10 Aug 2013

Woke at seven after going to sleep just after eleven.

Deep dreams these nights. Scenarios that last and last. I can’t leave them, even if I want to, and last nights was a continual getting ready to leave a hotel-like place, or maybe a hall of residence. But I was too drunk. Or disorganised. Long time periods would pass and I’d done nothing at all to prepare.

Sitting this morning was uneventful. Some unsettledness was close by, so I moved towards it, yet most of the time all was lost in little thought stories. However, a sense of deepening stillness behind the thinking bubbles. Sat in half lotus some of the time but soon got pins and needles so back to both feet on the ground, one leg slightly in front of the other, so that neither leg weighs on the other.

A simple yoga sequence today after the long review of poses yesterday. Shoulder stand, plough, forward bend. Repeat. Sit quietly. And that’s it. Some nervy sensations back of the neck. The flaw in today’s routine – straight into the shoulder stand with no warm ups. I should know that this isn’t a good idea, especially with my prone to be stiff neck, so suffering all day from very stiff trapezius both sides. 

Then an open day with absolutely no plans. Put together the walk video from yesterday:

A nap before lunch. A shortish walk with C in the afternoon, laughing together at many things. Otherwise, listening to music, and looking at suggestions from this Reddit post: What’s the one song you’d recommend for someone to listen to to get into your music genre? Most interesting for me was the chill wave, underground jazz hip hop and the chillstep. Watched some elephants on the telly. Incredible creatures! To bed early to continue reading the 60s yoga book.

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Weekend Walk 49 – Gander Down to Ovington – Allan King’s Way

The penultimate stage of my King’s Way hike, from where I left off on the Downs, not too far from Cheesefoot Head, down into the Itchen Valley via Tichborne. The church there has 11th Century origins, and at Ovington church there’s a Norman archway. Otherwise, rolling downland, open skies, arable land ready for harvest, curious calves, a gorgeous pub location, lamas, woods, then the bass and slight chaos of the Boomtown Fair at Mattersley Bowl, closing some of the South Downs Way for a week.

9 Aug 2013

Woke at seven, after sleeping at eleven.

A good, satisfying meditation. Soon came the feelings of bliss, and a sense of light. Before long, there was that nagging feeling of looking in the wrong place or of neglecting something, so then I looked in that direction instead of the usual fritting about in thought, and there it was, the raw emotion of fear. So now that got bathed in the light of the mind emptied. What is the point of an empty mind and bliss when there is something left out? No, meditation has to include it all. It’s a total thing, or as total as it can be at any sitting, given that there are blind spots and deeper neglects waiting to be felt, addressed, acknowledged, listened to, unfolded, bathed. And then they are no longer what they were, what I thought they were, once met fully. So, to follow the nagging . It’s there waiting to be followed and soon, on the following of the gritty areas, even more ecstasy arises as the conflict dissolves. There’s the feeling, then the unfolding, bathing, and then passing beyond to newness and change.

Once I felt no more fear, I moved down into the body, as that has to be included too. I got as far as the stiff neck before the hour was up. What’s the good of a clear mind and heart if the body is still riddled? Again, include it all. No short cuts or fooling oneself.

I’m left with a curious longing in my heart. I’m following its lead as I begin today’s yoga.

Stopping in between postures is so important. This is when the energy of the posture can go to work on the system. I stop still for a minute and let everything settle down again , and for whatever has arisen to go where it wants to go. A strange pulsing at the base of the spine, rhythmical and pleasurable. Eyes fluttering. A little daydream. Pause. Then on to the next pose, steady and attentive.

I’m more and more interested in doing what is real and not what other people are concerning themselves a with. Not that what they are doing isn’t real, but my concern with their actions or opinions is immaterial and fading. Not to be self obsessed but our own selves are the important thing, how we are spending our on time an what’s going on within us. It’s easy to spend a lot of time concerned about others. No one needs your concern, even if they crave your attention.

