10th -12th Sep
Friday night, driving to Glasgow and I'm weeping. Probably should be a flashing solar powered motorway sign, 'Crying kills.'
Going to Paisley to stay the night with my parents coz I'm flying to Bristol tomorrow. Meeting up with a woman I met on the same course where I met green eyes. So my head is full of him again. And my heart aches.
I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. What possessed me to do this. Loneliness, having to get out and not to Findhorn. So I'm flying and driving to the other end of the country. Although the flight was cheaper than a weekend of B+B at Findhorn.
Am I going mad, or am I getting sane? Just doing the things we only regret not doing?
Are memories made of this? Crying down the motorway?
I arrive at 10pm. Dog tired.
Being single isn't all bad. The peace and quiet, when I'm not freaking out, is one of the luxuries people who live with others always envy. Like a lot of things, I don't really appreciate it until it's gone.
Between 10 and 10 past my mother asks me 20 questions. I counted. I can't take a week of this when I'm recovering from an operation. Why I don't just look at her and say "I don't want to talk just now, let me land. I don't know. That old chestnut of not hurting someone's feelings so I blank them with yes no answers, and hurt their feelings anyway.
I can't take the Chinese water torture of it, so I say goodnight. I see her wanting to connect I see her wanting to ask about operations but I don't want to talk. I just don't.
She's one of those women who appears mousy and compliant, the silent treatment victim types, who always get their steely way.
She could be Japanese.
Stealing my energy coz she's none of her own.
I don't have any to give this weather.
So I go to bed and cry some more. I can't read. I just cry, dissolve, and wake up at the crack of dawn.
Feeling better, rested. Ready to fly away. Not caring if I get there, not worrying about maps or what road it is from Bristol to Totnes. I let it all go. All bets are off.
Am I finally living in the moment? Who knows?
I feel like I'm living a 24 hour out of body experience. And I wonder if it comes to it, is my will to live strong enough?
Not the conscious 'I don't want to die' intellectual part of me. The kernel part, that part that gives up the ghost when you're under anaesthetic. The part that asks, 'Do I want to live?'
What does it have to come back for? Is beauty all around me, enough?
If there is no face.
No face to see when I wake up.
No face kissing me good luck.
No face waiting for me.
Other than my mother.
And fucking questions.
I know I'm ungrateful.
But it's not enough.
To bring me back.
From the edge.
I share this thought with my friend. She says she never saw anyone go out and throw themselves more into life than I do.
How others see us. It makes me laugh. In that hollow way.
She doesn't know it's panic that drives me.
Not lust for life.
Not just now.
I'm filling the hours.
Like the man who hears death is coming to Bethlehem so he hot tails it to Damascus. Bumping into death on the way. Who says, oh yes I have an appointment with him tomorrow. Iin Damascus.
Or words to that effect.
I'm no longer sure whether I'm running away or running towards. As long as I'm running I know where I am. Sort of.
Or is that a big fat lie too? Sometimes I think I make shit happen just so I've something to write about.
Saturday morning my mum drops me at the airport. I'm chatty but I don't talk about the hospital, or anything real, although I suppose it's all real, even the banal. Especially the banal.
In the ballet the other evening I found the urge to stand up and sing 'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts' almost overwhelming. Even now, I wonder why people don't do stuff like that more often. What's the worst that could happen? Handcuffed out and photo in the P&J. It'd be a hoot. Probably.
I didn't do it.
Neither did Prince Edward.
And he'd have gotten away with it.
I've already said to my mother on the phone that we would drive each other mad if she came to stay. That the flat's not big enough I've arranged to stay with a friend. She said she wanted to be there for me.
I think she wants to go through my stuff when I'm the hospital.
Will I hide the vibrator or just leave it in the top drawer with the condoms?
Maybe I'll buy one of those huge scary ones, specially for her snooping.
Every cloud and all that.
Sitting in her car now, that slow drive up to the jumping out at the airport, I want to say okay, come for the first week I'm out.
But the words will not leave my mouth. I don't want it. I don't say it. Tenko with stitches. In my flat. And I wonder if my will to live can stand it.
Coming back to that.
