Tuesday, 14 April 2015


A slightly better excuse than last time I had a big break from this blog.

Silvia Marianne made her entrance just after midnight on the 18th March, and since then I've been pretty much glued to her- when she's not feeding I want to cuddle her and gaze at her perfect little face. She's unimpressed by archaeology though...

This is great, for now. She'll be a month old, and although it's not been easy (dural puncture, mastitis, all the fun of the forceps fair) it's been bliss getting to know each other and not thinking tough thoughts about things that matter- like dead people and how we think about them.

It's the practicalities of how we think about them that are now starting to worry me. If I take Silvie to the shops, we can dash to the car for a feed. Or a cafe, or even (in some blissfully manipulative shops that sell baby things) a parent and child room. These are options that are not going to be possible in libraries, as I research my new book. I half jokingly floated the idea of bringing a baby to the Sackler Library in Oxford- their lovely Twitter account confirmed it's a no. I'm not surprised- but I'm still slightly disappointed. How are mothers going to access knowledge when baby isn't welcome? I totally get that a squalling infant, projectile milk puke and nappies aren't a good match for ancient books. It just sucks (no pun intended) that the only way I can get my increasingly grubby mitts on the books I need will be by pumping a ton of milk and leaving baby with Daddy on a Saturday- when the library closes early.

I guess that's the reality of having a small person who is totally reliant on you for sustenance. Were Daddy an academic, he could swan off to the library any time he liked. I can't fight the biology, but it does seem a shame that there isn't some space, some flexibility, some understanding. A little room, somewhere in the bowels of a library, where you could plonk your potentially noisy little nuisance and read while they slept, making your crucial notes while they suckle. Just an idea.

In other news, just as I was feeling really rotten (mastitis is NOT fun), an article I wrote has been published in the journal Antiquity. Have a look- I am a scholar, and not just a milk parlour. Or maybe both. That's why I'd quite like a boob room in the Bodleian. Please?

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