Time for reflection….

I feel so very lucky. Tomorrow is graduation day.  This time last year I was handing in my completed thesis and nervously awaiting the date and outcome of my viva. The dreaded day arrived at the start of April and by some miracle I passed without correction! This was the highest point in my life (obviously not on the same level as becoming a mother twice) but there on things I have slaved over. A year on and I am so very happy. Still chasing my dreams. I have a new project, my kid’s are doing ok, my grand-daughters are rays of sunshine and my husband is riding his bike!

Thoughts of celebration made me reflect on the low points as well.  We had a bit of a hiccup last year with Trev’s health but all is back on track now. His contract position was turned into a permanent NATO post. Having applied for the position, and being selected, he then had to undertake a medical as part of the joining routine. He failed this (Trevor is one of the fittest, healthy eating my body is a temple people I know!) and he was referred to his own GP. (Trev has never had a day’s illness until the month prior to the medical he underwent an emergency appendectomy 2 hours after reporting to A&E). It transpired that his heart was twice the normal size and subsequently he was under the knife 2 weeks later (would have been the same week but we had to sort life out/plus he had to do a final bike ride of 60 miles just in case!). By the start of September he had had a mechanical valve replacement (he now tick’s like a grand-father clock which is oddly reassuring ), a graft to his aorta and various tubes sorted. Scary stuff especially when the cardio guy told us he was a ticking bomb! As you can imagine we feel extremely lucky! We were fortunate to have private health care and all the insurances kicked in! The hospital in St John’s Wood was more like a top hotel, the staff were wonderful and the surgeon was top in his field of non-invasive surgery. Trev did have to be opened up the front but the skill of the surgeon meant he only broke two ribs and not his whole sternum! The 5 hour surgery turned into 10hours so I was pacing the floor a little that day. After 2 days in intensive care they had him up and walking the next day. He was in for a further week and then home. Through all of this he has been marvellous. His determination and strength were amazing (I would have curled up and not wanted to move). His whole focus was to get back on his bike! He went back to work at the start of November, passed the medical and joined NATO properly this month. More importantly he is back on his bike and going for around 80 miles at a time (MAD!). If he can do that and not keel over he can get back to washing up duty.

As I said tomorrow is my graduation day. My parents are coming down to London and we are all staying at the Savoy this evening (I have walked past this on the Strand every time I went to uni and always said I would eat there on my graduation day!) we are booked in for afternoon tea, dinner and lunch tomorrow after the ceremony…..  I feel extremely lucky. We will be celebrating the extreme highs of last year, me gaining my Dr’s and Trevor being alive,  we will try to push thoughts of the extreme low’s and the darkest hours to the back of our minds …



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About Michele Blagg

Michele Blagg (BA(hons), MA, PhD) is a visiting Research Associate at King's College London, at the Institute Of Contemporary British History (ICBH). As part of a collaborative doctoral award granted by the Art’s and Humanities Research Council, she was based at the Rothschild Archive, London. Her doctoral research focused on the Royal Mint Refinery, operated by N M Rothschild & Sons between 1852 and 1968, and how it adapted to the changed London gold market. Her areas of interest are in financial and business history with special regard for the actors and networks located in the London market. Her publications include 'The Royal Mint Refinery, a Window onto the London Gold Market' LBMA, Alchemist, 71, 2013; 'Gold Refining in London: The End of the Rainbow, 1919-20’ in Sandra Bott (ed.) The Global Gold Market and the International Monetary system from the late 19th century to the present (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); ‘The Royal Mint Refinery, a business adapting to change’ in Business Archives Council, Sources and History, (2010). She teaches on the ICBH MA in Contemporary British History and assists with the Witness Seminar Programme. She sits on the Business Archives Council Executive and is involved in the annual ‘Meet the Archivists’ workshop held in the City that aims to explore ways in which research students can identify and use business records in a variety of different research fields.

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