Sunday, 12 July 2015

Wetherby Food Festival.

I came, I heard the noise, saw the queues for beers, couldn't purchase the authentic craft beer or cider for consumption at the event, had a couple of sausages-in-a-bun (from an actual Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler) £7 and l was conquered returning to The Muse where the queues were less so and there was no bad renditions of Oasis's greatest hits.

The Gestapo event organiser was giving birth to turkeys because people were opening the produces they had bought at the event; they had not nicely taken their produce home. Sending their minions to present arms, bayonets fixed, to challenge stall holders seemed control freakish.

Charged for entry, overwhelmed by the loudness of the PA and kids rides (a fairground no less) and blinded by the slights - watching a heated exchange between the Gestapo and one of the stall holders: the stall holder wasn't doing a thing wrong in this capitalist fair selling his fayre, but the Gestapo blamed him for forcing people to  open the bottles they had purchased ... This I didn't get.

Next time will the event organiser not charge for entry, increase the vendors of alcoholic drinks and select more interesting food producers, rather than the obvious fast food producers I see at at music festivals, was this heading in the direction of a Music Festival for gluttony.

There are other towns who do Food Festivals better - perhaps observe them in motion?

Two hours later I was racing to overtake the multitude of pushchairs heading back into town. This wasn't for me. Oh well.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Saturday morning.

Such hatred bearing its teeth amongst the towns folk. What is it with these people? It isn't Real, neither is it royal nor is it good; and it is born of frustration. There isn't much left that people haven't got.

Now, after they've writ large all over their empty souls in a tattooed reflection of the inner tumultuousness, there is still nothing beating. The infection is only skin deep and the reflection bouncing back off the image you've formed says 'I am not these things I present to be'. The only thing left to gain, from a position of lack, is those you wish to skin alive: me, others, but mainly yourself.

Is this the voice you would wish the universe to hear you calling for it? Sorry! It will remain wary of an answer until it has no option but reply with a means of our utter destruction.

Bring on the rain, threatening this morning, and let it wash these bitter designer tears down the drain.

What is the meaning of each day or how can it be measured? One after the other regardless of each other. No proof is there that they existed at all. Ready to begin again without pausing or hesitating. It cannot be slowed but lacks rhythm, rhyme and reason.

99.99% the same. Yet this must be my only perception.

The girl opposite me slips into a cheese toastie, crisps and cappuccino at nine am - I perceive her chins and can confirm that diet creates it's own misery as she struggles into her dresses. Anyone can crawl into leggings.

Buses depart for Harrogate and Leeds and suddenly I want away again. This will never change because it is locked in the synchronous movement betwixt the moon and those human tides. Resistance until the formula, script, is finalised.

The functions people perform on Saturday and Sunday are no distraction from those they can't help to carousel Monday to Friday.

As I crawled into my bed last night, after a few disinterested beers at The Muse, the refrains of the music from Wetherby Food Festival enveloped me: Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi and others. Yep this event couldn't really appeal to me. The fumes of anger curling into people hearts through Facebook; oh but I added to this barrage without thinking for a moment (adding dried wood to a fire only makes it burn brighter and with more enthusiasm).

Is Facebook divisive? My sister has been venting her spleen the last few days over a "Yard Sale" on it. Blaming control freaks for her own lack of controlling her 'freak-outs'.

For five seconds Love Cats paws into my consciousness before it's saccharine sweetness turns my stomach; time to leave. Music can become a funeral dirge discordant whenever it is everywhere; measuring out preordained sections of time.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Tourists

Hanging. Suddenly feel yesterday's fill. We were going to catch the 10:19 am into Trier. But we're going to wait until we stop with the hot and cold sweats. This happens just too often. Forgetful of where we are by five pm is not a sensible strategy. Be Sunday.

