Reasons to be Cheerful

I think it was a couple of years ago and we were both feeling fed-up. Lousy weather. Weeds everywhere in the garden. Nobody replying to emails. Savings shrinking. Car starting to make expensive-sounding noises.  None were things that would be causes of real emotional pain, but their cumulative effect  was very depressing. It was then that we hit on the idea of Reasons to be Cheerful. We had just been given, for Christmas, I think, one of those glazed ceramic write-on pads designed to be used with felt-tip pens. So far it had barely been used, then one of us – and I honestly can’t remember if it was me or Maisie – had the idea. It came more or less fully formed.

When you’re feeling down, all you seem able to think about are other reasons to be gloomy, and what you need to be able to do is break that vicious circle of doom feeding gloom and despondency. So we decided we’d flag up those small reasons to be cheerful that so often get overlooked when life in general is a bit grim. Maisie produced the write-on pad and drew-up the outline of our Reasons to be Cheerful score-card. I can’t remember how the first one went, but from the recent past we found three reasons to be cheerful that we’d just forgotten about in the then climate of persistent pessimism. I don’t know what they were, but they were good enough. We decided that three Reasons to be Cheerful earned us a bottle of fizz (usually Cava or Prosecco). It didn’t have to be drunk then and there, but that first one certainly was. Really (and I mean very exceptionally) important Reasons, such as the impending publication of The Lifers’ Club, earn a bottle on their own. Then came the touch of genius (which I have to allow was Maisie’s): after three bottles of Cava (i.e. at the completion of each page of the notepad) you earn a bonus bottle! Free!!

The photo shows our current score-card. We’re now on page 12 and have just drunk a bottle in celebration of our niece’s pregnancy, plus the acceptance (on two separate occasions) of various things for my upcoming Penguin book  (current title: Home: A Time Traveller’s Tales from Britain’s Prehistory), which will appear in early October, if all goes according to plan. The wonderful Viv Stanshall gig was the first reason of the next batch of three. And so it goes.

I know it sounds a bit petty and silly, but our Reasons to be Cheerful help us celebrate the little things in life that have gone well. They’re not Reasons to be Complacent, nor indeed Reasons to be Insanely Jolly. Just Cheerful. And that’s good enough for us… Cheers!

Reasons to be cheerful

Posted in My life | Tagged

Lambing, 2014

Every year is different. Some years are marked by tough, resilient bags that imprison the lamb when it is born and can quickly suffocate it, unless the ewe or one of us clears the membrane from around its nose. Other years have featured lots of multiples, shortages of milk or copper deficiency – which in turn causes lambs to stagger. You can do something about some of these, but this season was the year of the BIG single. We keep detailed records of each ewe’s lambing record and usually they start out with a year or two of singles, then twins, then triplets and even, in some cases, quads. But it’s very unusual to slip back the other way: to have twins followed by a single. But not this year. And it would seem we’re by no means unique. Our feed rep tells me that the orders placed with the manufacturers of lambs’ ear tags are well down, and all his customers are moaning about difficult births because of huge single lambs.

We started in mid-March and got off to quite a slow start. Whenever that happens we check what the weather was like 21 weeks previously, when the rams were mating (tupping is the phrase we use) the ewes. In the past we have found that ewes and rams fail to get together and have fun if it’s pouring with rain. Can’t say I blame them. It would put me off my stroke. And lo and behold, it was very wet when we put the rams in. A week later it came dry and 21 weeks later the lambing rate picked up rapidly. Then again it was wet in November for a few days, and again things slowed down in late March. Finally it went dry and there was a little surge in the last week of lambing, including, appropriately enough, a big single (to a very small ewe) on the last day.

One of the reasons I like lambing, despite the sleepless nights and aching back, is the sheer sensoriness (for want of a better word) of it all: the smells, the warm steam off a new-born lamb on a cold morning, the sound of ewes chewing the cud and the sight of chickens picking their way through a crowd of sheep. And in the background the soothing tones of Classic FM providing background music for both sheep and their farmers. In an increasingly remote, hands-off, digital world we all need to get our hands dirty sometimes. I don’t plan to give up before I’m 80 – unless, of course, the government introduces some damn-fool regulation that makes farming for anything other than pure profit impossible (which Westminster and Brussels between them are perfectly capable of doing). Anyhow, this lambing I’ve tried to make the first two pictures a bit atmospheric: a very (20 seconds?) new –born lamb, being licked dry by its mother and a group of unlambed ewes contentedly chewing the cud in the barn on a sunny morning in early springtime.

