Four thousand blips

It's a blip birthday for me today as I post my 4000th blip - hurrah! If you would like to send me a birthday present, please pop over to the LornaLPodcast journal and check my list ;-)

My blip is made from sea glass that my friend Tony gave me as a present for display in our new shower room. I laid it out on one of the floor tiles.

Since my last landmark blip was my ten year anniversary on 7th January 2022, I have spent much of today going through my journal to reread my entries of the past 12 months. This exercise has provided an opportunity to reflect on my recent antics, and pick out favourite photographs from my more recent blips (please see the list below).

There have been some big changes chez hazelh since the start of the year. The most significant is that I informed my employer on 20th June that I intended to retire on 30th September. For most people who step down from employment, this usually means a complete end to their working life. However, often for senior academics like me you simply move into a different phase of (unpaid) work. Just as I found in 2017 that part-time working meant full-time hours (admittedly better than working seven days a week as a full-time employee), as an emeritus professor, I feel like I have a manageable part-time job. Now I am engaged in the 'best' bits of my old role such as writing, PhD supervising, supporting my colleagues as they submit work for publication/conferences and research bids, and contributing to external activities, e.g. presenting at events, reviewing papers and grant applications.

There have also been a couple of big changes in our household. Once more we are car owners after a break of five years, and extensive work at the back of our flat completed over the autumn months means that our avocado bathroom suite is no more. It has been replaced by a spanking new shower room, first used (and modelled by Mr hazelh) on 13th November 2022.

In the period when I was still a paid employee between January and September, two large pieces of work dominated my waking hours. The first was the Platform to Platform project to transform Lorna Lloyd's Diary of the war (previously blipped in the LornaL journal between September 2019 and January 2021) into a podcast series starring Lorna's actress great-great niece as her great-great aunt. This turned out to be much more work than we ever anticipated. It was also rather emotional for the project team as we revisited Lorna's diary entries about Germany's aggression between 1939 and 1941 while witnessing Russian attacks on Ukraine. The highlight of the Platform to Platform project was the podcast series launch at Great Malvern Priory on 24th May. Thank you to all the blippers who came along to the celebrations! 

The second large piece of work was the completion of my duties as a sub-panel member for REF2021. Although I enjoyed the work as a whole, I don't miss the 3 and 4 day long Zoom meetings associated with reviewing and assessing UK research endeavour. I marked the end of my REF appointment (as required) with a ceremonial burning of all my REF-related notes at the end of March. (There was too much paper to put through a shredder.)

The fun since my last blip birthday comprises the usual hazelh activities: playing board games, riding my bike, running (a false start on 30th January due to injury on 1st February, then a proper return on 13th July allowing for 5k parkruns from 22nd October, with 7k routes now reported regularly here), partying, hunting for bargains in charity shops (and bins), reading, soup brewing, scone making, gardening, visiting exhibitions and the theatre, holidays in the far north, and feasting with my book group. I acquired an éclair habit in April, and purchased a rug by text from a man in a field in July.

I feel like I should apologise for all the complaints in my journal about insomnia/painsomnia. It has also struck me when reading back through my entries that since the lifting of all pandemic lockdown restrictions earlier in the year, I'm once again a victim of recurrent colds. I caught COVID at last, but Mr hazelh is yet to be afflicted. Instead he suffered from holiday toothache, and heart palpitations.

The saddest news of recent months concerns two deaths: that of Mr hazelh's (handsome) father on 8th December; and my dear (young) friend Eliza just a couple of days ago.

Thank you to all my blip friends for visiting my journal, and leaving comments, stars and favourites. If you have time, you may like to take a peek at the shots that I consider the best since my last milestone.

Snowdrop duty: 28th February 2022
Fun in Manchester: 2nd April 2022
Dog - deer - tortoise: 16th April 2022
John Lewis slide display: 3rd May 2022
Misty May morning in Lochend Park: 17th May 2022
Bethany Ray plays Lorna Lloyd: 24th May 2022
Research group selfie: 22nd June 2022
Naughty lambs at Scaranish Hotel, Tiree: 29th June 2022
Hogh Bay, Coll: 2nd July 2022
Double rainbow on Coll: 3rd July 2022 <-- The most popular of my blips in this period
Glenn Dubh reservoir: 6th July 2022
Weaving threads on a loom: 17th July 2022
Rugtastic: 27th July 2022
Get your ducks lined up: 16th August 2022
Loch Maree/River Ewe picnic spot: 26th August 2022
Tiles: 4th September 2022
The red crosse knight by Phoebe Anna Traquair: 8th September 2022
A corner of my (soon to be vacated) office: 9th September 2022 <-- included here to give my blip friends another chance to get my joke
Kingfisher: 27th September 2022
Damp work day 1: 11th October 2022 <-- my personal favourite
A grand day out in the Borders: 18th October 2022
Autumnal garden seating: 21st October 2022
Hallowe'en niblings: 29th October 2022
Skeleton leaf: 30th October 2022
Durness, June 26th 1968: 2nd November 2022
Gnocchi with figs, dolcelatte, and hazelnuts: 6th November 2022
Sunset framed: 15th November 2022
Baubles and plates: 19th November 2022
ADM Milling building, Western Harbour: 20th November 2022
Backstreet love hearts: 26th November 2022
Chemotherapy: 1st December 2022
Snow: 10th December 2022
A frosty walk in the Botanic Garden: 13th December 2022
Frosted ivy: 15th December 2022
A happy PhD student: 16th December 2022
Botanic lights in daylight: 20th December 2022

As well as preparing my blip for today, I have completed the last of our Christmas food shopping (mainly vegetables), added to the LornaLPodcast journal, made up the spare bedroom in case Jack and Katharine decide to stay here on Christmas Day, wrapped up Mr hazelh's Christmas presents, made a curry, and played Catan with Mr hazelh and Jon. In the first of tonight's two games, I won the first in a very even competition. I didn't stand a chance in the second game due to Mr hazelh's early insistence that Jon should block me from collecting sheep on an 8 <grrrr!>

Exercise today: none.

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