Twelve Days of (an Academic) Christmas

After the popular carol, and the passing of twelfth night this morning, I thought readers might like to see what an academic gets up to over the twelve days of Christmas…so here’s a peek at my Christmas break.

First Day of Christmas


Nativity at St. Columba’s URC

This year, I hosted Christmas for some of my family for the first time. My father joined me, and my brother (who was working in Durham over the holidays) drove himself down to Oxfordshire for the 24 hours’ or so leave he had. Nothing out of the ordinary happened: church, Christmas lunch, crackers, Queen’s speech…and I’m glad to report that my cooking didn’t poison anyone (although that might be largely down to my brother’s catering skills, rather than mine….) .

Second Day of Christmas

Waved good bye to my brother at doesn’t exist o’ clock this morning, for his drive back up to panto-land. The essays and exam scripts I have to mark are sitting menacingly in a corner of my living room….but my father’s still here, and it’s Christmas….spent the day crocheting, and watching DVDs.

Third Day of Christmas

Off to see some relatives in deepest Oxfordshire today. Had very lovely time by blissful log fire, playing games with three boys under twelve, and re-discovering my finger skateboarding capabilities. Essays and exam scripts are still in the corner, and still beckoning, but I’m resisting them for now. Besides, the Christmas decorations I borrowed need to come down, to go back home with my father.

Fourth Day of Christmas

teaAfter waving good bye to my father, and tidying the flat, and doing the laundry, to try and deafen the sound of the scripts, I finally give in to their wailing, and lug some to the nearest coffee shop. Mark some stunning third year essays. Maybe marking isn’t so bad after all.

Fifth Day of Christmas



Church today. Then off to a coffee shop to mark the remaining third year essays. Not bad at all. Go for a swim, get home, and write up the mark sheets for them, ready for printing, and settle down to crochet and hot chocolate. The exam scripts (due in four days’ time) can wait.

Sixth Day of Christmas

Realize that New Year’s eve is tomorrow, and I don’t have a dress to wear for a 1920’s themed party I’ll be going to. Make a dash for the charity shops, and find an ideal dress for  under £10. Try it on, and realize it is see-through. Invest in slip. Together with accessories from a previous 1920’s party, am sorted.

Seventh Day of Christmas

Scripts due minus two days. Go for a swim. Do laundry. How long is it going to take me to mark them anyway? The longer I leave for them, the longer they’ll take right…? Maybe. Get them out, and start to go through them. Get about a third of the way through. Enough for today – time to go out and party.

Eighth Day of Christmas

Party was good stuff, so am too tired to mark anything this morning. Ring my mother to wish her a Happy New Year, and get into a conversation about how to use Google Drive. Explain to her that we use it at work to share protected spreadsheets with essay grades. In doing so, I realize I haven’t uploaded any of my grades. D’oh. On with that then.  And some more script marking. I see the end of the tunnel: all done :-).

Ninth Day of Christmas

Return to work today, to deliver exam and essay scripts (and get in some weight training into the bargain: they’re stupidly heavy), and do lots of itty-bitty tasks that need to be done before the start of term. It’s quiet in the Department, but office-mate has returned, and it’s good to see people again after the break.

Tenth Day of Christmas


Stole my brother’s (Robin Hood) sword backstage

A few months ago, I thought it would be a good idea to go to Durham for the day, to see my brother in panto’, as Robin Hood. So, at 4am this morning, I was on a train to Durham, writing a piece  for Developmental Forum  and having an email conversation with colleagues about where to send a rejected paper to next, as I travelled up the East coast. Fortunately, the journey was smooth, and I got to see the panto’, and my brother, and it was fab, and well worth the trip.

Eleventh Day of Christmas


Meal in George and Dragon, Long Hanborough

Pretty tired today, having gotten in at midnight. Remember at 3pm that I haven’t got a secret Santa gift four our District Guiders’ Christmas meal tonight (good to have something to look forward to after Christmas), so off to  the shops for that, and then get ready for meal. Given taxi will get us there and back, I wear shoes I can *just about* walk (read: stand up) in, and pray that I won’t turn my ankle in so doing…. I didn’t, despite (modest) alcohol consumption, and meal was great.

Twelfth Day of Christmas

Quiet day today,sorting through ethics forms, and thinking about what needs to be done in the coming weeks before the students return.

Happy New Year !


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