New-born lamb

Sunshine in the barn

My final three pictures (at the end of this post) are of that wonderful day when we release the first batch of ewes and lambs onto the new, lush spring pasture. In the past I would open the doors and feed them their concentrated feed out in the field, but a few years ago a lamb had its leg broken in the rush, so I now feed them in the small barn and then let them find their own, hesitant way out onto the grass. It’s much slower, and gentler, as the photos show: first a couple of lambs at the door, trying to work out what the new world out there is all about. Then a ewe barges past them. Finally everyone has to head out. It’s my favourite moment.

We lambed about three weeks later than in previous years, largely because we had to wait for doses of the Schmallenberg Disease vaccine which had to be administered a month before tupping. That may have been the excuse, but in actual fact it worked very much better, all round: we were able to turn the ewes and young lambs out onto wonderful rich grazing and all are doing well in the fabulous mid-spring sunshine. It has been so much less stressful than earlier in the year. All in all, a huge success. I even managed to plant out my potatoes during one of the quieter spells. And now I must stop this and return to the vegetable garden to sow a quick catch-crop of early green peas (Douce de Provence this year).  Roll on May!

At door

Just out

In field

Posted in Farming | Tagged , , , , ,

Why Archaeologists Make Good Detectives

As most of my readers will know by now, I’ve written a crime/thriller (The Lifers’ Club) with an archaeologist (Alan Cadbury) as the detective. Then as soon as lambing is finished, I’ll resume work on the second book in the series, which for the time being I’m simply calling AC2. I’d always known that the way archaeologists work and think would make them good sleuths, but just two days ago a real life mystery was solved, not as it happens by Alan Cadbury, but by my wife, Maisie Taylor. This time the subject wasn’t crime, but a wonderful garden ornament, which for years we simply called the jardinière – as that is what it resembled. For those of you unfamiliar with the word, my Shorter Oxford Dictionary traces its origins to French (1841) and defines it as: ‘An ornamental stand or receptacle for plants, flowers, etc.’ Or to put it in even plainer English: a tub.

Our jardinière is made-up of eight tapering panels of unusually red, unglazed earthenware, which I have assembled as best I can (which isn’t very well). Sadly my reconstruction doesn’t bear very close inspection, largely because some of the panels are broken and it wasn’t very easy to repair them invisibly, although Maisie did a very good job forty years ago, using a mix of Araldite and brick dust; the point is, the mends must all be strong enough to resist frost and allow the object to be used in the garden again. There are four ornamental and four plain panels, which I imagine were meant to be distributed alternately, but sadly I couldn’t get that to work, so I’ve re-assembled it with most of the decorated panels facing forwards, towards the lawn. I’m well aware it’s not perfect, but our garden isn’t a museum. Anyhow, here’s a picture of the jardinière as it now is, planted with a few bulbs surrounding a young Cornus alternifolia argentea shrub. It forms the focus of a small border and though I say so myself, it looks very good there, especially in summer (when this photo wasn’t taken).

Jardinière

The story of how Maisie came to be the proud owner of the jardinière is interesting of itself and here are her notes to me describing how it happened (the title, I’m afraid is mine, with apologies to Swift; my comments are in square brackets):

The Tale of a Tub

1977 – travelled [by train] to the Institute of Archaeology several times a week [Maisie was a student there, commuting to London from Huntingdon]. Became on nodding terms with a number of people as the same group tended to share a compartment, because all needed to work on the journey.

One winter evening the train stopped in the middle of nowhere, and the lights went out [sudden power cuts were a regular feature of the time, brought about by strikes]. Began chatting. Turned out the other people were two barristers, a man who did something analytical with computers, a man who wrote history books, a brain surgeon and me. One thing we all had in common was we were all doing-up old houses. The others had Georgian/Regency farmhouses; I had a little Edwardian cottage next to the railway.

After an hour or so the lights come on and train continued – back to normal.

The following year, the man who knew about computers said he had dug something up in his garden, and as he knew I was an archaeologist, and lived in a turn of the century cottage, I might be interested. So he invited me to have a look.

It turned out to be an Arts and Crafts jardinière in fragments. The same date as my cottage. He liked it, but thought it out of place in the ‘Georgian’ garden he was creating around his beautiful Georgian house. So he offered it to me, and I accepted.

