Friday, 20 August 2010

History in the Making

Well, back from a fantastic holiday which involved two weeks of camping, walking and very hard work on the archaeological dig at Vindolanda Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall. The weather was kind to us for almost the entire two weeks, the scenery was breathtaking and the experience one that I would highly recommend and am planning to do again (though my husband wants a proper bed next time!)

I didn't have much time to read whilst I was there, tiredness and lack of light in the ten after about 9pm precludes much activity other than curling up in a sleeping bag with a mug of Horlicks working out which bit hurts the least!

However there are two books that I would like to tell you about and which connect me in some ways with the experience. The first is Under a Silver Moon by Anne Fine. It is the title of this which resonates for me. The story is set in an unknown location which is very middle eastern and it is the tale of two boys, Haroun, the Sultan's son and Akil, the gardener's son - inseparable friends until Haroun has to learn how to be a prince. the result is more aches and pains than I experienced but ones that I can relate to (not for the same reasons). The outcome is a realisation that fresh air, the outdoors and some hard work can be a good cure and very good for your health. This resonates for me because the title reminds me of the beautiful Northumberland night-time sky with the stars and moon so clear. The story itself helps me to recall the outdoor hard work of every day which has left me with a wind tan to envy!

The second story is more relevant, in some ways to the nature of the digging I was doing for we
were delving into the past. In our case it was a Roman past and we were discovering, though the finds a little more about the life of the Roman soldiers posted at this furthest outpost of the empire. The book that I can link to this is Lady Jane Grey: Queen for Sale by Caroline Corby. Lady Jane may have lived some 1500 years later but the story told here is of before she became famous. I t is a story that required research for uncover the facts and presents an image to its reader of how she may have lived - just as the artefact's I was finding helped me to see how a Roman soldier may have lived. So if you are interested in history and love a good story this could be the book for you.

I am off now to catch up on some good books, sitting on a comfy chair in a garden with no deep trenches and no wind!

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