The Staffordshire Hoard

"This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England… as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries. Absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells." - Leslie Webster, Former Keeper, Department of Prehistory and Europe, British Museum

The UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure has been discovered buried beneath a field in Staffordshire by an amateur metal detector enthusiast. The Staffordshire Hoard comprises of more than 1,500 individual items and most objects appear to date around the 7th century. You can read the entire press statement here.

I am incredibly excited by this hoard. One of the items which really intrigues is a strip of gold bearing a Biblical inscription. I'm excited because we don't often see examples of handwriting from this age as most writing would have been done on (easily perishable) wax tablets. The Lindisfarne Gospels date from around the same period, of course, but seeing writing employed outside a manuscript page is just really, really fantastic - particularly as you are seeing a religious inscription on an arguably secular item.

You can see beautifully detailed photos of the hoard on Flickr and while the Staffordshire Hoard website is currently struggling to cope with the number of visitors, I encourage you to seek it out.

Random Is the New Black

april-272We have found more clay pipes by the Forth and Clyde Canal - here is one of the nicest pipes, if not exactly the most intact.. Notice also the rather interesting shards of china in the background. We've identified one piece with the Willow Pattern but the rest remain elusive. Interestingly we've found tiny bits with lettering (be still my beating heart!) and other bits with what looks like fishing huts.

Swine flu has been confirmed around 12 miles from us. I'm expecting an outbreak of panic here which will involve people looting tissue paper, tinned soup, hand soap and cans of lager from our local supermarket. In other words, I'm not worried, although my mother might be once she realises how close I live to Monklands Hospital (i.e. not very close but in the same country). As a Dane I feel obliged to inform you that pork products are perfectly safe to eat. Mmmm, bacon.

Only one random link today: Vidders Talk Back to their Pop-Culture Muses.

"For decades, Americans sat in front of their televisions and watched — just watched — their favorite shows. (..) But one group of fans has interacted with their favorite television shows for more than three decades. Vidders, as they're called, make unauthorized underground videos using clips from the shows. Each vid compiles dozens of clips from various episodes, all set to a song."

To be perfectly honest, I've seen a handful of these fanmade vids and most of them are .. not very good. The formula goes something like this: one plaintative love song - say, Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love". Then take the lyrics and pair with with your fandom of choice  - so, when Leona bleats "Time starts to pass.." you insert pictures of Captain Kirk/the Doctor/Six looking at a watch. Lather, rinse, repeat .. But unsurprisingly there are some mindblowingly good vids out there. This is the best I've seen.

PS. Happy birthday to regular commentator and offline compadre, Darth Ken. I love you, man.

The Good Life

april-114Sunday afternoons. Don't you just love them? Depending upon our mood and energy level, we either curl up with books or head out to explore our neighbourhood on foot. Yesterday we donned our coats and went for a walk along the Forth and Clyde canal. Glasgow Council had obviously decided the footpaths needed a spring overhaul, as the topsoil had been scraped off the sides of the paths by diggers. Quite quickly our walk turned into something else: a treasure hunt. It started off with us noticing some lumps of jet-black glass, but when I started digging with a stick, something white started emerging. Clay tobacco pipes - most likely 19th century and quite possibly from when the canals were built? We found several stems and one bowl (which you can see in the photo). I'm fairly used to finding things in the ground - I grew up in a part of Denmark which has been populated since the Neolithic period and I have found flint arrow heads etc - but it is the first time I have found anything in Scotland. It makes me want to learn even more about our local history.

april-122 Knitting continues, of course. I have a few inches to go on the body before I'm starting the edging. I'm dragging it out a bit as I'll be knitting the button band next and my buttons won't arrive for a few days.

I'm a tiny bit concerned about the fit as the cardigan is quite tight on me at the moment, but I think the alpaca yarn will stretch considerably during blocking, so it will be okay. I hope blocking will also sort out the difference between the handspun yarn (which is relatively loose) and the alpaca yarn (which is relatively tight and curling a great deal). Blocking solves everything, right?

As the cardigan grows bigger every day, I have begun to think about tiny, portable projects. Recently I promised five friends that I'd make them a little handmade something each, so I have that in the back of my head too. I was wondering whether it would be possible for me to make five items using five different crafts - and while it would becompletely feasible, I'm slightly worried about quality control. Surely I'm not the only one who's a bit paranoid about the quality of the things I make?

Thank you all for the books and TV suggestions. One of these days I should take photos of our bookshelves because I suspect you think I'm slightly bonkers when I say "oh, we already have that" or "oooh, David has that tucked away". We have a lot of books (although not quite as many I used to have in Denmark, but that's another story for another day).

PS. I cannot find my iPod. I'm mildly distressed.