It was a busy week last week, both work-wise and socially. Monday I give several tours, and in the evening we go down to the Calleva Arms pub to watch the Morris Men dancing (which is hilarious, I recommend seeing them, and joining in).
Tuesday, two schools in the morning, one of forty children and one of thirty, so we have to make sure everything works perfectly logistically, as we split each school into three groups and rotate them all through six different workshops. It all works out nicely, and we are pleased (if also quite exhausted) when we wave goodbye to them. Disadvantage of six workshops? It means i have to give my tour of the site to the children six times. In a loud voice as I attempt to make sure they can all hear me, and all pay attention. My throat hurts so badly. Add to that that its cold and windy, and yes I am beginning to feel slightly miserable. In the evening, some friends and I go down to the Calleva Arms, following the luring promise of desserts. Dessert makes everything better! The Calleva Arms has some amazing deserts, I strongly recommend their chocolate fudge cake with mint ice cream and their sticky toffee ice cream cake if you ever go by there.
Wednesday we just have the one school, so rather than six workshops, I give one tour with all of them to start with, and we then rotate them through four different workshops. I myself am in charge of the dressing up/acting out a play. I explain how the Romans thought the Greeks were really clever, and a lot of their teachers were Greek. Therefore we are going to act out a Greek play, Perseus and Andromeda. I am pleasantly surprised when all the children eagerly tell me that they’ve been learning about Greek mythology in school, and they all take to the dressing up and acting with great gusto.
Since my workshop is a bit shorter than the others, we usually play games until the others are done, however one of the groups enthusiastically ask if they can act out the play again. I suggest we act a different play, and since they are all happy little experts in Greek mythology, they ask for Theseus and the Minotaur. Good thing then that I happen to have a Minotaur mask, and know the story by heart. You never know when you might need to recount a Greek mythological story! I happen to know the story of Theseus and the Minotaur quite well as when I did beginners Ancient Greek in my first year at university, Theseus and the Minotaur was one of the stories we had to translate from Ancient Greek into English. I can assure you that when you’ve haltingly translated a story from Ancient Greek into English three or four times, you know it fairly well.
Also on Wednesday I get to use my amazing Danish skills again as a hiking couple come in through the gates. You know, when I wrote on my CV that I was fluent in Danish, I really hadn’t expected to actually use it.
Thursday is much of the same, another class from the same school as Tuesday and Wednesday, so I do my big tour of the site, we split them into four groups, and I do my dressing up and acting thing. Its sunny and beautiful, and all the children, though energetic and difficult to get to sit still, and enthusiastic, polite and eager to join in. Today I do both Perseus and Andromeda and Theseus and the Minotaur with all the groups, which they all enjoy, particularly as they know the story of Theseus and the Minotaur (except for one boy who must have been either ill or not paid attention the day they were learning Greek mythology in school).
Thursday afternoon I also get to go home. Friday, our day off, is full of all the things I can’t get done the rest of the week, including shopping for trainers, since my old pair got destroyed while I was jogging Wednesday evening. Friday is over too soon as I spend the day taking our dog for walks, taking my sister to school, picking her and her friend up from school, packing the things I need to bring back with me to Silchester (like waterproof trousers since its supposed to rain all weekend). Too soon I’m back at Silchester, unpacking my things in my tent. Where do these days off disappear off to?
Saturday, we’re all prepped for a busy weekend. Except it rains. Not just a drizzle. Torrential rain. (don’t you love how English has so many words to describe rain?) We have some prearranged groups which arrive, however they are all groups which Amanda Clarke and Mike Fulford are taking care of, so there isn’t much for us to do, apart from greet them as they come in, and prepare some information packs for the Dig4MS group which Amanda is talking to. Some few brave souls have ventured into the rain, so we give a few tours, hand out some of our children’s Silchester Bingo’s, reward stickers, and indentify children’s finds in the dig-pit. But these are usually short, wet and cold visits. We end up closing early, just after lunch. And what then, but glorious sunshine? (though still with the occasional downpour of rain) a couple of us go down to the Calleva Arms, and enjoy the warmth and comfort it offers on such a cold and wet day.
Sunday… well it looks sort of alright when we wake up. Certainly its cloudy and cold, but it’s not raining… yet. As work commences its begins to alternate between a light drizzle, and a proper downpour. Oh how I love our cosy dry visitors cabin on such days. There were many intrepid explorers out in the rain, and in the morning alone we have approx. 70 visitors. However at around 2 O’clock, the downpour turns into a rainstorm. We close early again. My faithful tent, having been battered by wind and rain for so long has got a tear. It’s in the porch part of my tent, so there’s not need to panic yet. I attempt to stitch it, which works along the seem at the bottom, however higher up, all it does is further tear the fabric. I knew I should have brough duct tape.
Heres to hoping that week three will have better weather. And that my tent will survive this year without me and my stuff getting wet.