Monday, May 18, 2009

Hadrian's Tweet

Euge! Yay! I’ve just heard I won the Hadrian’s Wall Twitter Writing Competition! This is very timely because I'm just in the middle of writing a spin-off of my Roman Mysteries series, a YA novel called Brother of Jackals where the main character grows up in Vindolanda (near Hadrian's Wall).

The competition was part of a promotion by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd to publicise The Living Frontier, a series of dramatic re-enactment events during the spring half term holiday of 2009. The challenge was to tweet about Hadrian’s Wall in 140 characters or less.

I immediately thought of W.H.Auden’s delightful poem, Roman Wall Blues.

Roman Wall Blues

Over the heather the wet wind blows,
I've lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose.

The rain comes pattering out of the sky,
I'm a Wall soldier, I don't know why.

The mist creeps over the hard grey stone,
My girl's in Tungria; I sleep alone.

Aulus goes hanging around her place,
I don't like his manners, I don't like his face.

Piso's a Christian, he worships a fish;
There'd be no kissing if he had his wish.

She gave me a ring but I diced it away;
I want my girl and I want my pay.

When I'm a veteran with only one eye
I shall do nothing but look at the sky.

W. H. Auden

So here was my TWEET (With apologies to Auden) in exactly 140 characters:

Mater: Finally @ Hadrians Wall. Lice in tunic. Cold in nose. Rainy, cold, grey. Nice local girls; bunkmate Piso worships a fish. Send socks.

The last is a reference to the famous Vindolanda tablets wherein a chilly-toed legionary begs his mum for socks.

My prize is a funky Roman iPod nano. Those clever Romans! Gratias ago (thanks) to the competition organisers.

I visited Hadrian's Wall for the first time last year, courtesy of Cogito Books. Must go back to watch some re-enactment events soon! You should, too!

P.S. You can 'tweet' me at
P.P.S. Tweet Hadrian at


  1. What does a funky Roman iPod Nano look like?


  2. Thanks for the good wishes, Eternally Cool!

    I'll send you a jpeg of the Roman iPod when it arrives! :-)