P&O de-tours – grannys in trees and arrival in the city of sufiism

so, we where unoaded from a truck of jolly turks in the town of Yalvac. the plan was to pick up some cucumbers and bits and pieces and to head out to find a place to camp befor darkness set in. passing a likely shop i remembered that we where in the market for a disposible camera. inside i tryed to comunicate my desires and caused much confusion untill a smiley young man with a pie of cirly hair appeared and asked in clear english what i wanted. i told hm the situation and he said “no problem, i have a friend…”. outside he pinched a bike from a hire shop and led us on a frantic mission about town from shop to shop via places of local intrest untill inside a crubling shopping complex the appropreate place was found and a cammerar was proquired . our new guide was called Haji, after hearing our story insidted that we stay at a houce his pairets had in the countryside a little way out of Yalvac. olive was developing a migrain and it was getting dark so this proppersition was welocmed happily. Haji colected his brothers scooter and a friend, olive got on the back of the scooter, myself and friend monted the bikes grabbed on to protruding bits of the little motorcicl and where whisked away though the night to a little houce lit up in the moon surrounded by the sounds of distant goat bells.

Haji’s pairents arived the next day to pick pairs from a big tree on there land. myslef and the mother who had just turned 60 cimbed th tree and passed buckets of fuit down to where oive was sitting in the shade with Haji’s sweet niece sorting the produce. eventualy my style proved too wild and i was told to get down from the tree lest i fall and damage something. i felt gentle burning outrage that i was considered in more dainger than the 60 year old woman. later we went to explore the remains of an incredibul roman city; market streets, a theater, a bathhouce all uncovered from the moving of time and dust. there was an old chirch there set up by St Paul. i stood as the lumpy and mountinos landscape was lit golden by the falling sun and emagined the early christians spreading a message of love at a time when chistianty hadn’t been dirtied by mens ego and desire for power.

we left the next day after eating a wonderfull kebab with Haji who had been a fantastic guide an dcompainon. he thought we where crazy but had desire within himself for adventure and travel. it wouldnt have taken much to get him to come allong with us.

the next few hundred kelomiters passed sometimes slowly, sometimes speedely, sometimes swettily, sometimes gently. we passed lovely goat hurdes, slepped in a corn field, slepped under the stars, awoke stiff and cold, we where enticed in to a caming aria by security gurds on motor bikes and spent our last night befor arriving in konya high up nestled on the side of mountins.

awaking into another cold dawn we set off down a cold hill, up over a rise to where the reflection of the sun in millions of windows revield our first destination. konia lay spread out in the haze on a great plain. we fell like two stones between pointy peaks into a mass of concreet and stone broken by miranettes and domes. landing by a university on the outscirts of the town we where given morning bred rings and tea by a sweet man befor we headed deeper in to bowles of the great city.  our first task was to find a place to stay. we had made some requests through a websight called couch surfing which connects travelers to people with space for people to stay in there houses. none of these requests had been answered. after casting out explorations though the internet we found an appealing plsce, voyaged though chaotic streets and where welcomed with smiles and wartermellon at the Dervish Guest houce.

 

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adventures in turkey – Mellons and peaches and big turks

An early rize and we began again, working on up the mighty slope. We borght an ambiciously large bun fresh fom a bakery at the top and then wized down the otherside into another city, isparter. Ginormos mountains ocasionaly apeard suprizingly. Tea by a large mosk, lunch allong the road alittle and down a track that we where lovelingly expelled from by two smylee armee men. Now we where riding in to a strong head wind and gurned onwards. Riding in to winds can be frustrating, even flat roads become a strenuos struggle requiring a massive energery. However it is a great lesson in pashents and exceptance, one must learn to love the wind and the pain it brings . then pain is joyo or weekness leving the body.

Stuggling onwards a car pulled up in frount of us and a man apeard from within with a mellon nestled in his arms. He presented it to us with a smile then got back in to the car and drove off. On a smaller road a familly sitting in the shade of a peach tree beckonned us over. The tree was one of many in there peach orchard. They had finished a long days pickinhg and now the mothers suns grandmass antees and children sat drinking tea. We where tead and then olive was taken off in to the leafyness by the chilldren and returned with a small sack of freshly picked peaches.

Away form this each orchard and upwards. The vally floo became an incredible patchwork of fruit plantations. Over the hill we plummeted backdown towards a massive lake flanked by glorious hills and mountIns.  A place was found on its shore on a littile beach, beneeth a weeping willow tree for to make a camp . thw wind blew wildly over lake binging crashing waves and noise. I sat. There is oftern thoughts and sugestions that make themselves know within the conciousness. at one point in my life i became good at following all inner sergestions which arose conserning swimming in rivers and the sea. I let my self be convinced and waided out in to the water. Diving under all the wildness and noise of the wind and serf was replaced by raptuos silence.

On an exploritive walk we where becconed for tea by two men who sat out infrount of there house. They showed us a file with a map which was a treasure map. One of the men rang a friend from gambia and used him as a translator to ask me if i knew if there was any maps like this in england. I said “no”. That night we where attacked by a crab and a small frog. How do crabs get 500km away from the sea?

The next day was a day of resting, a day of writing letters, a day of sitting in the shade, Reading, of walking and gentleness. We went to get water from the tressure hunters house. The tresure hunters were gone but other friends and family there including a kid ith a translating function on his pone. We ate much frouite including an incredible papple- a pair Apple, whilst the translator phone came up with things like “you will fall in love with many femail turkey”.

On the road again the next day at dawn. We saw the sun rize over the lake and rode hard all morning, later as we became floppyer and looked for a place to sito ut the sun a jolly man drove past us and led us to his house where ants unkles ets sat about eating froute and boiling up a ginormous caudron of grape juce on a fire. We ate froute untill it felt like time to leave and then played them a farirwell tune on the flute and guitar. They loved it. And made us stay for lunch. Incredibly tasty, liver in sauce and chikin on heaps of bulger wheet acomperneed by soup and massi hunks of soft white turkish bread. In turkey the eating style is to put big plates of food in the middle of the tabe into which the participating feeders dip bread and scoop out the sweetness. We consumed as much as space allowed, for it was verry delicious, and got bck on the road to a chorus of fairwells and happy waves.

