After spending 9 fairly intense days in Carlisle with a friend – we had been both part of the we-space experiment in June in Findhorn and found ourselves in a very similar energy, as if we could pick up the we-space energy again, more about that in an extra post – well so after that time in Carlisle I wanted to be with myself again for a while and Wales was calling.
Don and I had talked about going to Wales together, which did not happen, but I had started researching places to stay and found a little youtube video about Barmouth and somehow felt a curious attraction to this place. I found an airbnb place online, a small fisherman cottage and booked it for a week. It is set directly against the rock that is towering over Barmouth, placed in a small alleyway only a few minutes walk from the beach. Very cute and furnished and decorated with great care. So inside all is fine and cosy, the internet is working well, I can make tea whenever I want and cook small meals. However, for the first two days here, outside the weather was wild.
Already the trip out here was a bit unsettling. And maybe I actually started my journey in Carlisle a bit unsettled, with some inner nervous anticipation. But then the first leg of the trip was very smooth, a 3-hour train ride to Birmingham where I needed to change trains. While waiting for my next train, I had an interesting chat with a woman in a cafe, she is working as a carer and on the way to a new person she would be looking after for a while. Then I was getting ready for my next leg of the journey, buying some food and water, for what should have been an 3.5 hour direct train ride to the seaside resort Barmouth in Wales. The platform was packed and people seemed uneasy, a train had been cancelled, then my train was also cancelled. There was talk of ‘an incident’, I asked somebody what this meant, it meant that somebody had ended his life by jumping in front of a train. It was hard to take that in, I get why they talk about ‘an incident’ and then I mostly numbed myself maybe like most people around me, just feeling the unease in the background. On the practical level, one option seemed to be to wait for the next train, 2 hours later. Would I have taken more time to feel my inner unsettledness? Instead I followed the advice of the train personnel to take any possible train going my direction because they did not know if any later direct trains where going at all. So I boarded a very full train to the next big town in my direction, a group of police men and women where on the train too. I got off the train and waited with several other people for the next train. A train was announced to drive us the next leg of the journey, but not enough personnel could be found to operate the train. I was thinking of all the train conductors who maybe did not want to drive a train anymore on that day. And I liked the honesty around the announcements. About an hour later a train came and somehow all the people waiting on the platform got on it. This is how I reached Shrewsbury. There a lady at the station told me that there would be a bus instead of train to bring me to my final destination. But the bus driver told me that the bus had a different destination and that maybe there could be a change of bus, but not too sure, so please wait for the later train.
The train came, but shortly after leaving the station made strange noises and slowed down considerably. Again the information management was very good: there was a problem with the engine, they were working on it with experts over the telephone, and we would continue to the next big town and then see what could be done. This train was supposed to be divided at some point – before my final destination – and on top of the question if the train would make the destination at all, I was wondering if I was in the right part of the train, clearly carrying my underlying unsettledness with me all the way. The question of the right part of the train was made redundant when all people in the last two coaches of the train were told to change into the first two coaches. That somehow solved the problem, with 1 hour delay the train was up to speed again. Ạnd I was lucky as they chose to drive the train further up the coast of Wales, including through Barmouth; those who wanted to go south had to get off the train at some point and get on busses for further transport. I actually met a man yesterday on a walk who had been on that train too and needed to get off it to continue his journey by bus.
In total I arrived 3 hours later than planned and found my little temporary home ok and the key for it too.
Really I was fine, just the feeling of unease during the trip. And wondering if I could have been more ‘conscious’ about my ‘uneasyness’. In the workshops I go to we learn to be in contact with what we feel, to be conscious of how we feel when we talk to somebody, when we slowly walking towards one or two people, when we receive information, etc., amazing to become aware of all these things that happen in the body. And in a safe and well held group that sometimes works. But out in a railway station with a lot of people and nervousness around it is not so easy. I was conscious enough to send blessings to the man who died while on the first train after Birmingham and sending more blessings now.
I calmed down after I reached my new little sweet home. But the turmoil continued outside. I had checked the weather forcast before I came, thus I knew that there would be lots of rain and even the strong winds had been forcasted. But the weather was more severe than I had imagined. Storm Cumran was raging in Wales for two days. I went for a walk on Friday to discover my new surroundings, and near the sea I was nearly blown off the pavement, I walked back through the town, bought a pair of wellington boots and then decided to stay dry and warm inside for the rest of the day. Saturday was still wet and very windy. On my morning walk with my new shoes, I saw the doors of some businesses secured with sand bags as a protection from possible flooding. Other places in Wales were hit harder than Barmouth, I think. So also Sunday mostly spent indoors, happy to not be in a tent. On the internet I read that most trains and busses on Friday and Saturady were cancelled due to the severe weather; I would not have reached this place if I had tried to travel a day or two later.
And then yesterday, the calm after the storm. I was out early again in my new wellington boots because I thought I would need to wade through puddles of water. But the walk on the Mawddach Trail was dry, 15 km along an old railway track. More about the walk in my next blog with lots of pictures.
For this post I have chosen a photo with grey rain clouds threatening over the railway bridge across the Mawddach estuary.
Compared to the same view today: