We’d left Petersfield in better moods both of us feeling better, chores done, postage, banking, even found time to go for a swim in the open air heated pool there, the pool was warmish but it was a cold day and we left feeling clean but still a little chilled.
The manageress had told us the Gypsies parked outside in the car park had been giving them a lot of hassle because she’d stopped them coming in and using the bathroom and showers. They’d called her racist amongst other things, she wasn’t at all, they could have offered her a few quid, it was run as a charity and she was doing her very best to keep it going. Everybody wants something for free.
Afterwards we’d sat in Wetherspoons had a great breakfast both of us working on various things, drank coffee all day and managed to get a lot done, Orsi realized just how much work goes into the writing and to be honest I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up with the same frequency as I did in the US, we have a lot of things to take care of and of course we are here to be together on the journey.
It was pouring down as we left town, I have wondered why I have been feeling so poorly, perhaps I got used to the dry warm high altitude of New Mexico, the green here in England is lush stunning and beautiful, but boy the rain sure puts a downer on things.
It didn’t take us too long to get to Winchester. We’d planned to sit and catch up with unfinished emails and for me to write a little more, perhaps have some fun and some love in town that night and laundry next day. But it didn’t work out like that. We’d pulled up near the railway station trying to find a Launderette, Orsi keeps calling it lingerie and it melts me every time, I love her dearly for these things.
It turned out Winchester only had one launderette or that we could find on Google, and that was already closed when we got into town. So we drove around the town and somehow ended up on a road leading back out to the M3 I could have filtered back around but Orsi said,
“No lingerie, so lets keep going”
We’d looked at the market town of Andover so, ok lets try there but a few miles along the M3 there had ben an accident and so huge traffic jams, again. So we pulled off at a services where I nearly took a guys headlights out reversing Pearl, I was still pretty tired. We sat listening to Radio 4 while Orsi cooked Kale and red lentil soup. Still feeling unsteady with what to do next.
On the map Andover didn’t seem so far away along the A34, it had said Market Town but once there our hearts sank, we didn’t like Andover at all. So Salisbury ahoy. Damn, we should have stayed in Winchester
We drove west along the A303 then onto the A345 I’d thought we could check out some of the little villages along that route, I was itching to write, we could find a nice pub and then just bed down in a sleepy village out in the countryside somewhere. We looked at every village along that road but didn’t see anywhere where we felt rested and comfortable except the very first town we’d gone through and we’d driven straight on. We’d said ‘lets drive a little there will be more’ but there wasn’t. We were having a laugh being silly but eventually ended up in Salisbury where it seemed every inch of curbside was taken, we couldn’t find anywhere to park and ended up pretty near the town center outside a pub. By then we were both tired. Three hours and half a tank of petrol wasted for what.
Next day I’d woken in a good mood though I’d had a strong dream about letting anger go, a strange young very simple boy, an innocent, kept getting very angry and explosive, so I was taking him to be put down. He’d tried to escape me, but I’d caught up with him and quietened him. He knew where I was taking him and once I explained why, he hadn’t minded. It woke feeling very puzzle
Orsi was in a stinker of a mood and we clashed pretty badly in the car park. She’d wanted to go for a run, I was trying to draw her a map as I knew she wouldn’t be able to find me later. We’d both gone off sore and angry. I hadn’t written, couldn’t shake it off. She had appeared later looking sheepish and had got lost.
We were left town in another traffic jam that passed right by B&Q so I pulled in and I spent a few hours cutting a rubber fitting for the grey water tank there in the car park. It was a job that had to be done, it was cold outside and inside the van, but job done, another step closer. We set off again.
We were simply looking for a launderette. Google said that Cheltenham had lots that’s where the festival was so that’s where we headed. We could last another day.
I’d always wanted to see the White Horse of Uffington that had been carved into the hillside somewhere back in time, they say in bronze age. It was along our route a few miles outside of Swindon. I had planned to walk it long ago with my dad but we never got chance, I thought he would be around us and so it felt like a lift. Perhaps I though, he’d put the idea into my mind.
It was a long slow drive along the A364, following slow busses and trucks through damp mist and drizzle, through narrow green lanes, beautiful carpets and patchworks of green fields, wooded hillsides, crowds of yellow white and pink flowers reaching out to us from the road side. The pretty and energetic market towns of Marlborough made us sit up, but the weather reflected our mood, we were both quiet and pensive.
