Wrapping up Fieldwork

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The famous door at Tintagel Castle.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve finished or accomplished anything, probably because I know how much I still have to do … but the actual fieldwork part of my dissertation research is finished. I just wrapped up three weeks in Tintagel and am on my way back to the States via a quick pit stop in Iceland. When I booked my flight the cheapest one was on Icelandair but came with a 19-hour layover… so I now find myself in the cafe at the Blue Lagoon waiting for my timed entry window to come around. Unfortunately though, I am alone. Mike was with me in England this past week but as a result of booking various things at different times (I booked this Iceland flight in December, he booked his second trip to England in March) we parted ways this morning at London Gatwick Airport. So, he’s currently in the air on the way to FL and I’m here outside Reykjavik for the afternoon/night. I fly on to NYC tomorrow where we’ll meet up with his brother’s wedding.

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Main street of Tintagel village on a slow weekday morning.

Overall my time in Tintagel was not as productive, in terms of the number of interviews completed, as my time in Glastonbury. It may have had something to do with it being the start of peak tourist season for the village, but everyone seemed very busy and difficult to get a hold of or pin down. I also was not lucky enough to get that one key informant who knew a lot of other people, or who was willing to introduce me to other people. In Glastonbury I had one informant that ended up putting me in touch with a number of other folks. I will undoubtedly kick myself for this later when I’m in the middle of the writing process but I can honestly say that I did the best I could with the time I had. I could have maybe been more aggressive, but I feel strongly that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Considering that I had never been to Tintagel before this research trip, I feel good about how well I know the place. I had to spend more time there than in Glastonbury simply getting to know the lay of the land.

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Visitors taking in the views on the top level of this multi-level site.

One thing that stood out to me fairly immediately was that my prep work had included a lot of readings on British versus English identities, but not enough about Cornish identity, which is strong and absolutely not English. This is something I will need to figure out how to deal with quickly in the actual dissertation. Despite not getting as many interviews in Tintagel, I was able to collect quite a lot of printed materials and my visit to the archives at the Royal Cornwall Museum was extremely fruitful.

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In addition to visiting the Royal Cornwall Museum for archival research on Tintagel, I did the same for Glastonbury at the Somerset Heritage Centre.

In a few days I will begin the long tedious process of transcribing and analyzing everything I have. But before that, I have a few things to do, including my swim in the Blue Lagoon in about an hour, and then three days of Tony and Amanda’s wedding celebrations in NY starting tomorrow. I feel like I’ve been going non-stop since February… I look forward to sleeping in my bed in Tampa and putting the suitcase away for a while. I will be picking up shifts at Barnes and Noble again starting next week. Sometimes I feel like I’m going backwards, when I return to hourly minimum wage work, but the bills don’t pay themselves… and the first USF paycheck and student loans don’t kick in until late August.

Onward I go! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… 🙂

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