Friday, February 17, 2006

My Viva

Well it looks like I have done it ... whoop! I had my viva for my phD yesterday and I have passed. This is a great relief as you might expect!

The viva only started at 2pm so I had the morning to deal with the nerves. I wasn't a complete wreck and a bit of PE got the blood pumping (yeah booooooy). I had a bad spell around 1pm where I become completely hysterical, which was an interesting feeling. This was calmed down by a large portion of spiced mixed rice from the "Bree Louise". Still Alice and I had to walk around a park a couple of times, to waste enough time before I could go in.

After a bit of a jittery start where I gave an informal talk providing a summary of my thesis it went really well and felt relaxed. The examiners were very friendly about it all and actually seemed to be interested in my work which was great. After an initial discussion we just went through the thesis stopped at any point where either examiner had an issue or a comment. There were some difficult questions to answer, but some of the points they come up were pretty interesting too. The viva lasted about 3 hours 15 mins which is quite long but not too bad. I think it was worse for Alice who was waiting nervously in a pub nearby from 4pm. So they have recommended that I pass (which basically means I have passed) and have signed off the forms and written the summary report already which means that they do not have to see the thesis again (I do not know if they could bear reading the weighty tome again!). Unsurprisingly, I have to make some corrections. They are on the level of changing or adding some sentences and fixing typos rather than anything major - so that is great. The external examiner commented that the thesis had the broadest range of techniques that he had ever seen in a thesis (I think that is a great compliment) whereas the internal examiner retorted that it was the longest one he had read!

So after some champagne with my examiners, Mike Hubank (one of my supervisors), Alice and some random institute of child health people that were hanging around we headed off to the "Fitzroy Tavern" where we had hired a room downstairs. Loads of people turned up covering the bases of school, university and PhD uni. The place was pretty much full. I had a great time and felt very high - even got a pressie from the CoMPLEX first year PhD guys. It was all rounded off by a kebab from "El Turkistan" on the Old Kent Road - marvellous.

Move to Horsham

Last Saturday (11th Feb) we moved to Horsham into temporary rented accommodation. This is while the house we are buying in Epsom sorts itself out (hopefully we will be able to move there in March). It is a 2 bedroom, 2 floor flat that has a student-house feel about it (with only us two in it rather than the multitudes). It is right in the middle of town and is above a hairdressers. This is excellent for Alice's journey to work, just 20 minutes walking rather than the normal 2 hour trek! Not too bad for me either, the flat is close to the station and so the journey takes about the same time as it did from the London pad (about 1 hour 20 mins).

We still have our flat in London so it is a bit like being posh with a flat in town and out in the country!

The worse thing by far about the move is the lack of internet. I hadn't realised quite how dependent we are on it. There is definitely the sense of having lost the power to do stuff - it is such a pain to pre-plan stuff. We have also cut the phone and broadband at the London flat so today I have been forced to go to an internet cafe on the Old Kent Road - how very sad.