We were both happy to get to the White Horse, we stepped out into the drizzle it felt good and within minutes we were soaked though. Though at that moment it felt so good to be out of the van and we had a laugh stretching out legs and feeling the elements pressing in upon us, I was enjoying my boots filled with water and the trickle down the back of my neck. It was misty day and we couldn’t really see the horse. We wandered up over the hill side above it’s head and down along its tail onto dragon hill and into the valley below, our feet were absolutely soaked and would take the next two days to properly dry out. We stood watching the Kites coasting on the winds high above us, and a hawk hunting above a thick patch of grass. The winds and rains had blown the clouds away we left there that day, both of us feeling a better. Perhaps my Dad had been there. Thanks Dad we needed that.
It didn’t take too long to get to Cheltenham and instantly liked the place. We drove around a little and found a place to park up on Lansdown Crescent. A place of bygone grandeur and now a place of upmarket bed sits and leafy neighborhood watch. We really were very tired and could have just crashed but walked a little into the center just to see really, it was damp evening and though Orsi cooked warm soup there under the street lamps and hedges it warmed us deeply, but feet were still wet. We were both a little estranged, the van needed to be sorted. Later though in a bar called Harry Cooke just around the corner an IPA. That was really really nice.
I woke at 5am feeling wrestles so got up and wrote. At around 8.30 we thought we’d better navigate the one way system around to the launderette. We’d agreed to leave orsi to it, I think she was glad to be in her own space, I found an Italian Coffee bar. She arrived back grumpy again. Then Wicks to get wood for counter for Pearl and some other parts, it turned out to be a series of infuriating dead ends. We also needed metal rings, so we would be able to tie the Hypnotherapy sign up at the festival. I knew what had to be done. I was starting to slowly molten melt. I wasn’t being left to simply get things done, I am a slow fuse and now starting to get exasperated.
After supplies at Tesco I think Orsi finally sensed and persuaded me to stop at a Mcdonalds where there is always good internet connection, realized that I needed to finish the writing and post before we went into the festival. I was glad I did, as it lifted the steam off me and we relaxed
Then up to Wychwood festival up in the hills on the outskirts of town. We arrived at Cheltenham racecourse grounds just on 3pm and as we rolled into our mood just lifted. It looked fantastic, a real deal festival, it looked the business the main stage and the big top visible immediately.
Claire & Debbie two of the body workers from last year at Cornbury Festival who we’d really liked, rolled up soon after us, they’d both had trouble finding the box office. It was great to see them. Orsi said later that something had changed in her as soon as she’d seen Debbie and Claire, they were out there doing it and she could talk to them. They were well-practiced troopers; sometimes an outside positive calming influence is needed to steady ones ship
We waited a little while at the box office as a girl there tried to smooth all the feathers of pushy traders who were trying to muscle in front for various reason, one of them even pulled the ‘death in the family last week’ card. We didn’t mind at all really, it was just good to be there, it would fall into place, just to see it spread out down below and across the racetracks was great. Soon enough we were told to head into the grounds and we’d be met along the way. It was exciting, there’d ben some mix up and our wrist bands would be issued tomorrow, but for now it was, get in, get set up and get ready.
We convoyed in, we were waved here and flagged there and in a few minutes we arrived at the pitch site which was in a pretty good location on the main drag not to far from the main stage. We met the pretty Hannah who was given charge of us and the area for the weekend, she seemed a gentle soul and had a big foxes tail strapped to her waist hanging from her bum by a big leather belt. It somehow just seemed quite natural, nobody batted an eye lid
Emma, a Holistic massager, if that is the right title, was struggling with a huge tent next to where we were to set up. We were all supposed to have sent our size specifications and it seemed Emma’s were a little bigger than she’d specified. We were all trying to all fit into our allocated spaces, and form a horseshoe arch. We ended up being in the center, the load stone if you like. We just got on with it. Emma stood there a while, holding her pole looking a little lost, apparently it was her first festival, we’d been there only a short time ago. Her bell tent laid out was too big so we offered her our Gazebo we’d worked form last year. I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief and didn’t take long to set her up. She seemed happy enough and was hanging drapes from it in no time and in fact I think it worked well for her over the weekend.
After a little maneuvering we were all fitted in nice and snug. 9 of us in total. Hannah; Japanese facial, hot stones and pregnancy massage, she also went onto do sparkly beard massage. Debbie: body work, muscle release, sports injuries. Claire: Deep massage, she had many different techniques and was popular all weekend. Kate: Scented massage, Hopi ear candles, holistic oils, Indian head massage, Japanese facial massage, Emma: holistic massage, hands, feet, deep tissue and Swedish. Carol: Hand Feet Head massage. Gemma: Advanced clinical body readings and reflexology. Orsi cards readings & Healing and I was Hypnotherapy & Healing, all in all a pretty good group.