At 11, out for a walk on the South Downs, continuing along the Allan King’s Way, the second to last stage. I parked up on Gander Down, where I got to last time, and hiked over the rolling countryside and down to Tichborne. From there it was a short hop over the A31 and further downhill to Ovington. Old cottages on the lane down to the river and the Bush Inn, in high contrast to lorry drivers shitting in the woods just above. A quick lunch in the shady garden then along the valley a bit on Lovington Lane, and left the King’s Way to head back to the Downs. The normally peaceful countryside now with bass on the breeze. The Boomtown Fair at Mattersley Bowl. After some shade on winding paths through woods, and back over the A31, my route took me into the car park. I had no idea it would. So there I was, hiking into the festival grounds. I explained to the security why I had no wrist band and where I wanted to go. It was like walking alongside some sort of prison. A trench had been dug outside of a high, green fence. A woman sat on guard high on a corner watch tower. Ska music early afternoon. The party one day in. Later, along the South Downs Way again, I met a few walking to the site. They had a ladder for the fence. Join us, they said. I forgot to tell them about the guard tower so I don’t expect they got in. Their van was parked near my car, scribbled graffiti and twitter accounts all over it.

A sleep back at home, then good to lounge about after the walking. Snippets of TV. Tyre walls on Grand Designs. An elephant mourning the loss of its friend. The brother in Little Miss Sunshine not speaking ‘because of Nietzsche’.  Uploaded this from our Swedish holiday last month:

Came back from a night in London with a foot detoxification bath thing. I’ve no idea what it’s about but I stuck my feet in for half an hour. The water stunk! It felt nice around my toes, like bicarb of soda. Even if nothing else happened, my feet felt really clean and light afterwards.

Weekend Walk 48 – Near Owslebury to Gander Down – Allan King’s Way

The fifth stage of my King’s Way hike, from Featherbed Lane near Owslebury, through Bushy Copse and up onto the South Downs at Old Down. An already warm early morning turning to hot by the time I reached Cheesefoot Head. With some shade dotted about, the walk continued around Temple Valley, merging with the South Downs Way. I left the King’s way at Rodfield Lane on Gander Down, to head back south, via some woodlands and Longwood House, with its deep rhododendron plantations. 28 degrees by the time I finished and still only around midday.

Walk: Hen Wood / Westbury Park

Hen Wood lies between West Meon and East Meon, south of Westbury Park, at the northern end of the Meon Valley. It’s one of the larger woods in the area where I live, but is only about two square km. (This shows how broken up the woodlands are in Central Hampshire.) Still, where there isn’t woodland the area is very sparsly populated. I did see one stunning newbuild home at East End, and met one of the owners nearby. I couldn’t tell whether I had right to walk in the woods. I suppose not, but there were none of the usual PRIVATE NO RIGHT OF WAY signs placed near to the footpaths.

I started at Westbury House, a care home, former school and private home. Just behind the house, the footpath leads south, and very soon I was in atmospheric woods, with many well established trees.

Westbury House to Horsedown Farm

Westbury Park Woods

Westbury Park Woods

Old farm machinery near Horsedown Farm:

Old farm machinery

After the old farmhouse, the tracks become wider, at the east of the woods.

Hen Wood

Each tree has its own character:

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Near Halnaker Lane, some views across the Meon Valley to the north to Riplington and Drayton:

Meon Valley North

And at the south side of the wood, some views to the South Downs, specifically Salt Hill and Teglease Down:

Salt Hill South Downs

South Downs

Teglease Down

Walking quickly past a clay pigeon shooting area, I headed north east, downhill toward Coombe Lane:

Hen Wood Hampshire

Hen Wood Meon Valley

Views from the lane:

From Coombe Lane

From Coombe Lane

Reentering the woods at Chappetts Copse Nature Reserve, I peaked into Westbury Park, and watched the crop waves in the wind:

