I’m just about at the end of a fantastic residency at the Museum of Antiquities, University of Newcastle. This is part of the Museum of My life Project facilitated by New Writing North. I have been encouraging people (a great group, by the way!) to write poems based on artefacts in the Roman collection. We’ve had terrific support from Lindsay Allason Jones and Clare Pickersgill and all the staff at the Museum. Gilly Rogers, (whom I’ve worked with before and who’s great fun), has helped members of the group construct their own individual, personal museums in wooden boxes and our exhibition is launched on 3 April and runs until June.
Anyone who gets the opportunity should make a visit, there are so many stories in the stones and staff are tremendously helpful. The history in this little museum is your history; our history.
Meanwhile, here’s my ‘Recipe for Englishness’ inspired by some of the cooking utensils on display:
Take a couple of hundred Roman soldiers,
spice them up with notions of Empire,
add one Governor, sick for Rome,
sprinkle liberally with bargained pepper,
grind down in a mortarium, huge as a wall,
sweeten generously with honey and wine
then set aside in an amphora,
and cool to 1AD Northern climes.
After two months
add the rotting guts of several local wild boar,
a pinch of broken Celtic hearts,
some onion (for tears).
Pour into olive-oiled black-burnished bowls
and leave to set for two thousand years.