The Post-PhD Update

It’s been a month since I submitted my PhD thesis, and it’s been great. That’s not sarcasm, I promise! July has been all about resting and taking care of myself; I’ve been trying to recover from the stress of dissertation work by spending more time outdoors. So I haven’t been on the internet often at all.

In the first couple of weeks, I visited all of the places in Edinburgh that I love. I’ve walked through the botanical gardens a few times since submission and the weather has been exceptionally lovely lately. Sometimes I go there to write, but mostly I’ve been visiting to sit in the grass and catch up on my reading. It’s been wonderful.

And I hadn’t visited the National Museum of Scotland in ages. I wandered around for hours and took my time with each display (because I have time now) until my feet hurt and the museum was near closing.

I was quite ill for a few days in mid-July, which was probably my body telling me to slow down because I hadn’t spent a single day inside since June, so I did. For all of two days. And then it was bon voyage to the Isle of Bute!

Bute isn’t the most scenic of the Scottish Isles — it’s wee and quite flat, mainly comprised of farmland and the vast property owned by the Marquess of Bute. We were there to see our friends get married at Mount Stewart House, the seat of the Stuarts of Bute. Which was the best reason to visit a new place, as we’d never been to the island. Lovely wedding aside, we spent all of our spare time trekking around and admiring the beautiful sea views.

Every so often my awful illness would crop up again and tell me to slow down. I’d feel terrible for a few hours, and then disregard it because I am exactly that sort of person. Pip pip, body! Keep up! We’ve got an island to explore, for god’s sake! I admit, I’m impatient.

Which is precisely why when Mr. May proposed that we climb a Munro (these are Scottish mountains over 3,000 ft, notable for rather treacherous conditions and some fatalities) on our way back to Edinburgh, I said, “Oh YES.” I know. I know.


So this was our mountain, Ben Vane. It’s a rather steep climb, boggy in places. I slipped and fell on my arse in a mud pit. Mr. May had to pull me out of another mud pit after I sunk in ankle deep (thank goodness for waterproof climbing boots, let me just say…), and what I’ve learned from all of this is…

…Mr. May is a lot better at avoiding mud than I am.

But after a few hours we made it to the top! And the view was absolutely beautiful.

It’s funny how the view makes it all worth it. Climbing mountains is like running a marathon: while you’re doing it, you swear it’s the worst thing and you’ll never do this again it sucks everything hurts it suuuucks.  But then I was back in the car, changed out of my muddy clothes, and planning the next damn mountain.

Until next time!

xx Elizabeth May