We’d driven to Brighton after Alfrson , it seemed natural and we had work to do planning our next move. We’d parked down on the sea front outside the yellow wave café partly because we knew there was a loop hole in the parking restrictions, partly because there are really clean public loo’s with hot water where we’d be able to have a locked door wash in the morning and partly because the yellow wave café has great coffee.
We’d walked into town to find a Starbucks, not sure why now as the yellow wave café right next to us was far better quieter and the people lovely. We’d walked through the center of Brighton it was ok, we had work to do and it seemed a long way to walk to find an internet connection. The place we finally settled in was up on western road opposite Churchill square.
The place was packed full of Spanish students who talked quickly loudly and confidently, it was startling, Starbucks is never a great connection I wished I’d insisted on staying where we were.
Orsi was a little anxious today with what our next move was to be. To be honest I suppose I am more used to the road than she is and just know things will turn out, but also to be honest I have no next move only, that we will move. When we are in tune we seem to work well together. Orsi is always wants to push and it sets me off and I usually comes up with some clue. Though right then it was all a little cloudy and frustrated, Oris’s fears right up on the surface.
We walked back to the van neither of us saying much, cooked dinner on Brighton beach as the evening drew in. Sipped a glass of nice red wine and then retreated to the van. We were both tired. Oris was off fast asleep. I sat up writing in the front seat till gone 2.30am.
I’d thought we’d parked on a quiet place tucked away down on Madeira drive below the esplanade. But it turned out to be really noisy as cars were racing down from the road above, Pearl was rocked all night with the back draft of every racer that shot by.
Id dreamt that I’d met Margret Thatcher dressed in red on the District (The Green) Line I’d said “Hello Mrs T how are you” She was rushing around collecting for charity and seemed a little dismissive although we’d chatted, I sensed she knew me, but just wouldn’t be drawn. There was another famous female politician too dressed in blue but can’t remember who it was now, she was a little more friendly, a charity worker too, but also wouldn’t help. It was a curious dream. I thought that is who we are going to come up against later today?
I awoke with Slam! “Sorry” Orsi went off running, I went back into a light seeing. We were on a canal, the water was muddy and brown. We’d stopped and I was insisting that we have to dig down deeper I knew the “Golden Entrance” was just below us in the water. We threw ropes, we had some sort of pulley over the edge of the barge and as we pulled, it took some effort, but soon enough we began to pull up a great Golden Gateway that had been laying beneath the surface of the waters in the mud below. As it rose the wet mud fell away and I could clearly see a beautiful carved golden gateway or Entrance.
We’d both washed and in the children’s playground bathroom whilst a few dads hung out with their kids. Some dads in there interacting and other dads were texting, nobody seemed to mind us coming and going. Orsi cooked breakfast down on the beech, roasted oats, turmeric, cinnamon, kiwi fruit and grapes, we’d run out of milk. We sat on the pebbly beach with our coats on using a flint jetty wall as a windbreak whilst two guys practiced kick boxing above us a few feet away.
Later in the yellow wave café, we sent out a few emails and decided on our direction. We’d asked the manager where an internet café was as we needed to print some leaflets for today. He gave us directions, but then came over to us and said
“You only need 30 sheets right?”
Orsi and he went off, he did the lot for us for a little donation. It really is the small things that continue to remind us that we are being looked over. The guy really didn’t have too.
We drove west out of Brighton and as close to the sea as we could along the Kingsway, the traffic heavy past the old docks with all its new industry, superstores and old fashioned grit. At Southwick I saw a second hand shop on a corner. We’d been talking of the jobs that still needed to do on Pearl so we called in on instinct to see what they had. We’d also been wondering what to do with ourselves in between festivals both of us keen to work so we’d thought we’d offer ourselves up to churches and charities along the way. We bought a shell lampshade and just off the cuff I asked if their homeless charity would be interested in Healing or Hypnotherapy. He directed us to Drove Road in Portslade and the Emmanus organization their HQ. Said a guy a called Andy was in charge and was into that sort of thing.
