Well I guess the best thing to do with any story is to begin with your first memory, and believe it or not my first memory and my first venture into archaeology are one and the same. Like most of this autoblogography you’ll have to forgive me if I sometimes wander off track or take certain liberties with the actual truth. The thing is that sometimes memories can play tricks and I’m certainly not immune from this, so if you are actually involved in any of my life and notice certain inaccuracies then I’m sure you can forgive me – I may return to these earlier years as my memory returns.. this is quite good for that! – I was born.. 20th December 1965.
I remember a summer’s day in my mother’s back garden, she was still at work at the Eastern General Hospital and I must have been no more than five years old. I remember playing in the strawberry patch when I came across some bones which is quite exciting when you’re that age. I ran back up the steps to the kitchen through into the dining room and there opened up the cutlery set, the Sunday best cutlery set, and took out what I felt would be the best tool to do the job… a fish knife. Dodging past my granny I ran back into the garden and proceeded to unearth each tiny bone from the carefully prepared burial site. Each bone was laid out on a napkin which I had also, shall we say borrowed, from upstairs. After what felt like hours I had managed to uncover and carefully excavate an entire budgerigar skeleton, laid to rest in the unimaginable past…….. though I now realise that this was some period in the late 1950s……… could there have really been a time such as this, we were looking at something that may have been up to 10 years old! Imagine my shock when I even discovered that my granny dated to a time even before this, now that truly is prehistoric.
I carefully took the Skelton up to the dining room and laid it on the table which had just been prepared for dinner. As you can imagine, what I thought was an amazing find was to my granny’s untrained eye a very dirty linen napkin with a pile of tiny bones in the centre and a badly scratched silverplated fish knife. Strangely, instead of getting a well deserved spanking I remember my mother’s laughter at my attempts. I think she knew that this was going to be something that was going to be with me for a very very long time.
My only other memory at this time is tripping over a step ladder and refusing to stand for three days, stumping around the house and down the street on my knees. There was another lesson coming, and it came from an unexpected angle, as my concerned mother took me to the doctor. The unexpected angle was indeed a hand descending at speed from top right cuffing me around the ear and a voice demanding that I stand up immediately as nothing was wrong with me. That seemed to be the miracle cure required and I found power in my legs once again… the lesson I learned was don’t mess with Dr Ledingham, he was not easily fooled.