Putting my feet on the ground

I’m eight days into a ten-day break from work. It has been a great and much-needed relief. I haven’t gone away on holiday anywhere, or spent time visiting any relatives or friends. I just decided, given we have two long weekends in a row here in Queensland, to take off the four working days in between as annual leave, as an elongated rest from work.

As far as breaks go, 10 days is a “short” break, and I’m yearning for the day when I can take a 3- or 4-week overseas holiday again (as I was supposed to last year before a certain virus ruined my travel plans). Ten days isn’t really enough to properly forget about work—those intrusive thoughts about the things I have to attend to when I get back kept interrupting my relaxation (although less and less so as the days passed)—but it’s enough to dissociate myself from it for a while, and unwind.

I’ve taken two trips to the beach (catching the last of the good weather before the temperature starts to drop), I’ve sat in cafés losing myself in good books, I’ve caught up with friends and eaten at an exceptionally good steak restaurant, I’ve consumed a generous quantity of alcohol, and yesterday I went on a secondhand book-buying spree at my alma mater’s annual Book Fair (always a fun day of nerdy retail therapy). It’s not been a super eventful break, but it’s been a restorative and satisfying one. Despite some of the headaches and stresses I know are waiting for me when I return to work on Tuesday, I think I will come back recharged and refreshed, ready to take on another couple of months of full-time work.

I was at a drinks party on Thursday evening for someone who was retiring. I was making idle conversation with someone there I knew vaguely, and, when he mentioned how busy he was at work, I said I was glad I took the week off. He nodded approvingly and said it’s important to put your feet on the ground once in a while, otherwise you burn out and lose perspective.

Angus (that was his name) phrased perfectly something that I can’t help reflecting on every time I’m able to take a break from work: “put your feet on the ground”. Putting your feet on the ground means regaining your perspective about what’s important in life, and what isn’t. It means putting the things that cause you stress and anxiety at work in perspective, and remembering that those things are not real life, and real life matters so much more than that. I think it’s especially important for people in my profession, the legal profession, which involves (at times) very stressful and demanding work, and boasts high incidences of burnout and work-related mental health issues, and their attendant addiction and family breakdown problems.

Every time I take a break from work, I’m able to dissociate myself from my work, take a look around me, and remember what really matters—what life is about. Life is not about satisfying clients and resolving other people’s petty problems, albeit that doing those things well allows you to earn the money to help you live a better life. Life is about how you spend your very limited period of consciousness and health and vigour on the planet Earth. Life is about loving and being loved. Life is about living to the fullest, and not wasting a second, because when it’s over, nothing will matter except whether you spent your life well. As Matt Smith put it in possibly my all-time favourite Doctor Who quote: “We’re all stories in the end, just make it a good one, eh?”

Reflecting on these things really puts the things I worry about at work in perspective. It does help me approach my work with a healthier attitude. I approach my work as a means to allow me to live a happier, more comfortable, more fulfilling life, rather than as life itself, which is how I think many (particularly in my profession) who don’t put their feet on the ground enough approach work, and suffer as a consequence. And I’m lucky that I work for a firm which very much encourages its people to approach work this way (our bosses certainly do). It helps me to think of the clients we’re so anxious to please, laying on the beach in their board shorts, soaking up the Summer sun, building sandcastles with their kids, maybe tucking into some fish and chips and a schooner of lager at the surf club afterwards. Because I know that’s absolutely where we’d both rather be.

For me, what matters in life is seeing as much of our beautiful and diverse world as possible, enjoying my youth doing the things that are best done when you’re young, loving and being loved, learning and stimulating my mind with interesting ideas and great literature, pursuing my talents and interests, consuming quality music, film and television, tasting great food and drink, strengthening friendships and relationships and building new ones, having new experiences, and, one day, raising a happy family. For me, these are the elements of a fulfilling, worthwhile life.

Career also matters to me, of course. Given that I’ll be spending the majority of my conscious hours for the next 40-50 years working, I’d like to spend them achieving things I will be proud of. But I think the point of “putting your feet on the ground” is that you give yourself the time and the space to think about what matters most to you. I think career matters a lot to me—because of my education and background, probably more than to the average person—but it’s not the thing that matters to me more than anything else, and if I lived my life as if it were, I think I’d be miserable.

Don’t be miserable, friends: make sure you put your feet on the ground, and work out what’s important to you in life.

What I loved about Canterbury and Dover + travel photos

Some months ago I started a series of posts on my travels around Great Britain and Europe while I was studying as an exchange student in London. I started with Oxford, my first foray out of London—but have since neglected to continue the series. That changes today.

