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Monday, May 27, 2013

Salisbury International Arts Festival

Sunday, May 26, 2013
11:46 AM Arizona, 7:48 PM England

Back to the theme thing I was taking about in an earlier post.  The theme is still evolving and I think it will be multilevel.   Things change on a daily basis as to what I’m going to be doing the rest of the trip.  Arrangements have been made which does not allow for a joint trip to Canterbury.  So I can do the ride alone or go via train thus arriving in Spain earlier than I expected to.  Then my daughter may want to join me in Spain which again changes the time table.  This may have something to do with discerning the difference between doing things to my time table or adjusting to others.  When and how often do you make allowances for others?   I met a couple at the Salisbury Museum this morning who invited me to coffee.  Virginia said “Always like talking to people from other countries.”   So I sat down with Harold and Virginia to chat about our travels.  We spent about half hour talking and Harold said “It’s important to travel with someone who is compatible, makes everything nicer.”  Well it certainly does!
Today is my second day of Stewarding at the Festival.  Yesterday prior to starting my shift Mark and I wandered through the different free events.  We watched a show that had performers swinging and dancing in a cage, than another where performers bounced on a trampoline and wrestled with a carpet we could not figure out was that was about.  Than it was time to “go to work” and I was assigned to the Rag and Bone Yard where the performers rode on contraptions covered with junk.  I ended with them fighting a junk dragon all very symbolic.  The Cathedral Close was the area this opening was staged in.  The majority of the acts presented were free.  I was then assigned to wander around and “be a presents” for the crowd.  Prior to my wandering I was reunited with Anne, a member of the Festival team, with a big hug.  I met Anne when I first started coming to England eight years ago.  She is a charming young lady who has always welcomed me with her beautiful smile.

Later in the evening Liz, who use to work for the YHA, came up and I received yet another wonderful hug and greeting.  We have known each other for about five years now and meet annually at the Festival.  She left the YHA a few years ago to teach and get married.  I thought I would never see her again but, here we are.  She married a very nice chap named Greg and she is now pregnant.  After Liz and I chatted for a bit she left we to wandered some more.  I was a very happy camper having been greeted by two longtime friends, then Greg came up and greeted to me.  It was a pleasuer to see him again after meeting him for the first time last year.  He was gracious and invited me to call when I returned to Salisbury so we could have dinner, than offered me their spare room to sleep in when I return from Spain.   I am very grateful for all the friends I've
made here in Salisbury over the years.  Every year new ones are added which makes me feel very blessed.

As the sun slowly set the tempter began to cool and I, already dealing with a bit of a head cold, thought it prudent to head back to my tent just as the fireworks started.  I was able to watch them in my rear-view mirrors as I rode away.  As I came closer to the campground I heard quite loud music from somewhere ahead of me.  It seems there was quite a party going on somewhere passed the campground and the acoustics made it sound as if it were right next to us.

Today my shift was from 2 pm to 4 pm so I spent most of the morning, which was cool and cloudy, in Starbucks.  By the time I went to “work” the sun was out and it had become quite a nice day.  I was assigned to guard a musical sculpture in the Close.  There were about 10 of these spread over the Close grounds humming, drumming, clanging, and whistling.   I could see the piece of art I was guarding in my friend Jill’s Art store.  It was really a very soothing piece that was made to sound like river rushes in the wind.  I could see it in my garden if I had one.  After my shift we when to dinner and I was able to speak to my daughter, son and some of the grand-kids.  It was Rebecca’s, my youngest granddaughter, birthday.  Happy Birthday Rebecca!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
1:40 PM Arizona, 9:40 PM Devizes UK

So the thing is that there always seems to be a theme that pops up about these journeys.  Sometimes it takes a while for them to appear and other times they become apparent quite quickly.   Today on my ride back to the campground I decided to stop and sit at a bench along the canal.  I chose this particular bench because on the ride in this morning there was a young woman sitting there with earphone wires disappearing into here auburn hair.  As I rode up she had the most amazing smile as if she were very glad to see me.  I said good morning as did she and I rode on.  Sitting on the bench later felt remorseful that I had not stopped and talked to her.  As I sat there this evening a puppy belonging to a young woman bounded over to me.  The young lady followed and we struck up a conversation.   Her name was Nicole and the pups name was Murphy who was four months old.  Within a few minutes we exchanged quite a lot of information about ourselves and families.

