|I missed my vocation, huh?|
Anyhow, we had a good lunch yesterday with the in-laws at Zeus, the Greek restaurant, having not been Raptured on the motorway on the way down to Plymouth.
Ron ordered surf ‘n’ turf and Sheila had steak and chips. Both of them went for rare and the waitress nodded approvingly. Adrian ordered moussaka (the waitress looked faintly surprised), James went for a kebab (a slight raise of the eyebrow) and I ordered the vegetarian kebab.
‘I beg your pardon?’ she said.
‘The vegetarian kebab.’
Was my diction that bad? Then I glanced around. Pretty much everyone was eating roast turkey or steak. Crackers and party hats and all. Really, it was totally ace.
Anyhow, it was a very fine kebab indeed. In fact the whole meal was splendid – despite having to race out for Panadol half way through and despite Adrian gurning at his father at every available opportunity.
We diverted via Buckfast Abbey because Adrian needed to stock up on more Christmas beers. And I popped into the loo and this woman went into the cubicle next to me and let off the loudest volley of farts I've ever heard and cheerily shouted out, 'Pardon me!' which I thought was pretty cool of her.
And when we got back, I did a couple of hours of meditation and then got the fire going and struck up the Solstice incense. And I was just sitting, musing on things, as you do, thinking about Solstice, about Mayans, about changes, about signs and signals and what have you – watching the flames, watching the smoke from the incense burner wander around and find its way to the chimney and then – Kaboom! – the Christmas tree decided for absolutely no reason whatsoever to hurl itself out of its bucket, throwing water and decorations and stones (from the bucket) absolutely everywhere.
And I thought, that's it. All the old decorations, the ones James made, and the ones he and I chose (we used to have a ritual of buying a new one each year) would be smashed. But, miraculously, no. Just one bauble – a very old one that we'd had back at the Old Rectory – had lost its green glister, the paint just slid away to reveal the plain silver beneath. And when I picked up the angel (another Rectory relic), it had lost its halo.
And I wondered, is it a really really bad omen for one’s Christmas tree to implode on Solstice night?
Anyhow. This morning I was due to go to Hands On in Braunton for my alignment float. Those who don’t go for my hippy dippy stuff can skate over this bit but let’s just say that these three days (December 21st -December 23rd) see the precession of the equinoxes go in a complete circle – apparently it happens only once every 26,000 years. Spiritual evolution taking a little leapfrog. And I decided that, sod it, I’d go and get my body vibrating to Solfeggio frequencies while floating. My solstice treat to myself.
Except…when I got up this morning, North Devon appeared to be flooded.
‘It’s not looking too good,’ I said to Adrian. I'm pretty gung-ho but hey...
‘It’ll be fine,’ he said.
I looked again.
‘Er, Braunton’s cut off.’
‘Just take it easy.’
‘There’s five feet of water.’
‘You’ll be fine.’
And at first I thought, hmm, just a tiny smidgeon of concern might have been nice. But then I thought, sod it, he’s right. I’m being a wuss. So I got in the car and bunged on Eddie Vedder's soundtrack for Into the Wild (probably not the best choice in the circumstances) and made my way over the moor to the coast, basically following the sound of police helicopters and driving along roads turned into rivers.
And lo, the roads were indeed all blocked. But Phil talked me down a tiny tunnel into town – and the joy of having a car which looks like this...
...is that when you're stuck in a jam down a tiny lane, people take one look at your car and start reversing fast. But actually it was funny cos, had this been in a city, it would have been all shouting and swearing and road rage but, cos it was Braunton it was all sort of 'yeah' and 'ah well' and smiles and shrugs and whatevers.
And I pulled up right by the point where the road ended and the (new) river began.
|Pic posted by Phil on Twitter|
And I floated. In the floatation tank, not the delinquent river (or I'd be floating out somewhere in the Bristol Channel by now). And it was fab. And at one point I felt a vertebra in my neck pop back into place, and every so often a muscle would twitch or jerk violently. And then, bizarrely, my stomach started to make the most wild noises (a sort of belated counterpoint to the Buckfast woman's concerto). And I saw the most incredible patterns forming in front of my retinas – so intricate, so so involved, like some kind of circuitry or map, and every so often a tiny pathway marked out in electric blue.
And Phil was well chuffed when I told him. ‘Stomach noises are the body releasing old emotions,’ he said firmly.
‘My stomach never makes noises,’ I said. 'Apart from today.'
And it dawned on me I was hungry. Not for food. Just for…change.