A day on a dig

The competition to win a day on a Roman Villa dig is now running on Tiscali’s website as well as Penguin and Waterstones.

This whole website competition thing is a revelation to me. A quick trawl around these sites¬† has revealed all sorts of goodies up for grabs. Not that those of us with approaching deadlines¬† spend time cruising around the Internet, of course…


After an interesting few days with no broadband it’s a huge relief to have everything up and running again. I’ll restrain the urge to rant about technology but let me just say this… the new piece of kit came with three conflicting sets of instructions. None of them made it clear which component was which. Two of them had written at the top in large letters: START HERE.


On to nicer things. The chance to win a day on a Roman Villa dig is now up on the Penguin website as well as Waterstones. There should be another link coming up soon which I’ll post as soon as I have it.

In the meantime there are now contact details on the Diary page for all the libraries I’ll be visiting in April. Dug is looking forward to meeting people and showing off his new hair.


Meet Dug, the Iron Age man from Dorset. A dozen students have just been reconstructing his face from casts of his skull. I had terrible trouble with his ears. No wonder he looks wan and depressed. Or, as Husband describes him, spooky.
Dug with no hair

Still, he is a lot better-looking than he used to be:

Dug with pegs in

Photos of everyone’s reconstructions will be up on Martin Weaver’s site soon. Most of them look a lot happier than Dug. And there’s good news for all the people who’ve said, ‘Oh, I wish I’d known about that!’ – Martin’s hoping to run another course later in the year.

In the meantime Dug and I will be visiting libraries during April – dates are on the diary page. I’ll be doing the talking and he’ll glare at anyone who falls asleep. By that time he may have acquired some hair. I doubt it’ll cheer him up much, but at least it’ll do something to hide his ears.

Of mice, men and the Iron Age

Husband and I tackled yesterday’s minor domestic crisis with our usual weapon: a good argument. The only points we could agree on were, a) there probably was a mouse behind the television, and b) we didn’t want to give it back to the cat.

Husband finally conceded that we weren’t going to catch it with a stick and a biscuit tin. ‘Go and buy a trap,’ he suggested. ‘Don’t waste hours trying to rig something up. You’re supposed to be writing.’ (Husband is very keen to encourage writing, in the fond hope that it will one day make him rich enough to retire. I have explained that Roman medics don’t have the same wide appeal as boy wizards, but he remains hopeful.)

There is a shop just down the road that sells everything. No doubt they have humane mousetraps. But researching the Ruso books has left me faintly ashamed of my twenty-first century helplessness. We carry the genes of ancestors who were brave, ingenious and resourceful, and who couldn’t just nip out to the shops. So in honour of the spirit of the Iron Age, I turned to Google for advice.

Result, ten minutes later: husband gone to work, humane mousetrap set, me diligently writing. (Well, two of those are true.)

Ten hours later: husband back from work, interrupts diligent writing with the three little words that have sustained our marriage over many years – ‘You were right!’

Bewildered but lively mouse is returned to the far end of the garden, untouched by cat or human hand. Steve Smith, designer of the do-it-yourself humane mousetrap, I salute you. And now I really must get on with the diligent writing…