On my second jaunt out of London, I visited the White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury on a one-day round trip. Again, I made the trip with the two of my new acquaintances who would become my fastest friends for the rest of my time in London. As someone who has done a great deal of both solo travel and travelling with others, I much prefer having company when I travel. I think the experience of travel is invariably made even better and more memorable by sharing it.

Our first stop was the White Cliffs of Dover. It was still early February, the depths of winter, and it was freezing. All the more so because the cliffs, being on the coast, bear the full brunt of the icy sea winds. Pity me, a poor Australian traveller who almost never has to endure temperatures lower than 10°C where I come from. I think my friends got sick of my incessant complaining about the cold after a while, and were sorely tempted to throw me off those cliffs.

The first challenge that faces visitors to the White Cliffs is actually getting down to them. This endeavour requires an arduous trek over mud-strewn country that will leave your shoes caked in wet earth, and the rest of you, too, if you’re unlucky enough to slip over in the very slippery mud. I didn’t slip, unlike some unfortunate members of our party (we came on a student coach trip), but I don’t think my poor Converses ever forgave me for what I put them through that day. It wouldn’t surprise me if many mud-soaked visitors to the cliffs don’t give up and turn back without ever catching a glimpse of them.

The second challenge is actually catching a glimpse of them. It’s not easy finding a good view of something you’re clambering around on top of, no matter how close to the edge you stand. Eventually we managed to find a good vantage point by performing some particularly daring feats of cross-country that, I think, deterred many of the others. Have a look:


What cliffs, eh? What marvellous cliffs. To use any adjective less superlative than “majestic” in connection with the White Cliffs of Dover, I think, would be to do them an injustice. They really are a sight, once you actually get to see them.

And yes, in that photo above, I am sitting about one metre away from falling to my death. I did it for the ‘gram. Sorry, mum.

Was it worth it? Was it worth drenching every part of me from my knees down in muck and fighting my way through furlongs of hostile countryside? To see some cliffs? Oh yes. But I wonder if I hadn’t had friends to share the experience with, my answer would have been “no”. Wading through mud in the biting cold is certainly less irksome when you’re laughing with equally mud-soaked friends all the way. What might not have been a very enjoyable trip, apart from a glimpse at some—admittedly breathtaking—cliffs, was turned into one of my most memorable experiences from my 6 months’ abroad by the presence of great company.

Next we went to Canterbury, site of the eponymous Tales and charming medieval town par excellence. The rain had really set in by the time we arrived, and our experience of Canterbury was a wet and gloomy Canterbury. “Don’t worry,” a local told us cheerily, “it’s always like this!”

Gloomy and rain-sodden though it was, it was hard not to appreciate the charm of the studiously-preserved medieval town. Cobbled streets, beamed houses and Gothic spires abound in Canterbury. Maybe cobbled streets are a bit passé for Britons and Europeans whose countries have cobbles coming out of their ears—but, for this Australian, walking down Canterbury’s cute old lanes was like walking through Diagon Alley.

Soon we settled down for lunch. Skipping the tourist-infested pub on the high street, we found ourselves in a smaller, more out-of-the-way pub packed with cackling locals. As I watched them drinking and laughing I thought of Anglo-Saxons in their mead hall, and it struck me that, in some ways, not much had changed since Hengist and Horsa had arrived on the shores of Kent, not far from that pub, sixteen hundred years ago. Even my pub lunch of a steak and kidney pie and warm Kentish ale was probably not so different from what those pub-goers’ Saxon ancestors ate and drank all those centuries ago.

After lunch we swung ’round Canterbury Cathedral, seat of England’s top archbishop. Again, the Gothic cathedral and its grounds reminded me, an Australian Millennial whose only reference point is Harry Potter, strongly of Hogwarts. But, to be fair, all centuries-old Gothic cathedrals do. What made this one special was its historical significance as the site of one of the most famous murders in history, that of Thomas Becket. Here you can see me roleplaying the “turbulent priest”, about to be struck down by four of Henry II’s dagger-happy knights, at the very spot it happened:


Yes, my friends gave me very strange looks when I told them I wanted a picture kneeling on the spot a medieval Archbishop of Canterbury was gruesomely murdered. But what matters is that I got a picture kneeling on the spot a medieval Archbishop of Canterbury was gruesomely murdered.

Don’t worry, I did my penance by buying two postcards sporting Justin Welby’s face—Thomas Becket’s current successor in the See of Canterbury—in the cathedral gift shop on my way out. I got strange looks for that, too.

