Tonight we start as such, having reached the wall officially and even briefly seen a section but as yet without the rigours of actually having walked anywhere save for the car to the bunkhouse which was of precious little historical interest.  The weather is as unwelcoming as it could be with the remnants of Hurricane Irene buffeting the farmhouse laying waste to the trees across the pastures. Had the Romans to deal with this sort of inclemency it is a wonder they didn’t abandon the island altogether and make for the more familiar and hospitable surroundings of Gaul erecting the wall across the coast of Normandy to repel would-be insurgent help from Britannia

The task facing us remains a little unknown, as drinking, smoking and party companions we are well-rehearsed but as walking compadres this is a new adventure.  There is solidarity that comes with our ever-advancing years.  For men of our age have as many niggles as needs, the localised war wounds of the urban oppressed, deprived of proper oxygen and exercise over many years that has led our muscles to revolt upon activation of any kind so ill-prepared are they for sustained travail.  There is little more pitiful than the awakened middle-aged, aware of having lead the body to ruin during the healthy days, now old enough to be cogniscient of the fact that to continue at this pace heralds certain peril.  It is too late for some damage not to have been done but there is a sandwich period during which the body has begun to give out but the mind is yet to accept the fact.  The body cannot recover as it once did, when youthful exuberance and excessive quantities of alcohol could be shrugged off by a good nights sleep on someone’s floor or municipal bus shelter.  The wanton abandon of youth should come with a greater health warning than cigarettes or alcohol for they are merely the conduits of the mind’s trip to self-destruction central.  Now we must fight the ravages of these far distant times of our past with its withering of the short-term memory that has made all of us either forget that which we meant to pack for the journey (in this case bespoke coat and shoes) or whether or not we did pack it after all and yet make no mistake about our metal mule being the lighter for it.  Now we require much to make a stay comfortable that we would have baulked at before  Now our cocktails are those of the pharmaceutical combatants to depression and general uniform pain, a dulling of the more excessive peaks and troughs that might once have seemed the excitement of life when devoid of responsibility.

That all being said we will be walking in the steps of so many hundreds of thousands or millions these last nigh 2000 years since the great edifice was built. The history and the well-trodden path will yield much of discovery both natural and personal. It is if you like the sedate form of road trip undertaken by the slowing-down who recognise that breakneck speed means you miss much of fascination.  As grateful as anything to be removed, if only for a short time, from the daily life as its heel pushes one’s face deep into the fetid mud of internal politics and corporate greed that suffocates creativity and growth.  For now we are free to dream and speculate on what is to come in this adventure rather than dread that which greets us on our return.  We have sanctuary and refuge provided by the structure built originally to preserve the relative comfort of the furthest reach of the empire from the woad-bedecked madmen of the north whose incomprehensible gibberish seems at times to have changed little over the millennia.

We will sally forth tomorrow buoyed by tales of hostelries, history and the worst of the howling gale being over for the next few days. Come what may it will be an experience and one that defines the transition to the stage of life that is to come.  I am the last one up, waiting for the urge to sleep to come upon me, it may be the last night in which I have the luxury of doing so.  Moritori te salutant.

For the views of our patient designated driver (later to be known as Evil Prefect) they can be found here.

Songs Of The Day ~ My Bloody Valentine – Soon; Squeeze – Up The Junction