Friday, 18 March 2011

felix dies nasi ruberis! Happy Red Nose Day!

Funny that! Nose can be feminine or masculine in Latin depending on which noun you choose:
naris-is (f)
nasus-i (m)
If anyone can tell me why this is so...I'd be very please to find out! Anyway

"Happy Red Nose Day!" felix dies nasi ruberis!

( Above: Scenes from the Minimus Mouse Latin Book)

Loads to tell you and little time to I will do it bullet point style:
1. Went on a research trip last weekend which included visits to Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Sussex; Fishbourne Palace, Minimus Mouse Teacher Training Day (Salisbury), Salisbury Museum - Romans v. Saxons Exhibition - all wonderful!
2. Started teaching Minimus Mouse Latin in two of the three primary schools locally. Three boys wanted to be called iacobus (irrespective of their original names). Their combined enthusiasm is fantastic. At the first school (down the road - literally from Vindolanda) all of them had stories of Hadrian's Wall and how they felt about it. Lots of stories of finding Roman artefacts. Super! Eleven children in that first class (only about 30 in the school total) and 12 children in the second school (2 were missing so in total 14) out of a possible 30. So that is great for a lunchtime club when a lot of them could be outside playing...
I'll start in the third school (the closest to here) when their building work calms down a bit. Very soon. Fingers crossed. Got good numbers there too.
3. Moving out of the B&B so we can redecorate. (Back to little house in Haltwhistle.) American guests in next weekend and I'll be doing a tour of Vindolanda for them...their boy studies Minimus too...
4. A week of digging at Vindolanda starts April 4th. It's their first week back too on the archaeology front...and I'll be joining them. Can't wait!!!!
5. We, the volunteer guides, start guiding at Vindolanda around that time too...
6. Applying for quite a few grants to get my Hands-on-Latin business up and running from the B&B and potentially from Vindolanda too...fingers crossed again. (They have a new educational building there.)
7. Hmm...gosh...we have lots of other ideas too. But no time to tell of them here....
8. Yes - still writing the B&B website (the War and Peace version). I also have to do other stuff in/around setting up the if I go know (sort of) what I am up to.
9. Ah yes! Also doing an adult teacher training City and Guilds course in April/May.
10. Attending "Know your Hadrian's Wall" educational days whenever possible....
11. A blogger friend (who I have met through this blog and her blog) is going to help me run the Minimus teaching at the local schools. euge! Hurrah! She loves her Latin too.
12. Teaching some Minimus Latin and history to some adult friends of mine. Their feedback has encouraged me a great deal and reminded me that this course is appealing to adults too. Barbara Bell, Minimus creator, has said this and I truly believe her. I love the cartoons and its accessibility. euge for Minimus!

That's about it! Vale for now! Hadriana :)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Veni, vidi, visi! I came, I saw, I visited!

(short Eagle Eye 3D trailer)

(ten minute clip of the making of Eagle Eye 3D film)

I was over at Vindolanda today for my volunteer guide training day. We guides are now part of The Vindolanda Trust. We'll be guiding at weekends (twice a day at 10.45am and 2pm) from April until September. I wasn't sure what I was expecting of the newly renovated museums but I am more than suitably impressed! I am amazed by what they have created in these severe winter is truly superb...

At Vindolanda, amongst other things, there is a special room to view, hear and read six of the famous writing tablets which have been returned to the museum from The British Museum. All the tablets have to be kept at a special controlled ambient temperature. The newly found Jupiter Dolichenus altars found in a very unusual temple within the fort are now on display. (Temples are never usually found in forts.)

The main museum (also known as Chesterholm) looks terrific. I'm still trying to take it all in. The items are all displayed to great effect. It is the finest Roman Collection in Britain. It is a research collection and all the items there are from Vindolanda (nowhere else). They are still putting the final touches to it so I'm dying to go back to see it all when it is finished.