Wish I knew how to say 'no thanks' in Japanese.
(Kekkou desu - gotta love Google).
The flight is fast, just as well or we'd fall out of the sky. An hour and a quarter, and I almost finish a book about a Medium who finds lost children. If she finds your child, it means they're dead.
She says people we love, who die, are still with us. Actually standing beside, behind, near us.
I hate that thought.
I don't want them following me around. Watching. Looking at me as I'm sobbing and ranting.
I hate that thought.
Go into the light why don't you.
Anything else is just plain rude.
Bristol. I get an upgrade on my hire car. A megan estate. I take the full cover insurance, reversing that arse is going to be tricky. Estates are too big for me, most cars are actually. It has the worst handbrake on the planet. Some designers, honestly.
It's like the rectangular levers Ripley had to pull when she was blowing up the space ship. Another Mother who was crap at listening and did her own thing, ignoring all over-rides.
I often feel like Ripley, isolated in space, monsters round every corner. I used to have to go offshore and somehow Alien would be playing every time. Not even terrestrial TV offshore.
'What would Ripley do?' was the thought that often kept me going and stopped me freaking out, at midnight in a computer room on some pile of steel 100 miles out in the North Sea. Alone. Waiting for an upgrade to finish, praying it wouldn't blue screen. Swinging my legs off a too high stool, wishing I'd brought chocolate and a better book. Wishing I worked in Woolworths. For the same salary of course. Wads of cash, all the stationery you could wish for and pic'n'mix. Now you're talking job satisfaction.
Sometimes I would wonder what Tammy Wynette would do, but that was a whole sequin thing.
The Megan car is a dream to drive (forwards at least) except if you have to go up a hill. Then it's a nightmare. Pensioners on foot could lap it. I was getting flashed at. Ridiculous. And it's ugly. Shaking it's ass or not.
It's smart though and puts it's own lights on when it thinks it needs them. Short sighted cars next. Cars that are scared of the dark.
What would Ripley do?
She'd go back and save Jonesy, that's what.
But it gets me seen to oncoming traffic, through the bouncing rain at Exeter, and better than my own wiperless car would at the moment. I've never seen rain like it. Tropical.
I have an urge to stop in Exeter, I don't know why. I don't though.
As I left the airport, I decide in my distanced mood to let my instincts take over and find the way. I ask for a wee map too, just in case.
Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.
Human beings are amazing. It only takes a few whip lash breakings to get the feel of the new pedals, and that the indicator is on the opposite side from my own car. I'm off, fifth gear and everything.
I pass a place called Star, how great is that for an address? Then a pub called The Crescent Moon.
I have a good feeling about the South West.
I pass the exit for Glastonbury, huge wicker man running there, and I so want to detour. But Totnes will take nearly a couple of hours to get to so I decide to spend Sunday in Glastonbury. I want to see the Chalice Well garden again. Plus stroke the wooden door on Starchild shop. So beautiful.
Plus buy crap I don't need, obviously.
So I drive and drive and there's no cassette so I can't plug in my iPod. Need to get one of those illegal FM things from eBay.
The radio is crap and annoying on a Saturday so I switch it off and sing to myself. Enjoying the thrum and swish of rain versus wipers.
I get to Totnes and it's dry. Park the car and find a cafÃ©, more because I need the loo than a coffee, but I have a coffee too. In case the loo police arrest me for peeing without paying to refill my bladder.
I leave my chum a message on her landline and mobile but I'm glad I didn't reach her. I don't want to talk. I don't know her that well really.
So I walk up the glorious Elizabethan High St in Totnes. It's open doors weekend and I take advantage of every door that's open. The Elizabethan house, the Guild hall, St Mary's church. The buildings are beautiful. There is a pink and green ivy growing outside an Elizabethan window in the Guild Hall that stops me in my tracks. The sun shining through it. Nature making stained glass. Glorious.
The shops are so my cup of tea, full of crap I don't need, crystals and books. Way cheaper than Scotland. Why the hell is that?
It's after 3 when I phone again and she's in so I go up to her house, also her art studio.
