10pm – Becky’s House
In our world history books as children, I remembered reading about Hadrian’s Wall, about how it signified the furthest extent of the Roman Empire. Built in 122 AD, Hadrian’s Wall runs about 80 miles between the borders of England and Scotland and stood 13 feet tall. And today, I got to see it in person. Or at least what’s left of it.
A friend and coworker of Katie’s (Torleif, I believe his name is, although I may have spelled it wrong; he’s Norwegian) is a wall warden at Hadrian’s Wall and often takes tour groups up and down it. He agreed to take us up there today. We arranged to meet him after we had lunch with Katie’s church here in Carlisle, the Vineyard. Seriously awesome people. I walked in and got a hug right off the bat, and they asked us for help setting up. And shoot that’s my comfort zone and Andy’s too! So we set up tables and chairs, and I ended up in the kitchen helping prepare the meal while Andy managed to stumble on to the UK’s version of The Colonel … except his name is David. (lol!)
We had a great time getting to know the people that Katie goes to church with, and there was a TON of food. Barbeque even, although I have to admit that their version of a barbecue grill wasn’t exactly what I was expecting!
We ate. We chatted. We laughed a lot. We just had a simply wonderful time. I’m so thankful for the Vineyard church in Carlisle. As I told their leader, Andy, they were truly an answer to prayer for me because I had hoped asked that Katie would find a thriving, effective, solid, Spirit-led family here in the UK. And she did.
And then … we went to the wall. It wasn’t a very long drive out. Katie and I chatted the whole way, and Andy and Torleif talked the whole way. I think they were having a good time talking history and archaeology and all sorts of other things.
We only stopped in three places along the wall, mainly because I don’t think we would have had time or energy to see the rest of them. The first one was pretty small. The second one was a little bigger. The third stop? Well that defies explanation and I will just have to get a chance to post pictures soon.
In all seriousness, this was one of the coolest things I’ve ever had the privilege to do, but it was a hard hike. We climbed up rocky stairs. We climbed down rocky stairs. And then we did it again and again and again. We hiked up grassy hills and down again and again and again. The view was spectacular. And the wall never varied. The stones were all the same. It kept moving forward, straight as an arrow. It was amazing.
And the view? Let’s just say that the photos can’t possibly do it justice.
And it was quite chilly and very windy. And my camera battery died just as we were ending so I didn’t get any photos of the return journey, but some of you might recognize this photograph:
If you’ve ever seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this is the tree and the segment of wall where Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman (mostly Kevin Costner) fight off the Sherriff of Nottingham’s goons.
I’m not going to lie. I was spent, literally dragging myself every step of the way back to Torleif’s Peugeot. (Yes. He drives a Peugeot.) Once back at Katie’s place, we had a choice. We considered having a bunch of Katie’s friends over for dinner, but I was so exhausted I didn’t think I could handle it. And I want to be able to hang with her friends when I’m not randomly bursting into giggles or falling asleep sitting up. So we will probably do that tomorrow night.
Instead, Andy walked down to a local fish and chips place and brought some back for dinner, and we sat in the lounge and I got to introduce both Katie and Andy to the sheer awesomeness that is BBC’s Sherlock. Success! They both liked it!
Now Andy and I are back at Becky’s house. The sheets still weren’t dry, so we have draped them over the kitchen table to air dry. We’ll deal with the rest of the laundry tomorrow night hopefully.
I think the Mallons, Katie’s host family, should be back in town tomorrow night, so I’m excited to finally get to meet them face to face! Tomorrow we’re also going to wander around Carlisle City Centre, so that should be fun as well.
Wow, I think the gulls have finally stopped cawing. I think I’m going to try to sleep while I can, and I’m hoping the sheer exhaustion of the day will be enough to keep me out cold. But what a day it’s been. Tomorrow should be much more low key, and then Tuesday morning we’re off to London!