Glastonbury: One Year On…
After this post, I shall be Blog-SILENT until the start of 2018.
On December 20th 2016, I finally moved to Glastonbury!
Next Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of this move – and, since I am going to take a couple of weeks off the blog (starting tomorrow), I am going to celebrate and acknowledge now.
I was both excited and anxious when I arrived: Excited because finally I was free and about to put the key in the lock of my very own house; worried that I would not make friends; that I would not be able to cope with house and garden; that I would struggle financially; that the continuous panic attacks and pain would continue forever…
The reality has been incredibly, magically, different.
Morgana West (whom I have known for a few years) very kindly alerted key friends that I was arriving – and, though this act of generosity, I have met, and become close to, the lovely women I refer to as The Witches of Widdershins Hill – J, J, A and A!
Through each of them, I have been introduced to a host of other delightful people, both men and women.
In January, I got back in touch with two friends first met in 2012, Sally and James North – and, through them, I was introduced to Shadow of the Tor. I still vividly recall my first visit to the King Arthur pub, on March 5th of this year, and the initial sight of these two long-haired young men, Brad and Francis, (both of whom have become friends since then) and the plethora of other interesting people (most of whom I also now count among my friends).
One of them recognised me! This was the lovely Aelph Edgewood, who lives down my road and has become such a close friend in the intervening months. Well met, indeed!
I did have a moment of severe financial insecurity (unnecessary, as it turned out) and, in a fit of panic, applied to join a Supply Teaching Agency. I think, in retrospect, I wanted to prove that I could still do it (though I knew, in my heart of hearts, that the events of September 2011 had shown very clearly that I was burned out as a classroom teacher) – and the following four months showed me, with painful clarity, that I was no longer up to the job.
The coming of spring allowed to me flex previously untried gardening muscles and I discovered a real affinity with the earth and flowers and herbs. As an Earth sign, this should not, perhaps, have been the surprise it was!
April saw my first performance on stage with Shadow of the Tor – and great fun it was too – as well as my first public ritual (I was a Quarter Officer) for the Beltane Celebrations on the Fairfield, just below the Tor.
It also marked a return to my status as Community Reviewer, though I did not realise this at the time.
Early April marked the departure of my son, and his girlfriend, on their five month Gap Year adventure abroad: China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Australia, Canada and Iceland – all were experienced by the intrepid pair!
May and June marked the start of a clear deterioration in my elderly dog, Jumble – and, for a while, I was scared that he would not live long enough to see the return of the Young Things at the beginning of September. In the event, he survived not just for that, but also for the Lad’s birthday in mid-November.
May saw the start of festival celebrations in my garden and house, something I am keen to continue.
In May, I finally gave up the supply teaching (with vast relief) – though, through it, I met another lovely friend, David Greenway (Glastonbury’s esteemed Town Crier).
July was busy and exciting: I was cast as the Vicar in ‘The Amortal’ and Witch 1 in ‘Macbeth’. The filming days were hilarious and huge fun. Many ‘Macbeth’ rehearsals took place in my garden, which was bonding – and, through both ventures, I got to know five more delightful Shadow members.
August also saw the arrival of my first private pupil. I hope to teach more young things in time.
August was full of intense rehearsals and, at the start of September, I travelled up to Heathrow Airport, with Lass’s dad, to pick up our beloved children: Such an emotional day, and so lovely to hear the details of their many adventures.
October saw an intensification of the rehearsals and, sadly, a fracturing of a bond.
November was a very mixed month: ‘Macbeth’ was performed on the 1st and 2nd, and the Variety Evening and film premiere followed on the 17th, Lad’s birthday falling between the two. I was ill for most of the month, and hurt my back on the 27th. The emotional fracture turned into a break – and, although the vast majority of my friendships remain intact, I had to let this one go.
The worst moment in that difficult month, however, came on the evening of the 24th when I had to make the heartbreaking decision to end my beloved dog’s long life.
Now, approaching that important one year, just before the Winter Solstice, mark, I look back at my fears and realise how cribbed and confined by previous events I had become. The anxiety and pain have diminished hugely (though they still pop up when I am under extremes of stress); I have coped with house, garden and finances; I have met some truly wonderful and special people, and now have lots of friends; I have joined a thespian team and tried my hand at Morris Dancing; I have been so lucky with my neighbours (who have been incredibly kind and helpful) and Jumble lasted far longer than I had privately feared.
Old friendships and bonds have stood firm – and I have seen my pals from the Silent Eye, Scotland,Wrington and other places at least once. My increased happiness and fulfillment shows, I think.
A huge thank you to everyone who has helped, supported, befriended and included me this year. I know that I made the right choice coming here – and the generosity of so many people has been a vast part of that.
I’ll be back in the New Year!