The Summer of Music and Slugs

As I’ve gradually come to terms with the fact that I have moved to one of the rainiest towns in Britain, on the rainiest year on record, the slugs have gradually worked their way though everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up one morning, to find that they had eaten my house too.

So I found a busker who needed a home, and I asked him if he’d like to live in mine, and look after the hens and weeds for me. I then journeyed to Lincolnshire, to participate in a Permaculture teacher training course at the Inkpot, with Hannah Thorogood, Aranya, Jan Mulreany and Peter Cow. My journey started out in Tavistock, with my backpack, my freecycle guitar, my purple “Mary Poppins” bag, and a piece of cardboard that said “Plymouth Please”. I had my thumb out for 10 minutes, before a friend drove by and picked me up. Easy! I got to the station and boarded my train, only to find out that I was on the wrong train, and my ticket was invalid. In a state of panic, and half way through a phone call to First Great Western to find out what my ticket was valid for, I got kicked off the train. As I stepped onto the platform and the train pulled away, I remembered my backpack in the luggage space…..The floods began.

So my journey continued with just my guitar and my purple bag. I sat in the customer service area of Exeter station, and played my way through my John Denver repertoire until my fingers hurt. The music gave me calm in the storm. 3 hours later, they could not locate my bag, so I got on a train to London to spend the night. Messages flying around facebook about a stranded traveller, secured me a bed at my cousin’s flat. When I showed up at midnight, she gave me everything I needed for my trip, down to a weeks worth of her knickers…

At 5am I sat in Kings Cross station. Waiting for my train, and playing Country Roads, I was aware of the pain in my fingers, but I was feeling emotionally delicate. I needed to keep playing and singing. I made it to Lincolnshire. It was too early in the morning to take the bus, so I walked with my thumb out, along a beautiful country road, with the early morning sun on my face, and I sang. A friend drove by and picked me up.

10 days of being taken care of by my permaculture family, and I finally located my backpack- It was in the Leeds lost property office. I hatched a plan for someone from the Permaculture offices in Leeds, to pick it up and bring it to the Permaculture Convergence in Wales, 2 weeks later.

I don’t remember the time between the 2 events. It feels like I went home to have a shower, and then magically found myself in the beautiful Welsh Coed Hills. My permaculture family were there with my back pack, and I had brought pickle and wine to thank those who had helped me. I kept my guitar close by, and through the intensity of the Convergence and the sessions I was facilitating and filming, I found myself gravitating to it in my brakes. It brought me back to some calmness.

It was the last night of the convergence and it was a Cabaret – The Permaculture Association’s version of an open mic night. Who cares if I only started playing guitar last Autumn? I thought. They’re all friends… in front of 250 people, I played and sung Country Roads. In reaction to my nerves, I kept my eyes closed for most of it, but when I opened them, I saw 250 people singing along with me at the top of their lungs, swaying their arms. I saw 2 lighters lit up in the air. The support and love that I felt from them was beautiful.

The country roads took me home, and I am finally back home in Tavistock with my daughter, my hens, my lodger and his cat, the slugs and the rain. It’s been a journey! I am ready to start learning from other song writers, but Country Roads will always be my theme tune. I feel that I now truly understand how music can maintain a person’s sanity.

This blog entry is about Zone 00. It’s about me, and how I have looked after my own well being through an incredibly intense few weeks. Permaculture is about sustainable systems, and I am a part of many systems. If I burn out, I fail to be a strong element in those systems. So, it is more important than anything else, that I look after myself. I remember how I almost left my guitar at home at the beginning of my journey, because I had too much to carry. But what did I really need to carry? When I strip it down, I didn’t even need my guitar. I just needed to sing for my sanity. I didn’t really need the possessions that I tried to carry with me, but I did need the love and support of those around me, which they gave me freely.

So thank you for the music. For my friends and my family. I feel like a very rich person.


About thehouseofjam

I am a Trustee/Director of the Permaculture Association of Britain, and I make jam with wild food. Lots of it!
This entry was posted in Bartering, chickens, community, Guitar, Low Impact living, Music, People Care, Permaculture, permaculture convergence, philosophy, Self Sufficiency and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Summer of Music and Slugs

  1. Yes I too feel a very rich person for being part of such a wonderful community. I just uploaded a taste of it in this short video of the Convergence:

  2. Peter Cow says:

    Wow, thank you, you open my heart a little further, again : )
    Music is such an amazing gift and experience. As is community, sharing, support, and deep connection with people.

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