Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homeward bound and trip review....Phew!

Crikey Dick,
Wow this is the last Blog in this series after 6 months travels.
A lot of Bridge has gone under the Water! But let's finish off Scotland and heading down to Heathrow etc.
Here are a few night shots of Edinburgh, a beautiful city anytime of day, though the Royal Mile does have its rougher side (late nights Fri and Sat can be wild west-ish)
Advice from Ian the local with all the gen on where to go for a weekends walking in the hills and lovely Borders scenery took me back to the Melrose area, where I walked up the Eildon Hill and next day drove through a lovely back road taking in a couple of the reservoirs for Edinburgh.
These sheep were such an unusual colour, they could have only just  been dyed, not sure why and other flocks in the area were the same, maybe to find them in the snow which I understand is plentiful in the UK at the moment.
Just love the stone walls, must be backbreaking and take ages to build.
Megget Reservoir feeds Edinburgh
This is the only area of Britain where I saw circular stone walls which are sheep yards.
Walking along the roadside these beautiful ferns caught my eye.

With only one more weekend I choose to go down back into England and go to the Holy Isle...Lindisfarne.

Lindisfarne is only accessable at low tide by a causeway and this was the way the monks also accessed it back in 640 AD and has also been visited by Vikings.
It certainly is a stunning place, windswept with commanding views.
These traditional sheds are built along the lines of upturned wooden boat hulls.
These stone carvings in the graveyard of the church with Celtic patterns also in my opinion had similar patterns to Maori or even Japanese, which just goes to show there inspiration is from the same source - nature.
One of my fellow woofers who came down for the trip was a geo cacher, so we tracked down several of these hidden little caches. Since these GPS devices have come on the market, there are literally thousands of them hidden around the world and finding them has become an interesting hobby.
We also called onto Berwick on Tweed, Eyemouth and St Abbs.

The latest in tombstone etching, I wonder what I'll get put on mine.

This is St Abbs, with a roaring sea and a biting wind we headed back to Eyemouth to sample another Italian icecream shop. It was good but still no match for childhood memories and tastes.

It was getting rather cold in Scotland now and living in a caravan with a 2 bar heater was lo\sing its charms and anyway New Zealand was calling.

The morning of the off, I biked the 4 km to Traipran Law which is a commanding little hill overlooking East Linton and walked up. There used to be a settlement of people up here in Roman times and has quite a bit of folklore to it. I can understand why.

The green structure (which in a previous life was a mobile breast screening xray unit) is the kitchen/canteen with my abode just in front.
Here we are at Dunbar Station heading for York and the bike's new home!
York was having an arty time projecting light shows, this is actually on  the outside ofYork Minster, very impressive.

I headed down to London on the Megabus which was a bus and train journey changing in the Midlands at this amazing station. I was struck by the view, knowing where I would be in a couple of days, back in rural Nelson.
So now to the trip review:

I had high expectations for this trip. Iit was to be my first foray into busking from a bicycle, to meet the real people along the sides of the roads and little towns in UK, Ireland and Europe.This was my vibe as I left NZ.

This was the reality after only 4days biking.
This trip turned out to be my toughest time travelling or otherwise, not having broken any bones before or been seriously injured, and my spirit took a massive hit. I am incredibly grateful to Ken and Angela for putting me up for so long, allowing me to heal and get back on the road.

Now reflecting upon my trip. I was ill prepared for cycling in UK conditions, ill prepared for finding busking locations and out of touch with the reality of biking and having enough energy to also busk. Once I was finally given permission to ride again 8 weeks after the operation, I had lost a lot of my fitness and desire to do what I came to the UK to do.

I did not get to Ireland or Europe.

On the plus side Christine and I had a great time getting around England and Scotland. I met lots of interesting people (in hospitals mainly) and found many spots we would like to return to, perhaps on another trip.

Would I do it all again? No bloody way. I've learnt a lot and would do it all very differently, though I'm still figuring out if I'm up to it.

My arrival in New Zealand was not without some drama. I had intended to open my saxophone case and play "Po Kare Kare Ana" once on NZ soil, however this was all curtailed when Customs asked for my ongoing ticket. I had left NZ on my British passport and didn't get it stamped upon leaving NZ, and therefore had to be given a one month visitor's visa.

Warm weather greeted me back in Nelson, but after only one week at home, I was involved in this three car crash (we were in the middle).  I have no excuses, it was my fault, luckily no one was seriously injured, though there could have been deaths.

This has been a sobering trip and 2010 was an eventful year. I feel I have created my own luck or lack of it.

At the tender age of 60, I'd better mend my ways or I may not reach 65.

I started this trip with the memory of several friends who died prematurely, and this still happens daily to people we all know. I could have been this year one of those statistics (at least twice), or people very close to me.

I am in no position to give advice to anybody at the moment.

Thank you for following my blog.

Exercise your creativity at every opportunity and above all stay safe.

Merry Christmas




Sally said...

Hi Jimu: it must be great to be home safe and (mostly)sound after your adventure. You had a very ambitious plan for your trip, and managed to make some lemonade out of the lemons you were handed.

I enjoyed your blog entries, the photos, ironic comments, humor,and seeing the range of places you visited. And especially your final reflections. I'm inspired for a visit to Britain and now have ideas for destinations.

It must have been frustrating not to have the busking opportunities you hoped for, and the connections with other buskers. But, hey, you got to know lots of health care professionals!

Enjoy being at home for the beautiful NZ summer, with the garden and animals around you. We have such nice memories of our visit with you last Feb.

Keep playing your horn! I'm working toward a performance of Beethoven's 9th on New Year's Day -lots of work!

And drive carefully!

My best to Christine.

Sally (Sally and Rick, Warm Showers, Feb. 2010)

Jimu said...

Thanks Sally,
Kind comments, if you need any more info re UK travels just holler.

Best of luck with Beethoven (not solo I presume)

Best wishes to You & Rick and your extended families.
Cheers & Ciao

Anonymous said...

Hi Jimu,
What a year! Sometimes life does try to pull the rug out from grand plans doesn't it. But survive you did, and as your friend Sally said, 'made lemonade' out of the deal you were dealt.
In my experience, the UK offers much of this! but the world over also, and we're so so lucky to be taking the time to reflect and even write, as you said.
I am glad Christine came to visit and you continued to squeeze and insist on making all you can from our sometimes gloomy, damp isles and see the beauty in everything :) It was lovely to meet you here and i'm sure you inspired many other people along the way to dream big and loud. Keep safe and I hope that while 2011 treats you finer, it can surely only match in giving rich material for your deeper self.
Maybe see you in NZ sometime, I would be sure to recognise you if I caught you busking anywhere globally :)
Best wishes for 2011,
Amy (grapevine, brighton)

Anonymous said...

Ta Amy,

Warm wishes to the Grapevine and it's very long wi-fi password.

If you get to NZ look us up!

Cheers & Ciao