Since the 12th October, I have spent one week in large English city (where my university is at) for work, 1 week in major European city for work, 2 days in medium sized European city for 'team meeting', 2 days in large English city for work, and 3 days in Northern English city for getaway weekend with one's spouse. I have also written 3 funding applications for a conference I am organising, one funding application for a post-doc for me, applied for 3 jobs, done all the other admin and research parts on my job and desperately tried to get my book finished. Tomorrow, I go back to major European city for a week of research, but by the end of the month I must also finish my book (yeah!), and one article which I promised would be done (and have been promising for some time), write a book review for a book that I read about two months ago, complete another job application, and ideally find the time to spend several hours on a database that my university is trialling to get the sources I need before it expires on the 30th. By Christmas, I need to put together another post-doc funding application (on a different topic from the 1st), apply for 2 other jobs, and write a half-hour workshop paper (for just after Xmas but who wants to work at Christmas right?). I also have three other books to read and review in the next couple of months, plus turning my workshop paper into a high-quality article and writing a third article which is due for a journal special edition in May. I am also organising a conference in May (which if I get funding will also have a spin-off publication- a book which I will be editor for), and am part of an organising team for a second conference in September, for which I need to write three funding applications all due in Feb/Mar.
The tension with all this being, that I am only employed to do research, so that has to happen every week regardless of whether I have funding/writing/job deadlines. On the otherhand, if I only do research, I will not get a job when this contract expires, because it's all that other crap that gets you jobs. Rather depressingly, since the job market opened at the start of September, there have been in total 6 jobs advertised for which I could apply- and this is really because there is NO jobs, and many of the post-doc people have cut their requirements so you have to be 1 year past PhD, rather than 6!!! Which is fine, if we imagine there is lots of nice jobs waiting for people who have PhD and (by next year) 3 years employed post-doc experience (I know I've been lucky) but there just isn't. It might pick up after Christmas. Here's hoping.
And to top it all off, it's raining and it hasn't stopped for days. And, I have major flooding all around me, which, as I live on a mountain, I am relatively safe from, but when you drive down the mountain to the rest of humanity, you find all the roads cut off. It's actually one of the most visually amazing sights I've seen, but also devastating. On Friday, heading for the train, I was driving along parallel with the river and became conscious that the fields next to the river were entirely flooded and as the road turned to where I would eventually cross the river, in front of me was no road, no sign of a bridge, but a broad river running, very quickly across the countryside over what used to be fields and the road. This river is usually so low down in the bank that you can't see it from the road, unless you stopped and looked over the bridge, and suddenly it's as wide as two football fields and fast-moving. It was quite breath-taking (and I didn't have my camera). But, also stopped me getting my train. And for the villagers in that village two of the main roads into town were blocked by that flood, and you could enter and exit from the other side, but that involved a thirty mile detour. I then headed to an alternative train station, where I got a rail replacement bus, and got treated to similar sights across the countryside. Every river we drove past had burst its banks. The water was literally at the top of bridges, with no space between. It was quite awesome (in its biblical sense), but I think it means I have to start building an ark and I am not sure whether I'll fit it in before Christmas.