Let’s Talk About ……

Hello there, Mrs Dud here.

Sorry for the big gap between my second post and this one.  There, I’ve said it – apparently you are not supposed to apologise for not blogging, just get on with the next one and leave it at that.  But I don’t feel I can do that, I feel the need to say that I fully intended to keep going with Dud’s blog from the second post I did.  However, what I didn’t take account of was how grief can affect you and your ability to carry out even the most mundane of tasks, let alone trying to be creative.  One of the things I’ve found the most difficult is getting back to doing things in the evenings after work and at the weekends.  Dud and I were never ones for sitting around and watching TV all evening although, don’t get me wrong, we could gorge on a box set with the best of them now and again.  However, we spent more time sitting in the conservatory talking through our next project, be that a talk one of us was giving, some research we wanted to do, or just the next trip to Crete!

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Our cat, Dizzy, in the conservatory wondering what on earth we are talking about!

So, that brings me to the purpose of this blog – talking and its importance.

Since Dud’s passing in January I’ve been out to Paradise (otherwise known as the village of Mochlos in Eastern Crete) on several occasions, this current sojourn being my fourth.  On this latest visit, I’ve been accompanied by some family and friends and on 2nd July we had a lovely little ceremony over on the Minoan island to talk about Dudley over a glass of champagne and celebrate his life.  I’ve even left some of his ashes over there – although obviously I can’t tell you where or I’d have to kill you!    At the same time, I was so proud to be able to announce that a book Dud had been editing before he died had been taken on by two archaeological colleagues and was ‘hot off the press’ that week.  There is also going to be a memorial conference to Dud in October, to launch the book, but more about that another time.

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Getting ready on the island – with a copy of the newly published book

 

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Neither me, nor Dudley Bear, could possibly tell you where this is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Book – click here for more info

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, 22nd July, would have been our fifth wedding anniversary (we were together for 19 years, I was just a bit slow at saying ‘Yes’) and I’m joined again by my sister and a couple of close friends. Of course the day will be tinged with sadness, but also with so many happy memories.  I can honestly say that 22nd July 2011 was one of the best days of my life.  Whenever Dud and I had people come on holiday with us, we would prepare a little ‘itinerary’ and called ourselves ‘Bramber Tours’.  I did one for the party that was here for 2nd July and I’ve just done one for my sister and friends.  This second one I’ve called “Return to Mochlos – Old & New Memories”.  So today, 22nd July, we are going to celebrate the time that Dudley and I had together, all 19 wonderful years.  Then, we are going to spend the next few days making some new memories in the Paradise that is Mochlos.

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View of the Minoan Island at Mochlos (and who is that in the olive tree?)

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22nd July 2011

What’s all this got to do with talking I hear you ask?

Well, as I mentioned at the beginning, Dud and I talked and talked about many, many things, often accompanied by a glass (or more) of red wine. Now, one of the things we talked about was death – and not enough people do in my opinion.  Maybe it’s because I’ve studied death and the way past societies deal with it for many, many years but I’ve always thought it important to talk about it.  One of the only certainties of life is death (and taxes apparently).  Anyhow, Dud and I DID talk about it and now I am so glad and grateful that we did.  Why?  Well, it meant that when he was taken so suddenly I knew without a doubt what music he wanted played at his funeral and where he wanted his ashes.  Don’t get me wrong, we hadn’t planned each others funerals or anything like that.  What we had done though was talk about what we would do when one of us went – I always thought he would go first because he was ten years older than me, just not so soon of course. So, we had listened to ‘Mr. Bojangles’ (Sammy Davis Jr version of course) many times and even shed a few tears together because I knew I would have to have it played at his funeral.  However, the upside of that is the comfort it brought me to know that he had wanted that piece of music and that it was something we had shared in life as well as in his death.  I even asked him if he would ‘come back to me’ – now you are going to think I’m a completely mad person but there you go, grief makes you care less about what other people think and you do what you feel you need to.  So, Dud’s answer to my question was that “Yes”, he would come back to me, if he could. Without going into the full details (at the moment) I’ve had a couple of unexplained (to me) incidents with our cat (Dizzy) and some music playing on the iPod that I certainly hadn’t chosen.  These too have given me comfort, so who’s to say what they really mean.

