1st January 2020

Jen and I saw in the new year in front of a roaring fire with Jools Holland and Laphroaig whisky.

We took a walk around the lanes just before lunch. The weather was mild and still: almost spring-like.

Yesterday, I finished reading Kathleen Jamie’s latest collection, Surfacing. I’d saved it for the holiday season. She is my favourite writer. The book was slightly different from its two predecessors in that there were some very long pieces, with more space given to archaeology. Predictably, I loved it.

One of my Christmas presents from Jen was the official write-up of the archaeological dig I took part in way back in 1985: Kebister: the four-thousand-year-old story of one Shetland township by Olwyn Owen and Christopher Lowe (or Olly and Chris, as we knew them). I was surprised to see my own name in the acknowledgements, among those who had worked to ‘impossibly tight timescales (1985–6), often in bad and sometimes appalling weather (1985)’. You’ve not known cold until you’ve knelt in mud all day in a Shetland blizzard with only a trowel for protection.

Happy days!

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