Goodbye friends and family!

Until mid June at any rate! For some reason, all the calls for new research funding bids are open now and have to be submitted in the next few weeks, come Hull, Hell or Halifax! Along with that is the mandatory report on our virtual world study, delayed by Christmas, snow, and participants who would rather go line dancing (who can blame them?) than talk to us. We pleaded for an extension. Computer said no. Resoundingly. So today I went into free-fall over the data for the recent study, had an apoplectic moment over my mean squares while trying to model the design for the next study, and pretty much dissolved into an isotonic puddle over the finance form for our investigation into positive psychology and challenging behaviour. Don’t even get me started on the brain-ache of trying to coordinate two Trusts, two strategic health authorities and two universities at different ends of the country in the interests of the fourth proposal! With any luck, we can circumscribe that one and limit its remit to a smaller care group so that fewer august bodies need to sign up but actually, it would be pretty good if we could pull off the whole shebang.

Panic aside, and as I’m pretty new at this panic is a realistic prospect, the potential of these studies is just breath-taking. Imagine if, in a few years time, we can all log into a virtual world and take a tour of a proposed procedure without scaring the bejabbers out of ourselves. And what if people with learning disabilities whose frustration and distress has always led to interventions designed to prevent these expressions could begin to live their lives with the prospect of increased well-being and positivity instead? Then supposing, when we become vulnerable but want to keep our independence, there’s a whole technology built into our homes to let us do that? If we’re successful in these bids, those are some of the prospects and it will be some of our best NHS clinicians working with some of our best academics that clear the way for it to happen. Worth a few weeks of social purdah, I reckon so keep your fingers crossed. Oh, and if you know why my ‘within groups’ mean squares are bigger than they should be, please put me out of my misery. Two way independent randomised groups ANOVA. Go on, you know you can!

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