A short while before I came out to Crete for the summer, I happened upon a book called ‘Water Bugs & Dragonflies’.  It’s a small, short book, designed as a way to explain death to children.  However, I’ve found it helpful and aren’t children just small adults anyway – or maybe adults are just larger children.  So, the essence of the book is that there is a colony of water bugs living quite happily below the surface of a pond.  Every so often though, one of their colony climbs up the stem of a water lily, disappears andWaterbugs+Dragonflies is seen no more.  The water bugs get together and decide that the next one of them who climbs up the lily stem must promise to come back and tell the others where they went, and why.  Not long after this the bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk and ended up on the lily pad, where he fell asleep.  When he awoke he had changed completely – he had become a dragonfly.  He flew around and generally enjoyed the new atmosphere he found himself in. Suddenly he looked down and saw his friends under the surface of the water and remembered the promise that had been made.  Unfortunately  though, now he was a dragonfly he could not longer go into the water…..  The story ends that the dragonfly realises that even if he could go back to the water, his friends would not recognise him, but when they become dragonflies too they will understand.

Having found the Dragonfly book so helpful, I actively looked around at books explaining death to children.  The second one I found is called ‘Always and Forever’ – and is about Otter, MoleAlways+Forever, Fox and Hare who live together in a house in the woods.  Fox is the ‘father figure’ of the house and was always on hand with a helpful suggestion and an encouraging word.  One day, fox goes out into the woods and doesn’t come back, but lays down and dies under an oak tree.  His friends find him, bring him back and bury him in his favourite place (under the willow tree).  They are so sad that Fox has gone and spend their days mourning him and saying how he was always there for them and missing him greatly.  This continues for quite some time and then one day Squirrel comes to visit them and asks where they have been.  They say they are so sad they cannot go out and they miss Fox too much.  They are pleased to see Squirrel though and invite her to stay for supper.  Now, this brings about a change in their attitudes.  Otter cooks a meal and this prompts a discussion about how bad a cook Fox was and they certainly don’t miss his cooking!  The conversation moves to how bad a handyman fox was and how he didn’t know carrots from weeds!  Suddenly, they are all laughing and remembering the funny things about Fox.  Mole makes a bench for them, in Hare’s garden where they sit and recall happy times.  They even think they can hear Fox laughing too… and so he was with them …always and forever.

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Dud doing what he did best – smiling

OK, so now you don’t need to get either of those books yourself (but they are on Amazon if you want to) but I hope you can see the reason I’ve mentioned them.  For those of you who knew Dud I expect you can see some of Fox in him (I certainly can).  His cooking repertoire consisted solely of spaghetti bolognaise, he considered that manuals were for wimps (and then wondered why he ended up with extra bits left over when trying to put some flat pack furniture together) and he certainly didn’t know his weeds from his wisteria!  However, he did know his ‘Law from his Elbow’ (there could be a book in there, oh there is!), he was always smiling and laughing and he always had words of encouragement for any and everyone, no matter who you were.

 

 

I do miss him desperately, but I am beginning to laugh again and to remember the happy times, of which there were so many.

So, I would encourage, no pretty much insist if I could, that you talk to your loved ones about death.  You might not find it easy, but one day you might be glad you did.  I would not wish my journey on anyone, but it is a journey that is slightly more bearable because I know we talked about …… death.

Talking of ‘bearable’ for some reason I find great comfort in a little bear that Dud gave me, who I’ve now named ‘Dudley Bear’.  He comes away with me and is always sporting his bow tie and Spartacus badge.

