So, today, Dawn and I attended a day course in forensic archaeology, ostensibly about Egyptian archaeology. I think I’ve been spoilt by university. The debates, the cut and thrust of opinion, agreeing and disagreeing with the lecturer. This wasn’t like that. Our lecturer (and I use the term loosely) was an ex-teacher of primary school children. And you could tell.
Her experience was excellent. Her slides were of actual Egyptian burials and her anecdotes were about digs in Egypt. All very interesting. The group of attendees was varied but generally not particularly scholarly. I’m sure they all had a lot more from the day than I did and, to be completely honest, I would have been just as happy had I not attended. I was tempted to not go back after lunch but Dawn was getting a lot more from it so I put up with the second half. Actually I struggled to stay awake because of the windows.
When we first arrived, I was amazed at how airy and cool the room was. Perfect for a lecture, I thought. Big windows around the ceiling were wide open and a lovely breeze ensured that the air was fresh. A good chance to stay awake, I thought. About five minutes into the talk and a fussy woman in front of us started coughing. The lecturer, full of motherly concern, asked the woman if she’d like some water.
This wasn’t the only interruption. The first hour was dotted with silly little technical problems which involved changing overhead projectors, shuffling the skeleton around and wrestling with a portable white screen. Had it not been a serious lecture, it would have been hilarious. Actually, it was hilarious without meaning to be.
The thing about this day course was that last time it ran it was oversubscribed and proved very popular. I’m not really sure why. But, anyway, the organisers decided it was so popular they would run it again. And that’s the one we were on.
Anyway, the coughing woman replied to the offer of water with the comment that it was because the windows were open. There was then a mad rush to shut them all. This more or less guaranteed I’d be asleep in the afternoon. Clearly the woman was allergic to air. I purposely had a minor coughing fit about half an hour later, waiting to be asked if I was okay, so I could say I needed the windows open. Sadly, she didn’t care about my well being and I remain unasked.
Lunch was great. We wandered down to a pub that, while it served 6X, did not do food on a Saturday and ended up at the next corner in an Italian place which did an excellent Fiorentina pizza and Peroni. So far, this was the highlight of the day.
It was also Ladies Day at Ascot today. So arriving at Waterloo was like Friday night rush hour except everyone was dressed to the nines. It was ridiculously crowded and strange at the same time.
The afternoon at the lecture was pretty dire. We had a big quiz thing where we had to look at a very large collection of objects and write about them. At the end of the day we were asked what we thought of each of them. This sounds like it should have been quite interesting but it was a bit ‘Show and Tell’ if you ask me.
When it finished, I was quite glad to get out. The tutting of the self confessed vegan sitting in front of us, activated whenever I whispered to Dawn (not often and only where relevant) helped. We went to the pub that served 6X and had a grand time drinking and chatting about the stupid lecture, the Weasels, Nicktor and trying to remember the name of the woman who measured the bones of the Korean War dead for her PHd. We didn’t and it was Trotter.
We sat on a lovely high padded backed bench which, like a bench in a church yard, had a dedication plaque on it to a chap who used to like to drink in the pub. A lovely spot. After a while we realised it was getting pretty late so we wandered to the bus stop and left for Waterloo and home.
Though, somehow, we ended up sitting on a train for about half an hour, thinking it was leaving for Portsmouth Harbour in five minutes. It turned out to be going to Weymouth. Fortunately we found out before it left and switched trains.
To sum the day up, the company was delightful, the lecture was a bit dull. And here’s a photo of Dawn drinking a pint and a half of 6X.