In this blogposting...
* The Worm Turns...

Our latest AGM has finally taken place, and at the appointed hour and place.

Naturally, I arrived before everybody else and was already on my second cup of coffee by the time other truckshunters turned up. 


The indispensable Hildie, without whom truckshunterdom would simply fade away and retreat whence it came…

Brenda, the sound of whose dancing clogs were heard more than once in our old Radio Newcastle days - and who is still a fund of smiles and stories...

Dave Shannon, who has been an essential ingredient of the mix since he started emailing me on The Nightshift - and probably well before…

Neville, who is the only truckshunter who has ever actually shunted any trucks in anger and who therefore occupies a slightly-raised plinth in our Hall of Fame…

Mietek and Naomi, who, unless I am very much mistaken, are already positioning themselves to mount a takeover bid by filibuster, a well-known North American method of political debate…

And me.

It was quite a meeting, I must say.  I suppose I ought to have taken notes of the range of items we covered that weren’t on anyone’s agenda and that just plopped into the conversation from nowhere and plopped out again in due course.

There were several points during the convocation when I wasn’t sure who I should be listening to and whose story I should be following.  You know those confused gatherings when you half-wonder what’s been said that’s made the person next to you laugh so loudly?  Well, it was like that.

It was, as usual, quite exceptionally great fun.

Visual proof that this typically wayward and fascinating AGM took place at all will have to wait until Mietek emails me the photos he took.

My thanks to everyone who was there - including Keith Topping, who turned up to see Mietek at the end.

Don’t ask…

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After decades of my being deeply sarcastic about it, cynical about it, directing my nastiest invective at it, laughing at it or even just plain ignoring its very existence, Bishop Auckland has finally bestirred itself from its ungainly slumbers to bite my bum.

One of the most important archaeological finds of recent north-east history has just been unearthed there.  Let me explain who historians think the handsome fellow above might be…

As you leave Newcastle along the Old West Road, you are, of course, following exactly the route of Hadrian’s Wall.  Well, about 2 miles from the City Centre, just after you pass the Jobcentre on your left and begin the long slope down past the crematorium to Denton Burn, you will almost certainly not notice a very anonymous-looking estate of run-of-the-mill houses just beyond the Jobcentre.

And that’s a shame because, hidden deep amongst the forsythias and privet lie the scanty ruins of a little - and very ancient - temple.  It was built up against the south side of the Wall but now languishes, virtually ignored, in someone’s front garden.

There is a plaque, though, which explains that this is the Temple of Antenociticus. 

Who he?

None other than the god of fertility that was worshipped by the local ‘ancient Britons’ before the Romans even got here.  (I’ve seen him described as ‘the Geordie god’, which is infantile and fatuous journalism of the Jonathan Miles variety.)  (And No, Jonathan, nobody knows how big his penis was.)

Archaeologists have always strongly suspected that the existence of a temple dedicated to Antenociticus implies that the Romans tolerated his cult - or may even have encouraged it.

And now, thanks to Bishop Auckland, they probably have the proof they needed.  The fine sculpture above is thought be of Antenociticus himself, and its existence inside the ramparts of the Roman fort of Vinovia suggests that the soldiers may have been encouraged to follow his cult.

But, before the benighted folk of The Town That Dare Not Speak Its Name get too big for their boots, it’s worth pointing out that Vinovia’s ruins aren’t actually in Bishop Auckland at all but at Binchester, a couple of miles outside the town. 

Bad luck, Bishop Auckland - but a good try.

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1 comment:

Ellie said...

Glad you all had a good time at the AGM - methinks I'll take the day off work when the next one takes place - would love to see you all