Monday, September 12, 2011

Digging Dr Alice

Alice Roberts
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.

*sigh*

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.

Goddammit.



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24 comments:

vegemitevix said...

Love it! I managed to get my daughter a bit of work experience on a local dig at the Roman Town. She's keen on archaeology (that's a bugger to spell isn't it!) and I thought it would either prove her enthusiam orr quell it. I guess enthusiasm won, considering she spent two days effectively washing dishes. 1000 year old dishes no doubt, not dishes just the same. You'd do Dr Alice's dishes wouldn't you Steve?

London City Mum said...

So if I called myself 'Dr' LCM, would I have the same effect on you?

LCM x

John Gray said...

the power of a pretty face!!!

Steve said...

Vix: absolutely. I'd lick them clean. And do her oven as well. ;-)

LCM: I am well disposed to anybody in a white coat and stethoscope. Years of role play with the wife have taught me that.

John: ah, but beautifully intelligent too!

English Rider said...

Great post. I will carry the image of a JCB, driven by a coke head, around with me for a while.

Steve said...

English Rider: it's the kind of thing you see all over the place here.

Gorilla Bananas said...

She used to be an anthropologist who said clever things. Now she's dumbed down for the masses to become another a girlie celebrity. No wonder you like her.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: dumbed down? Dumbed down? How dare you, sir! Anyone who can utter "mitochondrial dna" like it's a sweet-nothing is a proven boffin, girlie celeb pin-up or not.

Nota Bene said...

She's not on my list of five...really a girl with dirt under her finger nails....

Steve said...

Nota Bene: there ain't nothing wrong with a girl who likes to get dirty.

Löst Jimmy said...

She'd put some metal in your trowel, as it were.

Nana Go-Go said...

I can put you in touch with my youngest sister. She`s a History Teacher, same age as you,blonde,exceedingly fit and gorgeous....although, I think your wife and my 6ft 2ins Heelander BIL might have something to say about it.....also, History Teachers can be very bossy.....if that`s your bag. Have a good week, my friend.

The Sagittarian said...

Haven't seen that programme, it's all Rugby Rugby Rugby here at the present moment (makes a change from earthquakes tho')...both my daughters are taking Latin at school and they love the history of it all BUT the real reason they love it?? The teacher. She is fantastic and enthusiastic, makes such a difference.

Being Me said...

She lacquers her handles? My tools are in serious neglect....

TimeWarden said...

Being a new mum and a bone expert go hand in hand! Looks like admirers will have to bone up on their vertebrates!!

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: indeed. Or some lead in my Roman pipe.

Nana Go-Go: I can do bossy. Especially if they dress up as Boudicca or Nell Gwyn or some other saucy historical character.

Amanda: it's very true. I chose at least half of my subjects at school based on my liking of the teachers. Geography included if I'm honest.

Being Me: in truth I have no idea if her handles are lacquered or not. If they're not I'd like to officially volunteer to be her handle lacquerer from this point on. Three meals a day and a soft, warm place to rest my weary brow is all I'd ask in return.

TimeWarden: I think you're right. And I don't think a 27 year O level qualification in Biology and Chemistry is going to do it for me.

Marginalia said...

You sad, sad boy.

Steve said...

Marginalia: I know. If only I'd chosen History it would have all been so different... *sigh*

Trish @ Mum's Gone To ... said...

I also had to choose between history and geography for my options and chose geography. I don't regret the geography bit as I ended up doing a degree in it but I wish I could have stuck with history and ditched, say, physics instead.

Steve said...

Trish: I did ditch Physics and did the slightly less manly chemistry instead. Can't remember a damned thing about it now... apart from the first four elements of the periodic table. I don't think that would impress Dr Alice, do you?

Jennifer Fabulous said...

I wish we had a Dr. Alice here! (US).

I want to learn!!

Steve said...

Jennifer: well you can't have the UK one I'm afraid - she's mine!

Owen said...

I think it's just as well you studied Geography, as Dr Alice clearly has a landscape meriting intimate knowledge of all salient features; rivers, mountains, valleys, caves, peninsulas, bays, rolling hills, fertile fields, waterfalls, forests, and so on... your study lesson on this is going to be arduous, but if anyone is up to the task, I'm sure it is you...

Steve said...

Owen: very good point. I think I'd like to start with her herbaceous borders and her clematis.