Ode to the Road

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Life on the road cannot be overrated
Where the scene is ever being updated
One day mountain, next day sea
What a wonderful way to be

Fresh from a world within the grid
It’s all there whatever we did
Amazon, Asda, and of course Ebay Earplugs to trucks just a click away

We need to find the next place to Park
That won’t be so easy after dark
Somewhere quiet would be good
Better if it has water and wood

No more rhymes seem to be coming so I will carry on in prose. It can still be an ‘ode’ can’t it’?
Anyway it is very refreshing to change the whole reality once in a while and adapt to a new way of living. I had forgotten the magic of this way, where everything becomes more precious and one appreciates the little things more.
Somehow living in a house with mod cons, it’s very easy to get lazy and take things for granted, like getting clothes dirty because you can just throw them in the washing machine.

And one needs to be much more conscious of water use, with a limited amount of water on board. You put a bucket of water on the stove to heat up then use it to wash your body, then wash clothes then the truck floor. When it rains we put buckets out to collect rain water dripping from the truck.
God made a song when the world was new. Water’s laughter sings it through. Wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing. “
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Food is more interesting with changing availability and local delicacies. You can’t always get those avocados so it is especially nice when you do and there is ediblr, wild food everywhere, although not so much at this time of year. Making juice is a more involved process as the juicer needs to be got out and packed away, the generator started and stopped and this somehow makes the juice more delicious.
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As you may have read in earlier entries, we continue to run the sewing side of the business when on the road, meaning we have to adapt to the terrain and work with the weather.

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We also have a fully functioning mobile office, thanks to mobile Internet and the Smartphone.

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I do sometimes miss the days before the phones and the Internet when we would hear gossip along the grapevine and receive rare letters at Poste Restante addresses, the news of which would last us for weeks. For meeting up we would have to rely more on the Inner-net and guidance, and if we needed to get a part for the vehicle or directions to somewhere, we would actually have to ask the locals.

We used to rate Park-ups on a sliding scale from one to ten according to facilities. A ‘ten’ would be in a beautiful place miles from nowhere with water, wood and one could stay there as long as you want. We have since discovered the magic of a ‘minus seventeen’ Park-up, which can be something like overnight at a motorway truckers stop or a yard at the edge of an industrial area, and sometimes these sort of spots are the quietest because there is no attention from people and you don’t have to defend anything.

There is a lot of room for personal growth in sharing such a small space with others. One learns tolerance and an awareness of other’s personal space in the constant dance of who is cooking, who’s on the bed, who’s doing yoga on the floor, whose coat is hanging by the door, where you put your shoes when you come in etc etc. And the refreshing feeling of having only a few personal possessions.

All too soon we will land again in the next place for the next adventure, but for now the road is shining us on.

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The junk yard of infinity

It’s been a busy few weeks on the road looking up places in the wilds of Italy, speaking with owners,
And the authorities, looking at excavators for making roads to inaccessible isolated places, to create places that are very isolated.

Sometimes on the road there is a little un expected gem, you turn a corner and viola it’s there, a little spot of magic.
This time we stopped to get something from one of the road side stalls, and because things were a little hectic after town I took one of the girls for a walk, we turned a corner under a bridge and found a little spring.

It had a real nice touch, all decorated from rubbish thrown before, it was a work I art! we found out it was a church initiative, they made nice little art out of all the rubbish that has been thrown.
Although under a busy bridge, it felt so tranquil.
Having worked at the alternative edge of the leisure industry, helping campsites make retreats and sites for people to enjoy being away from it all, I was overwhelmed how simple it has been to create magic here, a place that felt so gentle and magical, with old statues an discarded posters, with little plants and of course the old spring.

How much better it felt to some attempts we have been part of by campsite owners to create the same magical atmosphere.

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There is this tendency when you travel to give good spots names, this one was christened “the junk yard of infinity”.

There is a story about a Mexican shaman who led his group of sorcerers in journeys to other worlds.
But his greatest love was to travel to the outmost corners of infinity, he would go to unvisited corners and would experience wonders.
The story states that not only he seen wonders in his other worldly travels to the junk yards of infinity, he would come back and re-create some of the wonders he saw.

At other times he would wonder into the other attention unseen and would bring the things he viewed there back with him, he had a collection of those “inventions” and this is what this little place reminded us of.

It was a refreshing contrast to speaking with the authorities about campsites, and dealing with buying land and surveyors, reminding me that actually it takes so little to make us “feel that magic”, in fact it’s probably the less there is, the more the magic.