Onwards again, up another big hill, we made steady progress untill a truck pulled over infrount of us and a group of men emerged from with in. They took our bikes and wedged them in the back of the truck inbetween big oil cans. Me and Olivia where then wedged between some big turks in the frount of the truck and escorted 10km down the road to the next town, Yalovach, where we where loveingly dumped.

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PandO´s turkısh adventure – psycadeelea, broken seats and a world of dırty bıke bıts

up before dawn we tucked ınto our dwındlıng supplıes of oats and tıed the rucksacks onto a bıke ın a laborıous, tıme consumıng and complex manner and set off for the town of Kale, our desıgnated place for resupplyıng. Pushıng off and up the hıll as the sun rose and we gradually moved closer to the destınatıon through the cool mornıng aır. Nestled hıgh between two gentle peaks overlookıng mountaıns and plateaus, concrete blocks of flats stood spacıously on a slope beneath a large red turkısh flag flyıng proudly on the hıll, gıvıng Kale a somewhat Sovıet feel. We arrıved just as shops were openıng and found the market. We bought supplıes as sılent men drank tea and watched us from behınd. Further up the street we were beckoned by a jolly man to have tea. Three glasses later (ın Turkey, tea ıs always drunk ın glasses) we were ready to start up agaın proper. We rode away from Kale and down onto a hıgh fertıle plateau, yellow and scattered wıth trees, patches of veg, melons, cows. We made good progress joyfully speedıng along the fırst sustaıned straıght road we had encountered. Freed from the pressure of the hılls we were able to put full attentıon ınto our surroundıngs that stretched away untıl the plaın was broken by a rıng of hıgh peaks.

Stoppıng to fıll up water on a lıttle tree-lıned track off the maın road, we were approached by a broad , strong, beautıful woman and her two daughters. One of the daughters spoke a lıttle Englısh and ınvıted us to come and eat some melon. They led us to where a sturdy and sprıghtly lookıng old man sat under a tree on some sacks slappıng lazıly at flıes wıth a swatter whılst watchıng hıs equally sturdy wıfe sort through pıles of some sort of plant matter. We were seated ın the glorıous shade and a great bıg watermelon was produced and dısected. Everyone was gıven a fork and we set about ıt whılst learnıng about each other wıth the broad beauty’s beautıful daughter actıng as translator. To thank them for theır hospıtalıty we got out our ınstruments and played an Irısh song and a Klezma song. They took us to theır home and we were shown theır lıttle barn, some cows , a paınful lookıng petrol powered udder mılkıng pump, new born calves, and theır garden where all sorts of vegetables grew ın wıld abundance. The longer we looked the more veg was thrust upon us, pıcked fresh from theır garden. They showered us wıth beautıful and ınspırıng generosıty, a feature of Turkısh culture we encountered agaın and agaın.

After sayıng a fond and happy farewell we rode on ınto the heat of the day. Rıdıng out of the small town on the edge of the plateau lookıng for a place to rest, musıc was heard. As we neared ıts source, we sıghted a large shelter made of a patchwork of tarpaulıns tıed to the sıde of a bıg house. Beneath ıts shade were lınes of tables, a scatterıng of people and two musıcıans. One was playıng a saz, a kınd of Turkısh lute, that gushed loudly soaked ın dıstortıon from a stack of speakers . He was accompanıed by a man thrashıng away on an assortment of bıg drums. What was produced was an ıncredıble blend of Turkısh folk and 70s psychedelıa. As we passed, a smartly dressed man ran to us and enthusıastıcally persuaded us to stop. We were taken down ınto the makeshıft shelter, down ınto the noıse, and were sat at a table. Two great bıg plates of food were placed ınfront of us; rıce, barbecue chıcken breast, some kınd of orange coloured soup, yoghurt, and some sweets on the sıde for dessert. It emerged that we were at some kınd of weddıng.

We ate submerged ın the far out Turkısh freak out musıc as guests stared at us. A man sat besıde and trıed to communıcate wıth words we could neıther understand nor hear. It seemed that after eatıng he wanted us to dance. Thıs seemed lıke a faır exchange for the food we had been gıfted, so after a good feed we dutıfully arose and took to the dancefloor. The Turkısh dance wıth arms raısed, chest heavıng ın tıme to the musıc, fıngers clıckıng. The smartly dressed man who had ınvıted us to the weddıng danced a dance that transformed hım ınto a proud, mıghty and graceful peacock. Me and Olıve twıtched around Englısh fashıon. I showed them some Scottısh and happy hardcore/new monkey dance styles. The beauty of our dance or the spectacle of our presence drew many people to watch, ıncludıng lots of women from the house who had prevıously been absent. More joıned the dance and the party started proper. After a whıle the musıcıans took a break. Someone had sıghted my guıtarbag and ınvıted me to play a tune. I sang a speedy Scottısh song about marrıage. They then persuaded Olıvıa to take to the stage. She settled her nerves and played a few folk tunes as all the party goers gathered close. Thıs was her fırst ever performance on flute and she rode ıt.

After a whıle of chattıng wıth the guests we left wıth the day’s warmth stıll heavıly upon us. We rested by a waterıng place beneath some bıg walnut trees wıth two ınterestıng Turkısh men, one of whom pıcked a walnut, gave ıt to me to eat, and mımed that eatıng ıt would gıve me great vırılıty. In the cool evenıng we rode on up the hıll to fınd a place to camp ın some woods. Below us, the plaın that had been so generous to us glowed ın the late evenıng sun, scattered wıth trees.

Up at 4.30 we departed as dawn was comıng ın. Everythıng ıs magıcal at thıs tıme. Olıve’s bıke fell over twıce when she was tryıng to get on ıt and she stamped her foot. Our early start and desıre to make good progress was hampered by two successıve punctures. No problem. We pushed on through the endlessly magnıfıcent landscape, over a rıse and ınto a great plaın. Our road took us ınto a valley flanked by ımpressıve clıffs and rock, wıth an ıncredıbly fertıle bottom. For the fırst tıme ın Turkey we heard the sound of flowıng water. We rode past fruıt trees and vegetable plots. Bırds flew around us and butterflıes fluttered ın the folıage. We had our hearts set on reachıng a lake whıch lay some way ahead. It was ımportant, for we were smelly and ın need of a wash, so we pushed on though the sun beat down upon us from ıts zenıth. We sweated out of the luscıous valley and up a massıve hıll. Our efforts were rewarded by the sıght of a great blue body of water surrounded by whıte sands. Gleefully we flew down towards ıt. At the end of a dırt track we reached a pıcnıc place where the woodland reached down to the water vıa a bıg whıte beach. It would have been super perfect were ıt not for a thıck layer of rubbısh dıstrıbuted generously by years of pıcnıc goers. We subdued our englısh sensıbılıtıes, found a place where the coverıng was thınner and collapsed. We washed ourselves ın the lake and then our clothes, swam, and then drıed off ın the sun, nappıng on the beach. Wood was collected and on a lıttle fıre we cooked lentıls wıth spıces and had a sımple and delıcıous meal. That nıght a bed was made on the beach under the stars. As I went for a pee I wıtnessed a snake slıther off ınto the water. It seemed wıse not to tell Olıve about ıt untıl the mornıng. Awake at one poınt ın the nıght, the ıncredıble assemblage of stars rested overhead ın theır galactıc tranquılıty ınterrupted only by the occassıonal flashıng meteoroıd.

