Monday, September 12, 2011
Digging Dr Alice
For all I would consider myself an outdoorsy person I am well aware that what I actually mean is: I like traipsing the hills and valleys and admiring the view. I don’t as a rule relish the thought of pushing a Flymo around, laying fresh turf on clay or running my fingers through the green bushiness of a vegetable patch.
Me and trowels... we don’t have “a thing” going on.
But whenever I see Dr Alice Roberts on the telly I have a sudden and overwhelming desire to bury myself deeply into some undergrowth and root around in a dark hole to see what glorious treasures I can find. Forget the welly-boots and a stout sou’wester I’d be quite prepared to do it absolutely stark bollock naked. (Dr Alice you have only got to ask. P.S. your Lawyer was rather rude to me last Friday... you know, I don’t think he is passing on my letters to you at all).
So Friday night saw the return of Digging For Britain and more importantly the return of Dr Alice – new mum, bone expert and all round historical / archaeological pin-up. Within the space of an hour she transported us around Roman Britain and uncovered more earth than a JCB driven by a coke-head.
One of Dr Alice’s missions in life is to get young people (yes, alright, that excludes me straight away) interested in the sciences and history and proper ‘ologies. Snare ‘em young and our scientific community will be enriched for years to come, etc. She’s right too. When I was at school and it came time to choose my “options” (as they were called back then) I found I had to choose between Geography and History. I was good at both. If I’m honest I preferred History but due to a timetable ‘thing’ I could only take one of them, not both. At the time I thought Geography would have more practical applications in terms of acquiring a job so I chose Geography.
I’ve always regretted it. Not that I didn’t come out with a good mark – I got a B. But, well, I kind of feel History would have been more up my street.
If Dr Alice had been around at the time I think I would have undoubtedly chosen History and would have studied a lot harder at Biology too (I only got a C). She would have put thoughts into my head of Roman digs, Iron Age mounds and the possibility of kneeling in the English mud for months at a time next to a velvet voiced beauty who occasionally dyes her hair red.
I would have told Mrs Abbot that she could keep her meteorological charts and her ‘fruit growing in the Vale of Evesham’ and all the other twaddle that we studied in Geography and that I have never ever used – ever – on the various states of employ I have endured over the years and I would have prepared myself for the coming of Dr Alice.
And then it would have been me on Time Team excavating all those barrows. It would have been me on Digging For Britain holding Dr Alice’s freshly lacquered rose-wood handled soil brush for her. And most of all it would have been me holding Dr Alice’s towel and bathrobe for her when she did that programme about skinny dipping, sorry, wild swimming, a year or so ago.
You hear me, North Leamington School? You and your effing Options! You ruined my life!
P.S. On a lighter note. Here is a link to a superb interview with Dr Alice conducted for the on-line show, Carpool – a superb little programme where Robert Llewellyn drives various TV celebs around from A to B and interviews them whilst filming them with on-board cameras mounted onto his dash. It's brilliant.
That could have been me in that car. Me. Possibly only sitting in the back, not saying very much at all, but nevertheless it could have been me.