The Wonders of WordPress

Today Ed and I went to an art and poetry exhibition in my home-town. I’m not usually into poetry, I’m personally more into novels, but this exhibition was one of the few exceptions,as the entire thing was based around Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a collection of stories and poems during the reign of Augustus and it talks about the creation of the Earth and other stories of change and transformation such as Apollo and Daphne, the tale of Hecuba (the Trojan woman who turned into a dog) and much more. I haven’t read the entirety of the work, but I do know the stories through research, so Ed and I chose to check it out.

We were originally planning on making it in time for the poetry reading at two o’ clock in the afternoon but we didn’t make it because we were hungry. It wasn’t too big of a deal though as we could just read the poetry ourselves. We turned up, perhaps around three o’ clock and we were welcomed by a very small exhibition space that comprised of perhaps eight square shaped stands that you could walk around. The panels of the squares each contained one painting and two or three poems (depending on how long they were) based off of stories in Metamorphoses, in chronological order. The first poem I read was on the ‘Age’ system as it talked of the Golden Age and the demise of humanity through to the Iron Age. There was also the stories of Narcissus and Echo, one of my favourite myths, about a girl cursed to repeat the words of whoever spoke and the man who was cursed to fall in love with himself and die, gazing at his reflection, at the bank of a pond where he would wither away and turn into a daffodil. There was poems based on Pyrasmus and Thisbe (the tale said to inspire Romeo and Juliet about forbidden lovers). In the story Pyrasmus and Thisbe are planning to meet but Thisbe is chased away by a mountain Lion. Pyrasmus, thinking she is dead kills himself, but Thisbe is not, and in discovering his stabbed body takes her lovers sword and plunges it into her own heart. There were also poems on the old couple who died together and turned into trees. They were beautiful poems, I have to say, and all of them were well written. My favourite being the one of the old couple as it was a dialogue between the two.

More people were turning up and looking around and we gathered together in the centre where the curator told us that people from my high school had came the day before to see and asked if we were in school. Incidentally all of us were from the same school. One of us was in GCSE studying Classics, Ed is at A-Level studying Classics, and I have left school and am studying Archaeology and Ancient History at university, there were others but the curator was asking us younger generation as her aim was to make works of literature such as ancient works and myths, accessible to younger people and we were her demographic of people that she was aiming to please. Thus it spurred on an impromptu poetry reading by the curator and her mother who read the poems and talked about the art with such passion and enthusiasm for the creativity and the stories and what they all mean, it was lovely.

From thereon I read more poems based on the myth of Medea and Jason, of whom I had seen Euripides play just the week before as a live stream at the local cinema. I read poems on the Trojan War and the damage it caused, the tale of Hecuba. There were poems based on Orpheus, who went into the underworld in an attempt to save his dead wife from the underworld, and there was a hilarious poem about Actaeon who found Diana and her nymphs in the woods as he hunted one day, was caught, and was turned into a stag by the goddess and torn to pieces by his own dogs. The exhibition achieved it’s goal, to say at the least, with excellency and really, it deserved more recognition than it had. It was magnificent.

The woman, after the reading and before we all left, talked to us about how the exhibition was made and how it came to be. She declared, proudly, that it was all done via Twitter and WordPress! I was amazed at the accomplishment that one woman had managed to gather writers and artists from all corners of the World, from Brighton in the United Kingdom, to California in the United States to France and to India and more. It was nothing short of a wonder. I believe you can find them at artipeeps.wordpress.com because they are, at some point, planning an exhibition on Norse myths and obviously would like people to get involved.  Sometimes I forget that the internet can be more powerful than kitten photographs and Facebook statuses and this exhibition was, not only superb, but an amazing example of what we can do simply via a blog. It was inspiring.

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What I’m Reading | Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I’m going to start simply by saying this:

YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! *deep breaths*

Beautiful Ruins according to Nick Hornby is “a novel unlike any other you’re likely to read this year.” the New York Times says it is a “monument to crazy love” and the Times calls it “an ambitious, large-hearted, exhilarating novel” and they are right. The book itself is about a man who lives in Italy and he falls in love with an American movie actress (with cancer) when she comes to stay at his hotel. Fifty years later he travels to California to find this woman who he lost way back in 1962 and embarks on an epic journey to find his love. 

