Hadrian’s Wall Blog – Day One
I have finally been persuaded that I should complete the triumvirate and blog about my trip to Hadrian’s Wall. As I didn’t actually walk any of it, and was of the opinion that it was those brave deeds of derring do (and daring poo of ovine, bovine and goatine – see Wordus Nevynicus’ blog here) that the interested reader may want to peruse, I did not feel it relevant to the experience. I have now been led to believe this might not be entirely true.
It is a tale of wit and woe, of high and low (in their case, literally, too – see Rufus Baronicus’ blog here), of ‘wahay!’ and ‘oh noooooo..’, of overplan-to-distraction and go-with-the-flow. I’ll stop now. You may notice my Day One starts with the actual first day of the holiday, as opposed to the Walk unlike the boys. This Walk was something both had always wanted to do; this was more than a holiday. I feel quite lucky and proud I was able to facilitate this in any way for them. This is my Blog so is not an “ambition filled” tale; this is what happens when I am left alone the support staff get up to.
It was not the trip as originally planned; the Original Party contained 3 cars and 5 people. The OP contained Wordus Nevynicus (WN) and Rufus Baronicus (RB – I’m not typing those out every time) being the aged old fools brave heroes, and a Support Team trio of one-day-walk/rest-of-the-time-chill&fun, one of whom being your Insane Fool
Total Mug Humble Writer. This allowed for five days walking, in which one of said Support Team could each go out on a day, the rest of the time sharing pick-up/drop-off Duty and enjoying historical/other (to be decided) activities with friends. The Actual Party contained 1 car and 3 people. Two of the Support Team fell by the wayside, cruelly afflicted at the last minute and leaving with entirely understandable reasons. One of these had a car. Second car was ripped from our plans through a combination of rip-off and outright dishonesty (the fecker will rue the day they crossed RB!). After much panic wise reflection your HW decided to pretend I would be taking a spa break/historical odyssey and it would be fine to be, ostensibly, alone for almost a week on the only holiday I was going to have all year and that I really needed because I was feeling very very very very stressed out and … I’ll just have a lie down.
On 11th September 2011 at stupid ‘o clock in the morning, ignoring reports of hurricanes and severe weather warning from the Met Office, HW and WN set off in their trusty steed Orlando (she doesn’t know what gender he is, so is multigendered and named as such – google it! No, it’s not O Bloom…) to collect RB from ‘somewhere in the Midlands’. This would be the last day WN would be driving for some time, Orlando was to be my constant companion for many, many hours to come. Of course we had packed everything we needed as in the case of my sleeping bag/duvet, and that we had specially bought, in the case Simon’s weatherproof reflective (in case of falling off cliffs) coat. Of course we had.
That discovery awaited us on arrival at Greencarts Bunkhouse (see picture below), owned by Sandra part 1 (both our landladies were called Sandra; perhaps there is a lack of imagination available names in northern England?).
We were to share a dorm room with bunk beds. RB and I took the bottom two, WN the bunk atop your HW (doesn’t happen often, hehehehe). It had been a long and arduous drive, with a singular lack of Costa Coffees, which frankly should be a crime or something. We arrived in daylight, but that did not last for long. The winds were strong and worries were expressed and swiftly quashed with regard to the opening foray for the Midlife Crisis Brave Heroes first day of walking. We swiftly unpacked (well, left our suitcases in the bedroom and got out what we needed) and wondered, what to eat? Sandra had told us of a friend who did Take-Out, menu on blackboard, if you ordered before 6.30, so after brief “Shall We?” “Yes” discussion attempt was made to order. A short panic as the phone didn’t pick up or have a signal (!) our repast was ordered, and our bunkmates arrived. With their two energetic dogs, Merlin and Skye. Merlin immediately threw himself at RB, who was to prove quite the animal magnet throughout the week. Somehow we even ended up dogsitting as they went to the B&B Sandra Pt1 also ran for the home-cooked dinner she provided (eh? What? Didn’t tell us!? How rude…).
The food we ordered arrived – it was clear there was little choice for delivery out there and thus quality was not high on the list of priorities of the Chef but it was hot, had some vegetables and more importantly, was the only food we had. We ate. I noticed a picture on the wall, which seemed most pertinent given the newly budding relationship between Merlin and RB.The dogs proved fairly easy to settle down and didn’t trouble RB’s leg/rear too much (I think he enjoyed it), so we settled into an evening of Trivial Pursuit and not bemoaning the total lack of internet connection. It was very pleasant; I won once, RB twice, WN sadly left with five cheeses each time. It was decided where to drop the Decrepit GeriatricsBrave Heroes on the morrow (Heddon-On-The-Wall) which appeared to be near a town where I might be able to buy food to sustain us for the next week. Corbridge. That was to be my destination. According to some leaflets Sandra Pt1 left lying around, there was even a Roman Fort there. I would get some history in me. That would be what I would do. At last, I had a plan.
The lovely couple returned to point out the tree that was directly outside our bunk room had been blown over in the gales going on outside, which none of us had noticed. It was up when we arrived, but clearly had assumed the horizontal position. Not even this news could divert excitement or cause worry about the utterly ridiculous thing it was these two Brave Heroes were about to undertake. However, it was decided that RB would allow WN to wear his waterproof and RB would wear his normal denim. After all, the weather was going to be lovely, just windy. They’d be fine…I left the Totally Unprepared Brave Heroes to their beers and excited anticipation, and wended my way to bed. Which turned out to be very comfortable, and the hurricane outside soon soothed me to sleep.
Here endeth the Tale of Day One.