I planted it, although someone once suggested it might be a decorative well-head.

Meanwhile, Back to the Plot…

To be honest, we thought no more about it; then a few years ago I decided to attempt a slightly better re-assembly, as the whole thing was starting to fall apart, largely thanks to the efforts of rats and mice who were seeking somewhere dry for the winter. The rebuild took me a whole weekend, and we had plenty of time to examine the original workmanship more closely – and it became clear to us, that it was a piece of exceptional quality. It also had several clear stamps which looked Arts and Crafts – the lettering was a give-away; we could make out certain words, something like: ‘wheel within … a wheel’; Maisie even made rubbings of them, but then something else cropped up and we both found ourselves doing other things, and precious little time to relax with a large Victorian flower pot.

The stamp of the Compton Pottery, Guildford. The motto reads: “THEIR WORK WAS AS IT WERE A WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHEEL”

The stamp of the Compton Pottery, Guildford. The motto reads: “THEIR WORK WAS AS IT WERE A WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHEEL”

Then a couple of weeks ago Maisie came across the distinctive wheel-like stamp when reading a reference to the Compton Arts Guild, near Guildford, which was set up in 1899 by various artists, including the distinguished painter G.F. Watts and his wife Mary. It was Mary who founded and then became the leading light of the Compton Pottery, which remarkably survived until 1954. They used the local clay which fired to the distinctive bright pinkish-red of our jardinière. The company produced a huge variety of garden ornaments, which you can see on-line (Google ‘Compton Pottery images’) and at the Watts Gallery, Down Lane, Compton, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1DQ.

Well-heads feature among their range of items, and as I’ve already mentioned, it has been suggested several times that our jardinière is one of them. Personally, I doubt it. Well-heads, even ornamental and model ones, always have thick, vertical walls because they were built to support the well winding-gear, which could be quite heavy, especially when lifting a bucketful of water. So the walls of the well-head were always vertical and never splayed, like the relatively thin sides of our jardinière.

Anyhow, it’s a very beautiful thing and it would be nice if one could see more real crafts and hand-made material at British garden centres, which tend to be packed-full of injection-moulded coy nymphs in concrete – and as for those horrible plastic gnomes

Two panels

Rose panel

Daffodil panel

Posted in Gardening, My life | Tagged , , , , ,

The Iniquity of Unpaid Labour

When I began my life in archaeology in the early 1960s, I worked for several groups of amateurs as a volunteer. I had zero experience, even less knowledge, but boundless and ill-directed enthusiasm. Looking back on those times I am not surprised that the people in charge gave me heavy jobs, like shovelling, mattocking and pushing loaded wheel-barrows. That was usually in the morning. By the afternoon my surplus energy had been burned off and I was in a fit state to be taught the delicate and subtle arts of trowelling. At that stage in my life I had yet to start higher education, and I viewed the digs that I went on as part of that process. Put another way, I don’t think I was being exploited in any way at all; it was a genuine two-way process: the excavation made use of my youthful strength and I learned specialised skills and discipline, in return. It was also a relatively brief process that lasted for my pre-university ‘gap’ year. After just one year at university I was able to get paid ‘volunteer’ jobs followed, quite quickly, by assistant and supervisor roles.

I began directing excavations in 1971. Our digs were professional so-called ‘rescue’ excavations, which took place ahead of factory development on land that was soon to become part of Peterborough New Town. The people who did the hard work of excavations were still termed volunteers, but by now they were paid – although very little. I used to work as a paid volunteer on various mainly Ministry of Works sites when I was a student and I managed to pay off most of my debts and college bar bills that way. As professional rescue (now known as contract) archaeology became increasingly important in the later 20th and early 21st Century, amateur archaeology carved-out its own niche. Sometimes these were cheerful community-run, self-funded affairs, but they could also be highly rigorous research projects whose standards were at least as high as the very best in the contract world. The point I am trying to make is that in archaeology, the worlds of professional and amateur have acquired quite distinct and separate identities. Normally I am in favour of breaking down such artificial barriers, but for reasons that will shortly become clear, I am no longer quite so sure.

