originally part of training/fundraising for the Hepatitis C Trust's Nepal trek. Now, sporadic musings...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Promised holiday catch-up...

Some of the fabulous vistas we're immersed in during our annual camping trip... and this year, we did so much more walking than in previous years...

I felt the benefit of all the training I've put in so far - in spite of a couple of lazy weeks, and the fact I haven't managed to maintain my status as an occasional smoker (unless I define that as on various occasions throughout the day!) The first few trips to the beach and back usually feel excruciating, it's not till the end of the week that it starts getting less painful. I wouldn't say it was by any means easy, but it was much more manageable.
Keeping up Steve's pace on our long walks was another thing entirely - but I wouldn't expect to be able to compete with someone who cycles about 20 miles on a daily basis, and goes mountain-biking for hundreds of miles in his free time! Even Carole was whacked out after our coast meanderings - and she's much fitter than I am.
A very different prospect this year than my first year, when I struggled to join the group activities.
This place has been so significant for rebuilding my lost stamina...

The journey to this paradise in itself provides a phantasmagoria of landscapes - outside Frome, we drive through woodland; tall straight trunks with their soft green canopy, then the evergreens on the edge of Longleat Forest.
Into rolling plains, undulating wheat fields decorated with random copses and tractor tramtracks scoring the corn yellow, roads frilled with hedgerows. The tailored lines of shorn hay, tall pillars of traditional bales - I feel a sharp nostalgia - alongside the great wheels of the disc bales. The gentle undulations intensify into more extreme hills and vales, and my overloaded Polo makes its unweildy progress along the curving highway, and the spirals through thatched villages.
Trying to capture the essence of the landscape we passed through elicited an unusual
nervousness from my navigator!

Trialling Rod's thermals for Nepal meant I was warm as toast in my sleeping bag - now THAT'S a tip I'll use in future camping trips!

Best things from our time:
Carole - finding the thatched cottage by the stream in Wool that I want to retire in... not now, I'd be bored in a backwater, I like my London life, but in the future...
Isla - going to the seaside
Gintare - the park (she's only 4, bless).
Steve - not being in London - EVERYTHING'S good, because you're not in London, you can relax and enjoy the fresh air.
Mingeile - yesterday (the fossil forest trip).
Dan - all the people we've met, and yesterday was the ballocks (our trip to Lulworth Castle).
Graham - coming away with people I used to live with and be close to, being part of the camping gang again.
Ath - mine and Dan's jog along the beach the other day - made me feel like I was in Baywatch; all I needed was the brightly-coloured shorts and boogie board. The hike to Mupe Bay and the cliff climbs that me and the boys did (eat your heart out Tom Cruise!).

And me? The communal camping experience, in such heavenly surroundings, with such great company (and the freedom to do my own thing if and when I want to).
The dreams I had - cathartic and illuminating. So wonderful to have clear recall at last!
The photo of the jailed activist in the newspaper - I so wanted to use him as a fictional chracter, his face so interesting... I know I'm unlikely to, by the time I have that much writing space, my inspirational ardour will have cooled. But I enjoyed the quick speculative scribble I did manage - a reminder that as a writer I need headspace for my imagination to flex itself. If life (work, people, responsibilities) crowd my head, my imagination is too cramped to do much (except amplify my anxieties!) The best I can hope for is the occasional flowering of poetry... Kind of like a badly root-bound plant which sadly senesces - yet shoots out a vibrant bloom in its dying throes...

The meteor shower - man, that was so cool! I've never seen anything quite that spectacular in the night sky.

The rest of the 56 densely written journal pages will have to join the rest of my resource library. My notebook was small enough to squeeze into my bumbag; more Nepal preparation - my writing materials will need to be as economical on space and weighht as possible, I won't have a Sherpa just for my trade tools! (I almost wish I could finance an extra bod to do just that - camera, binoculars, novel, notebooks, water... I have no problems with that being a difficult power dynamic, if I was able and needed the money, I would happily be a bearer.)
A small writing space means a return to tiny handwriting - more circularity; as a child my writing was microscopic...

But it is so satisfying to create a more substantial post to capture some essence of the week...

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About Me

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I began blogging during training for a trek in the Himalayas... several lifetimes ago. Currently working on my novel - in the tiny spaces left by a 50 hour plus working week...