Durham has just instituted a 6, 12, and 18 month review of incoming PhD students. At each stage you have to turn in an updated outline, estimated word count and deadline for each chapter, and a 5000-10000 word writing sample (for your thesis). So we are just about to hit the 6 month mark, and I need to devote some time to the writing sample. As a result, I may be a little light on posts until then. Cheers!