fun, and very demanding of concentration but it goes well for the candidate, then it's nibbles and a glass of celebratory champagne in the university cafe, before being given a kind lift back to the station.
I only go as far as Stratford Int, then make my way to Tom's house where I am to stay the night. Tom is out and I am tired so I sit and lie down before deciding to pick up a frozen meal (a korma) at Tesco. Into the microwave with it, add a little diced apple, consume and wait, listening to the R3 concert and reading. Tom returns about 10 and we sit up talking till about 1 am.
Night but so-so. An ideal of 5 hrs a night would be a good thing.
Today morning on the Overground for another meeting at about 10:30 that ends about 3pm, return to Stratford, change at Chemsford, back to Norwich, onto bus to see Rich and Helen and the grandchildren who are a delight. Lukas greets me all big eyes and smile and exclamations. There is chance for some snatched conversation with H and R but soon enough Clarissa, who has been looking after Marlie all day, returns with her andwe both read to them etc and wait till they're dispatched to bed, then we drive back.
Once home to bed, we both lie down sleep an hour before a light supper of omelette and toast.
Occasionally I notice I am getting older and that the type 2 diabetes does bite now and then.
Head and heart are as busy as ever but the flesh is bruckle and (time) the feynd is slee. Not so much timor mortis, as timber mortice.
A quiet few days before the London Book Fair (more on that later) and the flight to Turkey to deliver a talk at a conference, on return from which two events in London one after the other in short order.
Meanwhile, reviewing the new Penguin Book of Russian Poetry for The New Statesman. Very good as far as I have read.
Translating. Writing. Corresponding.