I kept walking straight at the bullock, annoyed at how hard my heart was beating.
“Cuuuuuming throooo. Cuuuuuming throooo.” I said again.
At the last second, the bullock jumped to the side and ran away to the back of the group. Then the second one started to approach but lost it’s nerve before going very far and moved to the side. The other bullocks moved out of the way as I came through and formed an escort surrounding me. The first one was the only one to stay in front on me. It kept running in front of me then turning to try and face me down, each time moving to the side and running away. By now it was seeming more like a very large playful puppy. One that would easily break my foot if I let it step too close.
I made it to the stile, closely surrounded by the bullocks and swung up on to it with relief, looking down at them. If I hadn’t been so frightened that would have been quite a fun game.
“Good luck boys.” I said in parting, wondering which their fate would be. I imagined them patting each other on the side and congratulating themselves on their bravery. That persistent little bugger would certainly have won himself some kudos in the herd.
“And did you see was Barry did? Charging the big beast like that?! Wow. He’s gonna be the BULL.”
I had to get to Bristol that night, in order to catch a train to the Global Power Shift gathering in London the following day, so I pushed on past Chew lakes that I’d seen from the hill. But as the afternoon wore on I knew I wouldn’t make it before dark.
It was part of the message of the journey for me to walk, to experience the reality. To recognise that walking is a normal and viable way to travel long distances. That we needn’t be frightened of a future with less fossil fuels. But I didn’t want to hurt myself for that message. The idea was mine and the person I must answer to was my own conscience.
There were no buses so I began to try and hitch. I headed away from the pleasant lanes and walked along the nerve jarringly busy ones with my thumb out. After a couple of hours I managed to get a lift into Bristol. I would arrive just in time to meet my friend at the pub.
Riding in the car was fast and disconcerting, but getting out and walking through the city was much more unnerving. There was an assault of words and colours that I wouldn’t normally see. Caution CCTV Exit keep clear Goods yard Push button No skateboarding Warning Your key to happy. Letter and numbers were on all the lamposts and I couldn’t seem to stop reading everything. I had never noticed before that there were so many words everywhere. I must normally filter and block it all out. Adverts were everywhere stopping me from thinking. I said I would observe and thats what I would do. But it was too much.
So many people. I keep catching peoples eyes, some look so grateful. To let Cyclists dismount Emergency vehicles only Have you paid? Fire assembly point Booking offices No Smoking. Word pollution. Cognitive white noise. No vehicles beyond this point Keep left. I doubt I’ll own a car again, I’m not likely to go to the right but then none of those politics mean anything without a planet.
With relief I find the pub and order a lemonade just as my friend arrives. To see a friend, a familiar face is just what I need. Someone I know.