Tony: I hear that our intrepid traveller Phil is returning from a
package holiday in Brittany to these Britexited silver shores today.
Paulinus Blinkinghorn: Tepid but not stirred I hear, like a medieval pot on the hearth, coarse ware of course. Since he's discovered that his genetics include those of a Romano-Briton he thinks that he is the reincarnation of Arthur.
Tony: You mean Arthur of the Britons who returned to these sceptered isles and gathered up the sword from the lake and saved Britain in its hour of need? Never have so many clattered about so much for so long.
Before clattering about too long our 'tepid traveller' Phil returns to the Tintagel excavation site in a flurry of
pie poudre created by the pay-as-you-go Land Rover driven by a penurious school teacher in his spare time who rants about Australians not being allowed to hang their arms out of the car window in Australia and so he's not going there, while endlessly berating his passengers about educational funding with 'and don't get me started' every second gear change. In a majestic swirl of mechanically derived
poudre Phil steps down from the Rover and falls to his knees.
Phil: Thank Gawd io'm back in the land o' me four fathers, oi nearly lorst me shirt over there orn th' continent. Theys don' speak English, only Breton. Moi Welsh companion could understand 'em fer hours and moi Cornish tin maiden could pick up every second word but oi was flumoxed an' banjaxed oi was. Oi lost a heap o' gold sovereigns at Chemin de Fer, that's not far from
Tony: Well that will teach you not to gamble with your finances, speaking of which how is the
Tintagel Excavation Fund going, are we out of
our deficit yet?
Paul counting backwards: Seems not, but looking at these 5th and 6th century exotic wine flagons
from the Eastern Mediterranean it looks like trade was picking up in Tintagel during the Dark Ages.
Phil: Funny name that, Tintagel. Oi wonder if it 'as anything tu do wi' th' tin trade. It all seems to tie in wi' th' idea of metal in stone an' Arthur havin' tu laboriously extract it from the granite, loike pulling Excalibur from the stone.
Tony: Yes but the only problem with that idea is that there are no
tin mines near Tintagel, it's name was Dintagel years ago, maybe
there was an awful noise going on here at one time. So anyway Phil have you returned to save the Tintagel Excavation Fund
and Britain from a prolonged historical period of instability?
Phil: Yes oi have Tony, an don' snigger when oi tell you that oi have already been up to Dozmary Pool and plucked the sword from the lake.
Tony: O' pray tell us more Artorius.
Phil: Well it's loike this, oi had a dream that oi represented the Romano-Britons arfter the 'last moan of the Britons' had foinally
doid away and so oi wen' tu Dozmary Pool high up on Bodmin Moor arfter slakin' me thirst at the Jamaica Inn there.
Arfter foive points oi saw not one sword emergin' from the water but foive swords! Yu see it is an allegory, me, as a representative of the British people, savin' Britain from the ravages of Britex or Brexit or whatever it's called. Moi
Cornish tin maiden thought these swords were fence posts but io can assure you they was swords an' they was literally emergin' from the lake because of the 2018 drought. In fact if you examine the peat deposits
aroun' th' lake you can see that th' pool was much larger in the
parst and has droid out considerably. The' swords are on offer,
Britain is in need of Arthur!
Dozmary Pool, the fabled site where
the lady of the lake is claimed to appear when Britain is
visited by Arthur.
Tony: So how is that going to help the Tintagel Excavation Fund and Britain out of a hole?
Phil: Well, to extend this allegory a little further, you'll note from this photograph oi took, that these foive swords are bewnd together boi three strands o' wire. Oi see the foive swords bein' foive former colonies of the British Empire, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa an' India. an' theys all be bound together boi these three common strands, language, laws and trade.
Phil: Well don' be a Teresa, Boris. Carn't youse see that Britain can trade wi' at least these foive nations, woine, poineapples an' brandy from Australia, apples an' mutton chops from New Zealand, wheat from Canada, diamonds from South Africa an' we can export boat loads of rain water to South Africa, India and Australia. We can empty Dozmary Pool an' expose even more offerin's from the lady of the lake!
Tony: You'll have to stop using that Lancelot after-shave Phil, it's starting to affect me, I've already girded my loins with plate armour.
Phil: You think you're takin' precautions Tony, oi'm donnin' this cuirass, armin' myself wi' a lance an' mountin' moi trusty
Triumph. Where's th' nearest petrol station?
Phil: This is great Tony, you finally managed to swing a TV show where we can work insoide instead of in the teeth of a howlin' gale orf th' western scarp of the west of the Western Hebrides facin' west with a weathered
face that's fallin' orf.
Tony: Sorry Phil this is going to involve some external exposure to the elements, it is going to be a challenge to challenge all challenges as far as they can be challenged - on T.V. that is.
Phil: Cor worse than a steak BBQ at a vegan camp (bare grills) an' oi thought we's wus gonna be lollin' abewt rollin' in clover an' honey, jus' moi luck to get suckered into this caper with you Tony.
Tony: Yes Phil the contract is signed. You should have read the
Gaelic small print, it says you are indentured to me until the twenty-second century AD at least.
Phil: Well Oi suppose it will pay the Bills and Jills an' keep the
Willies from moi door. What shall oi
Tony: OK lets get started. We need some kitchen equipment with an archaeological flavour. Throw us that
vibrating trowel will you and hastily clasp that spade, one does not grab. Next we need a front-end loader, a cement mixer and an American screwdriver.
Phil: An American what?
Tony: A sledge-hammer Phil, where have you been all your life, under a dolmen?
Phil: Ok oi've got all of those, do we need a plumbloine an' a theodolite.
Tony: Not right now, we might add those later if the batter is too runny. Now, one scoop of
Gogerty's gritty flour using the front-end loader, two spadefuls of
Belcher's baking soda, one level trowelful of Gomorah's salt, two heaped
bucketfuls of Butcher's yeast and a mega-sized dollop of Dribbley's double cream.
Phil: Hew we gonna mix it all then?
Tony: The revolutionary rocket-powered cement mixer of course Phil. Shades of Fanny and
Johnny Craddock, this is going to be mind-boggling if not stomach churning.
Phil: When do we add the chocolate and beer Tony?
Tony: We don't, we are going to use these 18 emu eggs to add body and texture.
Phil: Ok in they go!
Tony: Phil you are supposed to take the egg-shells off first. Too late now.
Phil: Well this can be extra calcium fer yer bones Tony, don't choke on it. This reminds me of Buddist temple cookin'.
Tony: I've never cooked a temple.
Phil: Foreheads are pretty good too oi've heard.
How do we know if the result will be any good?
Here's one I ate earlier...
Tar but no ta.
Tony: Well, now comes the test, how are we going to igneously and
metamorphically change the chemical composition of this mixture in order to palletise it?
Phil: You jus' made that word up din' you Tony. Tha's as bad as tha' other word, hoidroloise. Oi carn't stand it when people make up words that don't exist.
Tony: Keep your braces and your callipers on Phil, we need to think of how we are going to cook it.
I was thinking of getting the odd-job man in but he's odd.
Phil: We could use th' old iron age trench blarst furnace that is now knowun tu be defunct in the strictest sense o' th' word. It's still
serviceable and loike moi elbow at the Three Nuns tonight, it's fit fer purpose. We used it larst year ter smelt some iron from its oxide in an attempt to make an iron sword, but we only made enough to forge
two hat pins. Then we had a duel to th' death, oi won o' course, you
should see the other fella.
The two archaeo-chefs load up the mixture into the JCB scoop-bucket and head off to the olde steele workes on the west facing scarp o' the Western Outer Hebrides etc. Here the winds blow almost constantly and a weather beaten face can soon
be buffed to look like a craggy bluff and buffing and bluffing is
what Phil specialises in.
Phil: Cor, it's 'ard loightin' a foire usin' this gale resistant tinder box in this
force ten. Whoi carn't oi use a flame-thrower loike that other cordon-vert chef, Gordon Escoffier.
Tony: It has to be realistic, we are a reality show, this is not just a run-of-the-mill cooking show Phil, it has to have an archaeological flavour.
Phil: What loike you mean with the recreation o' the Great Foire o' London using matchstick houses?
At least they 'ad a bakery ter get it goin'.
Two hours later Phil manages to cause some ignition and get the whale blubber smouldering and finally burning. Two weeks later the two chefs consider that the temperature has been optimum for the
internationally recommended period of time and
that the moment had arrived to expose the truth of their
archaeological interpretation of an early English gourmet muffin feast.
Tony: OK Phil, unearth the doughlets and lets see what we've got.
Phil: Croikey, theys look a bit black.
Tony: That's Ok Phil, we can think laterally and surprise the viewers by saying we were really trying to recreate King Alfred's surprise dinner party.
Phil: Sounds abewt roight tu me, do the doughlets have enough archaeological flavour for you Tony, here troi a few hundred! Oi'm orf to
th' Three Nuns pub.
I should remoind you Tony that it is entoirley credible, when you are part of a fictitious
Tony: Today we are at North Elmham in Norfolk, it's a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze of Douwe Egbert's wafting through the long grass where all is right with this little corner of England.
John: Well, looking at this geophys, all is not right with the magnetics.
Tony: Why so glum John?
John: I dunno I was born like this and can't seem to snap out of it.
Phil: Gawd when are you two goin' tu look on the broight soide o' things, you won't be passin' this way agin so you better make the most of it.
Faye: I've uncovered some Anglo-Saxon bones over here that should get your hearts beating again. I wonder how his life panned out, and now here we are 1300 years later digging him up to argue over.
Raksha: They are Anglian bones Faye, the Saxons didn't colonise this part of Britain, it's like the more recent settlers to Britain, they went to the Midlands.
Tony: What? Where low cost grubenhausen and the opportunity was?
Phil: Yair, they was loike invaders rather than settlers, they took over and set up their own enclaves bringing their Aryan religions principally based on the farming year and its seasons. They were the originators o' the Sunday roast. Roast beef, peas, beans an' root vegetables loike turnips wi' lashin's o' gravy but spuds hadn't been discovered then so they must 'ave 'ad a substitute loike dumplin's
Tony: What are you doing now Phil?
Phil: I dunno, oi think oim cogitatin', oi misplaced me car keys th' other day en neow oi carn't foind 'em.
Mick: Well when I was goin' into th' bank in Norwich the other day I saw some car keys on the ground in the
car park. I didn't know whose they were, they looked very important, one key was five times the size of the others, like a church door key.
Tony: So what did you do with them Mick?
Mick: Well I pressed the car door locking device and saw the lights of a vehicle blink in the distance. Sure enough I'd found the car and placed the keys under the front seat and left a note under the
Phil: That's bein' a good Samaritan then Mick.
Mick: Yes but the best part was as I was returning to the car park I saw the lady driving out in her car. I called out to her if she had found the keys under her seat. She said thank you yes and fumbled around in her bag an' pulled out two complimentary tickets to this years Archaeologists Golden Trowelling Ball all expenses paid.
Phil: Cor, lumme, that is a coincidence, oi'd 'ave loiked tu 'ave gone tu that! Theys 'ave some really crackin' English beers there, gravity fed an' all.
Mick: Yes but the story doesn't end there Phil. The next day I went to the
shopping centre and while I was in the supermarket a lady came in and said 'Does anyone drive a whacking great silver four-wheel drive
Guzzlemobile'? I said 'yes I do'. Well she said 'A 90 year old woman just smashed into your car using the audio-contact method so here's my number if you need a witness'. I thanked her profusely but I had to wait a whole hour before the old lady emerged from th' supermarket with a carrot and a stick o' celery. I think she had been skulking in the veggie section trying to avoid me.
Tony: That's terrible, not notifying you that she had damaged your
Phil: Whoa Crikey, yeah some people are very dodgy.
Tony: Dodgy or not, when are we going to get started on this archaeological excavation, we only have 2.9 days left to dig it and 5.8 days to drink the pub dry.
Mick continuing as if Tony was an inebriated mute: Well, I felt so good about it I rang the lady who had left me her number and posted her the two lucky complimentary tickets to the Golden Trowel Ball that the other lady had given me.
Phil: Well Mick, that's even better, you should be elected to the senior board o' th' Trowel Benders Association.
Mick: Yes but again it didn't end there, the last lady later rang me to say her husband had nearly had an accident when he was opening the door to North Elmham Church with a giant key, the door almost fell on him crushing him but someone passing by managed to pull him out from under
La Piene and as a consequence she donated the lucky tickets to this hero.
Tony: Yes, great but what has all this to do with us? We have to get this dig finished and come up with some grave goods or the viewer numbers will tumble, Plip plop plap, Tracy you need to expose more lumps and bumps to raise the ratings.
Phil: Funny you should mention that because tha' 'ero was moi cousin Phil Backin th' younger, e' was jus' doin' a bit o' grave excavation on a plague pit in th' cemetery at th' toime an' 'eard this whacking great crack as th' door broke an' masonry from th' church tower came a tumblin' deown.
John: That's strange I was packin' up last night and the owner of the manor house next to the dig site, lord Robert de Clotworthy, called me over for a complimentary glass of brandy, a cigar and a hot bath. He said this fella at the church had given him two tickets to the Troweller's Ball as well. Here we are Phil, I've no use for them, you can have
Tony: It's all very well standing around here gawking and prattling away in the spoil heaps but when is this TV programme going to get underway. Rant, rant.
Phil: Neow Tony's gorn an' orst 'is marbles, anyone got a lucky ticket fer that? Oi'm off to the Troweller's Ball tu noight fer a bottle or two o' that ol' Anglian brew, Woodeforde's Norfolk
Nips* - a noice English barley 'wine' but it ent, it's a beer.
*Phil would like you to know that Woodforde's Norfolk Nips (8.5% alc.) is on'y brewed once a year,
aroun' about St. Valentine's Day, it is left to mature until autumn before
bein' bottled. It's a roight 'eadcracker.
Phil: When did th' word 'continuing' become 'ongoing'? Surely this is a wrongdoing.
Tony: You must be joking Phil! That's just pedantry.
Phil: It is not pedantry it's correctness, oi keep tellin' you, Tony.
Tony: And also how on Earth can you say you've found the corner of a round tower Phil? That doesn't make sense.
Phil: Yes but it's the internal walls o' this reownd tower that 'ave corners, Tony, all is not what it seems.
Tony: All right Phil that's one chalked up to you.
Phil: You don't know nuthin' Tony.
Tony: Two negatives make a positive so I know something Phil. Your cuppa is about to slide off that spoil heap into your freshly trowelled trench. That's one up
Phil: Tha's whoi oim wearin' a trench coat Tony.
Tony: Do you believe in nominative determinism Phil?
Phil: What th' corkin' 'ell is tha' when its at 'ome?
Tony: Well, like your name, Phil, it is reminiscent of the word 'fill' that could have determined the occupation you took up.
Phil: What you mean loike David O' Burns bein' th' chief fire officer or Doug Daly, the gardener.
Tony: Yes something like that.
Mick: I think he's havin' a lend o' you Phil.
Phil: Oi dunno, oi dont think so. Moind you oi know we used tu 'ave kids at school wi' names loike John Sparebutter and Nell Sparough, oi think he went into the dairy industry an' she went into bird twitchin'. Then there's the toime th' school numbers fell below a critical number and they added a fictitious pupil to
the roll for the annual audit. They called 'im Lasper Yorrick, oi got tu know 'im quite well.
Tony: Yes you certainly wouldn't want a name like Peter File or even a double-barrelled name like Ian Cant-Remember.
Phil: Yair, Robinson is bad enough.
Tony: I'll ignore that comment Phil, only because you are wielding that double-bladed replica of a Viking battle-axe over my head.
Phil: Yair but that ent all Tony, oi think the team 'ave buried your Range Rover in trench number three with just the snorkel stickin' outa th' greouwnd in celebration of St. Watney's Day whoile they re-enacted medieval
wassailin' an' wantoness.
Tony: Wahaaaa? where? Who did it? What was his name?
Phil: Joe King, Tony, now that is nominative determinism for yu.
Tony: This week we are in the village of Butterley near Buttermere. This village moved when the great plague hit Europe in 1348 so we are looking for tangible evidence of this upsurge in uprooting, this is where Toime Team comes into it's own. So what have we got so far Matt?
Matt: Well we've found a tin can from 1902 if that's any help.
Mick: That can is not tin, its rusted. Tin doesn't rust, it must be steel which means it can't date to 1902.
Matt: Then there's parch marks
Phil: Not to mention lumps and bumps an' evidence of medieval settlement, if there was a deserted medieval village 'ere it must 'ave been pretty sparse. What do you think Mick?
Mick: Aston's Law of archaeological evidence says local oral versions are invariably wrong. Oral history stroke tradition can be so garbled that the original grain of truth is most often lost.
Tony: So we would expect most to be arable to pasture with a few hovel clearances
Phil: Th' suns out, noice bit o' diggin' an' a thirst is a commin' on.
Tony: There's no pub in this village.
Phil: Truly a deserted village then. No pints! No bitter in Butterly.
Oi don' believe it!
Tony: No butter either, the dairy closed down when the milk multinational went overseas to Arabia where the cows can be fed more cheaply on petroleum oil waste.
Mick: I tried to email you last night Phil about coming down here today, I wanted to warn you there was no pub.
Phil: Fat chance of emailin' me when moi ADSL loine was dewn agin.
Tony: So what's wrong with the disrupted superhighway?
Phil: Oi dunno, but when oi talked to the tech. support operator, it sounded loike 'insert your modem in the reciprocatin' steam piston and press connect'. They sacked most of their technicians larst year an' now the beleagured customer is supposed to do a self test on their own ADSL loine to solve the problem usin' remote techniques. Oi'm blowed if civilisation is progressin', we are goin' back to th' early medieval period. 'E assured me that it would work an' arfter arskin' me if oi 'ad any other problems to which oi was aboiut tu say moi lav needed unblockin' when 'e ung up on me saying he would send a text to moi mobile, which incidentally oi never received because moi phone said it couldn't decode the text message. Woi do oi go on livin'?
Mick: Yeah I've got no quibble with these overseas people tryin' to mek a living. It's the telephone corporations that should be given the telephone jack. They are tryin' to maximise their profits by sacking our countrymen and using cheap Asian labour.
Surely havin' someone with a thick accent on a telephone line is
inappropriate. It's like puttin' ugly newsreraders on TV, they can't
'elp it either but it isn't appropriate. It's all done for the already wealthy avaricious shareholders not the coostomer. That's how the rich are getting wealthier and the rest of us have to actually work
'arder for a livin'.
Phil: Toime fer a revolution gentlemen, woi don't we plot the downfall of the corporate megalthic structures.
Mick: Let's go off an' locate some field boundaries and see if we can connect with reality.
Tony: That sounds desultory, how about we try to locate the main corporate ADSL line and give them a blast.
Mick: Time for your medicine Tony, you are in one of your narrow negative moods again.
Tony: OK. Carry on, I'll get on with my job you stay calm, I'll do all the panicking for the rest of us. We have to inject some drama into this desultory programme.
Matt: We seem to have an ephemeral earthworks and manorial complex, see we've located some medieval pottery.
Tony: You're potty about pottery
Mick: Tony go and have a lie down with a bag of cold peas on your head. We have test pits all over this village - like a swarm of elephant traps,
school children are disappearing into them never to be seen again, maybe you could investigate that mystery?
Tony: Maybe we should go and have a chat with the owner of the manor house.
Mick: Yes while John's gently geophysing the area from the air with sonic booms we could visit the owner. He's George Ponsby-Smythe who is chief director of International Telecommunications Incorporated,
they outsource all their work overseas.
Phil: Grrrr. when oi hear the word telecommunications oi reach fer moi treuwel.
Tony: How about we get Raksha to talk to him in her native language and give him a taste of his own medicine.
Phil: Yarr see 'ow 'e loikes it an we can cut off 'is ADSL while were are at it.
Tony: Fear not, I've already instructed Jock the JCB driver to accidentally-on-purpose dig up his ultra high speed laser assisted cable and John is going to connect him directly to Asia using his geophys equipment.
Then see how he likes it!
Tony: Compelling, that is the word that encapsulates the atmosphere here at Toime team today.
Phil: Yer, but what does it compel me to do? Tha's whart oi want tu know.
Tony: Well, evocative, then, how about the word evocative?
Phil: Yar but what does it evoke in all of us?
Tony (getting annoyed and wanting to start his pre-dig rant): Well then episodic, how about episodic Phil, will that do?
Mick: When I hear the words compelling, evocative and episodic I reach for my O.E.D.
Phil: A Roman amphorae at Westminster, well outside the old Roman walls of London. What's it doing here at Westminster Abbey?
Yorkshire Joe: It's all gone t' pot. Nowt left. ah'd give it a miss if ah wuz you. All t' rack an' ruin. Not worth a bob ah'll be bound, ye'll be wastin' yer taime, the'll be no brass there.
Tony: What do you think Mick?
Mick: I dunno, I've been excavating the Roman road near the Portsmouth Naval Riding School for the past six months.
Phil: Oi'm 'avin' impure thoughts about that Mick, me oiyes are beginnin' tu warter.
Tony: Mmmmm that sounds racy. When does the 2.30 at Newmarket start?
Phil: 'ello 'ello what's this then ? Edward the' Confessor's boudoir?
Mick: No, according to Francis its a potential floor of the Bronze Age period .
Tony: It's a flaw alright, but before we start waxing lyrical about tribal raiding parties and cattle rustling we need to determine if it has a central hearth, surely the centre-piece
for domestic Iron Age bliss or not. Look, Phil's got that face again, moan, moan, moan.
Phil: It's th' same face oi've always 'ad Tony.
Tony: But yesterday you said it was from Edward the Confessor's time.
Phil: Well Tony, that was yesterday, today the' building's moved - about 8000 years dewn th' toime loine.
Tony: It seems that Francis was right then.
DAY THREE ALREADY
Tony: Well it's day three already and here we are standing in the middle of an 8-9 metre diameter Iron Age hut.
Phil: It's Edward th' Confessor's boudoir oi tell you.
Tony: O ye of little faith take a leap of faith.
Phil: Oi 'ave tu admit we are feelin' desperate. Even if we don't foind anything of Edward th' Confessor's, at least we'll foind all the modern subterranean services.
Mick: It's rubbish in it. No walls or structures, it's not there.
Tony: It looks like join the dots again, bish bash bosh there it is.
Phil: It's aloigned! It's aloigned!
Tony: Yes with the north transept, is that significant?
Visiting archaeologist Monsieur Sieur: It's probably, 'ow you say, a processional archway.
Phil: It looks more loike a left leg an' a foot bone tu me, 'allo, there's another noice set o' teeth.
Monsieur Sieur: Oui, peoples in ze past seem to 'ave 'ad better teeth than today, less to, 'ow you say, snack on.
Yes snacks are not very filling but provide plenty of fillings.
Phil: Yarr, there should be a world-wide dental hygiene campaign where on a particular day every T.V. news reader puts blacked-out tooth spaces on their dental arrays to publicise what the world would look like with loads o' missin' teeth.
Matt: It's burial on burial, watch this space it could be filled in with infill, Phil.
Phil: There's infill in this Victorian stairwell.
Tony: Well un-fill it Phil.
Phil: Will you stop usin' moi name as a punning in-fill, Tony-chest-nut.
Mick; What's this piece of fabric? Is it pot?
Pottery expert Ephraim Grumblestick: It's tile or brick - it's not my job. Steward! demarcation called for. Where's the shop steward Tony?
Tony: From today I'm the shop steward and you have to identify tile and brick now, it's in the new contract I unilaterally drew up my very self this very AM.
Ephraim Grumblestick: Wait 'till Phil hears that, he'll want to stretch you out at 'The Elms'.
Tony: Is that the local pub?
Matt: No, that's the medieval gallows and gibbet near where the old entrance to Buck
Palaces' Marble Arch, stands today.
Phil arriving on the scene: Yar they used 't' hang people near where
Speaker's Corner is now. People loike that arch romancer of Queen Isabella, Roger de
Mortimer 'e was hanged there.
Don't you mean hung?
No people are hanged, meat is hung, didn't they ever teach you th'
difference at school?