We're awkward but women together, pretty soon we've talked about operations, men, lack of men, sex, her lover who actually died while they were making love. (She thought he was being tantric. In a way, I suppose he was.) The course we met on, she can't even remember green eyes. It's all so in the eye of the beholder.
And the awkwardness goes and it's all fine. We laugh that if you said half of this to a man you'd just met he'd go chalk white and freak out. Shortly before disappearing forever.
Women are fabulous.
So are men.
We just have different ways of getting to know each other that's all.
I buy a beautiful painting "Gardening Secrets and a poster and some cards. ncluidng one called 'The Gardener.' Just to twist the knife.
Am all shopped out and freaking out at my spend, but tell myself this is the last. Something to live for.
There is an all night party on, but neither of us feels like it. I certainly don't. So we have a curry, more talk and then I leave at 11 to go to the B+B.
It's lovely, a huge house up one of the smallest higliest pigliest roads ever. The couple are watching the Proms when I go in. It seems so Southern English to me. The Proms man is bitching about bad light as an excuse for cricket being delayed. No bad light delaying the proms. Why everyone cheers at that is beyond me. What happened to sporting stiff upper lip English spirit? He's skinny and looks like an idiot school boy that suddenly got popular for about two minutes. Bet he runs ike a girl.
England. I'm in another country. But I love their pink Tudor rose symbols in ancient buildings, (we have Unicorn symbols in Scotland) and the people are all so lovely and friendly. Not like Aberdeen at all. Apart from thin-lipped Proms presenter of course. He'd fit right in.
I'm surprised to find that I'm not crashing lonely when I go to my wee room and I sleep easily. But no proms for me thanks awfully. Kekkou Desu.
They have kept their children's books around the shelves of the room I'm in. Millie Molly Mandy. I've not seen those in years. And I feel comforted and calm.
The birds wake me up early, they are tweeting and busy in the peanut holders outside my window. Beautiful garden, full of life. I shower and dress and am down early for breakfast, but the lady is up and ready to cook anyway.
They ask what I'll do that day but leave me to eat alone. I used to like that about B+Bs but it's not so hot anymore. They are chatting over their breakfast in the big kitchen and I feel like asking if I can join them. I don't of course. But it's boring. Apart from the huge window and the garden outside. That saves me.
I'm too early to go to my friends and am hoping the shops open on Sunday. They don't. I wonder if it's just Totnes or if this is how it is in England. Are they mad?
I go up to Totnes castle. A round tower, with a fabulous ancient tree guarding it. I walk around the tree first and find a feather. In the right place. Then I climb the tower deep in my fantasy that one day I'll step back in time climbing ancient stairs in some castle or tower.
It's a beautiful view and my only glimpse of the River Dart this weekend. With a resounding Duh! I get why Dartmouth has it's name now. Living geography. All v. satisfying.
The Friday before I came down here I went to a retirement do. An elderly man who had retired last year came back for it. He and I used to get on really well. He was one of the few interesting people in the office. He pans for gold and makes jewellery out of it. He used to live in Findhorn.
I like him.
He hugs me when he sees me and he sits opposite me at dinner.
'What have you been up to then?'
Findhorn, not going back, opposite end of the country for me.
'Totnes next weekend' I laugh.
He nearly falls off his seat.
'My niece lives there, I'll phone her tonight, you must meet her. This is meant to be.'
So he does and she is, of course, my friend's best friend and lives two doors up from her.
'There is something for you in the South West' he says.
'This is no accident.'
So Sunday morning his niece, my chum and I have apple and elderberry crumble in the artists kitchen and talk more goddess gal talk about synchronicity, wombs, children, stages of womanhood and lovers dieing on you.
She was given up for adoption, I'm a birth mother, and her seventeen-year-old daughter, also with us, is sitting there 8.5 months pregnant, keeping her baby.
The spiral of it is too much not to knock us all into giddy friendship at once. We are a spiral work of living art in the artist's kitchen.
My daughter, back in my life two years ago, via email. I can still hardly believe it, but it's true. My cosmic wake up call to come out of the cave. Did I ever! But I'm nearly there now.
I've had enough of talking, so I say I want to leave now and go to Glastonbury.
How I can be so lonely at home but have enough of company I don't understand, but that's how it is, and I want to go there.
