I arrived in Sydney on Friday morning (Aus time) after an uneventful flight from Glasgow via Dubai. I had the row of seats to myself on both legs which was fantastic. I even managed a few hours sleep, albeit in an uncomfortable and undignified position. The highlight of the trip was discovering the Costa Coffee in Dubai airport sells soya milk, so I was able to get a very welcome cup of tea. The food on the plane was predictably awful – very spicy and virtually inedible. Fortunately there was some fresh fruit and a very small feta salad which ensured I was able to eat something. I was very glad of the croissant with jam for breakfast. I didn’t watch any good films, but did enjoy re-watching some of Season 4 of Mad Men. I didn’t even open the magazines I had bought at the airport.

I seem to have escaped most of the jet lag. Friday we went to Manly Beach and enjoyed some lovely tapas while looking at the sea. After some ice cream we went to a couple of nature reserves, but didn’t see the promised water dragons or bandicoots. I have seen parakeets, white cockatoos and amazing Black cockatoos. They are all noisy buggers, but their screeching hasn’t started to annoy me yet.

No May Day BH in Australia so I started at UNSW yesterday morning.  It’s great to be back at UNSW where there are many familiar faces. I met with Tanya from the AWGSA to discuss links for our two organisations and managed to arrange a few more interviews. I have my first interview today at lunch time and a total of eight this week. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you’ve ever done that kind of work you will appreciate how tiring it can be. I did 23 interview for my PhD over the course of nearly a year. This time I will be doing 20 in 4 weeks…

I got some good news when I landed in Australia – my promotion from grade 7 (lecturer A) to grade 8 (lecturer B) was confirmed. A colleague and I also secured a small grant to do some pilot interviews and work with a poet to write about Scottish workers. We are really excited about this project and it bodes well for some future funding.

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