I’ve been taking photos with a disposable camera

About three months ago I walked into a stationery store and bought a disposable camera for AUD $17. I’ve been slowly filling up its roll of film over the past three months and, finally, last week, brought it into one of the only film camera stores left in my city for developing. I got the developed photos back yesterday.

It’s a bit difficult to pinpoint what, exactly, led me to want to do this. Apart from the cost ($17 for the camera and another $12 — at the cheapest tariff — for developing), the long delay between pressing the shutter button and seeing the photo I took when I have a much better camera on my smartphone that processes my images instantly, makes it difficult to justify using a disposable film camera in 2018, like it’s still 1996 or something.

I’m not a photographer — I don’t even own a proper camera — but this year I’ve been growing more and more interested in photography. In July I came back from my exchange in London, during which I travelled extensively and took hundreds upon hundreds of photos (with my smartphone). Along the way, I started to become interested not just in capturing beautiful places, but in composing great, shareable images for their own sake, too.

My eye got better. And as my eye got better, my photos got better. And as my eye and my photos got better, I came to appreciate other people’s photography even more. I increasingly filled up my Instagram feed with the photos of talented Insta-photographers — especially talented 35mm film photographers.

Why film, then? It was a particular aesthetic and style of photography that I was drawn to. I like candidness and authenticity in photography. I like looking at images that look like they’ve simply captured a singular moment in time — images that put seemingly mundane, everyday moments in the spotlight and make them extraordinary. I’m less interested in images that look confected and artificial and visibly processed.

I’m speaking as a complete photography noob, but 35mm film just seems to be exquisitely suited to the aesthetic I’m drawn to. To my eyes, at least, it makes images look that much more raw and candid. It might have more to do with the old-timey, nostalgic connotations of the appearance of 35mm film photos than anything inherent in that appearance itself, but there’s no doubt it’s a different aesthetic and creates a different impression. It’s a bit difficult to explain if you’ve never visually compared images taken on film to images taken with a digital camera, but it’s comparable to the difference between an oil painting and a watercolour painting — you can make beautiful art with both, but each will give you a visibly different result.

So, having caught the photography bug from my travel photo-snapping, and having increasingly filled up my Instagram feed with the totally like-worthy shots of amateur film photographers, I decided I wanted to try it out for myself. I wasn’t about to go out and buy an expensive film camera straight away, so I decided I’d dip my toes in with a cheap disposable camera.

Overall, I quite like the results. For the most part the film did its magic and captured the photo I was visualising when I was looking through the tiny plastic viewfinder, although I underestimated how terrible a disposable camera was at taking photos at night — about half my photos were unusable because they’re so dark.

So here, then, are the best of them:


Barrister for a day: I learned court advocacy

It’s not often I start the day with the words “May it please the court, my name is…” but, last Friday, I did. And then I spent the rest of the day trying to get an over-zealous Managing Director off charges of workplace bullying. The plaintiff was accusing this Managing Director of being aggressive and even violent towards him, making unreasonable work demands of him, and generally making his life a misery at work. And I was given the unenviable job of defending her in court. Or, at least, I was pretending to.

It was all an elaborate roleplay I was participating in as part of my Practical Legal Training course at the Queensland University of Technology, which law students in Australia complete after their university studies in order to be eligible to be admitted as legal practitioners. Last week was my first week of the course, an intensive week of learning practical lawyers’ skills like interviewing, negotiation and, yes, the court advocacy skills of barristers.

We were assessed throughout the week on small interviewing and negotiation exercises, but the week was leading up to our big, intense advocacy assessment on Friday, which was done through the medium of a mock trial to provide us the fullest possible experience of actual court advocacy. Actual practising barristers were bussed in from their busy city chambers to play the part of judges, to make sure we were doing the thing properly.

I don’t think any of us participating in this course were very coy about being utterly petrified of the prospect of having to get up in front of an actual barrister – who was assessing us – and argue a case like we were in court for real. Give me my Equity exams and criminal law essays, but please, O, please don’t make me embarrass myself in front of a barrister!

As it turned out, it wasn’t… actually… that bad… Now you mention it, it was actually rather fun. Cross-examining a witness is actually really fun. And the barrister who was presiding over my “hearing” was probably one of the chillest dudes I’ve ever met. Obviously very intelligent, but chill as anything, and put me and my fellow nerve-wracked students supremely at ease. I didn’t expect to have a good time on Friday, but I really did.

Sure, it would have been very easy to embarrass myself up there. We were given a lot of material for this mock case — witness statements and expert reports and documentary evidence — that we needed to be on top of. To stand up at the (mock) bar table and acquit ourselves satisfactorily, there was a lot of preparation we had to do. But, really, what we had to work with was minuscule compared to the volume of material actual barristers have to be on top of for their cases. If you were prepared enough, knew the material, and knew how you were going to argue your case, the only thing standing between you and advocatorial success on Friday was nerves.

