Saturday, 24 April 2010

Who'd 'a thought it?!


With the exception of my mum looking sultry and a certain visitor from Northern Italy looking a little bit glazed (bottom right hand corner) all the other photos are of me when I was a few years younger (just a tad)!

Who'd a thought that I'd end up guiding at Vindolanda?...a life spent going from Jarrow (where I was born)to South Shields, Ivrea (Northern Italy), Newcastle, Hampstead, Cordoba, Lisbon, Zaragoza, Newcastle, Nottingham, Kew, Richmond, The City, Canary Wharf, Hurghada (Egypt), Haltwhistle, Greenhead and then Vindolanda....obviously with a few more deviations via London and Newcastle thrown in...most notably Venezuela and Costa Rica.

I'm not really showing off because I don't think that my life is particularly extraordinary. As the volcano ash debacle has shown - we all seem to live far flung lives these days.

Anyway. I digress. Somewhat.

Yes...I DID IT!!!

After all the trials and tribulations of my "annus horribilis" last year...I finally did it.

I guided twice at Vindolanda and had three postings at the newly revamped The Roman Army Museum. (If you get a chance to go and look at the new gallery...it is well worth it. At the Roman Army I talk about artefacts - religious and household. Some are real and some are copies. The visitors come and talk to me after they've seen the Eagle Eye film. We have some great conversations.)

I was very nervous to say the least.

My first group numbered approx. 30 - a mixture of families - all ages and different nationalities. I was lucky with the weather both times. The only thing I forgot to mention on the first outing was the Roman "pub" or "thermopolium" but I did tell 'em about the water wells/Barcombe Hill, the stanegate (important stone supply road), the 4th century bath house, the Roman village with its high street and butcher's shop, where Hadrian's Wall was/is, where the Vindolanda Tablets were found, the reconstructions of Hadrian's Wall, the HQ of the stone fort, the posh house of the C.O. and the reconstructions of the Roman temple, shop, house, lapidarium (replica altar area) and crofters' bothy. Then the museum...and got them there so they could enjoy the sun and a well earned cuppa. All in 45 minutes.

The second group numbered six but it was no less an experience. It was fascinating (from my side) to have to vary my delivery in relation to the size of the grouping. Obviously the second outing was more personal. We had one Dutch guy with us and two from Wales so I tailored my information a little to highlight how many different nationalities were billeted along the Wall. The Dutch Batavians built the first bigger bath house at Vindolanda and the second legion from South Wales helped build the Wall. There was a welsh chieftain, Brigomaglos, who had a Christian burial at Vindolanda. His real tombstone is over at Chesters museum. (In fact a great swathe of native tribes probably spoke a form of Welsh when the Romans arrived. For instance Carlisle comes from "Caer" Celtic for castle or fort and was recorded as having the pre - Roman name: "The wall of the god Lugus" - "Luguvalos" which the Romans simply made it into "Luguvallum".)

So I'm chuffed to bits. I did it without losing my memory, falling over or generally making a twit of myself. My younger self would have been proud and amazed. Just like me, myself, I at 43 years. Euge! Hurrah!

22 comments:

The Dotterel said...

Congratulations Hadriana! What a lot of information to remember... I was always pleased when I used to run school trips to Vindolanda that the guides took over!

That'll be your next big test: a school party!

the fly in the web said...

Well done! It will never be a routine for you, doing your guided tours, will it? Every party is different.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Congratulations Hadriana - I am so pleased for you and you must feel thrilled to bits. Good too that you had such different size parties, all good experience. You have a wealth of knowledge now which will obviously grow and I'll bet your enthusiasm for it all comes over during your tours. Brilliant! A x

French Fancy said...

Oh well done, Hade. May you guide dozens and dozens more and always retain this initial excitement.

As for the celtic word 'caer' - It must be like the Breton word 'Ker' - which you see as a prefix to so many villages and hamlets over here.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Well done. I can imagine doing it for the first time was nerve-wracking but so glad you did it successfully. You'll soon be doing it without thinking. I expect with all this warm weather and with the summer a-coming, the group sizes will be getting bigger and bigger.

Dumdad said...

Bravo that woman!

Alienne said...

Congratulations! I am so pleased it all went well. It will be easier now, and you already know you can tailor your spiel to suit the party.

Expat mum said...

Brilliant. I will be sending everyone your way what asks what there is to do up north!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Well done you - Hope you get a good summer to help the guiding along - Down with midges!

Lots of luck and love, Fhina x

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Great! What next? Loved the photos.
Know any jokes in Latin?

Mark said...

Well done. I used to live just near to Caerleon in South Wales where there is Roman Fort

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you The Dotterel! I've not had any of those but Justin Blake, one of the senior archaeologists there talks to the school parties. He is very informative and entertaining. Yep...school parties...now there's a thought!

You're right, Fly, each group will be different. I love to find out where everyone is from (if possible) and take it from there...

SJA...Thank you! I must admit I thought I would be a nervous little mouse but I wasn't. The only annoying thing is when some of the thoughts and words don't appear just when I want them to but I suppose that will come with practice.

FF: Yes..that "ker" word must be that same sort of thing. I did a specialist linguistic paper for my Spanish degree. A great deal of it dealt with the different dialects and I do have this strong belief that we are the same - the world over. The spectrum just varies as the world shifts along a bit. I love the idea of it all being one great pot pourri: language, history, everything.

