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If you have five mins:
A blog for her friends to check that she's still alive, when she's been missing for a while, and what she's whinging about now.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Journeying to Avalon
We were setting off in several cars, but had it all worked out beforehand. I got off really lightly, as I didn't have to pick up anyone, just take Pixie and Dirk from the house I was in too. Everyone was leaving at 9, except Aud and Alan, who were setting out earlier in order to pick Scott and Ian up from Birmingham, that way we'd all meet up in Glastonbury at roughly the same time.
It was a great journey down. Last year, I'd learned to detest driving. This was three-fold - I had whiplash, which made driving really painful; also I was one of only a few drivers in a large group, which meant that I had to drive if we were all going somewhere. In the past, Kate's been one of any group we're with, so we've taken it in turns, but she wasn't part of this group; and also by the latter half, Rebecca wasn't a well car, so I lived in fear of her breaking down or worse. I spent a lot of last year driving along, in a lot of pain, stressed over the car, really wishing that I wasn't driving. This journey down to Glastonbury, with Pixie and Dirk, reversed all of that. I thoroughly enjoyed not only that journey, but all the others too. (Even the final, mad journey to Gatwick on the Wednesday, I didn't dislike for my own part. If we hadn't been battling against the clock, it would have been a good journey too.) This is one of the huge gifts that I brought out of Pixie and Dirk's visit, this renewed okayness with driving again. Plus Dirk and Branny between them identified the two remaining noises that Rebecca is making, so I can get them sorted.
I've never known the journey to Glastonbury pass so quickly (excepting the time I did it in the middle of the night at 100mph). It was almost a disappointment to reach it, almost, I say, because then the excitement of being in Glastonbury took over. We stopped at Froggie's shop for ages, before meeting Bex and Pete at the Blue Note.
There were still minor stresses though, because we'd all managed to keep Branny's arrival a secret until now, but things didn't quite go according to plan. We sat in the courtyard of the Blue Note, Bex and I purposefully sitting side-by-side at the other end of the table to Pixie and Dirk, so that the text messages between Aud and Branny and us could be kept away from them. Aud and Alan had dropped off Scott and Ian, who'd joined us, then gone for Branny at Castle Cary. I'd have gone, but my absense would have been too noticeable. At first, Ian said that they were 'parking up'. Then time stretched out and out. The texts said that Branny had hitch-hiked to Shepton Mallet, while Aud and Alan were at Castle Cary. They were going for her. By now, Pixie was getting very suspicious. I ended up lying through my teeth, saying they'd gone up Clarke's Village for flares for on top of the Tor. Behind Pixie, Ian was giving me that 'you lie way too well, Harrington' look, so I was ignoring him. *grin* Then I remembered that I hadn't bought the pay and display for my car. My mind had been so full of the Branny situation that it just passed me by. My job was to get Pixie and Dirk into the Blue Note and keep them there; somewhere along the way I simply forgot about buying the parking. Pixie and I ran back to my car, but there was a parking ticket on it. (Oh! Shit, I still need to pay that!)
There was no way we could stay together at the Blue Note any longer without giving the game away. A glance at the time showed we'd been in Glastonbury nearly 2 hours anyway, so it was nearly time to check in. Off we all went to the George and Pilgrim, each of us (except Pixie and Dirk) watching entrances and waiting on the next text messaged progress report. If we'd split up now, then we didn't know how we'd spring Branny on them. Then, as Pixie signed for her room, Branny turned up. I remember looking at her, thinking, 'there's Branny'. No reaction. Looking again, 'yep, Branny'. Then the third time, 'SHIT! THAT'S BRANNY STANDING THERE!' Dirk saw her and she put her fingers over her lips. I surreptiously got my camera out. Pixie turned and it took a second to register, then she screamed and ran to hug her. LOL Two seconds later, we had an Aud and Alan too and all the surprises were over. We'd all nearly slipped up as well. The night before I'd said to Pixie, Dirk and Kate, 'Shit, I didn't get myself some pyjamas and I'm going to be... sharing a room...' Then covered it with reaching for my drink. It had sounded well suss to me, but no-one had picked it up. I'm just amazed that Pixie hadn't counted on her fingers and wondered who I'd been sharing a room with!
The George and Pilgrim had fucked up. I triple-checked since first booking the rooms months ago. Two twin rooms, two doubles and a four-poster bridal suite. Yes, yes, yes. Then, last week, I'd checked again, suddenly all of the rooms were doubles, but being charged at twin room prices... There was nothing we could do about it. Branny and I shared one double room, while Scott and Ian shared another. Branny and I originally had the four-poster room (charged at the price of a twin room.... mmmm...), but we took one look and went to find Alan. This should be his and Aud's room, as this amounted to their second honeymoon. Aud herself was over the Blue Note. She needed food urgently (medical reasons rather than plain hunger) and a breather before coming out to play. Branny and I were in the Nun's Cell. LOL Alan and Aud got the Henry VIII room, where he'd stood to watch the desolution of Glastonbury Abbey. Pixie and Dirk got the huge Abbot Selwood room, which is the room you always stand on Glastonbury High Street looking up at and wondering what it's like to be in it. Ian and Scott got the Priest's Cell, I think, or it could have been called the Confessional. It was directly above me and Branny anyway. Bex and Pete were in a newer part of the building, so their room was called 'number 10'.