Because it isn’t really as daunting as it looks — as long as you’re prepared. There’s a trick to doing it that takes a bit of time to get the hang of, but it’s not actually that difficult.

Ironically, I found most difficult the aspect of advocacy that requires the least amount of work on the part of the advocate: examination-in-chief. That’s where an advocate examines their party’s own witness. It’s about allowing the witness to recount what they saw, heard or experienced. But the thing about it is that you’re not allowed, as an advocate, to lead the witness in any way. You need to ask open questions which the witness can choose to answer in any way they like. If they don’t volunteer, in response to an open question, the information you’re trying to get out of them, then that’s it. You’re not allowed to “lead” the witness to the answer you want. You’ll just have to carry on without that information in evidence. I got called up a couple of times by my “judge” for trying to lead my witness (i.e. another student with the witness’s mock statement in front of them) when they didn’t give me the information I wanted from them.

I was much more comfortable with the other aspect of advocacy, cross-examination. That’s where you’re examining the opponent’s witness and trying to extract concessions from them that weaken their evidence. You’re allowed to ask leading questions in cross-examination, and in fact good cross-examination consists of nothing but leading questions. It’s about telling the witness something that contradicts their evidence and putting to them a series of closed questions, Socrates-style, that forces them to agree with you. I’m not exactly sure if it’s something I should take pride in, but I’m someone who’s always been very good at arguing, so I found that cross-examination came very easily to me. I was flattered to hear my judge praise my cross-examination technique, even if I was the only one he had to admonish for being too argumentative with the witness. I mean, I guess at least that’s better than not being argumentative enough?

Something I wasn’t surprised to discover about doing court advocacy is that it requires an ability to be flexible, to be adaptable, limber, lithe, supple, springy, malleable. In the words of the barrister who taught us our advocacy techniques, it requires having “soft knees”. That is to say, it requires being comfortable with the unexpected happening and being able to roll with it. Your witness doesn’t say what you want them to say — you need to work with it and carry on with your case without that evidence. Your opponent’s witness isn’t giving you the concessions you need — you need to plough on and find another line of argument to get them to concede something.

We were repeatedly told that, while writing out all the questions we wanted to ask a witness so that we could churn them out verbatim on Friday might be a reassuring safety cushion for avoiding choking on the day, it was inadvisable because a witness often won’t say what you want them to say and we needed to be prepared to change track when that happened without getting flustered. It happened to me a number of times — I’m sure it happened to everyone.

As it happened, I was quite comfortable with this. I’ve always been the kind of person who’s more comfortable with improvising and allowing myself the space for flexibility over planning to the last detail and risking being discombobulated when something scuppers my careful plans. It’s how I used to approach exams and essays in university. It’s how I like to write: I never start writing a blog post with anything more than the vaguest plan of what I’m going to say, and it never stops me from piecing together upwards of 1,000 words that I — as they say — make up as I go along. Hell, it’s how I approach life itself. I’m just that sort of person — an improviser rather than a planner.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Friday. I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t end up enjoying playing at being a barrister on Friday on some level. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, not only did I enjoy it, but that I was actually quite good at it — even if my examination-in-chief technique still needs some work. I wanted to study law originally because I wanted to become a barrister. My ambitions now aren’t as simple as they were when I was 17, and I’m questioning whether I even want to pursue a career in law at all. But that said, from this experience, this nibble-sized taste of being a barrister, if my whimsical teenage dream of being a wig-toting QC in the High Court were ever to come to pass, I’d like to think I’d have a good time doing it, and that I have what it takes to be quite good at it, too.

What I loved about Oxford + travel photos

This is the first of a planned series of posts about the places I visited while I was studying on exchange in London — not necessarily in chronological order.

The “Bridge of Sighs” is one of the iconic, most recognisable sights of the university town of Oxford. It supposedly takes its name from the other Bridge of Sighs in Venice, which was so called because of the “sighs” of the prisoners upon seeing their last view of sunlight out of the bridge’s windows before being marched into the dark, gloomy dungeons beneath the Doge’s Palace where they would spend the rest of their days.

For me, the name of Oxford’s Bridge of Sighs evokes very different imagery. Oxford is a place that positively heaves with the memory of a thousand years of history, a place that’s been touched and passed through by countless generations of youth. It’s a place where you can feel the electricity in the air created by the meeting of ancient learning and heritage, and curious, hungry youth. The “sighs” may well be the groans and yawns of generations of undergraduates sighing under the weight of Latin translation exercises and endless tutorial essays on the Augustan Period or Locke’s Second Treatise.

