|A scale model of what Fishbourne Roman Palace may have looked like|
Like many of these places where the remains of places of historic interest are found, along with the historic find, a load of ancillary stuff has sprung up to make a visit a fun trip for all the family - a research facility with separate tour, a scale replica model of what the original site might have looked like (along with a ship placed in a now-known-to-be impossible shoreline), a museum, and (everyone's favourite!) a little shop!
A small self-indulgent digression, if I may. I, like so many others, have a bad habit of collecting things. Over time what I collect varies, but there is usually some class of thing (or sometimes, to the detriment of my bank balance, things) that I will irrationally want to acquire more of. Also, interestingly, most of these collections can be fuelled by tat that is offered up in the little shops that support historically interesting sites. Growing up it was glass marbles. When they were lost I built up a massive collection of keyrings and keyfobs. Much later, after finishing my degree, it was decks of playing cards. Now, my fetish-de-jour seems to be acquiring dice games. The collection is currently small, comprising Zombie Dice (plus expansion) and three sets of Rory's Story Cubes, but the Fishbourne shop presented the opportunity to buy "Tabvla" -- a Roman predecessor to backgammon played with three dice -- and I could hardly refuse such a generous offer for five quid.
|An arch kit to keep kids (of all ages) amused :)|
Anyway, I have a hard time letting irritating little things like this go, and over a burger at Byrons with a friend, I started to relate this tale of possible ambiguous apostrophe abuse. However my diatribe was distracted when I noticed our waitresses' T-Shirt. "Today's special". 'You are or it is?' I thought better of asking when she asked us if everything was all right. Looking round, the male waiters were instead decorated with the singular "medium". The possible ambiguities here are great - cooked meat preference? t-shirt size? or perhaps a secondary job skill that could provide hours of out-of-this-world tableside amusement during dessert? I ordered a mint tea instead of finding out, shame on me.
 The importance of Fishbourne in Roman times is actually pretty unknown. A rather interesting question posed by my father revealed that there no known written references to Fishbourne (as in, the Roman name for the location is unknown), despite it being (currently) unique in terms of size and scale in Britain.
 The number of its v.s. it's mistakes in my Ph.D. thesis was almost legendary.