An afternoon out at Segedunum

As my birthday treat to myself, I’d booked the Monday and Tuesday off work for a much needed rest from the place. I spent the Monday doing all the things I’d neglected the previous day, and then as Billy was also off on the Tuesday, he suggested we go out for the afternoon. Excellent idea 🙂 Also at his suggestion, we ended up going to Segedunum – at the very end of Hadrian’s Wall

Somehow I had expected it to be in the countryside like the other Roman fort sites, but it was in the middle of a town, which surprised me. We seemed to have timed it just right to miss a school party, and in fact, other than the coach waiting to take the children back to school, the car park was almost deserted. As it turned out, we had picked a good time (both in terms of time of year and time of day I think) and we had the place virtually to ourselves (which meant we got to press buttons, listen to recordings, see videos etc. all uninterrupted. 🙂 ) The entry price was a very reasonable £4.50 each and we went first to the tower to look out over the site.

The tower
View of site from tower
Tower view of river

Next we had a little wander up to the herb garden which was quite nice, if a little overgrown. I spotted plenty of recognisable herbs though – and was also fascinated by the number of wild-growing medicinal herbs all over the site. The ground must be quite rich as the greenery was lush, and wondered, since the site had a hospital building, whether some of the original herbs may have been planted for use by Roman doctors. Certainly there were the right species to treat respiratory, digestive, and urinary ailments which I dare say would have been common enough.

We then went inside the bath house which had been reproduced to give a really good idea of how it would have looked in Roman times. We got to walk through the changing room, the cold room (brrr, I wouldn’t have been in there much!) the warm room (getting better) and the hot room (now that’s where you’d find me!)

Bath house fountain
Hot bath

But we were fascinated by the horrible looking communal toilets – no loo paper in those days so the gullies in front of the “seats” would have had water in them – into which one dipped a sponge on a stick to clean oneself! Yeugh!

After this, we went around the inside exhibitions, learning about the site in Roman times, then in its heyday as a mine producing high quality and quantity coal, and finally as a shipyard making such ships as the Mauretania. Though I enjoyed finding out about the site’s more recent history I was mainly interested in its Roman history and thought the exhibition was very well done.

Billy and I stood to be measured to see if we’d make it as a Roman Cavalry soldier – thankfully, I was safe, being just below the minimum height mark! Phew!

As Billy wasn’t, this is what he would have had to wear, where he’d have to live, and the horse he’d have ridden – but we sneaked him out before they conscripted him 😉

Cavalry Soldier's horse
Cavalry Soldier's barrack room
Cavalry Soldier

After a very pleasant couple of hours we returned home via unfamiliar roads – and were therefore paying close attention to road signs and traffic markings. As we approached one mid-sized roundabout, the road markings clearly indicated that the left lane was only for those turning left, and that traffic going straight over or right should use the right hand lane. So imagine my amazement when, on driving straight over in the right hand lane, a blue car appeared in my left wing mirror trying to cut me up – beeping its horn loudly! As the car tucked in behind me, the driver – a middle aged woman who looked like she knew it all – gestured and mouthed at me as though I’d been at fault! I shook my head at her to show that I had not been, thinking she might do a mental rewind and realise it had been her that was in error, but she carried on ranting – for 3/4 of a mile further! Crazy woman! Not only did she have an attitude problem, but she also couldn’t follow road markings!

Thankfully she didn’t ruin our day and we had enjoyed a bit of time out together – the biggest stress we had was using Nel’s camera which she’d asked us to take so that we could do some photography for her. Billy got rather in to it (it’s a very decent camera) and enjoyed playing with the focus and zoom things – I prefer an aim and shoot myself so was happy to leave him to it 🙂

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