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I first bought it initially because it is set, sort of, in Italy which is my favourite country and the blurb sounded incredibly sweet, how could I not want to read something so cute!? It’s also about California and actresses which is also what made me drawn. Normally I wouldn’t read something like this (I tend to go for more ‘dark’ stuff) but I had been drawn to it for a while- probably partly because the cover was all bright colours- and I gave in.

At first I couldn’t get into it. I admit that, but having came out of reading ‘Divergent’ which is a pretty easy read for someone my age, the writing style seemed a bit difficult and slow. Since I normally like to devour books I took the slow pace as a sign of it being bad and left it on my bookshelf unread from page 21 for three or four months and I picked it up again last week when, looking through my books, I realised I had not finished a few and this was one so I resumed reading. 

Once you come at it having taken a break from reading the style of the book is actually magnificent, if anything the slow pace helps you to contemplate everything that the book throws at you and therefore makes every word feel significant. And every word is significant. If there’s one thing I like it is when a novel uses words eloquently to create a story, where no word out of thousands is wasted and it is definitely a feel I get with Beautiful Ruins. 

The chapters are also well set out following the ‘points of view’ (though not in first person- thank god) of multiple people. It starts in Italy, 1962 and then jumps to California in a time simply known as ‘recently’ to 2008, and so forth, as the story unravels not only in the ‘present’ day Los Angeles but also in the past, in Italy and America, and it tells the story of how Pasquale fell in love with a woman, and how he found her. Every time a new character is introduced the next chapter is about them, it tells their part of the story. Though I’m not going to give examples because I want you to find it out for yourself. 

I love it. Beautiful Ruins is, I have to say, Beautiful. I’m only a little over a half way, if not more, and although I’m still reading it and do not know what is going to happen yet I could not recommend it enough. This book feels like it matters. I root for the protagonist- which is rare- I adore all the characters and how they all unwittingly held a significance. It’s a book that is uplifting and devastating at the same time, a tribute to love and cinema and so much more. If there’s one book you read this year it has to be this one. 

Playing in Spain | Day 2

I realise now, the evening before I come back to England that I still have nine days of spanish adventures to write up. Oops. Now when I get back to Britain (which has been rainy and miserable recently) I’ll be missing it all, wishing that I never left. So, here is day two:

We started early in the morning, as the plan for the day was to walk around the entire city and find our bearings, even though one of the group had lived in Spain for a year and knew the area well. Still, it got us to look around. I woke up at half past six, which equates to five thirty in England. I’m not one to wake up before eleven without a mocha so to wake up at that time, without even a coffee bean in sight so when I was showered, dressed and ready to go by half past seven everyone was a bit surprised. Everyone else was ready by around nine and then we were off. 

We took the metro down to the city centre because it was easier than walking through all the streets that are mainly housing and not much else. When we got to the city centre it was already boiling hot, around twenty eight degrees celsius, which for a Brit is extreme. We started walking around looking at all these pretty squares. There was one that was so fancy, with an art deco type cinema on one side, that I felt like I had become a glitzy star.

Off the side of this square was a bunch of shops, one of which was a bikini shop which I went in and bought a new bikini, because we were going to a water park the next day and the one I had wasn’t suitable for it (how can you trust two triangles strapped to your chest with string as you’re whizzing down a huge slide?). There was also a “bubble tea” place, which was more iced drinks, smoothies and milkshakes than tea. I got an oreo milkshake with strawberry bubbles, though the choice was difficult. Ed got a melon one which was really refreshing, especially in the heat. We kept walking with these drinks until we came to a square which was part of the old town, though I’m not sure how old, which was where a cathedral and the bishops house was. It was beautiful. 

The Cathedral is supposedly the true place of the real holy grail and a lot of historians back this up. This felt like a big deal so we decided to have a look. There you could pay five euros to look around the church, or two euros to climb the tower (with 207 steps) and still have to walk through the church. So we decided to climb the tower.

Up we went.

Climbing was quite easy, if not slightly dizzying as you spiralled around a narrow staircase with only a thin handrail to keep you steady. The people coming back down had it harder though, having to manage the narrowest part of the spiral stairs in ridiculous flip flops and sandals. I was wearing Birkenstocks. As we got to a particularly narrow part of the climb, where I was watching people practically fall down, that I got a bit worried about the descent. However I first had to get to the top. Not easy when you don’t like being in tight spaces and struggling for breath. Just for a view.

