Dot writes: poor old Ken. Once more I have deserted him, this time to go to a workshop followed by a conference in Bergen. It’s all expenses paid, including flights, hotel and meals. I think most of the UK and Irish delegates find it disconcerting that Norway is prepared to pay this much to have us, but we’ve been working jolly hard: the workshop has been wonderful but incredibly intense, with a very high proportion of discussion to papers and people carrying on the academic discussion over lunch and dinner just because we are so fired up and so full of enthusiasm and ideas. Sometimes conferences can make you feel like a worm, and sometimes they make you feel like there’s nothing better in the world than doing your subject and that you even might be quite good at it. This is emphatically one of the latter. So, a marvellous way to round off the summer before going back to teaching.
The workshop has been in the hotel where we’re staying, so apart from the evening meals (in restaurants to which we walk as a group, thus never quite noticing where we are going) we have been cocooned away from Bergen itself. This has not been such a bad thing as it’s been raining almost constantly, as is, I gather, normal for the place and the time of year. (Norway makes one realise that Dublin is quite a dry place, in much the same way that Ireland makes one perceive English weather as intemperate and continental). But yesterday we emerged blinking to walk across town to the Bryggens Museum for the conference, and it had stopped raining. And it’s gorgeous. Actually I had already noticed it was gorgeous even in the torrential rain. I can’t work out if this is a place where I would go mad and massacre everyone because of the wet and the lack of sun, or a place where I would be blissfully happy because of the mountains, the sea, and the wooden buildings of the old town, which are not only beautiful but have the most wonderful fragrance. Today I am going to pick just a couple of sessions from the conference, which is organised restfully as a series of long lectures, and take the opportunity to explore. First I’m going to the Haakonshallen, which is the subject of the conference; later if the weather holｄｓ Ｉ ｍｉｇｈｔ ｔｒｙ ａ ｄａｓｈ ｕｐ ｔｈｅ ｆｕｎｉｃｕｌａｒ ｒａｉｌｗａｙ ｔｈａｔ ｇｏｅｓ ｕｐ ｔｈｅ ｍｏｕｎｔａｉｎ ｊｕｓｔ ｂｙ ｔｈｅ ｔｏｗｎ． Ｔｈｅｎ Ｉ ｈａｖｅ ｔｏ ｇｏ ｔｏ ｂｅｄ ｅａｒｌｙ， ｂｅｃｕａｓｅ ｔｏ ｃａｔｃｈ ａ ６ａｍ ｆｌｉｇｈｔ ｔｏｍｏｒｒｏｗ Ｉ ｎｅｅｄ ｔｏ ｂｅ ｏｎ ｔｈｅ ａｉｒｐｏｒｔ ｂｕｓ ａｔ ３．５０ ｉｎ ｔｈｅ ｍｏｒｎｉｎｇ．（Ｂｙ ｔｈｅ ｗａｙ， Ｉ ｈａｖｅ ｎｏ ｉｄｅａ ｗｈａｔ ｈａｓ ｈａｐｐｅｎｅｄ ｔｏ ｔｈｅ ｆｏｎｔ ｉｎ ｔｈｉｓ ｐｏｓｔ ｂｕｔ Ｉ’ｍ ｗｏｒｋｉｎｇ ｏｎ ａｎ ＥｅｅＰＣ ａｎｄ ｃａｎ’ｔ ｗｏｒｋ ｏｕｔ ｈｏｗ ｔｏ ｆｉｘ ｉｔ．）
Ｇｅｔｔｉｎｇ ｕｐ ｆｏｒ ３．５０ ｍａｙ ｎｏｔ ｂｅ ｑｕｉｔｅ ａｓ ｂａｄ ａｓ ｉｔ ｓｏｕｎｄｓ as I’ve been waking up around 5.30 anyway． Ｗｈｅｎ Ｉ ｗｅｎｔ ｔｏ Ｍａｄｉｓｏｎ ａ ｂｉｔ ｏｖｅｒ ａ ｍｏｎｔｈ ａｇｏ Ｉ ｗａｓ ｈａｖｉｎｇ ｇｒｅａｔ ｐｒｏｂｌｅｍｓ ｗｉｔｈ ｗａｋｉｎｇ ｕｐ ｆａｒ ｔｏｏ ｅａｒｌｙ： Ｉ’ｄ ｃｒａｓｈ ｉｎｔｏ ｂｅｄ ａｔ １０ｐｍ ａｎｄ ｂｅ ａｗａｋｅ ａｇａｉｎ ａｔ ４， ｓｔｒｕｇｇｌｉｎｇ ｔｏ ｄｏｚｅ ｕｎｔｉｌ Ｉcould justify getting out of bed at 6. But of course the time zone was 5 hours behind, so it did sort of make sense that I couldn’t sleep past 9am Irish time. Here, however, we’re actually
an hour ahead. I can only conclude that I am so used to being woken in the night by Frank that I can no longer sleep more than 7 hours at a stretch. I seem to be functioning anyway, so this may be no bad thing. Let’s hope I can translate it into scary productivity once the little monkey consents to deal with the midnight hour on his own.