Sunday, 17 May 2009

Clag on hinnies - one year on!

This photo was taken by local photographer, David Taylor, and used with his permission... I'm going to an exhibition of his soon (we "kind of" met through this blog) and his image of the month in May, Tynemouth Priory, will be a treat for expatmum.

So much has been going on lately that I don't know where to start. So I'll tell you why I've not been blogging lately and what I've been doing away from the screen:

1. Been to another tourist guiding course day at The Centre of Britain Hotel in nearby Haltwhistle to pick up some more tips about how to guide.
2. Attended a seminar, part of Hexham Book Festival, (and also espied Libby Purves from afar) given by author, Debbie Taylor ,about "How to get your novel published" (which is very funny as I haven't begun to write one yet!) but picked up some fascinating tips on what to do/when etc. I bumped into fellow blogger again, Catharine Withenay, and she is much further on in her quest to get published...
The seminar was much harder work than I expected but it was great fun. The hard part is just getting down to it and writing the darn thing. I have ideas, I have ideas...
3. Walked bits of Hadrian's Wall, last Sunday, with two ex-banking colleagues and whilst we pondered on the meaning of life we walked from Lanercost, past Birdoswald Roman fort (Banna is its Roman name), past Willowford Farm and the Roman Bridge, to Poltross milecastle at Gilsland, over to our B&B at Longbyre. This walk was in blazing sunshine. It was lovely meeting other fellow walkers and swapping stories. As I'd never walked this bit of the Wall before it was a real eye opener walking through the fields rather than whizzing along the country roads in my little car. I think I much prefer walking. The views were/are different and outstanding.
The following day, in windblown sunshine, we walked from Longbyre, past Thirlwall Castle, through Walltown Quarry, up along the crags, through neglected treasure of Great Chesters fort to Cawfields quarry. From there we walked past Cawburn Gap (where the above photo is taken), past Castle Nick, Hotbank farm over to Housesteads fort on the Wall. All in all a fair old walk over the two days (about 15 miles). It took me, my aching bones and a sunburnt face, at least a day to recover! Photos and more memories of this to come...
4. Did some teaching at my daughter's local school on Wednesday and had a lot of fun "Romanising" their names, talking about the Vindolanda Writing Tablets (especially the birthday invitation one) and we also made our own Vindolanda tablets too. The children asked a lot of questions and one boy piped up "Please Miss are you coming back next week?" which hearted me a great deal. I think "Minimus" classes are definitely in the pipeline for the Autumn term.
5. On Friday got absolutely soaked at Segedunum (Wallsend) fort and Arbeia (South Shields)fort where it rained solidly all day. There's more there than I realised. Some amazing reconstructions: The Bath House at Wallsend and a bit of The Wall there too. At Arbeia fort there's a Commanding Officer's Villa, some barracks and a Gatehouse. I have never been so wet in my life! On our drive there some ducks were spotted crossing the road. (After having lived there for sixteen years I can testify that that's quite rare!) It's taken me until now to feel dry. I guess this is excellent training for guiding in inclement weather. Plus we also learnt a great deal about what is actually expected from a tourist guide: pitch of voice, warmth of manner, enthusiasm, knowledge, positioning, eye contact etc. etc. The exams are in six weeks and the tension is mounting. (Also caught up with an old family friend there...nice to have a cuppa in warm and dry surroundings.)
6. Gosh. Have done more but too much to tell.
7. So here we are a year later and I'm amazed that I'm still blogging. I never thought I would last a year. Although I'm not a profilic blogger (and I promise I will catch up with you all in July when things have calmed down)...I've enjoyed the writing; the making of friends and contacts plus the absolute friendliness and curiosity of you all. I never expected that many people would be interested in dry, dusty Roman stuff and my expectations of blogging have been blown out of the water. In a very good way. People all over the world have contacted me and we've chatted about a variety of stuff. I like to hear about different people's lives because I'm very curious about how other people live and what our reactions to things are. I have an unswerving belief that life is superb and it is there to be enjoyed. I think that we are all basically good at heart and that we can help each other.
8. We fully adore where we live and the people who live around us. We may be pretty skint but we get more out of life than we ever did when we worked in "The City" where there were plenty of pounds in my/his bank account(s).
9. I don't have many regrets. In fact I reckon that I only have one...that I'd met my wonderful husband sooner. Funnily enough I was in The Barbican staying in a flat there when I was sweet sixteen. My husband was working there at that time. We actually met ten years ago when I was not sweet sixteen(!). Who knows what might have been had we met in my (just legal!!) teens? Hmm. The thing is we did meet, and probably at the right time too, and it's been bliss ever since then.
10. What else? Sorry that I'm/have been so rubbish about handing on awards to other bloggers. My one year's blogging resolution is to do better in this regard.
11. N.B.: I have actually been running as well when I can for The Great North Run in September (amazingly). Will write about that over in my other blog.

Clag on! (Geordie: for "Stick Close"!) and see what another year's blogging will bring!!! A big thank you too for all those regular readers who often leave comments. I always do love your feedback. Ta ra for now yous hinny pets.