But the view was spectacular, stretching all the way across the city, old and new, from one end to the other. You could see the sea on the horizon. 

“Valencia is much bigger than I thought it was” I said, awesturck. But I suppose you’d get that impresion if so far you’d only seen the beach and the old town. We talked history, I tried not to look down too much, or up, as the remided me of the 207 narrow and steeps steps I would have to descend in minutes. I panicked. 

I don’t want to talk about it. 

But going down wasn’t so bad. Probably because the people saw how terrified I looked and let me stick to the hand rail, probably because I refused to move away from the hand-rail. And we were down, on the ground. Finally. 

After that we hand lunch, at the same square, the tower laughing at me in the distance. I was now hot and tired and wanted to go home. But I ate some ham and cheese and watched the people moving about the plaza, The policemen patrolling the streets, the buskers and beggars all asking for our attention. It was nice. If only home had squares like this. They did attempt it back home, pedestrianised some of the market place, but it is mostly empty and a car park ruins the ambience. 

We walked more. I bought a bag for the beach, since my diddy one that I had right now would not fit anything more than my purse and the bare essentials. Then we walked even more. To one of the towers, passing a little place with orange trees, more old buildings, and then we reached one of the gigantic gates that marked where the wall used to stand. We had a look on the outside. We were going to go in, but by the time we had got there I was tired, struggling to stay awake even, I was hot and sticky and my fan wasn’t helping much, dehydrated (even with five lemon fantas in my system) and ill, which was presumably from the heat. Instead I went home with Ed, and had a nap. 

When I awoke, feeling refreshed and happier (England needs siestas) we got ready to head down to the beach for a little while. We paddled in the mediterranean, though it wasn’t much fun, the sea was incredibly salty that it hurt your eyes if it splashed you, and the waves were so powerful I was sure that if I lost control I’d be washed out with the tide. 

I can’t remember much else of the day, either because it wasn’t eventful enough or something, but we had pizzas for dinner inside our rented flat and then went to bed almost straight after because it was such a shattering day. The little futon now impossibly comfortable, even for six foot Ed whose feet dangled off the end. 

(I’ll add pictures later, but right now I can’t access OneDrive and I want to go to sleep)

Playing in Spain | Day 1

Myself and seven other people with me arrived in Valencia, Spain just yesterday. I was completely ready for my holiday even if the last minute packing wasn’t evidence of being so, and couldn’t wait to get there. Of course, I had to fly first. 

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I don’t like flying. As handy as it is I can’t help but think that it’s a metal box hurtling itself through the air and that in itself is quite unsettling. I don’t mind the actual flying, as I so loudly said to my mother- aged 11- as we were going to Florida, it’s the taking off and landing that is the worst, and so after my two hour nap on board the box I was awoken to the worst landing I had ever experienced. It was so turbulent and shaky, and extremely fast. In fact there was a huge drop at some point that even had the air stewards swearing under their breath (reassuring). I was sure the oxygen masks would be needed soon. But, alas, we made it safely, and although we flew with some cheap company no one had lost their bags. 

The first thing we did, because we had bags, was find the flat we had rented out for the 10 days we were here for. We stepped off the metro train that bought us most of the way and the sun was so lovely and the sky was so blue. There were these huge buildings that I thought were hotels but were actually flats. Apparently almost everyone in the city lives in an apartment. When we got to the one we rented the man wasn’t in and so we had to wait. There was a bakery next to the place, however, so we all grabbed paninis and sandwiches for lunch. The man then came, handed us the keys and set off on his little motorbike thing. 

We looked around the flat, which is very light and airy, as things should be on the Mediterranean coast, and Ed and I were allocated the study. 

“The futon in here is tiny!” I squealed when I saw it. Ed doesn’t fit on it properly. Half his legs hang off unless he bunches himself up. Though the futon may be small we get the balcony, while no one else does, and we get air conditioning while the others don’t. And we have the wifi right next to us, which is handy for all our needs (that is instagram and wordpress). We set down our bags, got changed and then headed out to take a gander. 

the view from the balcony, and Argonaut sitting in the sun.

the view from the balcony, and Argonaut sitting in the sun.

