MMXVII: The year that I suspended my PhD

I have suspended my doctoral thesis!

Had I submitted I might say something like:


Now I wait to hear back from the examiners as to whether it is acceptable. Fingers and toes and everything else crossed.


Ah well, life intervened and I’m happy. Cue Pharrell Williams.

In the meantime, here is a visual summary of the pre submission push. I have said my thank yous in person and in the acknowledgements and it is worth stating how deeply grateful I am to all the souls who have helped me on this journey.

My campus

My campus

Campus interior.

Campus interior.

My fluffy rescue feline lounging on my paper supply.

My fluffy rescue feline lounging on my paper supply.

My desk tidied just before Christmas holidays last year.

Christmas holidays last year. Making an effort!!!

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Gallipoli Pilgrimage ten years on

Ten years ago I was falling asleep in my birthday dessert in a fine dining restaurant in Istanbul. Jetlag is one degree of exhaustion; war fatigue is something else entirely. I made my pilgrimage to Turkey in order to honour the sacrifice of family members directly involved in and subsequently impacted by World War One.

After travelling from Istanbul to Gallipoli I camped out and attended the memorial service at Lone Pine and the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove.


After Gallipoli I hired a car and – without the help of GPS or even the language – set off to discover more of the history of Turkey.





In the years that have passed I have researched the war records of a number of branches of my family and uncovered more stories of bravery, injury, tragedy and survival.

I will be attending a local Dawn Service this year but I am grateful for the opportunity to have retraced my ancestors’ footsteps.

Happy New Year.

I’ve heard that it’s best to start your resolutions for the New Year as the old year draws to a close. My resolutions are simple for 2017. I can see the finish line with the most important goal: submit my PhD thesis this year. I’ve also achieved another before the year even began: reduce coffee consumption. No more than two full strength coffees for me in a day (though I’m being lenient and allowing myself unlimited tea until I submit my thesis).

I have fallen out of the habit of daily journal writing with the nature of the last few years. I’m starting a new journal for 2017 to record my progress and clear my mind each night for the new day ahead.


Gorgeous journal and rose scented perfume. Both gifts which I shall treasure the use of this year.

Gorgeous journal and rose scented perfume. Both gifts which I shall treasure the use of this year.

All the best with your plans for 2017.


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Watching the Joust

There are a lot of ‘no’s that maketh a thesis. You have to say ‘no’ to many people often when you want to say ‘yes, count me in.’ The St Ives Medieval Faire is one of those events I’ve had to miss out on for the last couple of years until today.


A most dutiful squire.

This year I’ve been bringing back balance and saying ‘yes’ a little more often: ‘yes’ to the sweet sixteen of a clever and kind young lady I know, ‘yes’ to a German feast, and ‘yes’ to Belgian waffles with a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream at the Faire today (even though they’re not actually ‘medieval’ food we’ll overlook that point).

Watching the jousting in a medieval themed setting when you are writing about the period yourself is something of a thrill. In fact, it is so physical and realistic (the modern knights wear replica armour weighing over one hundred kilograms, use solid wood lances with steel tipped coronels and are themselves veterans of the sport) that I hazard that anyone watching would find it hard to look away.



The knights competing this year are: Phil Leitch (Country: Australia; Motto: Don’t Panic), Rod Walker (Australia; God will recognise his own), Luke Binks (Australia; Glory is the reward for valour), Simon Tennant (New Zealand; Strength and honour), Jezz Smith (New Zealand; Strength and courage), Ivar Mauritz-Hansen (EU; Experience is the best teacher), Cliff Marisma (Australia) and Arne Koets (EU; –).


Note the airborne broken piece of lance.

Note the airborne broken piece of lance.


I wish them all the best for their final tomorrow and hope that no one is seriously injured. This is not the kind of sport you walk away from without some bruising.



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PhD in Progress

As it has been an entire year since my last post, I thought I’d give you a quick update and assure you that new (and exciting) posts are not too far away at all.

This year I am finishing my doctoral thesis (in English literature). Everything else in life has had to take a back seat while I focus on this task. I thank everyone in my life for their patience with me over the last few years! I am happy to say that I have just sent a trusted early reader the first chapter for review and will shortly be sending more chapters. Once I consolidate all the feedback, make changes to the draft and eat lots of chocolate to keep my spirits up, I will finally be in a position to formally submit my thesis for examination. So please hang in there as it will only be a few short months before I am able to return to my creative writing and this chronicle with renewed fervour.

It has not been a case of all work and no fun. One related literary highlight of the year has been the delicious gorging on all things Shakespeare for the four hundredth commemoration of his death.




I had the privilege of handling the first folio and viewing all four folios earlier this year at the State Library of New South Wales. I’ve snuck in one theatre experience already this year and I’m looking forward to seeing Twelfth Night at Belvoir later this year.

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The first leaf

Welcome to my Chronicle.

I hope you enjoy the following glimpses into the research and writing towards my first historical novel. Here are some tidbits about me:

– I have a soft spot for craftsmanship including (but not limited to) woodwork, metalwork, period embroidery, and of course the craft of writing. I don’t claim to be any good at any craft other than the latter.

– I adore fine stationery. I was the person who wrote to their foreign penpal on delicate paper rather than chat with them online. I am the person who already has the next journal to seamlessly move to once the pages of the current (embossed) journal are full of ink.

– I have experienced as much of life as possible. In hindsight I’ve been filing away compelling characters, locations, humorous incidents and foreign experiences in the recesses of my mind for years. I’ve had ample opportunity to observe blossoming relationships and family dramas while working in retail during the senior years of high school and then in hospitality as an undergraduate. The banter at the barista’s bench, the scenes playing out beyond the waiter’s tray and the machinations of the corridors of corporations are all grist for a writer.

– I maintain my Russian Caravan tea habit through freelance copywriting, research and teaching.

This is not a diary. That, dear reader, is somewhere on my bedside table (typically two or three deep beneath volumes of fiction and non-fiction). This chronicle will chart inspiration, tastes, and other writing related experiences.

Happy reading,

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