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