I have a lovely start to my morning talking to my partner in a lazy Sunday morning phone call, followed by an enjoyable chat with Jane, our host, as I eat a late breakfast as she finishes off making damson jam; I ask what will happen to the juice covered stones she is removing from the mixture and if it can be made into a juice.
Jane thinks that is a good idea and does so, and I take damson juice in my water bottle today.
Georgiana and I set out along the lanes that lead to Liskeard, our next transition town. It is an easy afternoon stroll of around 10 miles and we saunter along talking of this and that, and everything under the sun; our work with story and the young people we have worked with, health and wellbeing and why people are the way they are.
For a time, as I walk, in a quiet pause, I realise I am so happy I could burst, and say so. There have been moments along the walk, moments in my life, when I have asked myself that most searching of questions; would I be happy if I were to die tonight, right now, and I am aware that I would. To have lived things so fully, experienced so deeply, I would be at peace, to have done my best to be me, and to have lived my life fully. Those moments are precious ones, when the knowing that you are being led by your own integrity and not the commands and whims of others is present.
We reach Liskeard and meet Michelle Virgo, who has rushed back from taking her boys to their father’s and now makes us stir fry and rice and we help to chop veg and then I take a shower and we are eating when Max, Geri, and Tabitha arrive from Tavistock, accompanied by a recent Liskeard settler, their friend Pat, to hear the tales, closely followed by Jane, from Callington, and a lovely circle of eight sit to get to know one another as if gathered around a fire, and it is lovely.
The tales of individual lives come pouring out; Geri and her six month back packing experience around Africa, Max and his water pilgrimage, Tabitha and her felt making, Pat and her move to Cornwall from Putney, and Michelle, tonight representing transition Liskeard from amongst her many hats.
I tell the tales and ask for new, leaving the Tavistock stone, plucked from the river by Mark the Community Police Officer, along with the tale of the ancient tradition of stone carrying. Michelle tells us of what transition Liskeard are doing, the films they have shown and the skill sharing days they have organised, and the recent decision they have taken to continue to do the things they do, having fun, and involving their close neighbours wherever they can, encouraging them to join in, and I talk about the Transition Streets project that Taunton have taken on and made their own.
Later, Geri, Tabitha, Michelle and I talk about publishing and the best ways to reach out to the wider public. We talk about the Quest game too, and they suggest the Coop would perhaps be interested in a game that promotes cooperation. Geri describes a new form of publishing she has heard about where books are ordered and only printed as demand arises, which cuts down on costs and saves resources. We talk about the illustrations for the book and I describe Ben (Brangwyn’s) thought that they should be drawings of the gifts that have been exchanged, an idea I like, and have thought of them in pale pastel colours. Geri thinks the central character should be illustrated, and starts to sketch out a voice cartoon of me in my red skirt and storytelling hat and I laugh and say I never thought I ‘d become a cartoon character! We all get excited about the possibility of reaching a mainstream audience with the book.
Max talks about the inspiration he has taken from my tale of telling his tale in the third person and sketches out a beautiful cameo of the giant in the tiny house who hosted him one night, and thanks me for reawakening his longing to walk again.
Georgiana finishes the evening off beautifully for us with the tale of Story and Truth; I have been told it before, along this walk, but Georgiana’s version is just gorgeous, and the beautiful storyteller takes her cloak of many colours and tears it in two to clothe the naked truth and suddenly he is palatable to all.
Max, as he kisses and hugs me good bye, says let’s keep in touch, and I say we will, and then asks if I will walk to Afghanistan, or maybe Iran with him…
And I say let’s wait and see…