A few wrong turnings later we found Emmaus, it turned out to be what they called a ‘second hand super store’ It was a big place and really quite amazing. Obviously well organized, all the staff comprised of homeless guys who all worked in various capacities’s in the store or picked up and delivered second hand furniture from all over Sussex. There was even a couple of jazz players in the large open café dinning area and great big rooms with all sorts of useful good condition, cheep furniture. We were instantly full of ideas
We were directed to the offices of Andy. We told him and another chap there what we were doing and it seemed to us a perfect place to volunteer what we had. He asked us how Hypnotherapy could help so we went through the list of proven topics, Sleeplessness, No Smoking, Phobias, weight loss and just general deep relaxation to name just a few, to me it seemed perfect. He seemed ok, though I did note his initial body language and his finger scratch his nose when the word ‘Healing’ was mentioned. We spent a few hours there pondering over things for Pearl. We were optimistic that they would call us back the next day. We believed them.
Then back west through the coastal villages of Shoreham on Sea, Lancing then the town of Worthing to find all the churches shut. We tried care homes who looked at us like we were criminals and in a dementia second hand shop we met Mrs T of my dream. They basically stonewalled us. We were really quite deflated. I suppose there are vulnerable people in their care and they really didn’t know who we were, though if they’ d asked, all our certificates qualifications and insurance are in order. I will have other opportunities to write about the advantages and health benefits to healing but right now we are trying to find our direction and we’re out at sea.
Orsi was getting more and more irritated and I was tired, Worthing was leafy and quaint but it’s flint walls seemed impenetrable, we moved on, tails between our legs. My instinct was Bognor Regis. After a detour and a dead end in a place called Felpham I U turned Pearl and we rolled into Bognor, both of us a little grumpy now.
We parked right on the promenade just a stones throw from the pier. A guy at Emmanus had given me a large piece of wood and I’d picked up another piece I’d seen by the road side on the way so I got straight out and got to work on new shelves and Orsi cooked noodles, chilli garlic and pulses on the beach. Space from one another, time to think.
Pearl is a great advertisement with the door open, a couple stopped to say hello and admire her, we told them what we were doing and they suggested we try a place called ‘Stone Pillow’ a homeless charity in Chichester we said we would next day. It lifted us, I said ‘that is how it will be, you cannot give good intentions away, people always suspect them’ somehow they will have to discover us
Whilst cooking down on the beech, Orsi had met some Transalvanian Hungarians, which made me laugh, they you get everywhere you know, she enjoyed the chat in the mother tongue.
Later that evening we ended up in The Royal Norfolk Hotel. Oris has been nosey parkering with all the old ladies staying there, The Chelsea garden show had been on TV. The grumpy concierge told her and one of the old lady’s off for interfering with the remote control which made them both giggle. A man was selling jewelry in the dinning room the ladies were all buzzing around, also a cabaret singer in the bar doing classic Motown sing along and then three rounds off bingo ‘once everyone had been to the toilet’ I’d sat writing
Orsi said I’d missed all the action
I woke next day feeling really quite ill, Orsi woke feeling really quite anxious. Not a good combination. I slept in till 11pm there on the promenade. I’d moved the van earlier that morning as the road along the prom proved yet again to be a main thoroughfare; Pearl was rocking in the back draft from every vehicle that passed from 6am onwards.
We met later in a little café, Orsi’s face was full or fear and foreboding, my heart was sinking, I made a few more calls to spiritualist churches to see if we could work there. I came up against the many and complicated spiritualist organizations that do not recognize each other. I’d forgotten all about that stuff.
I remembered that if I am a member of the United spiritualists though I have practiced for over 14 years now, taught and had many hundreds of clients over the years, I would not be allowed to work in many churches affiliated with different association. It was stunning slap and to be honest quite depressing. The Emmanus people didn’t call back, the people we’d met on the promenade yesterday that directed us to the Stone Pillow organization didn’t call. I did call Stone pillow and explained to them what we are doing but as soon as that word ‘healing’ was mentioned, never mind Hypnotherapy the shutters of bemusement came down. Gosh. We called in to various churches around Bognar to find them all closed. Most said 9am to 12.30 pm so what to do.
We drove to Chichester called in at the stone pillow offices there it was only 10 miles away. We were a little apprehensive and have been trying to figure out how to deliver what we do. At a festival we put signs out and people can make up their own minds. Out in middle England it was proving tough, I had to remind myself today of my own prejudices before I began working as and doing healing. It seems so strange to me now that people wouldn’t want it, we are practiced sincere and genuinely good at it and when all said and done, it is such a beautiful thing, a physical flow of energy from one human being to another. It suggests things beyond us doesn’t it, so why not?