***

Most of the day was sultry (35°) in the extreme, we ducked into museums, cafés, terraces, ice cream parlours trying to keep cool. Eventually we crossed the Mosel over the Roman Bridge on both sides. Found the Rathaus and I think the architecture of something built by the National Socialists near a school. A route behind the Dom took us to the North Gate and Saint Simeon's Abbey - which was closed. Then I had a sudden attack diarrhoea in the main market square and it seemed a good time to return up to Irsch on the 84 (49 minutes past). As I pack away for another summer it tries to rain. Friday until Sunday is enough for Trier. It is a compact city.

There was very little open today so it was very quiet on the wegs and straßes and I didn't lose the plot.

We've got quite a long time to kill tomorrow between check out and the 10 pm flight so we'll look at a few more Galleries and Museums like two well behaved tourist. Booking the coach tickets online is a huge saving. €24 for 2 persons - we paid €44 for 2 coming from the airport.

Now I am bored of Bratwursts and senf. There is a part of me who wants Bio green stuff for Monday - after the traditional German Frühstück provided excellently by Herr und Frau (Theo and Martha) - I am on raw, green and nutritious.

The rain hangs back, but now there are rumbles of thunder. A change is coming. My European blood has been boiling enough!

I've become a little obnoxious.

Strange day. Begun with a fine breakfast, provided by our Airbnb hosts, and they say I can move next door for the next two nights. Before we go sight seeing I move my things to give Steven his space.

The Roman's were very much in Trier. It was a significant regional capital of the Tetrachy and had a lot of money spent on it in the 4th century by Constantine. It was nearly a frontier city but it was created to have a magnetic charm.

It was a significantly unexpectedly great Roman city and the Kaiserthermen is the largest Roman structure I've every seen - with the exception of Diocletian's Palace in Split (but that's been altered down the years) - and I felt good seeing it. What was York like during the Roman Empire?

Then we drank four glasses (0.2l glasses) of Riesling in the vicinity of the Dom before we went looking for perfume (which kind of got to me) and buying Lacoste polo shirt (which caused me to shout). Then we had two beers before catching the bus back to Irsch.

While waiting for the bus I drank an iced coffee and watched legions of children from different churches troop by (which definitely got to me).

Why can't I stop over evaluating everything, Steven says. I really don't know; it's my (bad) nature.

I need to wonder why things are so ordered everywhere, why we get obsessed by trivial possessions and how parents control the destinies of their offspring (nationalism, religiosity, psychologically) without realising/questioning what they're doing.

Adults always know best ... but adults are always taught by adults who always know best. Children never teach adults to be still children. Why the need to force everyone through a social mould? You might as well put us in the coffin at birth. Are we really so robotic?

In Irsch there was a summer fête so we went there and drank Bitburger Pils - I went and sat in a quiet space (to stop fuming) and Steven watched the three piece band.

It rained for 10 seconds. It was far too hot. It is time to sleep darkly.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Irsch: guten morgen

We arrived at the lodgings - around 15 minutes up the hill, above the City - around three pm. It was getting stupidly warm, but it wouldn't be so sensible just to retire as we're a long time dead. A quick change of clothing, Steven pampers himself a little, I brush my teeth and we catch number 4 bus down through the university complex: getting off at the Bahnhoff to look for Negra Porta.

It took a long time to find the local brewery. Indeed a tourist info lady in the Karl Marx Haus said there wasn't one - though clearly there was as they had a fully functioning website. But it's easy for a micro brewery to go under the radar. I lost my rag because they wouldn't believe me! Am I some "fraud"? Assertively I apologised for the tantrum and off we went down to the river Mosel. And low and behold: the Braü Haüs appears where the website says it would be. And then Steven says "oh you had sent me a photo of this beer garden ..." The ability to now stop, eat a biercurrywurst and pomme-fritz and to have three brews in the heavily dripping sun was a relief indeed. Trierer Petrusbräu on Kalenfels Straße.