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“Dudley Bear”

I’m going to end now with some words I found just yesterday on the internet and which really struck a chord:

Your grief is your love, turned inside-out. That is why it is so deep. That is why it is so consuming. When your sadness seems bottomless, it is because your love knows no bounds.

Love you forever Dud, Happy Anniversary xx

 

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2nd July 2016 – beginning to smile again

Next time, and I know now that there will be another blog….I’m going to move on to some of the many topics that Dud and I spoke about but that he hadn’t been able to write about….so I’m going to do it for him.

 

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Dr Dud and ‘I am Spartacus’

Hello again, Mrs Dud here.

So, last time I introduced you to myself and the reason I’ve taken over the blog from Dr Dud (who sadly and tragically passed away on 28th January 2016).  We have now had the funeral, or rather Celebration of his life and what a day it was!  Thank goodness we had booked the larger chapel at Worthing Crematorium as upwards of 150 people gathered last Friday morning (19th February) – the vicar jokingly said that I had told him it would be ‘just’ family and a few close friends!  After the service there we all headed off to St. Nicholas Church in Bramber (well we physically had to leave Dud behind but I know he was still with us).  St. Nicks church was a subject of an earlier blog by Dud, and you can find it here.

Either if you know the church, or if you look on Dud’s blog, you will see that it is not that large a building.  However, thanks to the vicar and a few friends it was slightly reorganised so that we could seat 150 people. Which, as it turns out was not enough ….. it was standing room only!

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St Nicholas’ Church, Bramber (the area to the left is the vestry, so we all had to fit into the rest!)

The service was indeed a celebration of Dud’s life with readings and tributes by his close friends, his son Toby and myself .  As in life, so in death, Dud would not do anything by half and so following the service there was a further round of celebration in St. Mary’s House, Bramber (also the subject of a previous blog…here).  This particular part of the  celebration took the format of sharing memories over a glass (or several) of wine, beer or soft drinks alongside some delicious food prepared by the Maharajah Indian Restaurant (also in Bramber – bit of a theme there!)

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St Mary’s House, Bramber

Now, at St. Mary’s House Toby and I made brief speeches and I then invited everyone to collect a copy of Dud’s book of his blog (‘Have you got the T-Shirt’ .. still available on Amazon by the way) and an ‘I am Spartacus’ badge.  Why the badge I hear you ask…?

Well, to keep up the blatant publicity for earlier blogs by Dr Dud, there was one on, yes you’ve guessed it, Spartacus.  In fact under the category of ‘Hollywood Fact or Fiction’ just one area that Dud was interested in.  Under these categories, he would take a well-known Hollywood blockbuster and see if there was any connection between what you saw on the silver screen and reality – or if indeed there was ever any reality anyway!

Anyhow, the reason for the badges was only loosely based on the person of Spartacus, or even the film with Kirk Douglas (those of you who read Dud’s blog will know there are often only loose, or tenuous at best, connections!)

The real story is that some years ago, we went on holiday to Greece with our good friends Laurance and Jackie and visited the site of Argos (situated in the Peloponnese and near to Mycenae, Tiryns and Midea, which we also visited).  Anyhow, whilst in the ancient theatre of Argos (originally built in the 5th century BC and updated in the 3rd), Dud and Laurance decided to ‘play’ being Emperors at the gladiatorial games, giving the thumbs up or down (I’m sure they were not the first, nor the last to do this!).  Alongside the thumbs down, were also cries of “I’m Spartacus”  (as only men on holiday can do …..)

