A quarter to two. A quarter to bloody two! That was the time this morning that I started the getting in to bed routine which only took twenty minutes so I was in fact in bed before half two so not too bad. As you have probably guessed my early night AGAIN turned in to an early morning. Op Nightingale came back from Bath last night at around ten. My laptopamabob was packed with its power pack and was ready to go, however my driver was not keen to go to the pub for me to upload the Blog entries as there were far more interesting things to try to talk about over a drink in the building in which we eat. At night times the phone signal gets better and I was able to get internet via the mobile to see my e mails and so took a chance on being able to hook the laptopamabob to the mobile phone and do it that way, with this plan in mind, I too headed to the other building.
Inside the building I hooked the mobile up and did indeed manage to connect to the intersmut. I got to my Blog page and logged in, so far so good. It was not as fast as the pub obviously but it was working so all is well. I copied the text from word over to the blank page awaiting my next Blog entry, all good. Then I went to `add picture`….five minutes later it had still not pulled it across, a little longer….a little longer…..ta-dah!!! There it was, an insignificant picture maybe but in the grand design of my wording it was imperative that it was there, (you see how I bigged myself up like a real author there!), next I `save draft`….saving….saving….saving….FOR FIVE MINUTES, HURRY UP ALREADY…saving….and then…..`Internet connection lost`,` diagnose problem`. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Diagnose problem, diagnose bloody problem, the PROBLEM is that I am sat in a rundown building on a military training area, freezing my bits off trying upload data on a mobile phone hooked to a laptopamabob rather than sitting in a warm pub with a nice coffee or beer using wireless fibre optic broadband, THAT’S WHAT THE PROBLEM IS!
Before I lost my temper and potentially said or did something that may cause me problems, I packed down and joined in what conversation there was until it was finally time to call everyone’s time and send them back to the accommodation cabin. Burco off, lights off, door shut, padlock on and `click`. Secured. I went over to the cabin and put my laptopamabob on my desk and took the Op Nightingale wristbands out to show the archaeology students, if they wanted one then they knew where they were, how to get one and how much, then back in to the room and put the box back on my desk. Two of the students knocked on the door a few minutes later with some money and purchased a wristband each and then we got talking. We went out in to the corridor as Dave and Paul were hitting the sack and they were telling me of the trip to Bath, how interesting it was and that they had appreciated that it had been arranged. They explained some of the bits they had seen and then the conversation changed. Looking a little uncomfortable they started almost talking to each other but aiming at me in a round-a-bout kind of way. They were obviously trying to ask something and so I `opened the door` if you like by talking about my injuries. I told them that I was not worried about talking about my being disabled or my injuries and that I wanted people to know what has changed for me in order for them to be less stand offish with people in wheelchairs. They were very honest and told me that they had been speaking to Paul and Dave about me as they were concerned about whether they should be opening doors for me or not, if they should be careful what they say to me which must have been quite hard for them. I know that you can come across individuals who are wheelchair bound and they really take offence to people holding doors, others who are really rude if someone asks if they need help and so for them it must have made them feel awkward. I reassured them though that there was very little they could say that would cause me to react and that I wanted people to be able to talk to me, to ask questions as if it was too personal or I did not feel that they needed an answer I would simply tell them so. And so the conversation started. It was much later that I eventually said that it was a long day again tomorrow and that it would not be any warmer and to that end it was time for the visit to the land of sleepy bo bo. They headed off, I made sure everything was shut down and then I too started the routine.
Last night I made sure that my power chair went on charge in anticipation that I would be using it to go to the pub in the morning to upload the Blog entries I had not uploaded last night. With breakfast finished I checked with Taff if he needed any one to wash up or anything which he did not and asked about getting water on for the `Norgies` which surprise surprise he had already done. It is usually the CQMS who has a checklist, it seems like the Chef (Taff) has got one on me! Joking aside, he sorted out hot water for the site and I told him that I would like to replace that hot water with hotter water after lunch. I knew he was already all over it like a tramp on chips but simply had to get it in there rather than mention it at lunch time and have it shown to me all ready to go! Having had my chat with Taff to make sure he was fine with everything (again knowing he would be), I headed toward the cabin. I would indeed be taking my power chair to the pub as I had no driver for the Chucklebus, undeterred I went in to the cabin and Dave helped me organise my chairs to enable me to simply go from the manual to the shower to the power chair. With me in my power chair, wrapped up in my big coat and with my laptopamabob in its bag around my neck, I bid farewell to my new glamorous assistant (that’s Dave by the way) and headed over to the Coach and Horses to have a coffee and see about the possibility to use the WIFI again.
