Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Work, and other excuses

Globalization - in its cheap and orange form - arriving in Manchester

More apologies for the lack of blogging in recent weeks to anyone who clicks over here from time to time to see if I have anything interesting to say or interesting pictures to show. I do have a pretty good excuse though, as last week I successfully defended my PhD thesis in an, as ever rainy, Manchester. I have some changes to make as suggested by the examiners, but this is normal in the UK system, and in a couple of weeks time it should all be over. I guess then I’ll have to take the “perennial PhD student” bit out my profile on the right, but I won’t until I have the degree in my hand in order not to jinx it!

Ahhh.... merry old England! At the baggage carousel

Anyway, whilst I don’t have anything exciting to write myself I would really recommend reading the piece on Petesy’s outdoor equipment blog about his visit to the factory of PHD in Stalybridge. For those who don’t know, PHD, or Pete Hutchinson Designs, makes very high quality clothing and sleeping bags for mountaineers and other visitors to very cold places. The piece isn’t really about the gear though, it is about work and craftsmanship. I used to live just up the road from Stalybridge – the water that rushed down that valley started the industrial revolution and mills built there supplied fabrics to the world. Those times are gone – and to grasp why is to understand much about globalization – but the great mill buildings remain and it is good to see them being used still by skilled crafts people (most of the sewing teams seem to be women) making things, even if it is on a rather different scale. There is something good, maybe even noble, about the whole thing.

More cheery British humour

Perhaps Petesy's piece just resonates for me right now. I was back amongst those great brick buildings of Lancashire's industrial past last week to see the closing of the circle of one part of my life. My PhD has been a slog - jammed in around getting a job, having kids, buying a house - but getting a product out the far end, even if it is a rather specialist one of little interest to most, still feels good.


Tony said...

I guess then I’ll have to take the “perennial PhD student” bit out my profile

or start a new one....

Anonymous said...

Not wishing to jinx it either but well done on getting to the end. From what I've seen of other's struggles, this is no mean feat.

Are you planning on staying in Finland now or are you saying, "my work here is done"?

F@bien said...

I've been there. Well done!