On the train outta Bristol, heading to Oxford to see my girl. Its cold and there have been alot of trains delayed, the people are anxious to get home.
Bristol was covered in snow, but good. Stayed at a YHA, nice staff, including a chick from Australia on the desk. Its funny how it takes a few days for the reality of being on the other side of the world to set in, and that didnt help!
The homeless people here all have dogs. I thought, probably to keep them warm, it is so cold here when you think about sleeping outside. Anyway, I asked one of these men and he said his pup was like a little hot waterbottle. Pretty damn tough. Another girl in the hostel didnt have shoes even, she told me she had been a primary school teacher but had left, to sort out her drinking problem, and now she couldnt climb back out of the tough times. Hard.
You know I havent seen many van dwellers here, even though my eyes are pretty tuned into spotting them now. But in terms of alternative lifestyles I did spot these: people living in small barges on the river.
In the early morning, as I crossed the bridge over the water, I could smell wood smoke coming from these. What a cool way to live.
Well, I went to about half of a conference here, on theoretical Archaeology. I came mainly to see Trina’s session, who I worked with in Jordan in Sept/October. Glad I did, because the conference gave me a new inspiration for archaeology. I like archaeologists! And its good here, not about the money, coz there is none. Met a bunch of people, many of whose names escape me as usual, but some I have retained. Two interesting things to come out of it:
1) people did archaeology type things in the past, we shouldnt be so arrogant to think its a new thing. In one of the papers, they told about how they had found evidence of people burying a cache of old collected artefacts, in the Bronze Age. So someone back then had been finding old artefacts, and collecting them, like a museum. Another mob had built an exact replica of a burial mound from 2000 years previous. Why? Same reasons we do that kind of thing probably.
2) There is a thing called Conflict Archaeology. People looking at 20th Century wars and stuff, looking at other aspects of it than who won/who lost. One guy specialises in trench art. Reminded me of my Poppy. Him and his brother, while serving at Tobruk (under seige mind you), made souvenirs to sell to the officers, out of old shell casings, and other discarded bits of war, in their workshop. Someone apparently put a sign on their door saying ‘Smith Bros: Jewellers‘. The session guy, Nick Saunders, was moderately interested in that story, he runs a Masters at Bristol on that kind of thing. Shit, wouldnt be a bad thing to do.
Hiking to the train station on my last night in Bristol was a great feeling. It was lightly snowing, and I had my entire possessions for the next four and a hald months in a pack on my back. A warm scarf around my neck, and a hood pulled down over my head.
A nondescript black clad wanderer, free to observe the world.