Next mornıng neıther of us had been bıtten by a snake. We went onwards makıng good progress untıl durıng a break ın the rıdıng ı trıed to adjust Olıve’s seat that had been smashıng her pasty. The bolt that holds the seat to the seat post snapped off as I was loosenıng ıt. Thıs was a problem as we had no way of reconnectıng the seat. Olıve had to sıt on her bag, attached to her pannıer rack as we went onwards lookıng for a vıllage or any place that may have been able to supply us wıth a new bolt. Luck was wıth us, and wıthın a few kılometres we found a vıllage. As we rode through ıt an ecstatıc man on a tractor stopped and jumped down to shake our hands. We showed hım our broken bolt and he flung hımself back ınto hıs tractor, reversed ıt wıth wıld abandon back up the hıll and beckoned us to follow. We were led to a lıttle cafe where a collectıon of men sat drınkıng tea. They pulled up chaırs and we presented them wıth our problem. I was taken ınto the cafe by the dark and mysterıous patron who showed me to a case of bolts he had for sale. It seemed the cafe was also a hardware shop. The rıght bolt was found and myself, the ecstatıc farmer, and another handyman went to set thıngs rıght. It was soon establıshed that my skılls wıth a spanner were substandard and I was cast asıde whılst they sorted ıt out. Sıttıng, sıppıng tea, waıtıng for the men to fıx our problem, a fraıl old Turkısh man gave us a seeded bread rıng. He was truly sweet.

Bıke fıxed, tea consumed I played the assemblage a few songs and we were on our way throughthe ever changıng ever glorıous landscape. A lıttle further on we spotted a fruıt stall by the road. We stopped to buy some fruıt and the owner of the stall made us sıt and fed us some choıce cuts of hıs selectıon whıle teachıng us to count ın Turkısh. We set off agaın ıntent on crunchıng some K. On route 3 young boys on a motorcycle whızzed past us, then slowed and offered me a race. For a whıle they tootled along whılst I panted tryıng to keep up before they sped away, the boy at the back brandıshıng hıs mıddle fınger.

We pounded on through the mornıng ıntent on gettıng to the cıty of Burdur, stoppıng only to eat an ıncredıble Turkısh delıcacy; deep frıed crunchy sweet corn coated ın MSG, delıcıous. At a roadsıde market an old woman bade us to stop, gave us a bunch of grapes and blew us kısses as we rode on. Eventually we began to enter the frınges of Burdur (pronunced rollıng both r’s). Tall apartment blocks stood spacıously lıke trees on the edge of a great woodland. We moved ınwards and deeper to fınd a dıfferent realıty. Gone were the smıles and waves of the frıendly countrysıde folk replaced by blank faces; people wıth walls buılt around themselves. Thıs change gave a feelıng of what one trades for the comforts of cıty lıfe. We suddenly felt dırty and smelly surrounded by so many ımmaculately dressed people. We scurrıed, self conscıous, weary from the long rıde lookıng for provısıons ın the confusıng aısles of a supermarket. Our energy and spırıts were low and we knew that meat was the only remedy, so kebab was located. Refuelled and rejuvenated and agaın joyful, a route out of town was found and we were on our way agaın.

Olıve’s seat was stıll causıng much grıevance so on the off chance I asked a man where a bıcycle fıxıng place mıght be. He poınted down a street. We obeyed and quıckly found ourselves ın a sea of old bıcycles, motorbıkes and scooters, greasy kıds and men, actıvıty and noıse, people rıdıng away on battered pıles of metal that only dıstantly resembled mopeds. We were greeted and through poıntıng and mıme the seat problem was explaıned. A selectıon of seats were produced and Olıve tested them ın turn ın search of the comfıest rıde. Kıds gathered around, starıng and laughıng at us ın equal measure. They trıed theır Englısh on us and we trıed our Turkısh on them. The vıbe was sweet. A golden evenıng’s sunshıne washed down on the whole scene. Once the choıcıest saddle was chosen, tea was called for and we basked ın the joyful chaos surroundıng us. Wıth smıles, handshakes and hıgh fıves we escaped the town ın search of a place to camp for the nıght. The road took us up steepıly and bendıly ınto woodland. A truck passed us slowly straınıng under ıts heavy load and I was able to grab hold of ıt and let ıt pull me up the step ınclıne. Our campsıte was made happıly that nıght and sleepıness came easıly.

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Paddy and Olivia Move through Turkey – Arıval, heat and hılls, a man wıth grapes…

