Category: Archeology

DeCrypt Poetry Slam (by )

DeCrypt Poetry Slam

This is tonight - me and a host of other poets who happen to have a connection to Gloucester will be performing at St Mary's DeCrypt in Gloucester. The building is ancient and being restored - I'm really looking forward to seeing inside it actually 🙂

It is being compered by the wonderful poet and comedian Angie Blecher. It's gearing up to be a cracking night of poetics and fun 🙂

Mary Leakey – The Puppet! (by )

Cuddly Science has a new puppet 🙂 Mary Leakey - an paleoanthropologist who along with various other members of her family and team found alot of the early homonid fossils and moved our understanding of our own evolution on in leaps and bounds.

Mary Leakey the puppet reading one of her favourite books

Mary Leakey was one of my science heroes when I was a teen - during my GCSEs and A'levels I read all the books the library had or could get on her discoveries. And she was in the original list of ten puppets to make for Cuddly Science. My Mum and Dad worked on her mainly in secret for me, knowing I was uber busy with things.

Mary Leakey the puppet with one of her creators Angie Pym

She also doubles as a general geologist, archeologist and explorer! Which is just what I needed with various archeology festivals and geology based workshops coming up this summer!

Sarah Snell-Pym Cuddly Science Cheltenham Science Festival

The puppet was in fact barely finished before it was being whizzed off to the Cheltenham Science Festival to help explain the Cheltenham Hackspace's magic sand box!

Geology Puppet showing off the sand projector

This 3D projector that maps the sand contours in real time and projects and ever updating graded colour system on top was amazing! I do have video but haven't worked out how to extract it from my phone etc...

Geologist puppet is at the sand

We had over 10, 000 kids through the Makers Shack at the festival which was amazing and also exhausting! Mary Leakey and Ada Lovelace both enjoyed their outings and I have a hell of a lot more photos and vids to put up from the festival including trying to launch a robot into near Earth orbit! But for now I shall end with this pic of Mary Leakey chilling and relaxing behind the scenes.

Mary Leakey the puppet chilling behind the scense at the Cheltenham Science Festival

Bristol and Mateys (by )

Facebook has been popping up memories from previous years - at the moment it is kind of the same thing regardless of the year... meeting up with our Friends Becca and Olly and this year is no exception!

So much food!

This year we went to Bristol and walked around the water front, slightly hampered by the outside wheelchair lift being broken but we found other ways around.

Broken lift

Then we went for lunch at Prezzo who had a gluten free menu and was quiet enough and was vegi and wasn't a bank breaker and had toilets and tables on one level and had dairy free options (as a group we quiet hard to cater for but Bristol had us covered!). We ordered a stupid amount of food as we thought the pizzas were individuals but were huge!

Birds in the harbour in bristol

Jean saw to the left overs as she'd had a kids meal and is a teeny-tweeny and now slightly taller than me and growing fast!

Mary was good and managed sitting still for the meal as she a) took daddy outside for run arounds and b) was going to get to play in the fountain - unfortunately she was then so excited about the fountain she splashed straight into it and run out of Alaric's sight and ended up in trouble! But she did then get to race Becca up and down the dock side by the M-shed which was closed by this point. Then she played with Olly going up and down the river - a stylised map set into the tarmac.

She also gave her pocket money to a homeless guy.

We popped into the german beer festival to see if any of the craft stalls etc... were still open but they weren't but there was a photo board 🙂

German Beer Festival Bristol

I'd pretty much run out of room on my camera other wise there would have been alot more photos! Including Jean sitting on John Cabot who sailed from Bristol in 14... something and found North America. A young tourist asked us questioned about him but ended up telling us more than we knew including finding the date the statue was made.

Exploring the John Cabot statue in Bristol

Looking up this (historical figure)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cabot] I find the finding of the Americas by Europeans is a long and distended tail and I have a whole lot more to learn including a celtic myth about Hy-Brasil which I think maybe the glass isle myth. This is all good stuff for The Punk Universe novel series I am writing.

I've been researching a lot of stuff for this series lately including discovering a myth that Jesus actually went to India and England in a world tour before returning home and being killed as a political radical. This was interesting as Becca was explaning local historical sites to me including the wells and hotspring and the fact that an ancient (as in 3000 year old) jewish religous site was found in a house basement recently - my brain instantly wondered if that was maybe a site that historical Jesus (Jesus in historical records not as/as well as a holy figure) might have visited.

There is lots of funky stone work in this area of Bristol which I love - I love both the rocks natural history and the people history that laid them there was structures.

