Yesterday was probably the sort of day that most people consider normal. First of all, my original plans were hijacked by having to take the cat to the vet; she’s recovering nicely, since you asked. I’ve decided that having a cat is rather like having another child in the house. When she first arrived, it was just like having a toddler around. A few years down the line, we have to deal with the adolescent going out on the razzle and then skulking in with a sore head expecting mother to pick up the pieces.
It was almost lunchtime by the time I reached West Granton, where the National Museums house their collections. I had a big box or two of dusty jars and vials full of dead things to sort out so that they can at some point be incorporated into the museum’s collections. I have worked on and off with the museum since I came to Edinburgh and now try to make sure that anything we collect during the course of our surveys is deposited there for posterity. There is something very satisfying about putting a sponge I’ve collected, identified and labelled on the shelf next to one collected by Bowerbank, and labelled in his own handwriting, in 1862 or thereabouts. The normal bit was having someone to talk to while I worked, and having lunchbreaks and teabreaks with other people. At times it can feel quite isolated working at home – oh, the joys of blogging! The next normal bit was sitting in the traffic through the Seafield Road and Portobello roadworks. And people do that every day!
So I got in at 5.30, spent the next half hour on the phone about swimming club whilst cooking dinner for my youngest, checking that they’d done their homework and rifling through their schoolbags for letters and diaries. Took the younger one to football in Prestonpans, threw potatoes to bake into the oven, collected the older and his friend from band in Dalkeith, cooked dinner. Bizarrely, whilst waiting outside the bandhall, I heard a colleague from Belfast talking on 5 Live about marine sponges that the Ulster Museum (a past life of mine) have collected on Rathlin Island. It was quite surreal.
Next it was the diving club to examine a group of lifesavers, an exam we’d started at their own club a couple of weeks previously but not managed to finish. All the resuscitation guidelines & practice have changed relatively recently so I had to reread my notes over dinner to make sure I wasn’t telling them any lies. I spent the rest of the evening at the Jewel & Esk examining people who were only partly ready for the exam (does that sound familiar?) and at least one of whom didn’t really want to be told what he was doing wrong. We still didn’t finish as they’d forgotten to bring the mannikin, so an exam that should be done over one evening is now stretching over 3 evenings and 6 weeks.
I finally got home and crashed at about 1130, wondering how on earth anyone ever goes out of the house to work every day. And then, this morning, there was a discussion on the Today programme about homeworking. I’ll come to that later.