She was from Robin Hood country and her partner was in the military currently based in the Falkland’s.   It was nice to just chat with no agenda involved.  It is a shame that all conversations cannot take on that kind of openness.  But, for some reason some conversations which would be productive don’t happen or happen too late to be of any use.  Like the conversation about feelings for another person seem to be the most difficult.  Often it is made difficult by whatever reasons that the mind builds up that it would not be a good thing to do.  How many times have I not stopped and had the conversation I wanted to only to regret it later?  How many times have I not had a conversation because my head has rationalized it would make no sense to have it?  Sadly, reflecting on that thought, far too often, far, far too often.  Then when brave enough to speak my truth it is far too late.

This is probably the fourth time I’ve been to Devizes usually just for an overnight stay then on to Bath in the morning.  This time I decided that I’d like to spend a day here just to look around.  The days are still a bit chilly not getting much over 55 degrees.  The sky continues to be over cast with gray clouds through which the sun peaks but not often.  The Kennet – Avon Canal here is a master piece of engineering.   There are 29 closely placed locks built in the 1800’s that once moved goods to and from markets.  Now it is used mostly by pleaser boaters who travel or live on the canal.  The boats are handsomely decorated with vibrant colors, plants and pottery.  Some of the old canal barges were turned into pleasure boats, but now they are built from scratch from to the owners likes.  I always thought my brother in law Vic would like to take one down the canal.  They putter along at about three miles an hour just enough to give it some maneuverability.   Since the canal is a fairly straight affair with a few long turns the boats don’t need to be that maneuverable. 

There is a Norman church here built in 1130 by the same bishop that built the cathedral in Salisbury that I love so.  It still has three sections of walls that are from the original church.  The church was locked and I asked some ladies raking up cut grass from between the grave stones when it would be open.  A key was fetched and I was allowed in for a look about.   When I left there was a fellow, who sounded Irish, out front practicing his juggling.   I've walked around town, had some lunch at the local Wetherspoons, purchased a tire pump for my bike, and found some sweet peppers for snacks.  Mark comes out from Wetherspoons, where he has sequestered himself for most of the day, to walk around the town.  We decide to have dinner the as Mark does not want to cook at the campground.  I head back to the campground alone as I’ve had enough screaming kids for one day.

Mark catches up to me and we ride the canal back to the campground.  I explain to Mark that I want to head back to Salisbury and not continue on to Bath.  I show him the route back, different from the one we used to get here He is not enthusiastic about it and wants to ride the canal to the next town then take a train back to Salisbury.  I would prefer to ride as I need to get in shape if I’m to ride in Spain.  We go separated ways.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

More Dublin

Saturday, May 18, 2013
1:17 PM Arizona, 9:17 PM England

Last I wrote was on Saturday May 11th from Dublin.  I am now in Salisbury, England at the YHA where I will stay for two days.

Recapping the last seven days is a bit like trying to remember a particularly good dream after waking up.  The bits and pieces swim through my mind but it is hard to make a whole of the parts.  So rather than day by day I’ll just hit some highlights.  The first highlight was that my bag was delivered to the hostel the day after we arrived.  The hostel where we stayed was called the “The Times” and our rooms were on the top floor, which mean lugging suitcases up three flights of stairs.  The room had 10 beds with metal baskets underneath to store stuff, one bathroom, and was as mix of men and woman.   We would find out that the baskets sounded like a cat fight when pulled open.  We did not use ours but, it seemed everyone else did especially in the middle of the night.  The only bed left when we arrived was the one right in front of the bathroom.   Some genius put the switch for the light outside the bathroom.  In order to use the bathroom one would turn the switch on then go in and shut the door.  Of course the same was true upon exiting.  Our bed was lit up every time someone would enter or exit.  Sleeping became somewhat of a chore, but I managed without too much grumbling.

The common room/kitchen was on the second floor was a multi-windowed long narrow room.  This was the meeting place for all who were in residence there.  Most of the seats were indented from years of butts sitting in them and quite uncomfortable.  I spend one night in this room talking to Conny until 2 am solving the worlds and ours problems.   Several times I had to ask for the radio or T.V. to be turned down due to their being quite loud.   Many of the students staying here were from Italy attending a local academy to learn English.   Two of them make dinner one night for everyone which included a new group of about twenty.  Managed to get a bowl of pasta which went well with the Spanish wine from Leon I have purchased. 

