much better

the temperature today has been much better, although I remain very tired due to not sleeping well last night with the heat. I actually fell asleep for 10 minutes this afternoon, sprawled across Coward’s book! I made myself a coffee and felt better. We had a bit of rain and a new front seems to have swept in since around 5pm and it feels much better. Almost cold!

Yesterday, just as I was leaving, I had some bad news – a request for communication support for a conference was turned down. Illegally so, as it’s part of the Equalities Act that reasonable adjustments must be made to allow disabled people to access education. I’ve had to refer the matter to the disability support unit at the university, so I have every confidence that something will be done to fix matters, but it is still upsetting. I felt very angry and disillusioned last night. Thankfully a chat with a fellow deaf PhD student on the subject helped to encourage me a bit, pick myself up a bit, and I feel more determined today. I just have to wait for a few other things to happen then I’ll return to the fore.

I finished 101 Top Tips for PhD Students today. Very short and sweet but a lot of really useful tips. A few I wish I’d known before today but, ah well. C’est la vie. I finished another part of Coward. I feel much more informed now, of the events that led up to the 1640s and what did (and, more importantly didn’t) contribute to the war of the 1640s. Tomorrow I have a few notes to make and then I hope to dive into the British Civil War!

just too hot

at 33*C…. its just too hot. I hope it cools down soon as it’s so difficult to maintain any kind of focus in this heat. I managed to get some notes done on the Coward book; I just need to press on with it.

On the plus side, I did pick up a new PhD-how-to book – 101 Top Tips for PhD Students by Professor Iain H. Woodhouse, available as a kindlebook from amazon (thanks to #DailyPhD‘s recommendation). I’ve not gotten very far through it at this point, but so far its very good, very easy to read and I’ll be able to plough through it quickly I think.  I’m realising the importance of planning – but not just planning. Its easy to say, for example, that for my PhD proposal I need to do some reading, to do a lit review of the material in my field, and that I need to write X number of words on this by the end of July. But this is actually really difficult to achieve because its not measurable, definable. How many books should I read? of what standard? How many articles? What is the aim of the lit review? Given I have just a month left to write it, I think its important that some decisions are made on this. I’m not sure an arbitrary number is a wise choice. I certainly have to include some form of bibliography with the proposal but they are looking for quality over quantity, so reading every single book/article going on the subject would not be smart. I think, too, that different reading patterns need to apply for different books. Books like Spaeth’s Church in an Age of Danger, since they so closey correlate to my proposed field of study, need more extensive reading than, say, J. A. Sharpe’s Early Modern England, and it may be smart to group them accordingly.

I had an email back from the conference organiser that I had contacted to ask about communication support. He made it very clear that they weren’t set up to arrange it but if I knew someone who could come along to interpret, that they would do what they could to facilitiate things – facilitiate being very vague! I’ve had some discussions with the disability support person at the uni, who has made it clear that in this case, and under the Equality Act, the onus is on the institution to sort out communication support, so I’ve written back to the conference organiser to explain that yes, I know interpreters, but they need paying, so… we’ll see what he says. Fingers crossed he writes back with a “no problem, organise it and send us the invoice”, but we’ll have to see.

I never did get that siesta, but since downstairs at home is very much cooler than upstairs (where my office is) I’m going to go downstairs with my new book and relax in the relative coolness … and hope the temperature drops tonight!