Ice Age Art, CAA UK 2013 and even more hecticness


Ice Age Art, CAA UK 2013 and even more hecticness

#project52 #week8

So, I’m still behind but I should get caught up by the end of the week. This picture I took today, but it is my #project52 picture for last week (week eight)… that may or may not be cheating, but I did a lot last week, and the thing I really wanted a picture from I wasn’t allowed to take a camera into…


So, last week… On Monday Matt and I ventured off to the New Forest Wildlife Park– we go at least once a year as there is always something new to see, and who could get tired of otters and owls?! This year they have added European Bison, and my goodness those things are HUGE! I knew on a logical level how big they are, but seeing one not 5m away was an eye-opener! On Tuesday I pootled over to see my folks in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight and me and my Dad went on a photography mission. I think I got some nice shots; certainly I am getting more of a feel for composition and so forth. The (unedited) highlights are on my flickr account.

Wednesday was a much needed catch up with my friend Cat- we did all the girly stuff I don’t normally do (and neither does she!) such as shopping and hair dye behaviour, then Matt cooked us dinner and we chatted about books and such. Thursday was another day to catch up with important friends- Scott came over and then we headed out for dinner with Stu and Tree. Again, lots of good talking about hobbies, books, plans. Friday I headed up to CAA UK, and live tweeted the conference, as well as curating a storify of the tweets floating about. It was another chance to see old friends and catch up on the cutting edges of my discipline. There was also epic conference swag, and QR-code cupcakes that led to open access archaeology papers! After things finished for the day I met Matt at Waterloo and we had dinner and drinks with our friend Den (who has just had his trilogy bought, so we had reason to celebrate!) and then trekked over to Greenwich to stay with a very dear friend who used babysit me, his partner and their 8 dogs (plus guinea pigs and birds)… As you can imagine, that was a bit mad but really really good.

Saturday was the second day of CAA and more tweeting, and cheering on Panda, a friend giving her first ever conference presentation (and doing a damned fine job)… I skipped the ArchCamp in the end because I was shattered, and met Matt in the West End for dinner, which was really not very good and made us grumpy. Then we headed to Pimlico to stay with Nix, who is practically my little brother, except he acts like my big brother, and his lovely other half Emma, and their very bouncy Labrador Loki, who has a thing about feet…

1 huge portion of jam roly-poly and rather a lot of wine later, we crashed out. Sunday saw us heading off to the British Museum, one of my favourite places to visit. We lurked around some old favourites and enjoyed some new things- like the gallery just installed about the enlightenment. This was a wonderful exploration of the 17th & 18th century flourishing of science and natural history, displayed like one enormous cabinet of curiosities. The current exhibition in the drawings and prints about travellers drawings from Greece was a good companion to this. I could have spent most of the day in there! We dived out to meet my friend Ish for coffee in the afternoon, before dashing back for our 4pm slot to see the Ice Age Art exhibition.


I was somewhat overwhelmed. It might have been the hecticness of the preceding week, and the amount of coffee, but I really had a bit of a ‘moment’ looking at the face of the woman from Dolini Vestonice, thought to be the first ever portrait of human being (as in, of a recognisable individual rather than an abstract ‘person’). The objects in the room included some of those that inspired me to study archaeology and helped me fall in love with prehistory. The Swimming Reindeer, inches from my nose. It was a moving, incredible experience. I think Matt thought I had gone a bit mad, but it was a wonderful hour and a bit communing with my ancestors. The cave installation was enthralling. I really liked how the exhibition was displayed and the information available. Part of me wanted more archaeological context- something about the environment, what we know about social groupings at the time, but that wasn’t the point: the objects were the point, and what they teach us about the arrival of the ‘modern mind’. If you get the chance, go. But book online- we were almost disappointed- by the time we bought our timed-entry tickets (at 11.30) we could only go in at either 14:40 or 16:00. I agree with the timed entry though- the figurines are tiny and numbers need to be controlled to give everyone a chance to see them very close. Even with the timed-entry some patience was needed to properly see all of the objects. Also, if you want postcards specific to the exhibit, you’ll only find them in the gift shop bit directly after the exhibit- you can’t get them elsewhere in the museum.

After that we headed home, and then I was horribly ill for two days….


Week 7: you can take a girl out of the North…

Last week was wonderful, and stressful, all in one big bundle.

I got back from Mainz late on Sunday night after fun and games with the German railways, then headed into work for three days, which was hectic and stressful because I missed a load of self-imposed deadlines and got rather cross about it all. On the tuesday night I held a ‘Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day’ gathering and inflicted my cooking on unsuspecting friends, then on Wednesday I had all of my usual packing issues. My journey to the UK was ‘interesting’ – trains and planes all over the place due to snow, but I made it to my Grandmas house in Middlesbrough with Matt in tow by 4pm. I was pleased to realise that while I wouldn’t have found my way from the station, walking from my old house or primary school would have been fine. Memory is a funny thing; the distances were all smaller than I remember, but then I last did those walks when I was 8, with much shorted legs!

My Grandma was very pleased to see me, once she got over the surprise, and my poor Grandad was very relieved that the need for secrecy was over and he no longer had to worry about spilling the beans. We spent the evening being feasted in true Yorkshire fashion- pork pies (from Petch’s Butchers in Great Ayton, of course), sausage rolls, trifle and strong tea! The next morning, me and Matt went to look at my old house and school, my Grandad Tom’s old house (the one my Mum grew up in!) and visited with my Mum’s best friend, who is more like an Auntie to me. We went for lunch at Great Broughton, then for a walk along the Leven in Stokesley. It was Matt’s first trip to Yorkshire, but hopefully not the last! We headed back by train on Saturday, headed out to see friends in Sussex that night, then spent Sunday recovering in our local pub 🙂

Week 7 - Family :)

Week 7 – Family 🙂

(Picture is, for this week only, courtesy of Matt!)

Two weeks at once

I’ve been in Mainz since last Sunday, and it took me almost 9 hours to get home today so this is going to be a bit brief. Last week was very hectic but I had a lot of fun- we had a writing group meeting and I have a paper almost ready to go off to my PhD supervisors, I went out for dinner with friends and then to see the original Nosferatu in the A-Kerk accompanied live on the newly restored church organ, and I dyed my hair (OK, my lovely hairdresser did it for me) peacock colours.



Nosferatu / week 5


I planned to post about this last weekend, but then I left for Mainz early in case of train issues and in the process left lots of things here in Groningen, including my Dutch phone (with the pictures on that I wanted to use)… and while I had internet at my hotel it was slow and annoying, so I decided to wait. This week I’ve been processing soil samples, which was about as exciting as it sounds. Except for yesterday, when I got to use ovens that are capable of mimicking conditions inside the Earth’s crust. I only used them to cook soil at 650 C though… This meant wearing some hilarious PPE and generally looking like a giant space lobster for most of the afternoon.

I had this morning off so I took myself wandering around Mainz, and ended up at the Citadel looking for the Drususstein. I also went to the Mainz Dom (Cathedral) but it is Carnival at the moment so I couldn’t get any nice pictures thanks to the giant slightly tacky funfair in the market place. There was also a lot of marching about in Prussian War era uniforms that I didn’t really understand. I’ll post all of those pictures to Flickr at some point soon. So, now I am home, for all of three days / four nights, before I head to the UK to surprise my Grandma on her 90th birthday. I’m not sure surprising a 90 year old is that clever, but my Dad and Grandad insist she’s as tough as old boots, and it means I get to see Matt on valentines day ^_^

Proof of Life #week6

Proof of Life #week6