We went for a tour of Trinity College which is the oldest in Ireland.  I claim to fame is the Book of Kill’s which is held in the old library.  The Book of Kells is celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as "insular majuscule".  The place of origin of the Book of Kells is generally attributed to the scriptorium of the monastery founded around 561 by St Colum Cille on Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland. In 806, following a Viking raid on the island which left 68 of the community dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath. It must have been close to the year 800 that the Book of Kells was written, although there is no way of knowing if the book was produced wholly at Iona or at Kells, or partially at each location.
Earlier I took the tram service which is called LUAS from one end of Dublin to the other and back.  It was a pleasant relaxing ride.   I got off at one of the stops which allowed me to visit the Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) is one of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe, it was involved in some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland's history and its emergence as a modern nation from 1780s to the 1920s.  When it was built in 1796 and was open over the 128 years it served as a prison, its cells held many of the most famous people involved in the campaign for Irish independence. The British imprisoned and executed the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising here including Padraig Pearse, Joseph Plunkett and Thomas Clarke.  Children were sometimes arrested for petty theft and held in the prison, the youngest said to be a seven year-old boy.  Many of the adult prisoners were eventually deported to Australia after their stay.  Men, women and children were imprisoned together, up to 5 in each cell, often with only a single candle for light and heat.  Most of their time was spent in the cold and the dark as each candle had to last the prisoner for two weeks.  At Kilmainham women were held in particularly poor conditions considering it was an age that prided itself on a protective attitude for the 'weaker sex'.   As early as his 1809 report the Inspector had observed that male prisoners were supplied with iron bedsteads while females 'lay on straw on the flags in the cells and common halls.' Fifty years later there was little improvement. The women's section, located in the west wing, remained overcrowded. 

After that uplifting experience it was time to some of the pubs to hear Irish music.  The pubs were packed and the music was great however many players felt the need to stop playing Irish music and bring on American tunes.  There was a lot of hand clapping, fiddle playing and load singing even if you did not know the words to the song.  All in all it was a fun night of Pub Crawling” but was home by 10 pm.  Conny and I again engaged in conversation but did not stay up until 2 am again.

The day before we left Mark wanted to go on a bus day tour out into the country.  It was a very nice tour over the Boggs, Guinness estate, wool cloth manufacturing plan from the 1700’s still in operation, and a nice lunch at a small local pub.  John, out tour guide bus drive kept us entertained with song and story throughout the ride.   We were back in Dublin by 5 pm and had dinner at the hostel after making sure we were packed and ready to go.  We would need to be at the bus stop by 6:45 am. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Saturday, May 11, 2013                                Dublin

The sun rise was beautiful and its rays danced on the wing outside my window.  The ground could not be seen as it was covered with pure white clouds.  As we descended through the clouds the clouds turned gray, rain streamed off the wing, and Ireland when it came into view was a drab green.  As we approached the captain reported the temperature was 44 degrees on the ground and I’m in shorts.  It was 7:35 this morning when we arrived at the gate.  I now had two things to do, one was find my bag and the other was to find Mark.  He was supposed to get here before me but as the faiths would have it that is not the case.  Since the plane I arrived on was not the plane that my bag would have been on I needed to find out where it was.  We whizzed through customs and I get a chuckle at being asked yet again “You really like the UK don’t you?”  “Yes I do…love it.”  “Have a great stay!” and I’m off looking for the customer service office.

After wandering about a bit I come upon it then get into line.  I’m behind a young couple that appears to be completely bewildered and seem to believe there luggage has not arrived with them.  The young man announces from the carousel that he has found their bags.   The young lady begins to move toward him with a look of non-belief on her face.  Her face seems to be saying that he was not capable of identifying and gathering their luggage.  “How can we help?” and I explain the situation of late planes, changed plans and arriving early.  He makes a call then tells me my bag is in Chicago and will be here tomorrow.  Then he wants to know where I’d like it delivered?  I happen to have the address where Mark made the reservations for out stay in Dublin.  O.K. one problem solved, except I have no change of clothes until tomorrow, but what the hell.  Now it is time to find Mark.

Two hours later Mark comes through the door into the waiting area.  I’ve watched many reunions during that time.  Now it’s time to venture outside hunt down a bus and head to our digs for the next six days.  It is a gray day outside the winds is blowing the rain around and people are bundled walking slanted into it.  After a short bus ride we find out accommodations which, if the bus driver had not told me where to look, we would have passed right by.  Oops too early to check in lets walk around town a bit.  Sun comes out, goes away, rain comes down in buckets, goes away, repeat.  We duck in to doorways to get out of the rain along with most everyone else on the street.   Lots of small streets with little shops, the restaurants have, mostly girls, standing outside wanting you to look at their menus.  We stop at Starbucks for some Wi-Fi connection and coffee.  Then we head back to the Hostel for directions to the train station and the Ferry Port.

