Friday, 19 August 2011

Hadriana's Progress Report

salvete! Hello and Welcome! (That's Minimus the Latin Mouse above....)

What have I been up to lately? Well my parents went away and I've been looking after my 95 year old grandfather who is still hale and hearty. That also involves house sitting and looking after our two children who are currently 7 and 4 years of age.

My grandfather still does his crosswords, watches lots of sport and quizzes and just generally does his own thing...which is "grand". I've enjoyed looking after him for the last two weeks and it's been super to still have a lot of contact with him. I love hearing all his stories.

I've also been doing a fair amount of guiding at two Roman forts: Vindolanda and Housesteads. Housesteads has been a new one for me. It's just down the road from Vindolanda but is a later fort perched very high on top of the Whin Sill/crags. It is the most well known of all the forts around here and attracts a fair amount of visitors (as does Vindolanda).

Vindolanda has had a £6m odd makeover there and at its sister site, The Roman Army Museum. Housesteads' Museum and visitor centre will get a million pound plus renovation this Winter. The fort will remain open and it will be free to see and visit. I've enjoyed guiding at both sites...what I've learned at one I can apply to the other and vice versa.

I'm still in the process of setting up a second business called "Hands-on-Latin" which will combine guiding around the Roman sites with teaching Latin..showing that it is the basis for European Languages (most of them) and the English Language! I'm still pulling the paperwork and the website together...hoping that I can get it up and running for the Autumn. Fingers crossed. All the signs are...that it will work! I've had quite a bit of interest in it and all my market research has shown that there is an appetite for it.

Northumberland National Park Authority through their Leader programme sponsored me to go on a research trip around the country in March culminating in a teacher training day for Minimus in Salisbury. I met the author of Minimus - Barbara Bell - again and she is wonderful. So inspirational!

I featured in a "Dragons' Den" in a local business challenge and got an article in the local paper about my idea...which was fantastic and got me some great publicity. I was able to network through the challenge/business entrepreneur forum and it turned out that the lady who set up the whole thing originally was a friend of the family! I met her (Lorna Moran) and have a bunch of contacts to follow-up too... (I also got some vital one-to-one feedback from one of the Dragons..following the Den.)

In June I went to a teacher training day in Cambridge - as part of the Cambridge Latin Course - which I also hope to use as well as the Minimus Latin Course (which is based at Vindolanda using a real Roman family and the famous Writing Tablets). I was a bit daunted attending that day as I thought lots of Latin teachers together would be a bit stuffy...but the reality was completely different! What a superb bunch of people. I got so involved in conversations that I had to run like mad to catch up at the Fitzwilliam Museum session and later on...nearly lost my handbag!?!

What else have I been doing? Attending a dig at Vindolanda for a week (beginning of the season - which was wonderful because I learned a lot), teaching Minimus Latin to three local primary schools in lunchtime clubs, teaching Minimus Latin to some adults too, attending "Know Your Hadrian's Wall" lectures and visits, one photography session at Housesteads, one Roman Potter's course at The Bowes Museum, visited the excavations over at Maryport (which look fascinating too), attended a few conferences and lectures on Roman stuff, doing private tours of Vindolanda and the Wall, applied for grants, worked with a business advisor, blogged and tweeted as me and as Minimus the Latin Mouse. I also met the very marvellous Lindsay Allason-Jones for lunch and she is encouraging me to do epigraphical courses along the Wall (the teaching of how to read 'Roman Inscriptions').

Ooh..and I almost forgot...helped with the B&B when I could (run by the indefatigable, Mr.H. - Nigel) and prepared the B&B books too...

Still to come....the local primary school headmistress is putting Minimus Latin on the curriculum in the Autumn...so three schools and all age groups...here I come! Attending The Joint Association of Classical Teachers Training Day in London on 24th September. I've also been asked to join The Primary Latin Project Committee which promotes/aids the teaching and setting up of Latin in primary schools (in all teaching/learning sectors)...that is meeting in the Autumn too.

So huge apologies for not blogging as much as I should do and not visiting your blog...but...maybe I'll get over to yours.....one day! :)

valete! Bye for now! Hadriana/Catherine xx xx

22 comments:

the fly in the web said...