After that we hit a Bavarian bar down by the river crossing (I ate a Weißewurst and Develey Original Münchner Weißesurstsenf (süß)) and then head back to area by the Dom. Where I think we both felt the Dom wasn't actually as old as it was trying to appear? But then again Germany was virtually destroyed by 1945. We waited for bus number 84 opposite Constantine's Basilica but hastily didn't know how many stops we had to go. So we left the bus early and had to find our residence next to the Church here in Irsch.

This is Saturday morning and I am sat on the balcony looking up at forests and vineyards with houses dotted up towards the summit considering it time to Frühstück because the sun is already high in the sky and threatening to dull my bald spot yet again. The coffee isn't fresh - it tastes of instant ... Damn you fraulein ... Maybe I am wrong!

There was a gentleman who said this was a very hot summer, so far I reminded him, on the coach. He was 7ft tall and was heading to Luxembourg City. We discussed the economic situation in some depth while Steven fell asleep. I slapped him awake after a few minutes once we had arrived at the Bahnhoff.

Friday, 3 July 2015

A ragged man passing Stansted Airport.

Robots of death. Legions of those descending blindfold into hell. Maybe not blindfolded but blinkered. Those who can only look ahead. Not aside. Their heads are restricted in neck pulling them along the totemic ridged. Glassy eyed these are slaves who never will see until they are at the gates. Even then I think they'll choose to continue into the centre of hell where Satan's waiters and waitresses will pour pure vengeance. This is not it. This is not the answer to that obtuse equation; this was not meant at all.

The complete package: fucking Daily Mail or Telegraph, Hello and OK - our thoughts to be controlled inside a Boeing 747-800  At 38,000 feet nothing exists at all. All memory. All past or future must be seen to be an illusion, but they bring us back with their capitalist pursuant.

Escape lounge, Steven goes off to buy stuff in duty free like a lamb to the stone and half attempts at women crack open Champagne: it is 7:13 am - where is your real brain, reason, wit or do these Doe's gallop to which ever salt lick they are grasping? Flight is delayed. Time is stopped for a little while longer. But in eternity there is no time.

The day began for me at 4am, hanging about in Harlow (very) International Hostel - a place put aside for Russians, Poles, Latvians, Slovakians as they turn every anti-screw in their slave like minds. Just wait for this capitalist screwing up to scream in its awakened breath 'what have I become?'

Steven retreats to "Sony Walkman" mode now that London and the south east has gone away. It seems that our hosts didn't know this flight was scheduled today. I suppose someone forgot to check the final box in the flight spreadsheet at Ryanair HQ so we were an hour and a half late leaving the cattle corral of gate 48. With strength we waited right until the final few intrepid passengers stood into the slow funeral march to the cabin; trying to keep the pressure down from the boiling point the plane was in until we disappeared into the Sun. We've climbed to maximum ceiling and the crew come amongst us with ten thousand things; again - every time they fly they have to go through this evil routine.

A little turbulence as I realise I've seen the air stewardess on a previous flight. Romanian. European melting pot in the skies above Luxembourg.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Maison Saint Pierre Breakfast Blues.

Almost a bad end to a wonderful experience: a hornet landed on my ankle. I didn't know what it was at first. It tickled and I thought it was a big fly. When I tried to shake it off I saw how large it was. It wasn't dislodged when I shook it. It was a little lethargic so it must've been sleeping before I sat near where it was - maybe it's too warm for flying bricks. Now it has left the room, out the window, and I am not damaged. What would the effect have been of the barb in its tail?

Time for breakfast with the Sisters and repetition of the same emphasis over and over. Then I realise that I am being unnecessarily impatient with a woman who hasn't probably left this room, walls, cloister in a decade. And speaking to anyone male, let alone British (by birth), must bring all her forgotten skills from the corridors of her mind: a forgotten room so overgrown with brambles, dog roses and briary. She must've reminded me seven times between 7am and a half that another Sister would be waiting at eight to take me to the Airport. At last I asked her to relax. As I expressed this in actions, closing my eyes in a silent prayer to silence my jumpy mind, she took note in her Roman Catholic book and allowed the remainder of the petit dejourner to be until another Sister (driver) and another Sister (silent as a mouse) came to join us. Then I was reminded that I should return at eight.