Nomadic 102 – Women empower

We have been cruising through the Apennines for a few weeks now, settling to a rhythm. Travelling in convoy is an art, and so too is learning how long to hold a park up and when to move on.

The Italian landscape is quite helpful, although the lay-bys are smaller, than their French counterparts.
One can be cruising amongst the snow peaks one minute and on the next park up be by the sea, where it is still just about warm enough to jump in.
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The best thing is that we have managed to work some of the winter sewing load into it, so the push to find a place to work is not so strong. That is the advantage of the sunnier climate: we can sew outside in the winter.

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I love Italy. It flows in much more open ways: in the mountains it’s slower and old, by the coast it’s pulsing and constant, and the food is great. We have been getting into making pesto again, the most crucial ingredient-Pecorino is sold direct from the cheese
Makers. Of course it gets even better with locally gathered truffles put into the cheese, but we like to keep our foods simple, making our own pesto for example, although looking at a piece of land for sale next to the “Città del Tartufo” (truffle town) was tempting.

It’s a nice way to get to know an area, to park in it’s various lay-bys and to talk to the locals, interaction by interaction. All too soon one settles down, and we tend to be very private.
So although we love to chat to the munchkins wherever we go, we don’t always get too many opportunities.

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I love cruising the land and feeling it’s power like that, learning the old stories, and creating power ones for ourselves. We do group conscious work on the road, and it feels very right, at times it is explosive and hard to contain, at others it’s sheer elation. my heart goes out to all those that travel in trucks, but more so to the few that travel like that, the few that really integrate, that really feel through it.

It’s hard to explain, but certain spots bring certain truths out in us. it’s a greater challenge to travel with women, because they are so fluid, and they ebb with the energy itself.
I guess my greatest love is for those
Wild women that dare travel the real way, that dare feel and go through it,
Those that rise out of the crowd.

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Europe’s best mountains

I have been travelling for almost 20 years, mostly in Europe, but elsewhere too, I have a love for the mountains because people tend to be more open and hospitable, and much simpler, so I have traveled through quite a few ranges over the years.

Driving through the Apennines was a real voyage of wonder for me, here was a long range of mountains going through my favourite country in Europe and they are….. amazing, and I never new about it, thinking them to be a little range of hills.
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We drove into the mountains just after Assisi, famous for St. Francis,
Instead of going up to chiusi della verna (where he got his stigmata wounds), like we did last time we came here.
We chose to continue down the road a little and enter into the mountain there.

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Reaching the mountain top I was amazed by some of the scenes, like the grand plane (piano grande) in the south of the monte sibilini national park. The scenery looked as if it could be in Mongolia, with horses roaming free and open grassy planes with Shepards walking their flocks, although the distinctive hill top village was looking like something out of the Middle Ages and very European.

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We left Umbria at Forca di presta, another amazing mountain overlooking the hills, covered with hardwoods.

We entered Abruzzo by Lago di campotosto, back in the UK this would be a tourist hot spot, here it is quiet and on it’s own, the snowy cap of the gran Sasso mountains can be seen and one starts to appreciate the diversity of Abruzzo, with it’s high mountains and national parks it is becoming one of my favourites, very slow and very spectacular.

All in all the mountains here are such a wealth, it’s Northern Europe nestled inside the meditarenian, so one can walk through beech forests one minute and be next to cane and fennel the other, from broad oaks to fig trees, it’s got it all, with wild goats, and deer, and even a few bears, and of course plenty of wild boar.

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4 guardians – the pushers

We speak a lot about group work, or process work, and from time to time about the “map”.

There are a few layers to this map or you may call it a hologram.
The first layer is that of 4 women, these can also viewed as the 4 directions, it’s the first layer because in order to establish the basis for group work those 4 directions or 4 women need to be found and gathered.

The task to find them is given to the HEART, a central figure whose rule is to find those 4 women and establish the first layer of group work, to hold the centre.
They are guardians, but I call them pushers because this is what they are,
I got that name from a TV series called “Alphas” where one of the team has the power to “push” people to her will, this reminded me of the women I live with (I guess every man feels that way to some degree).

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The 4 guardians are a known motif one that is portrayed in many cultures-

The living creatures, living beings, or
Hayyoth (Hebrew חַיּוֹת)

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This picture strikes the very same imagery in me, Ezekiel sees them in his vision as god’s throne bearers. That to me strikes a very familiar chord, the 4 women that flank the nagual.

