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Friday, 22 November 2013


I must admit that when I returned from OZ, I wanted to live in the north of England, and particularly near the Pennines and the Wall.
Here I am again. On the Wall, taking a picture of me, on the Wall and casting my shadow northwards towards Scotland. I am on the corner of the remains of the Roman Barracks.
It was three in the afternoon and there was still some frost in the shade!
If you clamber around the best bits you can see the Wall which was supposedly built to keep the Scots and the Picts out of the Roman Empire. In fact they were all so far away from Rome that the locals could just carry on farming, mining and marrying in the local area. Many of the Romans were Syrian soldiers. It was considered to be a good idea to send the soldiers to the other ends of the Empire.
There are only small sections of the Wall which can be accessed by the average punter. You can walk along this stretch to the west of Housesteads. It is grassy and offers good views.
There are better views to be had of the Wall along the scarp face but this was the best one today. If you visit in the winter it's a good idea to check the opening times. We had to do a bit of wall-clambering to get into the closed part and Vindolanda, further down the road, is closed during the week and is well locked up!
We spent some of the day looking around Corbridge and then climbed up the Wall before gathering at Langley Castle for a B&B stay.
It was a grand place and we all enjoyed a great night there.
Had to be careful where we walked outside....surprised not just by the frost but also the peacock poo!
Cheers to all

Saturday, 2 November 2013


These are quite gruesome pics of the residual bodiforms at Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Pompeii was hit by a cloud of noxious, super-heated gas. People who were left behind were killed on the spot. Their bodies were made rigid by the pumice and ash that fell upon them.
Their preservation was designed by an operation that allowed the pouring of plaster into the hollow forms.
The white areas are the old bones.
These old bones are famous and have been shown before, but more recently, the remains of those marooned on the shore at Herculaneum have been exposed.
As you approach the site from above ( the third most densely populated area of Europe lies above the site) and wander down to the small area which has been exposed, the guide points out the old coastline below.
In 79AD this town was quite Greco-Romano. The Greeks were admired for their "style" and "culture". But it didn't help them get saved by the boats which they expected to arrive and save them.
The boat sheds contain the remains of many women and children waiting to be saved. They were overwhelmed by a lava-mud-slurry. They have only recently been exposed by careful digging.
Their skeletons display the body language of those last few tragic moments. They are mainly women and children and it is suggested that the men were on the beach trying to get boats to come ashore to save them.
It is a chillingly awesome sight...