Once wed set up we drove around to the racecourse where Hannah had staked a great pitch for us to camp right next to the organizers, the showers and the toilets and right smack bang on the edge of the race course and right opposite the race course stands. It was surreal. We spent quite a bit of time with Claire who was very funny and had us laughing as we wandered through the site in the late afternoon noseying and just just saying hello to the other people finishing off their stalls. It was such a great feeling to be there
It was magical to stroll through the festival site we both felt we were in the circus, and actually we really were. We chatted to a Tibetan guy on the momo stall with a Tibetan and Manchester accent, he told us of his escape from Tibet 24 days walking over the Himalayas, we both knew what that meant from our time in Nepal and my brief time in Tibet. He told us how lucky he felt to be there, had found his wife and made a business for himself. It made us both think. Later that weekend we treated ourselves and the mellow laid back staff there gave us a few extra each time, just because we seemed happy I think.
When you are happy all doors open.
Later on back at Pearl Orsi cooked a great salad with that Mustard vinaigrette again we were both very fatigued and though it would have been good to go and have a drink, it seemed that everyone else was just glad to have made it and we all just melted away.
Next day Orsi was up and away running around the track and to be honest I was still a little bruised from all her fears battering on my doors these last few days so I just curled up and slept on. When she returned something had shifted, she looked bright and happy, like the person who’d planned all this with me. So I got up and we went running together around the course. It was such an interesting thing, jogging through all the arrivals and the last minute adjustments, the energy level of the place beginning to rise now. It felt like it was going to be great. We had coffee and breakfast and felt a whole lot better. I recall feeling very vulnerable that morning, I am not sure why, just very raw and open, not quite sure how to relate to anybody. I allowed it and wondered where it came from, old things I supposed, then again perhaps my tidal nature.
We changed into clean clothes then made our way across to the healing area for 10am on the dot and opened up, both of us expectant and ready. People were starting to trickle down the main avenue, there was a real buzz in the air. The healing area looking great, everyone had complimented us on the dome and a few had even suggested, if we felt like it, that we made more of them there’d certainly be orders. We were both feeling good.
Orsi was busy all day as I had expected, she was the only card reader there, she also did readings for Claire and one of the other girls. Debbie gave me a massage I was impressed with her hands, she’d known within seconds where my tension was in my body, hamstrings and all across my upper back, spot on with the slightest of touch. Really impressive. Over the weekend most of us swapped sessions with each other, it was a good way to get to know each other, blend, bond and to learn other things
I let myself go into a seeing with Debbie. I saw a train travelling across a huge brick viaduct, the sun was shining, the train was building up steam, then later deeper still, I was looking up from under the ocean, the sunlight was filtering down to where I was, when the beams of light reached me I began to come up to the surface. Lovely.
I did two, hour long sessions both seemed pretty effective later a session with Claire too during the Peter Hook set, It was such a great thing doing a healing session with a live set of classic joy division songs from my youth a few hundred yards away booming out from a huge PA syestem, Claire got it and took the healing as I whispered her down even deeper. Lovely.
We packed up at around 6.30 that day and went back to the van and chatting happily, eating cheese and sipping beers sat on the step while the music floated over the racecourse stands. I was still coming back up to the surface, the bruises now yellowing but feeling better. Later we wandered into the Hobgobblin tent and watched a 3 piece rockin skiffle band called ‘Thrill Colin’s’ Not a great name but the tent was packed, they played covers but twisted and turned them inside out, great musicians and funny with it.
Then we wandered back to the main stage just as the Waterboys came on. I remember them from back in the late 80’s or maybe early 80’s I didn’t mind them but they had seemed a little up their own backsides back then. But that night they were absolutely great. Singer Mike Scott has really aged well and grown into a confident, flamboyant and likeable front man looking cool in a large cowboy hat, a bearded fiddle player and a mental looking keyboard player in a wild looking suit really pushing the energy out. The highlight for me was a song of their new album “Valerie, You married the wrong guy” A grinding sexy song, the band grooving and slick, I was surprised at just how good they were, such a treat. It made me sad at the same time, I really missed The Fits there and then I miss the performance astride a great band, I cussed them all, such a waste.
We slept so well that night.
Orsi ran next morning while I queued for the shower, she was back before I got in the shower, then coffee & porridge she went to shower and walked straight in, How is that? Down at the healing field later we were both feeling a lot better, did our cards for the day, It is still remarkable how it works, but it does, we were both feeling a lot better, It was the first time I had felt right for a few weeks
We were expectant now, it was a beautiful sunny day too, I noticed immediately the swell of people from the day before, people had now spread their chairs and blankets all along the main avenue and right out front and beyond the healing area, all the girls were pretty busy, it was a great thing to see, they are all such good therapists, we saw their clients coming out all day looking woozy and flushed and happy.
