There is a certain thrill when something happens serendipitously. A feeling that you’re on the right path. That you are exactly where you are supposed to be, at exactly the right time. And that now, the universe leaves the rest to you.
“I’ve been a Green Party member for thirty years.” Earl told me. “It started with an anti-road protest. Now the environment minister Owen Patterson wants a new wave of road building.”
“I think I saw a leaflet about that, but it’s not something I noticed on the media.” I said.
“If you want to know what’s going on,” Earl told me, “read the news about the country from outside of it. The bias in our media is all the way through. For England I read Al Jazeera or Russia Today.”
“What kinds of environmental things are you working on in Glastonbury?” I asked.
“Well three years ago I started the Avalon Community Energy Cooperative (ACE). Because basically we’re all being ripped off by the big energy guys. With a co-op the dividends and money stays in the community.”
“Fantastic! I’d love to find out more about that.” I said.
“What do you do for shelter as you walk?” Earl asked me as he finished his drink.
“Well sometimes the groups I visit put me up, or I have a tent.” I replied.
“Well you’re welcome to crash at mine tonight. We’re going to go and do some jamming. You coming?” Roy and Earl started to stand up.
“Thanks! Absolutely, sounds great.” I said nodding. It might seem a little strange for me to go to stay with a man I’d just met fifteen minutes earlier but I was in no doubt that I was not only safe, but with exactly the person I was supposed to meet. Earl’s manner was slightly world weary, kind and utterly relaxed. It took me half a minute to gather all my layers and put my bag back on. Far quicker than the five minutes it used to take at the start of the walk. Now I knew the eccentricities of all my things and the exact order they had to be done in.
We crossed the street to Earl’s upstairs flat. It was full of his paintings, on the walls and in stacks against the furniture. The lounge had sofas, coloured cushions, a painting area and a day bed. There were also lots of healthy looking houseplants which I always think is a good sign.
Earl lives with chronic pain, which means he rarely leaves the house. Roy had been busking in the street below for the last week. Having watched him for days from the window, Earl struggled downstairs and asked him if he wanted to go for a pint and do some jamming. Although the George and Pilgrim is just across the street from Earl’s house, because of the pain of walking there, you wouldn’t normally find him in it.
We sat in the lounge as they played guitar and sang. One very large painting behind Earl was of a river edged with white floating lilies. I joined in loudly with the songs I knew. Snuggling back into my chair, with music, paintings and interesting companions I felt elated at my good fortune.
The next morning I rose at six thirty to go to The Chalice Well for the Beltane celebrations. The Chalice Well is one of the oldest holy wells in Britain. The Tor was surrounded in mist as the light rain came down. I could see the hazy silhouettes of about a dozen hardy folk up the Tor.