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Monday, 3 October 2011

Wot aye dyd ohn mi hollidaes

At the risk of boring you (oh, must you go so soon?  But I'd only just got started!) I'm going to tell you about my recent weekend.

I spent it stalking Hadrian's Wall.  I had a quick squint at Hadrian's Ceiling and a bit of a quick tour of Hadrian's Shed, but it is with his Wall that I am chiefly concerned here.  Now, I am sure that most of you have had experience of trying to find walls and realise that you must move quickly and quietly in order to see these elusive creatures which can, in extreme cases either a) follow you around an entire county, or b) shuffle away from the places you expect to find them and relocate to entirely different places.

Here, in fact is a stretch of said wall.  Looking utterly immobile, all innocent and standing around, la la la, been here for centuries, not going anywhere, dah de dah.  It even hums to itself, it's that good at seeming to be a permanent fixture.  Note the grass growing on the top and its apparent firm location in the landscape.  This is a part of the wall which has been brought into domestication and may even be described as 'tame'.

Wild walls are harder to find.  I was accompanied on my trip by an experienced wall-locator, someone with a past history of being able to find rocks piled up one on top of another and also well-versed in the identification of said edifices.  "That's a wall," he can say, without fear of contradiction.  We donned the appropriate wall-stalking gear (pictures of me dressed as a breeze-block are currently unavailable) and crept through the landscape, making occasional wall-luring sounds (chisel on rock, the sound of mortar being thickly applied and, unaccountably, in my case a sad sort of 'honking' sound).  But the wall was too clever for us.

We were told there had been a wall here only the day before.  Now there was nothing but rock-droppings.  Some of them dropped quite a long way...

Eventually we started to hallucinate walls.  At one point I went completely mad and jumped up onto a pile of bricks declaring that I had found it, and that Hadrian should have used better glue.  Sad, I know.  But, at last we got word of a sighting, whispered between those who know their walls and we rushed to the aforementioned location (which I dare not divulge here, because now is the wall breeding season and to disturb a rutting wall is to invite death).

Here, eventually, we found one, and it had young with it!  How lucky is that!  Of course, having seen it and photographed it, we left quietly so as not to disturb it.  But don't bother going here to look, it will be miles away by now.


Talli Roland said...

Those walls are quite tricksy, aren't they? One day there, the next day gone...

Chris Stovell said...

They do lurk about in some fabulous places though, don't they? And I can see blue sky *sighing enviously*.

Thanks for your kind comment - what a year, eh?