We walked about seven minutes past the harbour, which our flat is literally two roads away from, and then on to the beach. At first we just walked down the promenade, although Pookie and Mouse went down to the sea with Mouse’s dad, though we all sat down for a drink first. Luckily Jem has a degree in Spanish and can speak it extremely fluently so ordering is hardly a hassle (except for her) and so beers, colas and lemon drinks were consumed. I had a lemon drink. It was delicious, but extremely sour. 

the promenade

the promenade

The promenade is spectacular, it sort of reminded me of Venice Beach in L.A (not that I’ve been) because of all the palm trees along the side. It was so hot though, even at five o clock in the afternoon. In fact, I was so hot that Ed’s dad had to go to a shop and buy me a fan because he thought I looked a bit red. There were shops, restaurants and market stalls all along the promenade, and my objective was to get a bigger bag as the single one that I had bought was tiny, but nowhere really had any I liked. Still, it was beautiful. There were also a whole gang of stalls selling fresh corn on the cob, still in the leaves. It was spectacular. 

As far as Europe goes there’s still street vendors who look shady and illegitimate, but having been to Greece and Italy with the school I sort of learned to ignore those people, no matter hoe long they hung around. 

And then we walked on the beach. Coming here we were told that the sand was so hot even the native Spanish couldn’t walk on it without sandals (though there was a volleyball match going on and none of them had shoes on). Of course, I put it to the test. The sand was warm indeed, but not too hot, though I wouldn’t be on it for too long, just in case. The sand, however, was extremely soft. We went down the board walk towards the sea, and set up some towels on the sand and all hand a bit of a paddle about in the sea, though there was always someone on the shore looking after the bags. I tell you, it is refreshing to go into a sea that you an see all the way through to the bottom of. England just doesn’t have that luxury, even if you go to a nice beach. 

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And then we all got ice-creams. I got a marshmallow one which was extremely child-like of me, but it was pink and it was delicious. Ed had a white chocolate one which was gone in five seconds flat, Pookie had a brownie one, and then I don’t know. They also had a mango one I’d like to try next. We went back home. Chilled out, and then got ready to go out. I had a bun in my head all day so took it out and it was all wavy, like a fifties hollywood actress, so I kept it like that, slicked on my nicer sandals and went out for dinner around nine o clock. I went to Spain when I was six years old with my family, and when we were going for tea at this time then I was falling asleep at the table. Things have changed, however and I was wide awake (though Pookie and Mouse weren’t). 

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When we got to the restaurant there was a kerfuffle over tables (I don’t think they have ever had to deal with such a large group) but we got seated, placed orders of everything and it was all bought out within minutes at rapid fire. First there were olives, and then chips, ‘patatas bravas’, calamari squid rings, grilled cuttlefish, chorizo, anchovies, salad, Salerno ham, croquette potatoes with ham, spicy chicken, and this really delicious cheese that I liked so much I had half of one plate. It sounds like a lot of food, but all the dishes were shared out between seven people (Mouse had her own sandwich for dinner) so the portions were totally manageable. We all wolfed down the food, at a rate we were sure the waiters would find alarming, but it was absolutely delicious. The only thing I did not try was the anchovies, but I’ve had them before and was never keen. We were so full at the end we wouldn’t even contemplate dessert. I have not been so satisfyingly stuffed in weeks. 

Luckily the tapas was only a few streets away from the flat so we didn’t have to walk far back home. And then we all went to bed. 

Regarding the first nights sleep the study now seems unfortunate. There’s this thing outside that has been making noise throughout the night, on and off, so you can’t even get used to it and it is so hot that it’s ridiculous, even without a duvet at all I’m sweltering. Also, because this is a relatively new area, I don’t really know what the bugs are like here so have been paranoid I’d wake up with a huge spider on my face (I did, however, see my very first cockroach while were were walking back from tapas). I woke up at 7AM in Spanish time, so not too ridiculous, though I am awake before anyone else, which is really strange as a lot of the people here often wake up at six o clock. I can only assume that they all have jet lag and I don’t because I slept on the plane, and napped throughout. Perhaps we should participate in siesta? 

I also bought a video camera with me so hopefully I can film some things to show you because I think that would be fun. I’ll try.

Can People Just Be Humble About Charity, Please?

Facebook ruins everything. First it ruined socialising by wearing a clever disguise and being called a ‘social networking site’, then it ruined any sport event in the world. The Olympics? Ruined. World Cup? Ruined. Wimbledon? Ruined. Simply because there are far too many statuses about it. Now Facebook is ruining charity. Why? 

