Thursday, 27 September 2012

in at the deep up in A&E

Well my oh my! So last year a group of us, including Benji the dog, had great fun wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons at a place called 'The Warren', we even found the embers of a fire on the riverbank to stoke to make it roar (ish) again and dry us off.

So Rhoda and I agreed to meet last Sunday as part of my 'ooh I'm in Wales lets become an adventurer' and Rhoda's love of open swimming. She swims in the Albert Dock in Liverpool regularly.

"It's called the Blue Lagoon" I'd enthused and it's on top of the horse shoe pass, it's a disused slate last Sunday we set off with more baggage than you'd take for a 2 week holiday, each, and said to the biker at the Ponderosa cafe on our arrival "Is that there Blue Lagoon over there mr bikerman, thankyou please?" pointing to a big huge mountain of slatey hill!

Now having broken my rucksack I must confess I didn't look overly Bear Grylls with my wetsuit and other post swimming things poking out of an ASDA bag for life! nevertheless after passing several tonnes of slate and several 'DEEP WATER, KEEP OUT' etc signs and after trying several entry routes (most of which were just sheer edges down to the quarry), we located a descent of sorts. I chose to slide it on my ass and my leggings now live in the dustbin.

Looking back at what we had descended, with not a soul around and a sky turning grey we both confessed we were a tad apprehensive and thought maybe a day at the lobotomy clinic might have been a more appropriate day outing.

HOWEVER, having spent the previous week stuck in my lounge in an ebay wetsuit (not the whole week though you understand) that was too small for me and as I had (on finally removing myself from it) had to buy yet another way was I not going in now! 

So we tentatively made our way in and I then freaked out as I saw a tyre underneath me - clearly less lethal than a great white but strangely off-putting nevertheless, though I'm not sure anyone died from ever just seeing a tyre. And then I reminded myself there was a actually a van at the bottom of it anyway which I'd seen on a youtube video of the Llangollen blue lagoon and so I figured I should 'man up'.

So we swam about. feeling like two avid explorers and we gasped at the cold (I was mainly gasping as my wetsuit was choking me but I couldn't admit even the next size up was no match for the amount of cake -homemade and palm oil-free by the way- I had recently been consuming!). The Lagoon is very clear and it's circa 40ft deep I think it is (thats about 12 metres right??).

We'd done it! So we sat on rocks underwater and chatted, we peeked underwater with Rhoda's goggles and then i put my left hand underwater....and pulled it up with a rather grim wound to the side of my wrist! It looked like a little smiling, little chatting mouth with little teeth. Convinced I was going to bleed to death as it was near my artery we scrambled in our wetsuits up the sheer slate climb, me with a sock tied around my wrist to stem the blood, Rhoda carrying my 'bag for life' or death as I feared!

We had to change out of our wetsuits at the top quickly before we could get to the Ponderosa cafe where we had parked; whilst changing and with bleeding wrist, my towel blew away leaving me in the rain, on top of a disused slate quarry on a hill in wales with no clothes on! Hugely amusing. Benny Hill meets Holby City!

The chaps at the Ponderosa cafe patched me up, I didn't pass out, Rhoda played Mum and made me tea with sugar and I got to A&E where I spent a lovely evening eating the contents of the hospital shop and with what looked like the cast of my big fat gypsy wedding who came in after me. I chatted to a few people and reflected that A&E is one of the only places you don't ever want to be first in the queue and should be happy to wait.

So a rather adventurous start in perhaps a less than easy wild swim spot, but I had great fun, my wrist is healing and I've a list of rivers and waterfalls to visit when it's sunny - all this on our little island.

Sometimes we travel so far and yet great little gems and things we are looking for are right in front of our eyes.. often they cost nothing to do and are source of adventure, risk, excitement & laughter.

Next on the list is the Blue Lagoon on the coast of Wales, which is where the sea has breached an old quarry wall, looks great and has conga eels at the bottom...yes they look mean, but I'm just going to envison them all shimmying around the seabed "Lets all do the conga" and my fear will be abated.

Evening all x

Monday, 17 September 2012

The road less travelled....not taking the easy route

South Morocco at a deserted beach.
So well what’s new? Erm….the question really would be better phrased to ask what’s not!

I have relocated to a beautiful Village in North Wales full of nature , wildlife, forests, herbalists, holistic therapists, a place where lay lines cross and magic happens!

In my endeavours to constantly evolve and learn I felt the time was right to move to the next stage of my life that brings me closer to my loves: plants, animals and nature, and to leave behind some things I had felt were beginning to drain my energy (which is usually boundless!)

So I took myself off to Morocco travelling, meeting monkeys, swimming with frogs and turtles, offroad moppedding, holding goats, eating homemade food and things straight off trees and out of udders! And then, sat by the shores of the Atlantic at my friend’s beach house hotel everything kind of shook itself out in my little brain. And I knew a few things lately had been so evidently pointing me to what I was supposed to do next.

So I did it! I drove to Wales the day after I got home and I found a house to move to.

I have bought a canoe to explore my planet earth free from the constraints of when the hire shop is open, to see my planet earth from a different perspective & to be free to be around nature whenever I choose (canoe licence permitting that is!)

When I come home on rainy nights or dark nights there are chimneys smoking and it smells amazing, when I come home on light nights I walk by the river, canoe or eat the fresh organic veg that my neighbour passes me (after I’ve rescued all the slugs and little fellows in it!)

The rabbits love their new house and I have renamed them the welsh rarebits! My only sadness is that Darcy didn’t make it through to move with us and I had always envisioned her with us in any move. Darcy was my 3rd rabbit I inherited in December, I tried everything and hundreds of pounds but just couldn’t save her. She is buried in the vicarage garden and we have a little grey rabbit statue to remind us of her. I knew the day she would day die as (I’ve no told anyone this ) I sat and cried my heart out late at night the day before she died, as she licked me whilst she was clearly very ill and so I licked her back to comfort her. It might sound mental but I wanted to show her in rabbit language that I loved her immensely and had tried my best. My housemate, Kurt, was really good about it as she had had renal disease she’d weed on the carpet from inside and out of the cardboard fortress I bought her! And he turned out to have taken some great photos of her which I really loved and which brought a smile to my face.

“I am the wind that blows, I am the grass that grows, I am every living thing”.

That applies as much to me and you as it does to my Darcy. And that comes back to Little Satsuma and what it’s all about. Damage you to the environment, our planet and animals is damage to yourself. Once you begin to understand that we are merely separated in forms by the presence of electrons and so forth then you begin to realise this and also, amazingly, lose your fear of lots of things.

So what next…expanding the range, supporting more charities, carrying on supporting Kalaweit radio & sanctuary, moving somewhere bigger to get goats and rescue chickens. I have read a book on Goats now and am rather excited – my how my Friday evenings have changed!

Sometimes we get where we want to be not by taking the easy route, it’s tough to make big change, but no great change ever happened without upheaval, no country changed in history significantly without a revolution. These last few months have been my own personal mini revolution, a rollercoaster of emotions and choices and I’m beginning to enjoy the view on the other side as I move into the life I always wanted. I’m full of motivation for Little Satsuma, I have an interview to be a volunteer regional speaker for the Dr Hadwen Trust, I’m off to Warsaw in November and am off travelling for a month next March/ April to India and Indonesia and so it’s full steam ahead here now.

Every day whilst you are free and safe from harm you must live it to the full and always say thankyou for what you see before you and around you.