Saturday, 17 March 2012

So I'm 30 today - Bring on the Next Decade!

So I am 30 today. Well, to be precise, I was 30 at 12.02 - or that's what mother tells me. I was going to write a short piece about what I have learned over the last decade. But given my very self-critical nature it would just be a trawl through hundreds - and yes, it's that many - of mistakes. I should perhaps bear in mind that I have learnt a lot, gained wonderful friends and had many interesting experiences. Indeed, if I reflect some more on what has happened, I'd say that at the moment I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life - and that can't be bad.

However, there is one thing that has loomed large over my existence for the past five and half years - my PhD. Yes, I really did start in 2006. I remember telling people when I would finish it - "2012 - yeah, I'll be 30". It is quite weird to acknowledge that I'm nearly there now. I do not regret the choice I made back then. I'm not saying it has always been easy, and at the start it was quite difficult to learn a completely new field of academic history. But now, as I get to the end, I can see what a wonderful thing my PhD has been, and will be.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that I hope to write popular railway history books; especially as I have been writing a railway history blog for two years. Yet, two weeks ago I started to move towards this goal and acquired myself a literary agent. But the story just gets better. On the 2 April I take a big step and have a meeting with a very large and well-known publisher to discuss book ideas. But I couldn't have got this far without my PhD. The knowledge and interests I have acquired through it have pushed me forwards to pursue the career I wanted as early as 2002. Indeed, as I turn 30, and while finishing my PhD has taken longer than I thought it would when I was 20, everything in my life seems to be on course, and for that I am thankful.

So bring on the next decade of my life - I am sure it will be a good one.

I have the following ideas for books, and I would appreciate people's thoughts:
  • An edited collection of my blog posts.
  • The history of the Victorian station-master 1825-1914
  • The grim Victorian railway - exploring the horrible aspects of the 19th century railway
  • A history of the individuals who built and ran the railways - 1825-1914.
  • The social life of Victorian railway workers.
  • Victorian Railwaywomen


  1. Happy Birthday and best wishes for the future. May you continue to share you experiences and the knowledge you gain for several decades more.

  2. I would love to read more on the social worker's social lives. As I have already said, Happy Birthday my good friend.

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  4. I would be interested in 2, 5 and 6.