For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Fifty Conversational Topics We Covered While Walking The Wall

Inspired by Friko's recent request for a précis of our Hadrian's Wall conversations, and recalling my own post about fifty objects I found discarded by the roadside between Seville and Salamanca, I thought it might be fun to make a list of Fifty Conversational Topics We Covered While Walking The Wall. So here it is, in no particular order...

Marriage, Spanish food, roughing it round Europe, dead crows, de Kooning, Kandinsky, rosebay willowherb, Robert Frost, cairn building, pilgrimage, the varying quality of B&B breakfasts, gypsy swing music, Sir Michael Tippett, the colour black, Tate Modern, the Cabinet War Rooms, walking poles, blogging, fellow bloggers, Bob Dylan, simplicity, the hermit's life, Michele Bachmann, abstract art, custard, eros versus agape, wheatears, Assisi, the benefits of being slightly lost, Dublin, religion, mysticism, the magnificence of the approach to Carlisle, Colin Wilson, nihilism, owls, certain geographical locations as spiritual hotspots, American politics, parenthood, the English Lake District, packed lunches, life choices, the whereabouts of the Wall, Brahms, Belgium, a pair of blue eyes, beauty, the meaning and purpose of work, Catholic ritual, the potential dangers of stampeding cows.

24 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

Makes me want to mix the list up... potential dangers of stampeding B & B breakfasts, abstract custard, etc.
x

ksam said...

Interesting that nihilism came up twice on the list. ???

The Solitary Walker said...

I love the concept of abstract custard, Rachel. I have a feeling George would also prefer the idea of custard in the abstract rather than in the flesh, as it were.

Well spotted, Karin! I've now replaced the second 'nihilism' with 'packed lunches'. Which is what it should have been in the first place. Obviously.

Dominic Rivron said...

Your list brings it all back. With a little work each item could be made into a hyperlink to a fascinating page, particularly "the benefits of being slightly lost".

Bonnie said...

Guess that's why the photos are sparse with this post! :)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Did you actually have time to admire the scenery?

The Solitary Walker said...

Hi, Dominic, if I have the time I might just do that...

Bonnie: there's another reason for the sudden scarcity of photos, but you'll read about that later..!

Weaver (Pat): cheeky ;-) As Ruth said in a previous comment, men look outwards into the world as they talk, compared with women who look at each other. Apparently!

George said...

What a wonderful idea for a post, Robert. Immensely entertaining to see a list of fifty of the topics we covered while walking the wall. There were many more, of course, but you have highlighted the best. Ah, and the conversation about Belgium was especially fascinating. I like Dominic's idea. Each of these topics is worthy of extended discussion in subsequent postings.

The Solitary Walker said...

I agree, George - the Belgian one should probably have been at the top of my list. But more of that later...

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, we should all form a rock band called Abstract Custard immediately.
x

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes I think we should, Rachel. I'll go for an amplified French Horn, but with cream, not custard. You could take on the cor anglais - and imagine it's crème anglaise, if you like.

Friko said...

Yes, I agree, each topic is worth airing and discussing, a little, some, a lot.

I can see a wonderful sight, two men walking companionably, at ease and at peace with themselves, each other and the world and letting feet and mind wander where they will, but always guided by kindness, goodwill, and a spirit of adventure.

You two really must come and walk Offa's Dyke, if only so you can come to me (my local part of the Dyke is one of the best preserved) and drink tea while I listen to your conversation.

Dominic Rivron said...

Did you know Audrey Hepburn was Belgian?

Dominic Rivron said...

Also Louis Zimmer, who had the famous frame (and an asteroid) named after him.

Ruth said...

Oh, splendid.

More, on each please. Yes.

This feels like a BBC series (like Downton Abbey) and I am trotting back and forth between you and George for the next installment. It seems I am not the only one who is far from ready to be done with this shared walk of yours. How long do you think you could go on?

I really like where these topics run in my head, and I am interested this moment in the colour black . . .

Mmmm, custard ...

martine said...

I once made a list like this for my report to the LEA about my children's education (they were home educated) to show them just how many varied subjects you can cover in normal conversation, and how weirdly things can be connected together. My younger daughter likes to track the course of a conversation to see how we got from one subject to another.
gald your walking was so interesting
thanks for sharing
martine

The Weaver of Grass said...

Haven't you missed Marjorie Clute off the list?

Colleen Friesen said...

Thanks for a great list...I love how walking takes conversations to so many divergent ends, though I also love companionable silence.
It's all so dependent on my mood, companion and moment in time :)

Marisa @ Walking My Ass Off said...

Interesting that Bob Dylan entered the conversation...enjoyed looking at all your photos...so many shades of green.

Goat said...

It's amazing how, when you're walking with the right person, the adrenalin and the rhythm just feed this endless stream of words, and you can riff like bop musicians or something - compensation perhaps for all those lonesome silent miles. Sometimes you suddenly wake up and realise you have no recollection of the previous X miles...

Dominic Rivron said...

"certain geographical locations as spiritual hotspots"...

I heard someone on the radio years ago talking about places such as Iona and Lindsfarne. He or she said there was a word or term used in Islam for "a place on which the light of God shines". I didn't catch what it was and have been unable to find out since.

Obviously I haven't tried very hard to find out, but not knowing it has irritated me slightly ever since.

fireweed said...

Custard . . . brings back memories of walking the Cumbria Way with my husband and brother who, declaring that a walker's calorie output justified it, shared a Cadbury's chocolate sponge (the scary ones in the tins that you nuke) with a can of Devon custard each night.

I'm impressed by your list though. It's so diverse. 40 of my 50 topics would have been food related.

There's no "magnificence of the approach to Carlisle" (assuming this isn't sarcasm) at the end of the Cumbria Way either. If I were to do it again, I'd rest my feet and approach Carlisle on the train.

Grace said...

Sounds like a conversation I would have liked to be part of . . . or at least spied on.

The Solitary Walker said...

Friko, I've often had a yen to walk Offa's Dyke, and that cup of tea (plus cake?) does sound good...

Dominic, ah, more famous Belgians...

Ruth, for my part, not for much longer, I fear, as my camera runs out of juice and I find I've left the battery charger at home. Never mind, I'll just have to rely on the words alone, and you can fill in the pictures imaginatively! Ah, yes, custard. I don't think this proved to be George's favourite English foodstuff - in the Marmite league, I guess...

Thanks so much every one else for commenting, and welcome Colleen and Marisa. Fireweed: actually the eastern approach to Carlisle along the river Eden was really lovely! And Weaver: Margery Clute did come up between Dominic & I somewhere along the line (or should I say wall). I'd forgotten that until you mentioned it...