The other museum, The Roman Army Museum, which stands on the hill overlooking our guest house here is absolutely, absolutely brilliant. It has been utterly transformed. I have to go back to look at it all again properly. There are fantastic displays where uniforms can be touched, you can try out being a Hamian archer...learn all about how a soldier existed as part of a contubernium (8 man tent), learn all about the entire Roman army formation within two minutes...see how the Roman Empire expands in front of your eyes...the building of Hadrian's Wall is displayed on a huge wall akin to Trajan's column...then  there is the marvellous 3D Eagle Eye film...which has good dollops of Latin thrown in for good measure e.g.:

Procedite! Proceed! Go forward!

Testudimen facite! Make a tortoise! (A Special Roman Army unit formation)

and much, much more...........

I urge you all to go and visit the museums this Saturday and onwards. They really are well, well, well worth a visit! I honestly haven't done justice to them here.

P.S.: Look out for a mention of it on Look North BBC1 this Friday Evening. The National Geographic Channel have also filmed a programme on the Vindolanda skeleton scheduled to be shown this September 2011.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Roman Pottery Workshop - Fascinating and Fabulous!

A couple of weeks ago I attended Graham Taylor's Roman Pottery Workshop at The Bowes Museum. I was very glad to do this for a variety of reasons. Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd. run a series of lectures and workshops each year which locals can attend to bone up on Hadrian's Wall (and all things/places/people/time periods). It's called "Know Your Hadrian's Wall" (click on the link to see this year's line-up). A whole range of different speakers, lecturers and experts are recruited to deliver these days and mini courses. The "KYHW" programme has been going now since 2009. Nigel and I have managed to attend most of these - 2009 onwards. (There is also a Northumberland Coast and Country Programme and a Know Your North Pennines Programme. Again we try to attend as many of these as we can!) A friend who had attended one of Graham's Roman Pottery workshops last year raved about it to me. But... Eheu! Woe is me! I had missed both of Graham's days as I had been busy with other things (which could not easily be cancelled)! And then I heard about another course that Graham was doing over at The Bowes Museum during February 2011. I jumped at the chance to book it....
Without wanting to...I had a bit of a contretemps with The Bowes Museum and its booking system (to get onto the course). I blogged about it here. (All names and events have been protected to preserve everyone's modesty.)

Euge! Hurrah! Any Roman Road Up!...It was all sorted out in the end. It truly was a happy ending: The Bowes Museum Personnel listened to me and in super, marvellous, wonderful customer service fashion booked me onto the course for free!

It was a half day workshop and I could have easily stayed there all day. Graham showed us what to do and explained how a Roman Potter would have made a pot. He'd also brought along some headpots that he'd made earlier. He then let us all loose on them.  The Facbook Page link is here for that workshop and more photos and more!

I'd not met any of the group before - there were about ten/twelve of us -  we all chatted away and encouraged each other whilst creating our very own Roman headpot. I'm pictured in the photos above (clad in purple top) and Graham is there in the top photo - showing us expertly how to make the eyes, the mouth, the nose et cetera.

Graham who is an experimental archaeologist and master potter, plus his artist wife, Lynda, are active Tweeters/Twitterers. This is how I have got to know them a bit more...They have both told me that my headpot has been fired and is now ready to pick up from their Rothbury studio. I can't wait to get it!

For more information on this very talented pair check out these links:
Potted History Website
Crown Studio   (their studio/gallery/workshop in Rothbury)
Lynda's blog 
Graham's blog

We, the group, did very well that day apparently. I must say that I very much enjoyed my morning there and getting to know everyone. I loved looking at their headpots. They all had a different identity! The chap in the last photo (above) said his pot reminded him of Freddy Mercury!

I'm writing this quickly as I've been applying for grants galore. I'm off to do another Minimus Training Day in Salisbury this Saturday and to visit another museum in Sussex. I've gained some funding for this from the Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group. I can't wait to go there and tell you all about it. It's all grist to the mill. I also start to teach Minimus in three local primary schools next week as lunchtime clubs. (As well as launching our Hands-on-Latin on Hadrian's Wall business. Check out the sidebar page for more details.) Will keep you all posted as to how it is going!

Vale! Bye for now! Hadriana xx