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Monday, June 7, 2010

England 2010: Part 3

Sunday, May 23, 2010

From Canterbury we are heading North West to Bath where we will spend the night either at the YMCA or a campground. Hopefully it is the Y because my phone and computer are in need to charging. The scenery so far is long rolling green hills with farms in abundance. Thatched or slate roofs cover barn, shed, and home. This is a local train stopping at each small station some looking as if they were waiting for steam engine to come bellowing up. The train is becoming quite crowed probably because this is a holiday weekend. I’m sure we’ll be changing trains several times to make this trip from one side of England to the other.

Four hours later, two train changes, one station change we are in Bath. Our first train change is in London. I ask Mark if he wants to ride through London to get a train that has a direct route to Bath or does he want a closer station which does not offer a direct route. He opts for riding to Paddington station and the direct route. We spend about an hour riding around looking for the train station which I finally spy hiding under scaffolding. The direct route seems to have become the indirect route. We get yelled at by a police person for riding on the sidewalk.

On the train again we are off to Bath again. We arrive at Bath then check into the YMCA before going in search of dinner. I really don’t want to eat out again, but the stores are all closed. We eat our meals outside talking about the trip here and the trip we’ll embark on tomorrow. Back at the YMCA we sit in separate rooms working on our computers. Mark goes to bed earlier than I do and is cutting wood when I enter our room. I read a bit then finally am ready for some shut eye. Mark wakes up and wants to know if I want ear plugs do to the noise from the patio below.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bath to Wells:

I am up early and into the shower as Mark continue sleep deeply. As I sit eating my breakfast while watching T.V. I am wondering if Mark will get any when he wanders in looking half asleep. We talk about the news and that we need to get moving. We are loaded and on the road heading toward Wells. Now I don’t remember this being a hard ride, but my memory failed me or I took a different route. We ride up then down a little then up again. This is not turning out to be the easy ride I told Mark it would be.

After five hours of strenuous riding we look down in to a beautiful valley. I see St. Michael’s Tor in the distance and look around inside to see if I can fine the thrill I experienced the first time I saw it. Finding only a small glimmer of what once was I ride off, leaving Mark far behind, as I swoop down the hill which leads to the valley floor. I’m going faster than is prudent, but I want to feel some exuberance after this long hard ride. At the bottom my anger grows again as Mark descends at a madding slow rate. I am coming to realize, not wanting to, that my anger is not about Mark he just happens to be handy.

I’m angry at having to deal with cancer yet again. I take fairly good care of myself, exercise, eat right, try to keep stress down while he does none of these things. I’m not wishing him harm, just want to know why I get to deal with it cancer yet again. I’ve said many times I now that cancer will kill me not old age, but not take me piece by piece. At this rate I’ll be an empty shell by the time there is no more to take. I want to see my grandkids grow up, and spend time with my kids as their families mature. There is more for me to do but…
The campground has a new owner who has fixed the place up quite a bit. After a bit to eat we ride out to the campgrounds and set up our tents. I keep losing my way yet know that it is not the correct path. We even road right by the campground without seeing that this is where we should be. Boy doesn’t that tell you something. Everything in my life was suppose to be easy from here on out, but that has gotten lost and I’m unsure of where to go next. Every ride, every trip to England has shown me something that is going on or is affecting my life. There are no answers given just a review of what I’m not looking at, over and over until the picture becomes clear.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wells to Glastonbury:

We have breakfast, shower, pack up, and say our good-byes and then it is off to Glastonbury. Again I say it is an easy ride and again I become misplaced. It takes a bit but after awhile the correct road is found and we arrive in Glastonbury about two hours later. I pull into the campground and Mark wants to know what I think about just keep going and getting back to Salisbury a day early. I say “NO” there are things I want to do here. After pitching our tents we wander around town looking at all the “new age” stores. Mark has no interest in what I want to do so we part ways.

I walk to the St. Michaels Tor and begin the climb up. If feels as if every step up pulls me closer to the ground. I’m growing heavier, and heavier and people walk by me as if I’m going slower than a snail. The last time I did this it was not difficult as this year it is incomprehensible. I struggle to the top having to stop time and time again. It feels as if I weigh tons, my backpack feels as if it weighs tons, everything I have on feels as if it weighs tons. It’s as if some invisible force is holding me back from getting to the top.

After sitting for awhile waiting for some mystical answer to my dilemmas it is time to head to the Challis Well. Going down is a bit slow as my balance seems to be drifting off. Just standing sometime causes me to sway a bit, stairs cause me to lose my sense of levelness. It is easier going down with my shoes off more connection to the ground. The Challis Well is at the bottom of the Tor and its waters are said to have healing properties when “bathed” in. You can’t really bathed in the, but you are allowed to stand in them. There is also a place where you can fill your bottles with water to take home to use for drinking and cooking. . I can hardly walk from one end to the other because the pain from the cold is so great. After walking through the ice cold water I’m resting on a bench when a woman and her child arrive. We chat a bit about her daughter, who is three, and my new granddaughter. The little girl walks though the water as if she was at the beach. Then she marvels at the foot prints her and mom leave on the paving stones.

The little girl sits on the bench with me to show me feet have grit on them. We giggle and laugh while running in and out of the water gets more grit on her feet then show me. Mother sits watching with a smile on her face and I’m glad at being here. Soon the girl wants to show me something called her “one” which has been left in the car. Soon she begins to use a three years olds favorite word is issuing from her lips “NO!” I move on in an attempt to let her get move on to the next thing that will catch her attention.