Gracious me, woman!
when do you find time to breathe?

Jeneane said...

Phew Catherine. I love the sound of all these Latin teaching possibilities. When I studied Classics here in NZ at the turn of the Eighties, Latin was a dead-end subject even though the Cambridge Latin course had appeared on the scene. Without any careers advise I didn't hang in there, and now I marvel at the opportunities in Classics including right here in Canterbury NZ. I have to say, that for me, teaching Latin on site would be a dream job for me! I wish you every success.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I smile to myself...Fly..and then draw breath! ;)

Very many thanks, Jeneane. I think the possibilities are much greater now - especially with the advent of technology which helps to bring the whole subject alive...that much more. Besides that - books are more colourful, more lively, written in a variety of styles so anyone can take their pick.

That said it's nice sometimes to go back to the older books - to compare and contrast too.

Much as I love my family friend Latin teacher who encourages me and pushes me on from her home in Newcastle (she's become a favourite "aunt")...there is a lot more out there now compared to when we two were struggling to keep each other entertained in sixth form. We laugh at those memories. I'd be hugging the radiator in one corner and she'd been feeding me KitKats and coffee in a desperate bid for us both to wade through Tacitus and the Agricola.

At 16 I had little idea of any warfare..much less that it took place literally on my doorstep. I had no access to a car. Hadrian's Wall Trail did not exist. Ancient BR train rumbled from Newcastle through Hexham and over to Carlisle. Buses stuck rigidly to the A69 I should imagine.

It was a major adventure for me to come out as far as Hexham. My godfather, who used to teach at Haydon Bridge, was also carless. He refused to drive a car. He used to hitch lifts down the road or walk down the hill to the school. So that option was not really practical.

My parents preferred to see Roman remains in Italy not the UK....

I stuck my head in books but really wrestled with them...they seemed as dull as ditch water...tiny text...with lots of footnotes...and of course there were also other distractions in sixth form!!! That's why I opted to follow my heart with the Spanish language as it seemed much alive and fresh. Besides my best friend had just turned up on the scene (in sixth form) half Geordie and half Spanish...and the rest, they say, is history.

Very glad to have been able to reconnect with my love of Latin and the history. It's all making much more sense now and I love to be able to pass it on.....!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Apologies...my grammar went a little haywire just then (in last comment) but you'll have to excuse me: I have to go and clean the house as I have some visitors coming today! Toodlepip!! :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Tacitus wrote about his father-in-law, Agricola, and his military campaigns in mid/late 1st Century AD. Agricola was a famous Roman general who campaigned throughout Britannia/Caledonia crushing us all! Agricola's biography was written by Tacitus: "de vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae" and this was one of the set texts in my Latin A-Level syllabus. I really, really , really struggled with it.

The last few years have all been about me attempting to make sense of it...twenty odd years later...

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnaeus_Julius_Agricola

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/agricola.shtml

Maggie May said...

Glad you are building up new lines of business. However you make me feel like a slug in comparison!
It is always really interesting to visit your blog & I always come away with something new to think about or that I have learnt.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Dear Maggie,

You are an absolute star (as are all my regular commenters)! As a matter of fact I've feeling like a bit of a slug myself today so feel cheered up that you've said that.

My guilt complex is HUGE that I don't get round everyone's blogs the way I used to but I simply don't have the time these days.

I also think...is anybody interested in what I am doing? Do I sound like a narcissistic so and so?! The main reason is to build up interest in this area and, of course, because of my own interest and if any business comes my way...then so much the better! ;)

Many hugs and best wishes to you, Maggie. Hope you and your family are all well. C/H xx xx

I also hope that Jeneane and Fly are very well too in their respective countries.... C/H xx xx

Hadriana's Treasures said...

"I am feeling"...!" : I am going to give myself a bit of a break soon for a while...so if I don't reply to you for a couple of weeks that's the reason. :)

Expat mum said...

Wow - well done you! It is a bit ridiculous isn't it, that many of us were forced to learn Latin and with all that on our doorsteps, they couldn't make it interesting!

Jeneane said...

I have just re-connected with a friend from my Oxford Canal days (The Prodigal) and discovered that she runs Writing tours around the World. I am going to persuade her to add The Secret Garden to her destinations, but your venture makes me think of bringing Latin Scholars from NZ to you and The Four Wynds...