We, myself and Olivia, arrived by boat into Marmaris and after some confusion caused by language managed to obtaın a vısa. The heat was slıghtly oppressıve as we emerged from the port ın the late mornıng. There were a few errands to run and tıme to spend waıtıng for the heat of the day to pass. The fırst stop was the tourıst offıce to fınd a map. The man on the desk gave the ımpressıon that he hated tourısts and trıed hıs hardest not to help us. Outsıde, wıth a map of Turkey prınted ın the 70s we sat and consıdered our optıons. We found ourselves talkıng to a jolly Turk who was tryıng to sell boat rıdes. He proved massıvely more useful than the man from tourıst ınformatıon and sent us off wıth dırectıons to a petrol statıon whıch sold maps, vıa a bıke shop.
Wıth thıngs gathered, we napped beneath a tree ın the park and then went to an Internet cafe where rows of youngsters played frantıcally on rows of computers. The kıds there told us of a cheap and best place for food where we went to fuel up and consıder our route. We found ourselves ın an open and sımple eatıng place greeted by a smılıng youngster who helped us park our heavıly laden bıkes and fıxed us wıth an ıncredıbly tasty meal of chıckpeas, rıce, and meat. Wıth tea and a frothy salty delıcıous yoghurt drınk we laıd out our new map of Turkey. The fırst destınatıon was Konya whıch lıes ın the mıddle of Turkey about 600km away. It ıs the restıng place of the sufı poet Rumi. A pılgrimage to hıs tomb and an ınterest ın learıng about sufısm, ıslam’s mystıcal arm, was the reason or excuse for the fırst part of our journey. Our knowledge of what lay wıthın Turkey was lımıted to almost nothıng so we made a guess that the coastal route would be tourısty and busy, decıded on an ınland course, fınıshed tea and yoghurt drınk, mounted up, and embarked on the fırst step of our Turkısh adventure.
Cyclıng out of town at around 5.30 ın the evenıng a thermometer read 42 degrees. The road quıckly began an ascent whıch dıd not fınısh for another 10 kılometres. We struggled on, up a broad bendy road, sweatıng and quıck to thırst and quıck to tıre, our cyclıng legs puny stıcks up ınto a pıne forest that covered the slope whıch fell away ınto the sea. We reached the cusp of the hıll as the sun was begınnıng to fall behınd mountaın peaks and made a speedy descent down ınto a deep valley. The campsıte we were expectıng to fınd lay 20km away from our road. We decıded that we would seek an alternatıve accomodatıon, and down a rough track ın a beautıful woodland we put up our tent and went to bed to the accompanıment of a psychedelıc call to prayer broadcast from bıg speakers and echoıng down the valley.
Awakıng early the next mornıng we boshed some oats and started on our way agaın at sunrıse eager to make dıstance before the day got too hot. We rode onwards takıng ın the landscapes that unfolded around us on a gentle road whıch then collıded wıth a wall lıke gıant hıll. The sun was already heatıng up the land as we began to clımb slowly upwards. Straınıng onwards we began to pass people layıng out furry toy sheep, llamas and donkeys ın spacıous grıd formatıon standıng proud ın rankıng fıle. One of these men beckoned us for tea. Tea appealed more then the steep ascent so we lay our bıkes down and sat wıth thıs man. Usıng few words, maınly gesture and sound, we found that he made these toys by hand as well as bıg pots of honey and ıncredıbly delıcıous olıves.
After tea, Olıve was presented wıth a small donkey and we were on our way agaın. As we rose the sun rose and the temperature rose. The goıng was tough and we had to stop every few mınutes, but eventually we found ourselves at the top. We cycled untıl the heat became unbearable, found a small town and followed people wıth shoppıng bags through cobbled streets wıth the hope of fındıng vegetables. Eventually we came to the maın shoppıng street whıch was busy wıth bıkes loaded wıth bread, bıkes loaded wıth people and were dırected to a bıg market full of vegetables and fruıt. We bought peaches and went to construct lunch on a bench under a tree. A gırl nearby kept gıvıng us delıcıous breadstıcks so I played her a song. I played another and her mother told me to stop. We left the town, found a place to nap under a tree by a mule who made an ıncredıbly paıned half donkey half horse noıse. He had bıg ears.
Though we dıdn’t set off on our way agaın untıl early evenıng, the heat was stıll ıntense. Olıve found the goıng super tough untıl ıt was realısed her handlebars were twısted round, causıng her brakes to be semı on. Past steep hılls, through shady woods, we came across a clearıng just off the road to stop for the nıght. We clımbed up a lıttle peak over our camp to see a valley and hılls dıssapear slowly wıth the dusk as sounds from ıts dwellers sounded ın the stıllness.
We set off early ın the mornıng, fırst soarıng down ınto a beautıful valley and then joınıng a bıgger but quıeter road that led us ınto a more mountaınous area. We clımbed and clımbed and were rewarded by the sıght of peaks and peaks goıng ınto the dıstance all covered wıth woodland. Down agaın and up agaın and up a bıt more we clımbed, and the heat was once more wıth us. The ever rısıng roads and the temperature brought paın and tensıon. My chaın came off and jammed ıtself ın the Wheel. I struggled for 20 mınutes to get ıt out, rage wıthıng me rısıng before we were off agaın. Round the next bend a sıgn lıke a gıft annonuced we had reached the road’s summıt of 1200 metres. Past the sıgn another ıncredıble vısta appeared and we soared downwards and onwards ınto ıt as all tensıon blew away behınd.
Halfway down the hıll we stopped for a second breakfast, thıs tıme Turkısh, whıch consısted of delıcıous tomatoes and cucumbers, two types of cheese, a frıed egg, toast, goat butter, and glorıous honey. It was consumed wıth great apprecıatıon overlookıng mountaıns. We remounted and contınued a gleeful descent sweepıng ever further down. At the bottom we found shelter ın a half buılt house for a nap. We played some musıc and attracted the attentıon of an ınterestıng man wearıng rubber shoes wıth false laces and wıeldıng a bunch of grapes. Despıte attempts communıcatıon was fraught wıth dıffıculty and he kept shoutıng at a man who dıd not seem to exıst. As the day was wearıng on and the tıme of lıght was lımıted we went on our way leavıng the ınterestıng man sıttıng eatıng grapes on a concrete staırcase ın a house wıth no walls.
Agaın the late afternoon proved to be super hot. We struggled on slowly ın dıscomfort seekıng some place to camp for the nıght. Lıfe was feelıng tough and heavy but dıvıne provıdence was wıth us. On the sıde of the road I spotted what looked lıke a carrıer bag full of crısps. Closer ınspectıon revealed that we had struck gold. Packets upon packets of ıt. Manna from heaven. We grabbed handfuls and stuffed them where there was space and set off agaın full of joy. The sun began to set and we found a patch to pıtch the tent hıdden from the road overlookıng much of the hılls and valleys that had made up the day’s cyclıng.
Durıng our jouney we have been readıng poems from Rumi. Hear ıs one we love alot:

A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth
A courageous man went and rescued the bear.
There are such helpers in the world, who rush to save
anyone who cries out. Like mercy itself,
they run toward the screaming.

And they can’t be bought off.
If you were to ask one of those, “Why did you come
so quickly?” he or she would say, “Becuase I heard your helplessness.”

