I’m on the road again, and reunited with Suzanna in Manchester on Thursday. Since then, we slept and ate and puttered. I started to catch up on Great British Bakeoff, and devoured some of her weekly bake-along delights.
Today, we had the most Northern day ever.
First up, the Official World Black Pudding Throwing Championship, held annually in Ramsbottom!
Just look at that flawless technique!
Then, we ate some of the (non-hurled) local delicacy, served as tradition recommends with bacon and an egg in a bap. Next, she put me on a train to Leeds in preparation for tomorrow’s meeting with my PhD supervisors, including the formidable Fraser Brown.
On the train, I scored a table and spread out my new key reading on cultural embodiment. A family got on, including a girl carrying her gift bag from her recent turn as a flower girl in a family wedding. We shared the table, and she laid out her bouquet of white roses, some rainbow-coloured pebbles and a pink bath bomb. We got talking about all sorts of things – her plans to regift these pebbles to each of her friends from school, what it’s like living in America, and how much she wants to visit Florida. Somewhere around Hebden Bridge, she asked what I was reading and I explained that it was for school and I found it something of a struggle. She turned it towards her and started reading the section on systemic complexity and structural coupling.
“They make it sound so complicated,” she said. “But it’s isn’t really. I’m twelve, and I understand it. Look…” she pointed to the phrase “cognitive linguistics” and explained it in a helpful tone.
“Cognitive means it’s about cognates,” she said. “Do you know what those are? We do them in Spanish. They’re when words in other languages sound similar to words in English, and that helps us understand them.” I nodded, and she turned to the first page to read the abstract, which begins:
“At present for a genuinely cultural theory of embodiment the first step should be to bring together cognitive linguistic and anthropological discourses on embodiment”. I handed her my pen, and she wrote this translation for me in the margin:
“Brings different races and cultures of different linguistic characteristics and so they can all get along”. I asked if she liked school, and she nodded.
Even with this help, I needed to spend more time studying and so found a comfortable corner that made the best of these last moments of British summer.
Then I headed to my new temporary home just in time for sunset, and had (what else?) baked beans for tea.