Tony (not wishing to have a physical altercation or alteration with Phil): I'll have to go now, I've got Colin Sproule and the fridgemen calling around tonight for a recording session on the sound track for my new T.V. series about refrigerators and how to service them.
Mick: How come fridge has a 'd' in it but refrigerator doesn't?
Matt: No eye deer but everyone's getting on the band-wagon. There are former comediennes romping around looking at people who have overspent on renovations, Geordies who are recreating palatial residences of the past for owners of decaying eighteenth century country piles and foul-mouthed chefs who should have remained as cooks in the bowels of their own kitchens. Why not a series on servicing
refrigerators? I was thinking of hosting my own T.V. experience on drug smugglers, rug smugglers, smug drugglers, mug strugglers and bug hugglers not to mention bug smugglers.
Phil: Th' souewnds loike a cracker o' an oidea Matt. Oi could host one of theys programmes on heuw to speak mother tongue English as she should be spoken. It could revolve aroewnd U.S. English vs. English, though there ent no such thing as U.S. English.
Tony: Yes the ill-educated Anglo youth are all doing it. They are watching too many U.S. sit-coms and filmic drivel. It's the decay, not the evolution of the mother tongue. 'Ent' should be retained and that ugly word 'gotten' should be gotten rid of but it's the movement of the syllables and word emphasis that really gets me.
Matt: That's like a-ddress or add-ress and prist-ine or pris-tine and elec-tricity vs e-lec-tricity.
Tony: Do you know that the first place in the world to have residential address numbers were the so-called 'numbers houses' on Minster Yard in Lincoln, That's Lincoln in England not the U.S., so I think we should be able to define the pronunciation of 'address'.
Phil: Wha' 'bout that word 'cute', what does it mean? It's another lazy word loike 'cool'. Whoi carn't Komodo dragons be 'cute' they 'ave a cuticle.
Tony: I've never cuddled a Komodo.
What about acute kidney disease?
Phil: Then there's 'me and my brother ....' when it should be 'my brother and I....'. Tha's the Queen's English, Webster just troid to muddy th' waters between the U.S. and Britain because they wus breakin' away from their mother country an' took out the 'u' on 'colour' an' flavour'.
Matt: Beg to differ, but the Pilgrim fathers and the Jamestown settlers all used the spelling 'color' and 'flavor' in their writings. It was the informal pre-Samuel Johnston dictionary spelling of the time.
Phil: Yarr but Webster systematised it so theys could use no other.
Tony: Anyway, it's not you and your brother Phil, you don't have one.
Phil: Yar it's not loike (WHAT) we (DONE) did yesterday.
The U.S. vernacular is so pervasive everyone's forgetting to end
words with -ly. They say quick instead of quickly and wise instead
of wisely. It's enough to make you burn your joomper of many
Tony: What about double negative statements that mean the exact opposite that the utterer intended as in 'I din' do nuffin' officer, 'onest I din''.
Matt: Then there's meaningless catch-phrases that are used to sell goods like 'It's your life so eat Fidobite dogfood'
Tony: It's so bad people are saying things like 'I'm good' when they mean
'I'm well'. I don't want to know about their morals, I want to know
how their health is. It's like 'goodification', voted the worst new word for 2012?
Phil: More loike good defacation if you arsk me.
Mick: It's what George Orwell called insincere language, but I think you could be on a winner
there Phil, the up front costs would be minimal and you wouldn't need many extras. Just a mock up pub and a few tramps, those two beggars, Lucy Lockett and McHeath and an irate landlord, it has all the ingredients for a rollicking good show.
Phil: Yar we could unoriginally call the pub 'The Phil's Head' an'
'ave each of you call in as guests an' spout off 'bout some trivial niggling English idiom tha' gets roight up yer nose an we could all 'ave a few points an' see 'ow it goes from there. Tha' way we ken get away from the tyranny of Tony an' 'is three day concentration camps an' shelter from th'
invariably variable and inclement British weather.
Mick: I'll be in that.
Phil: Roighto, consider the pilot programme done, we are on our way to the perfect combination,
lexicological stardom an' salaried inebriation!
THE YORK MASSACRE
The Jewish community of York in 1199 was shaken to its core when the citizens of York herded them into the
wooden castle keep and set alight to it. We are here for the next three days to find out how this terrible event occurred, what really did happen and how this sidelined group of people fared in the aftermath.
Phil: Well Tony, oi've dug this exploratory excavation pit no. 1 through the motte or mound upon which the keep is soited an' oi think we 'ave learnt something that the 'istry books don't tell us.
Tony: Prithee, do tell.
Phil: Well, over 'ere you kin see a thick layer o' luverly, luverly charcoal but under tha' is a foine layer o' iron oxide an' pieces o' hoigh quality iron an' steel.
Mick: Yes it looks very mooch like there was a smithy sited here.
Tony: So what genre of artifact do you think they had been making here and what
and to which provenance do they belong?
Phil: Well it wern't guns tha's fer sure. The first 'hande gonnes' didn't appear in England until the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333.
Tony: Crikey, hand guns back then!
Phil: The N.R.A in th' U.S. reckon it's the person tha' kills you not th' gun.
Mick: It's the gun with the bullet AND the person that kills you, full stop.
Tony: Yes I suppose it's like gunpowder and a match, there's no bang without either being activated. If you have no gun then it makes it much more difficult to kill someone, or many, in a psychopathic rage. Last year there were 9,000 homicides by gun in the U.S. and only 100 in Britain, even taking the difference in the population sizes into account that is a massive overkill. By Britain's laws there should only be about 600 gun homicides in the U.S. not 9000!
Phil: Tony, oi've got an itchy trigger finger, kin we do some re-enactor target practice
on Matt with a Howitzer on tha' mound over there?
Tony: Over my cold dead hand.
Mick: So how do you interpret this test pit Phil? Do we have any evidence that the Jewish community of York perished here? Are there any charred bones or religious artifacts to hang a case on?
Phil: 'ang about Tony, you carn't expect me to produce th' required goods instantly. Oi know this is a television programme but oi'm workin' in real toime not T.V. fairytale land.
Mick: Under Richard Coer de Lyon the Jews, who were the only money lenders allowed in England, were rounded up and many were forced overseas. Some were put onto boats in the Thames but some of the skippers abandoned them at low tide on the sand banks in the estuary while still collecting their lucre. You might say that it was England's genocide.
Phil: This looks intrestin', a discordant pit 'as been dug through all these older conformable layers o' charcoal an' iron oxide.
Mick: Yes you can see quite clearly that this pit post-dates everything else.
Tony: So what does that tell us?
Phil: 'ang aboewt Tony, before you become neurotic or even worse, psychotic, oi think oi've got summat 'ere, its a gunmetal plaque or summat wi' engraved wroitin' on it.
Tony: What does it say?
Mick: 'Here lie the remains of the N.R.A, hounded to the grave by all the relatives of those who have perished under the antiquated 2nd amendment to the constitution.'
Tony: They amended it? Is that like they fixed it?
Phil: Loike a bayonet Tony, loike a bayonet through the 'eart 'o a nation, Amen did it.
Tony: This archaeological site under the Napoleonic Bibliotheque in France is uncovering a large collection of ancient colloquialisms or stock phrases and repetitive meaningless linking words. The use of such are considered by researchers and other worthies to concretise our thinking rather than expanding it.
Phil: Yar words are meant for communicatin' not discommunicatin'.
Mick: like, like, like - with generation U they'll have to extend board meetings, they
include so many 'likes' into a sentence.
Yes I dislike 'likes' like on Youtube.
Phil: Yeah but they carn't extend th' day though, not unless they insert 'like' between each minute. 'It's 12 oclock and like, here is the news read by
Alvarda Dell - Britain has suffered another heavy like bombardment like from the Nazi Lufftwaffe like for the third night running, like.'
Phil: Boi the' toime they'd finished sayin' loike, the war would have been over, loike.
Mick: I like that. It's contagious you have to admit that, like.
Tony: Give me sanity!
Mick: Then there's Harvard Biz School speak - Goin' forward ........ What's that mean? gobblin' up the Earth's resources at a faster rate? That would
really be goin' backwards.
Phil: Wha' ' bout ongoin' - what's wrong wi' th' word continuin'? Imagine descroibin' a cacophony of raucous noise an' sayin' 'I'm sorry fer th' racket
lords an' ladies but it's ongoin'. Then they'd say 'yar it's goin' on an on, 'ow 'bout not continuin' with it' An' then there's 'surreal', its real but they are
thinkin' its not real but virtual, loike an image in a mirror. It's loike 'celebrities', they think they are not real unless they are on TV or in a film, poor
Mick: Does that mean everyone else is surreal?
Tony: What, you mean like me with my new Bieber Meggings? Like
Matt: What about 'glass half full'? What I want to know is, what's it
Phil: Anyways, goin' forward an th' glarss bein' empty, its gettin' 'ot out 'ere in this surreal, ongoin' trench, loike
oi think it's toime tu knock orf.
Mick: Thar blows anotheree. Cool is a lazy word like gotten, like. It's like the word 'whatever', is that an exclamation, a question or both!?
Tony: Whatever you interpret it as.!?!?!?....like
Mick: You an' yours - what's that mean? You and your what? You and your trowel?
It don' seownd sincere do it?
Tony: Arggh you're all driving me nuts.
Matt: Nuts did you say, here have a peanut, but watch out, this packet may contain unidentified traces of monkeys.
Tony: That's where you lot belong , in a packet of nuts.
Phil: Well it's a cliched end o' th' day my merry men, an' talkin' o' nuts its time to down tools and head for tha' new British theme
pub, The Stinkin' Stilton, on the Champs Elysees, where we can
partake o' a glass o' refreshin' Cheeseboard ale.
Phil: Not if it's from the Stinkin' Stilton it ent.
Tony: We have dropped in on the little village of Little Houghton in South Yorkshire to see what it would have been like under the taxation regime introduced by William the Conk.
Mick: I'm more au fait with the Bronze Age period myself, but wasn't it the Great William who introduced a system of taxation into Britain?
Phil: Yar, sorta loike but there had been Danegeld before that an' the king always had 'is eorls collectin' dues from the thanes an' reeves who in turn
slapped the serfs wi' foines an' dues fer havin' th' esteemed
privilege of ploughing fields all day.
Tony: That sounds more medi-evil than medieval.
Faye: So what were the tangibles that William was after at Little Houghton?
Phil: Well, Little Houghton is loike a microcosm of what was occurin' all over England about 1086. King Willy managed to get 'is scoibes tu amass a whole heap o' information 'bout what th' landed people owned. Tu be specific, Little Houghton 'ad 2 carucates o' land where they could 'ave employed one ox plough but Houghton had been 'wasted'. This 'appened durin' the great 'arrowin' of the North when the northerners rebelled against
their Norman overlords an' troid to rest England back from these invaders who were from a sorta Voikin' enclave that 'ad settled in Normandy many
years before. The wasting was so bad Little ol' Houghton was only worth four shillings
but before the 'arrowin' it 'ad been worth enough for a Black pud, about a pound. It also 'ad a meadow, two acres of what theys called underwood that was three boi one an a 'alf furlogs in doimension.
Tony: So what? Where's the taxation coming in? Did they have a South Yorkshire tax haven?
Phil: No Tony, you silly Swiss gnome, DB was the basis upon which the sheriffs were instructed on 'ow much tax the landed gentry were tu pay.
Matt: So unlike now in the U.S., the rich were heavily taxed under King Willy?
Mick: Yes boot then the rich taxed the poor an' the poor coughed oop.
Phil: It's a little known fact that the wealthy donate the least. There was a survey recently analysed from tax return records that showed those livin' in
the wealthiest postcodes gave the least. Even charity workers can provide anecdotal evidence of bishops, priests and nuns giving even
less who draw the line at secular charity because it does their cause no good.
Matt: I've studied medieval religion and its practices and the overwhelming thing
that I concluded was that organised church religion was used for what we now call propaganda. It supported the church presenter, usually the local earl or lord of the manor. The rector or incumbent was carefully
chosen by the earl or lord of the manor so that they could be relied upon to inculcate the suffering congregations.
Render unto the lord of the manor, what is his. Your reward is in
heaven. In this way the church leaders helped their elder siblings, the kings, princes and earls to retain their political power and extend the feudal period by hundreds of years. How many
wars were caused by organised religion and how many wars were extended? Even today where politics is mixed with organised religion there's chaos, look at the Middle East and South America.
Separation of powers is just as important today as it should have
Mick: Yes keep the judiciary, religious groups and politicians apart
or you will get trouble. You don't have to follow organised religion to be good. Those organisations merely made use of ancient pre-existing traits
found among most humans. Traits of selfless giving, philanthropy and empathy for others. All
these organisations did was codify and ritualise and bring everything under one umbrella - and they controlled
the umbrella mechanism. We are in the age of reason not faith. Th'
scientific method solves problems like archaeological conundrums and
disease, not prayin' ' bout it.
Phil: No wonder Henry VIII destroyed the monasteries, they must 'ave owned most of the land in Britain after the ruling class had been making donations of land for the preservation of their souls for all those 'undreds of years.
Matt: So what happened to all the land that Henry VIII sold off?
Mick: I can answer that. The middle class merchants who had principally evolved from the
trade guilds bid for the land parcels. Even the dressed stone from the monastery buildings was sold and removed.
Matt: What like Stoke-on-Trent? God's own country. So who owns Little Houghton today? The eel of Westmonster?
Helen: Little Houghton is still part of the honour of Pontefract, an ancient administrative unit, and like the earldom of Lancaster, passed into the hands of Henry IV in 1399. Since then it has remained resolutely in the hands of the ruling king or queen, something euphemistically termed 'the crown'.
Phil: So does that mean tenant farmers an' people payin' rent today in Little Houghton ultimately pass their money to 'the crown'?
Tony: Must be, how do you think Buck Palace was built? While the wealthy inheritors of land were wondering which wine went with which food
the people were struggling to feed themselves. To the victors went the spoils of inheritance even if they were not themselves involved in the victory.
Phil: Wha' woine goes with sausages then?
Mick: The last thing the tenants of Little Houghton were thinking about was wine, especially after Thatcher closed Houghton Main Colliery.
Phil: Yar, more loike blood than woine. Imagine tekin' away a man's loivlihood so's 'e can't feed 'is children. Drink this in remembrance of them that doied in the great colliery disasters o' the Houghton Main Colliery.
Tony: So looking at this trench cut through the ruinous remains of the Little Houghton manor house can we deduce anything from the stratigraphy?
Phil: Well, you ken see where they stopped payin' tax 'ere, 'ere,
'ere an 'ere.
Tony: How on Earth can you tell that from the stratigraphy Phil?
Phil: Easy queasy. There's a discontinuity in the occupation layers where they all moigrated overseas tu get away from th' Domesday Book,
the Poll Tax, th' Beeching Axe and Thatchernomics. We need another
What more despotic dogma?
TOIME TEAM GOES TO THE CINEMA
Tony: Probably the most unusual location for Toime Team this week takes place in the auditorium of the Regent Street Cinema, London, the oldest
known cinema in England that hosted the first moving-image film in this country. Since then it has operated as a photographic studio where Charles
Dickens had his portrait taken when he was writing Great
Expectorations. It's also been an X-rated cinema, an exam hall and it has been the venue for early experiments with magic lantern shows, diving
bells and electrification. We have been granted special permission by the regent herself to excavate the floor and cellars of this baroque edifice before
it gets a £6 million restoration.
Phil: Is that loike a 'makeover'?
Mick: No, makeovers only occur in the U.S. Here in England we have refurbishment and restoration. A so-called makeover is when you get a botox injection in your upper lip so that you can look like you are drooling on the 'Bold and the Unusually Visually Challenged'.
Phil: So what are we expectin' to foind Tony? Lost reels from the Seamus Pound films? Maybe even artifacts from an exploded Aston Martin DB5 from the fifty year commemoration?
Mick: Well, we could find evidence for old exam papers, lead pencils before graphite ones were invented and bits of rubbery things used to avoid
errors. Then there are coins dropped by coostomers and old photographs and negatives past their use-by-date.
Phil: That would be amazin' an' anastomosing an' even labrynthian if we could foind just one of those astoundin'
artifacts. (Is tha' enough hoiype Tony?)
Just then the National manager for the Restoration of Ancient and Modern Monuments In Thameside (RAMMIT), Phil Armonia, appears on the
scene clutching a handful of Semprini Serenades and Mantovani vinyl records from the 1960's and 70's.
Phil Armonia: I'd like to apologise for the wait ladies and gentlemen but there has been a delay in getting the required permissions to dig. I'm heading
off now to see the Queen who's around the corner at Betty's Tea Shoppe
where I'll see if I can hurry
things along. See you in a muffin or two with jam. Toodleoo.
With that Phil Armonia minces off in the general direction of a
large gathering crowd of inquisitive on-lookers who had expected to see a film called 'Excavating and
Preserving Ancient Film Projectors'. However, they are soon deeply disappointed
and wander off, backwards down Regent Street wearing sack-cloth and throwing
ash over their heads.
Phil: 'e says 'oi's loike tu apologoise', but loike all those film actors (oi won't call 'em 'stars') that get caught doin' things they shouldn't 'ave, they
never actually do apologise. They jus' say 'Oi'd loike tu apologise' but they never actually do it? Then they say they are sorry, but what they mean is
they are sorry fer gettin' caught. They never actually say 'io'm sorry fer the hurt an' pain oi've given others boi moi rash behaviour that has caused th' World tu fall intu apocalyptic
Tony: Well, while we wait we may as well watch a film. What shall it be, the 1951 X rated film, 'Loife Begins Tomorrow', which includes allegedly
racy scenes of hospitals and nightclubs or these ten old Lumière brothers 50-second films of Frenchmen snoring.
Phil: Tha' soewnds loike th' 'Carry On' films, wi' trolleys racin' around
nasal-pharyngial wards an' hospital corridors. Wha' 'bout tha' Seammus Pound film where MI6 is located at Lancaster House not GHQ an' it all blows up destroyin' England's greatest secret tha' they don' want the World tu know
about. Tha's where all th' real secret records are kept, that an' Kew. Wha' those records hold could blow the World skioi hoigh so that the
skoi does fall.
Mick: I think we should go underground.
Tony: What you mean become secret agents who never yield for Britain?
Mick: No, I mean we should go and explore the cellars underneath this auditorium and see if we can pick up any clues as to the age of the
foundations of British cinema. We need to get back to reality and get some archaeology going.
So all the archaeologists clamber down the poorly lit steps where it is only safe for a
blind-man's visually impaired guide dog to go. These cinema style steps were designed
to keep podiatrists in business during economic downturns. Using a salvaged
cinema usher's torch lit
with a tinder-box and flint they grope their way along a maze of anastomosing passage-ways little realising,
according to Health and Safety, that it was a labrynthian coffin from
which no-one had ever emerged alive. (Well, no one has ever said they have actually been there so we can confidently assume no-one has ever
Mick: Crikey! An old underground train that seems to have collided with itself in a tangle of C.G.I.
Phil: Oi think we 'ave struck gold, look 'ere, a gold finger an' a bus ticket dated 1962 for Finsbury Circus
via Twickenham number 007.
Tony: And look what I've found, two reels of that spy-thriller 'Hairfall and how to stop it', I could use these!
I've found some Barretta cheese with 9mm holes in it, I'd feel
nackered without it.
Helen: Wait a minute! Do you all realise that we are in a heavily disguised underground casino that has lain dormant
here since the 1960's, it's incredible. Look if I flick this switch all the lights should come on......
Ohhh....sorry.... 'M' booby-trapped all the light bulbs. I'd like to apologise for that
Matt: Yes but I've got the best casino win, look at this. This has all the hall-marks of a
much sought-after Union Jack commemorative merchandising artifact.
Phil: Tha's not a Union Jack, tha's a Union Flag. A Union Jack is what hangs off th' back end of a destroyer or cruiser at a jaunty angle, showing the
flag in the name of gun-boat diplomacy. Never heard of givin' 'em The Jack?
Tony: Well what is this Union Flag thingy Matt?
Phil brushing Matt aside with his commemorative Union Flag trowel and
sweeping popcorn husks off the artifact: It looks loike a porcelain British Bulldog, Tony, with a union flag painted on its hoind-quarters.
Mick: Turn it over, what's it say on the bottom?
Phil: Oi carn't quoite make it oewt but it says somethin' loike 'a souvenir
from Cubby Cauliflower presented to Seamus Pound for services rendered to
the British cinema on the occasion of his multiple resurrections
that have exceeded Lazarus' expectations many toimes over'.
Tony: Helen, sorry, Eve Monneypenny, you'd better spin the roulette wheel and put all we've got on red white
and blue and see if we can find our way out of here before they make that next film
'Nightfall' . We don't want to become stuck as extras in a never ending series of Seamus Pound films.
a.k.a Eve Moneypenny:
Yes Seamus, I'll see you upstairs if you survive, that's the
Penthouse Suite, turn right and go past the the Shining Grecian urn, mind the carpet, it's Room 237, or was that
Tony: What a marvellous location for archaeologists, a field in Leicestershire, freshly harvested where Saxon brooches, pottery, coins and even
cards can be found scattered throughout the site. Toime Team have parachuted in here for the next three days to unearth what life was like between
the collapse of the Roman Empire and the invasion of Britain.
Mick: In the parlance of colloquial hyperbole, this green-field site should be awesome. It was a time when Britain reverted back to life without the
Romans, in which case it could have been awesomely gruesome.
Helen: Mick, 'reverted back' is a tautology, you mean 'reverted to'. Yes it was a period of transitional change but because there is so little
recorded history at this time, other than some poems like Beowulf, we really don't know if this was a concordant occurrence or a catastrophic social unconformity.
Phil: Oi loke tu think it were loike me playin' some noice Sibelius on me record player wi' all its scratches, wow an' rumble an' along comes a new
nex' door neighbour an' 'e starts playin' a loud raucous noise. Oi won't call it music, tha' would be stretchin' things a bit far. Oi 'ope you're
watchin' this programme Ecgfrith!
Helen: Yes, a good analogy Phil, especially if the new neighbour invites a lot of his old mates over for a wassail and they start wrecking the joint.
Mick: Maybe it was a bit of both. Some places could have seen a peaceful transition with trading and bartering while others could have been
Phil: There's gonna be slaughter tunoight if Ecgfrith don't turn tha' noise off after 10 pm, oi can tell you tha' neow for a Nostradamian fact.
Tony: Would they have continued to use Roman coinage?
Helen: Unlikely, the value of Roman coin would have declined sharply unless they were made of silver or gold. Food and shelter would have been
the primary considerations of the invader and the invaded.
Phil: Yarr, they'd be more interested in cows an' sheep an' th' loike. Money would have been of little use to colonisers who were tryin' tu take over
th' joint. In fact if you think in terms of cows instead of money you would get a far better picture of loife back then.
Tony: So quintessentially the more cows a person had, the better off they were.
Phil: Yair, tha's roight Tony, yu see if we used cows instead o' money or credit cards loike tuday we wouldn't be in all this foinancial pickle loike we
Tony: How do you mean Phil. We can't carry cows around in our back pocket.
Phil: Narrr tha' would be ridiculous bu' think o' this, if we could only use wha' we 'ad instead of what we don' t ' ave, then we would be livin' within
our means. Credit cards seduce us into believin' we 'ave more cows in the' top paddock than we actually do.
Mick: That's why I use a debit card, I can't spend more than I've got in the top paddock and we've got a Ha-Ha around the house to stop them
encroaching on us, it's hilarious watching them trying to break in.
Matt: Yes, I don't like the way merchants put a surcharge on using a card when you purchase an advanced
archaeological trowelling device. Imagine
if you were a Romano-Briton and you got charged extra sheep for bartering a cow, there would be a
riot of Camulodunium proportions. These open-all-hours corner store merchants who have gone global are having a lend of us.
