Mud bath

Very difficult getting out of bed this morning. Most of my muscles have shut down and gone to Italy for the rest of the week. Like jelly, I prepared to leave.

There’s no shops near the dig so each morning I have to make sandwiches and remember water and chocolate. It’s a major task I can tell you! Not something I’m used to.

Day two saw Dawn once more trowelling happily while I joined two new guys armed with mattocks and shovels, preparing to complete yesterday’s trench. We chopped, we shovelled, then we trowelled.

Before heading off to our respective trenches, Dawn pointed out to me a guy who bore a striking resemblance to Harold Shipman. She said he gave her the heebies. He was with me, mattock in hand, in my trench. Seeing as I was not in need of any medical attention (well, not that I was admitting to) I figured I was ok. Since the dig, Mirinda has claimed she has seen another Shipman look-alike so I can only assume we are seeing clones.

If my muscles weren’t happy at the beginning of the day, that’s nothing on how they felt by morning tea! I was in agony. Actually that’s a gross understatement. Still, as I told myself through gritted teeth every time I moved any part of my body, you have to work through it, don’t you.

After morning tea (I spent half of it getting into a seat and the other half getting back up again) it was up to where the wall goes west-ish. Our job: to find the course of the wall and possibly the southern edge. So not just mattocking and shovelling but de-turfing as well.

The three of us got down to it, ignoring the rain that started to fall. At one point the rest of the volunteers abandoned work and headed for the shelter of the tents. We hardier souls only stopped work when George came over to tell us the bone lady had arrived. Actually we had our backs to the rest of the dig site and had no idea everyone else had left off digging.

We dragged our dampness down to the finds tent to listen to a lecture on bones given by the bone lady. I have to call her this as we were never introduced. She had an amazing accent and natural enthusiasm for her subject (much in the vein of Christine Stapley, the herb lady) matched only by the odd assortment of bones she showed us. Her knowledge was truly encyclopaedic. She held up a tiny plastic box and shook the minute collection of bones, saying it was once an eel measuring over 30 cm! There were not a lot of bones, I can tell you. She went on to fondle cow bones, sheep bones, all bones. She informed us that if we found goat bones in our Roman Villa, we should get excited and jump about, as this is quite rare. The same with fallow deer, introduced by my old chum Bill the Bastard post-1066. Apparently a few trend setters sneaked in before his invasion, presumably disguised as Gaulish traders selling chocolate biscuits.

As we stood, squeezed into the tent, listening intently, the rain continued to fall. Actually I was half in and out, but my faithful Akubra guaranteed all but my left leg remained dry. Except when I put my head down and created a waterfall onto my boots. Afterwards it was lunchtime in the other tent, basically watching the rain.

Muddy and soaked Gaz

Apres déjeuner, George gave us all a choice: we could leave and consider the day a washout or we could stay, dig and get filthy and wet. Many people left, but a few hardy souls remained – I forced Dawn to make a decision and, for some obscure reason, she chose to stay. So, joining me in the new hole were about 5 older women, Dawn and a crazy young guy whose innocence and naivety had to be seen to be believed.

We shovelled and mattocked and got filthy – I ruined my old digging boots – until the call came for afternoon tea. As Dawn had made the decision after lunch, it was my turn to decide on staying or going. We left. Imagine my chagrin as we passed Vietta only to be called wimps with all the derision only an English lady of a certain class can manage. I nearly turned and returned. But squeezing my mud encased boots off my feet (they were too dirty even for Dawn’s car) I hopped into the passenger seat and sighed with relief.

Quickly after getting home I was under the shower then I collapsed onto the lounge and watched TV. I had had the bright idea of going to yoga tonight. It was never gonna happen; I was in agony!

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