Friday, 10 August 2012

Day 46 begins


Day 46 begins

It was threatening to rain as I woke and left the tent to go and take my shower. I hoped that I could get it packed away before it did so, as putting a wet tent away was not good practice. As I had been here a few day now, my bag was totally unpacked and would need a thoroughly good sort out to repack it properly. Still there is no particular hurry, and I have a breakfast appointment anyway, so who knew what that might change with my days plans.
The shower, maybe my last for a few days, was wonderful, and no grass all over the floor on the way out to muddy my feet again. Oh for the simple pleasures of comfortable living.....
Smart, fresh smelling and smiling I got myself over to Pat's caravan, where I met her Irish friend Finn who was visiting. Finn and I got on from the word go, he is a lovely man, and a world traveller like myself. He talks a lot, but then so do I, so I would have to fight for my spot. Seriously though here I am out to spend time listening to people and learn and pick up interesting new things, so somebody with lots to say is a gift for me. Pat also loves to talk, as too her son, so it was a tri nations challenge to get the last I jest of course, as it was great to hear the twang of both strong accents, Irish and Scottish. Finn claims to be of Scottish heritage anyway and he also for his sins is a Piper. A full blown bagpipe player with clan tartan and a hefty sporran.
Pat who had only recently bought the car and caravan to get away is of more mature years, but with the energy and spirit of a much younger woman. She lovingly served up fresh cut toast with cheese, grilled and lots of tea. Wow, what a beautiful day this was going to be I could feel it. Something told me that magic would happen today, and by the end of it, I'm sure you will realise as did I, that it did indeed happen.
We covered every subject known to man and then it was time for me to think about moving on. Pat and Finn were planning to go out somewhere for the day and asked me what my plans were. As you all know, there aren't any, well not of great determination that is to say. I had thought about going across to the coast and then walking up to Holy island, where the Lindisfarne Castle is. I have heard that it is in fact the home of pilgrimage in England where St. Cuthbert had found a place to rest and seek his god. I as you may know am myself a pilgrim time served having done two of the routes across Spain. So it would feel like coming home to me to be around the history of pilgrimage, despite me not being denominational in my religious outlook or worship. I had figured it would probably be a two day walk to get me there so was looking forward to setting off and getting to the coast.

Pat asked me if they could take me there as they were hoping to visit Holy island as well. This seemed like a perfect idea, and as I have said before, people time is far more important than time on the asphalt and trails, so 20 miles off my route wouldn't hurt. I accepted their kind offer and we set of into town as they wanted to see what if anything was going on with the parade. It had started raining now, so that was even more reason why I should be glad not to be walking yet. We headed out towards Seahouses, a way up the coast near to Bamburgh, which also has a castle. At Seahouses, it had stopped raining and Pat treated me to Fish and chips, which we ate overlooking the harbour on rows of benches. It was great to be back at the sea and with nice people. 

Later we carried on along the coast through Bamburgh and a few other villages before reaching the causeway that lead onto Holy island. I was told by Finn that he once came onto the island and saw the sea either side of the road and assumed there was time to cross. By the time he was about half way across the water had begun to breach the surface of the road and he had had to stick his foot down hard on the accelerator to rush the last bit. He was half way up the wheels at the last few metres, so warned that trying this was fraught with expensive danger. If you don't make it, you wont be deep in the water you could still walk through it to the safety box on stilts, but your vehicle will need recovery afterwards, it wont start again for sure. Tide times are posted both sides of the water and in several places on the island, so you should know when it is safe to cross. The flat aspect of the causeway means that in the last few minutes, the tide will rush at you so fast that you hardly have time to react, so be warned....
That said there are about 5 to 8 hours safe crossing times twice a day.

The island lay ahead of us and Pat drove onto the causeway swiftly. We parked in the village and visited the abbey and went for a walk around the church and along to the back of the island. Then we drove down to the Lindisfarne Castle and parked near to the gateway. Everyone had left the island, well tourists, so we should have known that meant something. The sea air was very envigourating, though the wind was not strong hardly a whisper.

