Sunday, August 2, 2009

A mixed bag

I'm so sorry for not updating this thing all month! We've had some trouble trying to get our BT account set up in the new place, and we've still not got Internet yet, so I'm lugging my laptop to the university library in order to get the Net at the moment.

In other words, this is another non-blog. It sucks, really. I think the only times I've really blogged this year are to explain why I haven't been blogging. This last month has been no different. Stuff's been happening, and I've not really had the Internet, or the will, to blog. :(

It's been a mixed bag, as I've said. My maternal grandfather, Kenneth MacLeod, passed away two weeks ago. I'm doing better than I was when my Granda Campbell passed away back in October. I never really knew my Granda MacLeod very well, but it's still very sad. He went peacefully, though, and I'm glad for that. I'm also glad my mum and my gran have been able to stay strong through it.

One of my flatmates is also pissing me off majorly at the moment. I don't want to get started, since she's been giving me a big enough headache already, but basically she seems to be making it her business to be as thoughtless, inconsiderate, and bloody infuriating as she possibly can be. It's just little to medium things, but they are coalescing into a mountain of irritants. My other flatmate feels the same way, though, so I'm glad it's not just me.

In better news, I've passed my exams! So that's me through to Honours. I'll be doing Joint Archaeology and Celtic Studies, and I can't freaking wait! Our field school also begins this month, and tomorrow I'll be away to Forteviot in Perthshire with the uni to spend the next three weeks learning how to excavate properly/survey/etc. The big excavation site seems to be the Neolithic enclosure(s?), but there's also surveying of other archaeological features, so it should be very fun, and very interesting! I hope I can keep you all updated on it, but I have no idea if we'll have Internet access at the place we're staying. If not, I'll give you a full update after I get back on the 23rd. And the Vindolanda report. I haven't forgotten about that, either.

So... see you when I see you, I guess!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just to let you know...

Sorry for my absence. I got back from Vindolanda a couple of weeks ago, but as you can see, I haven't made the report yet. Why not? Well, for a start, I got caught up in the chaos of moving flat, and also, I couldn't find the cable that lets me upload photos from the camera to the computer - and what fun is a post on Roman stuff without pictures of said Roman stuff? As a result, I've not been quite up to speed with blogging and emailing.

Now tonight's the last night in this flat, and I'm burnt out from last minute packing. Apparently about sixty per cent of my stuff is books. I've got more bags stuffed with 'em than anything else. Where did they all come from?!

Anyway, I'll try to update properly at some point this week. I'm hoping Tuesday. Just as soon as I've actually got an even surface to sit on that isn't cluttered with bags.

And I'm absolutely knackered, so it's an early night for me, I think. Bye for now!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

From the front

Greetings, bloggers. Marcus Valerius Laevinus here, writing on behalf of my - er - benevolent author, Kirsten. She wishes it to be known that she's currently on temporary transfer to Vindolanda again. (Jupiter Greatest, you'd think soldiers' barracks were actually interesting, the way she goes on about them!) She's staying the night with a friend near Segedunum, then she'll be heading for her posting in the morning. So she'll be away for a week or so, and you can expect a full report when she returns.

Tch. All right for some, isn't it? Bloody writers. They do nothing at all for ages, occasionally decide to make a living hell for innocent folks like myself just because they can (apparently it's called "conflict" and "plot development"), then they up and grant themselves leave whenever they bloody well feel like it. A bit like tribunes, when you think about it.

She also said something about doing what I was told while she was away, or she'd do something nasty, like "slashing" me with Cathal. I don't know what that means, but I'll wager my last pair of woolly socks it's not pretty.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Character meme fun!

This is how I was procrastinating during the exam period. "Post-processual theory? ...After I've cleared out my hard drive, I think... ... ooh! What's this? A daft questionnaire I saved from somewhere on the Internet? I must fill it in."

Sad, eh? But I just love these things. Ideal for the procrastinating writer. You can put your MCs in stupid situations and claim it's "character development". ;) So, while I run around some more to sort out Honours/flat/summer stuff, here's one I did earlier. For best results, put names in a hat and number them at random! :D (I know, I know, technically three of them aren't characters I made up, but just go with it.)

Choose ten of your OCs, then answer the questions.

1) Aedán mac Fionn - Gairea's cousin, a novice Druid

2) Sargaid ní Illan - Chief Druidess of the Epidii tribe; Gairea's mentor

3) Gaius Decius Crassus - Marcus' tentmate and best friend

4) Marcus Valerius Laevinus - a legionary of Legio XX Valeria Victrix

5) Garnat son of Talan - sister-son and heir of Calgach of the Caledones

6) Gairea ní Machar - novice Druidess and seer

7) Cathal mac Comgall - champion of the Epidii tribe

8) Calgach son of Brude - King of the Caledones tribe

9) Gnaeus Julius Agricola - Governor of Britannia

10) Tuathal mac Fiacha - an exiled prince from Eriu

1. 4 invites 3 and 8 to dinner at their house. What happens?