In group work the first ring is upheld by those 4 guardian women, those I call the pushers.
In Toltec tradition the atlantes in Tula are seen as two rows of women, the first are the stalkers these are the front women, those we call guardians the other row is the 4 dreamers and those are called the second ring, the very thing the guardians guard.

I live with two pushers, although I have worked with more, my everyday life is with two of them – the north and the south.

The thing each of them “push” is different, the north “pushes” the story, we name her the caller of intent because she can call things into being, change situations around, her role is not to bring the vision but to call it into being, she is genuine and makes every situation she touches deeper and more meaningful, everything comes out with a meta level, she walks by the lamp posts and they come on she brings light.

The south is a the real pusher, at least the southerly woman I live with. She is the real go-getter she actually pushes people, she pushes to manifest things that are called for, and she pushes situations around and pushes people about.

But as all of this is very archaic and somewhat abstract let’s look at a little story from our everyday life, to see if I can demonstrate what I mean:

Before we left to go on the road to Italy I promised one of our yurt campsite clients I will come and measure his yurts for new covers and have a little chat about the next season.

It just happened that he lives in yorkshire, and we (were) in South Wales.
We already sold the car on eBay but as the new owner did not collect yet, we decided to drive that instead of one of the vans.

The next morning me and the south wind were driving, looking for a place to get a cup of coffee, I spotted one and slowed to turn, as I was turning a car smashed into us from behind at full speed, we both never wear seat belts, but did not hit anything (amazingly). We stepped outside to a very apologetic vauxhall owner, her car was in ruin, the engine was in the boot type of thing, the airbags fully out.

I looked at our Renault it seemed to be ok, except the bumper, but it was hard to tell as it was suspended over her car, so the first thing I said to the south wind is – “let’s drive off her car shall we?”.

And so we did.
We exchanged details and drove on the women took full responsibility.
We decided to drive on, yes the bumper was smashed but it held, the broken side light was working still, and the door was not that bent.

A minute down the road we sew a peacock standing which was strange for those of you that remember our earlier post about the peacock angel.

Anyway to cut the story short, we already sold the car and the new owner was collecting the next day, we thought to call him and tell him we smashed his new car, but the south wind decided to try her hand at some pushing.

We still had a 4 hour drive to yorkshire, and 5 hour back home, but that was nothing for her, she magically found someone selling the same back door (same green colour) on eBay and him on the route back home, she managed to convince him to sell her the rest of the parts too the bumper and the light and end the auction early, maybe that was not so hard seeing she was buying half the car!
But for a £100 it was a bargain.

So we drove to yorkshire and measured the yurts

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It was 3 o’clock or so. Still a 3 hour drive at best to the breakers, so the south wind called the guy and talked him into waiting until 5.30 but even so the traffic jams around Manchester proved too long. , What issued next was some amazing time bending to get to him in time, she did call and asked if he would wait until 6pm!, but that was getting too much, even though he was under compulsion (being “pushed”).

We got to him at 5.39pm we must have broken the speed limit through half of England.
Got the parts (minus the exhaust silencer box) and drove home, got up early and put the car in order the new owner did not know anything was amiss.
He did ask about the silencer but we assured him we could not get one yesterday but will send him one In the post (and we did), so you are thinking to yourself …… wow, that was some pushing you are thinking, right?

But best thing is that the money from the woman’s insurance, paid the south wind to take her van all the way to Italy with some change left over. Now that is what I call pushing.
Hope the woman did not mind sacrificing her new car for that, she did say she did not get along with new ones, and she did have comprehensive insurance so she will get another.

On the way to Italy we stopped in Germany to visit the south wind’s mum, during that visit her mum showed us book she only gives her daughters when they get married, the family POWER book.

The south wind said she is not planing on get married, and that she feels like she already found her family, her mum being Christian said she will have to wait in that case, I cracked
Some good jokes about Finding a husband for her, which were
Slightly lost on German ears.

The book was written by her mum, and was of anecdotes of the kids, short little stories, some of which are only funny if you are German.
Too many of the anecdotes featured the south wind, after all it was a family with 8 siblings, maybe another feature of being a pusher.

But the best little tale had the south wind when she was four or five telling her mum that she remembered something from being inside her belly, her mum replied, “that is something I must hear”.
The south wind said “I remember exploding out of the egg an pushing on your belly”.
I was flabbergasted, I realised “Pushers” must be so from conception, or at least this one seems to be.

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I snapped a picture quickly to “steal” that one anecdote atleast, but it turned out the her mum was so moved by our group work stories and the similarities with monastic life she gave her daughter the book, saying “in your case I will make an exception”.

That is pushers in a nutshell.