I asked Finn if he had his pipes with him, which he did. I wondered if he would play something for me, it would be a rare treat to hear pipe music and especially here at such a historic and scenic place. He had already wanted to play them here so it was an honour he said to be able to play for my request. I so love the sound of Scottish bagpipes, and with this backdrop what a wonderful priviledge to be here. Pat accompanied with her drum/tambourine and I was almost crying with emotion so strong was the warmth being shown to me by these people. I hope to get some of the footage I took posted soon.
Then along came a couple of people who I could tell instantly were from Holland. No they weren't wearing clogs....

Michiel and Pip were Dutch and had been sailing around the coast clockwise since Edinburgh in their yatch. Michiel and his sister Hans and her husband Jan, Pip Mercedes Rosa's parents, were having their summer holidays sailing together. They had parked the boat in the estuary just in front of where we stood. I asked Finn if I could have a go at playing his bagpipes, which he let Michiel and I try. (see pics)
I wasn't very good of course, but at least I have an idea now how to squeeze the bag and blow, if not make audible sense of music. Whilst Finn serenaded us a few other people came by and I got chatting with Michiel. He was interested about my walking and asked why I was here. I said that it was about meeting people mainly from the United Kingdom and sharing some time getting to better understand and know about them and their lives, and what made them happy to be British, or not as the case may be. Just randomly and out of the blue he asked me if I fancied looking after a boat for a few days as his friend was due later in the week to collect it and sail on, but that they were all leaving tomorrow and returning for Holland. I told you about magic didn't I ?
What could I say? Small tent hard floor and few comforts, or bed to sleep on and creature comforts to die for. No contest really......
But of course I am out here to suffer and learn, not have a wonderful time enjoying luxury like this, so turned him down.
Are you kidding..... I might be poor simple man but I'm not stupid.....
They invited me over to spend the evening with them and eat a meal, their last supper (no pun intended) and set off to meet their party at the Ship Inn.
I was to meet them at the harbour at about 9pm
Finn carried on playing for a while. as we began to drive back to the village a young couple who were walking with their children spoke to Finn and it appeared that they were honeymooning following getting married here last week. They said it was a pity that they hadn't met Finn before as it would have been special to have him at the ceremony. Later when we arrived back it would appear that the tide had come in trapping them here until at least 9.30 this evening. We had a walk around again and met up with Andy and Sarah and their two boys again, outside the cottage that they were staying at on their honey moon, before we sat at the Crown and Anchor pub for a drink and passed the time chatting till it was time for them to escape and me have my first experience of the high life on board Phynella.
I was sad to be parting from my friends but happy for the chance to make other new friends too. Pat and Finn came to the harbour to drop me off before they set off back to the caravan at Alnwick. I'm sure I shall see them again.

Michiel rowed over to collect me and my rather large bag, and he asked me to row back so that he could see if I was up to the job. No I doubt that, but it would be visable if I would be able to safely get to the boat moored offshore or not when they left tomorrow.
I met Jan and his wife Hans and was welcomed aboard the 40 foot yatch Phynella, from Holland. I know little about boats or sailing, but I can manage most vehicles well and was not scared to try the new experience of sailing, though all I was expected to do here was keep an eye on the boat until Geert would come maybe on Thursday.
Hans was cooking dinner and soon it was served. A very nice and healthy mix of rice and vegetables in a tomatoey sauce. The boat was lovely and I could tell immediately we would get on well, her and I. Funny isn't it why boats always seem to be a SHE ?
The conversation was very interesting, I was glad that they all spoke flawless English as my Dutch is nondescript. Michiel was a psychiatrist, (aha.... I would be careful with my body Jan was a professional photographer, Hans an artist and musician and creator of great food, also a teacher of musical things. And Pip their daughter had just finished high school and was hoping to decide soon what to do next, as all teenagers seem to be considering equally. I pity being that age again, not for the youth and vitality but for the difficult decisions to be made in a world that has fewer opportunities presently with all the worlds financial and economic troubles. Pip was a reader and had her head in a book very often, which was nice to see her learning constantly.
I felt right at home with the group and was well looked after. At the end of the day, I had a bunk that I had to slide into but at least it was cozy and off the floor for a few days. Tomorrow I could have the pick of the beds and as much freedom as living on a floating house could offer.

Lights went out and day 46 came to and end.

1 comment:

  1. Aye aye captain!!! nice photo's , can't wait to hear the bag pipes! x