We fumbled through the initial meeting. The lady was kind and gave us no nonsense replies which was preferable to “hollow promises, smiles and we will call you” She was the lady dressed in blue in the dream. We left feeling a little better but if truth be told quite deflated. The balloon of good intention was floating dangerously close to the waves of doubt and I was not feeling well enough to fight them off.
I realized that we were only 5 miles away from the ancient Roman site of Fishbourne Palace so afterwards we drove over. It was such a marvel and so very quiet. We had hot coffee trying to get myself into some sort of coherent frame of mind, I really was feeling quite ill. We arrived just at the start of a guided tour by a lady called Penny. Over the past few months I have been to many a tour with many a guide. She was superb. We both learnt so much about England, the Roman occupation and history and human taste and style. It was such a treat we stayed and went on a second tour that afternoon with her.
The site is a mystery, it is the largest palace so far found in the UK with the best preserved mosaics. It was built in the first century AD about thirty years after the roman invasion. The intriguing thing is there is no record of it the place any Roman records or any record come to that but it was obviously very wealthy and connected. The site apparently burned down in 270AD at the height of the roman influence here in Britain, (some suggest Saxon pirate raids.) It was then abandoned, and nobody really knows why. (Some suggest flooding regularly as it still does) It was so thoroughly stripped of anything useful that nothing of any significance remained. There is a wealth of artifacts, but nothing that says who built it, what it was used for or by who or why it was abandoned and no clue to who did all the amazing mosaics.
It felt like a reconnecting to these green isles for me.
Afterwards we just went back to Bognor Regis. We’d already scoped the town out and in fact quite liked it. We knew where to park. We both fancied fish and chips and we could set out anew next day. I really was feeling very sick
We drove back in silence. I was acutely spaced out, I wasn’t sure how to answer her fears, It hadn’t crossed my mind that there would be, so I was just quiet. There really was nothing to say right then.
We had some chips then rolled back to where we’d parked up yesterday. I just climbed into the back of Pearl and was fast asleep in seconds. All I remember was mountains in a seeing, but I slipped deeper.
Orsi woke me up an hour later. We laid in the back not saying too much, I got up and slid the side door open and sat down in the doorway looking out, boiled up a pan of water and made us both a warm drink.
In front of us was the wide pebbly beach, the sea was flat and wide and chalky blue, sea gulls squabbled as seagulls do and just to my right as I sat there in the doorway, my feet on the prom, Bognor Regis pier.
It was then all my fears came to roost, what the hell were we doing, all the money we’d spent, we’d given up jobs, we had no map at all. It was quite shocking to be honest. After all the activity and focus here we were faced with each other and it was quiet. So what now? Nobody it seemed wanted what we had to offer, even if it was free. The newspapers in the chip shop had been doom and fear and dread and more dread. I hadn’t seen a newspaper for some time. It seems the population are already being hypnotized.
It was quite interesting though as people appeared in pearls doorway as if on a great screen set against a chalky flat horizon and flint beach. So many eastern European accents passed by. We noticed a big Polish population in Bognor. Orsi had met Transylvanians again. They’d asked her why we don’t move there, there was plenty of work in the care homes.
Orsi was sat on the bed above both of us just looking out to sea. I sat there going over all my follies and foolishness, wondering if this time I really had stepped way over the mark. I had forgotten just where. We were looking out but people were looking in and just about everybody did a double take.
People stopped to say. ‘Nice job, did you do it all yourself, gosh that’s the life’ One guy said “Yeah freedom” as he passed by, my thought back to him was yeah but what to do with freedom. Another young woman said “Oh that is so cool, I wish I could do that, I could go anywhere” there were so many smiles and comments that the clouds began to disperse and my light come back on starting to work its way into my head and heart. Reminding me that yeah this is the life and it’s what you make of it
The thing I suppose we were seeing was everyone in Sussex was off to work in the mornings, coming home at night, earning a keep, paying the rent, food in the cupboard, it’s what all the polish were doing there. Sat there I watched a great liner, cruising slowly out from Portsmouth across the English channel and over the horizon, a metaphor for us, I thought about all the excited souls on the ship the anticipation, but they were of course all working for something set up and established, we had established nothing at all except that we had big and open hearts, would it be enough to get us through? I wasn’t sure
In the various seeing’s I’d had over the months leading up to this I had seen a clear road up into the mountains I had at the time thought it was up to a higher place with higher thoughts, to live our ideals but perhaps it was simply mountain ranges that we had to navigate and I am not at all sure where it leads. We shall see
We’d liked sleepy Bognor Regis with its remarkable and surprising wideopen coast. We saw its workers, we saw it’s ageing community needing care and we saw its many directionless bored unemployed underclass. We noticed the clothes people wore and the cars they drove. All of it rang alarm bells in our state of mind right then.
