I had hoped to soon follow the last post – way back in summer 2019 – with a summary of findings (evidence for domestic ritual within an Elizabethan / Jacobean house in Norfolk) made in the previous year through the Malefic Midlands project. I wrote the previous post on a trip taken with the aim of recuperation, although almost as soon as I completed writing, I took a turn for the worse, and returned home in even poorer health. This pretty much prevented my intended return to work, necessitating cancellation of my Heritage Open Days event, and the Autumn / Winter teaching that I’d planned.
But since this time I’ve completed a course of specialist rehabilitation for fatigued and ‘frail’ folk, and have been endeavouring to put into practice the guidance provided by this superb system of clinical support: I can’t not take this chance to say thanks to the lovely staff at the RDH & LRCH (especially the two ‘H’s). This has enabled me to prepare for returning to teaching & some community work (though much fieldwork is now unfortunately beyond me for the foreseeable future). Frustratingly (I’m still working on the change of mindset required for the change of pace), from now on this must necessarily be less intensive & at a slower pace than previously.
Due to my prolonged ‘sick leave’ a large back-log of work has accumulated – especially that relating to the community projects with which I’m involved (being unavailable to train and manage volunteers to take up the slack), which will take quite a while to complete / write-up. Unable to do more than occasional teaching, I’ve also been without regular earnings for some time, so in preparing my occupational return I’ve had to prioritise professional employment.
To this aim, I’ve spent much time exploring and developing new approaches that easily accommodate additional disabilities in ways that wouldn’t compromise either quality and content, or the enjoyment or achievements of prospective event / resource participants and audiences; and that would require only the absolute minimum of adjustments by clients (which in most cases would be limited to the opportunity to sit when required – and in most situations, I can easily bring my own chair if necessary).
This process has incorporate re-building my Material Pasts teaching website. The principal content is nearly completed, though it’s still under construction as I have to add a little more information in some places, and tie up the loose links across the site. There will be a wide range of new prospective events open for commission; and I’m just about in a position to follow-up some of the expressions of interest received last year. However, the current pandemic crisis means that this will all have to go on hold, and I must now focus my attention on again modifying teaching practice given the widespread restrictions that prevent many from working ‘normally’ (I’ll discuss this more in a following post). So after nearly two years planning and preparing, it’s back to the drawing board. But I have quite a few ideas that I’m starting to get excited about – so keep checking back (and / or join the mailing lists / follow the blog) here, on the Material Pasts website, and on social media, for updates.
Consequently, the posts that I intended to follow-on from the last post (discussing my visits to King’s Lynn, Norfolk, in 2018 and 2019) are for now on a back-burner. But I hope to have a number of free virtual events and resources available soon (and may have some paid-access events & resources – the profits from which I intend to donate to relevant charities), that might go some way to keeping people entertained, thinking, and engaged with the historic environment, while confined to quarters.
More on these in a following post…