Then why did I mention the hornet episode ... Too much fuss. But I brought it on my self. Back to 142 for a shower. I wasn't stung by the hornet!

A third Sister, the one watering the roses and flowers at 6 am, in the wilting weather, brings me out of Rodez to the minute airport and now I wait out of the sun.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The path to the deathless

It must be forever. It has to be eternal. Life can know no death. Death is a force employed by the Ego. Everyday it has to be always. I can't be half way through the door. A threshold is purgatory and I belong only in paradise. It is The Matter and all illusion will vanish once it has been acknowledged totally for the reality it is. Every other way is a means of the Ego to kill me. I never was born only to look for death with such urgency. It's a long road, but it is all inside. It could never be found outside: no distraction from this purpose could help at all. Why do I need the escape? Well I don't. It's another illusion.

But there an answer, yet it is so deep within that it can be so difficult seeing it - through a glass, darkly.

Whenever I do miss this answer it isn't entirely is my fault for I know there are two voices at work. Yet I can never be guilty of anything, I have mis-perceived, in me again.

It is an all or nothing change. I am on the threshold of another reality and I must step out of the shadow of safety.

From tomorrow another sail requires unfurling. This one has been bravely rebuilt in time and for eternity.

How the powerful wind of change, blowing inside my mind, was to be captured had eluded me so far. But it took me 41 years to truly see the route was in the doldrums and could never deliver me to a promised place: perhaps I was looking all along at the rudder when it was only the stars which could guide me home.

Back to England for a day, then a weekend away with an old friend and the final week of NHS and whither after? Nowhere but within to capture the eternal.

Le mercredi est la tranquillité autour du marché.

Away from Saint Pierre (on him was built a way so ridged, brittle and unworthy) Maison; a few clouds and a fresher breeze spell a day with a change in the spirit of the heart. Stepping onto the bus from Bourran to the city centre feels a little erroneous: I can't accept openly not walking anywhere and everywhere. My legs ache therefore I buy a bus ticket.

Surely a Jazz, Blues or Rock festival would become tedious very shortly?

Before Columbus etc what did we eat in Europe? Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, capsicum, etc ... The French are food crazy, but the food is all local and bountiful at this time of the year; celebrate the fruits of the Sun, Earth and Moon - they were in a union last night.

Coche - a sow who has been allowed one litter prior to crrrr. Rodez market square Place de Bourg on a Wednesday. The next square - Place Eugéne Raynaldy - has vestiges of a Roman Forum; the Romans were very much in Gaul.

Local Cerises (black cherries) are piled up next to Gallo and Cantaloupe melons from l'Herault.

In Rodez there is the sweet smell of success: this town is a centre for all the fayre produced in Averyron and, I think, a lot of the stuff made in the Aubrac. Lots of evidence of the agricultural based economy here.

A coffee, maybe two, - café Expresso longue - and then the Musée Fenaille. The market is finished by 12:30 so I will buy some bits for the al fresco goutter.

It is July the 1st and people leave the market heading back with baskets brimming with variegated vegetals, cherished cheese and murdered meats: such a shame that factor.

The museum opens at 10 am. I need a toilet but not a 'whole in the flaw'; only a petite tinkle.

In older times the whole area about here was known as Rouergue.

Once we thought we could put meaning into an object - to give us more identity - and then we were on the road to destruction. Nothing that isn't for a purpose has no value to a society struggling to eat, but it says we with bounty are suddenly lacking something more: an answer to the ancient question: why? The first salesmen and women must've gained a specialist diet - seen as more refined - which was probably harder to maintain over the course of a life?

