Archaeology in East Oxford

More Talks

On the 16th we a talk by Carol Lister on the “Geology of Oxford” – a great talk , pitched at just the right level, for me, at least.Carol did us proud, she had obviously put a lot of work into it – had gone round the week before taking photos (in the snow!). Pity it was slightly marred by the projector which won’t focus properly (if the top of the frame is in focus, the bottom isn’t, and vice-versa) as Carol had provided a great presentation, but it would have been even better if one could have made out all the fine detail. I found the explanation she gave about interpreting geological maps (the conventions used, etc) especially interesting. Pity the definitive guide to the local geology is out of print; Carol suggested we bombard the printer with requests for a reprint!

Jane had brought along all the photographs from the Bartlemas dig (all sorted into appropriate folders – rather her than me on that one!) for those who wanted them – mainly the guys who are doing the write up; there are so many she came along with an external hard drive! I’d come with my laptop, as had Christopher, so we could transfer from Jane’s HD to our machines, then onto other peoples (large) USB sticks. Good idea, but when I started my machine up, I got the dreaded Blue Screen of Death – twice! It eventually started up , but with a lot of disk thrashing – worrying. In the end we got quite a lot of stuff transferred, though. Gill and I then had to take home the project video projector, for use in next week’s talk.

We’re really lucky to be getting Jamie – see the Blog on 22nd November last year – to give us a talk about the TVAS dig at St John’s were they found a mass burial and parts of a (big) henge. The trouble is, he’s almost fully booked up (just about to move to Scotland) and could only manage one date, the 23rd, which, Sod’s law operating on overtime, was when both Jane & David had prior engagements. So a number of us volunteered to take care of things on the evening, and as Gill & I were the only people who had both volunteered and been to Old Marston to hear from Jamie about the dig at the ‘Bricklayers Arms’, we got promoted! Hence having to go along to ArkT to learn about the locking-up procedure (though Louise is going to be there to hold our hands, thankfully) & taking the kit along to the talk.

But with a bit of luck, we won’t need to take the projector along as the Centre is getting a spiffy new projector, permanently mounted up in the lighting rig. We are keeping our fingers crossed as apart from sparing us lugging delicate kit around (the very expensive bulbs in video projectors are like theatrical lighting bulbs, they really don’t like being knocked about), it would also get round the focus problem with the current Archeox projector.

I didn’t have any time to think about the previous night’s problems with the laptop as I was giving a talk about maps to the Place Names group the next evening, so I spent the whole of the next day preparing for that. In case I’m giving the impression that I’m panicking (though I am) and leaving everything until the last minute, I have been giving it a lot of thought; I just (!) need to put the whole thing together in PowerPoint (Joy!). Got the whole thing done then, unsurprisingly, double-checked that I had got the latest, complete, version on my USB stick and then of to Rewley House.

Jane popped in to make sure I knew how to operate the projector and then left me to it – she was off to see her daughter in a concert. Interesting meeting – all the guys in the Place Names group giving updates on their progress – then I had to do my bit; about Maps and GIS (Geographical Information Systems), which went off quite well, I think. Though I wish I had had a play around with the pointer before hand. It was only after about three-quarters of the talk that I discovered, by accident, of course, that you could use the pointer to change slides as well! Now that would have been handy to know from the word go.

Next day, on Saturday. I thought I’d have a look at my laptop only to discover that the hard disk had failed – Oh Woe! Oh something rude in Latin! So I’m writing the draft of this while doing the computer equivalent of watching paint dry – watching while a backup package tries to recover as much as possible to another disk. It started off by saying it would take 24 mins – it’s now 1 hr 37m later; I’m not the world’s fastest writer!

So, let that that be a lesson to you all – do backups while you have a clean system.


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