Tag Archives: travel

An afternoon pilgrimage: Heysham Rock Cut Graves

So last year some time I bumped into the website of The British Pilgrimage Trust who are kind of funky, and their mission seems to be to restart the tradition of pilgrimage in the UK, which they define as an “unbroken journey on foot to holy places” (which … has some kind of ableist connotations) and they define holy places in a very vague sense:

There are many kinds of holy place. There are temples – i.e. chapels, churches and cathedrals of all faiths. There is water in the form of holy wells, springs, river sources and confluences. There are ancient trees, sacred stones and hilltops. And there are the places where great people were born, lived, died and buried.

They specifically include all temples (be they in use or not), including a suggestion of reworking Christian churches in your minds as nexus points for attempts to contact higher truth and also marking big events in life (births, marriages, deaths) even if you don’t agree with other things the church does, so that’s kind of an interesting perspective.

They also have lots of advice on when, why, also a lot of suggestions on where (either the “great routes” or things that just speak to you), and finally a whole section of articles on how to approach it (which while it does have lots of “do it now with whatever gear you have available!” also includes some suggestions of really expensive kit and a little bit of looking down on some cheaper gear in some ways) – oh and they also advise that you take a pilgrim staff along with you, which is quite sensible.  The main how article is called The Pilgrim Pledges, which suggests the best way to approach this is to:

S:      Slow Down – Seek Holy Places – Stop More.
I:       Set an Intention – Be Instinctive – Improve the Way
N:     Need Less – Notice More – Be Natural
G:      Give Gifts – Practice Gratitude – Be Good.

First Pilgrimage: Heysham Rock Cut Graves

Rock Cut Graves

Being as today is continuing strike action for my Union and I’d been on the picket in the morning and Mish was working at home in the afternoon I got the idea into my head to go and do a simple pilgrimage, somewhere I’d been before, and that I knew was local and reachable as a good first starting point and I wanted to get out into the landscape before my enthusiasm for the idea went from “Oooh good idea” to endless planning and pondering.

So yeah, got in from town, ate a solid warm lunch, packed a bag, wrapped up warm, took up a staff/walking stick I already had in, then stepped out the door and into a wider world of adventure.

And it was nice, it was good to get back out there into the country side.  I’ve been idle from doing a lot of direct paganism for a while now, burnt out on running pagansoc and then gender stuff got in the way of bodily interactions which put a stymie on things really, but its nice to get back out there and be active.  Since this was a first go for me I tried to remember what it was I was doing but mostly concentrated on slowing down and paying attention.  Things I noticed included:

  • It was good to have layering options – I was cold at the start but once I’d gotten going I was warmer and took more layers off
  • I needed more water because I hadn’t drunk enough that morning
  • Grass walking is much more pleasant and relaxing than road walking, heavily trafficed roads (as formed a bunch of my route) got in the way of me slowing down and connecting with things
  • I need a backpack with both side pockets for things and also straps that are good for wearing on my shoulders.
  • People look at you funny when you’re carrying a walking stick

Staff and cup

Once I got to the Morecambe bike/human path things were nicer, but over in Heysham itself things were calmer, I was more off road, I could interact with people passing more, enjoy the scenery, listen to the world (lots of birds were out, and the electric train tracks sound like insects).

St. Peter's Church

There seemed to be some work going on at St. Peter’s church so I didn’t get to go in and see the hogback grave, but I did go up to St. Patrick’s Chapel and enjoy the view, sit with the graves a little, and sit on the cliff top, watching the sea, listening to the birds and some young people who’d also walked up there.  I had a spot of tea from my flask, made offering and then walked back to the bus – which technically ended my pilgrimage.

So all in all an inspiring day, next time I’ll plan routes to use the canal and footpaths better to get to more places locally and see whats going on I think :)

I took some pictures along the way which are in a flickr album but I’ve inserted a couple of choice ones in this post.

The approach to the cliffs

The Echoing Green

Okay so this weekend I participated in a funky one off weekend game called Ghosts in Public: The Echoing Green, this was a game run for Mish’s Birthday up at Eskmeals, so it was cold and wintery and also cosy inside with the fires, which was handy because since we were all playing ghosts we couldn’t really leave the house that much :) Continue reading

Trains, planes and automobiles

So I’ve done another round trip circling the Pennines this weekend, and stopped off along the way to have a drink with a friend and a general nice in person catch up, which was awesome.

