Term’s Ending

Well there we are. After a clutch of meetings and the ritual handings-in of interim project reports by students, as of yesterday teaching term is now officially over. Most of the students left yesterday afternoon (to try to beat the inclement weather) and most of the rest will be departing this weekend. A merry Christmas to one and all.

Now we have a week until Christmas itself, and then a break until 10th January when teaching resumes. The first week back is “guided study week” and is immediately followed by examinations. Teaching proper doesn’t start again until Monday 31st January, so those of us who won’t have exams to mark (yay!) will have a relatively gentle reintroduction to termly life.

Monday 20th December is our departmental Christmas lunch – a notoriously boozy affair which usually wipes out the whole afternoon and usually involves senior members of staff disgracing themselves – but after that I think there should be time to finish a couple of papers that have been waiting on my desk for quite a while, awaiting revisions and responses to referees. I am also supposed to give a talk at a meeting of the Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences (on Tuesday), if I can find out where it is.

I’m going to see my folks in the Frozen North for Christmas itself, or at least I’m going to try. The way things are at the moment it’s not looking hopeful. Snow fell overnight in Cardiff at an even greater rate than English wickets in Perth and I’d say there was a good six inches of the stuff on the pavements when I went to get the paper this morning. Still, there’s a week for it to clear so hopefully things improve before I actually have to travel anywhere.

The day after Boxing Day I’ll be back here in Cardiff ,trying to get on with some writing, with a short pause for New Year. Holidays are the best time to get some proper work done, and I’m looking forward to finishing off a book project I’ve been working on for ages. I doubt if I’ll have time to blog much until the new term starts, but we’ll see how much I need a displacement activity.

I was hoping to be able to pass on news about the funding situation for STFC, which I was expecting to hear about yesterday, but apparently the latest rumour is that no announcements will be made until next week at the earliest. The final Astronomy Grants Panel plenary session, at which we should wrap up this year’s recommendations, now isn’t going to take place until 25th January which means a lot of people are going to have a long anxious wait. It’s hardly a satisfactory situation, but there you have it.


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