One of the core delusions from prehistoric times is the value placed on the body once it was no longer breathing. Burial chambers? Why build a house for a dead body ... we can't let go to those we lose. Too much grasping. The objects suddenly had a life beyond the internal and exploded a world where value was only externally represented. And wars began as a jealousy sprang from where a commune had existed prior. Then 'I am' begat 'I think therefore I am' the core error. What happened to 'we are'? Did people stop smiling at the wonder of it all as the became "I, me, mine"; were we always so invisible and divided from each other?

In the beginning was the word and that word was 'I'. Then eventually , in the age of reason, it followed 'think therefore) and now we're in the age of loss of reason (or of no reason) - distressed by the loss of the concepts of 'I', 'I am' and 'I think therefore I am'.

No, this is not it! You have to see the world through your own eyes. It is the only way out of the trap for each and everyone of us to step out of the intense spiritually dead darkness. It's not transitional. It's a fundamental shift in perception. One moment you are like a dog that begs to have it's tummy rubbed. Next there isn't a dog, tummy or rub anymore.

Time for a beer, then a bus back to Saint Pierre(a total coprolite of a person). None of this mountain of things makes any difference. Imagine our saviour expecting us to play along to a crazy waltz everyday? It is not true: all you thought about was sex!

Une bière artisanale - Brasserie d'Olt, Bière blonde (double fermentation) at 7% from Le Grand Café, Place de la Cite. After a gyro porc from the market I am ready for a siesta; it is going to scorch this afternoon.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

To Rodez

The mornings are golden. Early it is perfect walking weather, but by noon, or one pm, it is stifling.

This morning i am heading a little south off the Chemin. So now I wait in Marcillac, a Vin AOP district, for a nine o'clock bus to Rodez. I have a number of irons in the fire of possibility for the next two night's accommodation (three of I am including one night about Bishop's Stortford too). First stop is the Presbyter next to the cathedral in Rodez.

One of my personal dislikes about French manners is their tendency to say "Bon Appetite" when you're eating anything. What a throw away comment Good Appetite/Eating is - surely you can see I have a mouth full of pan, fromage au sauisson sec so surely I have a good appetite or I am eating.

The other minor dislike are the number of conversations where "demain" is used. Everyone seems to only living for tomorrow so here I leave them today to their passionless conversations and catch another bus and it's shite commercial radio station. More blank noise. The French awake to a day to be within it and, again, are without it. What a way to live? Missing the present moment without a possibility of observing what is here now.

Is it possible for radio MCs to ever not sound like fairground ride operators with fricking Bonnie Tyler!

***

A whole dining hall to myself. Some simple salad, chevre and lentils to go with a couple of glasses of Marcillac rouge. The other half will accompany whatever is el fresco on Wednesday. Tomorrow I am having breakfast with the Sisters who live at the end of the college and on Thursday one of them will drop me at the airport: there are no connections, other than taxi, to Rodez Aveyron Airport.

***

An erstwhile break in the heat of the day. It's 20:21 and I just walked up from Bourran where I am staying for the next two nights. €16,50 per night bed and breakfast in the student residence hall - part of the Maison Saint Pierre. Far enough out of the centre of Rodez for there to be a rurality to it. It sits on another hill facing the centre of town and there is a modern bridge connecting that suburb to the old centre. Rodez feels fairly affluent as there are a number of modern parks, squares and "modern" buildings around the historic centre.

Currently I am enveloping a Leffe Blonde - ubiquitous crap that it is in most bars all over France: AB-INbev have you there too the swine.

What little breeze there is isn't bringing a change with it: not a cloud for 360° along the horizon, and you can see a long way to it up here on the Plateau.

But I can't understand why any region producing good wine would sell wine from elsewhere, unless Les Colonnes is a bar tabac pretending to be something of quality: the commercial radio station highlights this ... Who owns all the places to consume around here? Like the UK going out is an utter rip off, but I think the French are so used to it they'll keep over paying for crap wine or beer.

Burger and chips French style from Comptoir au Burger the moon is huge as the sun disappeared west. Burger and chips! Ha.

A certain control has descended on my spending this time: I have tried to stay very frugal. Not once have I sat down for food and only once did I eat fast food. Tomorrow is a full day of rest, hiding from the sun as there is a Spar for groceries and a cave du vin next door ...

