Writing a dissertation or any longer piece of writing can sometimes feel like trying to navigate a sea full of ice ?

Sometimes you find yourself going down a certain path only to become trapped with no way out, like the ill-fated HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, two of the British Navy’s warships that became trapped in the ice in 1845 in an attempt to find the Northwest Passage, an open water route close to the North Pole.

The secret to navigating ice, apparently, is to keep moving very slowly and try to work with the ice instead of against it. In the course of this PhD I’ve found myself going down many pathways only to become firmly stuck in place. I’ve had to remind myself that this is an inevitable part of the process, that getting stuck, however horrible, is often the only way to have one of those lightbulb moments that helps you move forward, and that, sometimes, the act of writing, even if you’re not exactly sure where you’re heading, is all about just doing it and seeing where it takes you. Even if that is into the ice ?

Lightbulb moment: a moment when you suddenly understand or realise something ?

(The Erebus and Terror are on my mind because I’ve watched a couple of episodes of The Terror, a series with a supernatural take on their ill-fated journey. Terrifying stuff!)

Photo taken at St Moritz, on an early morning walk ?

Thin ice

Best to tread carefully lest you find yourself skating on thin ice!

Oooh, there’s a lot going on here, so let’s get started:

1. Tread carefully: 1. proceed with caution so you don’t make a mistake 2. watch where you step/skate so you don’t fall over/go under the ice.

2. Lest: what a great word this is! It’s an Old English conjunction, which you could substitute with ‘in case’ or ‘so that you don’t’ or something similar.

3. Skating on thin ice: 1. to do something risky that might end badly 2. to skate on ice that’s too thin to support your weight! 


Look at these little beauties! Homemade waffles, that we enjoyed with fresh strawberries, honey yoghurt, and maple syrup. I’ll stop now before I waffle on about how truly delicious they were.

Little beauty: your first bit of Australian slang! This means something that is very good. Can also mean something that has gone very well ??

Waffle (noun): see above photo ?

Waffle (verb): to talk or write at length in a vague way. Can also mean to not be able to make up your mind ?

At length: to do something for a long time or in great detail.