The black cloud that has been hovering above my head for the past four and a half years has finally disappeared. This may sound like a trivial anecdote to some, but the damning feature of a doctoral thesis is that it never escapes you. This is something you can never understand unless you go ahead and write one. I certainly had no idea about it when I – as a matter of coincidence – started out.
It has been a marvellous time and I am happy and proud to have worked with some of the best brains around the globe at Oxford, Berkeley, CERN and in the Hague. The backside has been the inevitable frustration, solitude and sometimes petty politics of the academy.
The picture, featuring my colleague Linsey and I, was taken just minutes before my long walk to the School of Geography where the viva took place. And no, before you ask, I tend not to walk around with a red carnation in my button hole.
I was too nervous to arrange for celebrations in advance, but Sam took control, sorted out the weather and organised a champagne and strawberries get together in the University Parks.
The result? A pass and virtually no corrections. Hell yeah.