If you think research is complex, try to build an extension to your house.

Anybody completing one should be awarded a PhD. It’s incredible. So complex. I think I tried to make a list of all the different professions involved in Pádraig’s little apartment before. I am sure it was incomplete. Then there is the timing of jobs. The material to be available when they’re needed. Changes made to plans as the job goes on. Unforeseen delays and problems. And all of this with a lot of the people involved doing it for Pádraig. It’s unbelievable.

We are still aiming for the end of September as the completion date. And at the moment it looks like that was achievable.

The roof is up. The zinc (“don’t mention the ‘z’-word” is a running joke in our house these days) is going to be put up tomorrow or Monday, and then the inside plasterwork can start. A lot of the wires have been put in and soon it’ll all be about little details such as the colour and shape of tiles.

This morning, I went out for a run along the seafront in Clontarf to clear the head. Checking in with Ryanair. Packing the bag. After that a meeting with builders. And then the wonderful offer of a friend to drive me not just to the airport but to a few places I had to go before that. I had thought I could do this on my own, I know now that had he not been there, it would have turned out a disaster.

Now, I am on the train from Cologne to Hamburg. Cologne because that was the only affordable Ryanair flight to and from Dublin this week. Imagine. It’s a swiss train on German tracks – and still running half an hour late. Whatever happened to the Swiss and their attention to ‘being on time’? Never mind the German obsession with “Pünktlichkeit”! When I get back to Hamburg tonight, after almost 10 hours of traveling, there will only be a couple of days left before we leave for Pforzheim. Hard to imagine.

All of this is hard to imagine. Sometimes I wonder whether what is going on is for real. Or imagined. I guess, I’ll never find out.