Over the past ten or so years I have been observing how members of the next generation set about finding work. Mine is a middle class family. Some of my relatives are well-off, others are less so, but most of their children have had problems gaining employment if, that is, they decided not to get a job in the worlds of farming, finance, commerce, law and industry. I won’t say that the youngsters who decided to follow those careers paths have been without their problems, but I don’t think they were exploited in quite the same way. And of course they were soon reasonably well paid. The people who have had a hard time were those who decided to work in the theatre and film/television, in social work, in charities, amenity gardening (as opposed to commercial horticulture) and the arts. And yet the sad thing is, these were all subjects in which Britain traditionally played a leading, pioneering role. They are also fields that have become professional and employ large numbers of people. But sadly a significant proportion of that supposed employment is nothing of the sort. Now I fully concede that from an economist or politician’s viewpoint you cannot have arts unless you also have people who are prepared to buy the created work; but today I think the scales have tipped too far in one direction. I also suspect that future critics might well judge that some of the films, plays and artworks produced themselves reflect that bias: to my eyes they are often either dumbed-down and over-populist, or elite and very metropolitan. What has happened to subtlety and charm?

Whenever I speak to people at the start of their working lives, one of the commonest complaints I hear is about their exploitation in the dreaded internships. Now I cannot speak from personal experience, but I have to say, these sound like little more than schemes to acquire not cheap, but free labour. Maybe I’m wrong: maybe there are good, non-exploitative internships, but it’s hard to avoid the other conclusion. What I abhor is the way that it has somehow become quite OK to exploit amateurs within a professional organisation. To my mind that idea stinks. It is moreover profoundly corrupting and is doing more to widen the have/have not divide and the distance between the Westminster political elite and the rest of the country than almost anything else.

I had long suspected that the situation was bad, but my eyes were only opened to the extent of the problem by a superb blog post by Alice Smith who has experienced internship many, many times. She writes from the bitterest experience and her words are given added strength by the fact that she has recently emerged on the other side and now has a paid job in the professional theatre world. And please don’t make the mistake of thinking that Alice is a star-struck wannabe actor. No, her interest lies behind-the-scenes, on the administrative and managerial side. She loves theatres and how they work. That’s what motivates her. It’s an absolutely gripping read, and not too long, either. And you must be made of stone if it doesn’t affect you. Take it from me: you MUST have a look:

http://alicelsmith.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/fringe-theatre-playground-of-the-privileged/

And if like me you Tweet, please tell others about it. And now I must get back to the lambing pens. Why can’t humans be as straightforward as other animals?

Posted in Archaeology, Tirades | Tagged , , ,

Norfolk Biffins (or Beefings)

I must confess I find the sort of apples one buys in supermarkets rather boring. Yes, they look nice and they are generally sweet and crunchy, but isn’t life about more than sweetness and crunch? What about flavour and texture? What about contrast and subtlety? There are times I worry about the dumbing-down of British palates, eroded by the incessant onslaught of marketeers’ blandness. Yes, I agree 100%: by all means ban the smoking of cigarettes in cars with children; but I’d also make it a hanging offence to eat fast-food in front of impressionable youngsters. And people who give their babies chocolate deserve to be slowly… But I digress.

Now where was I? Ah yes, I was going to write about Biffins. ‘Oh no,’ I hear a groan, ‘Not Biffins: everyone knows about Biffins.’ Well for that tiny minority who don’t, a few words of explanation might be appropriate. To sum up. If you went into any bakery in Norfolk in the 19th (I nearly said ‘last’) Century you would probably encounter trays of Biffins. And soon they had become very popular in London and elsewhere. Essentially, Biffins or Beefings were oven-dried apples, but of a particular variety (the Norfolk Beefing), which can still be found in select nurseries today.

According to Wikepedia, the oldest recorded reference to Norfolk Biffins is 1807. We planted our tree about five years ago and this autumn it gave us two apples. In Victorian times, bakers would put their beefing apples into their bread ovens as they were cooling down after the main baking session, to make use of any residual heat. We used the warming oven of the Aga (which runs at just below boiling temperature). The bakers would weigh their apples down with trays and suchlike, so give them their distinctive flattened shape, but this takes a certain amount of practice to get right; and of course too much weight would split the skins – and the biffin then rapidly dries out completely – to a leather-like consistency. So I pressed our two apples at the end of the process, when we reckoned the skins would be good and tough.

We grow about 15 types of old apples in our small orchard and we know from experience that many traditional ‘keeping’ varieties (such as the 18th Century (1708) Ribston Pippin, which we’re currently eating), develop sweetness and complexity through time. The textbooks suggest the best months to eat various varieties, but in our experience this will vary hugely from one year to another. Frankly, nothing can beat a few exploratory nibbles. Too often we’ve left the starting of a box of apples until the ‘correct’ time, only to find them over-ripe and woolly in texture.

