On the first day of Christmas Julia, Pontus and I went for a wonderful walk along the river. It was warm and sunny. In the evening we watched Gremlins which is just the right sort of Christmas movie.
On the second day of Christmas we did nothing much, except that we discovered that there were no trains to Stansted that day, and the kids had to take a bus and have a good margin. When they had left, I assembled and tested the new colour printer I got for Christmas.
On the third day of Christmas I graded student papers.
On the fourth day of Christmas I graded more papers, read and ranked postdoc applications and responded to zillions of urgent emails.
On the fifth day of Christmas I read a Norwegian PhD thesis on ethical values in Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. When I got sick and tired of it, I read more postdoc applications for a change. In the evening I made some miniature knitting books for my yarn shop room box.
On the sixth day of Christmas I finished the Norwegian thesis and wrote my report; wrote a recommendation letter and a conference abstract.
On the seventh day of Christmas, which happened to be the New Year Eve, I made lobster thermidor in the morning and set the table. I read some more postdoc applications. We ate far too much for dinner and watched An American in Paris. We celebrated the New Year by Swedish time, listening to church bells from the thirteen Swedish cathedrals. I was fast asleep by the New Year GMT.
On the eighth day of Christmas I was still slightly behind my schedule. I finished the last batch of postdoc applications and spent the rest of the day making a miniature cabinet that I had got from Julia and Pontus for Christmas.
On the ninth day of Christmas I finally started writing my new book. I spent the day going through two years' files: initial, intermediate and final drafts of articles and conference papers, notes, reviews and bibliographies. It is a most ungrateful task, and I always warn my students against keeping multiple drafts because then you have to go through them all in case there is one stray clever sentence hiding somewhere (usually there isn't). My first surprise was that all in all I had more text than I had expected. My second surprise was that the text was in less completed state than I had remembered. In the middle of the day I went for a walk. A lady came toward me just as I was leaving the gate, saying: “It's very muddy in there”, meaning the park. Nice of her, but I knew it already and thefore walked toward and along the river. In the evening Staffan and I watched the first part of the three-hour documentary about Olof Palme.
On the tenth day of Christmas I continued working on my book. I merged several papers into two chapters, which felt highly satisfactory. Then I started on a very difficult theoretical chapter which I had thought was finished. In fact in was all in bits and pieces and yellow highlights with notes to myself in caps: DEVELOP! We watched the second part of the Palme documentary
On the eleventh day of Christmas I went on with the chapter and came up with an idea of exactly how to DEVELOP it. We watched the third part of the Palme documentary
On the twelfth day of Christmas I worked hard on the chapter. I went for a walk along the river.
I allowed myself to finish early and made some more miniatures. In the evening, I watched Werner Herzog's Into the Abyss. It isn't exactly a cheerful movie, but very thought-provoking.
Now the Christmas season is over. I am working on my book. I have set up a goal of walking 150 km and have already done 7% of it. I have four exciting room box projects. Stay in touch.