Well, Facebook is really just a website that allows you to brag about how good your life is to all the people you used to go to school with. On it we brag about friendships, of relationships, new cars (and how much we spent on them), holidays, clothes (and how much we spent on them- in fact someone on my facebook posted about how they bought two pairs of jeans for £120 each pair, when in actual fact they were on sale at £40 for both. As he admitted later in the comments), and now instead of appearing superficial and braggy we want to look charitable and generous which is where the whole thing comes from. 

On Tuesday my area took part in a Race For Life which, for those unfamiliar, is a ‘run’ hosted by Cancer Research UK, to raise money for the cause and pay tribute to those who have suffered from cancer. See, a good cause, and it’s being ruined. 

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Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that Facebook exists so that people can raise awareness to charities and events for them, and how good it is for spreading the world, I’m not THAT much of a meanie! But seriously, people just need to be humble about these things. 

Since Tuesday I have seen just about everyone on my timeline post a sweaty after-run race bragging about either a) how fast they ran, b) who they ran with or c) how much money they raised. It just reminded me of the make-up less selfies that went around the world the other month to raise money for the same charity. A good cause, ruined.

The thing with the selfie thing is that, despite being hidden under a mask of good-will it was still selfish. For one there was the ‘tagging’ thing, which brought up your friends and basically said ‘ha! I was kinder before YOU’, and yes maybe I am a little bit bitter about that because I was never tagged because I have no ‘friends’ and whatnot, but still. Next is the selfie in general. People were actually refusing to take part in this because they didn’t look good without make-up and that is a selfish thing to add to what is meant to be a selfless thing. In the end people were posting WITH make-up which stripped away the point, it then became a game of ‘show us how pretty you are’ and that sucked. And then thirdly there was the charity aspect where it was all about oneupmanship. First you didn’t have to donate, just raise awareness, then SOMEONE did and everyone else needed to look just as kind. 

Oh, look. My friend donated £5, I need to show her up and donate £50! 

Suddenly, everyone was not just donating, but talking about how much they raised. There were hundreds being given. Suddenly it was all about the spare money you had to give away and how much you spent. That sucked more. DON’T GET ME WRONG IT WAS A GREAT CAUSE AND MILLIONS WERE RAISED BUT WHERE IS THE HUMBLE PIE! 

But I digress. That’s the thing with this Race For Life, it’s become a matter of looking good to other people, people that you don’t actually care about but want to impress, because for some reason society is so superficial about our image that we can’t even keep something respectful unscathed. Since Tuesday (that’s literally only two days) everyone has had to say “I’ve had so much fun running at the Race For Life for Cancer Research UK with my best friends. I did it in just thirty seconds (aren’t I miraculous) and have donated a bajillion pounds because I am THAT generous! P.S. Here is my tee-shirt and pink Nike Airs that cost a bunch specially for this occasion.” Jeez! (that being said, my school had to stop ‘charity dress-up days’ in sixth form because people were spending more money on their costumes than they were giving, which is SO not the point)

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I’m not the only one who thinks this way. I was talking to Ed about it earlier and he thinks the same as his timeline was also littered, and not even for the right reasons. I’m all glad that they did something good, and am very happy that such a worth-while charity is getting such recognition, but I can not express how sad I am that it has come to this. 

Whatever happened to just texting a number to donate £1 like they do on Red Nose Day, or giving your clothes to charity shops, whatever happened to generally being generous out of the kindness of your heart and because you want to do good. (I’m sure that many people who took part in the race for life did do it out of good-will, too, I’m just saying) Why can’t we just send in a cheque nowadays without having to cause a ruckus over the number that was written on it? I’m not saying these people were bad because they did the Race For Life, definitely not, and I would have taken part myself if I ever managed to keep up with these sorts of events, because I genuinely believe in the things that the charities try to do. I’m just saying that the song and dance that people have made over the whole thing has turned it all into some kind of show, more than ever because we have somewhere we can easily talk about it without having to wait for the moment to arise, a place where EVERYONE can see, and the humbleness has sort of disappeared. 

I think it will be mean to write such a post, without having donated any money so I will, because I want to. And I urge you to do the same as well, I want everyone reading this to pick a charity, any charity and donate some money, whether it is just a pound, or a hundred, I simply don’t care. But if you do, please do it because you are being kind, not because you want to look good. And please don’t tell me how much you have given, and please do not post it on Facebook. 

