It is the end of the holiday period and some of you might be wondering why I've not posted very much over the last few weeks and the truth of the matter is that I've not been able to speak about what's been happening until now.
As those of you who follow me on Flickr and Twitter may have noticed, I've been in Birmingham rather a lot over the last six weeks and that is because I am about to uproot myself from Glasgow and move there, leaving my post at Glasgow Kelvin College to start teaching at the Birmingham City University School of Jewellery.
It is something of a wrench to have to pack everything up and move it all to another city, it is a wrench to leave my colleagues, some of whom I have worked with for 25 years and I am painfully aware of the hole that I'm leaving at Glasgow Kelvin, where David Webster and myself, along with Kath, Jim, Gordon and Iain, have developed an almost intuitive way of working together but ultimately, I am sure that the quality of delivery there will be every bit as good as always: for me, the sadness of that parting is more than offset by the excitement of moving to a new position in the most wonderfully-resourced jewellery school, with access to absolutely up-to-the-minute technologies.
I took an afternoon off from house-hunting yesterday to sign my contract, visit the school and meet some of my colleagues, talk to Gaynor Andrews and to talk to some of the technicians and support staff, who have, amazingly, already set me up with a laptop and desk!
What with preparing for interview, then planning to move after hearing that I had been appointed, I've not had much of a holiday this year. Even my visit to the Magic Circle was largely forgotten as I came out to a voicemail telling me that I had been appointed! We did, however, manage to get away to a wonderful long weekend in Sherringham on the North Norfolk coast. This came about because my friend Julia's mum has decided to start letting out a house there for guests during the summer and she wanted someone who would be happy to stay there on a "trial" basis and then let her know if there were any problems. We, of course, obliged!
Sherringham is a classic British seaside town, with beach-huts, ice-cream and fish-and-chips and we were there at the busiest weekend of the year as it was the start of the annual carnival. Like so many of these places, there is always something pleasingly eccentric to be found, so Eastbourne has the Musgrave Collection, Margate the Shell Grotto, Whitby the Natural History Museum; Sherringham has the Peter Coke shell-art museum, which is every bit as bizarre and kitsch as I could wish for in a museum...
Not to be missed.
There is an expression in Norfolk which even Norfolk people use, "It's normal for Norfolk" and this became a sort of catch-phrase while we were there. It seemed particularly applicable to this discriminatory and possibly illegal sign in the window of a toy-shop in the town:
Just along the coast is Cromer which is more Victorian in feel, complete with a pier with a working theatre at the end:
I really like Cromer. We visited here some years ago but the weather was so bad that we stayed indoors for the whole time we were there and neither Dingo nor I recall much about it.
We also popped along the coast to Burnham-Overy-Staithe to see an old friend of mine from University, Harriet and then spent most of the afternoon talking to her daughters, Daisy and Molly, and to their cousin and trying to persuade Harriet's partner that the idea of Scottish independence was a terrifying prospect. Fortunately, I had a new acquaintance, Alastair, an economist, to back me up on that one!
And on to the Royal College of Art. Some of you may already know my friend and fellow ACJ board-member, Joanne Garner.
Unsurprisingly, Jo has been accepted onto one of 20 hotly-contested places on the Masters in Jewellery and Metals programme at the Royal College and has come up with a novel way of funding her studies there, setting up a crowd-funding programme through Indiegogo with some amazing rewards by lots of famous makers, including Kathryn Hinton, Fiona Thompson and James Donald.
Have a look at her funding page here and see if you can help out.
Back to packing up the house!