Phil: Tha's whoi oi always use cash. Back in the 80's there was a big swing on boi
big toime employers loike Wessex Archaeoology, an' th' banks to get everyone into bein' paid through the onloine banking system. Oi was one o' the laarst tu hold eowt. Oi could see that once the banking
system 'ad your
salary first they would be makin' every effort to leverage it outta your pocket bit boi bit. Look a' the fees an' charges, all made up o' course, they don'
reflect what the service actually costs. They charge lewd amouewnts to withdraw from an ATM of another bank an' now
exorbitant surcharges by
those greasy merchants o' Venice. Compare this wi' thirty years ago when YOU actually got
YOUR full salary in YOUR 'and before anyone else did. Imagine tha'
Tony. Oi'm fumin'.
Tony: Well Phil, that's the price of progress such as it is, at least they don't make you cough up a cows leg.
Phil: Narr, but they'll get an arm an a leg if you let 'em. They're not makin' anything useful, jus' usin' other peoples cows an' movin' em arouewnd
th' paddocks an
chargin' a service fee tha' wasn't needed in the firs' place. Now tha's creative a'cow ntin'.
Tony: Well we seem to have moved on from the archaeology of our ancient predecessors into the realms of modern day banking. Can you lot snap
back into the roles you are expected to play before the Toime Team producer pulls his nails out one by one using my Land Rover winch.
Mick: Yes ancestors, ancient predecessors, not your like your uncle, Matt. He would
just be a predecessor.
Matt: What like WHAT I have with my uncle Osing Spondulitis?
Helen: Scrap the second 'what' it's a sign of Saxon ineducability.
Matt: What like Ankor Wat?
Helen: It's as bad as Saxons who don't know the difference between their
simple and past participles. Like 'I come home to my wattle and daub hut
yesterday and found a mess' when it should be 'I came home'.
Tony: So are you living in a hut now Helen? You probably need a
Phil: Loo' what oi've foewnd, a beuwtiful Saxon brooch, loo' a' the intricate mouldin' an' carvin' on this piece.
'Ow could the invaders 'ave been so advanced in their workin' o' metals. It jus' shows 'ow intricate and delicate their society must 'ave been.
Tony: I think that's the best bit of Saxon treasure we have ever come across on Toime Team, it has lots of engravings of cows some with their heads
Phil: Yaarr that's after the money lenders got to 'em.
Stewart: These transparent overlays are great, you can see straight through them.
John: I'm afraid the geophysics is under-whelming again, nowhere near as much fun as transparent overlays. This ground has confused the ground penetrating radar, it seems to be filtering everything
out including the ground.
Mick: Yes it's probably the graves in the church cemetery, you might have more luck on the swings and round-a-bouts in the playing field next door, there will be less graves over there.
Phil: Surely you mean fewer graves, not less graves, Mick. Less is an amount, fewer is a number. Otherwoise sayin' less graves means they would be smaller. The aloinment of the graves follows th' wall 'ere that parallels Ermine Street. Oi can loine it up a bit, give or take a
few metres more or less but there are definitely fewer graves over 'ere. Wha' are we lookin' fer anyways Tony?
Tony: A Roman settlement.
Mick: Why are we almost always excavating Roman sites? Why can't we have some Saxon ones too?
Phil: Saxon ent so interstin' Mick. Theys didn't make bricks or use much stone, mostly wood, wattle, daub and organic materials which were putrescible, so not
interestin' enough fer a TV show where we are expected to find something substantial everytoime.
Mick: Surely that biases the work we do if all we want to find is brick and stone walls and the like. Be true seekers of archaeology.
Matt: Beetroot seekers? I like mangel-wurzels and Anglo-Saxons too.
Mick: There was no such person as an Anglo-Saxon. It was a disparaging composite name given by the invading Normans to the Germanic peoples
who had previously settled in England. They were distinct groups, Saxons mostly settled in central England in what became Mercia, while the Angles settled in East Anglia and Deira or ancient Yorkshire.
Phil: Yarr, never moind tha', look at this 'ere Roman wall incorporated into the present field wall and the church. We'll 'ave tu put a keyhole trench in. Arr neow what's tha'?
Tony: Look at this graveyard, it's bones piled on bones.
Phil: Disarticulated bones at tha'.
Jaqui the osteo-archaeologist: We will have to dig it by hand.
Phil: Tha' sounds very diarticulatin' tu me, diggin' up the graveyard boi 'and, oi wan' tu use th' JCB.
Helen: I've got something very special, a charnel pit and other goodies for the rampaging archaeologist.
Mick: Look between that skeleton's pair of legs, there is a
tessellated floor that was covered in demolition material. There's box flue tiles, all good evidence for a bath house. Lookout, Phil's on the move, he's become a human JCB machine, he's remembered there's only one day to dig it.
Tony: Meanwhile Stewart has changed into period costume, very becoming.
Hubert Glunkelkstein an inquisitive American visitor: He looks like a lew tenant.
Phil: It's 'lef tenant' not 'lew tenant'. Jus' loike we say 'Melbun' in 'Derbysher' not 'Mell Bourne in Derby shire. We 'ave 'ad 2000 years to perfect the phonetic variation of the' English
language instead of literal pronunciation. An' whoile oim at it, it's aluminium not aluminum an' nuclear not nucular.
Mick: Is that period costume or verbal contumacy Tony?
Tony: Matt is going to be Stewart's long suffering servant, working as a chain man, there will definitely be
contumacy of the highest order there.
Matt: Three hours of hell? I want a raise!
Phil: Yarr Stewart 'e's goin' tu pull your chain.
Stewart: He will be begging it and legging it and doing whatever I say. Stop complaining Matt, just jettison the contumacy, buckle up and enjoy pulling my chain for once.
Tony: About time too. Once again it's chucking it down, raining rats and logs, what's next? An avalanche?
Mick: Ah well Tony this is reality we have to expect these daily tornadoes once in a while with all this climate change.
Tony: Yes but not hourly, it has dented and de-tented our instantly
Helen: Look at this, there's loads of early Saxon pottery here, 5-7th century.
Tony: We aren't interested in the Saxon period, throw it away. If it's not a Roman wall or a foundation we don't want to know.
Mick: There's neither. It doesn't look like I expected it to look like.
Phil: There's red and grey/green wall plaster with images of leaves, seeds an' pods. This trench is loike edible pod peas, it just keeps on givin'.
Tony: Faye, what have you got there?
Faye: Well apart from some gratuitous cleavage mostly in this bedrock and some pea grit, I've got nothing.
Mick: Well you've got walls where you didn't have before over in the next trench, that's productive.
Tony: So what did we learn today? Well the news gets better and better. We have C.G.I and new swishing and clanking sound effects and almost 5,000 trenches dug all over the churchyard with lots of disarticulated bones and that's just the volunteers. There's substantial walls and the glimmer of a whacking great Roman building if we ignore the central framework of a Saxon aula and the hundred foot Saxon well Phil fell down this afternoon. Didn't he let fly with that Anglo-Saxon, unfortunately the cameras had been packed away so you won't get to see or hear it.
Maybe that's a blessing.
a return to a previous site, we look at this manor house at North Elmham, Norfolk, it's a grade 1 listed building. It was brought to my attention by a Mr. Buster
Bloodvessel while on a bus tour when we were ten miles north on the Dewsbury Road. The
dendro-chronologist has dated it to 1550, all the heavy wooden doors have draw bars to prevent entry to the lord's private
chambers. I hope he could get out now and again.
Mick: There was formerly supposed to be a moated enclosure here, an added protection for the lord of the manor house.
Stewart: On this ancient tithe map the enclosure was called Holme field. This suggests that there was an earlier
Danish settlement here.
Tony: Well we are anticipating some stunning archaeology and will leave no turn
un-stoned to get to the bottom of this site. What could possibly go wrong? So where do we think the moat is Helen?
Helen: Moats can be anything from water-filled ditches to duck ponds and even swimming pools and ice rinks. There is a linear feature of some sort here in Holme
field and it could be Olympic length.
Tony: Please don't let it be a cattle enclosure. Ok John what does the geophys. tell us?
John: The linear structure is earlier than the ridge & furrow ploughing. The ridge & furrow has eaten into the pre-existing archaeology.
Mick: Excavation is needed then, I'll watch while you boys and girls dig.
Tony to the camera: Phil's cut-off incy wincy jeans - tell me they are a bit short will you?
It beats his thongs.
Helen: Is that charcoal there Phil?
Phil: Oh rapturous joy, two bits of charcoal.
Raksha - I've found some plastic and an electric cable. It could still be live, I'll just see.....
Tony: End of day one and we had better call it a day.
Faye: No wait! Over here we've got natural, and over here we've got natural, and over there we've got natural. That's what we have, just
wonderful, wonderful natural.
All I can say to people is 'natural', why can't I stop saying
natural? Maybe I just want my 1.5 milliseconds of fame.
Phil: Au naturel then eh Faye?
Faye desperately trying to get some attention having been abandoned
by her step-mother in-waiting at an early age: But I've also found a dead horse.
Tony: Can you date it?
Faye: Yes we are going clubbing tonight.
Tony: Great we have a piece of live electrical cabling and a dead horse brought to life by a 40,000 volt cable. Where's Raksha?
Phil: Lo' a' this luverly luverly fresh charcoal.
Tony: What do we have Mick?
Mick: Well John is having a nervous breakdown.
Tony: Look at that, that's quite a unique position.
Mick: What? Faye trowelling that horse?
Tony: No the location of the cattle stroke horse enclosure. Do we have
Mick: No not yet, Stewart has a theory, another one.
John: The geophysics is Stewart's idea.
John's assistant: Its not bona fide then.
John: I'm not sayin' anything. On the other hand have you ever heard of a wild goose chase? Well this is positively feral. Here is the moment of truth for the geophysics team, I'll just press 'enter' on the PC. Arrghh another nervous breakdown on the way, no structures, just an old stream bed and masses of ridge and furrow ploughing. The field is completely empty. Remind me, this was a Stewart plan
Stewart the landscape investigator: Can I remind you that I did qualify my original statement with a 'could be'. Anyway, when computers become truly heuristic and create their own crystalline nano-circuits using yes/no/ - on/off
algorithms like the human brain uses trial and error to learn, then your job will become extinct John.
John: I can assure you I will be dead from too many nervous breakdowns by then Stewart.
Day 3, 10am.
Tony: Not to put a black funeral shroud over things, Huey's chucking it down again.
Phil: If you don' believe the cloimate is changin' Tony, you 'aven't lived long enough.
Tony: I can't wait to rip up those manor lawns.
Phil: An' those luverly gardens too. There is a story to be told here, it's a cattle enclosure or a horse paddock
Mick: What a remarkable discovery we have - bronze age pottery. It's the easiest dig I've ever done. No Stone Age artifacts, no Bronze Age, no Iron Age, no Roman, no Anglo-Saxon, no Norman, no early medieval and nothing remotely moat like. Our potential moat is non-existent.
Tony: What! There is no moat!
Phil: No just Bronze Age linear enclosures, basically ditches.
Helen: The medieval coins suggest it could have been the site of an annual manorial fair ground. The beginnings of the free market system and even the birth of globalisation and the huge corporations we have today.
Phil: Globaloisation, tha's what's causin' th' Western economies tu go deown, not governments. Th' governments are losing their tax base as manufacturers locate their capital
in off-shore tax havens where th' envoironmental laws are lax an' cheap labour is exploited. Corporations have no allegiance to nationhood nor do their investors or
share'olders. They think paying tax is voluntary.
Mick: Not one scrap of medieval pottery, it is a green-field site, we may have to locate off-shore.
Helen: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Tony: Huh? Evidence of abstinence? Were there priests here too? This is too depressing. That would explain the absence of permanent structures, just medieval tents with stalls and people dropping their money in the grass. This dig is a 300, 000 pound disaster, maybe we could 'salt' the site with gold nuggets to make the episode ending more interesting?
Phil; Yarr but don' forget the constant feuds we 'ave on camera makes it loike a
'soap opera', it keeps the emo soide o' things to th' forefront loike when you call me one o' th' three woise monkeys an oi keep fillin' your Range Rover up wi' banana skins.
Tony: This week we are going to dig Fiscal Cliff at Walton-on-the
looking for evidence of a Roman
vicus that we think was located outside the Saxon shore fort. You can see the remains of the walls
of the fort at low tide about 100
metres out to sea where it collapsed after the cliffs were eroded.
Phil: Mick, there are a lot of farmyard animals 'reouwnd here tha' could interfere wi' th' excavations.
Mick: That mare is ready to breed.
Tony arriving on the scene: The mayor? He's 92!
Phil: Le's get goin' then.
Tony: What's the hurry?
Phil: Oi 'ave tu get 'ome early tunight to watch tha' TV programme tha's up against Toime Team, 'Embarassin' Teenage Bog Bodies'.
Tony: Buy one get one free eh?
Mick: I think watching too much TV causes Alzheimers, especially commercial TV with all those repetitive ads. The brain
wasn't designed to be exposed to interminable repetition. It isn't being exercised properly, we are all being turned into something like zombies.
Yarr to escape the' clutches o' the all pervading conveyor belt o' view-on-demand
multimedia larst night, we went out to tha' all British sushi-train
restaurant in Felixstowe, 'Th' Conveyor Belt'. Theys 'ad roast beef,
pork poies, bangers an' mash, fish an' chips, spotted dick, bottles o' pale ale interspersed
wi' haggis, cock-a-leekie an'
sticky date puddin'.
Mmmm, that could take off, sickly date pudding and eat n' mess are
[not wishing to be outdone]: We went to the Yorkshire Sushi-train
take-away at Normanton in Yorkshire last week. We had pickled
onions, black pudding, greasy bacon, tripe and onions, Yorkshire pud
smotherings of Theakston Ale. Mind you they've got competition, the
pub in Normanton makes the best steak pies in the World.
I'm hungry already.
Tony: Lunch is ready, or should I say the midday repast awaits ye on
the conveyor belt of life.
Phil: Where's th' canola oil at.
Mick: Don't end a sentence with a preposition Phil.
Tony: A proposition?
Phil: It's all in the name. No one used tu use rape-seed oil but now it's called canola oil, it's been sellin' loike 'ot, cakes. Better 'n olive oil 'cause it 'as a hoigher smokin' point whereas olive oil polymerises at that lower point an' becomes saturated. At the supermarket theys don' tell you tha'.
Tony: That's extraordinary, you always do that.
Phil: Do what?
Tony: End a preposition with a sentence when you are corrected.
Phil: Always? Nay you jest Baldric, sometoimes often maybe.
Phil: So when we've finished lunch Tony, are we goin' to attack that
Mick: I think we'll need a Centurion tank and a ladder and some
ropes to accomplish what his lordship wants us to do.
Tony: Yes that is the idea. You should all be able to abseil,
rappel, belay, hoist and lower yourselves
up and down the stratigraphy while I sit back in the opulence of my new Range Rover and direct you
all. I must pontificate to the camera on the challenges of this dig.
Mick: During the second World War the army placed a heavy artillery battery on top of these cliffs, but the first time they fired a practice round, the cliffs
collapsed. So in honour of this event they named it Fiscal Cliff
after the Great Depression.
Stewart: Yes it's because like much of the English east coat there are unconsolidated sediments left
after the last ice retreat which deposited enormous smotherings of boulder
clay. Very unstable stuff. It undergoes incompetent deformation and rotational shear when under stress and
periodically collapses into the sea.
Mick: I suppose that's why we have to abseil down the cliff, because the Roman
vicus outside the Saxon shore fort is buried under this collapsed boulder clay.
The team get underway, hauling ropes to the top of the crumbling and
collapsing cliff and lowering themselves down.
Phil: Matt, it's windy up here, you keep clankin' intu me. Look out our ropes are
Don't worry, we can share ropes if one breaks. They are all made by
the same company, Don Gobbleup and Associates who assure us that
their out-sourced off-shore employees are the best in the World.
The best at' what though?
Stewart: This looks interesting, I think we have a section of a Roman rubbish pit, there are
shards of Samian and smotherings of coarse pottery just hanging out of it.
Phil: Yaaarr the Romans didn't go much on recoiclin' their rubbish. If we didn't do recoiclin' we'd be up to our waists in rubbish.
In moi opinion th' whole World would be loike th' Tel o' Ur or Th'
The winds picking up, I think we are in for a rough three days.
shouting down the cliff from a safe vantage on somewhat terra
firma: Yes its like that song by Scala, I think I'll do it 'With or Without
Well, you can join us if you like Tony but it's getting a bit rough
out here and we need someone to keep talking to the camera.
Yarr it's strange 'ow the Roman Empoire just collapsed. Lot's o'
reasons 'ave been put forward for the root causes from barbary
influenced proto-Cosa Nostran corruption tu' mosquito plagues but
oi reckon theys jus' ran out o' money tu' pay theys soldiers. Tha's
when the Anglians, Saxons an' Frisians broke through into Britain,
as the Saxon Shore forts were deserted. This rubbish pit is a
microcosmic record o' the demoise o' the empoire before it all went
over Fiscal Cliff.
Surely it wasn't called Fiscal Cliff then Phil?
No tha's roight,, then accordin' to the Ravenna Cosmographer, it
were called Truncatus Emporii. Tha's Empoire's End to
Hang about, what's this sticking out of this Roman rubbish pit
Tha's nothin' just a bit o' plarster from th' Roman debt ceiling.
Tony: Richard Rolle was born about the year 1290 at Thornton-le-Dale near Pickering in Yorkshire. He is almost forgotten in history but in his time he could be considered to be among the earliest writers in England who actually wrote in English. By the accounts of him he studied at Oxford University for a while before taking up the arduous
and desultory life of a religious hermit.
Mick: That's right Tony, when he was aged about fifty the Cistercian nuns of Hampole in South Yorkshire took him into their care. It was here that he wrote much of his work, such as 'The Prycke of Conscience' that revolved around the iniquities of his time. In 1349, ten years after he arrived at Hampole, he died and the nuns buried him here at their priory.
Matt: Do you mean Hamp Ole! senor?
Tony: With jokes like that Richard the hermit will be rolling in his grave.
Phil: Yarr but the locals thought 'e was a saint.
Mick: Why is John using ground penetrating radar on that vertical river bluff and Stewart scree-running in his bare feet on that cascading talus?
Phil: They're lookin' fer critical layers tha' contain medieval pottery an' any good dating material tha's been dumped.
Tony: What, you mean a friendship ring or an engagement ring? Will fragments of pre-historic pottery do? Matt, What have you found?
Matt: Nothing, but we are looking for Richard Rolle's grave-cut perhaps with a memorial stone and inscription.
Phil: You've pricked my conscience, do you want to dig it?
Mick: Yes, we've got to confirm our prognostications while we dig through this peat and timber.
Tony: That sounds painful, what's that desultory artifact you've just unearthed Phil?
Phil: Just more debris from an earlier civilisation, a piece of Greek barbed wire, see it has no spiky bits on it, they couldn't afford them.
Mick: It could have been doomped here when the Grecian infantry-in-training were stationed with the Barnsley Pals nearby during WWI.
John: Pretty inconclusive then, I told you so before we started this dig.
Tony: Where's Stewart gone again?
Mick: He's off swinging through the trees gaining a greater understanding of the South Yorkshire landscape.
Phil: Oi reck'n 'es scarperd orf 'ome, anyway most of it's been removed by open-cut coal mining.
Mick: Ay, oi've been doomped on again in that ditch extension.
Phil: Keep that danged JCB orf Mick's back whoile oi dig up this crackin' section. There's some of tha' shelly mortar we feouwnd in the Channel Oislands along with more o' that mortar with shells as well as this miscellaneous mortar, not to mention this WWII mortar.
Tony: Remember? That was where you nearly lost the will to live Phil.
Phil: Don' remoind me, oi felt loike oi had been broken an' crushed an' put through a loime kiln turned up to Max..
Matt: Righto, I think we are down to our TOGS
Matt: The Old Ground Surface.
Phil: When we've finished 'ere fer th' day oim goin' tu TOPH
Tony: I suppose you mean the local hostelry? Where's the nearest then?
Phil: Arr well with all this deownturn in the economy that would be 'ard tu say. Theys been closin' a lot of theys Old Public Houses lately. A croyin' shame it is, where's a 'ard workin' man meant tu slake 'is ragin' thirst in the relative comfort of a decayin' buildin'.
Tony: What about at Robin Hood's Well Inn just up the road from
Phil: Narr tha's truly decayed, it closed doewn in the noinetenth century.
Mick: Hold your horses a minute, I think we've got something here!
Tony: What is it Mick? You've got us all excited.
Mick: It looks like an inscription, its says 'Seek not for yourselves but for the greater good'
Tony: That sounds decidedly hermitiferous, maybe we should dig a bit further.
Phil: Oi don' loike th' look o' it Tony, not one bit. Somethin' don' seem roight.
Matt: Go on Phil stick a mattock into it.
Phil: Ok here goes [ whack! whoosh!] Stan' back everyone, this is bigger than it looks.
Tony: Crikey I think we've hit the North-South gas pipeline to Wakefield.
Phil: Well there won't be much point in goin' tu' foind a gastro pub in Old Wacca's field tonight then will there Tony?
Tony: We've been invited to the beautiful town of Scarborough today by Higgs the bosun of the good ship
Le Good Article to try to determine if there was a Doomsday water mill here. Scarborough is better known for its ice-creams, donkey rides, fishing boats and the bracing Norwegian air rather than
great clanking medieval water mills, but as ever, Phil begs to differ.
Phil poking around in a Springfield Road drain: This is concrete!
Mick: That has to be the wheel pit then.
Phil: Then that's where our firs' trench goes in! Where's moi
Tony: Well, I've got news for you all today, because of budgetary
constraints we are going to have to complete the excavation of this once great edifice in two days instead of three.
Mick: I think you've set the bar too high Tony, boodget or no
Phil: Not if we are limbo dancin'. [Mick and Phil attempt a limbo dance while Matt plays a tin whistle.]
Mick: Anyway Tony it's Domesday not Doomsday.
Tony: How can you tell the difference in the spoken word?
Mick: Easy, it's in this reality script oi'm readin'.
Tony: What's this Phil?
Phil: Oi was 'opin' you could tell me.
Tony: Is it the miller's house?
Phil: No, tha' ent it, any other uneducated oidears?
Matt: Yes I've got some very good uneducated ideas. There are bits and bobs of iron mill parts, including part of a water wheel, it looks like the mill house itself.
Tony: That's unusually promising, shall we strip the brambles back and see what's there.
It's Phil's job to get stuck in and start thrashing about like a madman.
Phil: Yar there be a whoomping great cavity 'ere. Arrr there it is [something had caught Phil's eye, good catch! ].
Tony: I like your new blue helmet with the craniferous Team logo plastered on the front, just so the viewers don't think they are
hallucinating or watching the other commercial channel.
Phil: Yar oi'll be modellin' it later deown the pub after oi've 'ad a few if you care to join me in a musical recreation of 'You can't take yer 'at
orf, jus' yer boots'.
Tony: Only if you let me model those new black fishnet stockings I bought off a failed bank-robber. Where's Stewart? We need him to show us how all this worked in the landscape.
Mick: He's off playing games with that sand pit the producer bought him.
Stewart: Here I am. I'm sorry to disappoint you Mick but I'm not playing games, I'm using a sand model to see how the water worked in the landscape.
Mick: So if you're not playing games Stewart how come you've got a bucket and spade
and you're slobbering over an ice-cream then? Anyway we all know water flows downhill.
Stewart: The bucket and spade are all part of the advanced technological equipment Toime Team has provided
me with. I won't try to explain about the ice-cream, you wouldn't understand Mick.
Tony: So explain to us what it is you are doing Stew.
Stewart: I've recreated an artificial channel called a leet. It by-passes the beck then called Milnebec that once gushed down Scarborough Hill and was diverted to make a mill pond. This storage of water was used to drive the mill wheel, undershot would be the earliest and simplest.
Tony: I've lashed out with Phil's overdrawn credit card and bought some bread, cheese and cider for you all to consume in front of the viewers. That gets them thinking of food so they go out and buy some on the ad break.
Phil: Tha's called experiencial archaeology, coider, cheese, bread an' a peasant's doiet.
Tony: Yes, we could get the whole country eating a peasant's diet as a form of voluntary economic austerity.
Mick: Yes, the Greeks haven't caught on yet, making things fun can be fun, austerity before prosperity, that's the catch-cry.