***

Another Day.

Mindfulness over a mining town tomorrow. There is a means of skirting around the north of Decazevilles. Tomorrow will be tough and it will be much more important to arrive a Conques without going into the cauldron of woes in Decazevilles.

The hosts at Bio Gîte, who I find a little cold so far for Hippy types - too many instruction "do that" "don't do that", are going to be doing breakfast very early, which is OK with me. Awake for 6am.

Depression is something that overwhelms me at times, usually at what seems an impossible time to be in that mode. I've just begun another Chemin and I need to lift my spirit. The views are divine, there is none of the Cicadas or Grasshoppers, nettles are lining the road sides and I crouched to shit in a toilet which was just a hole in the ground. Oh the road is warming, but it's not mountains. If I look at it it scuttles away into a deep ocean cave, waiting to come out whenever it can, it knows my fragility.

Why did I call these persons Hippies? They're just French and more alive than I am. Time to turn in. I am beaten by the weather. After mome made yogurt - joghurt de maison - young cheese - a kind of cottage cheese - and a pasta dish I am around sleep. Nothing was made without love.

Only minds connect and about now my mind is totally disconnected from the people I have passed since Figeac. Not interested in this. I am off to Rodez to sleep in a bed that doesn't creak every minute, has a thing called mattress and a pillow too. Conques Accueil Pelerin Hospital is a bit shit really considering it holds 96 persons and costs €30 for a basic bed, evening meal and breakfast. It makes me wonder what the catholic church does with all the money?

Conques.

This is impossible. The heat is becoming unbearable, I am inheriting a moody sullen malaise - nothing will fix this. There are two options for tomorrow. Walk or bus. It is finished, back in Conques. Last time it saved me from the savaging of the Aubrac, but this time if feels like corporate pilgrimacy has come to town, this time it saves me from it's own illusion. For each pilgrim there should be a questionnaire to get below their faux pretence - an analysis beyond their skin to find out what dark mysterious secrets are smuggled in that body.

I was here by around 2pm. The Abbey is a focal point from above the gorge and I was looking forward to it, but I am now just underwhelmed. Meh tourists.

***

A brigade of youthful Germans are in the Abbey Sainte Foy; I don't know why? They're planning cards and talking as though they were everyone.

When the war was lost Hitler put boys in uniform, gave them temperamental grenade launchers and watched a future fall: and he blamed them all for his total ineptitude. At that point every single respectful German should've seen his desperation. His madness was bright. Why was his cult so insurmountable? His words were empty promises. The men went off to fight in Russia without the correct equipment and froze, starved or were the living dead. Why were there so many openly willing to put these people to their deaths? Did the Great War leave such a demented person in control of so many countries? Yes it bleeding did: the war that brought in a new world. The old order was completely overwhelmed and the new order were so juvenile still.

***

Three Masses on Sunday in the cathedral - who ever make the wafers and wine has a steady income. I really cannot be bothered with religion and the babble of nonsense. Here comes another meal surrounded in faux solemnity.

And why in god's name is it dix-neuf heures. I seriously get so confused about what time they mean when I am very tired. In French there is very little variability in how what is said. Unless people just repeat the same things over and over again.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Back on the GR 65.

I decided not to be with the other pilgrims for dinner last night. After a some slices of Coeur du Boeuf, half of the saussion sec, some dried figs, bread and most of the bottle of Gaillac I decided the conversation between the volunteers (hosts) and another gentleman were judging far too many persons on the chemin so I went up to bed. Although there are always those who don't get it, and will use Donativo for their family too, any person who had just walked 25 kilometres in 32° deserves a Donativo evening anywhere. There are far too many capitalists who are hungry to use the pilgrim to have a simple, stationary life. The town of Estella in Spain only exists as it was built to service passing pilgrims - it is a fact and it is even a proud heritage found in the history books.