On the way there I had a hot water bottle resting behind my shoulder for a lot of the trip, and on the way back I thought I’d save weight in my backpack by not packing it, I kind of wish I had, the seats were not overly comfy and ouch.  Still things aren’t as bad as last week so hopefully a good nights sleep will help reset it.

Now back to work on the ‘morrow, although when I got in I got to watch the tail end of the Star Wars trilogy which is awesome as I’ve not seen it for years.

And tomorrow I also get to try and catch up on the news and work out my reactions to the horror I’ve seen floating up from the other side of the pond.

Poetry and Reading

One of the most weird things to come out of bits of my life is the coming and going of time and interest in reading.  It used to be I could devour fiction pretty quick, but some time during my undergrad and postgrad that sort of fell by the wayside and I got out of practice.  Then all the dysphoria kicked in and basically I obsessively inhaled a whole bunch of trans theory and fiction while I was disassembling my notions of myself and rebuilding them and exploring my inner landscapes and going “Oh hey!  That’s what all this stuff is!” which was pretty cool, but not really the same.

Now I’m starting to slowly come through the other side of that, or at least one phase of that, and I’m getting back into slowly reading fiction again.  And I do mean slowly, my reading pace has dropped off dramatically and amount of errors picked up.  The really interesting thing however is that I can actually read and enjoy poetry now :)

Various people (aaaaaaand by that I mostly mean Mish) have tried over the years to implant a love of poetry in me, but for ages I just didn’t get it.  But I spent some very enjoyable time this evening on a train with a book of poetry (Andrea Waddell’s “Sounds of the Soul”) and just sitting and enjoying reading it, sometimes poking into the structure, sometimes just letting it wash over me.

Very strange experiences this life gives.

So last weeks exciting visits to The Big Smoke

So yeah, after my last post I should probably write at least a short update to discuss the fun I had last week going down for my latest GIC visit.  This basically consisted of a long train ride, followed by more train rides across London.  The appointment was scheduled later than my previous ones so even leaving a little later I still got there with plenty of time to kill.  Sadly I was a bit worn down through the whole thing, I think a combination of not sleeping well due to nerves and also the start of a cold left me feeling just that teensy bit wiped out.

Continue reading

And here we go again, GIC attempt 2: Electric Boogaloo

So yeah, as some of you who may be following me elsewhere probably know I had another of those wonderful GIC appointments scheduled last month, and again they managed to reschedule it … thus making it a 100% reschedule rate so far.  This time they did it by calling and leaving a message which I picked up on the train at about 5 hours notice from the appointment, which at least gave me the ability to hop off at Preston and loop back to Lancs for an afternoon of work.

This did however leave me in a stompy foul mood and just filled with apocalyptic levels of rage, so I listened to some really tasty metal and growled and was generally annoyed and burnt it all off by the afternoon mostly.  I think it’s just that each time I have to build myself up to these things, and when they get canned at the last minute its just all that readyness and prep just blow out the window, with all my plans just cancelled and a whole day wasted.  Also it feels a bit unfair in that they can cancel on 3-5 hours notice (and have done a few times) and that’s fine, but if I cancel at less than 48 hours notice I’m deemed to have “not shown up” for the appointment and risk getting booted from the service, where I then have to wait through another few years waiting list to get back on another.

So yeah – watch this space, lets see if they can manage to keep this second appointment of if I’ll be poking them to seek a second refund in train fares.

Changes in distence

Okay, this was initially entitled something far more dramatic, but really this is more a change than an end to things, and I’m doing my best to reframe things like that in my head as I think it’ll be good for me.

Okay so as most of you should now know (it’s been posted to facebook and hence is true) my beautiful boyfriend will sadly be no longer living in Lancaster as of the end of the month really, instead moving far away to the lands of Durham to study for his epic PhD.

And I’m glad for him on that front, but while I’m kind of excited by him doing research again (he’s really awesome when he’s academicing) and the meeting new people in a new town thing sounds kind of exciting its also a whole scary experience where he’ll no longer be right here where I can hug him.  And it’s more than that, there’s going to be a big hole in my current schedule which normally includes stuff relating to him, so the half the week or so we tend to hang out I’ll be doing other things or chatting over skype with him, the Sunday evenings where the polycule gathers to watch crime shows and eat together and chit chat … well chances are he’ll be far away or on trains heading home for those evenings and I’d gotten kind of used to being able to just wander casually between my place and his if I left something behind in one of them, and now it’s looking like I’ll need to pack carefully and take long train journeys or drives.

