Do You Like Walls?

Post 648

Oh, good Lord. Walls? I’m doing a question on walls? And it’s not even the sausages? You want me to do a blog post on bloody WALLS! Calm, Alan. Calm. Breathe. This isn’t so bad. Walls are hugely interesting. In fact, I can hardly believe I haven’t covered the exciting world of walls in, ooh – 648 posts. Unbelievable, Jeff. Have you ever heard of Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer? She married the Berlin Wall. Seriously. Her surname is German for ‘Berlin Wall’. It was a childhood romance. As a little girl, she was infatuated with the concrete wall. And she ended up marrying it. She claims she had a ‘long, fruitful relationship’ with the wall, saying, “Long, slim things with horizontal lines [are] very sexy.” But she was left heartbroken when it was torn down in 1989. “They mutilated my husband,” she said. She wasn’t heartbroken for too long, though. She’s now in a relationship with a garden fence. That sounds like a punch line, but it’s actually true…

Walls! They are foundation of civilisation. The first walls showed up 10,000 years ago, when the early humans built stone walls to set boundaries on farms. To separate fields and crops from those belonging to others. To keep the animals in. This led to ever larger settlements and the emergence of the modern human race.

The Aran Islands, just off the coast of Ireland, have over 1,500 square miles of stone walls, over an area of just 18 square miles. The longest continuous wall in Europe is in England, Hadrian’s Wall, and stretches for 73 miles. It was home to over 9,000 troops from across the Empire.

Of course, nowadays the best known type of wall is the brick wall. They are laid in courses that form bonds, alternating courses of stretchers and headers, not including the quoin, the noggin, the voussoir or the bat. Interestingly, the Flemish bond alternates headers and stretchers in every course. I know! Can you believe it! I sure can’t. You see, kids, this is the exciting and fun world that awaits you when you become a bricklayer…

Walls also feature in our phrases. To be walleyed is when one’s eyes face in opposite directions, and can also refer to excessively pale eyes. The expression comes from the Old Norse ‘vagl-eygr’, ‘vagl’ surviving in the modern Icelandic word for ‘film over the eye’. The 1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue said, ‘A wall eye is an eye with little or no sight, all white like a plastered wall.’

The fifth century monk Bodhidharma is said to have found enlightenment by sitting facing a wall on Mount Songshan. For nine years! I got a feeling him and the Berlin Wall lady would’ve gotten on rather well…

Yes, what’s not to love about the dear old wall?

Sigh. Is the question over now? Yes?

Thank God for that…

Ciao :)(:

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Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

The Indelible Life of Me
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