Monday, 13 February 2017

Find at the Rickmansworth Roman Ruins

Exciting Find at the Rickmansworth Roman Ruins

It was the morning Sunday church service at the Rickmansworth Young Ladies College and through the open stained glass windows the girl’s voices rang out like an angel choir and were carried high on the gentle zephyrs which blew across the vast playing fields. It was John Hughes Hymn “Guide me Oh thou great Redeemer”

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more

Tamzin Lacy was not present at this feast of choral music; I assumed she had been placed on detention again. Until I was brought up to speed I was not sure if it was because of the continuing vendetta with Miss Pringle or a general issue of the bad blood that existed between them that Phaedra had spoken about. As it turned out I had misjudged both Tamzin and Miss.Pringle her absence was explained as she was called to the front office to receive the news her parents had turned up unexpectedly to inform her that her father was about to leave on an immediate Government overseas posting.

So I will relate the story about a metal plate covered in mysterious Chinese symbols that was recently discovered in a field near Sparrows Nest close to the famous Roman ruins at Chenies during a dig behind the Red Lion Pub discovered by the gardener’s son, Raymond.

Incidentally it was Phaedra that reckoned Raymond had the hots for Tamzin.

Anyway initially the plate was thought to be from the first Ming Dynasty which would have put it at around 700 years old. I think they were Mongols; not that it makes any difference but I have to question what were the Ming people doing near Rickmansworth anyway.

The plate was dispatched to London to the Tate people for evaluation. It was discovered it was not actually from the Ming Dynasty at all but one of 15 million or so made for the European market by a Chinese company as a baking dish and heavily marketed on EBay.

This find triggered a lot of interest by the girls speculating that the painting that hung in the library of a Chinese Girl was a lost Rembrandt. Miss Sefton googled the painting and found it was one of millions of mass produced prints referred to as the ‘Green Lady’ a picture as kitsch as three flying ducks that graced the living room walls of people in the West with copies still appearing from Nigeria and India.

Google informs us the original painting sold for 1.5 Million pounds, even today a fair copy could fetch as much as 2 pound 50 pee, or even more.

I heard some terribly exciting news late this afternoon, Mr Crisis the Science teacher was back on staff. Patience said she overhead Miss. Sefton say to Miss. Pringle “He may well have come from the Constellation of Epsilon Bo├Âtes but he was good at his job and therefore I see no reason why I should not re-employ him”. This was a bad omen for stuck up Madeline Carter-Brown as the girls used to enjoy watching Mr. Crisis hypnotising Madeline during the Science lesson into believing she was a chicken.

Her fears were unfounded as Miss Sefton had since forbid Mr. Crisis to hypnotise ‘ANY’ of the girls during the science class. Rhonda had the presence of mind to keep well away from him after the last debacle of being accidentally taken to Bootis and needless to say Rhonda’s mother also had a word or two to say to Mr. Crisis about the matter. Nevertheless it was fortuitous that Mr. Crisis did return.

We had four houses, Boadicea, Nightingale, Victoria and Pankhurst and although we were a comparatively small college what we lacked in student numbers was made up by the fees the governors charged our parents. The money channeled into my education would have bought a small African country or at least the Isle of Wight.

In our dorm Boadicea, there were 20 beds, 10 girls each side. My bed was placed between Patience and Rhonda’s. After lights out we used to whisper to each other about things that only boarders would understand. I always thought Rhonda’s imagination could be termed wild and somewhat disturbing.

Before the German warship story she told me she has seen ghosts. She recounted at length of seeing a legion of Roman soldiers walk through the Concert Hall wall, across the corridor and through the Science room wall. She said they looked dirty, tired and generally fed up as if they just wanted to get home and have a bath. I don’t know if she was trying to frighten me, but if she was it was working.

The truth of Rhonda’s imaginations took a frightening turn a few weeks later. It was the night after the yearly prize giving and Rhonda and I were detailed to tidy up the concert hall. We were to put the chairs back in their positions, push the piano to its normal position and pick up any pieces of paper lying around.

We left the concert hall around 9 pm and were walking along the corridor between the concert hall and the class rooms when Rhonda who was ahead of me turned round and went instantly white. She pointed her finger over my shoulder and said “My God, they’re here” I turned to see an apparition of a number of Roman Legionaries with shields and spears appearing through the concert hall wall, marching straight cross the corridor and into the science room wall. They looked tired, dirty, unkempt, and without expression. There were no sounds

I clutched at Rhonda’s arm. “I’m scared”

Rhonda said “don’t be, they won’t hurt us, they are just ghosts”

I had a lot of respect for Rhonda after that night. I also took her fantasies a lot more seriously too. I suggested that we keep this ghostly sighting to ourselves, we don’t want any teasing by the other girls, and the doctor might put us both on some sort of medication followed by a course of intensive counselling. Rhonda instantly understood.

I had a change of heart the following morning; I couldn’t stop thinking about the poor Roman soldiers that couldn’t get home so I suggested to Rhonda we tell Mr. Crisis, he was a man of science he would have an answer. If we told Miss Pringle or Miss Sefton no doubt they would say it’s a result of a rush of pubescent estrogen or something just as silly.

“In the lunch hour let’s talk to Mr. Crisis he usually sits on the bench in the quadrangle doing the Times crossword.” I suggested.

The following day as we approached Mr. Crisis we were a little apprehensive as to who was going to broach the subject, for as far as he was concerned there were no reports of girls with psychological problems. I was still in awe of Rhonda’s bravery on the ‘night of the Romans’ that I said I would ask him.

I recounted everything that happened that evening. Mr. Crisis listened without interrupting and just nodded. He waited until I had finished, paused then said, “look come and see me after the holidays, they won’t be going anywhere they will still b
e here after the holiday break, I promise you I will get them home”.

But that is another story.