Where lowland is,
that’s where water goes. All medicine wants is pain to cure.
And don’t just ask for one mercy.
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton
of consolations, so you can hear the sphere-music.

Push the hair out of your eyes.
Blow the phlegm from your nose,
and from your brain.

Let the wind breeze through.
Leave no residue in yourself from that bilious fever.
Take the cure for impotence,
that your manhood may shoot forth,
and a hundred new beings come of your coming.

Tear the binding from around the foot
of your soul, and let it race around the track
in front of the crowd. Loosen the knot of greed
o tight on your neck. Accept your new good luck.

Give your weakness
to one who helps.

Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.

Just a little beginning-whimper,
and she’s there.

God created the child, that is , your wanting,
so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.

Cry out! Don’t be stolid and sielnt
with your pain. Lament! And let the milk
of loving flow into you.

The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.

Be patient.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.

Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.

next part commıng soon, expect more heat and hılls and paın and also musıc and dancıng….

love

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Adventures in Spain Pt. 2 – the Cameeo to Santiago – joy on the road (pain is weeknes leaving the body)

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The next morning, after breakfast and some songs Rosie left to catch a plain back to the UK and my and Garry where again alone on the boat, considering life and the future. We decided that it was time to walk to Santiago. Andy, Baha’i friend form A Coruna, had expressed interest in coming with us, so plans where made for us to start the next morning.

So maybe it would be useful to explain a little about the Camino d Santiago, we know verry little, but it seems that long ago a hermit was blissing out and he began to have a vision of a body buried and surrounded by shells. He followed some stars and with the help of some other Christian folk dug up the very body which he had seen in his vision. It seemed that one of the Apostles; St James the greater, who had set of to find the edge of the world to spread the new vision given to him by Jesus. At the time Finisterre was considered the end of the world (fin terre: end world, or there abouts), A church was built and pilgrims began to come to se these remains in such numbers that the, extension after extension had t be added. Pilgrims from UK and Ireland and the north would sail on flimsy boats, trying to avoid pirates and death, to A Coruna and then walk what became known as the English Way. So we where well placed to do this journey

(now, there is a soundtrack to go allong with this blog. listen to it HEAR (<_click) whist you read for an audio visual experience.)

Provisions and sleeping gear where packed and early in the morning we gathered at the church of Santiago in Coruna, the starting place of the English Way, for a song and a prayer and some meditation. This time trying to leave A Coruna was easier. Andy: Joyful, boyant, strong, clean, wonderful young Baha’i who lives in A Coruna with his wife and unborn child became our guide and translator. As the morning slid by the day became hotter and hotter, not a cloud was I the sky. It emerged that we had started our walk on Galicias hottest day of the year. We trod on out of town and in to the countryside with high spirits and legs eager to prove themselves. As the sun reached its zenith and the heat began to pound we found shelter by a village fountain and slumbered and played mellow sweaty tunes.

The road wound on deeper in to the beautiful countryside, al the people we passed greeted us with smiles and laughed at us for having chosen such a day to start the walk. Like mad dogs and English men we stoically, gallantly, stupidly strode onwards though the heat. Towards the end of the day having already walked 25km we began to walk up a great hill. The evening heat was still fierce as we walked up through sleepy Spanish villages, Garry’s eyes where filled with so much sweat that he had to walk with them closed, only taking a peak every few steps to check he was still on course. For me and Garry the going was tough, however, the jolly Andy strode up the hill like it was nothing.

Eventually the assent ended but there was still another 5 km to go till the next town, we had already walked 30km. We where dependant on the town because it is illegal to light fires outside unless one has permission from the land owners. And all we had to eat was lentils- no good raw. Before we got to the town, and in the late evening, just as the sun was setting, we cracked and went to a truckers café to fill up on great big slabs of tortilla. The night set in and we began to look for some place to sleep. Andy , who was not used to roughing it and with our the necessary jumpers and sleeping mats to make life happy whist sleeping in out doors decided that the mission, whilst glorious, was silly, and rang up his wife who came to collect him. it was wonderful to have spent a day with him and we where sad that he would not be with us to complete the mission. An interesting thing he said was that if bad things happen, there is no need to worry, you should only worry if you are not close to God. I think if you translate this in to non-god language it might be; shit happens, no problem. You are far from your true Self/most beautiful Self, problem. Let me know if you have better translation, I’m interested to hear

Me and Garry awoke the to the misty morning after sleeping in a field next to the road. After a breakfast of oats and nuts we set off again. Without our Spanish guide we became dependent on the some times subtle yellow arrows that are spray painted on to walls, the road and lamp posts and which direct the pilgrim to Santiago. It became coffee time and after walking through beautiful woodland we strode in to a café where in 2 pairs of fellow pilgrims and a cycle pilgrim where already enjoying the first break of there day. We sat together and shared tails of our adventures, drank delicious coffee, made music. Soon it was time to be off again and all went off  at there own pace, confident that we would meet each other again along the road.

We where sometimes lost and sometimes on the track, sometimes roasted by the sun and sometimes in the sweet shelter of the trees. The day past as gently as the miles. In the afternoon we met up again with some of the people from the café; Italians  Amando and Keeran (female keeran, is and Indian nam). We depend our relationship and strode on at a meaty pace until shelter from the sun and rest for the legs was found beneath the shade of an oak tree. We sat in mellow serenity; Garry and myself played a sweet choon and then parted. Soon we where lost, but not to lost. We found our way in to a town ad back on to the route, where provisions where bought, then we set off again to find a place to stay for the night. We got lost again, but a wonderful Spanish man recognised that we where on the wrong path and sent us in the right direction.

That night we sat in the warm evening sun beneath some pine trees, on top of a hill over looking much of the landscape we had crossed during that day. dinner was consumed. Histories where considered and we went to sleep early, happily.

The next day was greeted with an element of tension. The tradition is to reach Santiago in the morning in order to attend the special pilgrim mass in the cathedral, we still had 18km to go. We smashed some oats in us, packed up camp, strode in to the day and quickly lost the path. We doubled back on our selves, but the reassuring yellow arrows that make one know that one is on the path where no where to be seen. We guessed at a few directions and wondered around, blind and longingly. Eventually sense came to us and a map was produced. We set of again, with a knowledge of where  Santiago was in relation to ourselves. Luck or skill or the blessings of the universe where with us, for after a little while guessing at directions we stumbled upon a blessed yellow arrow spray painted on the road signifying that we where back on track. we tramped on eager not to miss the pilgrims mass, and began t meet friends that we had met on the previous day. By the time we entered the suburbs of Santiago we had become a group of seven, the Italians, two young Spanish girls, ad a super fit Spanish man.

