Pantomime season on the project this week, even if it is a bit late in the year. It was school half term week last week and so, apart from Monday and Tuesday when I had to be in, I took the rest of the week off so we could come over the Scarborough and have our faces sandblasted on the beach. Except, just before I left work on Tuesday, we got an email from the funding council about the big grant application we put together in the autumn. They sent us three anonymous reviews on the application, which is going before the panel next week – could we please comment on these before Monday.
This is why I was late with the post this week. During the day I have been having my mini-break by the sea as planned and in the evening I have been fretting about the precise wording of my responses.
Thursday daytime, pretend random marks in Cloughton rocks are really dinosaur footprints (I know there are actual dinosaur footprints at Hayburn Wyke just up the coast but Cloughton is where we take the dog). Thursday evening, read reviews and throw bits of paper around my parent’s spare room in childish tantrum.
Friday morning: go into town to charge around the Castle. The nice English Heritage people were keen to sell us books and audio guides, not realising that when we come to an ancient monument our primary aim is to run about being Mario and Luigi, although I also tried to sneak in a little bit of prehistory.
We also went down into town to look for candy floss, which I thought would be a hopeless quest in February. However, I had reckoned without half term. All the arcades were packed and we had a choice of suppliers. On Friday evening I had to get my head down to the responses. Jim and Olaf had already done a sterling job writing detailed answers to some of the comments, so I had to do my share. The important thing here is to get the tone of what you are saying right. You need to convey that you appreciate the hard work and cutting intellect of the reviewer in general, while convincingly explaining that he/she has unfortunately failed to grasp the full subtleties of your argument in this particular case. Hopefully I have managed this, rather than just a loud chorus of Oh no it isn’t!
On Saturday we got to go to the actual pantomime, Ali Baba in the village hall, which was a child bemusing triumph of rural cross-dressing.