Friday, June 15, 2012

7th to 15th June

It has continued to rain most of the time. The mess tent has become a bit swampy and most of my clothes had mud on them. My tent also has mud on it from my feet splashing dirty water when I approach it. In front of my tent is pretty sodden now.

On Thursday I was in Trench 3 cleaning all the loose material from a feature the project refers to as the porch, it’s believed to be an entrance into an anglo saxon building. It was tedious work working around and between large slabs of rock. I found a bunch of bone and fragmented shell. In the afternoon I was learning to use a dumpy level to take the level measurement of the cleaned sections of the trench to put on the site map and context plans. It was drizzling so I wasn’t wearing my glasses which made my eyes water but if I wear my glasses in the rain I can’t see anything through them. We also went on a tour around and inside the castle. There was so many different sets of crockery dinner ware and serving wear all displayed in cabinets in different rooms, I was in heaven. The architecture, furniture and armour/arms collections were also amazing. In the gift shop they sell homemade style fudge which is like a little slice of heaven it tastes so good and is just the right texture. I got orange chocolate and mint chocolate. I also got a beanie which is 100 times warmer than my purple Jayne hat that I got from a market.

On Friday I was in Trench 3 in drizzling rain cleaning an anglo saxon wall feature. Apparently I did a good job on the porch feature so I got to clean the loose material from around the wall sections. I was using a spoon and another thin metal scoop tool to get in between all the rocks. I found a cache of snail shells all stacked up together which was interesting. In the afternoon it got too wet so I was on finds washing inside. There was a cool breeze coming in through the door but it wasn’t light enough inside to do anything with the door closed. We cheated a bit by adding boiling water from the kettles in the tea room to the tubs of water so our hands weren’t freezing. It was still a cold job but not unbearable.

After work we caught a bus into Belford to the pub for pub night and dinner at the Indian restaurant that is in the back of the pub. They seemed rather unprepared for us. There wasn’t really enough seating for all of us. They took our orders twice because they got all confused the first time. The food took a while but was really good. I ordered a dish that came with rice and curry sauce and I added a side dish of mixed veggies. It turns out the curry sauce had veggies through it so I barely touched the side dish and was full to bursting. It seems my international sim does charge me to receive international calls which I didn’t think it did from the useless booklet that came with it. I’m still unimpressed that from the packaging it looked like a UK sim (it said UK sim all over it). I spoke to mum briefly with a lot of background noise then it cut off and I got a message saying I only have £0.15 left. I tried to recharge over the phone and it didn’t work. I called the customer service to make sure it hadn’t charged my card. I’m just going to try and buy a local sim like I wanted when I’m in a town.

It rained all night again. On Saturday there was no chance of going into the trenches so we were all in the windmill on finds duties. I was downstairs for the first context then went upstairs afterwards to do some illustration of finds. It took a few hours for my to do a 1:1 sketch of a decorated bone (from front and back) and a 2:1 sketch from the front with the line details in black ink. I really enjoyed it even though I kept getting frustrated at it not being perfect so I would rub out a section and start again. It was also difficult getting used to a 4H pencil which is lighter and harder than a HB pencil. The supervisor told me I did a really good job so I’m pretty happy with it. I guess I just had the patients to perceiver with it for hours. 

After work we headed to the pub. I had a berry cider at the pub and cheesy chips which seemed like a good idea at the time but I felt rather sick afterwards. A few hours later around 9pm a group of us decided to go for a wonder down to the beach. Once we reached the beach we decided to go for a walk down the beach towards the castle. We walked for about an hour and a half hoping to see a glimpse of the castle but we couldn’t see it. The beach is a lot curvier than we thought. The problem we then faced was it gets dark at 11pm and we had walked a fair way along the beach and the tide was coming in. So we were concerned the tide would catch us against the giant dunes (which are not easy to scale) and we wouldn’t be able to see the path off the beach.

We decided to keep heading towards the castle in hope of finding a path to the main road before it got really dark. None of us had a torch or a phone. We found a path heading off the beach so we climbed the steep path only to emerge onto a golf course. Dave and I climbed up a ridge on the green to see if we could work out where the road is. We could see the castle from the top of the ridge which was really pretty all lit up at night. We could see a road heading through the green so we followed it. It went to a fork so we went left because that’s closer to where the road is. The gravel road ended at a wooden set of stairs. At the top of the stairs was another green. Sigh, I was getting rather concerned at this point. We decided stuff it, and walked across the green towards the direction of the road. We came to the edge of the gold course which was a field of tall grass or barley. We could see a road leading to the main road on the other side of the field so we cut through it. My pants and shoes were soaked by the time we got to the other side and I pricked my hand on something. We did find the road though and made it back into the campsite just after 11pm lights out.
Sunday 10th of June. Today three of us headed into Alnwick (pronounced as anick). The harry potter castle and gardens were £24 to go through which is really expensive. We wondered around the awesome second-hand bookstore which is a converted railway station full of interesting and limited edition books. I loved that the encyclopaedia Britannica was next to the holy bible and the science section was on the other side.
We found a little cafe that was open, not much was being a Sunday in a country town. We had Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding, roast potato, gravy and steamed veggies and a pot of tea. It tasted so good after not having a lot of veggies all week. We explored the little village, looking at the little craft and food stores. They were celebrating the torch relay with a weeklong fair. We went to a little tea shop that had these really cute flower teas where a ball of tea blooms into a colourful flower, it was very cool. When we got back to site we put our clothes in the wash. After three cycles in the dryer the clothes were still damp. My tent was turned into a washing line inside which was interesting.

