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A 200th birthday and a surprise visit


My village, Braco is 200 years old this year, and to celebrate I've already written special blog posts this year about Ardoch House, the sawmill, the Ardoch House murder and the Roman Tunnel, with more to come later in the year.

The high point of this year's celebrations was a  street party yesterday , and the unveiling of a special mosaic which is now on the school wall. I've got a little secret contribution to that mosaic, and as well as a massive surprise last night which has given me lots of new skulls to write about !

This is the mosaic being finished after my dad helped mount it onto the wall. The edge was filled with lots of objects brought in by children at the primary school. One of the helpers asked if I could bring a few small skulls as well to fill in some gaps ! I thought of a few I had spare, and realised it would work better if they were sawn in half. This was the first skull I donated. It was a old rabbit skull that I found in my room. 

Dad did this bit with a hacksaw. This is a spare rabbit skull being carefully cut in half.

And this is the same half mounted on the border ! It got to stick it on myself, which was a nice touch. 

The other skull I donated was a magpie. It is really nice to know that my skulls will be there for future generations. 

This is what the mosaic looked like when it was finished with some of the school children in front of it. The lady at the back row at the right is Jane, and she was the artist and who stuck all of the things on the edges.

There were people dressed up as Romans marching through the streets who often do this in the village to remember the Roman fort at the north end.

When it began the whole street was full of people. There was also a raffle ( where I won a bottle of water ), a band, an open mic session, a barbeque and a disco. 

The surprise

While I was sitting out in the street one of my friends told me that there was a lady waiting in a car outside my house. Dad and I went to meet her, and when we got there we could not believe who it was. It was Miss Ford, a fascinating old woman who I first met when she came to my house out of the blue in 2013 to bring me some cool bones. She had dinner with us and stayed overnight, and went back home to England the next day.

She has a house in Australia as well as one in England, and we have sent letters to each other. She said that she had bones and books for me, and we went inside to look at them.

Like last time, she gave me some cool bones. There were some cool bird skulls, and she also gave me a big tin box of fish heads that she found in Tasmania. These were all pretty interesting and I'm going to put these on my shelves. She said that fisherman cut off the heads of fish, which is why there was hundreds at the harbour she was at.

Also in that tin was loads of small bones from small common birds in Tasmania. One of the bags had a full skeleton, another had seven full and partial skulls. The other bag just contained assorted bones. Nevertheless, these are really cool.

In the final tin was a sponge, small fish bones and a dried black swan head. The swan head still had the tongue and the hyoid bone underneath it still intact.

Last but not least, there was teeth from a  skate, along with its tail. Its stings not at the end of the tail but around 1/3 of the way up the tail, which was around 20cm long. The skate was about 1.75 metres long. The teeth were curved and worked liked a conveyor belt.

I chatted with Miss Ford until late, then this morning after breakfast she went off on her journey. These are amazing specimens,and a very kind gift from one naturalist to another.  The next stage is to check what they are all of, and to check their status !

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Daniel said...

Very interesting Jake. Quick question. Did the Romans established Barco or did Barco just expanded around the Roman Fort to the North?

Jake said...

I think there was about 1,000 years when there was nothing much here at all !

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