Tony: It's started to rain heavily again, things should go swimmingly well from here on in if this keeps up.
Mick: Oh there goes Mr. Misery again, always predicting rain. Did I hear rumours of cake?
Phil: Oi don' need fun, moi passion is archaeology. Look oi've feownd another phase. Bloomin' 'eck, there are more phases 'ere than you can point a troewel
at on th' moon.
Mick: Originally we established there were two building phases, an earlier wall and a later one. Now there are far too many walls in this building's foundations, far too many junctions, far too many trowels, walls
abut walls, walls everywhere, walls built up against posts, ceilings collapsed on walls, floors abutting walls, it's the stuff of wallmares.
Phil: Yar, far too many walls an' far too many phases, 'ow can we toie in the phases of occupation, it's givin' me an 'angover
an' in-growin' toenails jus' thinkin' 'bout it.
Tony: I think that's the cider cascading in.
Phil: Yar, tha' don' 'alf pack a punch Tony, much more than tha' fruit punch you gave us larst toime when we dug up the Doncaster fruit market. After three glasses o' coider oi 'ad doubts but after four oim racked wi' doubts, if oi 'ave another oi'll be dacked with roubts.
Mick: Is it in situ?
Phil: Yes, it's inside me on the left soide o' me 'ead, it feels loike a millstone groindin' away in there.
Mick: No, the supposed mill wheel in the supposed wheel pit.
Tony: Matt, have a whack at it with your semi-automatic hand-held soil inverter.
Matt: I'll use the more advanced diagnostic tool provided by the production team, this five speed manually assisted mattock.
Phil: Cor, lumme, loo' a' tha'. Tha's unexpected, a stick o' Scarborough Rock in a bottle, an' a tea cup.
Just then Old Fred, a local Scarburian was walking by.
Old Fred: Eyup, you're diggin' oop t' old Scarborough tea shop. By gum
that were a posh place in the 1800's, it were laike Betty's Tea Shop
i' Harragete but they put in a flamin' great water wheel for
t' tourists t' ride on.
Phil: Arr toime fer tha' musical recreation in fishnet stockin's a' th' pub Tony, you're bouyin', an' you ent usin' moi credit card.
Tony: Ok Phil keep your hat on, it's raining again.
Here we are at Caister-by-Sea in Norfolk for an adults only edition of Toime Team. In the 1950's a team of archaeologists unearthed the remains of a series of Roman buildings here, one was up to 45 metres long. Principally these structures were built from locally quarried flint but also incorporated Roman bricks, particularly in the hypocaust system.
Mick: So how many rooms are there in this building?
Phil: Oi can answer that one, there are at least six, there was a hypocaust system in the western room an' what appears to be a south facing verandah or portico.
Tony: Right, well if you two continue with your private conversation I'll continue with the rest of my story. The 1950's excavators interpreted this building as either a hotel or seaman's brothel.
Phil: Not a motel then Tony.
Tony: No Phil, but it could have been a chariotel, 'come to Garrianonvm-sur-Mer for the
time of your life'.
Phil: Oi bet 'alf the patrons orn a Froiday noight were called Smith or Jones.
Mick: Hah, yes but these were Romans, Romano-Britons and Romanised northern Europeans so they were more likely to have had names like
Agricola, Nero or Caesar.
Matt: Well whatever. The storm tossed seamen could at least have got a bowl of hot broth, I wonder what they called tossed Caesar salad in those days?
Tony: Hmm will you please explain the meaning to him Phil.
Phil: So what do you think this establishment was doin' way ewt 'ere in
th' woilds o' Norfolk?
Tony: Well, there were a large number of oyster shells dumped out the back and it seems a considerable amount of wine was consumed as we have plenty of evidence of amphorae which may have held wine or olive oil or both.
Phil: So theys could 'ave a swig an' get a good lather up in th'
Matt: Am I going to get to do some fun re-enacting for once Tony?
Tony ignoring Matt's interjection: Yes, something like that Phil.
Phil: But tha' still don' answer moi original question, wha' was this place
doin' 'ere in th' firs' place? Cor lumme look a' this piece o' hypocaust, it just don't get any better than this, this trench is
givin' up its secrets without a foight an' it's seconds ewt round two.
Mick: I'm sorry to disappoint all of you budding hypothesists but the latest evidence suggests that this building was part of an enormous Saxon shore fort built around 200 A.D. If you look at the remains of Burgh Castle on the other side of the waters you can get some idea of how large it could have been.
The place would have been swarming with military seamen.
Phil: Yarr but look a' this wall plaster oi jus' dug up, oi mean tu say, this would put some o' that Pompeiian stuff to shame, there's all sorts o'
carryin' ons going on 'ere. Croikey oi din' know you could do tha', where's me
Tony: Here we are in Zomerzet, Phil is in his element here, principally
a cider vat and he's straining to be let off the leash, unlike Mick Aston- Martin who detests Roman archaeology.
Mick: There's too much gravelly stooff here. I don't like gravelly stooff.
Tony: But what about these Victorian plans and maps of the excavation taken in the early 19th century? They're not gravelly stuff.
Mick: Whoa, whoa, slow down we shouldn't pursue what the Victorian antiquaries dug before. We need to set our own plan of attack. An historical and archaeological context is needed.
John: What about a magnetics context? The magnetics survey is excellent if I say so myself, the results are so clear, all down to my superb innate abilities no doubt about it if I have to say so myself again because nobody else will.
Tony: So how deep are the foundations John?
John: Not far just 30 centimetres... or was that 30 metres? Anyway it will be good exercise for Phil.
Phil: Moi spade ent 30 metres long but it's long enough fer me to tek a swing at yeouw.
Mick: Look at this, the first cut and a coin and tesserae come poppin' up.
Tony: That's good news, a coin lying on the tessellated pavement, we could date it then?
Phil: We're right on the money.
Tony: No the money is on the ..... oh never mind.
Phil: Oi've been toidyin' up the mosaic 'ere, the coins look 3rd or 4th century but it ent 'alf parky deown here.
Tony: It's cold weather up here too and it's raining again - That's Toime Team for you.
Phil: Oi don' loike the look o' this weather, the wind is boitin', look oi've got teeth marks with periodic bouts o' force ten on me wrist. Oi'm downin' tools, that's it, this wind 'll be the death o' me. No wind break, no friggin' diggin'. Tha's what oi say. Oi'm putting me foot deown Tony.
Tony: Oh my grandmother's ghastly grubby greasy gumboots, Phil has downed tools for the first time in 18 years, things must be bad. I'll just unfold my roasty toasty marquee for a smidgin of swiggin'. Matt, where's that other indoor portable heater for his lordship? Namely me.
Phil: ohh, chatter chatter, oi feel loike Boy George.
Mick: Yesterday you were adamant.
Phil: Oi can tell you Mick, it ent pretty bein' a part thereof of th' chatterin'
and now the shiverin' classes. Moind you oi loike the garden party marquee with its Romanesque windows an' all. Make a great beer tent. Noice an' cosy in there oi bet. All it needs is a log foire, preferably under 'is lordship Tony's chair or should oi say Roman
chaise longue. Look at 'im lollin' there all supoine, eatin' grapes an swiggin' on port woine.
Mick squinting out from behind the tent flap: Yes Phil it's nice and cosy in here, I want 5th century pottery, Tony wants a mosaic.
Phil: Will black burnished ware at moinus 30 do - it's after 4th century A.D. and evidence of post-Roman occupation, either that or a frozen post-1960's gypsy encampment.
Hilary: Look a 1st or 2nd century dolphin brooch from the time of Constantine and a 5th century St. Christopher cross from Dubris Antiques.
Mick: Did Christian habitation end here with the fall of the Roman Empire?
Phil: Yar it's the end o' th' World tha's fer sure, it's freezin'. More speculation is needed - especially 'bout moi workin' conditions.
Tony: Carasius Cantuvellauni, the Roman expert and archaeological advisor to Wessex Archaeology might be able to shed some light.
Roman expert: Yes, it's brass orangutan weather alright, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
Mick: The villa if it is a villa, definitely has the signature of a B shaped Roman villa.
Phil: It carn't be B shaped, the Romans didn't 'ave beer. The Britons did though, the secret o' beer brewin' was brought over from Central Europe in the Oiron
Age, they 'ad no plan B. There's evidence of beer barrel shaped roewnd 'ouses
Tony: Pretty promising then? By the end of the second day we have primary mosaics, hypocaust systems, at least two periods of building and evidence of
a post Roman beer swilling occupation.
Mick: Yes, post-Roman post holes in the mosaics, a dead giveaway.
Matt: Can I be released from sponging this mosaic with ice please! I need a caldarium quickly.
Phil: Yar, it's loike washin' th' floors at our place wi' oice cubes. It's also toime tu give Matt a three second break before 'e takes up th' trappin's o' a Roman slave. 'ow lucky ken yeouw get, servin' 'is lordship in tha' noice warm marquee?
Roman expert, Carasius Cantuvellauni: They would have had slaves. This is a great opportunity for Matt to splash out a bit and get dolled up in sackcloth.
Tony: Would there have been English slaves working for the Romans here?
Phil: No you demidenko, there were no English people 'ere back then, only Britons an' Romans. The Angles an' the Saxons hadn't arroived yet. Don't you know anything Tony?
Tony: A little bit of Anglo-Saxon CHAV shall we say Carasius?
Roman expert: I reserve the right to change my mind.
Tony: Here is an opportunity for Matt to live the Roman dream and be exploited by me, how I enjoy lording it over my subjects, when I get going I am so scrupulously
unscrupulous. Unfortunately Matt, better known as Mateus Willielmus, has been banished to clear the farmer's cow sheds for eating cake before being guillotined in the normal Gaulian way.
Roman expert: I reserve the right to change my mind.
Tony aside to the camera: He sounds like a soggy biscuit to me. Phil, are you sure our Roman expert isn't a Dalek.
Phil: Well after changin' 'is moind does the new one work any better?
Tony: Phil, you're a legend!
Phil: Tu be a legend yeou 'ave ter be dead, an' oi 'ave tu confess oim nearly tha' neow.
Tony: We could arrange for your demise here at Toime Team. What method would you like?
Phil: Tony, did yeouw ever play that game as a choild where you 'ad to choose, from two options, the best way tu' doi. You know loike would you rather be run over boi a runaway elephant carryin' a load o' lead or be eaten boi a cannibal after bein' boiled aloive in one o' them slow cooker recipes.
Tony: The Victorians dug here and left lots of bottles. But they were all soda pop, sorry Phil no slow cookers.
Phil: We could get the money on th' empties though.
Tony: Yes more opportunity to capitalise on Romano-British enterprise, I could get a knighthood for this. I can see it now, 'By
appointment to his majesty the emperor of all Rome.'
Phil: This is thirsty work 'ere Tony. Where's that amphorae o' nectar from the god Nemesis you promised me - glug glug - arhhh yes, salute!
Tony: Phil from this angle you would make a really good shoe-in for Robyn Hode.
Phil: Let's put tha' in modern speak, yeouw mean oi look loike a medieval character wi' an arrow in 'is 'ead.
Tony: Well as I said over the past three days we have discovered masses of post-Roman demolition rubble. Phil is happy but it won't be for long, it's raining again with and
there's a desultory wind chill factor of minus 40 degrees celsius.
Phil: Yar, the beer doewn th' pub is warmer than this nectar o' the gods stuff, oim definitely orn stroike until that al fresco pub with no windows, 'The Arctic Winds' opens.
WHAT WE WANT IS ..................
Tony: Welcome to Sozzlehurst and Hiccup. Today we have Ernest
Wastney, an expert from the University of Bingeworthy who is going to describe how the medieval denizens of these two towns perfected the method of advanced brewing
Ernest: Throughout history most people drank beer rather than water because it had been boiled as wort to
exctract the flavours and sugars. The boiling killed off the pathogens just like the wines and spirits are killing off some of the youth of this country today. Of course in medieval times, beer was much weaker, more like flavoured lolly water, perhaps containing no more than 1-2% ethanol.
Tony: So it would have required you to have drunk between 4 and 8 gallons of this lolly water to get to where some of our youth get today.
Phil: Tha' souwnds loike really 'ard work, ju' goin' tu thr loo would've cut their drinkin' toime in 'alf.
Tony: Yes, I sometimes get a little concerned about Phil extolling the virtues of beer consumption and the ethanolic influence this has upon easily influenced young minds. Do you think this T.V. series should be canned?
Phil: It comes better in bottles. Anyway oi resent you imploin' oi influence young moinds in a negative fashion. Beer drinkin' done in moderation don' do anyone any 'arm. Even S. Paul in th' boible says 'a little woine fer yer stomachs sake.' Whoi Jesus himself drank woine at the larst supper an' oi bet it wern't 'is first. Latin peoples drink woine responsibly wi' food. It's when people goes on a bender on an empty stomach, tha's when it causes problems. The manufacturers make the blessed stuff too strong. Theys should warter it doewn. Moind you oi think my local already does tha' on the quoiet an' oive seen 'em puttin' the slops back in the' barrel. Tha's not a good practice, you can make people sick tha' way an' they never come back 'cept in a coffin.
Tony: Yes I once went to a pub at Halton with my wife. I was wearing a leather jacket and a blue shirt. I think the publican thought we were plain clothes police looking for that sloppy behaviour and contraband. They put on a warning record, 'I shot the
sheriff but I didn't shoot the deputy'. The place cleared out pretty quickly, I thought they went to get their longbows.
Phil: Yar, they're pretty cagey some o' these locals, they don' loike strangers sniffin' around tha's fer sure, oi 'ad a similar experience at Robin 'oods' Bay. There they was all foirin' arrows a' each other an' as soon as oi turned up in moi blue jacket an' leather under-vest they immediately took orf in their fishin' smacks. Moind you it moihgt ' ave been the leather face mask oi was wearin' at the toime.
Tony: So Earnest, how did the indigenes of Sozzlehurst and Hiccup first produce this advance in beer brewing?
Ernest: Well, principally by harnessing the power of the sun to do the work.
Tony: What you mean p.v. solar cells at this early stage?
Ernest: No, nothing like that, they developed a type of greenhouse that kept the fermenting brew going even in the coldest weather, a bit like your conservatory if you have one. At the same time they used a simple water powered vacuum pump to remove the oxygen above the brew to prevent oxidation of the ethanol to ethanal, a far more toxic substance than ethanol.
Tony: Right, Matt I want you to be a medieval slave and you have to drink 8 gallons of this medieval brew we prepared earlier.
Matt: But I don't drink....
Tony: Don't speak unless I speak to you, you are a slave and must do exactly what I say.
Phil: Look a' the remains o' this skeleton oi foewnd under the floor o' this medieval brewery
Mick: I think it's a medieval skeleton with a maltified shrunken brain case that died in agony, look at the way the whole skeleton is contorted.
Phil: Mortifoiyin' an' soberin' oi call it.
Tony: Ok Matt get drinking, we need more realism on this show.
WILTSHIRE CRABS FEET
Mick: What are you eating Tony?
Tony: Oh just some haute cuisine cooked just by my personal cordon bleu chef just this AM just on the sonnenseite of the Hotel de Swank just within the manor of the Savoy. What are you eating Phil?
Phil: Oi'm just eatin' that great secret recipe just 'anded down from cousin to aunt called Wiltshoire crabs feet.
Tony: Isn't that all a bit provincial Phil?
Phil: Neow oi've told yeou before Tony, provincial is good. None o' this London hauty cuisine stuff they sells at inflatable an' dirigible proices.
Tony: So what are Witshire crab's feet?
Phil: Arsk me no questions an' oi'll tell yeouw no loise Tony.
Tony: But Wiltshire, correct me if I'm wrong, sorry, correct if I'm incorrect, is a land-locked county.
Phil: Nevertheless, oi'm eatin' Wiltshoire crabs feet, its a fantastic Wiltshire food experience, yeouw wanna argue ' bout it then Tony?
Tony: Keep your boots on Phil I'm only inquisitive, and quite honestly very intrigued by this unexpected revelation.
Mick: So what goes with Wiltshire crabs feet Phil? Red or White?
Phil: Need yeouw arsk? A large gallonage o' coider an' a heaped han'ful o' bicarb an' yeast tu reouwnd ouwt th' meal.
Tony: That sounds positively effusive if not eruptive. I'm sure Hindenberg would approve.
Phil: Yar you don' wanna be 'reouwnd me after oi've 'ad a few Wiltshire crabs feet oi can tell yeouw.
Tony: So can I try some Phil, don't be crabby and hog them all to yourself.
Phil: Ok, exchange is no robbery. I'll tell you what. You give me your hauty tauty cuisine cooked on the North soide o' some London recoiyclin' centre an' you can have moi crabs feet.
Phil aside to the camera with a sly wink: You 'ave bin Tony.
An hour later after a bushellage of Wiltshire crabs feet, a gallonage of cider and a handfullage of bicarb and yeast, Tony was fit to blow.
Tony: Phew Phil, I can now see why the Hindenberg caught fire! That was an unforgettable expandable and fiery experience that even Escoffier would have been proud of, you must give me the name of your fishmonger and that recipe.
Well Phil didn't give Tony either even though Tony kept on at him for the next millenium. After all, Phil didn't have the heart to tell Tony that there is no such thing as Wiltshire crab's feet. What Tony had eaten was last nights leftovers that the cat didn't want. Which goes to prove that the proof isn't always in the eating of the pudding but in the mind. Phil told me to tell you (quoietly moind yeouw) to: 'Google "Wiltshire crabs feet" an' see if yeuow don' believe me. Crows feet maybe but that's another story tha' the cat won't tell'.
See, "No results found for "Wiltshire crab's feet", Google is decoidedly slippin'. (until they get reouwnd tu spoiderin' it. Which remoinds me of another of Escoffier's deloights, curried Wiltshoire spoiders legs, but don' tell th' cat, 'e loves 'em.)
Tony: Friars Preachers, abbots of Whitby and hobgoblins Mick, where did you get that ridiculous hat.
Mick: I went to a fancy dress party last night and thought it would go down well on site today. It definitely outshines your lard ladened effort at cranial coverage Phil.
Tony: Yes well it could well go down a well, it's ostensibly
flamboyant like my language and would put a Rio de Janeiro street parade to shame.
Phil: Yes Mick 'as foinally realoised that yeuw carn't get ahead without a real 'at.
Tony: What a good idea, I think I could do with a new noggin cosy.
Phil: So you concede defeat once again Tony.
Mick: Did he?
Phil: Well le's all go tu th' village and see if we can foind a multi-coloured an' feathered one for me too
Tony: Righto, onward and upward, Toime Team will lead the way with a new fashion in head wear this year.
Phil: Can we take your vehicle Tony, it's a long way to tewn, an' the' trains don't run tha' often.
Tony: My new Range Rover 4WD refuses to start, it's strange because the makers claim it will start under any climatic condition, even under water, I tried it last week in the neighbour's swimming pool, started first go.
Phil asoide to the camera: Har, yeah but will it start with half a sack o' potaters oi stuck up the exhaust poipe?
Mick: Well that just leaves the train then, what time does it arrive?
Tony: According to this timetable, at the same time the chinaman had his tooth out.
Phil: You don't mean mean two-thirty do you Tony?
The three mad hatters head off for the train station and wait and wait and....
Mick: Why are we waiting so long? It's been an eon. There should have been a train through here by now.
Tony: Well if I turn this timetable over I can see that the weekend trains run at different times to the weekdays. The next one's due in two days.
Here we are at Tootling Parva-on-the-Marsh not far from Stonehenge where we think we have discovered another henge monument that was used by the ancients to tell the time.
Mick: Yes it is delineated by crop marks found on an aerial photograph taken in the Summer of 1940 by a trainee Spitfire pilot who was supposed to be firing his guns.
Carina: We can see radiating spokes as it were, ten in all. It seems that they may have had had a 5 or 10 unit day, that would be equivalent to a
maximum unit of time equivalent to 2.4 hours of our time.
Phil: So whoi do we 'ave 24 units of toime in a day/noight cycle? What's the significance of 24?
Carina: The 'ancients' recognised the time between sunrise and sunset that we call a day. There was no confusion about that. Every civilisation recognised a day. The time between the two events, sunrise and sunset, has been divided into 12 segments. The question is was this an arbitrary human concept of division? In nature there is no such thing as an hour.
Mick: Twelve divisions were chosen because if you hold your hand open at arm's length pointing at the horizon you can get in about six hand widths to the sun's zenith. This is a quarter of a day, multiply by four and we have twenty-four units of time. It was an easy to way to make a rendezvous before there were portable clocks and watches. We still talk about the 'hands of a clock'.
Phil: Tha' seunds loike Ockham's razor tu' me, we used tu use tha' method when oi was a boi
sceouwt. So are our days gettin' longer 'cause moi muscles tell me they are.
Carina: Yes the Earth's rotation is actually slowing. Not much, only about a second every 506 years but it is enough to require us to occasionally reset our clocks by the 'atomic clock'. This retains
far more accurate periods of time using the uniform decay rate of Caesium atoms. So we find that after 10,000 years we are rotating almost 20 seconds slower and our days are getting slightly longer.
Phil: But what is toime? Is it loike money? You ken run outta it, you carn't eat it and loike money yeuw carn't make it. If th' World ran out o' food, money an' toime would be of no use to us at all.
Yeouw carn't eat money.
Mick: Yes, like money time is a human construct. We now know, like five pound notes, time can be bent through space. It wouldn't exist if we didn't 'keep the time'.
Phil: Dang those Swiss, clocks are the on'y thing they ever made an'
toime is a flamin' great nuisance.
Tony: As sure as the sun rises over Stonehenge.
Mick: Sunrise is an illusion. We now know that what the ancients thought, is not the case. The sun appears to move through the sky but the apparent movement is a result of the rotation of the Earth on its
axis. It looks like the sun is moving but it is actually us rotating
on an axis.
Phil: Yair, it's sort of counter intuitive. Loike the commonality,
hobble-de-hoi and the hoi poloi says 'eavy things fall farster than loighter things. This
is our natural intuition. Ignorin' air friction, 'eavy things don' fall farster, Galileo's experiments with the Earth's gravity showed that. 'is work was th' triumph of experimental scoience over theoretical Artistotlian oideas. If it 'adn't been for Aristotle sayin' you could only reason answers to problems, we moight 'ave 'ad the present digital revolution 400 years ago! Imagine where geophysics could 'ave been boi now John.
John: Yes, I remember when one of the moon astronauts dropped a feather and a geological hammer on the moon, they both landed on the surface at the same time.
That was mind-boggling for us ground radar boffins. (John's use of the word boffin probably originates from Arnold Wilkins Watson Watt Boffins Weedon, the pioneeer of Radar.)
Tony: Yes it's a bit like the antipodeans, they can't use the European
astrology charts given in their newspapers and magazines. The constellations that are highest in the sky for Europeans when they are born would be the lowest in the southern hemisphere.
The 'Southern sons', antipodeans born in the southern hemisphere, need to totally reverse their horoscopes, just like their moon appears upside-down. Now I call that mind
Phil: You don' believe all that astrology mumbo-jumbo do you Tony?
Tony: No, not at all, quite the reverse, just cross my palm with silver will you Phil.
Young Josh gesticulating: gibbldi dibbldi dobbldi wiggldi in that trench?
John: The young speak too quickly these days. They need to take more time and enunciate, it's all like spewing out of their mouths. Quantity is no substitute for quality. I blame the internet. It creates a belief that a massive amount of information is more important than original ideas.
Tony: But information can help us to exchange ideas and dream up new ones.
Phil: What, loike heow to waste large amewnts o' toime?
John: Yes, but first you have to understand what language they are using, it's HTML I think.
Tony: The Rising Sun's closing, they'll be calling time soon, the sun's going down.
Phil: Cor lumme, din' you lern anythin' today Tony?
Phil: Tony, 'ow long you gonna keep me on these gawd orful serf loike wages? You used tu get more 'n oi do when you wuz playin'
Baldric all those years ago.
Tony: Now that I am the chief executive of Toime Team and no longer a raving
Baldrician socialist, I've decided that in order to keep my fortune we are going to have an austerity blitz. The primary task of right wing politics is to reduce the cost of labour, so I'm further cutting your salary to 42 denarii a month or 38 shekels, whichever is the least.
