Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

  • Mood:

If it's summer, it must be time for fieldwork!

I have not been good about exercise recently. After the expedition up Cadair Idris at Easter, I've been very remiss at doing my 1 hour walk (or cycle) per day off, a habit that I'd kept up for 18 months. You don't want to hear the excuses, but I could trundle them out. Mostly it's to do with having taken on more OU work than I really wanted to do, which meant that the last couple of weekends have been spent marking assignments. Anyway, I now have yet more students and a brand new creative writing course starts next weekend. So yesterday was spent downloading their details and setting up the database I use to track their progress. I also filed all the paper details the OU send me, set up an online tutorial for the group that started in May and caught up with email and Usenet. I've quickly revised the letter I need to send the new students and I'll run the mail merge and print it all out tomorrow, so it can be posted.

So after a good Catching Up On Admin day yesterday, I agreed to go out with G today to help survey the river. He had borrowed the usual collection of toys equipment from the store cupboard in Bangor and just before 11 a.m. we drove to Ganllwyd to meet J, who is an M.Sc. student who will be doing his dissertation on part of G's area.

I got to be in charge of the theodolite, which meant I could stay dry, while G and J had to wade around in the river with the long measuring tape and the ranging poles. Quite a lot of measurements later, we adjourned to the pub for lunch.

After lunch it was back in the river for G and J, and also a good bit of clambering around on the river bank for me, untangling the tape from the undergrowth and shouting readings at G, who was recording everying meticulously.

For several hours, it was wonderful. I could feel the stress ebbing away as I breathed in the fresh, slightly pine scented air. The rushing stream and dappled light was soothing and at first there was no one else there, apart from a gold panner, busy sucking water up with a giant syringe thing, making splooshing noises in the distance. But by 5 o'clock, I was starting to get tired and, OK I admit it, a bit bored.

After a bit of subtle whingeing, G got the hint that I was fed up and we finished for the day. He is currently engaged in turning all the readings into a detailed plan of the river bed and flood plain. The next step will be to feed all the data into a marvellous computer model and... well, I'm not sure what all this is trying to prove, I just go along for the walking and the scenery, but I'm sure it's intended to prove something.

Not sure what to do now for the rest of the evening. I don't suppose there's anything on telly, other than football. I ought to write, but I'm not quite sure whether I've got all the novel uploaded back into my brain's RAM, having had to, as it were, store it to disc while I was marking all my students' stories, all 57 of them. I could go and watch a video. Oh, decisions, decisions...

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