I’d parked us up on a side street on the last night there, not quite as romantic but a much deeper sleep. Orsi had been unable to shake it off the fear. It had been starting to have an effect. I had really ill and so not really the one to bolster the troops. It was a strange morning, Orsi looking for a lead and I not wanting to be ‘bossy’. Then finally …..
We’d been reading “The Book English Magic” by Philip Carr-Gomm & Richard Heygate. Oris had brought it with us as it listed some really interesting places. Bognor wasn’t so far from Steyning, the Chactonbury ring and Kingly Vale with its ancient Yews apparently the oldest trees in England. So after a grocery stop in Sainsbury’s we set off back down the A27. We were both quiet, it was a slow sluggish journey, there really is no escape from congested crawling traffic here in the UK.
Thankfully Steyning turned out to be a lovely little town. We were looking for St Andrews church where it was said Alfred The Greats father Ethelwulf was buried in 858AD. I later read that St Cuthman had founded the church he had been journeying from Chidham in Essex with his mother in a wheelbarrow, the wheel barrow had broken right there and St Cuthman took it as a sign that here was the place to build a church, I mean come on, pushing your Mum in a wheelbarrow all the way from Essex before they had tarmac roads. I suspect that St Cuthman must have been a Saint but I also suspect that he broke the wheel himself.
We went into St Andrews found the ‘Flying Stone’ some say used by Anglo Saxon Shamans to visit other worlds and still working to this day according to some who had experienced altered states just by touching it. Also there was the gravestone of Ethelwulf the father of Alfred The Great, both propped up outside the doorway just inside the church. The flying stone certainly seemed to have something. Orsi was sweet, we both placed our hands upon it and closed our eyes to see what would come. I immediately saw a man in a red cape hanging by his hands from either a gallows or an arm of large crucifix. He had the bound legs of a Saxon. There was a wind that was rocking him backwards and forwards, he was just about hanging on. I wasn’t sure whether I was seeing myself or St Cuthman hanging onto his faith. But see it I did.
Steyning is also where the Penn family still live live apparently the same Penn’s who founded the state of Pennsylvania USA. In 1681 King Charles II gave a large piece of land to William Penn in payment of some debt he owed him. His Quaker entrepreneur philosopher son of the same name left for the American colonies immediately arriving in 1682 founding the commonwealth of what would become the state of Pennsylvania and soon afterwards planning and founding what would become the city of Philadelphi
The village was having its town fete that week and we just happened to be parked up next to the village green across from St Andrews church virtually in the shadows of the tent where all the village fete action was. I’d bumped into the lady in charge and just asked her if Orsi could do readings there. She pondered and thought about it, Orsi gave her our leaflet, she said she would call us. We hoped she would though, perhaps not, I sensed doubt in her voice, the H word again. Perhaps we need to take a deep breath and just relax
We walked up the high street of the village Orsi marveling at all the bread, vegetable and lovely looking café stores. Steyning is certainly pretty and people seem to be very busy. In fact all along the Sussex coast the English seem to be hard at it, we both noticed it, we liked the place very much even enquired about a delivery job there for future reference
Nearby too the Chanctonbury ring with all its legends of ghosts, mysterious forces, UFO sightings, strange feelings and happenings. It seemed like a place we should visit and was only a few miles away along the A283 so off we went. We saw the hill as soon as we left town driving more easily though West Sussex’s weeping green lanes and B roads. We were there in 15 minutes but Pearl couldn’t get into the parking lot due to height restrictions (I noticed a lot of height restrictions on car parks and only realized later it was I think, to stop Gypsy’s using them as camp sites) So I drove on a 100 yards parked up outside a beautiful cottage, went and knocked on the door to see if we could park out front for an hour or so, I figured it’s always best to ask permission in the countryside. A big friendly St Bernard’s dog came running out followed by a strange French man looking very suspicious, doing a strange side to side body language dance as he approached us. As I spoke it was as if he could only hear if he leant back and not forward to the person speaking, as if trying to duck out of the way of the words that came his way in case they hurt him or something. He told us that we could park up the lane but the farmer may not like it,
“But you can park dere definitelee, but don’t tell im I told you so” he said.