This morning I woke too early. The German man was snoring hard and the sound of drunken Roister Doisters was traveling up to the room from somewhere along the Cele. The occasional mindless drunken annoying shouting was preventing any heavy zeds. Just like mindless adolescents everywhere Saturday night often becomes a wet fingered Sunday as they dig each other.

Time to leave the gîte was around 7:30 am. The prim and proper hosts needed the next eight hours to finger their arseholes with all their ability.

It has got very very warm again. Coming down from Montredon was a long two hours. But by 3 I was at the gîte. Time to wait until it reopens at 4:30 pm. The hosts have left numerous instructions to help one to unwind. They have Leffe Blonde 25cls in the red Smeg - delighted - and I sure my absent hosts won't mind Jorge Ben belting out?

***

Here is a bed. It is time to relax as the Gallic tones drift up, mingling in time with the swallows, from the space the hosts left for guests who arrived prior to the end of Siesta.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

The Americans had a bomber (B36) designed to deliver the bomb to Russia - anywhere without refueling, it was called the Peacemaker - the killers think they're the messengers of God. Deliverance at the end of a gun. The brutal world we're in is truly a mistake.

A friar is a monk of the road: take the sacred space with you. No building is needed.

A couple weakness of purchases: vin blanc Fallacy, coeur du boeuf tomatoes and fromage du Tarn. One pure cow and the other 3 milks - both spectacular. The rip off of the day is possibly the train from Albi via Gaillac. Probably because it's crosses a dreaded frontier. From Tarn I head north into Lot. The weather has definitely lost its edge now which suggests that I should follow the path back along to Conques Abbey de Saint Foy.

Tomorrow I am walking back along the GR 65 to Golinhac as last time I lost the plot on the Aubrac about there and now I consider I walked very little after Figeac. Such a liar I must be! But it must be donativo entirely. Because there is a lovely town here. Figeac feels charming on the Cele River. Yesterday at the Abbey really reset my device - a hard reset.

It's only three nights since Lodève but it feels like many more. France has so many rivers dividing it up and a lot of mountains in the centre from which the water pours: Evian, Volvic, etc are fed from up here. The multiplicity of aquifers really confuses me.

The cheese and the wine is the best in France too. The edges of France are a little too pleasant - and overtaken by the likes of Rothschild, Mouton, etcetera. The core of the hexagon is the mystery of France. I must find the same in Germany - I am not being fair to it with my Gallic generosity. Yet I think there are still those here who would never leave to visit the next river valley. It is a question I could never answer. There is so much to see in one life that to exclude it all is a very strange concept for me!

Last time here I found "Swallows in the Heatwave". The same gesture is true. 2013 and 2015. I've actually sat in this square before. I am a fool - once in a life is entire.

Bon route. There is food later at the Carmel. I brought wine to the affair. But why? It is just to add to the variety!

I might've lost my spoon. A spoon salesman would be useful now! Right here and right now. Spoooons!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Re-creation of ourselves. Breakfast on the sixth day.

To paraphrase Father Murray Bodo ... Embrace that in yourself - your inner violence - look on it, respect it, but ultimately forgive it. Forgive yourself. Be gentle towards the wolf inside; be gentle there. Look at the good in your life and in that of others. Purification occurs within stillness and a state of silence. The potential to forgive myself, as well as others, occurs in an observant manner. It is our potential to open ourselves to vision of the eye of the heart. Let it be.

This is Father Murray Bodo's understanding of one of the teachings of Francis of Assisi. Francis and his father were never reconciled; even though he had such love to give, and so many suggestions to make, his earthly father was beyond him.

***

Another day opens up on the world. It is cloudy, but already it is breaking up. Slept soundly, but had many dreams - surreal dreams - and I blame the fabulous Cantal Jeune, that was passed round last night at the end of Repas, for this trouble. The thoughtless cavalier of me needs to appear this day because there is no bus away from the Abbey until just after noon. But it will be alright. Hitchhiking up to Figeac.

