It's really hard to get back into blogging mode when you've been away for a while (or if you're feeling a bit down in the dumps like Nate or Andre.) I've had a blogging break for a few days while I went to that conference in Toulouse — massive anti-climax. Makes me wonder why I bother with these things. It would be easier just to write an article and send it off to a journal. Of course the theory is that you get lots of feedback and stimulation from other conference participants. (See Jill on the preparation of what sounds like a fantastic conference: Hypertext 05.) The conference I went to last week, or at least the workshop I spent most of my time in, was not at all like that. I wish I could say more about the plodding pedestrianism of most of what I listened to but the transparency of my URL prevents this (how could I have been so stupid to choose my REAL name as a URL?). By all accounts (well, J says anyway) the best thing was Michael Swan on good paedagogical rules but unfortunately I was trapped in another workshop while he was speaking. I didn't get to see Widdowson either. I did go to the plenary given by Iain Pears though and found it very entertaining - particularly his reference to his own "slash and burn" approach to French grammar. I bought one of his books afterwards and finished it on the train on the way to Brive to spend the end of the weekend in the Dordogne. The book turned out to be a bit of a disappointment (all plot and no style, not at all like his plenary). Back at the disembowled ranch, things are coming along, not exactly nicely but they're coming along. We now have a kitchen, but no electricity so we can't actually use any of those gleaming appliances. They're now putting the hardwood floor down in the living area. Must rush, I'm going to a seminar on cognitive linguistics in a moment. Roll on the intellectual stimulation because otherwise I'm going to spend the afternoon mentally planning where I'm going to put the furniture in my beautiful new house. Cognitive furniture moving.