Ouch! That would be awkward! It'd be fine if it were just Marcus and Decius - they're best mates, after all - but throw Calgach into the mix, and a heated argument à la "What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?" is in full swing before the starter is even cleared away. I definitely don't see Calgach staying for pudding. He disapproves when the Romans make a dessert. Har har.

2. 9 tries to get 5 to go to a strip club. What happens?

*snort* Well, I'm sure Garnat likes the boobies as much as any other (straight) guy, but I don't think he'd go with Agricola - on principle. Might suspect some sort of devious Roman trap. An attempt to lull him into a false sense of security. Or something. ;)

3. You need to stay at a friend's house for a night. Who do you choose: 1 or 6?

Er... I think I'll stay with Aedán at his mentor's house. Wouldn't fancy staying at Gairea's place, truth be told. You could cut the atmosphere in that house with a knife. When people aren't arguing with each other, they're glaring silently at each other across the room.

4. 2 and 7 are making out. 10 walks in. What is their reaction?

"MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!" Or some first-century variation thereof.

(Actually, that would probably be my reaction, too. Cathal/Sargaid?! Do you realise I'll be stuck with that image for the rest of my life now?)

5. 3 falls in love with 6. 8 is jealous. What happens?

Well, that would depend on who he was jealous of: Decius, or Gairea. ;) Some sort of divide and conquer strategy would have to be implemented, as well as Calgach's much-vaunted gift of the gab if he is to win the object of his affections away from the other one, in the style of Cyrano de Bergerac. ;)

6. 4 jumps you in a dark alleyway. Who comes to your rescue: 10, 2, or 7?

Marcus? Why are you jumping people in dark alleyways? Does the army not pay you enough? *shrug* Well, I guess in this situation, Cathal would be the one to rescue me. He's always looking for an excuse to lay the smackdown on Marcus. And I think he'd relish being some sort of Marvel superhero. :)

7. 1 decides to start a cooking show. Fifteen minutes later, what is happening?

Anarchy. Aedán can't even make porridge without burning it. Stick to learning genealogies, okay, Aedán?

8. 3 has to marry either 8, 4, or 9. Whom do they choose?

Well, I'm sure Decius loves Marcus, just not sure he loves him that much! Who'll be the best man, then? Lol! Anyway, Decius is always looking for advancement, so Calgach and Agricola are the better options. Agricola's already married, so by process of elimination, that brings us to Calgach (who must have succeeded after all in wresting him away from Gairea in question five!) OMG a Caledonian king marrying a Roman legionary in a civil ceremony? And here I thought Marcus and Gairea were supposed to be the epic, star-crossed lovers in this book!

9. 7 kidnaps 2 and demands something from 5 for 2's release. What is it?

Kidnapping Sargaid? Good luck with that, Cathal. Anyway, he'll probably demand something outrageous off Garnat. Maybe that they switch places so Cathal can be Calgach's heir and nephew instead.

10. Everyone gangs up on 3. Does 3 have a chance in hell?

About the same odds as a snowball, I reckon. And that's when he is sober.

11. Everyone is invited to 2 and 10's wedding except for 8. How do they react?

Wow, Sargaid! Your ability to pull younger men in this meme is unprecedented! Ahem. Anyway, Calgach would probably feel a bit snubbed. Surely the King of the Caledones merits an invitation to the wedding of a Chief Druidess and a prince. He'll probably show up anyway, just to make a point of it.

12. Why is 6 afraid of 7?

'Cause he ate Agricola! ('Cause 7 ate 9 - geddit?? Oh, never mind...)

13. 1 arrives late for 2 and 10's wedding. What happens, and why were they late?

Oh, Aedán could get lost in his own bedplace. Probably got lost on the way to the wedding. And no doubt his lateness would hold up the whole damn thing - he's likely one of the novices needed to help out with the wedding sacrifice!

14. 5 and 9 get roaring drunk and end up at your house. What happens?

Hm? What was that? I thought I heard someone buzzing the doorbell.... No, must just have been my imagination. *turns up volume on iPod* Heheheh. Suckers.

15. 9 murders 2's best friend. What does 2 do to get back at them?

She'd do it the good old-fashioned Druid way: she'd curse the hell out of him!

16. 6 and 1 are in mortal peril and only one of them can survive. Does 6 save themself or 1?

Oh, Gairea would do the noble thing and sacrifice herself for Aedán. She is the heroine, after all. Not to mention she'd probably end up getting done for something tantamount to kin-slaying, anyway, even if she did survive.

17. 8 and 3 go camping. For some reason they forgot to bring along any food. What do they do?

