Broccoli took them on a varied route, sometimes rising to the high ridges so that the girls could keep their sense of direction. He pointed out landmarks and the tell tale signs of dangerous bog. He was keen that the girls should swiftly learn things for themselves; after all, he wouldn’t always be able to travel with them. They approached Hadrian’s Wall.
“It seems to go on forever,” cried Rowan, turning her head from
side to side to look in both directions. Uncle Broccoli laughed.
“In a way, I suppose it does,” he said. “It’s seventy three miles long. Or 117.5 km, if you prefer it in kilometres.”
It all looked very old but, in many parts, still very strong. Broccoli explained that a Roman Emperor called Hadrian had ordered it to be built many, many years ago.
“Are we going to walk along the whole of the wall?” asked Juniper.
“Not this time, but we’re going as far as Housestead fort, so I can show you where I was born,” said Broccoli.
They trekked along. It was impressive, they had to admit. At Housestead they could make out the shape of a fort, with its headquarters in the centre, and stacked piles of slate where the granaries had been.
“Of course, the soldiers were long gone, by the time I was born,”
said Broccoli. “However, if we can find Great Uncle Celery, he has many stories and tales to share.
Celery, however, had other ideas. He wasn’t pleased at being
disturbed this early in the year. As the oldest sheep in the whole of the area, he wasn’t going to be rushed out of his cosy winter corner just yet. It looked as if Broccoli had brought two fine youngsters with him, which he supposed must be his great, great, great grand daughters, or nieces perhaps. He wasn’t sure. Either way, they’d have to come back in the summer.
Broccoli, Rowan and Juniper laughed as they strolled on their way back to Grassholme. They liked Great Uncle Celery despite his post winter grumpiness. Also, nothing could please them more than to have an excuse to travel back to Hadrian’s Wall again.
Button Mushroom’s eyes lit up when she saw them in the distance. They’d have such a lot to tell her. She herself had spent most of the time dreaming about how marvellous it would be when she could join them in their travels.
Juniper and Rowan gazed back at the figure beneath the coat of softly dappled grey wool and wondered how Button Mushroom had managed to grow so much, in such a short space of time.