So first give the apples time to develop some taste and texture (we conducted our little experiment in early December). Then pack them tightly in fresh, dry hay (which you can buy bagged in pet and animal feed shops) in a dish or bowl. When you think they’re ready, press them carefully, while they’re still warm and flexible. Ideally they should be less than an inch thick, although I think ours turned out very slightly fatter. Or you can just place the bowl in the oven and check at hourly intervals. Failing that, you can do what we did: put them in the warming oven over-night, and hope for the best in the morning.

You can find recipes for cooking Biffins on the internet, but if you’ve gone to the trouble of making your own, I’d strongly suggest you eat them plain, without ice cream or custard. Frankly, they’re absolutely delicious. Incredibly complex with a wonderful lingering, aromatic aftertaste. Personally, I don’t mind eating tough skins, but some delicate modern mouths might find them a bit much. And I’d also leave the core (mindful of the fact that ripe apple pips are quite toxic if chewed). Oh yes, and a glass of port enjoyed with the Biffin is superb!

Incidentally, I wonder what Charles Dickens would have written about modern supermarket food?

Our two Norfolk Beefing apples before oven-drying

Our two Norfolk Beefing apples before oven-drying

The apples wrapped in hay, ready to go into the oven

The apples wrapped in hay, ready to go into the oven

A wrinkly Biffin ready to be pressed

Wrinkly Biffins ready to be pressed

The finished, pressed Biffin

The finished, pressed Biffin

Bitten biffin

A bitten Biffin

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , ,

The Adventurous Doll

One or two serious-minded people have been silly enough to suggest that there ought to be more archaeology in this blog. So this post is for them – with my love.

When she isn’t working with prehistoric wood, cooking me delicious meals, slaving away in the garden or acting the midwife in the lambing pens, Maisie likes to knit and sew. She was taught by her mother and at Dorking Grammar School in those post-War days before people became self-conscious about ‘gender stereotyping’ and suchlike. Anyhow, give her a needle, thread and yarn and she can make anything.

This year Christmas was a little hectic. Maisie was working on a major excavation and was, as they say, up to her eyes in wood. So the doll she had decided to knit for her great-niece didn’t get finished on time. In fact it was only finished yesterday (March 3rd). And already it’s had some ripping adventures, which I’ll tell you about shortly.

Maisie has boxfuls of old (the correct term is ‘vintage’) knitting and sewing patterns, many torn out of magazines by her mother, who is sadly no longer with us. The doll in question was featured in Woman’s Own for November 7th, 1981 – which cost 19p (!). So that’s the archaeological content out of the way (phew!!).

Woman's Weekly

Doll in outdoor clothes

The doll is wearing a smart green dress and is also equipped with a yellow cardigan, plus a warm woolly hat, scarf and gloves, for outdoors. And it was when she was taking a stroll in the garden, wearing her warm clothes that she met a rather unpleasant gnome who lived in a hole somewhere in the long border. We don’t like him very much, but we can’t bring ourselves to evict him, because he offends the good taste of our smart London friends – and that gives us both HUGE amounts of pleasure. Anyhow, the gnome had just made a rather unpleasant, slighting remark about the doll’s hat. A passing cat heard what had been said and was about to give the rude gnome a severe biting, when he pulled himself up onto the edge of the jardinière and made a rapid exit. Gosh, that was a near escape!

Doll and jardiniere

Back indoors the doll (who we are going to allow our great-niece to name) took off her outdoor clothes and sauntered into the sitting room for a cup of tea (I almost said gin-and-tonic). There she came across the head of Minnie Mouse. At first it gave her a bit of a turn, but soon she realised it wasn’t real. Just a cushion. (To be quite honest I couldn’t face writing another adventure. Sorry about that.)