Digging Into the Past

A few hours ago Ed came back from his archaeological dig. It was only in Sedgeford, a measly fifteen minutes away by car but I was still not able to see him for a week, which felt weird, considering I was still staying in his house, with his family.

Sedgeford offers a ‘BERT’ course for archaeological beginners to gain the Basic Excavation and Recording Techniques, for a week, which is what Ed was doing there this week, but of course as part of the programme they also have to do presentations to the public on a Friday. Jem, Pookie and I decided to go and see. I personally was looking forward to seeing Sedgeford as I had dug there two years ago and was eager to see how it had progressed since my being there.

“We’ll leave at three o clock.” Jem said. But really what I learned is that when someone says a time they’ll leave at they really mean fifteen minutes later. The thing that stalled us was that Pookie had left her school bag at school and needed to go back and get it, which added ten minutes to the leaving time already. However. At quarter past three all the schools are done for the day and there’s an abundance of cars picking up kids and taking them places that we got stuck in traffic coming out of town. We decided it must be because the schools are done either for summer, or for the weekend that everyone is going off to the beach (doesn’t help that today was meant to be the hottest day). The traffic was so awful it was at a standstill so we didn’t even get out of town until twenty seven past three, just three minutes before the presentation started.

We were frantically trying to call and text Ed to say we were going to be late and to see if he could stall the presentation a little bit, alas no. The presentation has already started. Luckily, the traffic eased up considerably once we left the town and we were quick enough getting there, even if we were twenty minutes late. But it was fine. We made it JUST in time for the BERTs to speak. Ed was first.

The presentation was great. Though the funny thing is that Ed did just about the same thing I did. He dug a trench that was the shape of a quarter circle on the edge of the trench and found…….

nothing. Just a sliver of bone near the top.

Two years ago I also dug a quarter circle (I’m very sorry, my archaeological lingo is a bit rusty at the minute) on the edge of a trench and found nothing but a shard of bone. The only difference is that Ed didn’t lose his bone.

(On my behalf it was not MY fault I lost it. We were called to lunch just as I found it and I asked what I should do with it to which they told me to leave it on the bucket of a lid next to my trench as they couldn’t get a finds tray at that exact moment, and when I came back from lunch the lid, and the bone, was gone. It was fixed, however, because the supervisors told me to write on the context sheet that it went through to enviro because then there’s a scapegoat)

It’s funny though, that Ed and I are dating, and we have done our digs on the same weeks (or just about) that he is two years younger than me and is doing his dig in the same year of school as me and has ended up digging the exact same hole (sort of) and finding next to nothing. However, none of the other BERTs found anything either, unlike when I dug and the people next to me where uncovering cow skulls and bits of metal working.What was the conclusion about the area the BERTs were digging this year is that a lot of it is just natural features from the glacial period (approx 12,000 years ago) which, even though not as cool as a burial or anything is still exciting. Ed did theorise that, because a lot of the deposited rocks were iron rich thought that perhaps it was actually an iron deposit or somewhere in which iron would be dug up and worked which would explain, partly, why there is a settlement.

However, in the next trench (or context, as we like to call it) they found what looks like a house. There was a hearth with what could be a clay floor, some hook thing that they suspect is a door latch and post-holes. Empirical evidence that there is a house. However the coolest find was a piece of daub from a wattle and daub house which had an imprint of the woven wattle on one side and the hand-print of a seven year old[?] on the other. HOW COOL IS THAT! I can’t say it’s every day that mud used to build a house in the Anglo-Saxon period survives.

Of course, while I was there I wanted to find my hole and go through nostalgia, but I think I may have missed that part of the tour. Of course, just being there and seeing familiar people made me nostalgic over Sedgeford, and I think being there again made me realise exactly how much I miss being there and how much I miss digging, and now I am itching to join one again (if I can wrangle some money out of my family Ed and I were going to try and come back as volunteers some time this summer- *hinting towards mum*).

What’s more, is that Sedgeford are actually publishing a book about the archaeology there, called “Digging Sedgeford – A People’s Archaeology”, which is an editorial on the site, which reflects and input on all who have been associated with it, so you never know, you might be able to see my name somewhere, again, HOW COOL IS THAT! The book si being published on the 15th of August this year and will be available in bookshops as of that same date for £19.95 which really isn’t badly priced for an archaeology book. And you can also order it online. They, I believe, are currently doing a pre-publication offer to those who order before the publication date at just £15, and can be delivered outside of the UK too. I’m very sorry if this promotion has bugged you, but you see, Archaeology is a passion of mine and Sedgeford is a site that will remain dear to me for as long as I live, so I would like to share these things with you.

