Friday, July 13, 2012

Scottish drinks (not whiskey, but drinking with Scots!)

I'd like to open this post by stating, with oh-so-good intentions, that when the time is right and I am in the right scholarly atate of mind, I will blog more extensively on my experience at IMC Leeds, and on all the thought-provking/ stimulating/ aggravating papers I have listened to. But for now, I'd just like to extend a hearty 'thank you' to the merry band of Scots and fellow travellers whose drinks party I crashed on Wednesday night. This came of strategically hanging around at a reception hosted by the Medieval Academy of America, which was then sort of overrun by people from a neighbouring session on 'The Breaking of Britain', a brilliant digital humanities project being progressed by Dauvit Broun and various other bods from Glasgow, Edinburgh and farther afield. Check out the website at It's initiatives like these that make it perfectly viable to do a PhD in medieval history fron New Zealand! Anyway, Dauvit and co. hosted a very convivial 'meeting of the minds' back at their accommodation, and I was delighted to be invited along. I think I have mentioned before that I find this ginormous conference (1000-odd people, I believe) somewhat overwhelming, so it's always a relief to me when I get to meet and talk with people on the much more human scale of standing around in someone's kitchen chatting over a beer! It was great to discover several fellow scholars from other corners of the world who have very similar research interests to me, and email addresses and promises to share ideas and work-in-progress have been duly exchanged. At one point in the evening, I found myself talking to someone who has discovered in the pipe rolls (quite by chance, as I understand it) some very interesting and, until now, unpublished, information on the execution of William Wallace (that's 'Braveheart' to all you non-medievalists) and the disposal of the four quarters of his body. There is an article in the works so I won't offer up any spoilers, but given my interest in treason I am naturally dying to know more!

Leeds is my first major conference, but I'm quickly getting the sense that it is often these serendipitous meetings and conversations that turn out to be the most valuable and interesting bits. So the advice of my university's graduation speaker this year (who is world-renowned in his field but whose name I can't remember at the moment) that 'if you get an invitation, accept it', has proved* to be quite sound. Oh, I also, quite unexpectedly, ran across the very gracious Magistra et Mater (who blogs at **) at this same drinks party. Last I saw of her, she was off to the dance!

* To Jackson if you're reading this - you will note that I have learned from your legalistic linguistic (lingualistic?) pedantry! (although perhaps in this somewhat-Scots context, you would have allowed me 'proven'...)
** Apologies for the crappy limks. I'm posting this from my iPad (while on a train, no less) and the blogger platform is not entirely iPad friendly. In fact, it's bloody frustrating!


ZACL said...

In Ireland you drink Whiskey; in Scotland you drink Whisky.


Bavardess said...

Ha ha - you're not the first to point out my mistke! I knew it was spelled one way for Irish and the other way for Scots (Scotch?) but couldn't remember which got the 'e' at the time :)

ZACL said...

You'd be okay in America...they seem to like Bourbon, (pronounced Burbon) too.