- wrote and delivered my paper for the Wollongong symposium, which (the latter) was truly amazing. 15 papers over 2.5 days, with maybe 24 people attending, all engaging, talking furiously and convivially. Papers on medievalism, medieval literature and its teaching and reception, papers by romanticists and Australianists and children's literature experts, all working together to set up some wonderful new lines of connection and inquiry. We hope to publish most of these papers in the next year and a bit. Watch this space!
- completed an Italian intensive course ("lower intermediate") and graduated into livello cinque, starting in a week or two.
- travelled to Sydney for a day with John and Bea before we went down to Wollongong. Highlights? Seeing Frank Woodley as Candide in a new production for the Sydney Theatre Company as part of the Sydney festival. We booked late, and got late-release front-row seats in the Opera House theatre. This is what you really want to do with visiting scholars: place them so they get to take part in a little audience participation in the theatre: how many visiting scholars can you say you have given the chance to yodel — solo, into the microphone — in the Sydney Opera House with Barry Otto (father of Miranda/Eowyn)? We followed this up with dinner in Potts Point and a stroll through the Cross.
- travelled to Geelong to see my boy perform in the grand concert that concluded his stay at the Geelong Summer Music Camp. He had five nights with his grandparents while I was away. It turned out to be more like an intensive training course than a camp. He had to practise and practise when he got home each day after a full day's playing, just to learn the parts and keep up. But the 250 kids who took part put on an amazing concert. Highlights? Seeing J playing in Sibelius' Finlandia, and, in the string ensemble, parts of Elgar's Serenade for Strings and the last two movements of Holst's St Paul's suite (sweeping renditions of Greensleeves against the sprightly Dargason, parts swapped around between cellos and violins). Maternal pride in buckets; though mostly because the whole camp was so much harder and more demanding than we thought, and he just stuck with it, and came through in the end.
- saw Nadal down Kohlscreiber last night at Rod Laver Arena, from the pleasant comfort of a corporate box (courtesy P's associate). Really very pleasant to be served a lovely dinner (esp. the crab salad), chilled drinks with ice, etc. It was a very hot night, but after dinner was served, our hosts opened up the spotless glass windows between us and the back row just in front, so we could cheer the players on and take part in the action (while still feeling the comfort of the air-conditioning, the freshly-brewed coffee and more chilled drinks with ice, etc.). An utterly sybaritic way to watch other people play sport, I must say. We are going again on Tuesday, and fully expect to be seated in the back row, just in front of such a corporate box. We will have to carry our own drinks up the stairs: can you imagine?
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Goodness! I wonder if being head of programme will mean I don't have time to blog... I can already see my days and weeks are going to be taking on a different rhythm from last year's leave, as you'd expect. So what have I been up to?