Phil: But Tony oi 'ave chickends an' duckends tu feed back in Wil'shire, shall oi reduce their intake o' food jus' so as you can keep your fortune. Oi don' see the fairness in it.
Tony: Life is not fair Phil, the sooner you realise that the sooner you'll get back to uncovering that Viking hoard of gold for me. The wealthy private
elitist channel viewers expect it. And I'm calling off the weekends.
Phil: Wha' you mean we aren't working weekends any more, whoopee!
Mick: No Phil he means that there will be no special penalty rates for working weekends.
Phil: Whoi, oi don' see the sense in tha'. 'Ow come oi 'ave tu forego moi weekends an tek Wednesday and' Thursday in lieu when all the football games are on a' th' weekend?
Tony: Well, that's the way it is going to be, I am now a dictatorial autocrat and democracy is dead.
Phil: Long live the Third Reich eh? Are you sure you 'aven't been play actin' wi' those
Nazi re-enactors agin?
Tony; Well, I could pay you in denarrii or even old pence (d), but you will have to find them, the metal detectorists might help you if you give them a cut.
Phil: At least the Roman soldiers were paid a salary, a big part of it was 'sale' or salt.
Tony: Well, Phil I could pay you a salary, even a pile of salt if you like. That will put you into a senior executive position on the
archaeology team, then you could wield some real shovel power yourself. (Tony aside to the camera: hehe, I can get Phil to work all hours God sent just to retain his interest with a
pathetically poor bonus incentive scheme while paying him peanuts)
Phil: That soewnds good tu me. When do oi start.
Tony: After you've trowelled through that Silbury Hill sized
medieval mound over there and shovelled it all into this conctrete mixer for me.
Mick: What do you need the concrete for Tony?
Tony: I'm making a huge chicken and duck fast breeder reactor factory to compete with Phil's Wiltshire enterprise.
Later that day as he left the dig site, Tony was attacked by a huge flock of Wiltshire chickends, duckends and even goosends who wanted food on the hoof, whatever form it came in. Of course Phil had nothing to do with this but he thought to himself 'yep, loife aint fair Tony'.
Tony: Well we have those two intrepid archaeologists, Josh Grotty and Michael Crummy coming on site today and anyway the viewers are claiming that they can't see the wood for the hair.
Phil: You talkin' 'bout moi noggin agin Tony.? Oi tol' yu it's outta bounds fer this series.
Tony: Well Phil I do insist, this three day shoot is costing 300,000 pounds, how much would it cost to get a hair cut?
Phil: Definitely maybe not. Oi carn't see the reasonin' behoind it. No one would recernoise me fer a start. It's become part o' me
persona incognito non grata as it were.
Tony: Well we are not exactly asking you to go as far as strip lynchets or ridge and furrow, just a nice trim round the hedgerows and back again.
Mick: I know a good local barber down in the town of Wirksworth, Roger de la Bodger, he serviced all those medieval re-enactors when they recreated the mining boom they had here in the fourteenth century.
Phil: Medieval moinin' boom. Oi aint having moi hair blarsted orf me noggin. Tha' would be ca'astrophic in the extreme.
Mick: I think it would be better if you had some of that hair of yours taken off of your cranial dome Phil.
Phil: Not wantin' tu be a literary jingoist, you should say taken 'orf your cranial dome' not 'orf of your cranial dome'. The Yanks say that all th' toime. Theys are butchering our native language. They should invent their own.
Mick: It's just the Lingua franca Phil.
Phil: Yair but if this dev'lution in the English language continues none of us will be able tu understand each other loike you an oi can
Tony: Sorry can you say that again Phil, I didn't quite get it. Maybe you could text it 2me.
Anyway, Mick knows the barber so you would probably get a discount offer. Two off for the price of one.
Phil: Is tha' roight Mick, are you well known in Wirksworth?
Mick: Yes I feel quite rooted in the community now, the barber is my natural
aunt's half cousin twice removed.
Phil: Ok but you'll 'ave tu boi me a point afterwards, an none o' tha' imported stuff made from humus, widgets, packin' stones an' th' loike. Profiteerin'
oi call it. Anyways it looks loike variably inclement weather is settin' in, or it moight be cloimate change.
Tony, Phil and Mick took off for the barber's shop in Wirksworth on the no. 2 bus. There are only two buses to Wirksworth, the other is permanently garaged. When they arrived in the town Mick got off of the bus while Phil got off the bus. Tony being a pedant alighted.
Mick: Righto here is my kinsman's barber shop, mind your head, there is a low medieval tympanum over the door.
Phil: It's a pretty small shop, Yeuw carn't swing a cat in it an it's full o' Stygian gloom.
Mick: Yes John Milton wrote part of his 'Paradise Lost ' here.
Phil: Whoi do oi get that same sinkin' feelin' then?
Tony: Right in you go Phil, don't be afraid, and don't forget to ask for a number 2.
Half an hour later Phil emerges from the barber shop with a number 2 bodge cut.
Phil: It feels koinda strange, me head is all wet.
Mick: Yes, I forgot to tell you Roger de la Bodger is blind, in fact the only sense he has retained is his sense of taste.
Phil: You tellin' me 'e cuts his cutomers 'air usin' 'is sense o' taste.
Tha' makes no sense. Oi wondered whoi it seemed to be rainin' indoors. Oi thort 'is roof was leakin' but oi din warnt tu say anything tu offend 'im in case he tore a lump o' rampart outta me 'ead an' created a hill top fort wi' a ditch an' bank an' a genuine entrance an' guard 'ouse of diff'rent archaeological phases.
Tony: When we get back to the dig site, Victor the Toime Team artist will draw the new you Phil, just for this shoot we are doing this
Upon returning Phil drew close to the mirror that Tony had brought with him to ensure that he, at least, was halfway decent for the camera even if Phil wasn't.
Phil: Eow come that bloke don't look loike me in th' mirror? Oi look loike a Tasmanian devil with mouth ulcers.
Tony: Well, it's the new-look Phil. Don't you like it?
Phil: Oi can assure you it aint crossbows that kill people Tony, it's
the quarrels. Where's tha' case o' Neolithic arrow heads?
Phil: Oive tunnelled dewn into this Roman cellar Tony but neow oim stuck an' carn't extricate moiyself.
Tony: OK Phil. I'll get the JCB to haul you out, this might take some time.
Phil: Yair, oim stuck 'alf way in an' half way ewt.
Tony: Is the glass half full or half empty Phil?
Phil: Well, if you pour the remainin' contents o' a tankard into a woine glarss then its overfull. Tha's th' wey oi see it.
While you optimists and pessimists were arguing over the glass of
water I, the opportunist, drank it.
Tony: So that's how they fed the 5000, with soggy beer mats.
Phil: Talkin' o' feedin' the' foive thousand, Oi've joined that food reduction scheme 'eavy an' difficult'
Mick: What sort of food do they give you then?
Phil: Well, oi chose the Romano-British doiet pack, it contains copious amewnts o' grass, assorted weeds, nuts, berries, 'oney an' a fermented embrocation oi think yer s'posed tu rub somewhere on yerself twoice a day. Oim not sure yet oi 'avent fully read the instructions that came wi' the box. It got muddled up wi' Tony's Range Rover service manual.
Tony: So do you think it will work Phil?
Phil: Work? It better 'ad work oive paid near enough fifty quid pro quo fer it. In fact as soon as oi exit this cellar we've been diggin' oim goin' tu get started on the serf an' turf doiet. It comes hoighly
recommended boi former British slaves o' th' Roman Empoire who've left personal 'and written endorsements on the dorse.
Half an hour later Phil was hauled out of the narrow crevice into which somehow he had become trapped and was busy nursing his bulging bruises that
he had previously developed trowelling the entire length of Hadrian's
Wall in a single week.
Phil: That was gawd orful an' aweful, oi won't be goin' dewn there again until the JCB 'as cleared the entrance away a bit more.
Tony: Yes Health and Safety will insist on it.
Mick: Well once we break into the cellar we should get a better idea of what sort of foodstuffs the Romano-Britons used to eat. Palynological and microscopic examination will give us a lot of information that we can build on.
Matt: Right, so now that the cellar roof has been breached who is going to be first in?
Phil: Not me, that cellar's 'ad a gutful o' me already.
Tony: Mick, Raksha, Stewart, Matt, Brittany, Carenza? Any takers?
Brittany: Matt asked the question so I think he should go in first.
The rest assented to this through common signals of agreement such as by shouting in unison, 'yair, Matty, go Matty'!
Matt: Why is it always me that gets the plum jobs?
Mick: Now there's a food the Romano-Britons are thought to have gorged themselves on, plums, cherries besides oysters, venison and the like.
Phil: Well that sounds moighty tasty but it remains tu be seen. We 'ave tu wait fer th' archaeological evidence to surface first.
Tony: Ok, what are you waiting for Matt? In you go
Matt climbs in gingerly if not pepperly.
Matt: There's a sealed Samian container down here. I'll hoyk it up and you can have a squiz at it
Tony: Righto, pass it up, let's have a closer scrute. There's some script applied to the surface.
Mick: Well what's it say Tony?
Tony: Romano-British diet pack no. cccxiii , vidilecet base of container for use by date. Pat.
Mick: I don't mean to be picky but you mean Boudicca the leader of the Iceni, the Victorians modified her name to make it sound flash like my joomper and .....
Phil: The Roman 'istorians tell us 'er two daughters were raped an' she was scourged, even then those paternalistic Romans were showin' the girls who was boss.
Tony: Pretty tough bully-boys then.
Phil: Yair, brute force against reason and finesse, look what they's
did to Christ. The Romans killed 'im now theys praise 'im. It's another Roman Empire reachin' into every corner of the globe with its paternalistic attitudes towards women.
According to them, women 'ave tu be subjugated an' controlled an' the men set free so they can continue killin' an' maimin' each other. Tha's all theys Romans understood. Theys wern't takin' nuthin' from those woad painted women-lovin' Brits.
Tony: Yes there is a statue to Boudicca near parliament House in London. She emphatically symbolises the triumph of
Britannia and women over adversity.
Phil: Yair, if it was up to some women there would be
litigation that would see all men 'ave to 'ave reversible ligation
before theys could vote.
Phil: Those Romans were an insecure lot, keepin' theys women in literal an' metaphorical chains, no better than schoolyard bullies.
It was th' Romans that told women to keep their place, 'ow condescending can you get. The Brits respected females, tha's why they made Boudicca the leader of the
Mick; Yes she and her fellow Icenians single-handedly
destroyed the 9th Hispania legion, wrecked Colchester and sacked
London and St. Albans before meeting Suetonius near Watling Street.
That was a sad day for women throughout the Roman Empire. Her body
is said to be buried under Platform nine of King's Cross
station. We should do a Toime Team dig there on the three days
Tony: I'm reliably informed that females make up more than half the population, you'd think men would take more notice of what they say.
Mick: Yes but look what history says to us, if you speak up or
try to exert some influence you get pollarded.
Phil: Britain 'ad its foirst female proime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Loike Edward II, 'alf the public loiked 'er policies 'cause it made them rich, the other 'alf 'ated ' er because she
made them poor. Oirland 'ad it's Mary Robinson, Germany's got it's Merkel an' Mercedes, the U.S. is behoind
th' toimes. Theys 'aven't 'ad one yet for all theys catterwallin' 'bout democracy
women's roights an' Magna Carta. Orsrtalia
'as a female proime minister, Julia
Gillard. Loike Boudicca she 'as red 'air but unloike Boudicca she's up against red-necked
'misogynistic nut jobs', silver-backed gorillas, radio commentators posin' as trained journalists,
debauched advertoisin' industry megalomaniacs an' their friend's who think theys are the arbiters of proletariat opinion.
Now 'cause she's a confessed atheist an' instituted a Royal
Commission into the allegedly heinous behaviour of
priests, she'll need a phalanx o'
dedicated Praetorian Guards.
Mick: Do you think that she will survive like Queen Elizabeth the
first did? Another red-head who was up against the collective nut job of the Spanish Armada and that Lord Dudley?
Phil: Well uncle Phil is old enough tu know tha' if you pollard a sick tree it doies but if the tree 'as strong roots it comes back in full flower 'an overpowers th'
heinous nut jobs that 'ave fallen on the ground.
Tony: So Phil who is washing up at your Icenian household tonight?
Phil: S'pose oi am, as well as reinforcin' the palisade an' ramparts against those
danged Romans then oi 'ave tu crack all those heinous nuts. Where's me
Tony: Grave goods, we've all heard of buried treasure but just how much did the families of the dead revere their departed loved
ones? So Brittany, why would people want to bury their dead and place these items in the grave cut?
Brittany: Well, primarily burial was a matter of hygiene. The chance of a diseased body infecting the rest of the tribal unit or society
would be of concern. There was the possibility of wild animals tearing their departed apart as naturally occurs in a
ecosystem. Another reason we might consider is the belief in an after-life, this is what we deduce from the
presence of grave goods.
Phil: Ok Britney, where did this oidea o' an arter loife originate, 'cause it seems fairly fundamental tu me that such a notion should
make a sudden appearance in the scheme o' things.
Brittany: We have to go back to the earliest evidence in the Middle East for this Phil.
For the beginnings in the belief of an after-life we have to go back to the beginnings of
tangible archaeological evidence.
Phil: O' course there's no scoientific evidence that there is an arter loife. We all loike tu point tu the skoiy an' say I'll see you up
there someday but we don' really believe it do we?
Tony: Well that is the alpha and omega million dollar question. Much of human history has been predicated on religion and the
belief in an after-life and an all powerful being. Look at
sectarianism today, its worse than secular racism. Racists sling off at each other all the
time but sectarians kill, shoot maim and have a tendency to genocidal proclivities that only Adolf could dream about, just look at
some of these Middle Eastern countries. Those tribes and cults just hate each other. What is the purpose of religious belief if all it causes is
terrifying grief, agony and hatred? Would all those so-called
prophets have wanted this interminable mayhem we see today?
they were so good at prophesising why didn't they think before they
made their mystical pronouncements? If the Mayans were so good at
predicting the future, why didn't they see their demise coming?
they were not very good at prophesising wha' the outcome of
their original teachings would be.
Brittany: These are very big questions and I don't think standing on this windy Hill of Sion in West Yorkshire with lightning bolts
from heaven whizzing past is going to solve it today.
Crack! A sizzling bolt of lightning thwacks into the side of Tony's 4WD range Rover-cum-hummer equipped with tank tracks and
submarine snorkel [He's getting armour plating fitted next week - he's in Yorkshire now]
Tony: Crikey, that was close. Did we say something wrong...... ssso ignoring that tangible message from nature what is this
tangible evidence Brittany?
Brittany: Ochre, red ochre, as simple as that.
Phil: Wha' you mean naturally occurring pewdered haematitic iron oxide. Is that all there is to it?
Brittany: Yes, blood coloured powdered iron oxide, similar to that used by cave painters in the prehistoric
period but then used for another purpose.
Tony: So please explain further Brittany.
Brittany: Well, prehistoric people about 90,000 years ago, in what is now Palestine stroke Israel, buried their dead and sprinkled red ochre over the bodies before covering them with stones or earth. This is the first tangible evidence that we have for a belief in some form of religious ceremony.
Phil: Tha' don' seem to make sense. 'ow could all this 'ist'ry of religiosity and maimin' an' death emanate from such an innocuous
Brittany: Power Phil, straight unadulterated power over other
people. Power over people at their most emotionally vulnerable time. The time
when they have to face the fact that their loved one has passed and they will never see or hear from them again. A time when their
emotions are red-raw like the ochre. Remember, they never had
photographs or paintings to remember their loved ones by. The only
evidence that they were ever here is their children.
Phil: Tha's aweful. Tha's terrible. But tha's wha' oi loike ' bout archaeology, you get roight back to the whoiys a' wherefores of
what we're doin' 'ere. Yeou realoise that we are just an inkblot in a long loine o' people that 'ave gone before us. They sorta reach
outta the grave an' still control us with the customs an' behaviours we ' ave today.
Tony: Yes, we need to think for ourselves a bit more rather than
blindly following what went before. We don't really think where our ideas come from, we just accept that if we are born into a particular religion in a particular country, then that is the way of life, or the best
religion, and we never question it. As you say Phil, it's like our ancient ancestors are continuing to control us
from the grave through their beliefs. It stretches beyond the grave. Belief needs no evidence. It just
is By definition, God's works cannot be peer reviewed. As Richard Dawkins says we look for patterns and meanings where there
are none, that's why some believe in good and bad luck, astrology,
tarot cards, numerology, and even religion. They think there is
something controlling everything. Very comforting but not when your
house is blown down in a storm while your evil neighbour's house is
saved. The problem that I have with these these religions is
that they can't all be 'right' and probably none of them are. They have all diverged from that one fundamental burial in the Middle East. Each sect controls a different power space. It does seem that it is a human construct of rather dubious origins designed to control peoples minds and thus society.
Brittany: Yes, in that way the early men of wisdom, the true sapiens, realised that they could manipulate others and live a life of
luxury while the peasants slaved away for them. Never under estimate a wise old man.
Precedence of flawed ideology trumped reason. Look at those pharohs, they must have had mind control over their people to achieve those monuments to themselves.
There were no Israelite slaves, that we know is a falsity.
Phil: Yair, theys pyramids are really whacking great monuments to the egos of the pharohs, nothing else.
Who remembers the poor subjugated souls who built them?
Phil: Cor, lumme look a' this whacking great ditch Matt ' as uncovered, it could roival the ego of that young king Tut.
Francis from Brit Arch: It's just an old ditch or ditch-like structure its part of an Iron Age hill fort perhaps.
Tony: I like your qualification at the end of your sentence Francis. Quite refreshing, but the ditch-like structure is in a valley.
Tony: There's something in the wood, its big, boggy and scary.
Matt: A riparian Victorian garden feature maybe?
Helen: We could perhaps postulate that it is a Victorian folly.
Stewart: Or a cross ridge dyke don't forget a cross ridge dyke, a type of boundary that says 'keep out of Yorkshire or else'.
Tony: Well looking at the geophysics we could describe it as desultory and I not wishing to be negative, it's raining again..
John: Tony, in geophysics negativity is the source of all electrons
and thus energy. The geophysics is getting better, there are blobs that could be pits, it could conceivably be an Iron Age hill fort. But then it
could be natural, or even Victorian. Maybe you are correct, I still can't see the hill fort defences. It looks uniformly brown in most
of what we might consider to be an enclosure.
Tony: I do like to be accommodating, but really Phil's hat says it all. It's brown,
wet and jaunty but needs a good vacuuming. John has recruited some boffins to
investigate our new thesis but I haven't finished my tea yet.
Keith: Boffins? That's a rather hackneyed ancient phrase used by wartime journalists who didn't know anything about
science but were expected to report on it, Tony. Look at this aerial photo the two ends of the ditch-like structure don't meet.
Tony: Just to digress a moment Keith, that's a bit like a metaphor for religion.
Phil: Arrr Oive got the solution, pu' a trench through 'ere. Dig 'er in. We could make them join up.
Tony: Stewart as usual doesn't agree with anyone. He's has gone off with Brittany to show her what he means.
Phil: It's a cracker section Tony. One or two trench soites should prove it either way. A cracking great ditch. When was it ever droi?
It's got warter-logged posts preserved 'ere from, oid estimate, 'bout 3500 tu 1500 years ago.
Tony: Well after 3500 years and with five minutes to go before we stop at 6 p.m. it seems that the site is doomed.
But you know what, Francis' original premise was correct, it is an Iron Age hill fort!
Phil: Well we could extend the trench and close the pit down. We 'avent foewnd any dateable foinds yet but it could be between
3500 and 1500 years old. Any ways it's started tu rain agin, an' if we extend the trench we could start a bog snorkelling competition
Tony: That's a completely different idea Phil and could make up for the shortfall on the Toime Team budget but I'm disappointed. We
could have found houses, hearths and graves which we would expect at such a site. It looks like the graves and grave goods
will remain a mystery for another 3500 years when another generation of archaeologists might be lucky enough to uncover them.
Phil: So th' next generation is really the tangible everlarstin' loife
we seek, not some poi in the skoi notion 'bout 'eaven an the loike.
Tony: It seems so.
Phil : Well oi'd better get workin' on it, where's tha' Britney?
She's teken moi treuwel.
An imitation of the original Toime Team concept now
toitled Time Team. Any similarity is entoirly coincidental.
Mick: Drat it, my joomper of many cooloors is unravellin'.
Phil: 'ow may killermetres you reckon you got there then?
Mick: I think I snagged it on a thorn bush back at the entrance to the dig site about 3
kilometres away so if it started there, there must be 20 kilometres to
go. My woife is still knitting a rainbow hauberk for that re-enacting session we have later today.
Phil: You mean killermetres not kilo-metres of course Mick. The French desoigned the
System Internationale for metric measurement not the Italians. Th' correct pronunciation should be killermetres. You don' say kilo-grams you say killergrams
John: Yep, Mick he's right, in geophysics we say killerhertz and killerwatts not
kilo-hertz and kilo-watts.
Mick: Well why is the verb 'pronounce' used but then we say and spell the word 'pronunciation'.
Phil: Beats me, it must be the joys o' th' English language fer what it is. Oi troid tu read a book on it
once but it was too 'ard.
Mick: Well I don't want to kill anyone so I'll just shut up.
Matt: Never fear old Matty is here.
Tony: As usual listening to 'Pussy Riot' punk rock on those earphones of his.
Matt: What's that, I can't hear you Tony, there's a riot going on in my head.
Tony: So how does this all relate to our Iron Age ditch then? I don't see the connection.
Phil: Well there ain't no connection really oi was jus' usin' it as a metaphorical platform to say what oi really think 'bout you.
Mick: I'm going to have to follow this thread back to where it started.
Matt: What's that? I can't hear you.
Tony: Ok we'll see you later Mick, mind where you walk, there are a lot of pitfalls between here and the site gate.
Phil: Do you think Mick can avoid all those booby traps we set up for
'im Tony after I snagged 'is jumper on that thorn bush?
Tony: Yes we are the archaeological television series by which
all others may be judged.
Tony: Here we are at Barton-on-the-Beans. It's very windy up here today and Phil can expand on that.
Phil: Yep, we've been throwin' everythin' at it includin' th' empty tins.
Tony: Phil, you offered us a Roman palace, where is it?
Phil: Oooh arrr so far it's produced a lot o' ------------- hot air an' nuthin' else.
Tony: So we could be up a right glum goom tree? Excuse my dodgy provincial accent.
Phil: A provincial accent is not a dodgy accent Tony. Provincial is good. Look at Provincial foods. The woide variety you get, cheeses woines, coiders, beers, bacuns an' th. loike. Not loike this disgustin' globaloised farst food franchoising loike them young 'uns eat. Look at 'em. All skin an' fat. Moind you, theys chunkers would make a noice bit o' cracklin' if oi was to put them in the Toime Team camp oven.
Tony: I think I'm losing my sanity. Helen please steer us back into the scripted reality of this programme.
Helen: I don't eat fast food Phil. In fact I only eat wild herbs and hedgerow cuisine of the most delicate variety that has been washed in the sweet distilled mist of an early English mor.......
Tony: OK, Ok, you two win, time for a fast food ad break already.
Even after the fast food ad break that went really slowly, Phil wouldn't let it go.
Phil: You carn't eat much then 'elen, 'cause most of the year the 'edgerows are under snow an' oice. The on'y farst food oi eat is that which comes in a point glarss. In tha' case, the farster the better oi say.
Tony getting desperate: So to change the subject once again Helen, we seem to have a grave cut here.
Helen: Yes, Matt is digging down now and expects to reach the bottom of the grave in about three ham sandwiches time. Have you ever noticed how the layers in a ham sandwich simulate the archaeological stratification?
Tony: Look Helen, will you stop talking about food. What about this palace I keep promising the viewers?
