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Peter and the thesis

I know at some point I said I'd stop apologising for not posting in a while. So I won't. Anyway, up until the last week, it had been the usual mix of work and Welsh and wrenovations. Last weekend we had a wedding and a walk. And this week's episode is brought to you by the letter w.

Last Friday night, we went to Rob and Marie's wedding. They both looked very happy and all sorts of nice wedding cliches. But then, that's been the case at most weddings I've been to. Nice, isn't it.

We sat on a table with people from Tawe Trekkers, and it was good to catch up with some people we hadn't seen for a while. In particular, Lionel was in from France, and it was good to catch up with him.

Sat'dee, we made it to the first walk in a long time. A nice walk through the Gower. And again, it was good to get out and get a bit of fresh air. And good to catch up with some friends and meet some new people. And eat an ice cream.

Afterwards Bec and I went home, did some stuff around the house and showered before trying out a newish restaurant called Mango Fusion with Doug and Lionel. It was kind of an up-market curry house with a little bit of difference, and it was very nice.

Sunday, we put together some outdoor furniture. We then took some of it back because they had faulty parts. And by the time we did all that, and I had a couple of hour snooze, the day disappeared. We had dinner with Doug and Lionel, who had cooked crepes. It was a lovely meal they cooked and good company and conversation.

And given that I said today's entry is brought to you by the letter w, here's Peter and the Wolf. (Sorry you'll have to do the duh duh d-duh-duh-duh d-duh-duh-duh d-duh bits by yourselves).

This is the story of Peter and the wolf. Each character in this tale is going to be represented by a different part of a PhD project. For instance, the bird will be played by the theoretical journal paper. Here's the duck, played by the experimental paper. The cat, by the abstract submission deadline. The supervisor will represent grandfather. The wolf, by the thesis. And Peter, by the late candidature post-graduate who was about to run out funding. The blast of the hunters shotguns, played by the examiners' comments. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

Early one morning, Peter went into his office and booted up his computer. On his desk was a draft of the bird theoretical paper. Peter was about to start writing when he decided to procrastinate by writing the paper based on his experiments from the existing outline.

The present author took extreme liberties with reality, and just then the draft of the theoretical paper said to the first scrawlings of an experimental paper, "What kind of paper are you, if you don't introduce new theory?". To this the experimental paper replied: "What kind of paper are you, if you don't have any real results?".

They argued and argued and argued. Suddenly, something caught Peter's attention: an email telling him that he needed to submit his abstract shortly. The deadline looked to prevent him including the theoretical work. Suddenly, Peter remembered that he hadn't included those parts yet, and immediately did so.

Theory and experiment safely included in the abstract, they didn't need to fear the upcoming deadline.

Just then, supervisor came out. He was angry, because Peter hadn't given him any drafts. "It is dangerous! If I the deadline comes and I have seen any drafts, what would you do?". But Peter paid no attention to his supervisor's words. Post-grads like Peter aren't afraid of theses.

So Peter sat at his computer, working on his theoretical paper. Suddenly, Peter looked at his calendar, and realised that he needed to get cracking on his thesis.

In a twinkling, the abstract deadline was forgotten. The experimental paper needed to be written, but no matter how much it would have liked to have been a complete work by itself, the needs of the thesis were more pressing. They were getting closer...closer... And then with one gulp the experimental results were swallowed whole as a chapter in the thesis.

And now this is how things stood. The abstract was submitted and could safely be ignored. The theoretical works had been written up and submitted as a paper in their own right. And the thesis there; needing. Like a wolf walking round and round a tree, looking with greedy eyes at a bird or a cat (ok, I know it is a circular analogy...)

In the meantime, Peter, without the slightest fear, sat at his computer, happily playing solitaire. He eventually got to work. He put the details from the theoretical paper close to the thesis.

How that paper teased the thesis. How the thesis need to incorporate the theory properly. But the paper was submitted, and there was nothing the thesis could do about it. Meanwhile Peter wrote and wrote and wrote. And the thesis was done.

Peter submitted it.

Peter imagined the triumphant reception he would get. Having successfully finished his thesis. Being a Doctor. Getting a job. Sitting through an incredibly tedious graduation ceremony just to make his mother and his wife happy.

Just then the examiners' comments arrived. He'd hoped they wouldn't blast his thesis to shreds. He successfully prevented them from doing so and his thesis survived to be put in the library (played by the zoo in this performance).

Supervisor shook his head discontentedly: "What if the examiners had killed the thesis, what then...?"


Comment from Gillian

It's a good thing to make your mother and your wife happy. A GOOD thing! Loved this one. Thought you did a really good job with Peter and the Wolf.:)

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