At the train station we purchase tickets for our ride to Salisbury.  I’ll finally get to see, however briefly, Holyhead the last holdout of the Druids again the Roman army.  I spend time at the Hostel while Mark goes in search of a phone store to buy a chip.  While on the internet three young ladies, who I later find out, are scientists in the making, join me.  They are from Bath, UK, Germany, Northern Ireland and all are working on their PhD’s who will soon be scientists.  We spent the evening talking until it is time for them to head out to party.  It is time to get some rest wondering what tomorrow will bring.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Life Is A Journey Not A Destination

5/10/2013 11:25 am                              Life Is A Journey Not A Destination

So I’m supposed to have been in the air ten minutes now however I’m not.  According to the airline Chicago will not let them take off and we will not take off until Noon.  This means I arrive in Chicago just about the time my plan to England takes off.  The lady at the counter gives me and assuring look and tells me it will be delayed also.  And so my adventure begins with breakfast at an airport restaurant that cannot make toast and has nothing on the menu that does not contain meat.  Now I have to wait until I get to Chicago to see if there is a connecting flight.  “They will take good care of you if miss your flight.”  I don’t want to be taken care of I want to get to England.  I’m having a Stella!  Oh my God someone who resembles Lucy Lu just walked in.  Looking at her takes my mind of Plane delays for a bit anyhow.

Everyone wants to know what my itinerary is this year.  Well I’m going to Dublin, hopefully at some point, then on to Salisbury.  I’ll be a steward at the Salisbury International Arts Festival again this year before heading off to points unknown.  Those points way include France, Spain, Austria or none of the above.  I just don’t know at this point what I want to do.  I’ve been thinking about doing a bike ride from Salisbury to Canterbury which would be about a five day ride.  It would go to Winchester, the original seat of power in England before moving to London.  Then riding through green rolling hills, small towns, and narrow back roads accompanied by the signing birds and most likely some rain.  Along this route is Pocahontas’s grave, a castles and of course pubs.

My newest position at the college is teaching a cognitive restructuring course at the Coconino County Jail.  The last thing we discussed was “Life is a Journey not a Destination.”  I think that I’m going to incorporated this into the course in order to get the participants to look at the bigger picture.  My friend Gary and I have talked quite a bit about missing what is happening around you by being focused on, or waiting for something down the road to make us happy or give us a better life.  That’s the destination and while doing that we miss out on all the things that could offer so much if we paid attention.  Recently I suggested a possible side trip of a steam train ride up a mountain to the town on top to a fellow traveler.  The response was “what is there?”  It was not about what is there it is about all the wonders along the way.

That being the case I don’t want to get lost in the destination.  For me this means returning to my original model of picking out an end point then enjoying the route whatever that maybe to get there.  Once there it will be time to look around at a place I’ve never been and enjoying the end point as part of the journey.  Or if it is a place I’ve been before look around to see what I did not the last time there.  Now that being said I’m going to “lose the attitude old man” and enjoy the journey.   I have a nice seatmate; a fairly nice ride and will arrived in Chicago approximately and hour late.  My connection to Heathrow may or may not have left that remains to be seen.  Not sure when, how or if I’ll arrived in Europe this year and the journey sure will be interesting.  I am so use to getting on the plane making my connections and getting off in England that I’m spoiled.  We are heading down in to Chicago more later.

After leaving the plane I’m informed that the plane to Heathrow is at gate K12.  Off I go down the concourse to find my gate and hopefully there will be a plane waiting.  On the way I glance at the flight board and notice there is a plane a gate K6 bound for Dublin which is currently boarding.  As I walk past gate K6 I see that all are boarding and there is a last call.  I stop and walk back to the counter and ask the attendant if I could ask a “stupid question?”  I explain show him my boarding passes and he says “that plane is already left.  We’ll put you on this one.”  This is a direct flight to Dublin with no need to stop at Heathrow and change planes.  No extra money just here’s your boarding pass on you go.  I’m the last one to board the plane and low and behold I have two seats all to myself.

Dinner and two wines later it’s time to get some rest.  I’m a happy camper God has taught me yet again to just trust.  Stop trying to control and trust that all will be taken care of.  More tomorrow in Dublin which is boasting a high of 44.