Helen: Well, I don't know about a palatial residence. If we look at the notes made by the antiquarian John Leland for Barton-on-the-Beans it is evident that there were bean shaped
tesserae found here. In addition the local vicar in the 18th century found one coffin nail, but that might have dropped off something more contemporaneous. The local populace were eating so many beans that many died from a great pestilence that gripped the village in 1349. It wiped out nearly a third of the population here. There is a mass burial site just outside the village marked by a monument in the shape of a gigantic haricot bean. Barton was definitely on the beans then.
Phil: Yer, they should be puttin' up monuments to food as well as bacun curers loike George Orwell an' Bertrand Russell said, not to all these hoity toity know-all politicians. You carn't beat a good rasher o' bacun sizzlin' in the pan wi' some baked beans. Food o' th' gods. What good did a politician do fer anyone except fer theyselves, loinin' theys own pockets wi' taxpayers money tu extend theys moats an' drawbridges. Tear all those politicians statues dewn io say an let's 'ave some put up to butchers, bakers, furniture carvers, engineers, brewers, archaeologists an' th' loike.
John: Don't forget geophysicists, My final summation is that there's nought but an anomaly at this site. In fact the whole site is one enormous anomaly. So we are now looking for non-anomalous zones. Mmmm that bacon smells good. Our accuracy is incredible.
Tony: What you mean it's literally not credible?
John: Yes, there's nothing here.
Stewart: X marks the spot, dig here. Thou shalt not fail. My method is infallible just like Yorkshire Methodism. Either I'm wrong, which is never the case, or less likely the map is inaccurate. Most importantly there's a time stamp on the map and it's postmarked Sheffield. You obviously have to wait for the host of the almighty Yorkshire contingent to lead the way. Look, Yorkshire beat the Australians in the London Olympics. Next they will need to move the national capital to York. Londrescentricity and the traffic problems will come to an abrupt end in one fell swoop.
Guy: A Roman hair pin was also found, it was stuck in the remnants of what appears to be a Romano-British whoopee cushion. Additionally the fluting on this tile is indicative of a hypocaust system on the site which means we could be looking for yet another Romano-British bath-house. The Brits were bathing long before the Australians were thought of. This could have been a site for a romantic Roman weekend getaway. There are oyster shells and shards of amphorae everywhere. No Phil, I'm not a romanticist I'm a Romanist.
Phil: Phew! Thank gawd fer tha' oi thort you was goin' to wax amourous 'bout yer weekends away.
Francis reviving briefly from a bout of feverish flu: It's a Bronze
Age bus stop without a doubt. [collapses back onto mobile camp bier carried by two supplicants]
Tony: Well we have a Roman specialist specially sent here by English Heritage today. [applause all round, jolly good show old chap]
'Roman' specialist: NNNo, sorry they sent me instead. I'm the ssspecialist in mmmedieval gggarderobes and their cccontents. III'm sorry I'll have to go, I've got gggastroenteritis.
Tony: So where is the floor of the palace?
Phil: They've toiled over the toiles, obviously.
Mick: Doomped on it more like.
Matt: Well, never fear old Matty is here. We are going to remove the Arthurian shrubbery once and for all and get down onto the archaeology.
Tony: Ex-shrubbery you mean, you've totally obliterated it. They'll have to redraw the O.S. map, change the G.P.S. coordinates and retake a Google photo.
Phil: It's not an ex-shrubbery, its an ex-copse.
Mick: Cops where? I've joost remembered my licence for wearing extremely bright clothing needs renewing. I have to be
licensed so I can use the local library, they keep complaining I'm too loud.
Phil: Yar, regardin' the palace we is allowed to change our opinions.
Matt: This test pit is the pits. The walls, if there were any, have gone. They've been robbed out, there is no tangible evidence that they ever
John: They never existed. We geophysicists knew it wasn't here all along. You've just confirmed our superior investigative skills.
Edited cut at director's insistence.
Tony: We've decided to abandon the Roman palace hypothesis and go for gold. Matt is now going to take the place of a steward and garderobe cleaner of a medieval manor, you don't mind do you Matt?
Matt: Ohh not again, can't Helen or Raksha do it .......or even better, Stewart.
Phil: All we's been doin' is diggin' up peoples back gardens. They's goin' to be really peeved orf when theys come 'ome from work an' foind theys gardens lookin' loike a Cirencester dig.
Tony: Yes JCB Ian will have to fill in quickly and turf over as if nothing has happened.
Ian The JCB driver: Where would you like me to put it Tony?
Tony: What shall we do with it then Phil?
Many suggestions followed thereafter including viewers suggestions that were inaudible but clearly physically impossible..
Tony: Well Phil?
Phil: Extend th' trenches o' course, under them there 'ouses. Theys won't think o' lookin' under theys 'ouses. Wes can carry on as usual whoile theys 'avin' theys breakfasts.
Tony; Where's that bone I was going to show Margaret the osteo-archaeologist?
Matt: She's got rheumatism and couldn't make it today.
Phil trudging off in the general direction of the Lard & Beans free house: Oi dunno, oi think th' dog got it.
Matt: Great! I think they've forgotten about that silly medieval steward / garderobe cleaner idea. I wish, just for a change, that Tony would make me king for a day. I'd love to lord it over him and order him to do garderobe duty.
Tony aside to the camera: Fat chance of that. Looking at the Channel Four budget for next season we'll be seeing a whole chronology* of garderobe cleaners. All this talk about food has made me hungry and the wind is picking up here. I'm off for some of that bacon and a spoil heap of beans down at the pub. * Note: This is a collective
noun for garderobe cleaners.
Phil: Y'know Tony moi archaeolgy field shirts are not as whoite as they used tu be. It's really
'ard to get them to sparkle loike they used tu.
Tony: That's because you are not using the best washing powder. You need to use that new formulation I use called 'Omo sapiens
Mick: 'omo sapiens, isn't that the name for modern man, homo meaning
the same or man and sapiens meaning wise
Phil: There are plenty of men oi know who aint woise, not mentionin' any names o' course Tony
Tony: No, its a word-play by a soap company to get the nation to use their product and it really works, look at my red shirt, it's whiter than white.
Phil: That's good enough fer me. Th' proof is in the puddin' and oi can see where yours dripped dewn yer collar and landed on yer whoite trousers that used t' be blue.
Mick: But my wife has used it on my multicooloured joompers an' it doesn't seem to work, it joost joombles the coolours oop.
Matt: I use soap prepared by a traditional medieval method and it's far superior, look at this handkerchief, it positively sparkles in the sun.
Phil: You sure you washed that. Oi think it's sparklin' cause you just used it.
Matt: No look, see these wood ashes I prepared earlier, I boil them in this water like this. Now here's some more I also prepared beforehand. This is now a weak alkaline solution. See now I let it settle and then strain out all the floaties. After that I reduce it down so its more concentrated.
Phil: Yeuw carn't say 'reduce it dewn', you reduce it. So-called cookin' experts on T.V. say it all the toime. Otherwoise it's loike sayin' that I'll descend dewn into moi trench,
similarly but counter-clockwoise oim not going to say oim goin' tu ascend down a Saxon well. It's tautological as much as archaeological.
Matt: Yes Ok Phil I get your point, ouch. Look, now I pour in this heated animal fat and I boil it for a few hours.
Mick: Yes, a miraculous transformation then takes place, the alkali chemically reacts with the fat to saponify it.
Tony: Then it's not a miracle, it's chemistry.
Phil: Roight, yew carn't have miracles anyway, not unless, accordin' to Tony, you are usin' 'Omo sapiens washin' pewder
Mick: I wonder how soap was discovered? Just to react two totally unrelated substances together must have required a high degree of alchemical insight and organisation.
Phil: Arrrr it were prob'ly an accident but someone noticed somethin' an' investigated further, it's called serendipity. Theys repeated what they saw until theys made lots of it an' fewnd it worked at cleanin' greasy drinkin' vessels an' the loike.
Mick: Yes, traditionally the Arabs are credited with the discovery of soap. They have lots of goat fat and alkaline salts in those dry lands and areas they colonised, that's why so many places start with Al- like Alshebab, Alkebab, Alhambra and even alkali and alchemist. Why they even discovered how to distil alcohol, strange that, they gave it to the Europeans but never drink it themselves.
Phil: Harr you aint bin tu some o' theys countries, they sells incredible lots o' fruit juice an'
prodigious amounts o' yeast.
Tony: What about Almondbury, All-Hallows and Alloa?
Mick: I think you missed the point Tony. What are the chances that soap was brought into Europe by the Arabic peoples when they invaded Spain.
Phil: So you think the Spaniards moight have been the first people in Europe to have used soap to wash with an' they parst the secret on to others?
Mick: It could be, after all the Spaniards are known for their personal cleanliness and fresh clean skin.
Phil: Yeah, oi bet yew couldn't wash yerself in 'Omo sapiens, it would probly tek yer skin orf.
Tony: Well lets try a comparative test then, just like they do for modern household products. We could compare medieval soap to 'Omo sapiens and see which is the best at cleaning.
Phil: Yair, good oidea, when do we start?
Tony: Right now if you want, seeing as it's raining again and we've paid the film crew for three days
Matt: Awesome, surreal, incredible, remarkable, amazing and other hyperbolic journalistic terms designed to convert the everyday into something rather more extraordinary, but it aint.
Tony: Right, now to make this a fair test we are going to mix up the name of the two solutions so you don't know which is which and even I will not know which is which as they will be labelled A and B. This is called a double-blind test where even the organiser of the experiment doesn't know which is which until the results are in. This is to avoid bias.
Phil: Yeahr we are all biased in some way, loike oi prefer right handed trewels an' Mick prefers lollin' back an' watchin' me work
Tony: Yes Phil, something like that. We are also going to replicate the experiment and use a control labelled C
Mick: That sounds painful, can I have a paracetamol now?
Phil: No Mick, you wait yur turn, oi'm next.
Tony: Ok Phil and Mick off you go, start washing using the test samples, here's some of my greasy old Dribley's patented dungarees I've been keeping especially for occasions like this.
Phil: 'ang on, 'ang on, is this just a ploy tu get us tu wash yer dirty linen?
Tony: No Phil, trust me you won't notice a thing.
After an hour or so of vigorous scrubbing and rubbing using different solutions and throwing everything into the pulsating, reverberating regurgitating industrial strength washing machines, the two washermen finally arrived at a point where they could hang up their handiwork for the T.V. crew to admire.
Phil: Croikey, oi think you can definitely see the difference, it's as clear as mud in a rain filled test pit.
Mick: I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own spectacles and kicked it with my own goomboots.
Tony: Yes that is amazing, incredible surreal, awesome and even remarkable.
Phil: Well it's obviously remarkable Tony, because you're remarkin' on it.
Mick : The results are in then. 'Omo sapiens wins by a mile.
Tony: Where's that Matt got to? He needs to see this.
Matt: Will somebody get me out of these dungarees, they've shrunk and so have I. And while you're at it get me off this washing line.
Phil: Yar Tony, the cleanin' was good but we's fergot to check the shinkability of 'Omo sapiens, neow tha' is truly remarkable.
TONY'S BACK GARDEN Tony: Phil, last night, down the pub after 18 pints,
you told me that we would find something today that would rival the
palace of Knossos.
Phil: (with best effort at a Wiltshire accent) Tony you carn't expect
to foind a substantial building in every test pit we dig on Toime Team,
it's just not feasible despite what oi moight of said. Three stones don't
necessarily make a wall, Tony, if you get moi drift.
Tony: Yes I see what you mean Phil, I think. Now John, what do you think,
is it geophysically possible?
John: Well after draggin' my body racked with pain all over your flamin'
back lawn for the umpteenth time carryin' this geophysical version of a
Leopard Tank I think you could say that the geophysics is pretty much obliterated,
so the evidence would err on the side of there being a substantial geological
feature somewhere under here, it's called the Earth.
Tony: Well that seems to settle it then. There is a palace here and we
are going to find it and as usual we only have 3 milliseconds to do it.
Phil: Tony, you annoying little blighter will you get out of moi carefully
excavated test pit number two.
Tony: Phil, I'm not getting out until you tell me what's going on.
Phil: I'll tell you what's going on. My shovel is going on your head
with considerable force if you don't get yourself off in the far corner
of that field in two shakes of a Wiltshire lamb's tail.
Tony: OK, OK, keep your hat on Phil (Phil's got a new hat), but have
you found anything yet?
Phil: Look Tony, oi'm sick of your danged fool questions, with the toime,
or lack thereof we've been given, and your annoying enquiries there's
little chance of foinding anything of a substantive nature this soide of
a pink elephant. However, we think we've found the solution as to woiy your
kitchen sink outlet is blocked and it doesn't look good believe me Tony....
Phil: What ever are you doin' Tony?
I've just climbed into this test pit to examine the stratigraphy.
Phil: That's not a test pit Tony, that's our emergency camp latrine.
OK Mick how do you read it?
Well, with great difficulty, its oopside down and very joombled oop. You could
say it's well and truly, if not incomprehensible. What's that? A fly on my
Whilst Raksha has been drilling down looking for Mohenjodaro and merely
finding Henry VIII's loo and Phil has been clearing out my drains I've been
prancing about like a loon on this spoil heap casting my eye into what could only be
correctly interpreted as an Anglo-Saxon cesspit or perhaps, as Phil incorrectly
thinks, the remains of a Romano-British plunge pool. What do you think Stewart?
Well, if you ask me, looking from the air in a helicopter whilst holding
this map east-west along the alignment of the Roman road you can just see
it bears either none or a very strong relationship to a number of fundamental
intersecting foci which all point to this being the original houses of parliament
of Henry II.
Surely Stewart you jest, in my back garden? You can't be serious?
No, well if you look here on this other map, ignoring John's geophysical
blatherings, you can see a long line of vegetation which suggests higher
than normal nutrient levels in the A horizon of the soil and these align
perfectly with Westminster. (At this point Stewart wanders off into the
woods muttering something about King Arthur and the knights of the rectangular
table with a pointed end)
Meanwhile over in test pit number three, Alice has been excavating a single
eye socket of what appears, in my correct hypothesis, to be a pirate, but
no buried treasure is yet forthcoming. Why not Alice? You're not trying hard
enough, we want more backbone exposed. However, over here we have what appear
to be a parrot's toe-nails which Carenza suggests is strong evidence for
a thriving pirate pedicure industry. Is she right? We'll have to wait for
the lab. report. (Toime Team drum beating)
Tony: Well, who was right? Was it me, a humble highly
paid actor or the highly paid and qualified experts? Let's ask them and see.
Oh, they've all nicked off to the pub. Well Raksha thought it was a coin from
the reign of Vespasian but Francis adamantly hypothesised it was a Bronze
Age round-house, what else you might ask, whilst Jenni thought it was a
horse-hobble, but me, God bless his heart, has come up with a radical and
entirely different theory that no-one else has considered. It is my anorak
which was covered up by the earth mover. See I was right all along but there's
nobody here to verify it and worship me as a genius.
Back at the pub:
Well at the end of day three what have you come up with Phil? (Toime Team noise that sounds like a medieval blacksmith clad in armour climbing out of
bed and striking a metal chamber pot in the dark)
Phil: Well, the beer was flat and if oi did read moi cards down the pub
roight larst noight, he's got two clubs and I've got four spades and a trowel
so oi don't fancy me chances. But archaeologically speakin' oi don't think
what we set out to do was entirely feasible. The rain was incessant, we drank
the pub droi and it's been god-awful cold, in it?
Tony: Well, in summation then after three days in my backyard we've just
blown three million pounds of Channel 4's budget on beer and discovered
Phil's favourite food, pork scratchings, excavated from a local medieval
Later that day after the team returns to try to locate their trowels
in the dark, muffled somewhere off in a distant excavation trench Phil can
be heard saying ' Tony, you know oi don't loike pork scratchin's neither,
without a good dollop o' your sauce.'
Addendum: The lab. report came back negative, there was no evidence of
parrot toe-nails although
Pythonesquely it was no more, only 'eluvially enriched auriferous deposits'
were identified, which is not very interesting. A very disappointing three
days especially since the team still haven't filled in my back garden. Where's
Tony: Well Joy you've brought us here today because your farmer husband turned
up this gold drinking horn with his plough last year and you want us to investigate this field for evidence of a Viking settlement.
J: Yes Tony, we had been collectively wassailing out of this golden horn 'ere and after a
'eavy session when Joe, that's me 'usband, was dancin' on the kitchen table, fell orf, and 'e ' ad a brilliant brainwave that this 'ere 'orn was left 'ere boi a Voiking who lost 'is memory and never returned to get it. Moind you Joe is still in orspital troiyin' to get his memry back.
T: Well Francis, what do you think? Do we have any evidence for a Viking settlement here?
Francis: (painfully over enthusiastic): Well Tony, for a start there were no Viking settlements here. We had Danish settlers further south and Norse communities further north but I'm afraid that this is a bronze age ritual
site, we are neither north nor south.
T: How can you categorically say that when you have no evidence Francis? Surely that is not following the scientific method.
F: Well, Tony, I can say that without any shadow of a doubt because I know I'm right, and anyway I went to the right school and have the right accent which immediately informs you that whatever you think or say is wrong.
T: Yes I get that, being the sawn-off strident socialist that I am, but what do you mean by 'right'? Surely that word signifies some sort of moral
position or do you really mean 'correct'?
F: Right Tony, as you say, I'm correct.
T: So if we come across a swarm of Viking graves will you still retain your lofty superiority or will you begin to accept that there were right wing
Norwegian nutters even then?
Phil (butting in): Francis, boi your reasonin', if we foind a host of Voiking graves some people moight say its the Australian cricket team, especially if they foind associated grave goods loike drinkin' vessels or even a cremation urn with ashes in it.
Francis: Yes they might say that, but then where's their evidence?
Phil: Tony are we goin' down the pub soon oive got a raging thirst that even a stone-age glacial lake couldn't fix.
T: Look, ignore Phil and his base rantings for a moment and let's get back to the script of this reality programme.
T: Well, here we are in Potton Much Manured just south of Watling Street in the earldom of
Huntingdonshire and we have just made an amazing
discovery! Can you tell us about it Mick?
Mick: Well yes Tony, we've put in trenches all over this green-field site and found absolutely nothing. Mind you I hope you like my
new multi-coloured hat to go with my joomper of many coolours.
T: Yes it looks like Serre in WWI, the field not your jumper Mick, mind you there are some similarities. There are trenches and dugouts everywhere, what on earth were you thinking?
M: To tell the truth moi wife crocheted.... oh I see, well we used the blunderbuss method, admittedly not a very scientific approach but so far it's worked.
T: What you mean is, you've shot three pheasants and a woodcock for lunch.
M: Precisely Tony, and the proof will be in the pudding.
Phil: Puddin'? Did someone say puddin'? Oi 'ope there's some ale to go wi' it or oime
goin' 'ome roight now, you jus' see if oi don'
T: What do you think we should do Phil?
Phil: Well, boi moi way uv thinkin' there's nothin' else for it but to put in another trench
Tony, seein' as we 'ave ta use up one more day.
Tony: Well Francis what have you been up to in that huge trench at the far end of the field for the last two days.
Francis (gritting his teeth): Well, it's not what I've been up to Tony its what I've been getting down to with Mary our
Phil (winkin' sloiyly): Splendour in the stratigraphy you moight say, eh Francis?
Francis: Yes, exactly I'm glad you caught on so soon Phil. Mary has once again made an old man very happy and we can now prove that I was right all along, that there is no Viking settlement here.
Tony: What! You mean because we found nothing you are 'right' or should I say 'correct'?
Francis: No Tony, I'm saying that because I have always been right in the past, I will always be right in the future so we
may as well by-pass any archaeological investigation and just listen to me.
Raksha (mumbling to herself off camera): That'd be a first.
Tony: Director, can we cut that last bit, I'm the host of this show.
Was called off because it was raining felines and canines and even a few bovines - look out another bovine!
Tony: Following in the infallible footsteps of Sir Mortimer Wheeler, we are going to excavate his former palatial residence in Colchester to see if the curse of the Tell of Ur is buried there. For almost one hundred years there has been a persistent folk history around this mysterious and deathly curse since Mrs.
Winklefork, his next door neighbour, lost her cat to an even more mysterious curse issued by a navvy who tripped over it on the footpath.
To this end we have organised Toime Team this week to kit themselves out with tents, skillets and cycling capes to explore this fascinating part of our English heritage in a cross between a panto and a Carry On film. This week we also have a
special guest appearance, Charles Hawtrey, who will be wrinkling his
prehensile nose at anything that looks even vaguely like a trowel.
Phil: Oim roight, oive got a one-person bivouac and Raksha said she was bunkin' down wi' me for the duration if the rain sets in. We've organised to play a medieval form of Twister and also knuckle-bones using these old Roman artefacts we discovered in the bowels, and oi mean
the bowels Tony, of Colchester Museum.
Raksha: Yes, and Mat is going to serve us tea and crumpets every ten minutes to simulate the life-style of Wheeler's servant Mr.
Grumpyspoon whilst I write my dissertation on why Francis is always right about being wrong.
Francis: Young lady, you will not have time for carrying on with Phil after you see what we have organised for you to excavate. If you thought Henry VIII's garderobe at Nonsuch and the Yorkshire
railway men's latrine was bad enough you haven't seen anything yet! Anyway, the weather is predicted to be interminably hot with short bursts of intermittent ice age which will give us plenty of opportunity to prove that my ridiculously fanciful ideas are correct again. Yes
as much as I hate to admit it Raksha you are right, I am a hopeless romantic, but I just love proving to everyone just how clever I am and in the process you will realise that a private school education is far superior to the rational thoughts of co-educational chairman Mao.
Tony: I hope that wasn't a cloaked reference to me and my insistence that we all carry a little red recording book Francis?
Francis: No, not at all, I'm just blathering on again Tony.
Phil: Whoa! what was that? It felt loike oi just sat on someone's crumpet on the soid
o' this trench.
Mat: Yes that was your tea and crumpet, I left them under your coat to keep warm while I went off to seek warmth and comfort
myself for a few precious minutes of my impoverished life as your supplicant and royal boil washer.
Phil: Dang that crumpet, oi much prefer cream buns anyways but the tea stains will need a bit o'
explainin' to me girlfriend.
Tony: Phil's got a girlfriend! Phil's got a girlfriend! Did everyone hear that? Phil's got a girlfriend! Wait I'll just get this megaphone
and stand on this spoil heap so they can hear me three miles away in Much
Phil: awroight, awroight Tony, keep yer 'air on, when oi say girlfriend, of course oi mean that in the strictest of professional ways Tony, don't ferget oim a doctor now and although I can't fix bones oi can
punch you into that trench over there in a very professional manner.
Tony: So come on Phil spill the beans, who is she? Is it anyone we know?
Phil: Well oim rather loath to hazard a guess at this one Toni but oi think,
speculatin' moind you, oi moight 'ave a bit of a middle-Saxon association
goin' with that new female excavator who 'as been workin' in trench six today.
Tony: Tell us more Phil, we're all ears.
Phil: Yes that's what worries me Tony, every toime the wind blows you all lift up into the air a little bit. Well, she came onto me loike a
ravin' banshee. Oi was jus' scratchin' the surface with me trowel and she started on about how she just turned up because she 'ad seen me on the telly and how she thought oi was such a great archaeological
hypocaust hunk she couldn't wait to get into a trench wi' me so we could unravel the stratigraphy together.
Tony: Yes, well Phil it sounds to me like you might be imagining things, she is the National director for the Advancement of Archaeological Techniques and is totally dedicated to this task.
She could teach you a thing or two.
Phil: Well Tony you moight say that but oi could definitely feel something
growin' between us and it wern't no trowel oi can tell
Tony: Mat, dear Mat how are you going Mat? You look all downtrodden and just like a floor covering.
Mat: Well how do you think I'm going Tony. You dressed me up like a London pauper in sackcloth and a cardboard box, pushed me out of the door into a howling gale, slipping and sliding in mud, through drenching cold rain, and then told me I had 2 minutes to wash and brush up as Phil's grovelling
obsequious servant. I feel perfectly ........... (cut at director's insistence).
