Friday, 8 June 2012

What the Romans did

Big respect, as the kids say, to the Romans. We spent yesterday in Lincoln, bussing in from our base in Saxilby where we had moored the previous afternoon. It's a fascinating city, oozing history, and it all really started with the hilltop Roman fort.
And when I say hilltop, I mean hilltop. The cathedral and castle followed the Romans to this high point in the surrounding Fens and the cobbled street that leads up to them is called, appropriately, Steep Hill. It's lung burstingly steep to walk up.
The Romans decided to carve their way up in huge, triumphal steps. What a bloody job! Or maybe not such a task to people who also built die-straight roads and even dug a massive, dead-straight canal to link the city to the Trent and the sea.
Abseiling conservation expert checking cathedral windows
'The Jews House' dates from 1150 making it one of the oldest inhabited houses in Britain
Today's Lincoln makes me recall the famous class sketch with John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. You definitely look up to upper crust Lincoln - high up the hill the folk have that indefinable but obvious air of patrician breeding and 'old money'. Further down, the big shops are full of the affluent middle classes then you reach the Fossdyke and south of that is working class Lincoln with its Wilkinsons, Co-op, waterside funfair and streets of grubby takeaways (most of whose spoils seem to end up in the water). Those at the top of the hill are as affluent looking as any city dwellers I've seen but down below the waterline were people poorer and paler than in many towns. Maybe it's the timeless poverty of agricultural work?
As I said before, we went to Lincoln by bus which was not quite as simple as it seemed. There are bus stops either side of the road at Saxilby; each has the same timetables, neither suggests whether it's the side to or from Lincoln. The 'follow your nose' logic suggested one side but the first old dear we checked with said you could stand at either as there were two different routes. But she and the several others all agreed "there's a bus every 20 minutes". (None of them used buses, btw). The timetables all said the buses were every hour! So we stood one at either stop and eventually a bus came - to the logical stop - and 15 minutes later we were in Lincoln.
When we got back later in the afternoon it has just started to rain. AGAIN!!!

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