Pirates and Portaloos: Saturday

The joys of cleaning the portaloos!

The joys of cleaning the portaloos!

If you are wondering how a project this size actually functions…..well, it is all about the lists and the rotas! I have a list for everything…and everyone is on at least one list….For example: the portaloo cleaning rota. Our 56 portaloos are professionally cleaned once a week – on Wednesdays. Every other day, 2 people, armed with air freshener, a pooh stick (for de-cluttering), and a great deal of sang froid, tackle the task of freshening our facilities. Today, it was the turn of Will and Sean who approached the task with military precision.

It was a very hot day today and so Jon and I made a series of regular announcements about sun tan oil and hats. Matt was on ‘hat patrol’ and I did notice that every single one of his team was sporting a hat as protection against the Silchester sun.

It was a peaceful Saturday. We are still settling in, and it was good to have a quiet day on site which allowed me, mug of coffee in hand, to inspect the troops and make sure all was well.

Cindy's Science Team at work

Cindy’s Science Team at work

In Nick’s area on Insula IX Caitlin and Ceri are half sectioning an area of slump into a series of wells which we have excavated in previous seasons. This material has been under the water table all year, and so is appropriately muddy……Caitlin wins hands down for being today’s most muddy excavator.

Caitlin and mud

Caitlin and mud

This week I had 3 Work Experience students: Kieran, Luke and Stefan. They were an absolute pleasure to have on site and they were a credit to their respective schools.

Stefan and his Work Experience WorkBook

Stefan and his Work Experience WorkBook

By the afternoon, anticipation of the night ahead was palpable. Silchester Pirate Night loomed! Now a tradition, with its origins in the mists of time, the entire dig ‘charges’ the Calleva Arms pub, dressed in pirate garb. The Silchester villagers reply in kind…..and now have an impressive canon to ward off the excavators. The children love the whole spectacle, which has now become an occasion to mingle, listen to music and share pirate know-how.


Rory and Su, outside the Calleva Arms

Today, much to my delight, 8 Archaeology and Silchester graduates from 5 years ago, returned to visit us and to attend Pirate night. Such is it’s lure! It was lovely to see them again, all in employment, and some working in Archaeology. The years rolled away, they donned their pirate gear and partied with the rest of us.


Silchester graduates of 2009. Left to right: Jon,Alex, Charlie, Chantal, Cassy, Matt, Liz, Cat


Not exactly Pirates of the Caribbean: John. Sue and Kevin
Pre-Charge warm-up in the pub garden
Sharon – landlady of the Calleva Arms pub awaits the onslaught!
Silchester Villagers plus canon

Pirate Pictures: Hen and Nick (coconut as beard)



The Silchester Diggers line up


Silchester Diggers: AAAArgh!


Dan and Nick lead the Silchester Pirate Charge


The Village lines up in defence

The Village lines up in defence

The Pirate Charge: the Silchester Diggers charge the pub – first there gets a free pint!

All in all it was a wonderful evening – great fun, and a fitting end to 18 years of Pirate parties. I will miss this, and I did struggle a couple of times with a lump in my throat! If I fell like this now, how will I feel in 6 weeks’ time?



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