Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thank You for the Music...

Thanks to the genius of one Meaghan Holden I was able to treat my family to some brilliant tunes designed to remind me of Melbourne and cheer me along my travels – Thank you mate!!

So I believe I’ve mentioned my 26yrs-separated parents previously… well here’s an odd one for you: On Saturday afternoon we all took a trip down to Cornwall for the night (the ‘leg’ of England, famous for Cornish Pasties, clotted cream and smugglers of the non-budgie variety in days of old) with the aim of undertaking a long walk across the Cornish countryside on Sunday. When I say ‘all’ I am referring to my mum, my dad, my step mum, my step dad, my brother, me and three dogs (Buddy, Talisker and Indy) that may seem like an odd start to those who don’t know my family. Listen further... For accommodation we stayed at my grandparent’s place… It’s nearly five years since either of them was alive… The flat is part of an aged care facility and is completely unfurnished. So effectively all four of my parents, my brother, me and three dogs camped on the floor of an aged care home for the night. Good times for the gang!

I got to test run my new sleeping bag and the lovely walking sticks I was gifted (thanks Floss ;)) all of which worked a treat. I totally out-nerded my family and slightly horrified my brother by wearing my lycra running gear for the walk – a sight my work colleagues are sadly very used to (because I exercise after work a lot, not because I wear lycra at my desk), but one my family was previously unfamiliar with… I believe my brother exclaimed “Oh my god, I don’t want to have to look at my sister’s arse in lycra”… I helpfully pointed out that a) he shouldn’t be looking and b) it’s not my fault I’m so booty-licious. I take his silence as a victory.

So we set off on the All Saints Way, leg 2 (my four parents had done the first leg a while back… Just the four of them… this kind of weird shit happens all the time in my family). Starting in Lanivet and ending in Lanlivery – those aren’t the weirdest names for Cornish villages I think we passed a sign for Bodderdick at one stage, also not the weirdest.
Another unusually stunning day in England as we rose and fell with the landscape. Up tiny tracks, over ancient stone stiles and through kissing gates (no kissing). We passed farms, walked through fields, saw cows, geese, rabbits, horses and pheasants. We were guided by the occasional stone cross, placed by the original pilgrims on the trail centuries before (note I’m skimming over detail… I didn’t listen to the story too hard) and supported by a series of wooden posts with the cross symbol to indicate the All Saints Way.

In classic Oliver style my dad, my brother and I failed to resist the urge to make bizarre and loud noises as we passed under a motorway bridge. My brother does an astounding impression of a didgeridoo, just for your information. Possibly the result of being born in Australia, or a freak throat development, we’ve never been entirely sure. Anyhoo, it sounded completely awesome under that bridge.

Three hours later we ended up at a gorgeous little pub in Lanlivery where we had well-earned roast dinners (Yorkshire puddings!!!) and pints and the dogs collapsed.

In my personal tradition of over-sharing I’d like to share something with you… I was recently lead through a visualization exercise by my therapist (there’s the overshare) in which I had to picture a scene in nature. The upshot of the visualization was that every element in my image was relevant to something in my life. In the scene, among lots of other things, I pictured there was a single huge tree in a big field. I lay in the grass some distance from the tree, but it was a significant element in that image. For me that tree is my family. It stands clear and strong in my world. It’s a complex structure, but it is what grounds me. We’re connected by the ground beneath us. Today was one of those days where I felt myself slide easily into the rhythm of this family that forms my foundation. It might be complicated (and this has only described part of it), but it is without a doubt the most important tree in my world. Thanks Oliver/Barbieri/Williams troop. I had a lovely day.

Loads of love
Lo xxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The colours of my mum's garden

My stepdad's stock phrase for my first day was "we mustn't get used to this", not in reference to the glory of my presence and an accompanying sense of doom at my eventual departure, but in reference to the fact that England had ripped out a series of uncharacteristically sun-drenched days. It would have been all too easy to imagine that this might be the nation's new natural state... It's not - today we have returned to grey and distinctly damp. Panic over.

