Wednesday, February 12, 2014

nerdy stuff and catchup

Current work: writing M&B #61 (Christmas romance) and awaiting revisions to M&B #60 (tropical medicine)
Listening to: Panic! at the Disco
Reading: Rowan Coleman, The Memory Book (utterly fantastic and highly recommended – if dementia is a hot button for you, it will make you bawl, but it’s beautifully written and I loved it); Caroline Anderson, Snowed In With the Billionaire (excellent); Kate Morton, The House at Riverto (enjoyed)
Gym: totally full of lurgy so not at the gym this week! (Missing it terribly, too…)

Sorry – I have been an appallingly bad blogger, because life has seriously been in the way since DH’s car crash. He’s on the mend, but dealing with the admin has been pretty time-consuming. Haven’t been impressed by the communication or the business processes of all the people involved – apparently, the systems are so poor that nobody can make a note of what they’ve done and nobody else knows what anyone has done, and there’s been an awful lot of buck-passing. (Just how do these companies stay in business, with that level of inefficiency? And I used to work for one of them – in my ratrace days, that kind of service would have been unacceptable.) I’m not usually horrible to deal with, but I did have to get bossy and point out what needed doing. Politely but very firmly. Arrrgh. And I’ve also ended up facilitating the ‘family crisis’. (Those of you who know me in real life – yes, I know I said I wouldn’t do it again after copping all the flak last time, because it isn’t very nice putting yourself out and being really kind, only to have people being super-nasty. But otherwise it just drags on and on and on, so it’s actually less stressful to deal with it myself and get it sorted.)

Working round that lot hasn’t been easy, so I’m expecting massive revisions on the book known as ‘Plague Squirrels’. Still. Onwards and upwards :)

So. Nerdy stuff. It was my birthday yesterday, and DH managed to get a day off with me, so we went to the Roman exhibition at the Castle Museum in Norwich. It was quite a small exhibition (it’s touring the country for the next year or so), but some of the exhibits were really fascinating. (And yes, I was naughty and took photos on the iPod – hence the poor quality.) It was nice to see some local stuff – bits from the Hockwold and Snettisham hoards. And I was also fascinated by the Scottish armlet – I didn’t get a chance to take a pic of that, but apparently 20 out of the 21 known examples all come from around the same area of Scotland (Dundee ish), and they were bronze with a little inlaid picture.

This is a fluorite cup – the Crawford cup, dating from around AD50. There are only two known examples which are actually intact, and both are at the British Museum. Apparently they were highly prized by the nobility in Roman times, and the emperor Nero paid a million sesterces for one. Just to put it into context (and the curator who wrote the accompanying notes really did a fantastic job), this is the equivalent of a year’s pay for a thousand soldiers! For one drinking cup which is roughly the size of the average coffee mug...

There was also a tiny dolphin lamp, which I thought was beautiful.

And this child’s sock, from Roman Egypt. It’s a left sock, and note the division between the big toe and the rest of the toes – this is so it could be worn easily with a thonged sandal.

But my favourite bit? The Hipposandal.

This is a temporary horseshoe, which was put on a horse when it needed to pull exceptionally heavy loads or when the ground was too rough. The more I see of Roman engineering, the more impressed I am with them as a civilisation. Practical, sensible and clever. (And there were photos of my two favourite buildings – the Colosseum and the Pantheon. And bits from the Domus Aureus, which was closed for renovation when we were in Rome. Colour me happy.)


Alison said...

Was going to ask how your OH was Kate, so glad he is getting on well.

Loving the hipposandal too! Looks like an interesting exhibition - often the smallest ones are the best :)

Michelle Styles said...

Lovely pictures.

Caroline said...

Ohh fascinating stuff. The glass cup is amazing. But the sock! How cool is that to have survived for so long. Amazing. So glad you had a great birthday. Glad DH is on the mend.

Kate Hardy said...

Thanks, Alison, Michelle and Caroline! xxx