Category Archives: Gardening

In which we fast-forward

The phrase bleak midwinter was first coined by the English poet Christina Rossetti in 1872 and went viral when composer Gustav Holst incorporated her text into a carol a few decades later. Although the words are clearly meant to evoke … Continue reading

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In which I age backwards

I don’t know if it’s just me, but for the last few years, I’ve forgotten how old I am. Because I spend so much of the year pessimistically rounding up, I’m rendered unsure by the present state of affairs. When … Continue reading

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In which the wheel turns

Time is a wheel, speeding me along in ever quicker circuits. As individual moments rush towards me, flare into immediacy and then blur past, most are soon forgotten save for those captured as digital images, or in some dashed lines … Continue reading

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In which I am pummelled into viral submission

I am only happy to write about this today because I suspect it is finally almost over. I’m no longer so superstitious that I think I’m tempting fate by doing so now. In short, I’ve been ill for a long … Continue reading

Posted in Gardening, Illness, Research, The ageing process | 1 Comment

In which I head into the wind

Sometimes joy and sadness are hard to tease apart – there should be a word for the heavy lightness, or light heaviness, of springtime. This time of year always carries ambivalence: a scrum of flowers unfurl, scenting the air, but … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Gardening, Research, The profession of science | 1 Comment

In which I capture the present, but forget why

I have always been a compulsive chronicler, ever since I was a small child starting off my first journal. I still write an entry nearly every day, taking a few months to fill in all the pages with my increasingly … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Art, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Music, Nostalgia, The ageing process, Work/life balance, Writing | 3 Comments

In which my lab is a garden

It’s a grey afternoon, the light already fading. R. and I have just done a circuit of the back garden – ‘inspecting the troops’, we call it. The entire space is dishevelled, as it always is this time of year: … Continue reading

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In which we fall

Fireworks crackle in the darkness: yesterday’s Bonfire Night stretching to fill the entire weekend. The torrential rains have given way to an almost full moon, glowing cold-silver in the eastern sky. November is always a positive month, with the cosiness … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Joshua, Research, Staring into the abyss, Students, Teaching, The profession of science, Work/life balance | 2 Comments

In which I see the light

I’m happy, and I don’t know why. Usually I dread this time of year, the period between demobbing the Christmas tree and the daffodil-studded benevolence of mid-March. It stretches on endlessly, the dreary coldness, the frosts interspersed with rain that … Continue reading

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In which we near end-game

January and February are always my least favorite months, but I can’t remember a winter when I longed for spring as desperately as this one. It’s the pandemic, of course, which has sucked the world dry of what little joy … Continue reading

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