There is only one gate we are able to use which is a reasonable distance away, it also involves you going a long way right to then come back a long way left running parallel until finally exiting via the said gate. There is a gate a lot closer which brings you out opposite the road to the pub but it is not in use. Anyway, I am driving my power chair down the road, only approximately 100 meters form the cabin and I run in to trouble, my front wheels have dropped down in to a cattle grid. To say I am stuck is an understatement and with no mobile signal I am more than a little buggered here. Fortunately for me, all be it twenty minutes later, a guy in a tipper truck who is working on site stumbles across me as he is driving and helps me out of the cattle grid, supports the back of the chair to stop me falling backward as I get up on to the pavement and then helps me through a gate. He tells me that he will be driving back down this way in a little bit and that he will help me at the next grid if I need it. I continue to the next grid but there is a gate for allowing the sheep that roam there to by pass it on the grass. No problem, a gate! I opened the gate with no problems and drove through it, then I turned the chair around and drove to the open gate and then reversed to close it securely. Again no problem, but then due to a slight rut in the grass I was just spinning and no matter how I shifted my weight (of which there seems to be much!), or bounced around in my chair I could not move. No forward, no backward no bugger all. Bummer. I sat and contemplated what to do for ten minutes, I had a total of around two miles or maybe slightly more to do and I had covered less than a half mile. I checked the phone signal, zero, I looked around, zero but then after a few minutes John Barnard who was visiting the site came along the road in his car and together with his mate they got me out of the rut and I was again on my way (thanks John!). The guy in the tipper came down the road a short while later and checked if all was ok and asked if I wanted him to wait at the bottom to help me, I thanked him but figured that the guy on the gate would be there if I needed any.
So in my Chucklebus including getting me in and out it would have been ten minutes there, twenty minutes at the pub with a nice coffee and ten minutes back, insted I left at a quarter to ten and got back at half twelve. Anyway, I got to the Coach and Horses and went in, they had no problems again with me having a coffee and using the WIFI and so I was able to log on and do what I needed to do. I checked my e mail while I was there and had one from someone who I would class as not only an amazing guy but a good friend. It turns out that he is also interested in the things of the past and has a website which I want to share with you. I hope that some readers may be archaeologists and have an interest or that others may just be curious but I want to share it with you irrespectively.
Today Phil of “Time Team” fame came up. He is very involved in many of the digs that Op Nightingale undertake and I think it is fair to say he is a supporter. I had not met him before unlike some others such as Dave Hart who Phil wasted no time at all in talking and having a really good banter with. I asked him, as I have asked everyone on this dig, if he minded his picture appearing oin the Blog, I feel it is polite to ask even though he will already be all over the internet anyway. I just like to give people the option, this was something that I think he was a little taken a back by, that I had actually asked and not assumed. He told me that he had no objections and then after chatting some more, he went up to the site. I spent the afternoon doing more bits and bobs and checking that all was ok. Chef was sorted as usual and when he came to collect the key we chatted about a few things and about the TA. After taking up far too much of his time he headed off to start the cooking for tea.
The dig colapsed for the night and the group came back down to the cabin to grab their gear for showers. Another fantastic shower tonight but I ended up having to re dry myself at the cabin because I get so hot trying to dry on my chair that sweat ends up running off of me. So when I got back to the cabin I stripped off again, dried again and got dressed in fresh clothes. The Chef did a fantastic BBQ but regrettably was unable to eat with us as he is in the middle of moving house, we have really struck it lucky with Taff, he does not expect the group to wash up he gets on with everything and asks for nothing, a brilliant guy. I am hoping to get some photgraphs on here, as early as tomorrow would be nice just so that you can see what those on Op Nightingale at Caerwent training area have been doing and as they find things I hope to be able to show you those pictures as well. For now though I will love you and leave you and hope that I am able ot give you pictures tomorrow.