Monday, July 21, 2008

20th July 2008

We had a lovely dinner last night, drank lots of wine, laughed, chatted and had a great time. It was wonderful. This morning I took Alex to Silchester first thing. Well, that isn’t strictly true – as it was Sunday he didn’t have to be there till 10am, but it felt like first thing to me after the late night we had. Everyone else was just beginning to surface as we left. It was a gorgeous drive this morning though, and I even saw a beautiful deer running across the road out by Padworth Common.

We had a traditional Sunday lunch which was very nice. In view of my observation yesterday I just made everything easy, and ironically everyone raved more about this lunch than others I’ve worked myself to a frazzle over. I kept a plate for Alex as he had kind of missed out. Luckily our friends were staying for tea as well, so it didn’t matter. We all headed out to Silchester just before Alex was due to finish at 3.30pm. There is an amphitheatre that has been excavated just down the road from Calleva, so we all wanted to go and have a look.

It was kind of hard for Alex to leave the excavation as he has made a lot of friends this week, but he was comforted by the thought that he can go back and work on the dig again next year. Everyone was shaking hands with him and saying good bye as he left. It was only a short walk to the amphitheatre from Calleva and as the weather was good it was very pleasant, if a bit dusty down the dirt path!

Above are two photographs I took at the amphitheatre. It’s in the middle of nowhere and all you can really hear is the rustling of the leaves and the odd car as it drives down the road behind you. You walk down into a dip, and there it is – a huge circle carved out of the hillside. The edges rise around you, and you can see how the seats must have been staggered up the hills, although nothing of them is left. Thousand year old trees stare down at you and if you have a vivid imagination you can hear the roar of the crowd echoing through the centuries. It is totally awesome, in the more traditional sense of those words. Although it can make you feel very insignificant, in a strange way it also makes you feel connected to all the generations of people who lived in this place just down the road from my home over 2,000 years ago. Rome was the greatest power in the world, the Iron Age had only just finished and the resurrection of Jesus was still new “news”. Wow.

We all headed back home after our journey back into the past, and had a lovely meal together in the evening. It has been a super weekend. I’m so pleased our good friends could spend it with us.

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