On Monday 11th I was in trench one for the first time. We cleaned the whole trench in one day. We have still been cleaning the loose layer off the top of the site that had blown in over the winter. Unfortunately it was too sunny to take the photos. The trench needs to be photographed at the beginning of the season after it’s been cleaned and after the end of season for reference. The issue with the sun is though it needs to be shaded by clouds so the higher features don’t make shadows across the trench. After work we went to the pub to watch England vs France in the Euros. The crowd wasn’t as loud or crazy as I expected. The reffing was shit so I understood the little bit of anger. I tried the strawberry and lime cider, it tasted so good and went down to easy and too quick. I avoided getting drunk and just had the one.

On Tuesday 12th I started in Trench one cleaning off all the loose material that had blown in overnight. It was a really windy day so dirt was blowing in my eyes and by the time we finished a section it would be dirty again. We managed to get it clean enough, wetted down and cloud cover so we got the photos. Afterwards though, we lacked the planning squares to plan the site before we start excavating.

I went to trench 3 to do some hammer scale sampling. Hammer scale is the flakes of metal that come off when metal is being smithed. We take samples in 1m squares with 20cm quadrants. The proportions are worked out across the site and mapped. When mapped we should be able to see where walls were because the scale would have hit the wall and bounced back in and outside the walls will be sterile. Under the anvil would also be sterile with the most dense area around it.

I tried to get a sim card in Sea houses (the closest town) but they didn’t know how to top them up or how much the charges are. I tried to recharge my current sim over the phone with my traveller card but they rejected it. There may have been some swearing had when I hung up.

On Wednesday 13th I was on finds. We washed bulk finds during the morning and then sorted finds after lunch. I used dad’s credit card online and managed to finally get credit on my phone and call home. I called just as the state of origin ended, NSW won. Good and bad timing I guess.

Thursday 14th of June was a huge day for Bamburgh village, today the Olympic torch came through the village with three separate runners. We had a stand in the church yard showing off the project and some of our finds. I was there for just over an hour showing finds to the locals. We had a fairly relaxed day up at the castle, I was doing hammer scale sampling again. Then we were sorting out the hammer scale samples to mark out where we couldn’t sample (because there are rocks in the way). In the afternoon we headed down into the festivities that had been going on all day. We had heard the sea rescue helicopter while we were digging but because it was circling over the village green we couldn’t see it over the castle walls.
We watched the celebrity v locals tug of war. The only one that anyone could identify was Lord Frankie Armstrong on the locals side who owns the castle. He was dressed in track pants and a rugby shirt. The locals of course won. We wondered up towards the pub to get a hog roll which is roasted pork, stuffing, crackle and apple sauce in a bread roll. It tasted so good but was so messy. WE ate it on the side of the road waiting for the torch to come. The hype leading up to the torch relay was more exciting than seeing the runner. There were at least 50 police on motor bikes with flashing lights, may were high fiving people as they went by or reving the shit out of their bikes while waiting to move. The streets of the little village were packed full of people waving English flags and some sponsor stuff from Samsung and coke cola. Both companies had huge buses with people dancing and singing and handing promo stuff out. The finally this young teenager came running along with the torch. We decided not to wait to see the two change overs and headed back to the pub only to find no one working in the pub so we had to wait for the torch to come back passed up the other street before we could get served. I got rather excited at spying a bottle of bundy on the shelf behind the bar. Although it was only under half full so three of us easily finished it; the price did seem to slowly climb during the night which I was not happy with. The walk back to camp was amazing. The hills and the sky were gorgeous.   

I had a lot of trouble uploading photos so they are not in place or in order

Cassey and Lilly at Pub night
Dave, Georgia and Jessie. Off for our walk
Skipping stones on the beach
The model trains in Barter Books
A blooming tea in the Tea House
Olympic torch coming into Bamburgh
The bundy rum! I tried the Mount Gay Rum and didn't like it as much
Walking the hills back to camp
Pretty sunset near the camp :)
The castle in the rain from the windmill
Cool rafters in the castle
A wooden model of the castle
A dinner set with the castle on it.
 Looking across to the castle from the golf course on our adventure
 Drying my slightly damp clothes in my tent after 3 cycles in a dryer
 The public entrance to the castle
 Looking up at the land side of the castle
A slightly different angle of the castle

1 comment:

  1. wow, maybe you should come to Oman to dry out!
    hugs Mathilde