Thursday 28 June – I went out to run the van for a while because that’s what you do when it’s been parked up for a few days, and 15 minutes, some schnozzle bruising and a crushed knuckle later I retreated to the house. I think she’s cross with me that I’m not staying in her as planned. Instead, I’m sleeping in crisp, white sheets, in a listed thatched house with picture perfect views and fine cuisine.
I’m in Shropshire, at an idyllic smallholding. The weather isn’t great, we’re about 10 miles from Ludlow where someone died in the floods today. Horrible and no doubt the news will be full of pictures of sofas covered in sewage tonight.
Tuesday 3 July – So the idyll didn’t last. Sadly, my host emitted her intense unease at having people staying in her house like a force field humming out of every pore. Incredibly knowledgeable about so many things a smallholder needs to know about, but too many rules and not enough joy. So despite it being such a stunning place I cobbled together a half-truth about a mission to the Lleyn Peninsula and headed for the hills after a week. It was sad, there was much to learn, experience and give there.
Oh the growth! It’s heartwarming! Just a short time ago I’d have limboed under her chicken coops trying to please, but Halleluiah! apparently I’m cured of the gut wrenching need to be everything to everyone. About time – too exhausting for words.
Still, it felt strange actively choosing to leave comfort and community, (the other volunteers were great), for solitude in the middle of a low pressure cycle that promises rain indefinitely. Back in the van and ideas but no fixed plans until a wedding in Somerset at the end of July.
Alice quizzed me hard when she came to visit me in Pembrokeshire a couple of weeks ago. Had I actually spent any time on my own? I’ve done quite a lot of immersing myself in others’ lives and projects over the past 3 months. So check me out Alice, I’m in a rain-swept campsite half way up the Elan Valley (on the Ceredigion side) heading North. Sitting in the drizzle with a cup of coffee and a tea cake listening to Jack Johnson – smaltzy audio fodder. Only barely justifiable when trying to trick the Welsh weather with some Hawaiian sun-drenched tones. Full moon tonight but I suspect that the clouds might fail to part.
My brother and I drove through the Rockies in February once and the snow stopped and the clouds parted just once, so I can say I’ve seen a Rocky, momentarily.
Spirit level reading – fair to good.
So I’ve been rather absent, my apologies. A crisis bestruck my blogging. I only blogged because I was asked about 33 thousand times before I left if I was going to blog. So I blogged. I’ve been given two key pieces of feedback:
- Put all you gags in the first 30 words – people just haven’t got time to read any further (Good advice that I’ve completely ignored),
- various bits of family input about finding the openness of my blog challenging…
This silenced me (on paper at least) for a month while I pondered.
Conclusion 1: This trip is about opening doors in the hope that they’ll be a big neon sign saying “Over here, this way” behind one of them, but the probability is that I’ll open some wrong doors, i.e. I’m probably going to mess up somewhere along the line. This blog may or may not be a mistake (the internet being forever and all that) but I’m enjoying writing it so for now I shall continue.
Conclusion 2: I might go and open doors somewhere warm and dry.
So back in the saddle, so to speak. That was the big blog RE-LAUNCH. The next installment is going to be a bit of a chronological catch up on the past month of roving.
There have been epiphanies, tears, injuries (minor) and joy and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up or even what I want to do over the winter. I did feel the lack of light in my flat in London when I went back to visit a couple of weeks ago. It was horrible weather but it all felt a bit underground and dark. That might have been because Luke and Clare seem to be happy living with 25% of the light bulbs working but it might be because I’ve got a pretty amazing view from the van as I type this and it feels like the beginning of something, I’m just not sure what.