Noticing the Not Ordinary or Normal

Some would say that this is a key trait for those working in the security services, if something is a bit “off” there is probably a reason. One could say that noticing these unusual things is like noticing a Glitch in The Matrix. They can of course be simply strange and weird occurrence, or they can be indicators of something afoot.

I mentioned the other day that I was a little precocious as a Ph.D. student and early days post-doctoral fellow. I wrote the large bulk of several research grant applications for my then supervisor and with his name on the applications a couple of them got funded. I concluded from this that there was, in the fullness of time, actually a chance of having an academic research career. I had already “gained” several hundred thousands of pounds in funding.

But then it happened.

Before I had finished my Ph.D. I had to speak at a conference immediately after a famous, powerful and well-known Oxford professor who was a competitor of my supervisor. In front of a room full of his chums and colleagues I offered clear evidence for a different explanation of the phenomenon he was describing. I put it as nicely as I could, but he did not like it. Some came up to me afterwards and said that I had a big pair for doing this.

Time passed and I was soon writing my own research proposals to the research councils. I had just done a stint in a world leading spectroscopy group and was aiming to set up my own group in competition with the aforementioned Prof. who happened to sit on a number of research council committees. No matter how hard I tried my research grant applications came back unfunded. They even had a senior colleague look at my proposals and he said that they were crystal clear and well argued, he too was a little perplexed.

Then by chance I had sight of a research proposal which was uncannily similar to the ones I had been submitting. I’ll leave you to join the dots.

So, by being precocious and in way excelling I had possibly pissed off a senior establishment dude. I could not prove anything but the wording in the proposal I saw by chance had a phrasing reminiscent of mine. It was pretty obvious to me that the door to this area of endeavour was now firmly closed to me.

Strangely when I changed the subject area of my applications, I got some funding…

Odd that…

This could all be coincidence, or it could be a little “polite” English skulduggery.

Much water has flown under the bridge since then and it does not really matter now.

It is with retrospect that I know that the utter frustration of doing my impeccable best and then getting stymied, played a part in my subsequent breakdown in the mid-nineties. If I had been writing shit grant proposals I would have known, and it would not have had such an impact.

Anyway, it seems that the dreaming is starting to hot up a little. So, we shall see how things go from here.

There is another extrapolation to the above subject which I need to figure out how to verbalize, in due course.

Today we have cleared out the shed in which the sit on mower sits. The previous owner has left some 207cm by 87cm doors in the workshop. They must be nearly solid wood. Just think of the hinges I thought as I tried to manhandle one, they were not far short of 50 highly unwieldy kilos. One of them is now a part of the floor in the shed.

Grilled Harissa Chicken, Tabouleh and Tzatziki are now beckoning.

After the effort today I should sleep better tonight…

What dreams may come?