Friday, August 17, 2007

Photo shoot and a great day out at Norwich Castle

Current work: pics and notes for new nonfiction; thinking about Med duo outline
Listening to: various piano
Reading: Prescription for Happiness, Pat Posner

The photo shoot yesterday was great fun. The pic here of the Norman keep is an ‘arty’ shot to give you an idea of what the townsfolk of Norwich saw when the Castle was first built. This is the symbol of William the Conqueror. In an age when there weren’t any tall buildings (the average round-towered church is quite small; plus Norwich Cathedral wasn’t finished at this stage and the spire then was much smaller), the castle completely dominated the skyline. Its precincts were huge, stretching from present-day King Street through to Rouen Road and down to Prince of Wales Road. (The Back of the Inns was once known as the ‘Castle Ditches’.) Quite a lot of houses were flattened to accommodate the precincts, and you could see the castle for miles and miles around.

The photographer was lovely – he’s taken my pic before – but then he asked if I’d brought a copy of my book along. Um. No. Stupid me. So as I was five minutes early, I had enough time to nip down to the nearest Waterstones (i.e. not the one we went to the other day) and buy a copy. The assistant looked at my debit card, then the book, then at me. ‘Is this YOUR book?’ Um. Yes. Explained. He was highly amused at the idea of an author buying her own book… but wanted me to come back and sign the rest of the stock. (Which I did, later.)

So then we went to the dungeons. ‘Nope, she needs to be INSIDE the cell, next to the death masks, because the lighting won’t work otherwise and my brief is to get a nice spooky picture,’ said the photographer. But there was no key to the cell… (This one.) Eventually a key was procured, and in I went. I can honestly say that few people have been practically nose to nose with the death masks at the castle. (Of COURSE I didn’t touch them.) Son and Madam were really good and held the photographer’s flashgun exactly as he directed (I owe them chocolate). But it was boiling hot down there and I have a feeling I’m going to look like a Belisha beacon in the paper. In fact, I know I will because son took a pic with my camera and my face is BEETROOT. Ah well. If people feel sorry for the poor short, fat, obviously boiling hot author inside a cell behind bars, they might buy more copies…

We also had a wander round the museum. It’s the kind of place where you can see something new every time you go – though we do have favourite haunts (Madam’s being the Egyptian section and son’s and mine being the Anglo-Saxon room). The light around this suit of armour was gloriously spooky (think The Mummy crossed with Indiana Jones – sigh, if only I could’ve persuaded my ed into that particular story). We also chatted to a ‘Roman lady’ who told us all about Roman cookery and eating habits (the stuff about the vomitorium is untrue and the upper classes looked down on drunkenness. But the Egyptians did the vomit thing). She also let us handle and sniff various things (Michelle Styles would have LOVED this… and I can confirm that fish sauce smells absolutely repulsive); and a ‘Roman senator’ who told us about how one of the equitaes could rise to power. (He mentioned the Vindolanda tablets – I told him we’d been there a couple of years back and loved it – and then Caerleon. Um, we were there a couple of weeks ago…)

We always have such a good time at Norwich Castle. Even if we didn’t have a Museums Pass, we’d go a lot because it’s such a good experience. The exhibits are fascinating and the curators are VERY approachable. And the coffee in the cafĂ© is very drinkable…

And then I came home to an unexpected and very nice parcel from a friend whose thoughtfulness and kindness REALLY made my day. I'm not going to out her here, but she knows who she is - and thank you again. :o)

6 comments:

Dom said...

Kate! Long time no talk! I missed you, and you're wonderful blog (I had to buy a new laptop--I lost every single one of my new WIPs because even my flash drives went and i never bothered to email backups, oh well lesson learned)

Anyways, I wanted to say its...*looks at clock* 3:11 AM EST (in America), and I'm about to read Mistress on Trial.

Diane said...

Eh? Which "vomit thing" is this? Sounds ... um, sick inducing ...

Kate Hardy said...

Nice to see you, Dom - sorry to hear about your computer problems. Hope the new laptop is brilliant (and remember to sort out backups!)

Diane - the idea that the Romans would eat to excess, then make themselves sick so they would have, um, room for pudding. (I know. Gross. You *did* ask...)

DownUnderGirl said...

Oh I dont know Kate - sounds like something kids do all the time :-)

Great pics.

Lou Gagliardi said...

Hey Kate.

It's dom, using his real name again. lol.

I gotta ask, since im not British, what exactly is a QC? There were a couple of other references that I don't think Americans would really get either, yknow. Just curious! Thanks

Kate Hardy said...

Downunder girl - thanks *g*

Dom, a QC is a Queen's Counsel i.e. a senior barrister (I know your legal system is different - I think it's what you'd see as a DA maybe?)

Let me know the other refs that thew you and I'll be delighted to explain. One I remember Jenna didn't get was 'squash' - it's a liquid concentrate (basically fruit and sugar) used to make a cold drink (about 1 part squash to 6 parts water - or in my case because I like my lime cordial very weak, about 1 part squash to 15 parts water).

I'm fascinated by the differences between US and UK vocabularly - curtains v drapes, boot v trunk (cars), pavement v sidewalk...