Our trip around the closed stores in The Laines had certainly whetted our appetites to duck and dive in and out of the esoteric establishment of Brighton. So armed with a belly full of omelette, we headed over to Brighton, to first meet up with an old friend. Our paths crossed as recently as Sunday with the swapping of some ASCII code through the ethereal-net of Facebook, but we had not met in physical form in over 4 years.
Meeting in the far less esoteric Churchill shopping mall on the sea front, we were on the lookout for a 4’11 Geordie and her daughter, so it was more hunting low and low to be fair. Some people change in either their looks and/or their environment over time, but a couple of hours spent with our former friend proved that is not always the case. It was a strange place for me Malaysia, forced down the cul-de-sac of friendship with strangers and folks who under normal circumstances one would never dream of connecting with. In this instance and as we chatted and laughed about our time the and what we had been up to since our returns, there was a tinge of regret on my part as although we had spent some time with our present guest and her family in Kuala Lumpur, on reflection it was not enough compared to a lot of time with folks with hindsight would have been better spent either elsewhere or alone.
If I had my time again in Malaysia it would be completely different. Time for one of my new mantras:
“I don’t regret my past, I just regret the time I’ve wasted with the wrong people”.
With the cordial invite to her new place, we waved them farewell and made our way to The Laines. Awesome place. The shops, bars, street merchants and emporia were very ‘Glasto’. As we sat off with our Halloumi wraps and Veggie Sausage and Chips, we watched as all manner of folks, from all manner of backgrounds, with all manner of clothing on, walked on by. Right next door to the organic cafe, was a native American trinket store. I guess the reason I was drawn to it was back 19 days ago. During the reiki day with “L”, the sounds of the native American chanting and the cry of the wolf really did it for me. As much as I have come to love the sitar and the tabla, deep mediation and energy flow for me comes from the native American playlists I have installed on Spotify, I’m not sure why it resonates with me so much, maybe I’ll understand why at some point. As “K” and “L” were pawing their way through the various crystals and shiny stones, I made my way to the back of the shop where there was a fountain and some native antiquities on show. As an ideal opportunity to ‘tune in’ I closed my eyes and zoned in on the reiki and soundtrack coming through the speakers close by. Safe to say that it worked, and very well at that. I guess it was not to dissimilar to when “M” goes into the book stores and pagan shops in Glastonbury. I have often observed him coming out of the shops with paper wrapped goodies as temporary travelling companions with a certain glaze/peace about him.
In all, we spent a good few hours there, and the kids didn’t get too bored, in fact the final store saw “L” acquire a Magic: The Gathering 14th Edition Core Pack so he was happy. It’s safe to say the boy “M” would love it there, a potential lads weekend location it is.
All shopped out, we headed back to the house for some serious sofa therapy, after the mandatory ration run from Asda. It was a nap that the second I turned the key in the lock, the gauntlet of several games of MTG would be cast across my vision. True to form, “L” duly asked and I duly accepted, playing out the rest of the evening to the sound of ‘tapping cards’ the relocation of the ‘dragon poo’ back into the holster.
With energy at an all time low, we all collapsed into separate beds and dreamt of far off places…
What holiday in the UK would be complete without a day trip to a castle. As we were driving to West Wittering earlier in the week, we had noticed a quaint village called Arundel (the exact name I was threatening to call my first child…), and that plastered over several advertisement boards was the fact that this week was mediaeval week, with crafts, mêlées, jousting and the like on show for all to enjoy.
Armed once again with tummys full of eggs and back packs full of sandwiches, we set of to discover ancient Arundel. The village itself is very picturesque, straddling a river, whose houses look as if they could fall over at any time.
We arrived just as the first joust had finished, but were heartened to find out that we were sitting in front of the mêlée area and there would be two further chances to see the jousting. The mêlée section was good, the men at arms being in light armour, able to move about relatively quickly. It was great to see that “K” got into it with a passion, and was very animated in cheering on the Holy Roman Empire (who were fighting against the French).