Find some local farm to raid. Decius has plenty experience of nabbing food from conquered farms, and hey, Calgach's the king, right? They'd just end up giving it to him later as tribute, anyway. ;)

18. 5 is in a car chariot crash and is critically injured. What does 9 do?

Agricola would save him himself and get him to the finest Roman physicians - then, when Garnat is recovered, use his gratitude to make an alliance and take over the Caledones that way! Mwahaha!

19. The quiz is over. Tag someone.

I'm not going to bother tagging. I'll just let this meme run free in the wild...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Checking in...

Well, that's the exams over. They went from "meh" to not that bad.

And second year's over too, come to that. All in all, it's been a pretty crappy year. The holidays are a bit of a relief. Anyway, I've got a couple of new books to read, and Fawlty Towers DVDs to watch, so I can relax now.

Anyway, not been up to much else. Went to see Star Trek the other week: my God, that was a good film, and I don't even much like Star Trek. I think we're probably going to end up seeing it again, as well. :)

Oh! And we've got a new flat! The lease doesn't start till the end of June, but we're looking forward to it. It's nicer than our current one, and it's not on a main road this time. Still just a short walk from the uni. And we've got a living room this time! It's only a three bedroom flat this time: we're losing a member. Marion's moving in with some friends she's doing courses with. That's why we ended up flat-hunting again. We can't afford to pay the rent with only the three of us. But it's all good. Looking forward to the new place!

And Alyson's now vice president of the Classics society at the uni. I foresee many lols next year. :D

And that's it from me tonight. I'm away to enjoy being exam-free. Back soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A hiatus

Yeah, you've probably figured already. Just to let any and all readers of my 'umble blog know that I'll be on hiatus over the next couple of weeks for the exam period. My first one is tomorrow. :( Last one is on May 21, so I'll be back then.

And that's why Winsome Celtic Lady in my photo space has been replaced by Studious Pompeii Lady. She fits the occasion more. ;)

See you soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Books for Summer

Forgive me, fellow bloggers, I have been somewhat remiss in my own blogging this month. I've had a bit of a writing spurt this spring. Hopefully it'll last through summer. :)

Anyway, in... er... honour of that image of "Pictish" warpaint in my last post, I've prepared a post on Pictish body art, but I don't want to put it up till I'm back at the flat with my books and have some reliable quotations. ;)

But I just had to share the booky goodness I've found whilst looking for historical fiction. Here's a selection of titles coming out over the next couple of months. Looks like there's some good summer reading to be had here!

Claudius by Douglas Jackson is, according to, being released on July 16. Set during the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43, its protagonist is Rufus, keeper of the emperor's elephant. Quite like the look of this one! Jackson has already released one Roman historical novel, titled Caligula.

Warrior Daughter by Janet Paisley is to be released on June 4. The product description has this to say: "Illuminated by the great Celtic fire festivals, Warrior Daughter is inspired by the historical Scathach, a fierce warrior woman of the first century AD and forerunner to the equally ferocious Boudicca." Hmm. I'm not sure I believe that Scáthach was a real person, or that she had any particular link with Boudicca, but I'm looking forward to this one nonetheless. I love mythology-inspired novels, and it's always fun to explore when the characters might have existed. And Scáthach is pretty cool! (Though is it just me, or does that spear on the cover look more like a Roman pilum than anything else?)

Also being released on June 4 is The Silver Eagle by Ben Kane, the second in his Forgotten Legion Chronicles set in the first century BC, detailing the parallel adventures of a brother and sister. I've not read the first one yet, but I think I'll keep an eye out for it. I'm easily tempted by atmospheric covers with Roman soldiers on them. :)

Moving out of this blog's typical sphere of interest is Margaret Elphinstone's The Gathering Night, set, according to this page on her website, in Mesolithic Scotland and will be released on May 21. Regular readers of this blog know that my obsession is for all things Roman and Celtic, but I've got a passing interest in this time period, and since our knowledge of the early hunter-gatherers who inhabited Scotland is so slight, it sounds like the perfect time and place to let the imagination take flight! I expect shell middens will show up. ;)

And, yes! Ruth Downie's third Medicus mystery, Persona Non Grata, is coming out some time in July (July 7 on, and July 16 on, which is remaining pretty tight-lipped about it). I really enjoyed the first two, featuring army doctor/reluctant detective Ruso, and looking forward to getting my hands on the next one (whenever that does happen).

And speaking of Roman whodunnits, I seriously need to get back up to speed with Lindsey Davis' Falco books. I leant my copy of The Silver Pigs to my mum, and she got hooked immediately. And when my mum likes a series, she will just plough through it (she read all of the Aubrey-Maturin books in a month). Now she's further on with the series that I am, and Mum likes to talk about the books she reads. So I need to catch up before she gives away any major spoilers! :)

Well, those are the books. Now I just need the cash to buy 'em with. *cries*