Reflections on Walls

Emperor Hadrian’s Wall, in northern Britain, was started in 122 AD and spanned 73 modern miles (80 Roman miles). The purpose of the wall was twofold. One, it kept the Romans safe from the invading Picts and two, it provided controlled entrance and exit from the country. The wall reached 15 feet in height and included a six foot trench, called a vallum. A formidable task to build, the wall took six years to complete. Over the years the mortar has crumbled, many of the stones have been removed, and the remaining sections of the Wall function as tourist attractions.


A portion of modern day Hadrian’s Wall.

Although my retaining wall is a miniscule version of Hadrian’s Wall, it too is crumbling due to aging mortar. And, although I don’t have Picts invading my land, I have yellow jackets. Able to squeeze their bodies into the tiniest crevice, they are claiming ownership of my wall and upsetting my peaceful existence, much like the Picts and the British farmers. It’s time to repair my wall and reclaim my territory!

wall breach

A portion of my mini Hadrian’s Wall

When the 90 foot retaining wall was built in 1930, like Hadrian’s Wall, the purpose was twofold as well. One, it served to keep the river out and two, it allowed the land to be built higher than the water level, essentially, keeping the land in.

Resting Mama

The retaining wall also provides a great spot to warm ones feathers.

Instead of Roman warriors (Hadrian’s Wall wasn’t built using slaves, as many believe, but actually Roman warriors who needed to be kept busy), I have a 20 year old son. I enlisted his help to mix the mortar, and scrape the loose stones and dirt out of the crevices.

Cris, mising the mortar.

Chris, mixing the mortar.

Besides Chris and the yellow jackets, one of the geese decided to keep me company, watching my progress like a union foreman.

Having never worked as a mason, I spent the first hour learning what proper consistency of mortar works best and how to apply it. Spraying the area, after removing any loose stones, is vital for proper adhesion.

wall prep

Note to self: get a bigger spray bottle.

Four hours, and two cans of wasp spray later, a two foot section of the wall had been repaired. Sigh, it’s going to be a long summer.

Blessed be :]




About tinthia

Wondering, searching, and wandering, I'm an earth witch with a desire to get it right in my lifetime. The flow of the river feeds my inner goddess and fuels my soul. Blessed be. :}
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