2020

Day 36 – Identity Crisis on Hadrian’s Wall

9am taxi this morning because he’s busy ferrying the children to school before then. Today’s walk was only 10Km and as all the Roman centurions have long gone, I thought I’d be finished by coffee time. I didn’t bring any coffee in my flask. For some reason I assumed there might be a legacy of the Roman occupation in the form of a coffee bar. But there wasn’t.

The weather was definitely Roman Summer. I could have drank a couple of bottles of frizzante and fruit juice. Nothing, not even an English ice cream van.

It took the Romans 8 years to build the wall. Wouldn’t it have been quicker to simply take control of Scotland? What’s the legacy? It’s not even on the border so they’ll have to build a new wall when Scotland rejoins the EU.

I’m not a big fan of walls, actually. And as for Roman forts, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Like McDonalds.

I met Caroline Kennedy who is the chaplain of Cumbria university mid way along the wall. She recognised me at once and I recognised her too. But neither of us could remember how or where we’d met so it was probably a case of mistaken identity. People used to think I was Marty Feldman before I lost my hair and before he died. Many years ago I was shopping in Woolworths with an American friend when a young lady thrust her police ID card in my face and asked me if we could spare a few minutes to join what we quaintly call an identity parade. My friend assumed she was some kind of stripagram and what she was offering was possibly worth our while pursuing. I translated the proposal, “it’s a line-up” and declined for fear of spending the rest of the 20th century in jail together with an enduring entry on the sex offenders register.

Hadrian’s Wall
There it is again
A turret possibly used as a coffee bar around 123AD
A Roman candle
After all these years WordPress have finally got the captions working
It’s a coast to coast wall
Running out of things to say
Careful. That’s a normal drystone wall, only effective against sheep
That’s enough. Back on the Pennine Way tomorrow.

8 comments on “Day 36 – Identity Crisis on Hadrian’s Wall

  1. I’m with you on not being a fan of walls, Tim. Although Hadrian’s wall is much smaller and more attractive than the monstrosity they’re trying to build here. It’s like an old episode of the Twilight Zone. Are they walling “them” out or “us” in??? I can almost hear a future Prime Minister bellowing “Mr (or maybe Ms?) X, tear down that wall!”

    • You’re right on the money DJ. When Reagan said that, little did Mr Gorbachev imagine that in a few years time he’d be enjoying a pub lunch near Weybridge (true story). Funny old world. Same for the Romans. Look at them now.

  2. Personally, I think it has all the characteristics of a good wall. My compliments to the designers and builders.

    • And of course to Emperor Hadrian who came over to supervise construction.

  3. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora, Tim, I was hoping that the Romans would have some interesting controlled accesses through their walls but obviously not. I’m missing the photos of those weird/wonderful stiles, gates and other accessways from earlier in your walk. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • Thanks Vicky I was frightened of overdoing it but I took some more today. You will be able to see the differences up in the extreme north of England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  4. Celia and David

    Yes, that wall goes on and on and on…..l should know, but what is frizzante? Is it a sparkling Italian something or other?

    • Frizzante is the fizzy water in Italy. I drank pallet loads of it in Italy, that hot summer of 2018

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