It has been a week of hugely mixed emotions.
This Monday, we said goodbye to Peter's mum, Dianne, who died over Christmas. She was a wonderful woman, and a good friend, and we miss her terribly.
After the strains of the last couple of weeks since her death, Peter and I started to settle back into our work routines. I'm still on research leave (for the rest of this academic year), but dropped in to the office to pick up my post and found a letter from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC - the UK government funding organisation for the social sciences) saying that I've been awarded the grant I'd applied for to do the Channel swimming research!! I just can't believe it - it means that I have the funds to do the project properly, including training camps, Dover, lots of interviewing, plus a trip to California to train with, and interview, swimmers there. Plus, there's some money to buy me out from a bit of teaching, which should free up some time each week to keep working on it outside of the training season. I'm so excited.
So, a week of sadness, and excitement; endings and beginnings.
Swimming has ended up taking a back seat this week - firstly, because of the funeral, and then I went to a fantastic seminar in Durham on Thursday / Friday on "Fat Studies and Health at Every Size". It's part of a series of seminars that I've been (peripherally) involved in organising and the next one is here in Coventry - get in touch if you'd like to come. It's a great chance to think more critically about the "obesity epidemic" and what the so-called "war on obesity" means for those whose bodies fall outside of what is considered to be "normal" in size - something that might be of interest to Channel swimmers, many of whom have learned to value body fat rather than hate it. It was a wonderful couple of days - lots to think about. And with luck, it will help stimulate me in the painfully slow process of writing my book on obesity surgery - I've been a bit stuck with it of late, so am hoping for some inspiration soon.