Westbury Park Hampshire

The reserve:

Chappetts Copse Nature Reserve

At its northern end, the lane crosses the Meon. I really like this early 20th Century type of white road barrier:

Coombe Lane Meon Bridge

Then into a field of calves with their mothers. Even the cows were curious and they all followed me across the field:

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I stopped at a delightful spot at the river, under a large tree. Timeless:

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Then I was back in the grounds of the house, looking for the remains of the church. I saw this ruin but it doesn’t look church-like:

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Snooped about the grounds a bit, sort of pretending to be a visitor. Well I was, but not to a guest. The house was rebuilt after a fire in the early 1900s:

Westbury House East Meon

Last view into the park:

Westbury Park East Meon

Journal 3 June 2013

The day is winding down, the sun setting soon. It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.

Dreamt I took out anger by knocking down the outer bricks of a strong wall, blow after blow after blow with the sides of my fists. It didn’t hurt. Not sure anything was different afterwards but it felt good, satisfying. In dreamland.

Got up at 0530 and sat. The mind unsettled, darting here and there. Fizzy. Like it’s over stimulated from yesterday’s event. Very soon, right wrist shaking, then intense shaking of head and the torso twisting left and right, faster faster to some kind of climax, then slowed right down. By the end of 45 mins, the mind was much quieter. Some fatigue by the end of it and I laid down a while, feeling the tired areas where the refreshment of sleep hadn’t touched.

Listened to a bit of music while getting ready for work, including the postman in the sand song, here turned into a surf video:

At work, the reorganisation of the vault continued, with the help of an ex student who was volunteering in the foundation this morning.

Lunch in the sun with a staff member who is leaving this summer, another yogi.

Then a walk. Bluebells fading out, their leaves flopped to the earth, superseded by the ancient and mighty ferns. Then when the view opened out, the yellow on yellow of rape in full flower, behind liquorice beech trees.

Why is ‘liquorice’ liquor and ice?

Surprise visit from C who popped in after dropping a birthday gift off for a friend. Some hugs and smiles before post lunch post walk napping.

Talking of smiles, a friend finished her video project. People of 37 countries, young and old, smiling. That’s it. As she puts it:

Everyone can be a small stepping stone towards a place of compassion and kindness

I’m at 4:21, in a bobble hat, palms together. Many friends are in it, including Doug looking outstandingly hippyish at 1:21. With a goat on his lap why not. I smiled throughout. It’s contagious.

Carrying On A Smile from Carrying On A Smile on Vimeo.

My laptop screen says ‘Godammit’ under the big ‘SMILE’ but don’t tell anyone.

In the evening: Iyangar Yoga class with Sandy Bell in Compton. It’s a really good class with about 10 of us, who have been stretching together for some years for the most part. Lots of arm, shoulder, wrist releases today, along with the usual forward bend emphasis, which is my tightest direction but I appreciate it. I touch places deep inside during Iyengar yoga. I call it yoga with no cheating. With alignment everything stretches in the way it should, safely yet extensively, and maybe you don’t get so far in the pose but it’s done right.

The drive on the way back from yoga is always special, totally there with the car, the road, the music. Today with the sun through the trees as I climbed from the Itchen up onto the open downs, taking the racing line through the bends.

There it is, the sun now set and I’m soon into bed.

Weekend Walk 47 – Bishop’s Waltham to Nr. Owslebury (Allan King’s Way)

The fourth stage of my King’s Way walk, from the palace in the south Hampshire town, north-west across the wooded lower downs, into the South Downs National Park. This walk passes Wintershill with its Roman Road, Upham, Blackdown (great views), Baybridge, finishing north-east of Owslebury. Georgeous countryside, very rural, bright spring sunshine and some very curious calves.

Weekend Walk 46 – Hambledon to Bishop’s Waltham – Allan King’s Way

Third stage of the Allan King’s Way.