Afterwards, we all split up. I nipped to the loo and discovered that I'd come on, so I went hunting Glastonbury for sanitary towels. It started really raining, in defiance of the Grove spells on the subject. Every so often, we'd all meet somewhere, like the time when most of us were crowded in Froggie's shop, buying him out of stock. Now Branny was here, my mind was onto the handfasting, which was the next biggie. I'd got all of the tools for that, but Scott was getting cake and wine. I'd walk about and think, 'Shit, I needed to ask Scott that...' twice I did that, looked up and he was in the shop as I was walking by. I did that once with Aud too. I was beginning to suss that I could call people to me, so I turned into the alley by the Blue Note and called Ian with my mind; walked out the other end and heard the word, 'Wolverhampton'. I looked across and there were Branny and Ian sitting having a brew. :-D
We largely sat there for the afternoon, with folk coming and going, which is how we usually do it. Usually I do more running off and coming back though, though there was a bit of that too. Bex asked on the arrangements for the evening and I arbitarily said to meet at the George and Pilgrim, dressed up, at half 6. Pete, Alan and (I think) Dirk were in the King Charles watching the FA Cup final, though Dirk may have been with Pixie looking around. Glastonbury is tiny, so we always tend to split up. If you need folk, you only have to stand by the Cenotaph and look around, soon enough you'll have everyone. LOL But on this occasion, soon enough everyone had passed through our bit of courtyard, so had the half 6 thing. We needed a definite time, because some needed to have a head start, as that climb is extremely steep. For a start, Branny had a torn ligament in her ankle.
Around five, I went up to Froggie's shop to see if he was joining us. I ended up staying in there until closing, canting with him, then we meandered down to the George and Pilgrim for a pint with Dirk, Ian and Aud. Time was getting on and I realized that I still hadn't had ten minutes to quiet my mind before the handfasting. It was still full of - has everyone got their room? Do Scott and Ian want to move rooms because of the leak? Is Branny sorted with her ankle? Are Pixie and Dirk having a good time? Have Aud and Bex chilled into Glastonbury? Did Pete and Alan get to see the match? Have I got everything for the ceremony? Is everyone happy and alright? Why am I stressing? Am I happy and alright? etc etc. The usual internal dialogue of a Virgo who's accidentally vaguely 'in charge' insofar as anyone is. This sounds like I was stressing far more than I actually was. In reality, I was having a great time, just very conscious that I was supposed to have a quiet mind in a circle very shortly. I'd meant to pop into the Goddess Temple for all of this, but by the time I was ready, the place had been shut ten minutes.
So I went upstairs and found Branny in our room. Got my robes on, which felt beautiful, and, though I knew the bag had everything needful, I double-checked it. It didn't have the oil that Aud had made from Chelle's recipe. I slid into utter panic attack. I thought I'd been doing well. At one time I'd said I'd never do another handfasting, Wiccaning etc because of how panicked I got, but that was so last year. I crouched by the side of my bed in utter terror, mind just flashing with random shit; Branny walked out of the bathroom and I said, 'Branny, I'm panicking now.' She said, in her precise English accent, 'You'll be fine', and disappeared back into the bathroom. I just laughed. I got the Bach Rescue Remedy and the Quiet Life down me, picked up the bag and called that I'd meet her downstairs.
Once downstairs, those who were going early hadn't gone. There was talk of calling a taxi, so I volunteered to run them up, then walk up with the others. Aud, Bex and Branny wanted the head start, so I drove them to the Tor, then turned around in Wellhouse Lane feeling the panic really rising again. I was getting well disgusted with myself. I knew that Ian has dealt with a million panic attacks of mine, so he could sort this one; I knew that Pixie has dealt with them on the phone, but this was her big day. Aud could mother for England, when it comes to it, but I'd just dropped her off. I put on some jingly, jangly Celtic music and drove back to the George and Pilgrim. By the time I got there, I was very calm. The final panic was all over. I'd just needed that five minutes alone with Celtic music. I abandoned the car, joined the others and we walked up to the Tor.
*to be continued*
The generousity and friendship shared with us 1/2 way around the world by a group of people who barely knew us was mindblowing. It was as if we slipped through a time continum and into our alternate life...it was only surreal when I thought about it. (laugh)
You've basically covered what I started to blog about but in such better detail and description.
Dirk is already planning his trip back with statements like "Oh, and then we need to see..." and "When we stop back in Glastonbury..." and "I need to pop into the Wanders' shop for..."
I can't tell you enough how much we loved everyone and felt so at home.
Can I come back now?
I'm really missing having you here... and everyone else I've met. I still keep thinking you're in my car.
I probably forgot to pee ;-)
Can I come home (i.e. Britain) now?
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