I have the best parents ever. They drove all the way from Cambridge on Saturday (450 miles) and brought loads of boxes and stuff. Mum made a really yummy curry to use up some of the miscellaneous ingredients I had in the kitchen. And then on Sunday they helped me do absolutely all the packing and gave me advice on all the things I needed to do after they'd gone. Monday morning they set off to drive all the way back to Cambridge with a bunch of my stuff, including things like the computer and hifi which I was reluctant to trust to the removers.
That gave me Monday to run around like a headless chicken trying to get everything sorted for the move. I managed to get my thesis corrections signed off, which meant I was good to go ahead and start the procedures for graduation. Although I had been told that I wouldn't be able to graduate this year unless I had everything in place by 10 June, this turned out not to be the case. But this did mean more thesis sorting out in the last few days I was in Dundee.
Apart from that, meeting up with JS to hand over J-soc stuff to his care, and dealing with a surveyor acting for the potential buyers of my flat, and general tidying up in the lab, and bits of moving-related bureaucracy. This got interrupted by an interfaith committee, where I stayed around chatting to people until quite late. So that was fun and sociable.
I spent Tuesday printing out the really final version of my thesis. As is always the way when you do things at the last minute, I ran into various problems and it ended up taking me until 3 am to get it done. So taxi home, grabbed some leftover takeaway as I hadn't eaten since a sandwich at midday (and most of my cooking equipment was packed, hence living on a strange diet of curry and bread and jam for a few days), and then a couple of hours' sleep before I had to get up to do the last minute sorting and packing before the removers arrived.
Once up and dressed and revived with a cup of tea, I thought to check my ansaphone messages and discover that the removers were coming at 10.45 rather than the 8.45 originally planned. By then I was too awake to go back to sleep, but not very impressed. (Also, I appear to have kept a solstice vigil entirely by accident...) Actually the packing, both mine and theirs, went pretty smoothly, and I was tired enough that the few simple tasks I had to do took most of the time anyway.
My weird-but-nice neighbours invited me over for a last cup of tea and offered to lend me a vacuum cleaner so I could deal with the debris from the removal. So by about 1 o'clock I was feeling that everything was in order, I was completely sorted and ready to leave, with just a couple of things to do before a 4 o'clock train. What better time for a last minute crisis?
I went to switch off the gas and electricity, and discovered that I couldn't turn the pilot light off on the boiler. My neighbour WW (who was hanging around at this point being "helpful") panicked that there was something wrong with the boiler and it might explode, so he phoned Transco before I could stop him. Transco said that not being able to turn the pilot off was potentially a sign of serious problems, so they would treat it as an emergency.
Thankfully, the engineer came as promptly as he'd promised. He messed around with the boiler a bit, randomly changed the regulator for a more up-to-date model, and slapped a condemned sticker on the unit. So I have to get it sorted by a Corgi-registered engineer before the sale can go through, as I'm liable for any damage or harm that could result from problems with the boiler.
I had just about enough time left to get my thesis handed into the library for binding and fill in the graduation forms, but it was cutting it fine. Also, on two hours' sleep I was not best able to cope with said crisis, so I was kind of panicky. The solicitors (in Scotland, house buying is managed entirely by solicitors) were very reassuring when I went to tell them about the boiler crisis and turn my keys over to them.
The train journey was long and boring as train journeys are. I was sitting in a draft most of the way such that I was too cold to sleep, but I was really too tired to read or do anything productive. Anyway, I got home late yesterday evening. I still haven't properly caught up on sleep, as getting up later than 8 am is forbidden in this house.
But I'm home, and my PhD is finally finally done, even down to the last minutiae of bureaucracy. I'm going to graduate in a couple of weeks (12 July, to be precise).
Contact me chez the parents from now on, please, and if emailing, use any other addresses you have but not @dundee. If you don't know any other email addresses, try my username at lj. I probably won't see email or LJ more often than every couple of days though, cos I'm sharing internet connection with my Dad who mostly needs it for work. I'd love to see Cambridge and SE England people in the next few weeks; let me know when you're available (I'm away this weekend though)