Wednesday 12 June 2024: Durham

Durham (© Diane Wordsworth)

My jolly to Durham wasn’t quite as productive as I hoped it would be. In fact, it wasn’t productive at all. There are a few reasons for this, but the big one, I think, was the novelty of the situation.

I did go well prepared, and I did take all of my necessary and relevant work books and work sheets. I also took my laptop. But the hotel room we were in wasn’t very comfortable, and certainly not designed for working out of, even though it was a Premier Inn.

Those two issues aside, it would have worked out quite well. But it didn’t really happen that way and in future I think I need to have a laptop bag packed with everything I need so I can decamp from the hotel room to either a work room in the hotel or a regular coffee shop and work from there. If the room’s fine, it will work. If it isn’t, I need to decamp.

Saying that, I didn’t get to do much sightseeing either, and the reason for this was that the poet accidentally picked up my glasses and took them to work with him in his pocket. I was fine to go downstairs to breakfast, and I was fine to chill in my room and read. (The glasses are for distance, not for close work.) But I didn’t want to go out in a strange place with steps everywhere, in the rain, and not be able to see.

So I spent my day in Durham chilling in my room. Which was also great, because it was an also well-needed break.

Next week, though, we go to Poland, and we have a day and a half together for sightseeing, then I have half a day to either accompany the poet to his conference, where he’s a panelist, or stay at the hotel (or in a coffee shop) and work.

On our way back from Durham, we stopped off at a shop that sells luggage and we bought me a new suitcase that will fit in the overhead locker in an aeroplane. I have a perfectly lovely leather shoulder briefcase that fits a laptop computer in it. The suitcase and the briefcase will be my carry-on luggage, and I’ll take a spare handbag with me in the suitcase for when we go out. (Not sightseeing, but for dining/entertainment.)

After Poland, we have a trip to Ireland, and then we’ll revisit the cost and the practicalities of how many times I can accompany him in the future. We’ve decided that the best strategy is for me to sightsee with him and work while he’s working, in a portable office situation.

It was a lovely break, though. I’m just not sure that particular Premier Inn is ideal.

On Friday night when we were out, I had a chat with a friend of ours and I think I put my finger on why I haven’t been particularly productive since the dog died. Two reasons:

  1. I feel a bit without purpose, if you get my drift, and
  2. I don’t have a set routine fixed by something outside of me.

The dog (and the cats) gave me both a reason to get out of bed in the mornings (to feed him/them, let him/them out) and a routine against which to set my own schedule. Identifying this has been a big help now I know I’m not going do-lally, and it’s something I can work with going forward.

Next week will be another fragmented week, but before then, we think I might be working at the weekend to catch up on today and yesterday.

The Jetpack subscription options are back on the comment form, but I think you need to go and say hello and then check the box/es. I think they’ve made a complete balls-up with this latest update, for what it’s worth, and I apologise for any inconvenience and extra work it’s given readers.

2 thoughts on “Wednesday 12 June 2024: Durham

  1. When I travel, I often work in the local library. I find it more comfortable and less distracting that a coffee shop, when I need to decamp from the hotel. Few hotel rooms make for good work situations for me. If there’s a reading room at the local museum, I sometimes get a day pass and use that.

    Plus, then I get to chat with librarians and historians, and it’s such fun.

    The older I get, the less I want a schedule. I think it’s a response to all those decades of 8 shows/week in theatre, where scheduling was so rigid.

    Enjoy Poland!

    1. I’ve tried no schedule, and I end up doing no work. At all. My discipline is clearly shot through right now.

      Coffee shops are distracting on the people-watching front, but the noise is okay. I can either blot it out as white noise or use earphones. I’ve worked in libraries before, and that worked okay. Perhaps something to think about there. Thank you!

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