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Dud and Laurance in the theatre at Argos

Fast forward two years to 2010 when we again went on a holiday adventure with Laurance and Jackie, this time to Turkey.  We covered almost the entire west coast of Turkey from Istanbul down to Bodrum in 9 days!  The main purpose of the trip was a visit to the site of Troy, which held much fascination and interest for Dud and so it was long overdue that we go there.  I could tell you the story about how we arrived at the ‘hotel’ just by the site of Troy only to find that the description of ‘hotel’ was a slight exaggeration! Or I could tell you that when we went down to get some supper, we asked the young lad there if we could see the menu….   He duly handed out menus and then 5 minutes later collected them in again without a word about whether we wanted to order anything or not.  Well, I suppose we had only asked to ‘see’ the menu!  However, the reason for mentioning the trip is that at the very start, Laurance presented us each with an ‘I am Spartacus’ badge which we all wore for the duration of the trip and the phrase was often recounted, usually over, or after, a glass of wine!

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The ‘original’ badge (now only 3 in existence)

It was only right, therefore, that Dud should wear his ‘I am Spartacus’ badge for his final journey, and in memory of many great times with many, many friends we decided that everyone present at St. Mary’s on 19th February should have their own badge too! I know, it sounds strange, but after a couple of glasses of wine, my sister and her friend thought it sounded a fantastic idea and I got a phone call to tell me that 150 badges were ordered and on their way to me!

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Newer version, but less rare …..

Anyhow, it seemed to work and almost all of the badges that were made were taken and worn…some were even found on the floor of the pub next door by rather surprised bar staff!

So, there you have it….and if you do happen to find an orange coloured ‘I am Spartacus’ badge then you will know where it came from and can think of Dud.

Next time … … ..  I’m not sure at the moment, but hopefully something you will find interesting!

Dr Dud by Mrs Dud

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.

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Dud in Mochlos, Crete on the day of the Epiphany, 6th January 2016 (I know you have seen it before – but I love this picture, even more so now )

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” !

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Horatio Bear in our conservatory-good job he can’t talk, or he might have a tale or two to tell about our parties !

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.

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Our wedding in 2011 – we are on the Minoan island of Mochlos

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.

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Croatians celebrating ‘cravat day’ (bet you didn’t know that existed!)

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 …..

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A small selection of the many bow ties owned and worn by Dud

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…

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Me and Dud – with his signature bow tie (oh, did I mention he liked the odd waistcoat too ……)

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!

Merry Christmas

I HOPE YOU ALL having a great Christmas. Takes awhile acoming – then it’s gone in a flash!

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Did you know that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was not Rudolph at all. She was Rudolphina. Yes, she was female. Why? Because only female reindeers still have their antlers (not horns) at Christmas. They grow them in the summer and lose them in the spring after giving birth.

Male reindeers also grow them in the summer but lose them around the end of November/mid-December.   There’s more: female reindeers (Cervidae) are the only female deer that grow antlers – you won’t find them on any other species of  female deer.

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That means we have to rename some of the Chritsmas gang. Dasher, Dancer,
Prancer, Vixen, Comet (who can tell the difference between a male/female comet fish?) can all keep their names. Cupid – as a male god of love, the closest female version of him is probably Venus. Donner becomes Donna, and Blitzen …. hmmm …. let’s stay with that, just don’t argue with her.

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There goes Santa and the girls (Rudolphina appears to be is missing)

The Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry (real name Orvon Grover Autry – yes, I’d change it as well), first made the ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ song a No 1 hit in December 1949.  Autry’s recording sold 1.75 million copies its first Christmas season, eventually selling a total of 12.5 million. Cover versions included, sales exceed 150 million copies, second only to Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’.  Such information!

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Orvon ‘Gene’ Autry (1907-98)

I wish you all a Happy New Year

Latest publications

You’ve seen the film, read the book, and been to the site …. but Have you got the T-Shirt?

You can now buy my blog posts in paperback!  (but without the pictures – boring copyright and all that)

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Available on Amazon – click here

Go on, buy it, you know you want to – knowledge at you fingertips.

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Also now available in paperback:

DO YOU KNOW YOUR LAW FROM YOUR ELBOW?

A simple guide to the English Legal System

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Available on Amazon – click here

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