Hello to everyone, whether you have loved Dr Dud’s Dicta since it started or have only just stumbled across it. My name is Sarah and I was fortunate to have Dudley in my life for the past 19 years until suddenly and tragically on 28th January 2016 he passed from us whilst undergoing emergency heart surgery.
The last couple of weeks have gone by in a bit of a haze, but today I opened up Dud’s computer and realised that he had a number of blogs ‘ready to go’ in draft format. As with so much of our life together, we talked endlessly about the blogs and the topics he would choose to write about – I even proof read them for him (so you should blame me, not him, for any mistakes!). So, I have decided that I will attempt to keep the Dicta going – I hope you are all ok with that. I know that I am not as erudite as him, nor do I have his flair for writing, but I will do my best and hopefully you (and he) will forgive any wavering from what you have come to expect.
I feel I should introduce myself a little bit to you and set the scene as it were for me and Dr Dud – although I realise that he has written already about our times in Crete and our adventures in life.
To use Dud’s own words, “Sarah had dragged me ‘shouting and screaming’ (maybe a slight exaggeration) into archaeology when she came home one Friday evening and, over a glass of wine or two, asked me if I wanted to learn about archaeology (she had studied it at university in the 1980s and wanted to start up again). Anyway, I said I might be and she replied, “Good, because I have booked us both into a course on ‘Practical Archaeology’ at Sussex University starting on Monday”…….. the rest, they say, is history – well, ancient history, actually.”
That was in 1997 and as far as archaeology and our relationship was concerned, we didn’t look back! I won’t bore you with all the academic details, but suffice it to say that the wall by our stairs proudly displays certificates in archaeology, an MA each in Classical Studies, an MSt and DPhil for Dud and an MA in osteoarchaeology for me. Some of these courses we studied together and some individually, but always we talked and discussed with each other – often over a glass of wine in our conservatory.
Along the way we also found time to visit Crete with a few outings to Greece and Turkey – although always as well as, and not instead of, Crete! We went to Wimbledon (Dud served as an Honorary Steward for a number of years), to Glyndebourne, to various monasteries in the UK and we punted in Oxford. We held many dinner parties in the conservatory using any excuse (Burns Night, Trafalgar, Chinese New Year), or none. The house we live in used to be an off-licence and Dud always said “no change there then” !
The culmination of our relationship was our wedding in 2011, in Crete – of course! It was the most wonderful day and the celebrations went on… and on …. and each year for the next four years we celebrated in style. Dud wrote about our 2-day celebration last summer (2015) and you can revisit it here.
So, now he has gone and I cannot believe it, but somehow just writing this blog is helping, knowing that it will reach out to those of you that knew him personally and those that only knew him from the blog.
For this, my first, foray into the world of Dr Dud, I have chosen to end with a few brief words about something that was a bit of a trademark for him – the bow tie !
Now, you may or may not know (or even care!), but the bow tie dates back to the 17th century in Croatia. Here mercenaries would use neck wears that somehow resembled scarves to bind the collars of their shirts. These neck wears were called the cravats. In no time they were adopted by the Upper Class French citizens who had the reputation of being highly influential in the fashion world at that time. The cravats evolved into today’s neck wear of the bow ties and neckties.
Probably what you will know, however, is that there are two types of bow tie (well, strictly speaking there are three, but the third type is a ‘clip-on’ and should only be worn by children and infants!). So, there is the pre-tied and the self-tied variations of the bow tie. Obviously the former is already tied up for you, the latter you have to tie yourself (and of course this allows you to go for the untied look with the bow tie hanging loosely at the end of a party or a dinner – bound to wow the ladies!).
Dudley, I have to tell you, only EVER wore the self-tied variety and was jovially critical of those who wore what he referred to as a ‘stick-on’ version, and which he could spot at any distance!
All in all I would say that the pre-tied bow tie is only recommended for adolescents or somebody who has just joined the bow tie wearing club! I have just discovered that in America there is a National Bow Tie Day on 28th August each year – so you all have plenty of time to perfect your technique of tying your own bow tie! I predict that the Google search for ‘how to tie a bow tie’ will go viral any day now …..
I can’t recall exactly when Dud starting wearing his bow ties on a regular basis, but he wore one every day to work and also to those more formal events we went to (and sometimes to the less formal ones too). It is one of the many things that made him such a unique character…
So there you have it, my first attempt at Dr Duds Dicta – I hope you like it and I hope I’ve done him proud. If I don’t get too many negative comments I’ll try and keep going for you – as I said there are already some posts at the draft stage and there are many more we had only talked about. My only problem is I don’t quite know how to categorize this blog, so I’ve gone for Bramber History and Crete – our two homes!