Foreword

This is an artificial date. I am re-publishing this blog because Sophia seems to have withdrawn her funding from the original. I have changed nothing important, mainly just the times of day the postings took place, the dates are correct.

Carfilhiot (July 2007)

 

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Welcome 2005!

Well, this is the first entry in my blog. All my friends are blogging these days. It seems to be a good way to keep a diary. I’ve always kept a diary until this year. You can see that it’s taken me 3 days to get this year working.

I have to say that one of these days was lost to family stuff. I have such a lot of family you wouldn’t believe it. I used to think it was nice, but since I’ve been at University it’s been a trial. All the uncles and aunts want to know what I’m doing and when I’ve explained they still don’t know. From their point of view, and my mother’s, really, I ought to get married, settle down, buy a house, have children, join the happy extended family thing.

OK, my cousins kind of understand that I’m making a career, but most of them are doing practical stuff in shops, offices and factories.

Mum: “What’s the point of archaeology? Have you thought of hairdressing? J is getting a good wage and fantastic tips.” Grrr.

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Ground Rules

I know it’s one day late for setting ground rules but I had to think of them first

  • The whole world can read this, if they’re interested, so I’ll just use initials to protect the innocent. I used J’s real name yesterday but I went back and edited it.
  • I’m not going to drivel on every day. I’ll only drivel on if I have some drivel to say, which won’t be every day. I don’t suppose.
  • I’ll come back and edit this list with any new ground rules I think up.

So, what is my situation? I’ve been unemployed since graduation, except for a hideous month in summer scratching around on a dig in East Anglia under the world’s rudest Professor, who treated us all like crap and paid less than the minimum wage for sixteen hours in drizzle. It was in a car park which was about to become a Sainsbury’s and the Prof. had persuaded Sains to let him check for Viking artifacts first. They gave him six months, five of which he frittered away trying to get a grant for it. Silly twit. Needless to say, we found nothing.

It’s not quite true that I’ve been out of work the whole time. I did a couple of weeks as a clerk in a garage, which cousin B organised. The money was OK but I had to leave because they were getting me involved in the business, and I’m worried I’ll get diverted from my vocation.

I am SERIOUSLY DEDICATED to Archaeology. I know jobs are few and far between, and badly paid, but as long as the company is good and I can afford to live on what I get paid, then I’ll be OK. I do prefer warmer weather than East Anglia, though. The Mediterranean would be nice.

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Living at Home

I’m living at home. Obviously. It is a bit guilt-making because I am dodging kind offers of paid employment from family and family contacts all the time. Pity none of them is the slightest connected with archaeology! Up to Christmas, I spent most days at the university library and haunting the department, hoping to hear of any opportunities to get my hands dirty on an actual dig. I can’t wait for the Dept to open again, and meanwhile I’m becoming very unpopular around here, and the remarks, particularly J’s, are quite hurtful.

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What Archaeology is all about

Saying I’ve got a degree in Archaeology is a bit simplistic. There is so much in it. I think that’s what excites me most. For my degree I did Archaeological Method, Bioarchaeology, Archaeological computing, Landscape Archaeology, Ancient History, Greek and Latin. It was such hard work, and at the end I had hardly started on anything real, just a few visits to British digs and holiday jobs doing pick and shovel stuff.

I graduated without a job to go to. Then before my month looking for Viking relics I skimmed through all the literature on Viking stuff in the department’s library and on the internet and visited the Brit Mus, and other museums, and still I knew nothing by the time I was scratching a trench in Sainsbury’s Car Park.

That’s what makes me so mad. The worry that I might have spent four years of my life learning a trade I’ll never use. And people telling me to take a job, any job, while I “find my feet”. If I do that, I’ll find my feet all right – nailed to the ground. In a way, if I could afford it, I could get any amount of work standing up to my knees in mud somewhere in Britain for no pay. I did plenty of these during the vacations. But I need an actual job, or if I’m going to fund it myself I want it to be really worth while.

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Some Background

I suppose that I’d better fill in some background about me and my family. My great-grandmother came from Jamaica. She married an Irishman recently arrived from a famine-stricken Galway. At the time, they were both representatives of the underclass, but together they forged a dynasty of industrious workers. I am an exception, and Mum loses no opportunity to remind me.

The Campbell clan varies quite a bit in appearance. Some of my cousins are very dark, Peter in particular. I am almost white, but the mirror reminds me of my Carribean origin. Those lips. But at least my hair is reasonably long and straight and I don’t spend half my life in the hairdresser, steaming out kinks, plaiting them into cornrows and threading in beads and extensions. No wonder hairdressing is a growth industry in the East End of London, my sister and several other female relations being pillars of the profession.

I don’t really like the way I look. It’s been quite comfortable at University wearing jeans and baggy sweaters and I am confident that a professional archaeologist can spend most of their life wearing just that uniform.

Suzanne keeps trying to get me into make-up and posh frocks, and perch me on shoes of unlikely height, and I have to admit that she looks really good in all the war paint and finery, but I haven’t got the patience for all the effort.

So I’m not exactly under siege from boyfriends, and I think most of my relatives of my generation think I’m retarded – half of them are married or at least in a “meaningful” relationship by my age. 22 in case you’re wondering. I’ll post a photo up here next time I’m all dressed up for a party. Till then, you’ll have to use your overactive imaginations.

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Work at last!

I’ve been offered a job and it really is ideal because it allows me to have most of my day free for archaeological pursuits – at least those items that can be pursued in the college library. I remember my cousin Peter watching me on New Year’s Eve, when the whole family were on about me earning a living, and he was the only one who wasn’t on my case. He phoned up this morning and suggested that I take a job as his assistant. He would pay me a percentage of what he earns and I would just help him and learn the trade at the same time. He mainly works at night – he has a franchise as a 24 hour emergency plumber. This doesn’t mean that the job is 24 hours, you choose a shift, and you only get called during that time period. He takes the midnight to 8am shifts because he has his brother’s shop to look after. You can see there’s a tradition of hard work in our family and why it there is such pressure on everyone to get a job!

So, anyway, I start tomorrow, Monday. A plumber!

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