I’m on my parent’s sofa drinking milky tea and watching The Dark Knight Rises (where did Bane get his Royal Shakespeare Company accent growing up in that big well?). The end of things in Turkey was a bit of a struggle; planning my huge curving lump of Assyrian city wall took considerably longer than I expected, partially because it was hard to see the bricks under all the dead frogs. Then we ran out of drawing film before I could plan my sections. I ended up having to use a HB pencil on some strange semi-transparent paper we found in the back of a cupboard – the result was similar to that achievable with a child’s crayon on cheap toilet paper.
Recep on frog duty
By the time that was done with I was short of writing-up time and had to work until nearly midnight on Thursday; I came to some fairly bold conclusions, possibly enhanced by the application of sherry to the writing process. By the time I was finished it seemed a bit pointless to go to bed before going to the airport at 2am so I just got drunk with the director instead. We drank neat Stolichnaya and talked about all the awful people who’ve worked on the project over the last fifteen years.
I was almost sober again and not feeling very clever by the time I landed at Istanbul. I then endured a miserable flight to Birmingham, spent thinking about plane crashes and watching Snow White and the Huntsman (which can’t realistically have been as dreadful as I now recall?).
After my parents had picked me up from the station and we’d got the first argument out of the way I passed out on the floor in front of the television and woke up at a beer festival in Crewe Railway Heritage Centre. After all, there’s nothing that gets you over a hangover, jetlag and 48 hours without sleep like staying up to midnight and drinking seven pints of real ale. Today I have been mostly rehydrating.
Outside it’s raining. I drink a pint of mild and go into culture shock
Last Friday, at the risk of not learning from my mistakes, I went on a trip to the mountains in search of some Assyrian rock inscriptions. Some of you may recall that last time I went looking for Assyrian rock inscriptions we nearly had to be rescued by the Iraqi army (https://oldstuffinhotplaces.wordpress.com/05/26/wild-goat-chasing/) which is not really the way I like my day off to end. This time was better; there was a cave, a tunnel and a river to play in and no survival situations with their associated acrimony and recriminations. My enjoyment was in no way diminished by the rock inscriptions themselves being rubbish.
D points out that there is absolutely nothing to see
Selfish dead git
In terms of excavation things have been a bit slow but are finally picking up. An annoying hold up early in the week was my discovery that someone had thoughtlessly buried half a dozen dead people in the southern half of my trench. There are some situations in which finding dead people is splendid, like when you’re looking for a cemetery, and yet others, like this one, in which it’s a total pain in the arse. These later (probably Medieval) burials are cut down into the Neo-Assyrian building I’m trying to excavate, meaning that not only are they taking hours of fiddly excavating and recording to clear, but they’re leaving unsightly person-shaped holes in my pretty Assyrian walls. J over in Operation W has unwanted visitors of a different kind. He has a huge pithos embedded in the room he’s excavating which every morning he finds filled with tiny frogs. These have to be rescued and deported to the nearby irrigation swamp before they die in the sun and become a jar full of dreadful, mouldering frog corpses.
Yesterday’s crop of tiny frogs. Having been stuck in there all night, none of them seem to be talking to each other any more
In other news, it’s been a dire sporting week for me here. I got dumped out of the excavation ping pong tournament in the first round (I’ve never played ping pong before, I thought it would be easier) and then getting beaten for the first time ever in a sprint race up the city mound (by a 17 year old army cadet). I have resolved to be more selective in who I challenge to scratch races now that I’m in my thirties, and to accept fewer cigarettes from the workmen. At least England are doing well in the cricket, which I’m now able to listen to on the radio having found a way round the school server’s veto on all the world’s joys, including Test Match Special.