I visited Oxford for the day with two of my new friends at the end of January. It was a typical English January day — cold, and set against a canopy of thick grey clouds which occasionally thawed to admit brief spells of sunshine. We wandered around, taking in the sights and the town’s distinctive beauty, occasionally passing a gaggle of haughty-looking students dressed in rugby or rowing blues. The highlight of our day was the view from the bell tower of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, which we climbed to be rewarded with the most breathtaking view of the town in all its Gothic, masculine grandeur.

It really is a beautiful and evocative place. History, knowledge, excellence, continuity, prestige, exclusivity, youth, nobility and curiosity are all things associated with Oxford, and which are all evident as you wander its ancient streets and venerable colleges. It’s very apparent why so many have romanticised Oxford and the life of its elite undergraduates before. An exemplary case is Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, which, in both the book and the ITV TV series, paints a sumptuous, fawning picture of an idealised Oxford in the interwar years populated by the genteel scions of England’s leisured classes. It’s enough to make anyone wish they were an aristocratic Oxford undergraduate.

Personally, I would have loved to have studied at Oxford. It’s not just that it’s the best, most prestigious university in the world, or that a degree from Oxford looks amazing on the CV, or that it looks like Hogwarts. It’s also the experience of passing through an institution that generations upon generations of students have passed through before you, including many of the greatest names and minds in British history. It’s about being a student at an institution that, for nearly a millennia, has prized and elevated learning and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and doesn’t see its role as chiefly a certificate-granting body or university education as merely a means to obtain employment, as most universities these days do.

Oh well, I’ll have to comfort myself with the thought that maybe in another life I was Charles Ryder treading the corridors of Hertford College. Maybe.

Welcome back to my blog

Hello, my dears. Welcome back to my blog. My post yesterday was my first post in nine months. I haven’t posted on this blog regularly for over a year now. Did you miss me? Perhaps not… But I’ve missed you. Or at least I’ve missed writing being a regular thing in my life. It’s a bit embarrassing to tell people that blogging is your favourite hobby when you haven’t as much as logged into WordPress in months. And it’s a bit dismal to think of oneself as a writer knowing that your writing abilities are probably deteriorating from months of non-use.

The reasons for my absence are varied. First of all, I’m lazy. Just lazy. Let’s say “lethargic”. Lack of motivation and energy is always something I’ve struggled with, as the veritable trail of abandoned projects I’ve left behind is testament. For a long time I just haven’t felt like putting fingers to keys and typing out blog posts on the regular. So I didn’t. But it’s not all bad — I may not be very good at starting things when I don’t feel like doing them, but when I do start things, even things I really don’t want to do (like tedious assignments), I absorb myself in the work and become highly focussed until I’ve completed the project to a standard I’m happy with (and I have fairly high standards for myself). It’s just getting started in the first place that’s the problem — and I’m working on the laziness thing.

Secondly, for the first six months of this year I was actually studying abroad in London. I was undertaking an exchange semester at City, University of London, and managed to fit in a lot of sightseeing and travelling over those six months. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience, and I’ve no hesitation in saying it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s changed me in ways I never expected. One might have thought that it was the perfect opportunity to get back into blogging — to write about my experiences and my travels! I agree, which is why I rather regret not even keeping a journal to record my memories and experiences for my older self to reminisce over (I have plenty of photos, though). But I slid into a very different lifestyle and routine to what I was used to at home, and it was difficult, at the time, to see how blogging consistently could fit into my new life. Oh well.

Thirdly, this is, at least nominally, a Doctor Who blog, and I haven’t really been all that interested in what’s been happening in the Doctor Who world since Jodie Whittaker was announced as the Thirteenth Doctor. I didn’t hide the fact that I was disappointed by the casting of a female actress as the Doctor (not to make any aspersions about Jodie herself, who is wonderful), and as a result I just haven’t been very excited about Series 11. I haven’t been paying rapt attention to the Series 11 news like I have in the lead-up to previous new seasons, although this was partly due to my attention being distracted while I was living abroad from the things it’s normally directed at. Of course I’m going to watch Series 11 with interest — I want Series 11 to be good — but at this point I’m still trying to make peace with the fact that the Doctor is now a Time Lady.