Following up was a quick sprint up the hill to were the bards were gathering folks. We perched ourselves under a tree and began to watch the show, which was a collection of kids selected from the audience to take up various roles for Robin Hood. I guess there was a certain inevitability about my selection to take part. It always seems to happen to me, but I’m always keen to take part, must be that positive vibe I seem to exude at times. I was a peasant. I was a thieving peasant. I was waiting for the inevitable Scouse dig (which normally comes from me before anyone else gets the chance), but our role as peasants (three of us in total) was to each wear a hat made from potato sacks, and to steal the others, last hat standing type thing. Of course I won the warm up having the element of surprise (being a Scouser), but once it was game on for real, my height disadvantage being downhill of the others took its toll and I was first out.
Shortly after my defeat “K” was up, dressed as one of Robin Hoods outlaws and took part in a rather aggressive rumble with highly competitive kids with sponge tubing. All things turned out well in the end, Robin Hood was not killed, he married the Maid Marian, and there was much rejoicing.
The rest of the day we spent castle creeping and watched with interest the jousting session cheering especially loudly when the English were up against the French. “L” also managed to get a quick three arrows in the archery test, with the third attempt being bang on in the centre of gold.
After cooking dinner, I settled down to start my new bookstore acquisition, and got quite a way in, but stopped at the exercises section, too pooped to carry on…
No dreams. Too tired to dream. Today being the last day was to be spent in a small town on the outskirts of Brighton called Lewes, a place highly recommended by my good friend “K” who was there recently. I don’t think he will win any contracts as a trip advisor now that Alan Wicker has passed away. The big selling point from him, was that it like Glastonbury, only cleaner. I was obviously looking forward to this immensely after such praise, and was totally and utterly despondent when we got there. It was in fact a town full of antique shops, whose trinkets were being bought by even older ‘antiques’.
I guess a single bloke wandering in and out of pubs and cafes with a girl for company will be very different than when a family turn up en masse for the day. In his defence, he said that when he was there, there were buskers, street artists the lot. Sadly it must have been either a festival on at the time, or Keith lied to me just to obtain 3 bottles of Spanish wine from Harveys the Brewery which just so happened to be in Lewes.
Slightly disappointed, we headed for the nearest cafe in search of sustenance and then moved on to spend an hour in the local lido, the oldest open air swimming pool in England so they say. “K” made friends instantly and had a great time, but as the storm closed gathered, we packed up our gear and headed back to the house where we ended our holidays with a mammoth film and snack session.
The drive back was good, better than good. Managed to get back in just over four hours which included a pit-stop at Keele Services for KFC. During my passenger leg, I read a little more of the Reiki bible and discovered another thing that I may well look into in the near future. Unique Body Solutions in New Brighton every Thursday offer a Tai Chi course, which from what I can understand is a veritable tombola of yoga, meditation and reiki and run a session each Thursday, but what caught my was that they were doing a full Tai Chi course in September. I may well look into that.
With the wife out with the girls from school for end of year drinks and tapas, I decided to do some room rearranging. Ideally we would have a dedicated room for yoga and reiki, but with three kids and a dog at home it’s not realistic. Late afternoon, I had all of these grand ideas to completely redo the dining room ditching a load of furniture, but the sage words of advice from the significant other rightly put me on the right track. Instead I de-cluttered the living room getting rid of everything superfluous and giving that real minimalist feel, and pooled all of my various carvings and bas-reliefs from around the globe on to the bookshelf (along with me mood candles).
After the kids had settled down upstairs, I did yoga for 20 minutes via the Samsung app on my Smart TV which was a bit crap (nothing like the real thing), so instead launched Spotify and hit play on the native American playlist. It wasn’t too long before the reiki kicked in. The key point from last night’s session was my legs. It was quite surreal actually. Deep in mediation, the energy was flowing around my legs and seemed to settle on my right knee which began to pulse and heat up. After a short time the pulsing stopped and a ‘force’ seemed to encompass both of my legs, like a feather quilt had been wrapped tightly around them or sea of marshmallows were cushioning them. If that was odd, my legs seemingly levitating felt even odder. They were on the ground still, but they didn’t fell associated with the body for a short while. I can imagine that if the whole of one’s body felt like that, that really would be some sort of transcendental experience of some description. I will continue to reach out for that state, It may take time, but I will keep trying…