6/3/06 01:55 am - all things are quite silent - as de-picted...
all visible and identifiable picts having been duly repelled at birdoswald, marie-therese'n'jeffrey - with yr hmbl srppnt in tow - duly tramped along the wall inspecting the next few milecastles, the strategically emplaced-by-helicopter bridge and the strategically-but-somewhat-differently-placed bridge it replaced [a], and our having progressed on up the hill, down and up again, under the railway bridge and onto the - sam smith's? - pub, where we all refreshed ourselves with a substantial meal (mine being rather more substantial than intended, as m-th failed to avail herself of more than a modicum of it, as opposed to the half share she undertook to consume, the rat!), we repaired (via the last milecastle we were inspecting, and checking for recent signs of unfriendly irruption) to dacre house, known to be a friendly place for coffee, chat & entertainment by observing (and occasionally taking part in) the interplay of the generations of good women running the establishment, sometimes with a tape measure, and formerly also the site of a room full of assorted antiques, curios, junk - and books! - for sale, where the sign in the window advertising "coffee", and that on the road-side corner of the house advertising "tea - coffee - meals", had been joined by one offering "house for sale"; we were made welcome inbetween shepherding representatives of a possible fourth (or fifth?) generation, or friends roughly contemporaneous thereunto, jeffery & my choice of real coffee noted and shortly provided, and we awaited m-th's reappearance in the car (it having been decided that she would make the return trip rather faster unencumbered by us; and possibly in time to visit the priory we had variously & separately passed en route to birdoswald), we were able to observe a little of the afternoon, be recognised as having been present during the great tape measure incident, and having provided a closely comparable tale in that of nana (my maternal grandmother), an aunt, and another maltreated cutlery service, the repetition of which tale for jeffrey's benefit being kept until the reappearance of m-th, we were quickly caught up with (and various of the youngest generation caught up, and once more secured) matters, it proving that an anticipated divorce was alas necessitating the sale of the house; so if you have the chance to visit the wall in the vicinity of birdoswald, which i can recommend, this spring-summer season, you should imnsho jump at it - and take the trail of the lonesome pilum along it, via the two bridges, to gilsland [c] and the friendly coffee - tea - meals family of dacre house, while you yet can. and yes, the wall bus passes through/by, and stops if required - even on sundays.
[a] - after a few centuries - and doubtless more than a couple of centuries [b]
[b] - yes, yes, and countless sentries, too; but i thought the pun too weak - and obvious - to be worth making)
[c] - east of brampton, east of carlisle on the A69