Wychwood is a family festival and still remains pretty cool, parents wandered past all day peering in with fold up chairs in bags over their shoulders, children towed in lightweight 4 wheel canvas trailers. Funny to look on everyone just relaxed
As always people seemed to be surprised that we were there and so had quite a lot of enquiries and questions. Orsi did well doing readings I think for all the other therapists too. It seemed to draw everyone together, she does seem to have that effect. Very cool
The music was good, it was pretty and fresh and bright with all the kites and flags and banners dazzling and spinning in the sunshine above. Hannah gave me some great tips about travelling abroad to work in France and Switzerland through the winter. We took her seriously and we’ll see how it unfolds.
I had answered a lot of questions but only one session all day, I did a healing with Debbie which was great, we really like Debbie. She has a gentle air about her but is watchful and we noticed her gentle guidance. Then as we were about to finish someone came for a session at the end of the day, I didn’t finish till 7.30
Had some more of oris’s wonderful soup back at the van then wandered through the festival sipping our sneaked in beers, looking at the stalls, just wandering taking in all the sights, we’d missed stereo MC’s but got there for 10cc.
We of course knew every song and they were incredible musicians and it was just so good to hear them, but they just weren’t as instant as the Waterboys. We peeled off back to the healing fields where all the girls were sat and joined them.
Orsi went back to Pearl and I stayed on chatting to Claire, she’d heard the emotion coming out of the dome and wanted to know what was happening. Its always good to go through what you do as it clarifies it in your own mind. I really enjoyed chatting with her, she is genuine and taught me some things I hadn’t considered about the breath and breathing.
I was a little tipsy on the way back wandering through the debris of the day I could hear muffled singing coming from the big top, so I popped my head in and there was the festival, it was around 12.30am, it was the headphone disco. Everyone in there had headphones on, two DJs and everybody singing Abba songs. It was a remarkable thing. It was like being in church.
You could sing your heart out, nobody else could hear you, and your partner could do the same and it all looked fantastic, everybody was in Abba everybody was a rock star. I didn’t want head phones I wanted to just be in the voices and the vibe in there, It was a remarkable thing to see hear and feel.
Next day we hit our stride or at least I did, I started almost immediately. It was baking hot and the tent sweltering, I hadn’t realized till half way through a session. I was so focused, I suddenly realized that I was absolutely drenched in sweat, the chap took the session well though, but after that I opened up the sides.
It was today that I really began to hit a stride and learned a lot with the people who came through and who seemed to get a lot out of it. It really is a two-way road, if you’re on it the clients tend to be as well. The subconscious misses nothing. It was also that day where I began to move ever so gently into doing things stood outside the tent. Orsi was busy too, we want to work, Orsi’s Communist work ethic and my northern English work ethic, quite a driven combination.
We both felt like we’d moved into a different gear that day. We noticed the girls nodding approval our way too made me feel good. It mattered to us. I remember three powerful sessions, I wont go into it, but sometimes the insight that comes, comes from somewhere else and it’s remarkable to be in that moment watch a person allow the wall to fall, break down and break out, empowering themselves in that moment. I am very privileged and I am safe rock and solid ground to go there with. Nobody has ever come out without saying thank you.
It was around 6.30 and seemed to be the signal for the traders to begin packing up. Then Bill Bailley came on, we’d decided to dismantle the dome next day but packed up the stall it all next day. Bill Bailey was hilarious, I haven’t heard something so constantly funny for such a long time. Everyone was packing up, laughter bursting out from the inside the tents and stalls all around us. It was such a strange thing to see people just stopping holding poles and boxes or bend over folding taps and just burst out laughing, brilliant. When we’d done Orsi wanting to go back to the Pearl, but I couldn’t and didn’t want to drag myself away. It was by then quite a sparse crowd, but boy he was funny, nobody wanted him to go and he is actually quite a good musician too. Loved it and it really lifted the whole place. All hail Bill Bailley.
We went to have the momos afterwards, then just wandered though the site as it began to dissolve around us. Later on that night we sat with Debbie and Hannah and chatted till 2 in the morning, Debbie such a great host Orsi downing the Drambuie she said for her throat. We all said yeah what ever.
Wychwood had been great for moral it was Great last day and has set us up now. We’d covered the pitch with a little extra. Feeling better about ourselves. Noticeably relaxing too in the festival environment. It felt good, we slept so deeply that night both of us. We had clean clothes clean bodies and peaceful minds too.