I'm halfway through my first week here, and just coming round, I think. Nine months seems both long and short in an odd way. I arrived at 5.40am on Saturday and came through the arrivals gates to a vision of modern parenting - both my mum and my dad (26yrs divorced, but still great mates) waving frantically with one hand and filming/photographing my arrival on their respective phones with the other. Hilarious given they both subsequently confessed they have no idea how to send or upload said photos once taken.

It was a relatively quick drive back to my mum's place in Somerset in England's South West. This is proper countryside, people. You'll note the photograph from my previous post... I may have missed the Pig Races on Friday night (I can only hope they hold them more than once while I'm here), but I found in the paper a couple of intriguing events on Sundays: Meat Bingo and the even more worrying Fresh Meat Bingo. If anyone can suggest an explanation as to what these might involve, I will bring back my winnings for you should I manage to attend such an event.

It can fly a little close to a very English version of deliverance country round here. The local paper publishes full listings of the outcomes of court sessions including the full name of defendants, their crime and the sentence they received. Name and shame at it's very best. So I'm doing my little bit to shake things up. So far I have walked across muddy fields in an outfit that screams 'out of towner' - large red sunnies and flouro green wellington boots with pink lipstick kisses all over them. And I flustered the Lady at the Minehead WHSmiths by purchasing myself the latest issue of DIVA (lesbian magazine) with the proud headline 'The Sex Issue'... I do believe she blushed. Credit where credit is due - they had the magazine on the shelf. It's a good start.

Anyhoo, so jet lag... a devious companion. I thought that after nearly nine years of making this journey at least once every 18months I might have the whole sleep pattern and strategies for dealing with it sorted out. And it was looking good for the first two nights; pushing through to stay awake until 9pm and then 10pm. Admittedly there's nothing cool about waking at 5 or 6am if you don't have to work, unless you're about to take a ride in a hot air balloon, but I got the full 8hrs each night and was building up to the sleep in... And then day three turned me into an emotional sack of sleep deprivation, tears and weird hunger patterns. My parents must be thrilled to have me around ;)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

'nuff said

It's just how they roll on a Friday night round here... And to think I missed it by less than 24hrs.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Packing is making me freak out...

Today is mostly brought to you by the letters P for packing, C for chaos and the numbers 1-10 for regulating breathing. This is my bag all packed... and the vomit of rainbow muddle around it is the stuff I still need to get into the already full pack. The stress of culling clothing is making me breath funny. I'm not sure I can manage nine months without my denim skirt. I'm obviously not taking my red cowboy (cowgirl?) boots... isn't that sacrifice enough!

On the upside, Melbourne is turning on the awesome to remind me why this is where I want to come home to at the end of the trip. Not just glorious sunshine (perfect for drying the last minute washing that also needs to make it into the bag), but I have been treated not once, but twice to the sight of a full-costume Gorilla person on Carlisle St seemingly going about his or her (hard to tell) business as if wearing full gorilla costume is in fact completely normal. I love you Melbourne.

OK. Deep breath. I'm going to unpack, cull again, and repack. Only 1 sleep left until take off.

Lots of love
Lozzy xxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, April 4, 2011

Once Upon a Time

This is where it all begins... the journey through my middle-class mind as I undergo a premature mid-life crisis while wandering the world... Pretty standard stuff people. Welcome to Lozzy on Tour!

Things I need to do:
* Finish work... CHECK!
* Pack my apartment up... HALF CHECK!
* Pack my bags... not so much
* Other miscellaneous gubbins (this is a real word - A friend looked it up for me)... Also not so much.

The plan is still relatively vague and the only certainty is that I'm going to the UK... and coming back again. That's the only ticket I've got. I'm planning to spend a month in the UK with family and friends before heading to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. I'll be walking the Camino Frances, starting in Roncesvalles on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and walking the 780kms to Santiago de Compostella. I may do the final stretch to Finisterre on the coast if I haven't had enough by then!

Then from Spain I'm hoping to travel up into France to see my brother Philip. Then back to the UK before heading to Iceland (not sure why, but then why not?!). Then possibly Thailand... or Brazil... or somewhere else... Not sure!

I'll be using this space to whitter about all sorts along the way, show you photos and make observations about the oddities of international travel, so come check in sometimes ;)

Lozzy X