Just one of a collection of sad pedantic photos stored on the Downie computer, most of which mean nothing to anybody else. Yes, it is a large empty field with a few lumps in it and a row of houses on the horizon. (Click on it for the larger version and you can see the Lake District fells in the background. And get an even better view of the grass.)
The point, though, is that it’s all that’s currently visible of the Roman fort at Maryport, on the Cumbrian coast. This was one of a chain of defences built to keep an eye on the marauding northerners, lest they sneak around the western edge of the border.
Had it not been perishing cold when we were there last year I’d probably have another photo of the empty field next door to this, where the garrison’s civilian hangers-on used to live.
Pretty soon, though, there should be better photos to be had – because they’re going to dig, hooray! Who knows what wonderful things are lying there waiting to be found? Whatever they are, they”ll be displayed in a new museum on site.
The name of Rianorix, a character in the second Ruso book, came from a tombstone at Maryport. With luck, we’ll find out more about the lives of the real Rianorix’s friends and relations. There are plans to get a lot of the work done by 2012, so there won’t be long to wait.
In the meantime, the current Senhouse Museum, housed in a fine Victorian military building, is well worth catching before its collection is moved. (We really enjoyed a morning in the aquarium down on the sea front, too. Hey, if everybody stops buying the Ruso books maybe I’ll go for a job with the Tourist Board.)