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Dear expatmum,

Yes..it's daft isn't it? I think teaching methods have changed a lot...I don't blame my Latin teacher too much. She had a lot on her plate when I was in sixth form..she was recovering from a major operation and she was also worried that her subject would be dropped...I'm glad that I've been able to "refind" it and that she's a major friend of the family (as is my Spanish teacher). They are the two Marys which is apposite considering I went to a Catholic School! I think you did too - didn't you? :-) H/C xx

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Dear Jeneane,

Wow! If you could do that...that would be wonderful and marvellous!!! Brilliant idea....contact me by e-mail if it is something I could help you with. You'd be more than welcome if you could come and stay with us (we'd be delighted to look after you!) at Four Wynds B&B. Super! optime! Big grin from me. :-) xx xx

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I do have to say that I always loved learning Latin but I just struggled with "The Agricola"...for a variety of reasons....

One sentence did stick in my mind - that was the 'human' element when Agricola's infant son died...I haven't got the books with me at the moment but must did them out again and re-read them. I'm sure scholars have examined them closely but I wanted to compare Tacitus's account with the actual archaeological features on the ground today...for instance there are the 'marching Roman camps' at the top of Haltwhistle Burn...to look at....

Hadriana's Treasures said...

http://www.the-romans.co.uk/timelines/agricola.htm

Agricola's timeline/main life dates - as above....

stevesmall said...

Would love to learn Latin by distance learning as I live in Mexico,if possible please let me know.
Expat Geordie so it might be a challenge

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Good for you. I wish Latin was taken up more by schools. Even though my daughter went to a very good private day school here, they only did Latin for the first six months of her first secondary school year, which to my mind, was not enough. I, on the other hand, did Latin all the way up to age 21 (as my subsid at uni) so I feel it was a great help to English and other languages. So, keep up the campaign!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Steve,

Waves to expat Geordie! I'm sure your Mexican Spanish must be pretty good so learning Latin would be a doddle. I'm intrigued by the internet option so will try and look into that. Definitely willing to give it a go.
Just back from our annual hols so apologies for not replying to you sooner. Will definitely be in touch again soon. Bye for now! Catherine/Hadriana :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Addy,

Yes...I agree with you. I'm not saying that everyone should be "force fed" it...but like anything else it could/should be an interesting and entertaining subject. Let's face it these were people using Latin/abusing it for pretty much a thousand years and then it has survived in different parts of the world in various forms. I could go on and on about this but it is not a dead language it is a living language in so, so many ways.

I take the view that if anyone anywhere even has some interaction with it - then it can have an effect (hopefully a good one). Your daughter at least had six months of learning Latin so - that is a brilliant thing in my opinion. That will stay with her for the rest of her life no matter what! :-)

My Spotty Pony said...

Hi, thanks for your comments on my post. Seems we went to the same school (1967 - 1976 for me). And yes, Mrs Thirlwall was indeed a mighty force to be reckoned with!
I went to the auction when they closed the school and everything was being sold off. It was like time had stood still... nothing had changed from the 1970's!
You clearly have a busy life and a very interesting blog too :)
Abby xx

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Abby,

I think I started at La Sagesse 1975 in the Primary School and was there until 1985 (end of sixth form). I'm sure there'll be lots of names we recognise. I'm still in touch with two of my former teachers. I met my best friend there in the sixth form. Have mixed memories of the place I have to say. I'm determined to watch the whole of 'When the Boat comes in' one day because James Bolam was filmed there (one scene was set at the school - a fifth form classroom was mocked up to look like a hospital ward) and if I recall rightly a family actor friend was in that same scene as well. The world is truly a small place.... :)xx

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Steve,

Hope you read this again - as I have no way of contacting you. Be willing to teach you Latin via internet and/or skype. Please do contact me here or via e-mail to arrange something. Looked at your blogger profile but cannot find e-mail. Many thanks. Catherine

PS: Sorry I have not written to you before now but been mega busy.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Steve again,

I would recommend that you start with Minimus the Latin mouse and then move on to the Cambridge Latin Project series. Please do contact me again and I will be more than happy to help out! Good luck! Catherine :-)