20 September 2007
Arriving at Gatwick airport was like being hit by a cultural wave. The dress sense was sharper, the attitude more purposeful and the music just that little bit funkier. Britain is more techno than when I left, GPS is now standard on mobile telephones, we’ve swapped Prime Ministers and everybody wants to save the planet. Damn it I love this country.
My first tasks were to visit my new spiritual apprentice (and niece) Polly Eliza Oberg in the north, then attend the world’s greatest music festival in the south (it rained, heavily). After that I acquired a small sum of money from a major UK financial institution (having spent the last of mine in South America) and put myself into voluntary exile in the East.
The location is the countryside of Essex where my beloved Ma and Pa live in a three century old gingerbread house in the midst of a garden bursting with life. In said garden one can find seven species of apple, four species of plum, three species of pear, cherries, sloes, blackberries and a fig tree. Oh, and Dad grows tomatoes. We’ve been eating a lot of fruit.
I live in a one room summerhouse at the end of the orchard, with a computer, a bed and few distractions. During the days rabbits hop around and butterflies flit inside to check on my progress. At night hedgehogs amble about and squeak at each other.
A daily feature is visits from the our neighbour’s (Jane and Richard’s) stupendously amusing daughters: Chloe (nine) who asks a lot of questions and had a tendency to exaggerate, and Rosie (five) who expresses her adoration by punching me all the time. When yours truly rocked in from South America they were about to start summer holidays and immediately perceived my appearance to be the most exciting of all possible eventualities. We play tag and jump on their trampoline.
Guests who come to stay are taken for walks across the fields, boating sessions on the river, or made to play kick the can on the front lawn. When it’s just the three of us Dad and I watch the football, look at the sun set from the end of the orchard and talk about the War. Mum and I go for midnight walks, assess the Moon and conduct rambling discussions about the important people in our lives. That niece of mine features prominently.
When not with them, or being mobbed by Chloe and Rosie, I sit in the summerhouse and get on with turning reams of scrawled notes into a primer for the comprehension of early twenty-first century civilisation which will, basically, put everything in perspective.
Meanwhile, to the west, London, capital of the planet Earth, drags me towards it with tractor beam like force. My old homies are desperately in need of the direction and firm guiding hand that only I can provide. There is also the possibility of a position bitching it up for my ex-pimp: the juicy and delectable Miss Roberts. I’m just about done with all this hippy crap and the thought of shining my shoes, snapping up my dress and getting sassy in the city quite frankly lights my fire.
But that must wait. For now I must bring to a completion my key post-pilgrimage mission of setting out an agenda for the initiation of a neo-Pagan Zen world order. I therefore put in nightly 5am finishes, sitting alone, in the summerhouse, down at the end of the garden, with the hedgehogs.
I’ll tell you how I get on.
I couldn’t resist…
‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…’ – Jack Kerouac