On the subject of Doctor Who, my return to this blog will come with a smaller volume of Doctor Who content than in the past. This blog has never been an exclusively Doctor Who themed blog, but Doctor Who has always been the focus of this blog. I was finding it difficult to think of new ideas for Who-related posts all the time, which is why I posted significantly less last year than the year before. This blog will remain a blog that blogs about Doctor Who, but it will be a blog that blogs about a lot of other things in addition. Because there’s a lot more than Doctor Who that I want to write about. Other fandoms, other topics in the world of culture, other things I’m interested in that I think others might be interested in…

I conceive the regenerated gallifreyan ramblings (we’ve gone lower case aesthetic now) as a broad culture and interest blog with a special interest in Doctor Who and fandoms, if that makes any sense. My last post might give you an idea of the kind of content you might expect on this blog in the future. Maybe I’ll even finally be confident enough to start sharing more of my life and write more personal posts. But I’m hesitant to set out a full, detailed prospectus for this blog at this stage. I just want to experiment to see what works and what I like doing.

So Doctor Who will still be a special interest of this blog. I’m still going to review Series 11, engage in speculation, keep up with the news, ridicule fan theories and have a stab at figuring out characters’ MBTI types. I’m even thinking about rewatching the classic series from the beginning and reviewing Classic Who story by story, as I did with New Who (probably more slowly than the marathon of New Who reviews I churned out nearly every day over four months in 2016, which nearly destroyed me and made me never want to write another review again).

Other than Who, though, there’s lots I want to write about, because there’s lots of things I’m interested in. I’m a member of a multitude of different fandoms, and I’m always watching new shows and films. I even read a book occasionally. I like music, psychology, linguistics, travel, history, law, journalism, philosophy, religion, social sciences, technology, sport, fashion, photography. In addition, one of my biggest interests is politics and current affairs, but, to keep things clean, there will be no politics on this blog. I want to start another blog for all of that, actually, which I will link to once I’ve got it up and running — if anyone’s interested.

So that’s that. I think I will end by, finally, introducing myself properly. I think it’s about time, and it seems an appropriate place to do it. My name is Nick — my initials aren’t actually PJ, I just use them as a pseudonym because I like the way “PJ” sounds. Feel free to keep calling me PJ if you want, though. I’m 23 years old and I’m a student in my final year of my Law and Journalism degrees at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Like many people my age, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life yet, but I’m going to finish my degree and hope for the best. My interests include blogging, watching Doctor Who, and blogging about Doctor Who. My favourite film is Inception, my favourite book is the Harry Potter series (specifically Prisoner of Azkaban), and my favourite TV show is, you guessed it, Doctor Who. My taste in music changes every six months, but at the moment I’m really into indie pop artists like Clairo and Cuco. I follow the Australian cricket team devotedly. I’m a Hufflepuff and an INTP. The most important things in the world to me are love, fulfilment and happiness.

And here’s a picture of yours truly, edited on Instagram I’m afraid, from my second last day in my favourite city in the world (hint: it’s not New York City):


I contributed to a fan piece: what makes a good season finale?

Hello dears,

I was asked by Matt from the Talking Tardis blog to contribute to a fan piece about what makes a good season finale.

You can read my answers, along with those of Whovian artist Jeph and Oncoming Storm Radio producer Paul Mabley, here. We give our answers to the following questions:

  • What do you look for in a season finale?
  • What are the key differences between the Russell T. Davies finales, and the Steven Moffat finales?
  • What’s your favourite modern-era finale, and where does “The Doctor Falls” rank in comparison to the previous nine?

I enjoyed reading the others’ responses, and Matt did a good job arranging this and putting it all together.

Go and have a read! And check out more of Talking Tardis‘s content while you’re there!

Some new year’s reflections

Okay, so I know I’m a bit slow on the uptake with the whole New Year’s thing, but the new year never usually represents much significance for me until at least a week afterwards, after I’ve had some time to muse over what a brand new year could mean for me, and what I want to change and do in the new year.

This year is my last full year as a university student (I have this full year and one more semester in 2018). Considering my degree is exceedingly long (5.5 years), it’s actually quite strange to think that the end is almost in sight. My time at university has gone disconcertingly quickly—it still doesn’t feel all that long ago that I was a timid first year toddling along to my first classes and trying to come to terms with the big, scary world of higher education and life post high school. Hell, it still doesn’t feel that long ago that I was in a school uniform, and I’m still getting used to the idea that I’m not a teenager anymore, that I’m supposed to be an adult now.

Something I’ve learned about myself is that I tend not to deal well with big transitions. I don’t like leaving what’s comfortable and familiar behind and embarking into the unknown. I don’t like the idea that good things have to end (I’m a bit like the Doctor in that way). There’s another big transition coming up for me very soon, probably the biggest transition I’ve yet had to face. I want to be prepared for it, I want to be able to adjust to what comes afterwards, and I want what comes afterwards to be something to look forward to.

