vivdunstan: (botanics)
vivdunstan ([personal profile] vivdunstan) wrote2012-12-24 12:14 am
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Recapping on a year gone by

I have many different blogs now, but thought I'd recap here on what's gone on, with a few links where appropriate to other more targeted blog posts.

Academic-wise I've done some good stuff. I had another journal paper published in Scottish Historical Review in October, the most eminent Scottish history journal. That was based on part of a chapter of my PhD thesis. And I have another paper accepted and likely to come out next year. And more have been submitted and are with editors/reviewers now. I was particularly productive on the paper front in November, when I took part in the Academic Writing Month challenge, and finished various papers and other projects that had been lingering around too long.

I've also done other good academic things, such as sending in a proposal for a talk at a conference for archivists interested in democratising access to archives. As a disabled archives user I have strong views on this, which I've expressed before, and hope to be able to present those to the archivists at this conference gathering in April in Dundee.

And my honorary research fellowship in History at the University of Dundee was renewed again, continuing to give me much-needed access to electronic resources like electronic journal papers.

And in June I was able to go to an academic conference at Trinity College Dublin, the latest annual conference of the SHARP society which I'm a member of, the Society for the History of Authorship Reading and Publishing. I had an excellent time, and intellectually it was very rewarding. Getting around the campus with a wheelchair was a challenge, but worth it.

On other trips I was in Edinburgh twice in July and August, staying in the plush Balmoral Hotel. The first time we were there to attend the Hitchhiker's Live radio show at the Playhouse Theatre. Then in August we were back to go to the Edinburgh Book Festival, to see Neil Gaiman, one of my favourite writers, speak. And in late October I was back in my home town Hawick, for a school reunion open to all people who started at the High School in 1984. I couldn't manage the party at the rugby club, but was there, in wheelchair with husband pushing, for the school tour (2.5 hours long!) on the Saturday morning.

Genealogy-wise my research has been largely on hold, apart from breaking through the Irish brickwall in the family tree, ironically after I returned from Dublin. This filled out the Dublin side of the family, and I've been able to find out much about the ancestors, including tracing BMD certificates, masses of references to relatives in prison (!), and the family in the 1901 and 1911 census returns. I'm still stumped tracing the marriage of my Irish great-granny to my Yorkshire great-granddad, which we now believe happened in the Belfast area, after he met her in a hospital after being invalided as a soldier. Perhaps I can find it in future.

I've also been developing my various blogs. On the genealogy front I have a general purpose ancestry one for sharing stories about the ancestors with cousins. Likewise I have a Cavers one-name study one, a Coldingham one-place study one, and a Melrose one-place study one. And I now also have an academic one dedicated to general academic history musings. I also had a guest blog post this year on Ancestry, writing about my Cavers one-name study.

I'm an active member of the website (YSDC), and have been lucky over recent years to start roleplaying, playing Call of Cthulhu online at Play@YSDC. I blogged recently on YSDC about my year of gaming. What I forgot to mention there is that I also attended a gaming convention in April, albeit a flying visit, going to Conpulsion in Edinburgh, where I was able to catch up with an online YSDC friend, and attend the Shadows over Scotland book panel.

I've been reading a lot this year, mainly on my Kindle, and in the summer joined the YSDC online book club, where we choose a book to read each month, and then meet, online, to discuss it. That's been much fun, it's been great to chat about what I've been reading with other likeminded people, and it's also encouraged me to read things I wouldn't otherwise.

And I've been writing other things. For example I wrote a book review for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Appreciation Society ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha's newsletter Mostly Harmless. I also wrote a short piece for a Doctor Who fanzine, and likewise two pieces for a Sapphire & Steel fanzine, one a review/analysis of the first television adventure, the other an overview article about the Big Finish audios. And more recently I have written pieces for two upcoming Doctor Who books. One is about the 1983 story Enlightenment, and the other about the 2011 story The Girl Who Waited.

On the downside my neurological disease is very aggressive now, and resisting all treatment. I am in a very life-threatening situation, and don't know how long I practically have. Even the usually effective potent chemotherapy infusions which I tried over the summer didn't work at all. This is prompting me to try to finish things off neatly while I can. So that's more incentive to continue to share my Cavers one-name study findings via the blog with Cavers researchers, and to get academic papers completed and published as soon as possible.

But I'm still happy. I've had a good year. And next year, while it may be challenging, is something to look forward to. Oh and did I mention my uilleann pipes? I bought a set recently, and am looking forward to having a good bash at playing them. I've wanted to learn these for years. Breaking through the Irish brick wall encouraged me to finally do it.