My first dig

Up at 6.30. I don’t know why. It just happened. Left the key with Katie and told everyone about the guy coming for Sidney on Monday – mainly so Dick doesn’t “duff ‘im up”. Finally hoisted my pack and hit the trail.

OH MY GOD! Walking bent over to stop from toppling backwards. The weight was okay-ish but it’s all pulling me back. Had a couple of stops but still made Alton in about an hour. The sun stayed hidden until I arrived at the station, which is a GOOD thing as it’s very hot now it’s out.

Now sitting on one of many trains today. Second train from Aldershot to Guildford and, naturally, lots of loud, obnoxious teenagers.

I’ve started re-reading Notes on the Making of Apocalypse Now and it’s still brilliant.

Train number three, Guildford to Havant. There was no electricity at Guildford which equals lots of staff being strangely helpful. The coffee bar was open but without the power the girl was just sitting there. She reckons she’s going home and I can’t say I blame her.

This train is late. Oddly enough, it arrived early but then there’s was some problem. Probably a shrew on the line.

A couple of annoying upper class twits sitting across the aisle talking about sailing in daddy’s yacht and drinking in Winchester. They are off to play “tennis in Surrey“. I really don’t care what they do but it would be really nice if they’d not include the whole carriage in their conversation. Fortunately they got off at Godalming and the train slipped into a merciful silence, after breathing a collective sigh of relief.

A lovely trip through the countryside to Havant and then my fourth and final leg to Fishbourne, which I made with two minutes to spare! Typically the train came in from the opposite side that I thought it would and I had to reassess where I’d assumed the ocean was. From Fishbourne it was a short ten minute walk to the Palace (as promised). I had my tent pitched and settled in by 3.45. And I left at 10am! You could drive it in less than an hour. Anyway, all part of the adventure.

Went down to look at the dig site from the anonymity of the bike path. Looks good and very real. Can’t wait till tomorrow.

Tent city outside the mosaics

I’m now settled and lying in front of my tent. I’m pitched right next to the portacabin so it’s only a short walk to the kettle in the morning. It would be all very pleasant and peaceful camped here by the huge mounds if not for one tiny thing. The A27 is about 500 metres away. You can’t see it because of the mounds and copious trees but you sure can hear it! Also the train line is even closer but you can only JUST hear it over the continuous traffic.

Having had my first meal of noodles. Cooked over my own little camp stove, I understand what Bill Bryson says about them. They ARE novel at first but wear very thin, pretty quickly. I’m glad I’m only in for a week of digestion.

The portacabin has all our essentials like kettle, fridge, table, chairs, etc and is a portable cabin on blocks. We get water from an outside tap behind it. I met an Australian girl called Emmie and there’s also a very friendly guy who suggested we go to the pub. Being English he omitted telling me HIS name.

Just met David Maynard, the Assistant Site Director and finally someone has filled me in on things. We trainees are meeting outside the Palace at 9am tomorrow to be told what to do/not do. I asked him how they’d got on last week and he said “…lots of finds…” but not what they’d expected. So instead of answering questions, they just asked more. He seems very friendly but also a tad odd. Sort of shy and retiring with a habit of stopping a conversation, pausing for a few seconds then quickly walking off. It’s not a problem, of course. If a conversation is over, there really is no need for a long dragged out session of small talk, but it’s rare to find someone with so much determination to get to another place.

Went to the Wool Pack for three pints. A few people from the campsite sat outside but I didn’t feel comfortable invading their space so staggered back to camp and sleep.

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