But still – we both knew it was going to happen sooner or later, our relationship has always been built on a certain amount of risk and uncertainty, we got together pretty much as we were both starting to move forward in transition stuff and we’ve never been sure if we’d end up living so close for so long, where our lives would take us or even if we’d be attractive to the other persons tastes 6 months from then.  But from that we’ve actually grown to be living in each others pockets more or less for the past three or so years so adjusting to getting used to being at the other end of a phone rather than the other end of a 5m walk will take some doing.

I’ve done distance relationships before when Mish was off travelling and working overseas and it kind of sucks, but in other ways its kind of fun sometimes, knowing that someone is there and you’ll see them again, but in the meantime you’ve got so much free time for things, but I find having a definite end date can help that, gives you something to look forward to and schedule projects around that are in the free time I guess, and the thing is he’s off for a PhD and then who knows, so its not really on a definite timescale.

Anyway, general update – been trying to get my head around it since it became increasingly the more common option in the past couple of months and especially now its become a certain thing, so if I’m a bit weird here’s just one more reason to add to the pile :)

The Big Smoke

So last weekend I was down in London supporting Mish on her recent epic quest to run the London Marathon (which by the way she totally totally did in awesome time and raised a boat load of cash for Asthma UK :)  Awesome), and one thing this trip enabled me to do was more travelling about London on the tube dropping off bags on the Saturday while Mish registered, and then later for socialising and finally chasing her along the route by use of the tube to cheer her on at multiple points.

One thing I find more interesting is that every time I go down to London I get a bit more comfy travelling about the core of it at least, learning little bits of tube and connections, and learning more about what each area is like, and how some of them link up.  I mostly know it as a series of bubbles around tube stops, which makes the whole city seem kind of strange and multiple.

This time it gave me more of a sense of being huge, vast and varied, and also I got the impression that these days I could probably live there, at least for a while – and additionally it got me speculating about various parallel universes where other-me’s ended up there at various stages of life – just sort of imagining being there and getting involved in all kinds of random shit, I suspect I’d probably have ended up as a really pretentious shit bag.

But yeah, fascinating place to visit, and they really seem to deal well with big events – the crowds were all friendly, they interacted with random bands, played football in the streets and generally had a good time of things :)  Highly recommended as a trip, would do again.  Also got to walk across Greenwich Park, although sadly I didn’t get to meet The Starwife in my haste, maybe next time :)

Things as they should be (warning: Braindump)

Well its been ages since I posted properly and not just random links so I guess I should write something I’ve been pondering over for a while.

It first occured to me while I was doing the washing up in the aftermath of the Eskmeals Yellow Sign event (an event of cosmic archaeological import, written about by others elsewhere) to ponder why it is that hanging around after events like the Yellow Sign is quite so satisfying. This thought was later intensified by a recent holiday to Wales (which was very good, the Centre for Alternative Technology was filled with awesome, Snowdon was filled with a different and more painful kind of awesome).

Anyway I got to pondering day to day life, and why it is that the holiday or after-event period is so satisfying. Part of it I think is the fact that you aren’t having to do work you aren’t interested in, but that clearly can’t be all of it, because theres always cleaning, moving heavy things, washing up etc. to do during these periods. The kinds of jobs people normally find quite dull.

So I suspect it boils down to the simplicity of it all, instead of coming home, doing a frantic bout of washing and cooking before rushing out to do something else you take it easy. After the event specificially was like this, things got done, but in a relaxed way, people interacted but in a non-stressed environment, there was something satisfying about it because everything was simple. Things need doing, so everyone does them, things need cleaning so everyone cleans then, people are hungry they eat, people are tired they take a nap.

Certainly something to ponder over, perhaps I should aim to just simplify my life down some more, reduce the amount of rushing between events to a minimum, or perhaps I should just stop checking my mail and LJ whilst at home so much, since random purposeless net browsing eats into time that should be spent more constructively, reading, washing, napping etc. Although communicating online could be said to be a simple and constructive thing.

Anyway, back to Perl and waiting for news of deliveries of pointy things.