Afterwards we went home, and bought Ed back with us, who is now very happy to be back in a normal bed and have a good shower in a more private setting, and then we went to the beach for fish and chips and to make ourselves even more muddy, probably making this day perhaps one of the nicest I’ve had in a while.

What I’m Reading | ‘Four’ by Veronica Roth

Earlier in the year I read the Divergent series, following the story of the character Tris Prior on an adventure through a divided Chicago as she comes to terms with what, and who she is. My review on the series was a bit mixed, but I have actually came to the conclusion that I do actually really like the books, which is great (because I’d hate to have wasted my money)! It is for this fact that when I walked into Waterstones, the book shop, yesterday and discovered that Veronica Roth has released a new book I was ecstatic and bought it immediately. 

‘Four’ by Veronica Roth is a ‘prequel’ to the Divergent series, set two years in the past, however is not written in the voice of Tris Prior but in the voice of ‘Four’ or Tobias Eaton, a former Abnegation citizen who, on the date of the choosing ceremony, decided to transfer over to the Dauntless faction. The background of the story, as I read in the introduction, is that Veronica Roth started writing Divergent in the voice of Tobias but stopped thirty pages in because she didn’t think it was right, and then chose to write in Tris’ perspective for the most part (apart from half of Allegiant). Tobias is perhaps my favourite character in the series which is why I was excited to read it. I am currently halfway through. 

The story of ‘Four’ is written in four parts, wonderfully enough, as Four in the series only has four fears, hence his name, so it is only fitting to write it in four parts (and I do like a good play on words). After the story of Four, however, there are also three deleted ‘scenes’ which Veronica had changed or omitted and this intrigued me to see how these scenes may have played into the story. Great, my curiosity is held. The names of the four sections are:

The Transfer

The Initiate

The Son and

The Traitor and essentially follow Tobias as he chooses to leave abnegation, go through the initiation stages in Dauntless, settle into his new life and then find his place in Dauntless and become one of the most powerful members of the faction. The final quarter, The Traitor, then documents meeting Tris, though is not the first moment they meet as that is contained in the deleted scenes under the title ‘First Jumper, Tris’. Ah, it seems confusing. 

Reading it I am currently halfway through ‘The Son’ which the name itself intrigues me (I won’t say why that will spoil everything) but judging from the other titles I can only take a guess at the contents on the pages. The story itself is great. As I said, I adore Tobias Eaton and his voice as he is a strong and well developed character which comes across well in these short stories, which may be due to being the earliest developed character that Veronica Created. He almost, almost puts Tris to shame. At points the voice of Tris and the voice of Tobias sort of blend, as they compete with the authors own writing style but they’re still distinguishable enough to see them as separate characters. 

The story itself is a little bit repetitive as the training processes and initiation are just the same as Tris’, only less detailed and in a slightly different order, however that is understandable given the background to the story, it therefore is not quite Hunger Games repetitive with the multiple games. Also, the story sees behind the scenes of Tobias starting a career which is not talked about as much which is where I am at the moment in the book, and this is roughly where the repetitiveness ends and Tobias becomes more his own. I can only assume there will be a little bit more repetition as we here about him meeting Tris, as obviously both of the characters were there at the time, but of course they lead different lives and talk to different people so it won’t be too samey in the end. I would call this book ‘un-put-downable’ but I have been doing other things since I last read this book. 

I can normally testify how good a book is when I choose it over sleep, and last night I was battling with my eyelids into the early hours, just to keep reading, despite the similar early plots. If you are a Divergent fan then I truly recommend this book (but if you are a fan you most likely don’t need my instruction). If you are a fan of Dystopian futures (like me) and have not read the Divergent series yet, but want to, I also recommend it. Four’s character is more dramatic and developed than Tris, and is therefore a good way to introduce yourself to the fandom. You could also play around with the chronology of the stories and read Four before you read Divergent, and so forth, in an almost Star-Wars-esque fashion, or not. Just a suggestion. If, however, you have already read Divergent and was not a huge fan at all then I would not recommend it as the repetition may irritate or bore you a bit. However I personally love it and would solidly rate this book a 7/10.