Stone arch door bristol

Bristol is a rich city for history as most cities are... as well as modern archetecture and the interaction of society, tech, city and environment. This was highlighted quiet well by the renovated crain that has been turned into a little eco hut and the tumble down ruins becoming little oasises of plants. I never fail to find new things (some quiet old 🙂 ) to take photos of.

Stone and pipes and leaves bristol

The outing was rounded off by the kids watching a film and us rabbiting about everything and nothing and looking at photos from our uni days - Mary's comment on seeing a picture of my by three giant axes in Greece "mummy you were so small!".

Of course I ran out of camera space so missed the giant beetle eating my children - but fortunately Becca was there!

Jean and Mary being eaten by a giant stag beetle in bristol

Art Activity Booklet!!! (by )

Art Activity Booklet

At the end of April me and Jean were sitting in the Gloucester Waterstones Cafe - she was doing her home work and I was working on my graphic novel script. I think I swapped what I was doing to making stuff for a writing workshop and she finished her homework stole my sketch pad and began drawing. Her drawings have been improving drastically this year and she love the general idea of anime and comic book art. She wanted an activity book so she could work through a series of exercises - not like the shelf of how to draw/art books we have on the shelf at home but more... interactive ie you get to draw in the book but it's not a colouring book type thing.

So off I went to look at what the bookshop had (well actually I popped off to the loos but noticed they had some books that matched her description so nabbed a few on the way back), none of them were quiet what she wanted and she decided they were too expensive...

"Could you make one with your tea cup and mug picture in it?"

So I started work on it and she vetoed and swapped things etc... until we have ended up with this booklet - it is along the lines of the Cuddly Science Activity Booklet and the Christmas Activity Booklet I made.

And also because it is us it has an essay on cave art with examples from around the world!

There will be a free downloadable PDF version on WigglyPets Press when I get round to it 🙂

In the mean time it will be coming with me to workshops, festivals and shows and physical copies can be bought from my etsy shop.

This is How Stupid People Die (by )

Reclaim the City

That moment when you've gone off to take one photograph and realise it is dusk, you are in a tumble down industrial area amongst broken glass and iron rods half exposed from crumbling concrete. You have £100 odd worth of camera around your neck, you've left your phone in the car along with you husband and kids, and worse you have no idea anymore which direction said car is in. Then just to add the icing to the cake a group of three 'youths' wonders into sight and you realise it was their shouting and the ring of a beer can football that pulled you out of the contemplative glaze of photo snapping bliss you had been in moments before.

Forgotten

You do not run as that is provocation, beside satistically you know that the middle aged man on his own that passed you at the beginning of this adventure is more likely to be a danger than three young men. Apart from some cat calls they are fine - you take another photo of graffiti and as you know they've seen the camera anyway and just keep walking, with confidence hoping it will come out to somewhere more populated by people. Maybe even somewhere you know.

The road to the white house

And the monologue that is spinning in you brain is one of half remembered self defense techniques though you do not dwell on them as being afraid in the half light of urban decay is a sure way to draw attention to yourself in unwanted ways. Same goes for the crowded city streets and the apparently safe board room. You keep walking aware of your surroundings and potential escape routes, you do not avert your gaze nor do you linger.

Forlorn

You think, 'This is how stupid people die,' and then you snort with the realisation that you have nicked the quote from a TED talk you watched the night before. And that shunts your brain into thinking that it is thinking and what it is thinking about and the words Third Thoughts sneaks in and you're like damn! Now I am quoting Terry Pratchette in the almost fear - that fear you are not feeling, that fear you are keeping at bay.

jagged

The kids are gone, they went into a side alley and now you are in territory you recognise and daydreams of pirate days with real tall ships and Christmas Fayres with real snow filter in your brain and you think - I'm actually quiet a away from the car and the quickest way is back through those buildings that now seem to loom out of the dusk.

come to me

So you again consider how stupid people die, but now you have your bearings and know the way and this way is much shorter and there is an old couple out for a walk and they might be lost but they are walking into the corroded corridor of split wood and ripped metal.

Torn

You follow and storm your way home, reasoning that you are wearing big boots and a flappy coat and yes it's all purple and your over weight but it is probably dramatic or something.

Shortcut

And you still stop to take photos because things look different from this angle and hey wow that was a fantastic one of the birds flying away and it shall be called The Escape.

Escape

There is a world within worlds in this place you walk unwittingly, there are jungles and homes and hope.

The next generation

And really it is only a few derilict buildings with seagulls roosting, slowly the industrial endevours of a previous centre are being consumed by the small of nature and you feel previlaged to see it all before it is ripped asunder and the new of this centery is put in it's place. Clicking the button on the camera you try and capture just a little bit of the awe.

Look out point

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