A spring walk from the village of Hambledon in East Hampshire to Bishop’s Waltham with its Medieval palace, on market day. The path crosses the Meon Valley at Soberton before climbing to the semi-urban areas of Swanmore and Waltham Chase. This walk linked up places I hadn’t thought of as being near each other, intersecting the usual transport and valley routes.

Weekend Walk 44 – Portchester & Portsdown – Allan King’s Way

The first stage of the Allan King’s Way, from Portchester Castle to Nelson’s Monument on Portsdown Hill. I then continued along the hill a way and back to Portchester at sunset. On the way: Portsmouth Harbour, Wicor, Foxbury Point, Cams Bay, Downend, Fort Nelson, DSTL Research Base, Portchester Common, Paulsgrove Lake, then the Roman Fort and castle right on the water’s edge.

One of my favourite walks so far, despite its proximity to urban areas.

South Downs Way – Final Leg – Alfriston to Eastbourne

For the final stage of the 100-mile SDW, I took the Coastal Route from the downland village of Alfriston, through the Cuckmere valley, across the Seven Sisters Country park with its bright white cliffs, via Birling Gap, up to Beachy Head before leaving the downs, descending into Eastbourne and it’s seafront promenade. A thoroughly enjoyable last twelve miles – a classic!

Weekend Walk 39 – Beaulieu to Lymington – The Solent Way

From the Hampshire village of Beaulieu to the town of Lymington, the Solent Way proceeds south then west. At first it follows the bank of the Beaulieu River to Bucklers Hard, where many of Nelson’s fleet was built. Two unique terraces of Georgian houses survive. The path then head inland to St Leonards Grange, Sowley and Walhampton, with its oversized monument. The walk finishes in maritime Lymington, with cobbled streets and historic quay. It was surprising to see the wild (if owned) donkeys of the New Forest right there on the streets of Beaulieu. While much of this stage is on tarmac, the lanes were quiet even on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Weekend Walk 38 – Hythe to Beaulieu – Solent Way

Continuing east-west along the Solent Way, from the ferry at Hythe to the Hampshire village of Beaulieu. This is an inland stage once leaving Southampton Water, entering into the New Forest through Fawley Inclosure, Beaulieu Heath, to Hilltop, then down into the village itself on the banks of the River Beaulieu where I was sort of attacked by a goose. Disappointingly, most of the walk is along roadsides, or very near the road. I’d really like to see an alternative route for the Solent Way to the East of Beaulieu.

Apologies for the dirty image. It’s not on the lens but inside the camera.

 

20 Years Ago: Das EFX – They want EFX

First in a new series highlighting music from 20 years ago.

First up, Das EFX with They want EFX from the debut album Dead Serious. Crazy lyrics, bonkers delivery, the funkiest samples. In the sewers. Great!

Bum stiggedy bum stiggedy bum, hon, I got the old pa-rum-pum-pum-pum 
But I can fe-fi-fo-fum, diddly-bum, here I come 
So peter piper, I'm hyper than pinochio's nose 
I'm the supercalafragilistic tic-tac pro 
I gave my oopsy, daisy, now you've got the crazy 
Crazy with the books, googley-goo where's the gravy 
So one two, unbuckle my, um shoe 
Yabba doo, hippity-hoo, crack a brew 
So trick or treat, smell my feet, yup I drippedy-dropped a hit 
So books get on your mark and spark that old censorship 
Drats and double drats, I smiggedy-smacked some whiz kids 
The boogedy-woogedly brooklyn boy's about to get his, dig 
My waist bone's connected to my hip bone 
My hip bone's connected to my thigh bone 
My thigh bone's connected to my knee bone 
My knee bone's connected to my hardy-har-har-har 
The jibbedy-jabber jaw ja-jabbing at your funny bone, um 
Skip the ovaltine, I'd rather have a honeycomb 
Or preferably the sesame, let's spiggedy-spark the blunts, um 
Dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun 

