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Chedworth Roman Villa

Yesterday was the second anniversary of Christopher’s death, and I’m feeling an awful lot better than I did this time last year. However, I knew I would still be feeling somewhat wobbly, so I have consigned the bid into the capable hands of two of my colleagues and taken a few days off work. Mind you, I’m so stressed out about the bid, as well as everything else, that I’ve not been able to relax and stop worrying about it. My colleagues have been sending me discreet texts during the day telling me how it’s going, and I’ve had a full debrief every afternoon which has been a big help.

My sister has been staying  to keep me company, and we decided to go out yesterday to visit a National Trust site. I read on Colin’s blog that Chedworth Roman Villa has some newly-displayed mosaics, so we went to see for ourselves. I have been there before, a few times in fact, with Christopher, but that was several years ago. The site has had a lot of investment since then from Lottery funding, including a new building over the west wing of the villa, so that you can now clearly see the dining room, bath house and connecting corridor, with some rather fine mosaics. Fine that is by British standards – I’ve seen much better in Italy and North Africa, and Chedworth is decidedly provincial compared to some of those – but colourful and well worth seeing none the less.

Winter from the Four Seasons mosaic

There was quite al arge team of conservators, at least some of them apparently students from Durham University (judging by their sweatshirts) who were cleaning, repairing, and recording the mosaics, in full view of lots of inquisitive punters. There were also some costumed re-enactors explaining the Roman way of life to anyone who would listen.  I think my favourite  mosaic was the “Four Seasons” in the dining room. This is “Winter” – the man is wearing a hooded cloak, the birrus britannicus, which was specially designed to cope with the cold British climate. He’s holding a hare which he has presumably just caught, which is going to form his dinner. The villa was very well appointed with hypocaust heating systems, and two separate heated bath houses, so the owners were well prepared to cope with harsh Cotswold winters! The villa was clearly the home of someone very rich who spared no expense on his creature comforts. There was lots of imported Samian ware and foodstuffs from all over the Roman Empire – it was a case of how the other half lives, only 1700 years ago!  We had a very tasty, if somewhat over-priced, lunch in the National Trust tea-room (also new since last time I was there), then came home and collapsed in front of the Olympics on the TV.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. neil briscombe | 10 August 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gillian,

    This morning we all went to the country side centre which is just opposite St. Richards; and it being August I have been thinking a lot about you and Chris lately. I am sure many people have.

    Dropping you a line here as have been meaning to email you for ages; but haven’t my pulled contacts off my old server’s back ups yet – will have a go this weekend. I am on a mac as I type which is still weird for me even after seven months developing on it. Its a lot better since I pulled several keys off the keyboard though! I still want to throw it out of the window several times an hour. Personally I think Steve Jobs has got at least as much as Bill Gates to answer for in the resurgence of Anglo-Saxon (re: you flaky Win laptop).

    We’re in the National Trust too. They don’t count how many children are in a family so it’s extremely good value for us. Not been to Chedworth, just checked it out on their site and it looks great esp the mosaics. Think we will try and go there this week end.

    Would be lovely to have you over again – it’s been way too long.

    All our love,

    Neil & Family.

  2. Q&J | 11 August 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi. Thanks for message on the blog. Glad you enjoyed Chedworth – not the largest of mosaics but in a rural setting.
    There are also some good walks around there too.
    We didn’t try the lunch but the cakes (gluten free too for J) were good.
    Glad the day was OK for you in the end.
    All the best