ADDY: You're right there. Over the Easter weekend the people just flowed through the doors. Maybe we can put on some more tours? At the moment each guide does one tour a day at 11am in the school holidays...2-3pm over at The Roman Army Museum.

Dumdad: Euge again!

Alienne: Absolutely. The challenge is to see whether I can always connect with them and try and convey the passion I feel for it all.

Expatmum: Please do! :)

AWoNI: Yes..those silly midges. Hopefully we will not be blighted by too many of those. Avoiding the swallows in the atrium of Vindolanda might be another hazard to think about. Nevertheless I love them.

GOK: What next? I've applied to become a Blue Badge Guide over in Cumbria so I'll have to see if I get called for interview or not...

Latin jokes? Ooh there are a few...but it is good to tell stories relating to Vindolanda in that a gaming board and die were found which I think came from the 4th century bathhouse. The number 6 comes up 8 times out of 10...so some funny business must have been going on there...

Mark..I was trying to wrack my brains about where the 2nd legion were stationed and it was over at Caerleon. They definitely helped to build the Wall. There must be some similar centurial stones over where you used to live and the ones here (the majority of which are in The Great North Museum at Newcastle).

I know I blether on about getting back to you all one day. I'm still holding out for that but just got a few jobs to do in the meantime...I haven't forgotten you at all! Thanks to all for dropping by and I really appreciate all your words of encouragement. Bye for now and take care! Hxx :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you The Dotterel! I've not had any of those but Justin Blake, one of the senior archaeologists there talks to the school parties. He is very informative and entertaining. Yep...school parties...now there's a thought!

You're right, Fly, each group will be different. I love to find out where everyone is from (if possible) and take it from there...

SJA...Thank you! I must admit I thought I would be a nervous little mouse but I wasn't. The only annoying thing is when some of the thoughts and words don't appear just when I want them to but I suppose that will come with practice.

FF: Yes..that "ker" word must be that same sort of thing. I did a specialist linguistic paper for my Spanish degree. A great deal of it dealt with the different dialects and I do have this strong belief that we are the same - the world over. The spectrum just varies as the world shifts along a bit. I love the idea of it all being one great pot pourri: language, history, everything.

ADDY: You're right there. Over the Easter weekend the people just flowed through the doors. Maybe we can put on some more tours? At the moment each guide does one tour a day at 11am in the school holidays...2-3pm over at The Roman Army Museum.

Dumdad: Euge again!

Alienne: Absolutely. The challenge is to see whether I can always connect with them and try and convey the passion I feel for it all.

Expatmum: Please do! :)

AWoNI: Yes..those silly midges. Hopefully we will not be blighted by too many of those. Avoiding the swallows in the atrium of Vindolanda might be another hazard to think about. Nevertheless I love them.

GOK: What next? I've applied to become a Blue Badge Guide over in Cumbria so I'll have to see if I get called for interview or not...

Latin jokes? Ooh here are a few...

The Latin Professor was so upset that he went to a bar near his house for a drink to settle his nerves. "What'll it be?" asked the bartender. "A martinus," said the professor. "Don't you mean martini?" asked the bartender. The proffessor replied, "If I wanted more than one I'd ask for more than one."

Teacher: Who can tell me where Hadrians Wall is? Pupil: I expect it's around Hadrian's garden, miss!

Teacher: What is a forum? Pupil: Two-um plus two-um!

An Ancient Rome History Teacher: When was Rome built? Pupil: At night. Teacher: Why did you say that? Pupil: Because my Dad always says that Rome wasn't built in a day!

Teacher: How was the Roman Empire cut in half?
Pupil: With a pair of Caesars!

Mark..I was trying to wrack my brains about where the 2nd legion were stationed and it was over at Caerleon. They definitely helped to build the Wall. There must be some similar centurial stones over where you used to live and the ones here (the majority of which are in The Great North Museum at Newcastle).

I know I blether on about getting back to you all one day. I'm still holding out for that but just got a few jobs to do in the meantime...I haven't forgotten you at all! Thanks to all for dropping by and I really appreciate all your words of encouragement. Bye for now and take care! Hxx :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

prof: typo! Segniter = sloppy work!

Nota Bene said...

Brilliant stuff...and it'll get easier now that you've started...NB

Mickle in NZ said...

Super Well Done! I expect you're feeling wonderful after these guiding episodes.

Look forward to reading about many more, sending care and huggles,

Michelle and Zebbycat

Hadriana's Treasures said...

NB and Mickle: Thank you muchly, muchly.

I do enjoy the guiding and can't wait to get back into it during the Summer! :)

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I watched a documentary on "Yesterday" this morning - all about Vindolanda. I'm sure you'll have seen it. Mostly it focussed on little oak tablets on which notes were written. The theory was that a departing commander may have tried to burn a whole bunch of these tablets but perhaps a rainstorm intervened. It was most interesting and of course I thought of you as images of Vindolanda were revealed.

Harry said...

Nicely done! You're braver than I. 30 people to talk to, I'd likely forget my name.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

YP...Yes! It's a thrilling story..It captures my imagination every time. There are many more still in storage (at The British Museum) and hopefully more stories to be found/heard. They are the first examples of handwriting to be discovered on these shores. No wonder they've been voted the UK's top treasure!

Harry: It's amazing that the guide ends up forgetting himself/herself...in just telling the story. The trick is to concentrate on the other people and try to forget oneself. I'd love to do more tours and can't wait until the Summer arrives.

Rachel Cotterill said...

That's fantastic! I love Vindolanda :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you, Rachel. Yes..you can tell I'm in love with it too! :)