I have about ten minutes over my morning dandelion latte (with half soya milk) to pay tribute to yesterday...
I had, of course, intended to do a dummy run to find out how long it would take to get to Bridport. Last Thursday evening, when Crysse and I went to see Aisle 16 in Exeter (check out their website www.aisle16.co.uk - they were excellent, but I think our use of visuals will be far more interesting), we were calculating timings for Taunton and Exeter to see if working in either of those towns was going to be at all feasible. It's about an hour to Yeovil - which I should know by now, my life has looped to Yeovil on several occasions, but it's obviously not a place I've embraced unreservedly in my heart... Ath spent nearly twenty-four hours in the police cells in Yeovil, and there are other 'previous life' associations - mainly as a hard-drinking wild child before motherhood...
I've delivered WEA courses in Montacute and East Coker (don't you just love that link to T.S. Eliot?), so I'm not opposed to the area... I do love when I get the chance to 'reclaim' a place in a positive way.
There wasn't time to do a dummy run to Bridport in the end. Or at least - I spent the time doing other things, like typing up the draft of the writing for Stepping Out which is part of the blog sponsorship. I didn't make the last night of the Bristol run of the play - which I'm really disappointed about, but if I'd struggled there on Saturday night, I'd have been enduring rather than enjoying. No matter how brilliant it was. Of course, I still felt I'd let Steve down - I haven't quite got the hang of guilt-free self-care...
What a preamble - all to say I allowed two hours for my drive to Bridport. Panicking on the day in case that wasn't enough... it took me about three hours to get back from our break in Lyme Regis, but I did take a very circuitous route - plus I was resisting my return to a smothering, claustrophic relationship, having enjoyed my freedom as much as my women's studies summer school away from Ath and his dad... always a death-knell, when you feel your heart leap as soon as you kick up the traces...
I arrive yesterday in Bridport with nearly an hour to spare, plenty time to grab a coffee and a toasted teacake. It's a pretty little town - not as close to the coast as I'd assumed.
The Fisherman's Arms is a lovely centre - a converted pub! I have an immediate affinity with Lesley, the co-ordinator - and it's not just the music in her Northumbrian voice, or her warm manner; although of course those things help. It's to do with her passion for words - her passion for her service users being able to access the therapeutic and enabling power of language. When I later discover she's worked with writer John Killick on his writer-in-residence project with people with dementia, I'm not at all surprised.
The workshop is great. The group is lovely - friendly, sparky, witty and very keen. I'm feel very privileged to be sitting with a bunch of people, being paid to encourage them to write and then to share fragments of themselves and their lives. This particular group collectively overcome difficulties which make hep C seem fortunate by comparison.
I'm invited to stay for lunch with Lesley. As I type this, I think how much she reminds me of Karen; though why that should be... The friendliness, perhaps, that open-hearted approach to people. And the immediate affinity.
Anyway, Lesley is keen for me to do more with the centre after these two workshops are complete. She's worried about the travelling, which I'm not... The time, and the money side are more important. Wednesdays are not good at the moment because of college. And if I get a new job, time could be tricky... And if I don't get a job, I might not be able to afford to deliver WEA workshops...
But outcome is not my responsibility...
After lunch, I drive to West Bay, park up and get changed.
from my notebook:
trilling birds on my right, soft cushiony sea grass hummocks below me, powerful sea breaths before me, gentle rolling hills behind me, with what looks like a botannical garden - exotica and firs - planted round a house on the slope.
All under a hazy May sky.
I find a pottery fragment - worn smooth, all jagged, broken edges healed
My Montacute workshop led to today and next week's workshops at the Fisherman's Arms
(at the time, I didn't think Montacute was wildly successful)
Bridport is just along from West Bay, in turn just along from Abbotsbury, where I went on my only solo bike trip - an artist's date, staying in a B&B with Louise de Salvo's Writing as a Way of Healing, borrowed from Helen (and on the way home, melted my pannier and stained the book, which became my copy when I replaced Helen's).
I walked along Chesil Beach both at sunset and not long after dawn the following day, it was wonderful. I still have the notebook, the one Carole gave me when we went to Lyme; it has little sketches as well as my usual wordy ramblings of that and other journeys.
Chesil Beach I remember as being much harder work. I must be getting fitter after all. Shifting pebbles are quite strenous - as we know from Durdledoor (not that much further along the Jurassic Coast...)
After my scribbles, I check out some of the jobs in the Guardian. Chilling slightly, I'm trying to figure how far Abbotsbury is, and if I have the energy to walk there and then back to West Bay for the car. Sensibly, I begin to walk back. I'm emptying my boots of beach to continue walking in comfort, and a white-haired woman with a warm voice strikes up conversation.
Here, I have to stop. I have a bath run, I have a reiki/reflexology in half an hour, the washing machine is about to finish - and I wanted to walk to Pippa's...
Time runs away with me again. To be continued...
originally part of training/fundraising for the Hepatitis C Trust's Nepal trek. Now, sporadic musings...
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