Leaving the well after collecting two bottles of water I head toward the Abbey or what’s left of it. There is a tree there that has become a haven for me. Lying in its cool shade sleep overtakes me. We meet up later buy some dinner to cook at the market then head back to the campground. After dinner Mark turns in while I head to the laundry room to work on the computer. Mark wanders in later unable to sleep, but goes back to his tent. I work late then get some shut eye

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Glastonbury to Castle Cary to Salisbury:

We are off early on what I hope is an easy ride to Castle Cary. I lose my bearing for a bit then get back on the path which is not to hilly. There is a stretch where we must ride a very busy road. I look back to see that Mark is some distance behind me turning back to the road I see a deer come out of the hedge just in front of a Lorie. The truck hits it sending it skidding down the road, it is up and limps to my side of the road, then turns and dragging its hind leg that was hit slinks into the hedge it came from. The truck stops some distance down the road and at the spot the deer was hit I look to see if it is around. I cross the road and peer into the hedge but see nothing. The truck starts up and pulls away and we continue our ride.

We reach Castle Cary stopping at a local shop for lunch then down to the rail station where we catch the train back to Salisbury. Upon arriving we head up to the campground were we receive a warm welcome from Wendy, Gerald, and his wife. We are given “our” corner near the “Block” and we settle in for the night. We have covered over 400 km not counting Ferry crossings and several train rides. Mark has only a few days left here in England as we wonder at how fast the time has gone by.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Not much to do but unwind from our whirled wind trip so we head to the Kings Head and get online during breakfast.

Friday, May 28,, 2010


We move from the campground back to the YHA for the last evening Mark will be here. He has a room and I’ll stay in my tent. He wants to go to see a Midsummer’s Night Dream, but when we find out there is a bus involved in getting there we chose to see a group called ECHOA. They are advertised as a group of purveyors of sound, music, dance and comedy. This is my first time attending a show in the Salisbury Play house and I look forward to the event. We have purchased our tickets from a very nice lady whose name I believe is Annie. She has the most wonderful smile and is quite helpful it getting everything arranged. Mark mentions that my story is going to be read at Saturday’s noon time reading. She says that she’ll try and be there to hear it.

After dinner and some work on our blogs it’s off to the Playhouse. I find the seating rather strange but the seats are comfortable and the aisles wide and the person in front of you would have to be a giant to block your view. Almost all the seats are taken as the show begins to start. In the seats behind me is a can’t sit still child who continually bums my seat as she moves from one seat to another. The show starts, the players play, the show ends leaving me thinking what else I could have done with 12 pounds. There were lots of sounds, lots of music, lots of dance, and some comedy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Salisbury and Mark leaves for home:

We’re up early so Mark can’t get is bike ready for its hidey hole. We have some breakfast then it’s off to visit the Town Market before heading to the station. We take about how fast the time has gone by and all the ground we covered. An air of melancholy covers us as we arrive at the train station and he prepares to leave. We head to the platform where his train is counting down the minutes to be off. We become a bit teary as we hug good bye and he boards the train. Funny how goodbyes affect you like that it’s not like we’re not going to see each other in a month. But it is the end of an event that has had its ups and downs not just in hills. Do we come out the other side different remains to be seen?

I go back to the campground and pay for nine days to sit in Salisbury and be on a different kind of holiday. Somehow I’ve gotten into my head that my story is to be read today at the noon time reading. So I head over to the Cathedral where they are being held. The storyteller introduces himself as Taffy something and explains that he is not going to read any of the stories that were to be read today. WHAT! I shout silently. He explains that do to a stroke he cannot read very well so he’ll tell his own story. “What an arrogant SOB.” I listen to some of his stories and then watch him put on a coat he claims cost 4,500 pounds. It is special made for him with pictures embroider all over it.

He explains as he is helped on with the coat that all you have to do is touch a picture and he’ll tell the story associated with it. Two young children are chosen to pick a picture and he begins the story. At that point I leave devastated that my story, as well as the other five will not get read. At the Pub again I rush off an email to the Festival coordinator declaring my sadness that our stories were felt to be less important than his. Then I reread the email that was send to me as to when my story was to be read. Low and behold my story was not to be read on Saturday, but on Sunday.

Then I get and email telling me that no one will be left out and all stories will be read. I write back red faced apologizing for my brain fart and asking for forgiveness at not making sure my facts were straight. My believe till now was that I didn’t do that anymore as it had been a behavior I worked on stopping. This is when it settled in to my thinking just how much this cancer thing was affecting me, much more then I was willing to allow see the light of day.

After spending some time at the Pub working on the Blog and revisiting what I had written during the time together. I’m surprised at what comes to my mind as I reread what I’ve written. I look inside for what feelings are lurking there as I read the rewrite and look again. Satisfied that what I’ve rewritten is more honest I delete the original blog and post the rewritten one. At many levels that seems to feel better.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


It is raining today started about the middle of the night so I think I’ll find some space to sit and type. After sleeping late it’s time for some breakfast at the Pub and catching up on emails. Have not talked to my kids and grandkids in a while and I miss them. Ride around town, take a nap, and then back to the pub to SKYPE friends and family. Don’t know what to do with myself so I do a lot of nothing. I purchase my tickets to fly to Austria and notify the family there of the time of my arrival and departure. Mark is home safe and glad to be in his own bed.

At noon I’m at the Cathedral listening to my story being read. She starts off by saying that she does not know where the writer lives. As she reads I think that it’s not too bad a story the listeners laugh at the appropriate places and some nod their heads in understanding. Not bad at all and it’s published on the Festival web site. At the end my story it says that I’ll be the festival this year as in the last four. The lady looks up when she finished and says “I wonder if he’s here?” I sit quietly thinking let them wonder it wonder, where was he from, is he here. A mystique has been added to my story for the few who listen.

I get my stuff together and unlock my bike then head out of the close. As I immerge one of the listeners is standing there watching me as I pass. I smile at him mount my bike an ride off just like the western stranger in movies of old.