So I do.
Megans have nice big boots for paintings.
I'm driving the road to Street and thinking 'Are we there yet?', when the Tor flashes me through a break in the hedge. I decide I'll climb it today. I didn't do it last time I was here and I want to, might be my last chance says monkey mind. ' Shut the fuck up' says Ripley.
I'd like to see what the view is like from the Tor.
But first, shops.
I get the cold shoulder from two middle aged shop assistants. One in a cafÃ©, one in a book shop. I think it's my accent, but I'm not sure. So I leave and take my business elsewhere. I'm looking for a cappuccino in one and books by SARK in the other.
I go across the road to anohter bookshop where a lovely guy sells me SARK for Â£4. He says that shop is full of all SARK's book, but nods when I tell him a middle aged woman said not. Perhaps it's not me at all. Perhaps it's just her stuff.
I get to cafÃ© galaia and have the worst coffee in the world, but there are two pieces of stained glass I love in the window and a feather under the seat I pull out.
One of the pieces is a dragonfly, the other has my two symbols in it from a meditation. Pentacle and crescent moon. Star and Crescent Moon.
I buy them both.
Coz I'm mad with it.
I walk up the High St and I'm shocked at the ripoffs that are going on. A bisom, a witches broom, for sale, several of them in fact. A woman in shorts bought one and looks ridiculous walking up the High St with it - they are fifty quid each. I nearly called the police. Daylight robbery.
I'm speechless. They are Â£2.99 in any farm shop. Fifty quid.
Glastonbury has lost it's soul.
A fat ugly middle-aged woman on a mobile phone. Dressed in a washed out lilac velvet dress and full length cape screaming down the phone 'I'm a witch, I'm a witch'. Looking equally ridiculous.
Anything less magical I've never seen in my life. Anything less spiritual or natural.
It was so sad. My own longing making me sensitive to this ripoff of the spiritual longing in others.
Are we really this lost?
Still, Starchild is no ripoff and does do fabulous oils and incenses.
I bought several.
Kali is my favourite.
Then I left and walked up to the gardens. There is a spiral Hazel there, so big and full, it's glorious. Last time I was there was Spring equinox and it was bare. This time, in full curly leaf. I stood under it and said hello again. Revitalise my Hazelness. Get some wisdom.
That'll be the day.
The well water, of course, is disgusting, but I brought a bottle home for crystal cleaning. And for the bottle, which was only a pound and says 'Chalice Well' on it.
If I worked there, I'd have it much more jam packed full of plants, plus ban Americans, but that's just me.
It's nowhere near busy enough or wild enough. But it is lovely and they have a beautiful swinging seat with a perfect view of St Michaels Tower. I sat in it for ages, swinging. A huge petrol green dragonfly flew past and around me, the size of the one I saw in Findhorn.
In the right place.
My shoulders are cold and I decide it's time to walk the Tor, so I do. Up the chalk white stairy path, like the Uffington horse, but a snake. It didn't take long to do and the view is lovely. England is so flat really. Even the wee hills are perfectly round. No glacier scarred roughness in them. None of them have ever taken a life for having the audacity to climb them.
Not like the hardman hills of Scotland.
If you think you're hard enough.
It's such a feminine landscape here, plump breasts of hillock. Not like the unshaven gruff masculine face of Scotland.
I like that.
Drive on. Bristol in the dark is as confusing as any other city in the dark. And I got thoroughly lost. I stop and ask a woman directions, she's on the phone to her husband and passes me the phone and he directs me but I go wrong somewhere or other and am lost again. Major wobbling time is not a good time to get lost in the dark. It's too like how I feel and I'm almost crying so I ask for help. Please get me to this hotel, please.
Go straight ahead.
I'm in the left filter lane and swerve out of it and go straight ahead.
The hotel sign is just on my right.
When in doubt, go straight ahead.
The hotel is bright and the staff are really welcoming, I'm so tired my face is folding in on itself. I check out there and then as I have to leave at 5am the next morning. I have a bath and fall into bed.
TV, mobile, phone calls and paranoia all set to ring and wake me up.
Pink green ivy lace
Nature's own stained glass