‘Done’ we said and minutes later we were both climbing up a shady leafy path that seemed to be a dried stream bed up the near vertical 700ft hill side, both of us puffing and panting it was really quite tough going but I think we both enjoyed it.
I was hoping for something special up there I had planned to sit and see if I could have a seeing. But as we came out on top there was what looked like a BT van with satellite dishes up on the roof parked smack bang in front of the beautiful almost domed ringed hilltop. The satellite communications van for another Festival down below. It seemed like a wart on a beautiful faceWe approached the copse of woods with a kind of quiet reverence. A clump of trees like a tuft of hair perched on the very end of the great domed hilltop that stood out looking over the land. An incredibly beautiful place you could see why the people of old would have chosen this place. Excavations have shown a hill top fort dated 300BC and also Roman remains.
We entered the wonderful woodlands you could feel the change of atmosphere as we stepped into the shadows and deeper green. The path split, so Oris took right and I took the left just to go off on our own for a little while.
I’d only taken a few steps when right there in the very center of the circle in the middle of the path was a baby Tawny Owl. At first sight it looked like a tin person in a fur coat with there back to me, It took a moment to realize what it was. I called Oris over. I’d thought at first that it had fallen from a nearby tree and its parent would be somewhere nearby. We approached really cautiously and it turned out it had a damaged wing, fly’s were starting to gather around it. We couldn’t leave it, could we.
It was another moment I have thanked the Team Leaders at the Network-JYL again for. We were able to get an internet connection on my phone and Orsi found some local vets numbers. We called a few of the numbers and managed to find a one in Worthing that dealt with birds of prey who said they would take it, so that was that. I put my T shirt over the little thing so that it wouldn’t hurt itself struggling and we made our way back down the hill, We called it barnabus, the little thing nibbling my finger on the way down, its little head turning 360 degree this way and back around. Made it back to the van in a few minutes and set straight off for Worthing about 15 miles away
I couldn’t help but see the significance, baby owl, injured, in the middle of the path, right in the middle of an ancient circle renowned for supernatural happenings, the symbology seemed obvious to me, on my own that was all well and good, but now I had Orsi to consider, am I off my head, I kept a lot to of it to myself for now. But I took it as major significance.
Just past the village of Waterloo we hit traffic again and for the rest of the way was just like being back in London, we arrived there about an hour later. Walked into the ‘Grove Lodge Veterinary Surgery almost on the round about on the A27 upper Brighton Road. The receptionist just took one look at us, got up came immediately around the front and took Barnabus, straight from us and disappeared through a white door in the surgery, we both blinked at one another. She re-appeared about 10 minutes later, she said they would x ray it, if its wing was broken they would have put it down, if not they would rear it. We said we’d call back tomorrow. We stepped out both of us quiet and a little sad, we’d done our best we hadn’t questioned and that was good enough.
we called in at the Cissy ring on the way back to Steyning we really hadn’t had chance to walk the ring and had really wanted to be out there amongst the ancients it was on the way and we had a wonderful walk over cissy’s curves and rolls and through the groves. Really set us straight a little, traffic too easier going the other way.
Back in Steyning later we pulled back up in the same place across from the church Orsi cooked a wonderful soup in the children’s playground a sign said under 11’s only but we figured they’d all gone home. It made us laugh us laugh.
I wanted to write that evening so Orsi decided to stay in the van and cozy up. I walked through the ancient town with its silent streets, sagging Tudor buildings and whispering trees to the Chequers pub. It was quiet but for a few English men with accents from around the country chatting and blaspheming, it was not as dramatic but a hundred times funnier and welcoming than Utah.
There was a lull in the chat and then somebody behind me at the bar said to somebody else “You used to know lots of jokes can you not remember any?
The guy answered dryly “No I can’t remember any, but I could tell you the story about the time I was kidnapped by a troop of mime artists….. they did unspeakable things to me”
The place cracked up laughing, somebody else quipped.
“Hey guess what.. it turns out my wife hasn’t got turrets I am an asshole and she really does want me to fuck off”
Much belly rocking and hearty laughter then somebody else said
“Hey ave you heard the one about the Nun and the ….. ?”
Everybody in the bar said in chorus …”Yeeeeeeah”
It was really funny and it got worse, I sat there giggling to myself till closing time. Really cheered me up. Then a walk through the damp silent patchily lit winding streets. England has some sort of magic for sure.