Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Roman Wind Turns My Passengers Pale

'I speak Latin with a Geordie accent, I'm afraid,' said the guide at the start of the tour.

I tagged along, following a group who were looking at various Roman ruins. Now, Roman ruins can be an acquired taste. Personally, I find history only comes to life after the Russo-Turkish War in 1877-8 and that the Romans were relatively dull by comparison.

How wrong could I be.

The guide was excellent. He brought it all to life and kept putting forward interesting scenarios and theories. What would have happened if ... imagine if ... why would they have done that ... history would have been different if only... He was the ultimate expert.

The weather was the usual North British offering. Clear, bright and sunny, meaning it was possible to see thirty miles in each direction. But accompanied by a biting wind which began to tell on the passengers. One by one they started creeping back onto the bus to thaw out. One person began the day looking pale and proceeded to demonstrate a spectrum of different whiteness as the day progressed. When the packed lunch arrived, not one wanted sit outside.

The sites were busy. There were school trips from around the country. I found myself parked between two elderly coaches. Both were depositing liquids onto the ground. One was leaking diesel and on the other, a puddle was forming under a sign on a panel stating: TOILET DROP. Tight school budget meant bargain basement buses, I thought as I stepped gingerly over the spilled liquid.

For some reason I thought of the Roman poet, Lucretius. Perhaps because he wrote: 'Constant dripping hollows out a stone.' He could have been a bus driver.

1 comment:

  1. I liked your post very much accidental bus driver.

    I truly believe that Latin probably was spoken with a Geordie accent or at the very least - with the Northern twang at the time. Apparently the native tribes spoke Celtic which was more akin to we would have had 'Welsh Latin' 'Syrian Latin', 'Dacian Latin', 'Spanish Latin', 'Gaulish Latin' and so on...considering the huge mixture of Roman Army troops present along the Wall.

    Graeme, our archaeological guide, certainly knows his stuff. He is right that we can listen to what he says and then go away and question it. It is a never ending subject...

    Liked your Lucretius quote. Referring to the title of your blog...I believe it was Julius Caesar who said "Experience is the teacher of all things." Perhaps he was a bus driver too?