My beloved prototype you-didn’t-hear-about-this WP7 device, all deliciously overspecified hardware and overwrought software crammed with surprisingly useful features, died of late without warning or reason, and left me without a smartphone in my pocket. Depending on my phone-providing bro this may or may not be an easily resolved state of affairs, though it’ll be pushing my luck to beg another sexy new device off him and I’m not sure how easy it is for him to procure another with the essential QWERTY keyboard. I might end up actually buying something decent and current, I’ve developed a taste for having some real hardware in my pocket [insert bad joke] – but I’d like to sort things out and make sure I’m not paying without needing to. I might be able to get my antique Tom-provided Blackberry unlocked and working, but it’s locked in Olly’s doom fortress in Coventry at the moment; for now I’m just alternating between the variety of dumb/feature phones kept in a box under my bed for just such a contingency, ancient devices barely capable of texting. For those not up on their phones, this is like going from an EE Lightning to a Sopwith Camel. For those not up on their planes, shit sucks.
After coming back from Bristol, I woke up (again hideously early) to go and be chai-wallah at the War Studies symposium being run by, among others, my cool Group Research tutor Stuart. The airpower day school I went to last year was interesting, but mostly way over my head, and I wouldn’t have paid to go to a similar event; however, Stuart offered me free entry (and free lunch!) in return for my services doing general vague dogsbody stuff on the day. He had me at “free.”
And unlike the day school, it was brilliantly enjoyable from start to finish. I heard fascinating lectures about the issues involved in the changeover from coal to oil in the Royal Navy, the effect the Boer War had on British musketry training, technical training for pilots in the earliest days of air war. In the interim bits between learning, while fussing over the hot-water urns and fretting about housing, I talked to a lovely publisher bloke from Casemate Books who had visited to court academics, which was also interesting, and uplifting to boot. I got his details, and while he says that they’re not, say, able to do me some work experience, that’s a contact worth having. Publishing still doesn’t strike me as a good potential career choice, but everyone in the book industry I’ve met I’ve got on with famously, which is nice.
Census collecting has gone to Phase 2. This is to say that rather than knocking on people’s doors and politely enquiring as to the whereabouts of their census form, with replacements issued and help offered if diddums needs, we knock on people’s doors and point-blank demand they give the sodding things back because this is getting silly now. On the third visit, if we’ve made no contact, we fill in a dummy form and paint a large X on their door in lamb’s blood.