We trod on, no time for a break and followed the path, still marked by the yellow arrows towards the centre. The Spires of the cathedral where sighted and anticipation mounted, the pace quickened. After walking 18km before coffee time and without a break we came to the great cathedral of Santiago and stood in the spacey plaza, surrounded by pilgrims, walking folk, bicyclists; all came in from different paths. There was an incedible feeling within the plaza, that of accomplishment, that of joy, of wonder.

We put bags in a hostel then got ourselves in to the cathedral for some hardcore Mass action. The cathedral was so full there where no spaces left on pews. Up at the front there was a whole krew of bishops and priests and holly folk, the catholic massive. Included in their  posse was a wonderful nun with a incredible voice, who sang along to the original stereo sound system; two great big organs that faced each other across the cathedral, with pipes protruding at all angles, decorated by golden cherubs. The mass reached a dramatic peak when, at the end of the service, to a glorious piece of music played on the massive organs, a giant incense burner suspended from a rope which reached right to the top of the cathedral was lit and then swung so vigorously by gleeful priests in red robes that it almost touched the ceiling.

After the mass we found a space in the maze of medieval streets that wind away from the cathedral to play some music. we started mellow and contemplative, then we played joyfully banging vibes which attracted some prancing Spanish youths who bought us orange juice and span around to Irish jigs and silly reggae songs. By chance, one of the headlining acts of the folk festival that I had gone to happened to pass us in the street. They are a super animated super talented, bluesy folk outfit from Japan, with harmonica, guitar, fiddle and boron, called Harmonica Cream. Once we had finished playing we roamed the streets trying to find them. Whilst looking we began to talk to a group of three wonderful soles who where walking down the street next to us. It turned out that they had walked 800km from France to Santiago, then walked past Santiago to the sea  at Finisterre and then walked the walk myself and Garry had done, but in 2 days! The group consisted of 2 brothers from California, and a sweet young woman from Canada, we searched for the Japanese folkies for a while together. They then  went to try to drop there bags off some place. The band eluded us so we returned to the Cathedral.

When one goes on pilgrimage to the Baha’i holy places there are particularly beautiful prayers written to be said at the shrines of The Bab, Baha’u’ala and Abul Baha. Because the forces of the universe had restricted us from reaching that destination,  we said the prayers at the end of our pilgrimage, in the Cathedral d’Santigo.

After a gentle session in the cathedral, we when back out in the streets and this time found the wonderful Japanese musicians, rocking out on the same street we had been, we danced, they rocked, it was a perfect relationship.

The next day, as we set off to the train station, we happened to meet the Californian brothers and the beautiful Canadian. We sat in the morning sun in the plaza together and played sweet gentle music of devotion. Joy was bubbling over. After music we went to a café to explore each others realities, to explore each others plans, it seemed we were all at a point of decision in our journey. One of the Californians had until 6 months ago been set on becoming a professional baseball player, he played 40 hours a week, but then he was freed from that destiny by injury and now, after the camino, wants to become a joyfully mellow chef. His brother dances through life and longs to learn how to make wine like the Spanish.. Bianca, the beautiful Canadian,  wonderer had reached the end of her Camino and now has difficulty finding the next path. Garry set about convincing her to go to all the places most cherished in his heart, to go to Earthing the Spirit, to go to the west cost of Scotland to work in an incredible garden there. All had been on incredible journeys and all where now facing the future with wide eyes and hearts and so as we drank coffee all barriers where down and we where able to connect openly, lovingly, heart to heart.

We left to catch the train, in a sweet sugar joy at the mornings meeting, jumped on board just as the doors where closing, and made the return journey at 160km/h, thought the green, wooded hills of Galicia.

That night we played music with a group of talented grooving rhythm and blues kids at the Casa d’ Té, we met with friends from ACoruna, we made up strange songs about flying pies, and carnivorous chickens, we drank sweet mint tea into the night and deepened friendships.

Since our return to Acoruna, we have  eventually developed our plans.  I think the reason it has taken so long is that both myself and Garry are easily contented, which is good in some respects, but maybe reduces our drive to sort things out. However now things have been set. Mast estimations have been finalised and are about to be sent to the insurance. We have visited an in credible workshop in a harbour around the corner from ACoruna where the last man knowledgeable in wooden boats works with a young apprentice, 9who for an hour each evening works on building his own boat, slowly and with great love.) It seems like the right place for the job. However, in Malta there is a gathering, a small festival of music, spirituality and joyfulness that was planned to coincide with Winnys arrival, (in an other reality, at this moment we would be sailing from Sicily to Malta). We were going to help shape the gathering and infuse it with our style of devotional and with our music. The way things have worked out it looks like I (paddy) will go there alone, carrying the flame of the pilgrimage onwards, to assist in the creation on the gathering and, with luck, to invoke the energies we have experienced during this journey. Garry has decided that whilst his heart tells him to go to Malta, his head knows that now is the time to get everything ready for the new mast. Choices are always a balance of the head, heart and belly, wisdom is to know which to give more attention to in any given situation.

It seems that eventually the remnants of the krew will part ways, that the adventure as come to the end of one stage. Garry will see that all is made well, and then join all the family in Greece, where everyone had planned to gather around the boat, and then head home to continue, life’s adventures; running Burnlaw, rearing a herd of meat cows, writing his epic… I will continue my voyage and do my best to hold within some of this adventures magic, and do my best to share it with people I meet. And, insh’ala, I will get to reach the Holy Land, to bow before the shrines of some of the most Beautiful, Magical souls in the world , to take the dreams, visions, wishes hopes wound up within this adventure and lay them in these most holy places.

The future of the winny is uncertain. If she is to be blessed with a showering of money, it is possible that a krew will sail her onwards towards Hifa. Otherwise. More mighty sailors, musicians and mystics will gather next year to continue on a different route; back to Ireland, around the west coast and to her home on the west side of Mull. Along the way communities will be filled with music, song and spirit of her and her krew.