That said, my time at university hasn’t been all that memorable, if I’m honest. I never really completed the adjustment from high school to university. I have plenty of fond memories from high school, but most of my time at university is unlikely going to be something I will look back on wistfully, the way I look back on my school days (except maybe the freedom that comes with being a university student). I think the transition from university to working, if my life post university turns out to be a positive change, is going to be easier. In a sense I’m ready to move on from university, whereas when I left high school, four years ago, I felt like I could have done with just one more year.

Something that’ll help sweeten the transition, though, is that I’m planning on doing an exchange semester in my final semester. I’m planning on going to the U.K. either to London or Edinburgh. I’m looking forward to it immensely. It’ll be the first time I’ve travelled alone, and, as much as I’m nervous about the prospect of living on my own in a foreign country, I’m equally looking forward to the experience.

Anyway, it’s always fun to share your new year’s resolutions, so here’s some that I’ve thought of. Actually, I don’t really go in for “new year’s resolutions” as such. I prefer to have new year’s aspirations. An aspiration sounds more positive than a resolution, and, being the indecisive person I am, I hate making “resolutions” I can’t know that I’ll keep or that I don’t allow myself the freedom to change and amend if necessary. But anyway, without further ado, here are some of my new year’s aspirations:

  • I want to blog more frequently. My blogging pattern at the moment is short bursts of energy interspersed by months of neglect, which isn’t really ideal. I want to blog more frequently and regularly, to keep this blog consistently active, even if that involves writing lots of short posts.
  • I want to make substantial progress on my story. I’ve had a work of fiction in the works, my first ever attempt at writing a full-length story, for a year, but since I started it a year ago I sort of neglected it until I took it up again this summer (winter for you Northern Hemisphere weirdos). I really want to complete it, if only for myself, just for the satisfaction and release of creating something artistic.
  • I want to make substantial progress on my languages. I’m teaching myself Latin and Chinese, for those who didn’t know, and I kind of want to achieve a decent level of competence in both before I finish university and have much less freedom to pursue my interests.
  • I want to read more. Specifically I want to read more fiction. As a law student I actually do a huge amount of reading, but case law isn’t the most titillating thing to dip into at bedtime. I used to read a lot more fiction than I do these days, but my other pursuits and interests have sort of taken up all my time. I want reading to be part of my life again.
  • I want to maintain my good grades. My university career started a bit unspectacularly with some mediocre grades, but over the years I’ve gradually improved my performance, and last semester was my best semester yet. I want to keep it up, so that I can hopefully graduate with something approaching a respectable GPA.
  • I want to find undergraduate work in legal practice. Starting a career in law is really hard these days, it’s more competitive than ever, and it’s difficult for both graduates and undergraduates to find work. Up until now I’ve been discouraged by my own lack of success and just by how competitive the field is, but now that graduation is looming, I’ve sort of resigned myself to having to seriously start looking for some kind of work. Wish me luck.
  • I want to find love. Aren’t we all, always, looking for the person we want to spend our lives with? (apart from those who are blessed enough to have already found that person). This isn’t really a new year’s resolution as much as a life resolution, but it’d be wonderful to have met someone by the end of 2017.

Happy (belated) New Year!

Unique Blogger Award

Hey y’all,

Okay, so just to catch you all up on what’s been happening with me, once again I’ve been neglecting this blog. I have literally no excuse this time. I’ve been on my break from university for the last three weeks and have had literally nothing to do. Work has been minimal, and I found myself with four beautiful, glorious responsibility-free weeks to do whatever the hell I wanted. I promised myself I was going to dedicate more time to this blog and my other hobbies over the break, but… something happened. I started playing Runescape again, because I found out that an IRL friend played it, and once I got back into it, after having stopped playing three years ago, I kind of couldn’t stop. So yeah, I’ve just spent most of my holidays farming and fishing and going on quests in 2004-grade graphics. It sort of just happened.

But I logged back into WordPress today for the first time in a few weeks and found out I had been nominated for another blogger award, the Unique Blogger Award, by wanderlust77! It’s so flattering to know that, down to about one post a month, people still want to engage with me, so thanks fam!


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • Answer their 3 questions.
  • Include one meme and one quote you really like.
  • Nominate 8-13 bloggers to receive this award.
  • Ask your nominees 3 UNIQUE questions.
  • Add a link to the awards creator: Kate Gold – teengirlmeetsworld.wordpress.com


1. What would you do if you became president of your country?

So much power… I wouldn’t even know where to start. But I think the first thing I would do would be to get my country’s military the hell out of the Middle East and other foreign war zones, because drone bombing a whole region of the world to hell is a Bad Thing. There would be a whole host of other things I would do which would almost certainly be controversial, but I think I’ll leave it there because I don’t like to go into politics on this blog. The only controversy you’ll find in this here blog is my opinion on The Day of the Doctor.