Tony: Weeeell, it's now the turn of our special guest, Charles Hawtrey. Charles, what do you think so far? Is it as good as 'Carry on up the Stratigraphic Column' or do you think it needs a few more
double entendres, cryptic connotations and unsubtle allusions to Pompei's secret museum of erotica and things that go bang in the night.
Charles: Well, it's all very straight isn't it. (wait for laugh at Hawtrey's hilarious insight into coarse British 1960's humour.) I couldn't see much carrying on! (pause for expected laughter from coarse 1960's British humour
appreciators) Of course in my day the team was larger than life, much more eager to please and had a lot more to
exhibit if you know what I mean! snort. Most of this team are either moribund or stuck in books all day, they wouldn't know which end of a Sheela-na-gig to hold or what to do with it.
Tony: Well, thank you Charles, well said, I liked the sound of that. So being such a nice hot sunny
day for a change, lets all get our shirts off in the true tradition of the
Carry on Toime Team and get down to it - in a professional sense of course!
Tony: Phil, why is your trench overflowing with water?
Phil: Woi not oi ask, its been rainin' solid for the larst fortnoight so
now we can faithfully recreate the sea battle of Constantinople, Tony.
Tony: Whatever for Phil? Surely we are here to uncover either
Iron Age ditches or our suspected Roman villa
hypocaust-cum-bath-house suite. Look at all this Roman building
material, surely we have uncovered a pre-Christian votive offering
site. Look at all the Roman coins in the stratigraphy, the spring
which could have fed the bath-house, the tessellated pavements.....
Phil: Cor lumme Tony, oi was only joking, you do take the cake
Tony, oi dunno. Jeesh oi 'ope the pub's open soon.
John wandering out of a field of shoulder high grass: There is
a clear response on the magnetics to the geology and a very strong
response in resistivity while the .......
Tony & Phil in chorus: Oh shut up John!
Stewart: It's an ideal location for a picnic if any one has
brought any food, it's on an east-west schattenseit ridge between
two confluent valleys and I'm hungry.
Tony: Well there seems to be a great scratching of stomachs
over this one. John do you think we can do it in three days?
John: I think it's a ditch, if it isn't I may as well jump off
one of those blow-up castellated jumping things.
Tony: Are they digging in the right place? Raksha over there
seems to be going great guns on a suspected plunge pool. Who do we
blame for this fiasco of indecision?
Matthew: The old finger of blame is spinning, I suppose I'll
be the scapegoat again?
Tony: You might be right John, my initial doubts are clearing
despite your geophysical knickers being tied in a knot.
John: Yes it's just a matter of dating the site, and look here
is the resistance you wanted, I made it up just to keep you quiet.
Tony: Well, that's pretty convincing John, lets go ahead and
prove our hypothesis is correct and then we can all go home to
Phil: Tony, you nanna, oive told you before, you don't troi to
prove your initial hypothesis, you are supposed to be unbiased and
let the data speak for itself. An' anyway moi woife will not be
Tony: But you keep on telling me data can't speak for itself,
it has to be interpreted. I rang your wife, she is expecting
Phil (grinding his teeth): That's woi it's important to wait
for all the data to come in before setting off on intermediary
bloind-alley conclusions all the toime. That's the trouble with
makin' a T.V. programme such as this, you keep tryin' to interpret
it before all the data sets are in. Some archaeologists think this
programme is just for entertainment purposes and is nothing to do
with addin' to our store of archaeological knowledge. Moi wife's got
Tony: But I have to keep the viewers interest or we will lose
ratings and then the funding will go. It's good copy to have a clash
of ego's and lots of intrigue and human conflict, history is full of
it. I've got some paracetamol.
Phil (aside): Yeah, a bit loike you Tony. We're movin' house
Bridget: Alright you lot, stop playing the white man's Haka,
who wants to know the good news or the bad news first?
Matthew: Is there any good news? If I'm involved it's bound to
be bad news.
Bridge: Well, the good news is there isn't any bad news, so
essentially in the model of modern journalism, there is no news.
Phil: Has anyone seen Tony?
Matt: I think he's got the hump. He heard that last comment
you made Phil and he's gone off in a huff.
Raksha: Well Jock the earthmover has done a fine job. He's
stripped the field bare and dumped it all in that overflowing trench
Just as they all left the dig site later that day Tony
wandered into the site tent covered in sludge,* he was convinced
that they had all conspired to bury him, accidentally on purpose of
* N.B. This gave Tony an idea for another spin-off T.V.
programme, The Worst Jobs in History followed by a jaunt through
Australia - Gawd knows why.
Tony: Phil, this looks like the evidence that creationists
have been searching for for millennia in order to disprove Steno's
Law of Superposition.
Phil: Nah its a piece o' pot really Tony. It's just where Jock
the earth shifter turned it all upsoide dewn in one big sloice. Now
we have Roman loin' on Saxon loin' on medieval loin' on modern kebab
Bridget: That's not a kebab shop Phil, it's a keben.
Phil: What the flamin' 'ell is a keben?
Bridge: A keben, you know a keben, a small building usually
constructed of timber and the loike.
Phil: Awww oi think you mean a cabin.
Tony: Are you sure it's a cabin? It could be the foundations
of a tower house or pele tower.
Francis: No! You are all wrong, it's a Bronze Age round house.
Look at the ditch and the cross-section in the trench. It can't be
anything but a Bronze Age round house.
Tony: Well Dave what do you think, Francis thinks even the
Houses of Parliament are a Bronze Age round house.
Raksha: My name is not Dave it's Raksha and Francis is really
off the beam this time.
Tony: Well, what are the true facts then?
Phil: Tony you can't have true facts or by the same token you
would 'ave to 'ave false facts. There can't be no such thing as
false facts. That's just ridiculous. Facts are facts but then the
word fact has no basis in scoience. It's a colloquial term used by
people such as pragmatic farmers to distinguish between fantasy and
reality. Do they 'ave a cow or don't they 'ave a cow? If they
'ave a cow it's a fact. If they don't 'ave a cow it's still a fact.
The fact is this ain't a round house nor is it reality or else moi
aunt Nellie is a roight wing trowel bender from Oiceland.
Tony: So what's this revetment thingy Matthew?
Matt: It's like a batter
Tony: I won't say the obvious, please explain?
Mat: Well, its like a slope built up to a wall or
Phil: Well round houses don't have batters so it carn't be
that. You can see in trench fawr, now being exposed, there are
corners in the structure, If that's a round house oi'll eat my sweat
stained brim, now that's round but it won't make a square meal.
Tony: Well it looks like you are not 100% right then Francis
Francis (looking totally dejected and downcast): I was 100%
Raksha: Thank Gawd for that, now let's all get on and bend
this corner into a curve.
Tony: Here we are at Wemyss near Kirkaldy which I am informed by the caber tossing locals is pronounced 'Kirkoddy'. I took my test for my
driver's licence at Kirkoddy, those roads have terrible hill starts, even the flat parts slope both ways. If we look across the Forth of Sixth we can see Edinburgh, once the capital of Scotland where the Scottish kings and queens drank at the pubs on the golden mile and rolled downhill to where they resided at Holyrood House. So this all begs the question Phil, what are we doing here?
Phil: Io'm tryin' to figure that oewt moiself Tony. Most people think of West Wemyss which is where that Scots runner trained for 'Chariots of Foir' an' where the more modern carstle associated with the later earls o' Fife loies. But further east where we are is Macduff's Carstle where the remains of East Wemyss
Carstle loie today. In me younger days oi was droivin' parst 'ere on a tour o' Scotland in a three wheel Trident with a V8 engine pullin' a caravan an' oi saw a man in a bulldozer pushin' the fallen rubble off the carstle over the cliff. If you did that nowadays you'd be sent ter prison.
Tony: Maybe it was a castle prison he was destroying.
Phil: Oi dunno Tony but this 'ere carstle is probly the one belongin' tu Macduff, that fella Shakespeare was referrin' to when he wrote 'is Macbeth. In historical fact there was a Macbeth an' a Macduff both immortaloised boi Shakespeare. In 1054 arter Macbeth took power in Scotland, Duncan Macduff 'ad to flee from Scotland tu' England with Malcolm Ceann mhor.
Mick: Phil's right Tony, Macduff returned with Malcolm from exile and discovered that his wife and some of their children had been killed maybe at the thane's castle at Culross west of 'ere. Thane Macduff then travelled north where he killed Macbeth near Macbeth's castle of Dunsinane and took his 'ead to King Malcom Ceann mhor.
Phil: yeah, in Gaelic Ceann mhor means 'big head' or 'head chief.' Funny 'bout that 'e took
Macbeth's 'ead to the 'big 'ead.' Little 'ead met Big 'ead.
Mick: Yes very Ceanny, i'm getting heady Phil, anyway Malcolm promoted the thanes to earldoms including Macduff who fer 'is pains was made first earl o' Fife and the senior earl of Scotland with many hereditary
privileges. For instance his family could place the crown on the head of the Scottish kings. Then earl Macduff built this 'ere castle at East Wemyss which we now know as
'Macduff's Castle'. Here he could keep his good eye on the ships in the Fifth of Sixth....................I 'ope oim not borin' you Tony
Tony: Zzzzzzzz..... No quite the reverse Mick, it's just that I can see the viewers channel hopping that's all, we are up against that popular romantic drama 'Repo robots' where the bots repossess the goods and then the goods being bots repossess the bots ad infinitum.
Mick: That show could go on for ever then.
Phil getting all lively: Croikey, a bit o' Dark Age pottery, it don' get any better than
this Tony, honest, an' it's stratigraphically in situ as well. Very dateable. Woehoe! this is fantasmasporranical.
Mick: John, your dog Spot is gettin' into my multi-coloured sporran I bought especially for this programme. That's where I keep my sandwiches.
John: Out damned Spot, gowon get oewt.
Phil: Is that an 'am sandwich oi see before me?
Mick: No it's my Swiss cheese sandwich with Dijon mustard and cress. The cress is found only in a bog on the south side of an iron age 'ill fort at Kaimes 'ill. The 'oles in the cheese are specially imported from China an' the Dijon mustard is from Bristol. It's very provincial fare you know.
Phil: Oive got a PhD in appreciation thereof, includin' pork pois an' a good swillin' o' fermented vat contents from the north soide o' Burton-on-Trent.
Tony: PhD? What, you mean Piled higher and Deeper?
Phil: That certainly be a blarsted 'eath that be up there. Oi nearly froze me whatsits orf up there. Woi don' you get yerself up there Tony?
Mick: There is a blasted heath up there, look see those three ol' hag re-enactors stirrin' a great big pot of summat.
Tony to the camera: Three witches on a blasted heath eh, I wonder what that could mean? I think I'll go up and investigate
Mick: Don't go stomping all over the archaeology Tony, this aint the blasted 'eath you know
Phil: Stomping ain't a word, it's loike 'spangwanglin', it's a U.S. colloquialism, the word is stamping. It aint English like
what oi speak!
Tony: 'Like I speak' you mean
Phil: No loike wot oi speak, dang you Tony you're such a pedant sometoimes
Tony: I beg your pardon, I'm a married man I'll have you know.
Mick: A pedant is someone who thinks 'e knows everything and annoys people with 'is knowledge.
Phil: Yep that'd be Tony 'es a rum creature that'd be fer sure
Tony: I'm not a 'creature'. The word 'creature' is non-scientific.
The U.S. colloquialism is 'critter', from the German
'kreatur''. What you mean is I am an animal of mammalian origin, specifically a hominid. You should know that Phil. Animals were not created, they have evolved so we should call them evolvers not 'creatures', that is so old-fashioned Phil,
biblical almost. Minotaurs are creatures, jelly-fish are animals, by
definition they move around to find their food. Even Sir David
Attenborough keeps going on about 'creatures' when he means animals.
Next he'll be calling them 'monsters'.
Phil: OK Tony you win you are an evolver [Phil aside to the camera: but 'e ain't finished evolvin' yet, heh heh]
Tony didn't hear Phil, he was striding off seeking the company of the three old re-enactor hags on the blasted heath.
A little while later Tony returned to the excavation site skipping and jumping like a bashi bazouki with
its coat tails on fire.
Mick: Well Tony me old chestnut, what did you discover?
Tony: Discover? Discover! Those three lovely ladies gave me a nice bowl of soup and now I've come over all queer.
Phil: Nuthin' new there then.
Mick: Wait a minute Phil, Tony doesn't look all there, I think it's something 'e ate.
Phil: Yeouw moight be roight there oi think they fed 'im some o' theys magic mushrooms.
Mick: Believe me there's nothin' magic about those mushrooms, they are death cap mushrooms growin' up there,
Macduffi macbethii sub-species caberii.
Later that day Tony was found laid up in 'Kirkoddy' hospital. He'd had his stomach pumped and was feeling a lot better.
Phil: You came over all queer you did Tony. We guessed you'd been poisoned by
theys re-enactor 'ags up on the blarsted 'eath. They was re-enacting death.
Tony: It was great though Phil, you should have come with me. I met William Shakespeare, Macduff and Macbeth up there on that blasted heath.
Mick: That was just the effect of the toxins Tony. Do you remember the three re-enactor 'ags then?
Tony: No, what three 'ags, there were no 'ags there, but I saw a caber tosser in a pink tutu who wanted to take me for a driving test around Kirkoddy.
Mick: Gawd 'es orf wi' th' fairies agin.
Phil: Nurse we need tha' stomach pump agin. Look at the length o' tha' tube! This is gonna be fun!
Tony wincing: No, correction, its going to hurt.
THE CHESTER OLYMPICS
Phil: Tony is sick this week so the little bloighter is 'avin' a rest whoile the rest of us plod on as usual. Oi'm takin' over as chief cook and tankard emptier for the Chester
'lympic Games an' aren't we just gonna 'ave fun while the little nuisance is away!
Foirst I must excuse my language or lack thereof in part throughout the duration of this programme, but oi'm quite sure that the director will cut the malevolent bits
oewt anyway. See ya down the pub George!
Now what's this Chester 'lympics all about oi can 'ear you say'? Well we's gonna excavate the southern 'alf of the Roman ampitheatre 'ere at Chester. This is where theys used t' engage in gladatorial
combat to the death an' where, before they went for their engagement, theys would kneel down and pray to theys sponsors. Sponsors loike
Nemesis, Minerva an' the loike who would supply them with foine vittals and drink, if
they was lucky.
Mat: So what are we planning to do Phil, I've been leaning on this shovel so long it's dug itself half way to Australia, it's like it has a mind of its
Phil: It probly wan's to emigrate, moi trowel troid to do that once. Now Mat, the ampitheatre was saved 'ere in the nointeen sixties, well before you was born, when the northern 'alf of the ampitheatre were excavated under the doirection of the
curator of the Chester Museum. A foine fella oi used ta know, who encouraged me tu take up archaeology fer a pittance, an' things ain't changed much since
then neither. Theys council warnted to put a road straight through it but that curator he stirred up th' populace of Chester, that ain't 'ard to do neither, and 'ad them put the road round the ampitheatre. An amazing road system developed in Chester as a result that would
'ave caused the collapse of Rome if it 'ad been instituted in them days. Where th' 'otel stands neow, tha' used ta be th' telephone exchange in them days it were full of people sticking plugs in sockets to connect theys calls. If you look south you see this massive wall boisecting the present day exposed arena.
The unexcavated part is occupoid boi a derelict convent, 'Sisters o'
Mercy it were called, an' lawyers quarters. How ridiculous does that look oi ask you? Theys 'otel patrons must wonder what theys lookin' at.
Some even think the ampitheatre could be Arthur's 'round table'.
Mat: Yep it does look a bit of a mess, not really as impressive an arena as others in England.
Phil: Arrr yes, they be rare as gold in th' Bank of England, but it could be impressive, it just takes a little more imagination to see that ugly wall removed and the rest of th' ampitheatre excavated and exposed. It would probably attract a lot more rubber-neckers tha' way an' bring more visitors to Chester to enjoy the deloights of the tewn's foine cuisine an' moighty malt gargle.
Mat: So what are we going to do Sextius Marcianus?
Phil: Well, oi 'ave a subtle plan Mat me boyo. Jock the JCB droiver is goin' t' be plied wi' hoigh strenth
alcoholic beverages of the hoiland variety down at the Spade an'
Troewel boi yours truly
tonoight. Then oi'm gunna suggest he tek 'is Trojan ballistarius dewn t' th' soite an' get diggin' it ewt. Boi the toime the powers that be realoise that theys monstrosity has been demolished, it'll be too late fer 'em to do anything
'bout it. That's where we come in. We will be th' 'eroes an' saviours of the day an' act as emergency excavators who'll get in their wi' our shovels an' trowels and dig it all ewt. An' get paid fer it too!
Mat: Brilliantly subtle. Do you think it will work?
Phil: Work? a course it will work, this could keep us in work for
years. Don' you be worried about that Mat me olde mate. Old Phil 'ere is an expert at pullin' the wool over the bureaucrats oiyes an' gettin' things done, you just watch an expert in action.
Later that night when the pubs had closed and a quiet medieval hush had fallen over the grand old town of Chester a motor was heard to burst into life. It wasn't your normal V8 three wheel Trident engine but a whacking great JCB engine. The biggest the grand old town of Chester had ever seen or heard - at 11.30 p.m.
The monster machine crept slowly out of the car park behind the
Spade and Trowel and malevolently inched its way along the medieval High Street in the drunken direction of the Roman Ampitheatre that lies just beyond those fabulous walls. First, Jock had to negotiate the gateway which he miraculously just managed to clear. The machine then thundered onto the site crashing down the flimsy metal railings and sending cats streaking with tails flailing, for the nearest domestic-bliss bolt hole.
Next morning broke bright and early. Before the sun was barely illuminating the bright red walls of
Agricola's Tower, Phil and Mat were heading out of their medieval doss-house to admire Jock's handiwork. Arriving at the site they surveyed the scene.
Phil: Oh moi Gawd, Jock's really gone an' done it this toime.
Mat: Crickey, that's one for the team! How much aviation fuel did you put in his black and tans last night?
Phil: It's not 'ow much but 'ow many. 'E's removed not just th' bit we was
interested in but the law courts and
solicitors offices as well. Gawd lumme, stroike a loight and gor blimey.
Mat: Well, I suppose there's not much else to do but trowel it all up.
Phil: Now don' you tell anyone 'bout this Mat, or we'll both go dewn in 'istory if we don'
mysteriously disappear from 'istory first.
Mat: What's it worth Phil?
Phil: Now 'ang on yeuw whipper snapper don' get cocky wi' me. Oi know how to make people disappear an'
they only be found in a thousand years boi a few T.V. excavators.
Mat: Alright Phil I was only joking, keep your hat on.
Just then out of the blue arrives John in his geophysics harness, dragging what looks to be a two hundredweight
Abyssinian chastity belt with antenna protruding from the top.
John: Crikey what happened here since I last plodded the length and breadth of this Roman
ruin racked with pain?
Phil: Oi 'ave to confess, it were all Mat's fault, he planned it an' virtually carried it ewt single 'anded using one
'and an' 'is trowel.
John: Your joking surely?
Phil: No John oi'm deadly serious, thars whoi oive got a smoile all over me face.
John: Thank God for that, for a minute I thought the law courts and solicitors offices had been demolished.
Phil: O.K. Let's get diggin' we've got a T.V. programme to present. Won't Tony be
surproised when 'e achieves 'is personal best and foinally pole vaults 'imself outta 'is sick bed!
Moind you I personally think 'e's shirkin'.
Tony: Edwina is coming on site today. This is our opportunity to impress somebody very important within the sphere of archaeology.
Phil: Am oi s'pposed tu be impressed about that then Tony.
Tony: Yes, Edwina is the best salesperson of archaeological equipment in the World, winning the coveted dirty trowel trophy three years running.
There might be some free samples in it if we play our shovels right.
Phil: The trouble is, these days everything is commodifoied. Trowels, Love matches on TV, sport, look at sport. The Olympic Games is just one big sales pitch for corner stores that went global an' who employ near slave labour in their businesses. Eventually all these businesses movin' overseas will leave us with no work,
'cept diggin' 'oles, then who's gonna buy all that stuff they make in the sweat shops of Asia?
Tony: Yes but it's so cheap, it means all those people who couldn't afford to buy all this stuff can do so now.
Phil: But just how many trowels do we need Tony. You can only use one at a toime unless you wan' tu end up with arthuritis in both wrists.
Mick: Yes, the only people who will be able to buy anything useful like sighting rods will be those who already have wealth and are investors in these companies that went overseas.
Phil: Yeah it wil be loike me makin' home brew 'cept oi'd be makin' it overseas using Snow Whoite and the Seven Dwarfs. Yew wouldn't know what the quality was loike. Theys could be using' inferior ingredients loike soapy warter and
bean sprouts. Theys could be poisonin' us an' we wouldn't know it until we wus dead.
Tony: Be that as it may Phil, we have to impress Edwina so I want you to go and get some flowers, a really big bouquet, don't hold back on the expense. What else shall we get?
Mick: Well, when I was courtin' I bought my wife-to-be a beautiful hand knitted skirt made from all the cooloors of the rainbow. She liked it so much she's used it ever since as a template for crocheting my sweaters, shirts, hats, under-garments, ties, belts, handkerchiefs and socks.
Phil: You fergot summat
Phil: yer nose warmer
Mick: That's not a nose warmer Phil
Tony: Ok what else?
Phil: Oi know, 'ow 'bout a bottle o' that expensive pongy stuff in a bottle?
Mick: You mean perfume?
Tony: I think you both mean fragrance. They call it fragrance now, the term 'pongy stuff' didn't sell too well
Phil: yeah, whatever, horse lineament or summat that'd do
Tony: No Phil, I want you three to go down to Binchester markets and see if you can get the most expensive horse lin... I mean fragrance you can find
Phil: Ok but don' complain if oi come back smellin' loike a horse
Matt: I know, what about a pink frilly blouse, that usually works well
Mick: An' some ladies glooves to match
Tony: Good, they are all excellent ideas now I know what to get my new wife for Christmas, I like it when you do my Chrimbo list for me
Phil Mick and Matt, borrowed Tony's new swanky Range Rover and departed
from the excavation site in a cloud of diesel fumes. They wanted to impress the people of Binchester who didn't know them from a bar of
chocolate let alone soap. Mind you the people of Binchester thought
the dishevelled and deshovelled trio had stolen it and reported them to the local constabulary. Some hours later they returned to the site after explaining that they had not had Tony's permission to take his swank tank off
site (it was a show room model on loan just for the series anyway).
Tony: Well, where have you three trowelettes been, you've been away for three whole hours and I've nearly eaten all the offal cooked by the re-enactors. Edwina will be arriving soon so hurry up and lets wrap the presents.
Phil: We's got waylaid boi a magistrate but arfter explainin' our excuses we din' 'ave much toime left fer shoppin' so we just rushed aroun' and found the most expensive shop and wen' in there, Binchester Bins o' Bargains. Oi put it all on yer account Tony.
Just then a parp was heard outside the site tent. A large muscly man jumped down from
a Hummer and waved to Tony
Large muscly man: Hi, I guess you're Tony
Tony; Yes pleased to meet you, is Edwina with you?
Large muscly man: Yes I'm Ed Weiner from Trowels U.S.A Inc.
Tony: But... but
Phil grinning from ear to calf muscle: You'd better give 'im these flowers,
that pink frilly blouse an' the other stuff Tony.
Tony: What are you lot all standing around for, you look like you have all witnessed the resurrection and second coming of the Zimbabwean zombies.
Mick: There's no such things as zombies.
Francis: Would you mind nicking off Tony you annoying little twerp.
Tony: Well does the geophys say there is anything their?
Phil: Arrrrhhh yarrr we do 'ave a zonking great ditch wi' some potential artifacts to be unearthed.
Tony: Brilliant! But you haven't actually unearthed anything all day have you?
Mick: This programme's reality script has become insidiously tedious and predictable.
Phil: If you wan' tedious th' manor house down th' road is packed to the rafters wi' incunabula. We've got tons
o' foinds at a depth of one metre but it's all compacted wi' this boulder clay infill, loike its been recently turned over.
Tony: I think we might have stumbled upon a recent burial, maybe it's an
old murder case.