They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
Snap a neck for some live efx 

Well I'll be darned, shiver me timbers, yo head for the hills 
I picked a weeping willow, and a daffodil 
So back up bucko or I'll pulverize mcgruff 
'cause this little piggy gets busy and stuff 
Arrivederci, heavens to mercy, honky tonk I get swift 
I caught a snuffleufagus and smoked a boogaloo spliff 
I got the nooks, the cranies, the nitty gritty fodey-doe 
All aboard, cast away, hey where's my boogaloo? 
Oh I'm steaming, agony 
Why's everybody always picking on me 
They call me puddin' tane, and rap's my game 
You ask me again and I'll t-tell you the same 
'cause I'm the vulgar vegemintarian, so stick 'em up freeze 
So no park sausages, mom, please 
A-blitz shoots the breeze, twiddly-dee shoots his lip 
Crazy dazy shot the sheriff, yup and I shot the gift 
And that's pretty sneaky, sis oh yep 
I got my socks off, my rocks off, my nestle's cup of cocoa 
Holly hobby tried to slob me, tried to rob me silly stunt 
Diggedy-dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun 

They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
Snap a neck for some live efx 

Yahoo, hidee-ho yup I'm coming around the stretch 
So here fido boy, fetch, boy, fetch 
I got the rope-a-dope a slippery choker, look at me get raw 
And I'm the hickory-dickory top of morning boogoloo big jaw 
With the yippedy zippedy winnie the pooh bad boy blue, 
Yo crazy got the gusto, what up, I swing that too 
So nincompoop give a hoot and stomp a troop without a strain 
Like roscoe b. coltrane 
I spiggedy-spark a spiff and give a twist like chubby checker 
I take my froot loops with two scoops, make it double decker 
Oh vince, the baby come to papa duke 
A babaloo, ooh, a babaloo boogedy boo 
I went from gucci to stussy, to fliggedy-flam a groupie 
To zsa zsa, to yibbedy-yabba dabba hoochie koochie 
Tally ho i-i'll take my stove top instead of potatoes, so 
Maybe I'll shoot 'em now, nope maybe I'll shoot 'em later, yep 
I used to have a dog and bingo was his name oh, so uh 
B - I - n - g - o-oh 
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, hon, so uh 
Dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun 

They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
Snap a neck for some live efx

Weekend Walk 36 – Hamble to Southampton – Solent Way

The 5th stage of the Solent way, east to west. Around 6 miles, from the Warsash ferry at Hamble to the Hythe Ferry at Town Quay Southampton. The path leads from Hamble-le-Rice village, south to the common to pick up Southampton Water shoreline, then past Hamble oil terminal to Netley with its ruined Abbey and Victoria Country Park, then to Weston Shore, entering Southampton at Woolston, the aircraft and shipyards long gone, replaced with Centenary Quay. The across the huge expanse of 1977’s Itchen Bridge and through part of Southampton old town, with some walls and fortifications remaining.

The oil terminal at Hamble collects oil piped in from the field at Wareham in Dorset, 50 miles away, averaging 2-3 million gallons per day.

Much of Howard’s Way was filmed in Hamble. I quite like the theme tune:

I’ve walked this area in another video early on in my series of filmed hikes. More on Victoria Park here

Weekend Walk 35 – Lee-on-Solent to Warsash (Solent Way)

Continuing the Solent Way after a break for winter, this is the fourth stage. I started around 10am from Lee-on-Solent, past Hill Head, Titchfield Haven, Meon Shore, Brownwich Cliffs, Chilling Cliffs, Hook, and on to Warsash. From just north of the village, the Solent Way goes via ferry to Hamble, but I stopped today on the eastern shore. On the way I saw dogs (many), jetskis, birds, helicopters, the Isle of Wight, the nature reserve, erodind cliffs, fawley power station, oil refinery, and the village of Warsash.