‘Tis the season for marking

Travelling back to Hull late on Thursday evening, I bumped into a senior Conservative MP who was taking the same train.  He asked me what I was doing for Christmas.  ‘Christmas’, I said, ‘is the season for marking’.  He seemed slightly surprised: I explained that this was the time of year when the largest number of presents comes in the form of essays and research proposals.  I plan to complete three writing commitments – two book chapters and a journal article – but a good part of the time will be spent poring over scripts.   Given the weather, it’s probably no bad thing.


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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14 Responses to ‘Tis the season for marking

  1. Carl.H says:

    Before I start : The new ads from Google I am not liking at all, this maybe a wordpress.com thing, I doubt it`s something Craig or LN chose.

    Up until midday we had no snow here, we now have about 4 inches and it is continuing. The main worry being next weeks Christmas shopping if this weather persists. Supplies to stores are being delayed, people will panic buy and the situation could get worse as the freezing temperatures are set to continue. I must also spare a thought to those whose Christmas maybe bleak this year due to accidents.

    Good luck marking your papers, it`s not an envious task from my point of view, though Christmas does tend to be a little overlong in this age and boring at times. I hope you have a good and enjoyable Christmas though without my children I dare say I would be working as much as you to lighten the boredom.

    Many this year because of the weather will have their plans disrupted, I cannot see the Airlines being able to recover enough before Christmas to get everyone away. I can only hope all stay safe and in relative comfort.

    • franksummers3ba says:

      Carl H,
      You would not call any of our weather this far a hard winter but we have been on a roller coaster from frezzing cold (but not severe all day long) to too hot for comfort in long sleeeves within the same twenty-frour hours. Louisiana is one of a few hundred rare meteorological hubs that lies along multiple weather drivers and between varied air regions. For this strain we get no snow usually. We have some nice days but it gets wearisome. Seventy Fahrenheit degree swings all the way back and forth in a few days are not unknown in a lifetime and forty degree swings in a few days at around this time are normal with the curve between those two points. So I guess holidays have to be about more than weather for a lot of people — Merry Christmas!

      • Carl.H says:

        Frank I don`t envy you the weather there. Being part of a small worldwide “BOINC” team (I`ll leave you to look up what that is) I have a few friends in various parts of the US and it is often astounding that is suffers huge variations in weather.

        That said, the German part of our team also undergo far worse weather than here. I guess we`re just ill-prepared as it is infrequent.

        However it was nice to see The government troop out the Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to state the obvious:

        ” Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said major roads were prepared for the “extreme cold weather”, which had been predicted, and public transport services were “by and large still working”.

        But he added that when there is a rapid fall of snow “there is no way you can make it simply go away”.

        We`ve even a “Snow Code”

      • Frank W. Summers III says:

        Carl H.,
        I assume a certain amount of that goes on over the holidays. Though we selsdom organize it in teams among my acquaintances. Of course I mean discussing the weather. BOINC-ing is the hughly respected outreach from Berkeley. I have no experince with but it reminds me of some thing I watched with interest trying to share computing power and other resources — good on ya, as the Aussies would say. Almost any snow shuts down schools in Louisiana. So you are more prepared than we I would bet.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: I find getting on with writing and marking is quite relaxing relative to the stress that Christmas appears to create for a great many families. The families crowding the streets and stores in town often seem frustrated and in a rush, while those hoping to get away now face the possibility of being stuck. Being left alone to get on with work is quite a relief!

      Have a good Christmas.

  2. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    Do you ever think that your lifestyle is the kind of wild profilgacy that has brought down so many aristocracies (at least according to popular history)?

    • Lord Norton says:

      franksummers3ba: My wild and hedonistic lifestyle probably generates horror and panic beyond the ranks of aristocrats.

      • Carl.H says:

        They do say it`s alway`s the quiet ones you have to watch, though quiet maybe the wrong word in terms of his Lordship !

      • Frank W. Summers III says:


      • Frank W. Summers III says:

        Lord Norton,
        I suppose Carl H. may be right those who can afford to flaunt their austere attention to duty without embarassment are sometime those who have already seen the other side of the fence. One of my favorite professors used to tell his lower level classes that he graded the papers at the end of the Fall (autumn) term with a bottle of whiskey and that the standards went down with the whiskey but he also became more brutal in penalizing the errors that annoyed him the most. It was just the kind of story to frighten students — sadly I know it is not one Your Lordship could effectively employ. Merry Christmas… sincerely.

      • Lord Norton says:

        Frank W. Summers III: Oh no, I’ve always been like this! 🙂

        Merry Christmas.

  3. ladytizzy says:

    Happy Christmas!

    • Carl.H says:

      Merry Christmas Lady Tiz, his Lordship, Frank and all others. Let`s hope it`s a peaceful one where we can prepare for the nightmare to come.

      I heard David is cutting the turkey this year !
      Nick is telling the yuletide story !
      And Ed….Who`s Ed ?

      10 Lords a leaping…must`ve been the allowance changes !

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