Two major things happened for me in June. Number 1: I passed my PhD viva! I can now actually go around calling myself a Dr.
Number 2: I did some fieldwork in Scotland. Despite demonstrating on various field courses its actually been a few years since I did proper fieldwork. For this trip we had quite an ambitious plan. Thankfully, despite less than ideal weather, we were pretty successful. Not only was I able to see (and catch) my moths in the wild for the first time, but we got a number of predation experiments set up which our field assistant has the honour of finishing off for us over the next month.
I had ambitious plans to work on a couple of papers and get started on my thesis corrections while I was there, but the long days in the field quickly put an end to that idea. I’d like to say I was sad about that, but one of my favourite things about fieldwork has always been the refreshing single-mindedness of it. Normally I always have at least five things I should be doing at any one time, plus a bunch of side projects that never quite happen, but on field work there is none of that. All the complexities of life drift away and for a little while you have one clear purpose and no distractions. That’s not to say fieldwork doesn’t bring complications of it’s own (it certainly does), but somehow these always feel so much more manageable than my usual day-to-day worries.
Of course the trip wouldn’t have been nearly as fun were it not for my awesome labmates. Despite our rather packed schedule we found the time to visit a couple of whisky distilleries (developing expensive tastes while we were at it), explore a ruined castle on the cliffs and see dolphins, twice! I also got to watch their first experience of BBC radio, in particular radio 2. I’m pretty sure they are now convinced that all British people are insane, or at least that our radio presenters are on drugs. Oh well, at least it distracted them from my driving…