Saturday, January 03, 2009

Geophysics at Bourne Hill

This is me, on the ninth of November 2008 (that’s last year now in case you’re still suffering from a hangover), at home, behind my computer, with man flu, which is much worse than woman flu but only, apparently, if you’re not actually a woman, trying my utmost to look sophisticated and clever and stuff and not at all snotty and half asleep.

Outside it was bucketing down and blowing a force ten gale, much as the Met Office had been pessimistically forecasting all week.
Now, I’m not trying to make excuses, but the simple truth is I’m one of those people who gets sent a letter from his doctor at this time of year telling me to go for a flu jab otherwise I’ll probably drop dead at some point during the winter. Those sort of letters are usually reserved for people over the age of sixty-five, I know, due to the shortage of flu vaccines, but that’s just a measure of how dilapidated forty-odd years of alcohol, steak and kidney pies and cigarette abuse can make one already not-quite-up-to-par body. Naturally, being a stubborn sod, I never bother going for those aforementioned jabs, so running the risk of turning the cold I had already into quadruple pneumonia or the plague or something worse, by standing on the top of Bourne Hill in the pouring rain and freezing wind, just wasn’t worth contemplating.
That’s why I sent Chris instead and spent the day myself behind my monitor, intermittently awaiting reports of the survey and playing Final Fantasy III.
Meanwhile, over at Bourne:

You’d have to be a complete and utter moron to be up on Bourne Hill in these conditions.
Er…unless you’re a member of the Wyre Archaeology Survey Crew, of course, in which case it shows a high level of dedication to a worthy cause.
Or if you’ve already got the geophysics equipment booked and it’s too late to cancel it, then that’s probably another good excuse.
Whatever the case, despite the rain lashing down and the wind screaming like some ghastly misplayed chord through the rigging of the geophysics machine, quite a few of our members struggled out of bed and braved the elements.

How many abandoned partners that day were left at home with the words: “I might be gone some time” I couldn’t honestly say, but you never saw those idiots on Extreme Archaeology tackling anything like this.
Four areas in all were
geophysied geophysicked geophizzed recorded; four areas, each measuring twenty by twenty metres; each plotted out using the dumpy and a sophisticated system of predefined angles and distances; each holding little hope for clear results, but with its own patch of stinging nettles and a selection of cow pats.
Meanwhile, back at home, feeling all the worse for the sixteenth hot toddy in a row:

So, what was the outcome of all this hard work? Well, I’m not going to tell you, because, at the time of writing, we’re halfway through a much larger geophysical survey (same location, just more of it) to clarify the first lot of results, which, hopefully, should be completed before too much longer. So you’ll just have to wait until then, I’m afraid.


Andrew said...

Since you seem to lock down for the winter, surely your chances of catching flu are minimal.

Brian Hughes said...


Not when there's old biddies and snotty nosed kids coughing and sneezing all over the place in the shops. Handkerchieves appear to be a thing of the past, unfortunately.

RVB said...

You shouldn't run away from flu jabs...judging by what I hear of NHS, it'd be safer to avoid going into hospital where possible.

On the other hand, it's obviously a delight to see your subordinates go out into the foray for you...whilst you sit at Command Central with some butties and tea.

Brian Hughes said...


The sense of power is good for curing winter ailments.

Reuben said...

...Said Gordon Brown to his economic advisory board.

Brian Hughes said...

Just before adding, "I wonder what's happened to my predecessor. I thought he was supposed to be the Middle East peace envoy these days. No wonder the Gaza strip's gone belly up again."

RVB said...

Gordon Sat down on a quail, accidentally.
"Aahh...well...let's get to work. Should be build another airport for London?"

"Err...No sir, but there's this random archaology cult in Fleetwood."

"Fleetwood? Ah yes, give them some butty vouchers and...err...throw in an airport whilst you're at it."

"Yes sir".

"Oh! And could you fetch me a quail. The one I sat on just got squashed".

Jayne said...

Don't blame you for not listening to your doctor, Brian, if he's as young as Matt thingie (Smith?) the ink's probably still wet on his medical degree.
A quote from Anja
"If the doctors get any younger the Tardis will be a uterus" !!!

JahTeh said...

Are you sure that's the cat? Same scruffy fur as the owner.

As for you parking yerself at home and sending the women out in the cold, in Oz we'd have ya neutered for that.

Jayne said...

Just watched Magnificent 7, about the Jackson family in your neck of the woods, Brian.
You could always get those young, active chaps helping with geophysics :P

Reuben said...

Seeing as we're off going fairly off topic over here, could we perhaps discuss abortion? I think we need a bit of controversy to divert us back on track (uncovering the secrets of Brian's cat).

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne, Witchy and Reuben, although in no particular order...

You are correct that's not actually my cat. It's also not actually me in bed. I couldn't have taken the photograph if I'd have been asleep in bed with the cat on my head, you see, so I improvised. The shape under the duvet is a couple of pillows and the cat is actually Michelle's 'Russian hat'. Those are the cats eyes, though, which I ported across in photoshop.

As for Matt Smith, or whatever his name is, perhaps from now on he should be known as Medical Student Who.

And the Jackson family? I didn't know they'd moved into Fleetwood. I just hope they've left Michael behind because he wouldn't be too popular with the single mothers round here.

Anonymous said...

Been there, done that... ah, the dedication of a geophysisistististist... at least you could lean on the twin probe frame...

Brian Hughes said...


Indeed. Originally we were going to invest in one of the 'bend down and push into ground' type of resistivitors. Then we thought, "Bugger that. Don't want to end up with spines the shape of an inverted comma. We'll keep the money and borrow the equipment instead."

Jayne said...

Errr.... this Jackson family with 4 boys on the Autistic spectrum and behaviours that made my hair curl(and a few that reminded me of FB).
Got to see the double decker trams with Fleetwood and Blackpool plastered on the front and backs, and the Blackpool amusement park.

Brian Hughes said...


I'm not sure what's worse...the ricketty old Victorian death trap rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, or the ricketty old Victorian death trap trams. If the Jackson family thought they had behavorial problems, they'll feel like gentility in Blackpool.

John said...

I knew that wasn't a real cat. However, it does resemble something from Tolkein, and if real, I would have suggested you find a (gullible) Hobbit to trick into dealing with it.

Have you seen my ring? It's gold, round, and makes people invisible when wearing it.

JOHN :0)

Brian Hughes said...


I thought it looked just like my cat, without the two points on the its head, of course. I've stumbled downstairs half a dozen times in the past and got quite a shock because I thought the cat was about to leap at me from the top of the hatstand.

Jayne said...

It looks suspiciously like my grandmothers Russian hat that is always about to pounce from the top of the wardrobe in the wee small hours lol.
Perhaps they should come with a collar and bell ?

Brian Hughes said...

To be honest Jayne, most of Michelle's hats scare me. They have a life of their own, lurking in cupboards and turning up in unexpected places. I keep trying to herd them all together and throw them out, but somehow they keep coming back.

RVB said...

Call in 'Confuse-a-Hat, Brian.

Brian Hughes said...

Over here we prefer 'Trilby-Gone', Reuben.