Monday, 11 November 2013

The Western Wilds

It has been a little while, but I am still here.  Although here is not the same here it used to be.  Since my last post my job as a research scientist came to an end.  It was a job that opened my eyes to some of the less ideal aspects of the academic offering.  The petty put downs, the bitching, the frantic need to establish a career in a rapidly diminishing time frame against competition who apparently don’t sleep.  Not the land of milk and honey I thought I was entering.
So it was against this background that I decided to get out and, get a “proper job”, one not in a research institution and one not on a fixed term contract.  I was also told by my boss that my academic career was F****d, which is lucky because by that time I was more than keen to escape.  And escape I did, leaving behind the medium sized city heading west to take up an engineering job.
Hopefully in time I will be able to get that patch of land that I have been coveting for so long and maybe even build a house.  But for now I am renting a place that is both near the centre and on the edge of a small town.  My bedroom window overlooks fields and when the cows are feeling particularly curious I can see them peering through the gap in the hedge made by a footpath stile.  Before the evenings got too dark I would walk along that path after work and on one occasion saw a cow that had just given birth.  The calf was laying down behind its mother, shivering and still covered in birthy goo. 
You may be thinking ‘Autumn! That’s the wrong end of the year for calves!’  and I was thinking that too, but I was told when I went to speak to the farmer that they have calves all through the year to encourage continuous milk production.  So now you know.  There is more milk production than romantic pastoral notions, there is a grittier side to it too.  Next they will be telling me that apples get crushed to make the cider that comes from these parts. 

As I watched the calf take its first unsteady steps in the fading evening light I thought this is why I really moved out here.  Just think if my academic career wasn’t F****d, right now I would be in the lab worrying about my academic career.  Here’s to the land of milk and cider.

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