Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I was listening to the news on the radion on my way into work this morning, particularly the article about the new Roman period coin stash in Jersey, and a phrase caught my attention…
“a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University”
I thought that was a bit odd – how do you become a former expert? Is it like a position you apply for and then move onto another post? At first I thought it might be a mistake, with the BBC meaning that the expert was formerly at Oxford University, but has now moved on, or retired, or something. But no – I looked up the print article online a few minutes ago and it specifically says “Dr Philip de Jersey, a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University”. Now, not being in any way, shape or form a coin expert, or any kind of numismatist, I turned to the venerable Google to find out more about this gentleman.
Shire Publications: “Philip de Jersey was born and brought up in Guernsey, where he spent as much time as possible working on archaeological excavations. He graduated in Geography at Hertford College, Oxford, and remained there to complete his DPhil thesis on the late iron age period in north-west France. Since 1992 he has been employed at the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford to maintain and computerise the Celtic Coin Index, a detailed record of more than thirty thousand British Celtic coins.”
Hmm neither formerly interested in coins, nor formerly of Oxford. Unfortunately my Google fu is not strong today – too close to the end of term maybe? – but I can’t pick anything more up about him. Can’t see him on the Institute of Archaeology website, but that’s never definitive in my experience, and the CCI doesn’t seem to list those who work with it – just the history which doesn’t seem to go past 1992… Regardless of this, I still view the phrasing of the article as exceedingly odd, and not one that I would personally use, or indeed like being used about me. I can’t quite articulate why, just a feeling of almost dismissiveness about it. Then again, I am neither an expert nor an academic, no matter how much I wish I was! J

Monday, 11 June 2012

Moving forwards

Following inspiration from Dave Lee King I decided to stop planning and writing posts, and just post them!


This year I will be 30-mumble and I've still not done so many of the things that I want to do with my life. Some of these are to a greater or lesser extent beyond my control – having a family, for example, but others are not. So, having been subjected to a full course of The Pacific Institute psychology*, I thought I'd make some constructive use of it! I am a prime procrastinator so it's probably no surprise that I'm not much closer to achieving this dream now than I was 12 years ago when I graduated…

So my 'affirmation'** is this (they have to be written in the present tense):

I am enthusiastically studying at the university of my choice for an MA in Medieval Studies / Medieval History, and confidently getting the best grades I can so that my tutors will be happy to recommend me for a funded PhD place.

So, I'm not going to stick a definite time limit on this, because I don't know whether I will be acceptable as I am now, but I AM moving things forward. My plan:

  1. Identify where I definitely want to study – must be either distance learning, evening classes or with a possibility of some sort of sponsorship
  2. Write letters to the tutors in charge of the programmes I am interested in outlining my background (degree in another subject but with a strong history element, MA LIS, professional librarian, evening classes at Birkbeck in Palaeography and Latin a few years back) to find out whether I can apply straight away or if they would prefer me to take a course such as the one offered by Oxford here: Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Local History as a sort of conversion course.
  3. Apply! (and hopefully get accepted)
  4. Work my SOCKS off

3 has a subsidiary to it – especially if I apply and get accepted to Birkbeck. I need to be working somewhere which pays more if I am to be paying course fees as well. So, the subsidiary, which I am working on, is Get a New Job. I have two applications in and three others I am seriously considering…

Baby steps but moving forwards.

If you are interested, which I doubt, but just in case… I am considering applying to Birkbeck (evenings, part time), Trinity Saint David's (distance, part time), Leeds and possibly KCL (if I could get at least a fees remission).


As an aside I do have another affirmation I'm working on, this one a domestic one. It might seem silly but to be utterly frank the state of our home in the last few years would be best described as gross…:

I have a clean and tidy house to which I am pleased to invite friends and family to visit.

Well it's not perfect yet, by a long shot. But we have got 2 rooms clear and another almost complete. I'm not going to consider the garden yet though – only problem with being up here is the amount of rainfall makes the garden rather, err, lush!



* AKA as TPI training, and known affectionately amongst colleagues as 'Brain-washing', 'happy clap', and 'turning you into a pod person'… J

An affirmation is a written or oral expression that represents a belief about ourselves. Affirmations are built on the theory that people's beliefs in their own self-efficacy mobilize them to accomplish goals. http://www.thepacificinstitute.us/v2/files/pdfs/CurriculumFoundations.pdf [PDF]