Somewhat melodramatic, I admit – but there is a certain sense of inexorability now. The draft articles are tidied up in case the master-pursekeepers require sight of them. The final report is, contrary to expectation, proving remarkably straightforward as long as it is tackled in small doses; I even recognize in it the same mix of candour, ambition, and aversion to mumbo-jumbo that marked the original proposal way back when. Preparing for the paper I’ve been invited to give in Germany later this month, on the Kaiserchronik and the verse chronicles of medieval Scandinavia, is a joy. So it really does seem that, by the end of October, all will be done and dusted. A line drawn.

It ought to be sad that it is now, of all times, that I feel excitement and pleasure in my academic ‘work’ again. Noticing the parts of the Old Norse puzzle falling into place, or having the mental space in which properly to read and think about the medieval Baltic … there is here the beginning of something. It is the product of time and energy spent over at least the past two years – a foundation for future research, if you will. The fact that it has materialized the month after I left SDU and will in all likelihood not be returned to, says a great deal about what is wrong with the structures of ECR academia.

But dwelling on such things seems like wasted emotional energy. Instead, I simply enjoy the freedom of reading, thinking, writing unencumbered, and let my mind wander also to plotting a trip across the North Sea in November to clear out the cobwebs before whatever happens next. Perhaps the snows will have come …