Monday, September 28, 2009

Fort and York

A friend of mine from college came to visit over the weekend.

This is the first American friend I've seen in nine months, and during the course of her stay I was very acutely aware that I was an American in another county. Not that it's a bad thing to be American, but at some point in the past two years I had forgotten that people could automatically tell I wasn't from around here as soon as I open my mouth.

Our first stop was of course a Roman Fort.

This is Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields, which was built to guard the North Sea and is not along Hadrian's wall. It was a huge fort, and at one point a military supply base.

Besides the ruins they had a reconstruction of what the commanding officer's house would look like. I believe the reconstructed house was built on the roman foundations.

The wall paper, by the way was all hand-drawn.

I wish I had taken a picture of the dining room. I hadn't actually remembered that they all lounged about and didn't actually sit down for dinner.

There was also a small museum, which had the best preserved remains of Roman chain-mail and a stone memorial alter of "Regina", and ex-slave. The alter depicted her spinning!

On Saturday we went to York. It was just as lovely the second time visiting.
A ruined abbey that was in the middle of a park.

Parts of the abbey used as the wall for a bed of flowers.

My favorite sign this weekend. You might not be able to make it out, but in the lower right corner it says "Ben".

We also visited the York Castle Museum, which we didn't get to go to last time. It turned out to be a huge (looked small from the outside) and interesting museum. One of the most fascinating things in the museum was a map of York. It looked as if it could be a normal functional map, the hospitals and landmarks clearly labeled in English. The map's legend however and all of the text surrounding the center of the map was in German. The hospital and military facilities had been carefully outlined with a ruler in red.

It's easy for me to forget, as I have only heard for the past two years very few brief references to the bombings. But this map was a shocking reminder how very real the bombings were.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

11.5 of Hadrian's Wall Walk

We didn't actually walk along the wall, hence the title 11.5. We intended to, however after we got off the bus and were greeting by this nice view

we noticed the air was a bit more brisk than we had previously remembered in past walks. Which makes sense, actually. Two weeks ago my flat and the office became suddenly cold, as if summer had just passed and spring just passed a torch, and there no turning back. Emotionally though, we're not ready for the cold to set in yet. So despite the chill in the air and our thin cardigans we set off for our first stop, a brief detour, and technically a back track since it was a half mile to the east of our bus stop.

This is Mare and Foal, two Bronze Age standing stones, believed to have once been part of a circle and thought to date from 2100 BC to 700BC.

Long before we got to this point though we noticed that not only had the air temperature changed since we were here last, but there was also dew on the ground.

Lots of it. So by this point our feet were wet, and we decided that instead of walking for 5 miles in wet feet, or heading back home, we would take the bus to the dry Roman Army Museum, which we were intending on visiting the next leg of the walk anyway. After a visit to the museum and hot chocolate, tea, and a scone we walked around Walltown Crags.

Is it really just a question mark?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arg, it's talk like a pirate day

It seems like only yesterday that my sentences were occasionally punctuated by an Argg. But in actual fact, it was a full year ago. Today, once again, is talk like a pirate day.

Sadly, a quick google search leads me to believe that not only is there no international talk like parrot day tomorrow, the logical day for such an event, but there's no international parrot day at all! So if you find yourself tongue tied and unable to begin sentences tomorrow then feel free to join me in starting your sentances with a squawk or a brwaawk in an unofficial and secret talk-like-a-parrot day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

World's oldest textile

Scientists have found the world's oldest textiles, a few pieces of 30,000 year old flax fibers (and dyed too!). You can read the NPR story here.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

One week into Kristi (the sock)

I actually started this last week, but it hasn't looked very exciting and blog-worthy until now. The pattern is Kristi from Sock Innovation.

The first 20 or so rows of the pattern (I'm on 30 something now) went rather slow, but I seem to have now picked up speed. Though the first two rows took me a very long time. It seemed like random knits and purls, not a regular ribbing, and I was very paranoid that I would get it wrong, so I counted and compared what I had knit at least three times. On a positive note J has tried it on and it fits, and despite the fact that I knit tighter when I do cables! Also, this is one of my blackbean dyed yarns, so this sock is extra exciting.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

PB & J

It's Jessamy's birthday today, and I made peanut butter cookies. Plain, with golden syrup in the middle (fail), and with jam in middle (put two together, and not only do you get a pb&j sandwich, but you also feel sick).