C: If you were in Rome, you’d find that C used to be a hundred. You and I knew that anyway but until today I had no idea that the Latin for 99 was undecentum which might occasionally be written as IC rather than the more standard XCIX. Useful trivia for a pub quiz perhaps?
TON: As a teenager on a motorbike, an aspirational hundred was The Ton, a speed no 50 cc road bike could attain no matter how inspiring Lurgan-man Tommy Robb and Team Suzuki had been on the track. The idea of doing 200 kph on a motorcycle that weighed the same as me (then) was and is, frankly, terrifying. The last fast Suzuki 50 was a triple cylinder, water cooled version which made 18 horsepower at 17,500 rpm through 14 gears from a gearbox more like a Swiss watch than a motorbike. Sense prevailed in 1967 and the racing class was restricted to one cylinder and 6 gears.
CENTURY: I never reached my maiden century in cricket. My innings rarely achieved many runs; it was my slow bowling that got me onto the team at the tail of the batting order. I liked cricket but once my school decided to drop it, I was lost to the sport. It seems that too many guys good at rugby were also good at cricket which created an academic problem because both sports had age-graded trophy competitions in the same grade years that finished with state exams.
Today finds me journaling my not-walking towards Rome for the 100th successive day. Had myself and CW been walking, we’d be 1440 km into the hike and just two days short of the Franco-Swiss border. Thats about half way to Rome!
I’m speechless that it’s been 100 days since the journaling started. Or should I write that I’m typeless that we’ve been locked-down almost as long? It’s a nice coincidence that today, here in Ireland, we are allowed travel 20 km for the first time in many weeks.
I started the day with a very special yoghurt. So special that the container has been designed to last 10,000 years. If I’d had an angry outburst, it might have been forgotten in minutes of hours. But my breakfast yogurt tub will last longer than the the pyramids. I wonder if we should do something about this? I’m using my phone to record this note knowing that there’s so much space junk orbiting above my head that locked-in may replace locked-down. I wonder if we should do something about this too?
Tonight, I could have been dining in the east of France. Had we been walking the easy path through the Jura mountains, we’d have been taking a day off in the town of Portarlier, once known to the Romans as Ariolica in Gallia. They say that Sigeric the Serious stopped here in 990 AD on his way home to Canterbury from Rome with his newly conferred rank of Archbishop. Some say that’s how the pilgrim route of the Via Francigena came to be. What they mean is that it follows the same route as did Sigeric who simply followed the Romans.
Absinthe is what Pontarlier was famous for before the need for ‘Pontarlier’ pastis arose while they waited for the 1915 ban to be rescinded. I spent a few months in the Sahara with a man from nearby Besançon who liked to fantasise about a Portarlier before dinner. He never called it pastis and I only found out what Portarlier was when I was planning this route.
This time next year, I’m likely to be writing from Portarlier and saying that it is famous for absinthe and that Sigeric the Serious stayed in this once Roman town of Ariolica. Or maybe I’ll mention that it features in Les Miserables?