Doll in indoor clothes

Minnie and doll

Posted in humour | Tagged ,

Holy Islands (hidden bits of)

This coming Sunday (March 2nd), at 8.00 PM on Channel 4 we’re going to be shown the latest of the Time Team documentaries we filmed last summer. They were fun to shoot, but I must admit I very much missed the noise and team-spirit of the regular excavation shows, now sadly finished forever. There was also a huge amount of travelling involved, with lots of driving, crowded trains and even a flight (to Orkney, which I’ve already covered in a post last year). We were asked to suggest various themes and I came up with ‘Holy Islands’. Channel 4 liked the idea, but as time passed the commissioning editors started to change their minds and the programme changed shape, so that now (I think) it’s about prehistoric holy places and mummies. The mummies, incidentally are those burials found in Bronze Age houses on South Uist at Cladh Hallan, back in 2001 by Mike Parker Pearson and his team from Sheffield University. I managed to include Mike’s site in the two films we made (again for Channel 4) of my book, Britain BC.

So as I’ve already discussed the Orkney part of the film, and have no wish to return to Mike’s mummies (which anyhow he can do far better than me), I thought I’d say a few words about the bits that never make it into the finished film to be screened on Sunday. Often they can be just as interesting as the main topic. I well recall filming a regular Time Team episode on Shooters Hill, on the southern approaches to London. The film was about anti-aircraft defences and other WW2 stuff (a spigot mortar and pill-boxes etc.) which had been sited on top of this prominent hill, which overlooks the City of London and the eastern approaches, from the south. While we were filming the geophys team revealed a large and gently curving ditch which I knew at once had to be ancient. So I immediately told the Director it was probably wartime and part of the outer defences to the gun battery. If I hadn’t told that little porky I doubt if we’d have dug it. But we did, and to my delight we proved it was a hillfort ditch that circled part of the hilltop and had an eroded bank on its outside. It even produced a couple of very weathered sherds of what looked to me like later Bronze Age pottery – somewhere around, or just after 1000 BC. So I was well pleased, as were the local archaeologists – but it never made it into the final programme.

Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island, Northumberland.

The surviving buildings of Lindisfarne Priory.

This time the edited-out archaeology has been the other way around and prehistory has trumped WW2. No film that purported to be about holy islands could avoid a visit to Holy Island, Lindisfarne, with its stunning Priory that produced the world-famous Lindisfarne Gospels – for my money one of the most beautiful books to be created by human beings. We parked on the mainland side of the narrow causeway so that our cameraman could get some moody shots of the island in the distance, when I noticed a stunning double row of WW2 anti-tank cubes. They were hastily made from the poorly-mixed concrete that is so characteristic of the time. Then as we started to drive across, I suddenly realised that had there indeed been a battle, the wonderful Priory ruins would undoubtedly have suffered severely. Still, what were they to do? It’s easy to forget that Britain’s uniquely rich array of some 14,000 medieval churches is the result of not having endured major wars and land battles, unlike our neighbours on the continental mainland.

Two rows of WW2 anti-tank cubes, still in situ.

Two rows of WW2 anti-tank cubes, still in situ.

One of the Lindisfarne cubes, showing the distinctive, hastily-mixed WW2 concrete.

One of the Lindisfarne cubes, showing the distinctive, hastily-mixed WW2 concrete.

We were also filming a short distance south of Lindisfarne, at Low Hauxley, Northumberland, where Clive Waddington and his team have been excavating Early Bronze Age cist and cairn burials that have been eroding out of the cliff (and after that tidal surge in December, they dug them in the nick of time!). Again, we were pausing for a bite of lunch when I noticed that two massive concrete walls that extended out onto the beach, to protect the pumped outfall from a reservoir, were in fact made from wartime concrete anti-tank cubes that had been hauled or bulldozed there from elsewhere nearby. We know that at the end of the war, Britain’s beaches (especially along the east and south coasts) were covered in cubes and scaffolding and barbed wire. I’ve seen air photos taken, I think in   1944 or ’45, and there’s little room for bathers – anywhere. What strange times they must have been. I also wonder whether we today would ever be capable of rising to the occasion so swiftly. I cannot see planning officers or town hall bureaucrats granting anyone permission to erect such environmentally unfriendly things as anti-tank cubes, unless, of course, they were clad in timber and made to look Tudor, like some of the new housing estates. But I digress…

The cliff at Low Hauxley, Northumberland. The figure is close to the Bronze Age burial site.

The cliff at Low Hauxley, Northumberland. The figure is close to the Bronze Age burial site.

Low Hauxley, WW2 anti-tank cubes re-arranged to protect the outfall pipe from a modern reservoir.

Low Hauxley, WW2 anti-tank cubes re-arranged to protect the outfall pipe from a modern reservoir.

Posted in Archaeology, Broadcasting, Time Team | Tagged , , , , , , ,