daily life travel

Summer 2011 – the long holiday!

Confession: I have been stealing pictures…


They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon. On my mom’s birthday we ate at The Runcible Spoon in Stokes Croft. (The food was amazing!)

My brother and I with our grandpa (and I’ll say it again: no, I don’t have any idea where I thought the camera was or what I was looking at).

The morning that I made a Full English Breakfast – with a lot of help from my uncle and cousin. (Making breakfast is practically a heroic act for me, because I don’t do mornings. Or things approaching mornings. Or anything morning-like…)


With my cousins and my brother at Edinburgh castle – and with my aunt and grandma in the city of…

Loch Lomond – we went for a hike

Melrose Abbey

I like ruined things. (I’m not sure if this is because I’m an archaeologist – or if it might have been what drew me to archaeology in the first place. That said, give me a ruined abbey over a whole one, any day. Especially for a picnic.)

The site is beautiful And, on an archaeological note, the excavated foundations of the surrounding buildings – the way that they have been cleaned and displayed – is absolutely amazing! I walked my cousins through the “rooms” and pointed out a medieval toilet!

Runswick Beach

Fossil-hunting at Runswick Beach, Yorkshire UK on holiday with my uncle and his family – yes, we went fossil-hunting on holiday. (Twice, actually, since the afternoon was high tide and we had to come back in the morning – my 9yr old cousin woke me up. Have I mentioned how much I love my family?)

That would be me holding the ammonite and that would be my brother having a lie-down amidst the boulders and sea-weed. The cute kids would be my cousins – the one in the hat doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be a geologist. (Oh, and then there’s me trying to ID the finds, pretending to be a palaeontologist, making a pre-coffee face.)

Runswick Beach is amazing. If you make it at low-tide, you can just walk the cliff edge, climb through the tidal pools, strolling along (my brother didn’t even get his shoes dirty. Although his hair did smell a little like fish) and finding fossils. So very cool! (But put some back! I almost feel guilty letting the secret out,don’t want the beach to get plundered.)

Hadrian’s Wall

On top of Hadrian’s Wall with my cousin, who’s wearing my shawl (and laughing about it – she thought I was crazy, wrapping it around my head instead of using an umbrella).

Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Romans in 122 AD, marking the border  between England and Scotland. It runs the entire width of England. (The Scottish border has since moved north.)

The Emperor Hadrian gave up on conquering the Scots – they couldn’t beat them – so they walled them off. (At least, that’s how the Scots would tell the story.)

It probably had a lot to do with taxes and trade. It might have just been a display of power. At any rate, it was the most heavily fortified border in Europe, at the time. Permanent garrisons and forts were built into it, housing soldiers. It was occupied (more or less) until the Romans withdrew from England- and probably long after, by locals wo decided to move into it – until they decided to take the stone and build their own buildings.

Looking back, I should have felt bad about climbing ontop of a UNESCO World Heritage site. (I refused to let my family crawl all over the burial mounds near Stonehenge, and I chided my Mom for wanting to jump fences to get closer. I am, after all, an archaeology student.) Frankly, site conservation didn’t even occur to me at the time. I was simply engaging in de-valuing imperialism. It almost felt political; thumbing our noses at the old Empire. Perhaps I’ve been in England too long – perhaps its the cultural sentiment. Ttry telling the English that the Romans what did they ever do for us?) were all that long ago. There’s almost a sense – especially when the English talk to me, an American – of warning: “They fell. We fell. And so, soon, will you.”

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