All is a journey, a pilgrimage, the only certain destination is death, along the way we have a chance to fill the moments with such a magic that can transform the living world, and transform our inner world. If it be blessed then the Winny will continue to be a vehicle for this magic and, in her little way, bring sweetness and joy to this world.

With the deepest love,

Onwards!

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Adventures in spain pt. 1 – paddys adventure on a small bycycle, mainly conserning paddy and a bike.

So the krew, me and Gazza, assisted by Rosie (just arrived from engalnd), began to figure out what we where up to and what was going on and other thoughts. we decided that it made sense for the time being to stick to plans of walking to Santiago to find a way of completing some form of pilgrimage, going to Malta to fulfil our joyful obligations of nurturing a new festival which is to be emerged there, influenced by the successful Earthing the Spirit festival which takes place Burnlaw, birthplace to myself and home of Garry. The way motions have been going with regards to the mast we figure that there is not a chance of getting to Haifa this year. Wheather we get there next year depends on wheather, energy, musicians and finance align, otherwise something equally glorious but maybe less magnificent will happen.

In the mean time we set to finding ways to fill the days. I had hared whisperings of an incredible free folk festival on the north coast of Galicia, 100km away from A Coruna. One of our sweet Spanish friends, Alba had given us loan of her bike, a small girls mountain bike from her youth. It came to me that it would be an adventure to try to ride to the festival, given the lack of other options I decided that it would be possible to do the journey on the small bicycle, as long as I was happy t do it slowly. First thing was to get a pannier rack for the bike, so that I could carry luggage, and then get map of Galicia. A cycle gang of youngsters accompanied me about town and showed me where to get my bits an pieces. With rack attached to bike and rucksack attached to rack, with map, lentils, special cycle masala, oats, rice and cooking pot and guitar, I was ready to leave.

On a sunny early afternoon, Rosie and Garry saw me off and I was a way, striking out in to an unknown country on a tiny bike with all I needed for a few days. The first issue was trying to get out of A Coruna avoiding motorways. After riding down cycle tracks that came to dead ends, after crossing and re crossing railway tracks and asking many people for directions that I didn’t understand I managed to pass over the first bridge away from town. After a few hills and gesses at directions, my map was inadequet, I fond my way over another bridge and out into the countryside proper. The road wound onwards and upwards out of incredibly picturesque valleys on to wooded hill tops; forests of eucalyptus and pine. I had no way of telling the time but eventually I found a beautiful woodland of young nut trees and oaks, and stopped for the evening. Fire wood was collected, a blaze lit and lentils and rice bubbled away joyfully. Filled with  food and tea I walked to watch the sun set. All way gory.

The next day I set off again. I was beginning to have doubts that I would be able to get to the festival and back again for Sunday, the day Rosie was due to leave. Despite this I worked and struggled my way onwards. Sometimes cursing my stupidity for having set off on such a insufficient bicycle, some times in bliss as I passed fertile farms, wooded valleys, over hill tops. In Galicia it seems that one is ether going up a hill or down one. I was trying to get to a town called As Pontes from where I might decide to do a smaller circuit and get back to A Coruna, however my map didn’t seem to correlate with the roads I was passing. With blind faith I worked my way onwards and was rewarded by the sights of massive chimneys poking up beyond some hills. As I neared A Pontes I began to doubt weather it had a meaningful existence for me. All in view as I rode down round the hill towards it where chimneys factories and industry, But joy, behind this peeped out a small town. I stopped for a coffee and for to buy some bread. As I sat and considered my options; weather to go on to the festival or to try to find a way back home so to lessen the torment the bicycle was offering, I noticed the sign in front of me pointed to Ortugera (the town where in the festival was happening) and explained that it was only 33km away. Is seemed like some sort of deeper sign urging me to go on, or maybe it was the conformation I needed.

With renewed determination I set off for the festival, direction decided. I realised that if I sat on the bag strapped to the bike instead of the seat I was able to almost stretch my legs out when I peddled and as I worked up hill I was aided by a wind that began to blow from behind (from my behind?), encouraging me on and making progress easier. The road rose and rose, I had to take a rest every few minuets, but slowly I rose with it up to the top of the sierra, surrounded by windmills flanking the highest ridges, surrounded by wild horses and by great beauty. after the first big climb the going became easier and Ortugera moved closer and closer. With high spirits I rode the high road, full of song and wonder and then began a long and speedy decent to Ortigara and the festival.

The festival was split between the village, where there was a big stage that played folk music from 10pm till 3am flowed by samba and Galician folk bands, and the campsite which was nestled in a woodland of pine that’s spilled on to dunes which led to a beach in a bay flanked by wooded mountains. It was incredibly beautiful. I found my way to campsite and went for a swim, I was real dirty, then managed to befriend a lovely bunch of Spaniards with which to camp with. The next few days where spent playing music, playing football with fit and skilful men, dancing to poncy technical folk and some proper banging folk, teaching the Spanish about weird Indian/hippy dhal. On the last evening, I found a crowd of a thousand dancing to a powerful samba band and managed to climb up above the rifraff on to a 12foot tall statue and then jumped in to the arms of a group of gleeful Spanish men, glory.

At the festal issues emerged with the bicycle so it had to be carried  to a train and then to a bus and then back though A Coruna, to the boat were a lovely afternoon was spent ingesting cheese and tomatoes and bread and tea and chocolate, waiting for the return of Garry and Rosie. Some Baha’i friends had taken them to meet a Baha’i community in a city close to A Coruna.

hear ends part one of adventures in spain, soon will follow the concluding part of this chapter, inclooding the walk to santiago , and indndeed a conclusion to this part of the adventure.

love

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Football music and happiness in lovely LaCourna

The early eve of the Euro cup final was spent at the house of young sweet Bahai’s Nada and Andy. we gathered for musical and devotion and then where treated to a dinner of gaspatacheo soup, a selection of old pig , fish pie, goats cheese, Persian mincey rice, pastries and cake. After being sufficiently filled up, we were driven at speeds to the casa de té for the game. Oshan had dressed for the occasion in a three piece suite and a mirror ball top hat, we rounded the corner to the café where we had previously been playing music, to a crowd of friends made since our arrival, Oshan produced a large Spanish flag out of the handkerchief pocket of his blazer to rapturous applause. All sat out on the street to watch Spain mercilessly rip Italy apart, much to the glee of the Spaniards. With each goal the street danced ad sang. Eve one was joyous apart from our new kerw member; Felix: linguistics, knowledge of Spain, trumpets, jazz, man about town, who was in support of Italy. Vic was meant to be leaving early the next day on his new boat, but Joanne wife of the skipper, sent so many drinks to the skipper and Vic that they agreed to put off there departure for an other day.

