It felt strange and good to be leaving Brighton with Pete in his van, rather than on foot with my thumb out. Pete has decided on a whim to come to Calais with me and then drive on to Poland while I hitch down to Spain, although he’s still feeling called to go go down to Vestas on The Isle of Wight to help with the occupation. There has been an emergency call-out for people to come and help stop the finished wind turbine blades from leaving the factory as this is currently the workers biggest source of collateral. I was eager to chill out a bit first, since going from Climate Camp to Vestas, then straight on to Calais to help with the migrant solidarity stuff happening there seemed to me like a recipe for instant burnout. Also, despite Pete having just driven down from London, he had only decided to come with me to France since seeing me in Brighton, so we still had to drive back up to North London to pick up his passport. What can I say, we are both quite spontaneous!
So it was that we drove out of Brighton without really knowing where we were heading. We decided to stop for a swim. Some friends of mine cycled out to Barcombe Mills a while ago and came back raving about it, so we went there. The temperature had dropped significantly by the time we got there but had a brief ice-cold swim anyway before our picnic lunch.
Getting back in the van we still had no clear idea of our plans. What to do in a situation like that? Throw a dice of course! I got a notebook out and we listed six options, including a couple of places with intriguing names marked as places of interest on Pete’s atlas.
- New Forest
- South Downs
- The Living Rainforest
- Beachy Head
- Tree Cathedral.
I must have lost my die in London, but Pete showed me a new method involving six different lengths of wheat. I drew the longest length, meaning option six: Tree Cathedral it is!
Naturally we were very excited. What would a Tree Cathedral look like? Only time would tell… It was dark by the time we found our way there but we got out anyway and went to have a look. Shining our torches at the information board we were a little disappointed. What a weird idea: Trees, hedges and shrubs planted in the form of a medieval cathedral. Still, it’s better than building a cement monument - at least it’s alive and growing! Looking at the plan we noticed that the Chancel walls were yew hedgerows with contrasting silver birches. My tree sign is apparently yew, so we went to visit the Chancel before bed. Quite nice.
In the morning I took one of Pete’s roll mats into the Tree Cathedral and did some yoga by the dew pond in the middle. Only a few dog walkers came by in an hour and a half. To it’s credit, Tree Cathedral has a very peaceful calming energy to it. It’s a nice place to meditate.
We were quite near North London, so headed straight to Pete’s parents house for a pit stop, to pick up Pete’s passport, eat some lunch and check our emails. I finally set up my new blog (this one), but it will be a while before I’m up-to-date.
We were halfway down to The Isle of Wight when we started to muse over how much it might cost to get a van over there. After some texts and phonecalls we discovered it could be well in excess of £100 – Eeek! We had no idea! After some deliberation we decided that spending that much to get over there for a day or two was not worth it, particularly as we were still feeling quite frazzled from Climate Camp and had yet to get the van over the other bit of water to Calais. But where should we go instead?
Back on the M25 and round towards Tunbridge Wells, an old hangout of mine, we somehow found ourselves by the High Rocks, where I used to meet with a drumming circle a few years ago. Strange to be there now and think how much has changed since then.