2. What is the best joke you know/remember/can find

I don’t have a great memory for jokes… my humour is more about witty banter than “So an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a bar…” kind of jokes. But my favourite comedian, whom I’m seeing live in November, is Michael McIntyre. He’s just fabulous. He has me in stitches every time I watch him. Here’s a sample:

3. Do you have any famous lookalikes?

Uhh, not really that I know of. However, I have to mention that my dad is an absolute dead ringer for Griff Rhys Jones, the Welsh TV personality:

I’m not even kidding, that’s my dad. It’s actually creepy how alike they look.

My meme

I have more memes saved onto my computer and my phone than I’m comfortable admitting.

Here’s a goat meme. Goat memes are Cool.


My quote

A quote from Doctor Who which I’ve found a very inspiring motto to live by, spoken by the Eleventh Doctor:


Hitting up some of my faves this time:

Don’t feel obligated to do the post, of course 🙂 I know some of you get inundated with these, it’s just a bit of fun.


  1. Which historical figure would you like to meet and why?
  2. If you could choose to live in a fictional world, which would it be?
  3. What music do you listen to?

Have fun!

Blogger Recognition Award

Thanks to wanderlust77 for nominating me for this award!

The rules to this award are:

1. Write a post to show your award.
2. Acknowledge the blogger that nominated you.
3. Give a brief story about how you got started blogging.
4. Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
5. Nominate 10 bloggers for the award.

My blogging story

Well this isn’t actually my first blog. I’ve had a number of blogs before this on a variety of subjects, and I started blogging (on Blogspot *cringes*) around 2009, when I was 14-ish. I think my first blog was about Runescape, an online game I played a lot back then—I was inspired to make that blog because I read another Runescape player’s blog, and it looked really fun. I never got very far with that one, though.

But I had another blog which I ran for quite a long time and only ended up deleting a few years ago which was just a repository for my thoughts and ideas about all manner of things. I started that blog because I had so many ideas that I wanted to share, and I needed somewhere to put them all, to get them out of my head. It never really became very successful (no one is very interested in some teenager’s incoherent ramblings), but I formed a few connections with other bloggers over the years through that blog.

I started this blog in 2014 because… I had become obsessed with Doctor Who and didn’t have any other obsessive Whovians in real life to talk about Doctor Who with! Sort of like my previous blog, I had so many thoughts I wanted to share about this show and no one to share them with! So I took it to the blogosphere, and I’ve found plenty of people like me to share my ideas with and who are interested in sharing their ideas with me. This has by far been my most successful blog, even if I’ve been a bit neglectful of it in recent months (apologies btw).

My advice

  1. Write for yourself, not for others. Write about what you’re passionate about, what you enjoy writing about, whether that’s some topic you’re interested in, or your own life and personal things, or whatever. Write the things you would want to read, and there should be no end to ideas for interesting, exciting content. Blogging should be leisure, never a chore, and if it ever gets to the point where it becomes a chore that you feel obligated to do for others, you’re doing it wrong.
  2. Just some tips about writing in general: I’m not saying I’m the best writer in the world, but my writing has improved enormously since I’ve started this blog (just go back and read my early posts and see for yourself!), and I think I can give some helpful tips for those who want to improve their writing. First of all, read. When you read, especially (good) material that’s similar to the things you want to write, you naturally, subconsciously pick up on patterns and nuances that, with practice, you can naturally incorporate into your own writing. But you have to read a lot. Secondly, write, extensively, because, as miserable as the thought is, practice, and only practice, makes perfect. Thirdly, Thesaurus.com is your friend. The right word, with just the right nuance, can make a sentence so much more eloquent and effective. I always have Thesaurus.com open when I write literally anything because I’m a perfectionist about using the best choice of vocabulary. Doing this has also expanded my working vocabulary enormously over the years as well, which is a huge boon to my writing.


I always end up nominating the same people when I do these, so this time I’m going to nominate my 10 most recent followers (I want to know more about y’all).

  1. Aakash
  2. adorablekittycats
  3. Hammy Reviews
  4. pendragonslibrary
  5. Quixie
  6. talkingtardis
  7. thecoolkat1995
  8. Jaden C. Kilmer
  9. Ramona Crisstea
  10. allonsyclara
  11. Anyone else who wants to do this. Like, literally anyone. Tell me you’ve done it and I’ll come to your blog and read it!