At the moment, the RSS job is beginning to pall. Quite frankly, if I’m going to be spending my time stuck in an office, I might as well get paid the going rate. When I’m in the office, I miss the outdoor end of things, but it’s been a while since there’s been an event I’ve enjoyed working at.
In 2000 I was just back from Alaska. The job in Earth Sciences fell through, but I got the Scottish Executive job. Coastal contamination is nothing like as much fun as history of climate change, but at least it's useful
Again, in 1995 I’d just returned – single again - to Edinburgh. Environmental Chemistry degree now being taught in Earth Sciences for some reason, so whole new department to get used to – as if I’d have recognised KB anyway with all the changes. Discovered World SF Con was on in Glasgow – had an absolute blast – and met up with whole bunch of Uni and ex-Uni sf types (you know who you are)
Thinks, 1990… Ah yes. Out of the Army, failed to get Civil Service fast-stream wossname, joined British Council. Fancied idea of somewhere hot for a while so applied to go to Venezuela. Didn’t get that posting, but ended up in Berlin (which was nice, ‘cos it was where I first met Trudi) and then in Strakonice (mostly wasted on a non-drinker!) before finally getting to Cali, where we got married.
I must’ve been mad to have joined the Army in 1984. Okay, everything was going particularly pear-shaped, and I guess I missed the structure of life on the station, but talk about sledgehammers and nuts. The first couple of years weren’t too bad: Greenland was fun, but I really hated the idea of maybe ending up back in Norn Iron, and sometimes it felt as if that was only a matter of time. This was when I started drinking too much for a year or so.
Back in January of 1980 I made a decision that has shaped most of my life so far. I’d spent most of my student time in Edinburgh engaged to someone, and the plan had been that we’d marry just after my finals. Then the chance to go for a job with the BAS came up, and I knew this was what I wanted to do more than anything. It was a short-term post, only three years, and while it was highly paid, there’d be few opportunities to spend anything. We’d have the deposit for a house in no time! Just one problem: they were only taking applications from single people. We considered the idea of getting married anyway, and keeping it secret, but my referees – one of whom was on our wedding guest list – wouldn’t play fair. I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up calling off the wedding and having the most horrendous blazing row followed by never seeing each other again (oh, there was a sporadic exchange of letters every few years, but that was that)
I’ve been reading Phase Space recently, and I wonder if that was the point at which life went down the rabbit hole, as it were, and what I’d be doing now if I’d stayed in Edinburgh.