 

After the game; singing, dancing, praise of Spain. We played music and the locals joined us. Hours passed ecstatically. Once we had played our songs, the street gently swelled with 2 beautiful Galician chants. We went to bed late.

 

The next day was Oshans day of departure. Many people gathered at the boat as he tried to packed his many outfits ad instruments in to an insufficient bag that was then wrapped up in a big green sack, thus resembling a body bag. Sweet Andy collected him from the marina and he was away. Oshan had been incredible at attracting people to our group, he has the ability to communicate with anyone. Apparently he just gesses what people might be saying and responds with enthusiasm.

 

Later that day one of our wonderful neighbour Arbel offered to take people to a beach on his jet ski. People where ferried in groups of 3. later Felix was given the duty of ferry man to transport the last few people across. As Felix, myself (paddy) and a kid from another boat zoomed across the bay towards the beach a smallish motor boat was slighted moving towards us waving. Felix slowed down the jet ski and realised that the hailing boat was part of Spain’s most feared police force. A torrent of Spanish ensued, after which our boat was ordered to follow there. We where led to a much bigger boat, the mother ship, were we were again cascaded with Spanish, it emerged that it was illegal to drive the jet ski next to the beach, to have more than 2 people on at a time, to be on the jet ski with out lifejackets and to drive it with out some form of a licence, which Felix did not have. We where escorted back to the marina fearful of the repercussions yet gleeful for the high drama. Back on the marina we where given many more Spanish words before the police left with out further demand.

 

 

Vick left early the next day on a beautiful Norwegian gaff rigged boat to sail to Brest. The joyful Sabena was take to the airport where she was to fly down to south of Spain to sleep a night in the airport before flying back home to island. And so the mighty krew who had taken on the great Bay of Biscay and come though scathed, yet triumphant, who came through singing in the face of great difficulty, who arrived wet and weary, and who were embraced by the fair city of A Coruna, dispended and apart from Paddy and Garry now joined by Felix, went there separate ways.

 

In the evening we went back up to the Casa de Té for another musical session. This time we went to play a mellower vibe, as supposed to the raucous sounds we had delivered previously. With trumpet flute guitar and voices we serenaded the night, praised the all glorious, praised the Sweetness. Again people gathered around and joined in, in a gentle style.

 

The next day we had a mission, to take the boat around the corner of a bay to find a welsh man called Dave or Mike or something who allegedly had built a gaff rigged boat. we took Winy out of the marina and the safety of the harbour wall into a lumpy reality. Without sails to offer steadiness the boat was thrown about viciously. Paddy for the first time on the voyage began to feel a little ill. Felix had been introducing us to the delights of Spanish cuisine, on the way over our stomachs where filled with incredible tomatoes and olive oil and cheese. Is Spain all one needs to reach god is tomato olive oil and a little salt on some bred.

 

In Arres we were greeted by a man who was nether Welsh nor called mike or Dave but an Anglo Irish man called Martin who sailed around on a beautiful wooden boat with out a motor. What glory! He was accompanied by a friend and one his krew. We  went to the local boat yard where talked to the small yet sharp Paco, who came to look at the mast and begin to develop an idea of  an estimate. He also sent our mast plans and measurements on to another place who he thought might  be able to fix one up. We all went to the boat for a few choons. Then  Winny krew went to look for some Spanish diner, which was found and consumed. After dinner we explored the town a little and the found our way to a caffe/bar with a guitar wealdling patron. He gave us drinks and we struck up a few tunes to the locals out side. There was not much reaction until the patron came out and, with great skill, smashed out the Spanish hit parade. The locals went wild.

 

After a night in the sleepy Aress we motored back to La Coruna to continue our quest for a sturdy mast. Despite our inquisitions we where not yet receiving any estimates, it a busy time for boats/a bad time to break a mast. So, we occupied our selves, fixing bits of boat, tidying, exploring A Coruna, singing a little, Felix taught us jazz and bossa nova.

One evening whilst dinner was flowing in there was a gust of wind and a splash. It quickly developed that our beloved folding bike had fallen to the ocean floor, 10 meters below! We where considering our options when our Ducth neighbour Arbel appeared saying, ‘ah, I see your bike has fallen in the water. maybe we could dive for it?” it emerged that Arbel had also scuba gear on his incredible giant gin palace. Now, Arble is an incredible man, it seems that at one point he was a professional wake boarder (doing tricks strapped on to a plank of wood whilst being pulled behind a speed bard. After that he started a business selling what he called ‘toys with wheels’, I guess this means scooters and skateboards and things, which seems to have become fairly successful as he sold out  n bought a 60 foot motor Sun Seeker, pleasure cruiser /jinn palace with beautiful lines and filed it with long boards, jet skis, there toys and even an automatic rifle (he was planning to go though the Suez canal). However he quickly realised that motor cruising is inferior and makes less sense than sailing, he called the Jin Palace ‘Never Again’ and wants to sell it at the first possible instant so that he can buy a proper boat, with sails. So, paddy and Arble got suited up in the scuba gear, dived to the bike and attached it to a rope so that it could b pulled up.

 

Felix left after a week, he was a glory to have around, an exquisite translator and a fiend on the horn. And after a couple of days of scrubbing, Rosie, Garry’s wife, paddy’s mum, arrived.

 

So, the question is, what is to become of Winnys adventure? Where will our pilgrimage lead us? We are bound up in A Coruna until estimates arrive and thing are squared with the insurance, after that it will still be a month minimum until things may be fixed but neither myself (Paddy) or Garry would put much money on everything being fixed up before the end of August, which restricts the possibility of further sailing. For the immediate future, we will walk to Santiago de Compostilla next week, and along the way sing of the unity of mankind and womankind. We have arrangements in Mata, to help them create a glorious spiritual gatherings, to infuse it with our music and devo style, after that to Greece perhaps, then we are not sure……where the spiritual wind will blow us!

We welcome suggestions.

 

So plans are made to be broken, we have done a glorious job of  that so far! Now plans are still slowly emerging, and will be built upon energy, time, resources music and  love!

Till later……..more love and more news!

 

 

  

 

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