Phil; You don' warna go reuownd sayin' tha', or we'll be 'avin' the police reouwnd 'ere
wavin' their forensic noses in 'ere an oldin' up th' proceedin's
Tony: Francis is convinced this site is Iron Age. There's a house in trench 2 that Phil's opened but there's only a coupla stones, where's the round house you keep on trumpeting about Francis? Francis wants a round house, so where is it then ay?
Francis: I'll bet my last bottle of Chandon or that pink bubbly stuff with floaty bits they give away at Tesco's that it's an Iron Age round house with rectangular sides, I think we have a community of hill-top iron-age fort dwellers with
arthritic bones and corn grinding skills. There's no need nibbling round the edge of this Phil, we'll have to get stuck into it, here have another Chandon.
Tony: You've got a piece of flaming quern stone and suddenly you imagine a whole new Silurian clan structure., but where are the houses?
Phil: Oi don' loike it as yeouw know Francis, you know what oi loike an' it comes in four point tankards wi' bronze ' andles, any ways there were no hill forts in the Bronze Age an' maybe no beer, jus' fermented elderberries an th' loike. Oi couldn't 'ave 'andled that.
Tony: Well, it was just a thought, we could get on the cold case bandwagon, it's all the rage now.
Phil: The only cold case oi wa' tu be involved wi' is a cold case o' Theakston ale an' th' loike. Moi gut instinct is tha' we need th' eyes of a skilled archaeologist.
Tony: Well, you'll have to do then even though you are a bit pie-eyed, but it all seems a bit tenaciously tenuous.
Phil: Close yer poi 'ole, oi don' wan' any o' your negative cynicism today Tony, tediously an' tenaciously tenuous it may be but you know oi don' loike it.
Paul the expert pottery expert: That's not a ditch, that's a drip drain, it's very well expressed in this steaming geophys and LIDAR survey that Jimmy's dumped on my pottery sherd table.
Tony: Crickey, when the climatologists say it rains two out of three days in Wales, they aren't kidding. I wish the weather
forecasters would simplify their prognoses by just saying if it is going to be good, bad or ugly, that way we could decide to dig or not.
Francis: Yes, to dig or not to dig that is the rain sodden ruddy question as Alan Shakespeare my neighbour would say. My prognosis is ugly two days, bad the next and good to
horrific the rest of the week.
Tony: Where's Mick when you want him? And while I'm at it where's our landscape interpreter?
Mat: I heard they went to a Buddist Himalayan out-of-body massage clinic experience in Cardiff to have what they call an 'aromatic body event'.
Phil: Tha' definitely seounds insidiously zombie loike. There's Mick, blink your horn at 'im or summat Paul
Paul: Mick's pulled th' pin and left the Toime Team series.
Mat: Why did he leave?
Phil: Too much re-enacting and not enough trowel work.
Tony: Well, I like acting, it's really what this programme is all about.
Phil: Excuse me whoile oi go orf an interview this recently deceased person with moi troewel for the last act, it's our larst ditch
effort at gettin' on th' cold case bandwagon..
Tony: Well here we are again on this fine sunny morn with another action-packed programme from Toime Team coming to you this week from behind the
ice-cream shop at Lafawrphwillillannthlloprinll in North Wales.
2. Phil muttering to himself: Toime Team,? more loike the Orstralian Dream Team, 'alf the excavators haven't turned up, they're still sleeping larst
noight orf. What a cracker eh Tony?
Tony: Yes Phil you really have cracked it. That bit of pot you brought up yesterday is broken into two thousand and one pieces and Mat will now have
to slave over it with a hot glue gun until the end of the Modern Age - and we are not paying him any extra.
Phil: Arrr don' you worry 'bout tha', 'oive since found out that the 'oly grail we've been seekin' aint 'ere at all Tony.
Tony: What! Phil are you telling us we are wasting our time here in Lafawrphwillillannthlloprinll (Tony aside: copy/paste is very useful here unlike my diction)
Phil: No not really Tony, it's turnin' out to be a corker of a day an' we could be getting a sun tan an' eatin' oice creams.
In a televisual instant the Team is transported to Arthuret in Cumberland, believed by some to be the burial place of Arthur's
Phil: Look 'ere Mick what is this Arthurian stuff all about. Is it based on real 'appenings or are researchers off wi' the fairies
Mick: Well, Phil the answer is not easily come by. It's like where my razor blades have got to, no one really seems to know, least of all me. It is the
great historical conundrum of our age.
Phil: What, you losing your razor blades behoind the bathroom cabinet?
Mick: No you great apath, the Arthurian legend. It's steeped in British folklore.
Phil: Well there's yer first clue, it's a British legend, not just Welsh, Scottish or English. It definitely aint Iorish or Orstralian.
Mick: Yes, good point Phil, that's why most researchers are convinced that the folk hero, if he existed, was not Orstralian as you say but
is, he was active in pre-Norman Conquest Britain. He was possibly a Romanised Briton who lived sometime after the Roman
military were withdrawn
from Britain about 420 A.D.
Phil: What? You mean he lived in what we call 'The Dark Ages'?
That's very inconvenient.
Mick: Yes Phil, a period of little recorded history. A time of tumult and despair when the social order that had existed under the Romans began to
Phil: A bit loike now you mean?
Tony: Well, gentlemen don't let me interrupt your discourse on the plight of modern razor blades and decrepitating Roman strigils, but correct me if
I'm wrong. There is no tangible evidence that Arthur really did exist. Was he a king?
Was there a Camelot? Did he achieve all that is ascribed to him
and most of all, because we are here at Arthuret today in my brand-spanking new Range Rover with its really swanky bonnet logo, is his head buried
Phil: Despoite moi double negatives there ain't no reason woi 'is head ain't buried 'ere, but then there aint no good reason woi it is. The oidea that 'e
was a king aint borne out by the literature such that it is. The oidea of a Camelot did not appear until a French wroiter decided to beef the story up a
bit and it were reintroduced into Britain with French romantic notions, if you know what oi mean.
Tony: What, you mean French kissing and stuff like that?
Mick: No, no nothing like that Tony you buffoon. The story of Arthur underwent an evolutionary process. It accreted material as time went on, like a
snowball rolling down a hill, it just grew and grew.
Tony: So we need to find the nucleus of the legend and see if it is a hard stone or just a piece of ice that melts at our gentle touch.
Mick: Very well put Tony, surprisingly early in the A.M. for you to be making such mind altering statements but I don't think that using a JCB is a gentle touch.
Tony: Well, I'm not just a pretty-faced actor, I could have been a university professor if I'd lost my razor blades down the back of the bathroom cabinet
and had my dear wife crochet a multi-coloured beanie like yours.
Phil: Well said Tony, but it don' change th' fact that tying up th' archaeology, such as it is, wi' the historical wroitings, such as they are, is a moind-
Tony: What you mean it's a bit like your time down the pub last
night? [This could be a statement rather than a question - ed.]
Phil in quick-fire rapid response: Tony, my moind is never numbed at the pub. That's when it becomes aloive. It's afterwards that it goes a bit numby.
Mick: Right so before we whack a spade into the ground here at Arthuret shouldn't we do some ground magnetics and see if we can pick up any metal
John elbowing his way into the circle: Yes, I was wondering when you three were going to let me in. As a geophysicist my knowledge of sites like these is second to none.
Tony: Well, one is second to none so you know one more thing than we do maybe?
John: Very funny Tony but what I'm trying to tell you is that I think I've located a metal goblet in an area of low resistance, it stands out like the
proverbial canine anomaly on the magnetics read-out.
Tony: That's good news John. I think you've just stopped the viewers turning the T.V. channel. We'll be back after this short intermission so that our
sponsors can have a crack at selling you things you don't need and don't really want such as genuine holy grails made in China.
A 'short break' ensues that ends up lasting through
a second Iron Age before another repetitive promo for next week's food shows, which now number 50 million
franchises world-wide causing global food prices to sky-rocket. These
'flamin' cookin' shows' as Phil calls them are now thought by untrained commentators posing as science trained journalists (are there any?)
to be the reason for the world-wide obesity epidemic.
Tony: Well, welcome back here to the Arthuret excavation spoil heaps. Yes I know it looks a bit like the Wigan coalfields in the 18th century, but we
have found more than coal, we've struck gold!
Phil: Yes, we got in under th' church barbeque area an' fairly riddled all the little bits out leavin' all these fantastic foinds.
Tony: Phil's fantastic finds eh Phil. You could set up a church stall and really rake it in.
Phil: Yes Tony an' look a' this sweet little beauty, a jewel encrusted bread bin from the 18th Century. On the bottom it says 'a souvenir from Wigan'.
Tony: I've got a matching one just like that at home except on the bottom it says 'a present from Huddersfield'. That's somewhat unique isn't it Phil?
Phil: Tha' one's worth a lot Tony, I'd keep it rather than troin' t' sell it on EBay. Anything from Huddersfield is worth its weight in gold. Look at
theys rugby players, beat Wigan any toime. It is unique Tony. You carn't be 'somewhat
unique', sorta unique
or gawd 'elp us very unique Tony, it's sorta loike bein' a little bit
pregnant. Unique means it's the on'y one o' its koind, there ain't no other loike it in th'
whole bloomin' known universe.
Tony: So I could be rich beyond the dreams of average then Phil?
Phil: Yeah, beyond the dreams of Avarice de la Bedoyere, but will you live to spend it Tony?
Tony: That's a bit harsh Phil. Are you anticipating my sudden inexplicable demise?
Phil: If you don' get outta moi freshly dug trench oi can guarantee your demoise is imminent Tony. The soides are cavin' in.
Mick: OK now let's get serious because toime is getting away from us and this is
Toime Team so toime and mooney are of the essence. Apart from folk tales, which are notoriously unreliable, the first mention of an 'Arthur' was by Nennius about the year 830 A.D. He said Arthur was a British leader not a king. That idea came later as did the French accretion of 'Camelot'. Always go back to the earliest source Tony. The point is it was but a brief reference where Arthur is described as fighting at twelve battles. Nennius names these sites but there is much debate about their modern
Phil: So the date 830 means that if Arthur did exist then his loife must pre-date this toime an' presumably he lived after 420, a bit loike our stratigraphy and the law enunciated boi moi science hero, Steno.
Tony: What do you mean Phil? Steno, isn't that a toothpaste company?
Phil: No you great galloot. Fer the uninitiated, it's loike throwin' your
average newspaper on a poile every day. After a whoile you moight loike to locate a
particular article from the parst, such as the girl on page three. If you've always thrown the paper on top, the oldest is always at the bottom and the youngest is at the top. You should be able to
easily locate the paper you're after if you know it's approximate date.
Tony: I think I ate some British Rail ham and cheese sandwiches at Leicester
railway station like that. They had filed the cheese under December. Ah
sweet gourmet memories of yester year!
Phil: So Mick you think all this palaver stems just from this brief mention boi Nennius an' not much else?
Mick: Correct Phil. If you look for documentary evidence it is thin on the ground. There are secondary sources and imitation upon imitation with
accreted additions, all good entertainment in Henry II's reign when things seemed to speed up. The British needed and wanted a hero like the real life
one in France whose name was Charlemagne. So if they couldn't find one in their own age they had to reinvent or magnify the exploits of a little known warrior
who may have fought the invading Saxons, Angles and Jutes who were swarming into Britain after the Romans departed.
Tony: That makes a lot o' sense. So you think we might just be chasing a mirage
of our tails created by very creative writers who wished to entertain rather than
Mick: Yes, a bit like tabloid newspapers today, at the moment it looks very much like that. It seems like we will never get to the end of this legend unless someone comes up with a whole
new angle or new physical evidence that can be linked to the documents.
Phil: Yes it's a bit loike those new fangled web pages on the internet, they could go on indefinitely if you let them.
Tony: Yes well this T.V. programme can't go on indefinitely we have to go, we have no
Phil: No, oi seriously beg to disagree, let's see if this page can go on fer ever
yep it's still goin'
The Team are sitting around under a rain-soaked site tent looking a bit like an East Anglian ship burial that had been torpedoed, caught fire and then decomposed into luverly, luverly charcoal. Phil enters the tent with a dripping trowel.
Phil: Woi is everyone lookin' so glum t'day? It's bewdiful outsoide!
Tony: That snobby triple-barrelled self-righteous Ivan
Well-Being-Putout, from 'Primevil-Publications' and his
colleague and resident fiend Ralph Clunkerwitz has joined us for a guest-appearance and is all roostered-up. He comes in here trying to tell me and everyone else what to do. He's sneaky as well, he gets others to do his dirty-work.
Phil: So would oi be roight in thinkin' yeou don' loike 'im Tony?
Mick: He's loike those narcisistic sociopaths. They cause the efficiency to decline because they are control freaks who have no empathy and thereby promote divisiveness among their pleasant class. There is a rumour that he poisoned someone.
Phil: They need a Pleasants Revolt then.
Matt: What, like, do these sociopaths, like, have homicidal rage, like?
Phil: You name it, they've got it. Spottiswood-Stafford -Putout, that miniscule toike. He's a bit of a spoilt mummy's boy if yu arsk me. 'E thinks e's clever comin' 'ere an' makin' insulting comments ' bout moi 'air stoyle. The funny thing is oi might keep me 'at on tu keep th' sun orf when it's rainin' but fer all his macho posturin', under 'is 'at he's as bald as a Brazilian beaver.
Tony: A Brazilian beaver? I once experienced one of those in a zoo, but it grew quills and pricked itself to death.
Mick: Yes, on the quiet no one 'ere likes 'im, he's always feigning self-righteous indignation. He almost always assumes you are insulting him, which is often the case, because everybody hates his guts. It's really a self-fulfilling prophesy on his part.
Phil: Yeah in that respect e's a definite product of some mediocre art department somewhere. All they learn to do is use words in order to sting people. They're loike nasty little wasps goin' rewnd upsettin' us more moderate history and science toiypes who put in the 'ard work. Not lolling around in coffee bars an' the loike spoutin' off all the toime triyin' to network an' impress people with their language skills an' lack of action thereof.
Tony: Right boys so what are we going to do about him?
Phil: Wait! Somethin evil is formin' in that sweet little noggin' o' moine. [Phil's got an even better plan than the one he dreamt up at Chester] 'ow abowt deadly noightshade? It's all natural. Remember if it's natural it's good for you. 'e drinks tea an' 'e loikes tea.
Tony: Cup of warm tea Phil?
Tony: I can add a nerve toxin to speed things up if you like.
Phil: Nar, adds too much bounce oi don' wanna get scrippled.
Tony: How about a cup of warm beer then?
Phil: Nar. Beer is a beverage best drunk at room temperature.
Tony: You'll never take it from my room temperature dead hand, Phil.
Thankfully Phil never had to resort to such Philistine under-hand tactics, secret agent Corporal Waste, K.B., D.M.C, now promoted to General Waste, got to the awful one first. He's now co-mingled with Q and working on Omega.
Phil: 'e thought 'e was a 'mover and shaker' look at 'im neow, loyin' in that death shroud - 'e ent doin' much movin' an' shakin' neow is 'e?
Tony: Bit like an East Anglian ship burial hit by public opinion torpedoes
Phil: This is great Tony, you finally managed to swing a TV show where we can work insoide instead of in the teeth of a howlin' Soiberian gale orf th' western scarp of the west of the Western Hebrides facin' west with a weathered face that's fallin' orf.
Tony: Sorry Phil this is going to involve some external exposure to the elements, it is going to be a challenge to challenge all challenges as far as they can be challenged - on T.V. that is.
Phil: Cor an' oi thought we's wus gonna be transported to a South Pacific oisland an' we would be rollin' in clover an' honey. Jus' moi luck to get suckered into this caper with you Tony.
Tony: Yes Phil the contract is signed. You should read the small print, it says you are indentured to me until the twenty-second century AD at least.
Phil: Well Oi suppose it will pay the Bills and the Jills an' keep the wolves from moi door. What shall oi grab.
Tony: OK lets get started. We need some kitchen equipment with an archaeological bent and flavour. Throw us that trowel will you and hastily clasp that spade, one does not grab. Next we need a front-end loader, a cement mixer and an American screwdriver.
Phil: An American what?
Tony: A 100 ton pneumatic sledge-hammer Phil, where have you been all your life, under a dolmen?
Phil: OK oi've got all those, do we need a plumbloine an' a theodolite.
Tony: Not right now, we might add those later if the batter is too runny. Now, one scoop of gritty flour using the front-end loader, two spadesful of baking soda, one level trowelful of salt, two heaped bucketsful of yeast and a mega-sized dollop of double cream with creme fraesch and more cream.
Phil: No Novachok at this stage then?
Tony: No Phil, the fun comes later.
Phil: Hew we gonna mix it all then?
Tony: The cement mixer of course Phil. Shades of Fanny and Johhny Craddock, this is going to be mind-boggling if not stomach churning.
Phil: When do we add the chocolate and beer Tony?
Tony: We don't, we are going to use these 18 Hebridean emu eggs to add body and texture.
Phil: OK in they go!
Tony: Phil you are supposed to take the egg-shells off first, Phil. Too late now!
Phil: Well this can provoide extra calcium fer yer bones Tony, plenty of strontium-90 and polonium, don't choke on it. This reminds me of Buddist temple cookin'.
Tony: I've never cooked a temple.
Phil: Foreheads are pretty good too oi've heard.
Tony: Well, now comes the test, how are we going to change the chemical composition of this mixture in order to
Phil: You jus' made that word up din' you Tony. Tha's as bad as tha' other word,
hoidroloise or 'platin' up' Oi carn't stand it when people make up words
an phrases that don't exist.
Tony: Keep your MU-17 braces on Phil, we need to think of how we are going to cook it.
Phil: We could use th' old iron age blarst furnace that is now knowun tu be defunct, loike Chernobyl. In the strictest sense o' th' word it's still
serviceable and definitely fit fer purpose. We used it larst year tu smelt some iron from its oxide in an attempt to make an iron sword, but we only made enough to forge a hat pin.
The two archaeo-chefs load up the mixture into the JCB scoop and head off to the olde steele workes on the west facing scarp o' the Western Outer Hebrides etc. Here the winds blow almost constantly and a weather beaten face can soon come to look like a craggy bluff.
Phil: Cor, it's 'ard loightin' a foire usin' this tinder box in this gale. Whoi carn't oi use a flame-thrower loike that other cordon-vert chef, Gordon Escoffier.
Tony: It has to be realistic, this is not just a run-of-the-mill cooking show Phil, it has to have an archaeological flavour.
What loike you mean with the recreation o' the Great Foire o' London using matchstick houses?
Two hours later Phil manages to cause some ignition and get the whale blubber smouldering and finally burning. Two weeks later the two chefs consider that the temperature has been optimum for the recommended period of time and the moment had arrived to expose the truth of their
archaeological interpretation of an early English gourmet feast.
Tony: OK Phil, unearth the paleo-doughlets and lets see what we've got.
Phil: Croikey, theys look a bit black.
Tony: That's Ok Phil, we can think laterally and surprise the viewers by saying we were really trying to recreate King Alfred's surprise dinner party.
Phil: Sounds abewt roight tu me, do they hev enough archaeological flavour for you Tony, here troi a few hundred! Oi'm orf t' drag me knuckles down south to th' pub in Salisbury fer some Skrypal scratchings.
Tony: And don't forget to add some Neanderthal sauce!
Tony: This is great Phil, you have managed to convince the
powers that were, to make you the host of a TV gardening programme!
Phil: Luverly, luverly compost Tony, oi've also managed to get
Nicole from Chettle in my home county of Wiltshire to join us.
Tony: Compost mentis Phil, this is going to be a raging
success. What part do I play?
Phil: Well oi don' know exactly 'ow tu put this tu you Tony,
but you will be sorta my second in command this time, you know,
wheeling the barrow in the background whoile oi prattle on abewt
daisies and stuff. Oi've also conscripted Peter Glucan from
Scotland, an absorbing fellow, of that there is no doubt, he will be
talkin' abewt oats and th' loike an hew you ken eat it instead o'
feedin' it to yer hobby horse.
Tony: I don't have a hobby horse.
Phil: Course you do, now get orf it!
Tony: Why do I think my life is like a movie repeating itself
over and over again, cooking shows, drinking shows digging shows and
now gardening shows?
Phil: Tha' 'cause yer in a loop Tony, woi do people keep
compari' their loives to filums, they ain't real, theys need a dose
of reality and get out tu the' cinema more.
Tony: This TV show is like a movie, a bridge too far up close
Phil: Arggh oi detest it when youse hear TV journalists talkin'
abewt little furry animals and theys have to not only include th'
word 'cute' but also th' film title Up Close an' Personal. I ent
never gettin' close to those upside-down bouncy things.
Tony: You mean kangaroos Phil?
Phil: Yair, those bouncy things, theys loike bunnies but theys
Just then the discordant pair are interrupted by a nervous
agent, Boris Skrypal who carries great news.
Boris: Nicole will be arriving with Peter Glucan shortly o'
Tony: Thank you Boris
Boris: No, not you, I'm talking to Phil, you're not in charge
Tony: Thanks for reminding me of my place Boris, I'll just
retire to this rhubarb patch and plan my next assault on that 100
acre glade of nettles.
Boris: Phil you need to get something organised for the
visiting party this afternoon.
Phil: Hmmm, Hew abewt a BBQ?
Boris:That sounds scripply scrumptious, combining
gardening with food, what a coup! Next we'll have singing and
dancing contestants appearing from behind the foxgloves.
Phil: Oi ken see it neow, the Great British tradition of Summer of BBQ's
continueth on forever with dancin' an' singin' an' th' loike.
Tony interjecting in a desultory fashion from the confines of the
rhubarb patch: It sounds like a real mixture of junky TV reality
shows. Don't forget the rain. There were no BBQ's in the UK before the 1980's,
that's climate change for you. They are now growing grapes in the
Outer Hebrides, Scarborough has coral reefs with token palm trees
and Sussex is now a desert landform. It's so bad there theys are either goin' into a drought or comin' outta one.
Phil: Be that as it may Tony, Wiltshire has escaped the
ravages o' cloimate change by bein' fortuitously placed in the parth
o' an off-shore eddy near Chesil Beach. Tha' eddy he's a good un',
theys should make a filum there.
Just then the roar of a clapped out Mercedonk 4WD vehicle is
heard approaching from the direction of the specially constructed
(for the series) 50 acre allotment shed.
Tony: I think they've arrived Phil, better get your tongs and
Phil: 'Ang on, oi'm all in a lather, get me a razor an' a
The 4WD arrives at the feet of Phil and out steps Nichole of
Chettle and Peter Glucan, media personalities par excellence.
After the recommended formalities the team get down to brass tacks,
though Phil thought it should be tin tacks.
Phil: Good afternoon youse two. Hew abewt a a few tips before
we start filmin'.
Nicole: Good idea Phil. One of the most important ideas in
these demonstration-reality TV shows is to walk towards the camera
while talking. If you are carrying some aspect of the subject then
that adds to the overall visual context in order to assist those
viewers who can see but can't understand plain English.
Phil 'ow abewt walkin' backwards from the camera for a change?
Say if oi was talkin' abewt an elephant in the room an' oi stagger
backwards with an elephantine offering from the god's tu be pitched
into the compost fermentation silo.
Peter Glucan: Unusual but it might work, what do you think
Nicole: Anything's worth a try, but I don't like the
elephantine offering bit, it's too earthy.
Phil: Earthly or not io'm goin' tu try it an see what effect
it produces. Roll cameras!
With that Phil staggers backwards with an elephantine offering
of godly proportions prattling on about daisies and stuff.
Tony from the rhubarb patch: Watch out Phil I think you are
heading for an early shutdown of the series, you need a stand-in
stuntman for this recreation skit.
Phil: Oi'm not some namby-pamby top-gun actor, oi can do this
With that Phil continues on his merry way, disappearing off a
small bluff, tumbling ungracefully down into the glade of nettles.
Phil: Arggghh Tony, oi thought you was supposed tu have
scythed all those nettles in th' glade.
Tony wheeling his barrow in the background: Sorry Phil, I was
too intrigued by all the carrying on I forgot (heh heh).