One of the brothers here is from Brecon, Wales. We've both been in prison with different roles - he chaplaincy and I catering. Indeed the three brothers I have met - the hôteliers - have shown me that not all Benedictine Abbeys are as austere as Saint Paul in Wisques. The offices of the day are carried out with precision and I don't believe Christ meant for us to be so mechanical? Nothing is just happening for these men - Andrew from Brecon was in administration prior to joining the order 20 years ago. For some persons clocks are needed to be reminded of their souls.

***

Waited twenty minutes for a chap to stop, pick me up and drop me at the bus station in Castres. And straight after a bus for Albi arrives. We're on route at 8am.

***

It didn't take long to arrive in Albi. Now I am collecting my decisions in a over priced restaurant waiting for a café expresso(€1.80). But the brick-builts in the centre suggest a wealth in an age of clay. Why all the bricks? A market is coming out of the box along one of the rues off the central square. This town has something to do with Toulouse Lautrec. A snack - le Falçou - Rue St. Julien.

All the bricks are because of the deposits from the Tarn river running through here. Since the 11th century the city rapidly developed after the construction of the Pont-Vieux. And this was a dissident Cathar town, but the catholic tyranny stands ever present as the cathedral was built to say fuck you to hell heretics ...

The train leaves the platform just past noon, I will have to change in a town called Gaillac and will arrive in Figeac 1520. First train of this tour. The Tarn had some interesting wines... Not too conceited. I may take one towards the Donativo.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Stigmata.

There was a trade in me just now: tears for hope, before the mythical bullshit stepped in to remind me: don't ever trust those church father's who canonised everyone in the name of their perception of who is worthy of Christ.

Stigmata indeed. It is another stupid legend instead of the acceptance of a man of insight as an insightful man (woman/woman). Francis of Assisi can't just have had a point about simplicity and material destitution (from his privileged (choice) position within the mercantile elite of mediaeval Italy?). Why does everyone with a point to make about the position we've come to, as we again face moral and material dispossession in the 21st Century, become someone who has had 'Miracles' occur round about them? Then the myths get more and more irrational depending on how deified they become them? It's all about saying this person was 'much more than a reasonable human, but was sent by God, Christ, etc. to absolve 'us' of 'our' sins! No they weren't. It's simple: they were demonstrating another way of being a human which didn't revolve about wealth, greed, grasping, wanting, desiring, etc.. I don't know why the Truth has to be undermined by this destructive church?

Can we ever get it back? The pain is universal. There are flying insects behind me, that will die of starvation or exhaustion because they can find no means out of the trap formed by the clear window. No matter how many windows I open many will never succeed in finding their onward path. This Abbey could cause many deaths without conscious thought? Is this an allegorical observation I wonder?

And two mature women talk and talk, in hushed whispers, but they never stop to question why? They're wrecklessness, foreboding, no good, daggers for teeth. They smile artificially and automatically every time I pass, but return to their colluding collisions - beyond them-self there is nothing - Tick Tock - now they cry as a spirit disturbs the warmth of the day - drifting between the Vertical Blinds. Maybe this is a suicide I hear against this window? Can I see you both grasping flick knifes under the tables to take turns of stabbing each other when your backs are turned?

Francis of Assisi looked after lepers so why weren't those wounds a sign he had leprosy?

***

It is 6pm but there is no difference in the the temperature here. As the bell called all to Messe the vines hang limp from the porch which faces the west and flies still battle with the impermeable force. The two mature women are still day talking in conspiratorial whispers. They're like me - they don't go in for cannibalism before dinner time - I guess.

As the rites of Friday afternoon finish in the Abbey the number of guests gather prior to Repas. I have opened the doors and windows and a gentle breeze sometimes drifts through me. It is silent here when the women disappear to 'make-up' themselves ready for 'miam miam'.

Having just left my cell, I find myself returning to its confines. It is cooler (relaxing) and quieter (no chattering) as the group gather to snigger, vocalise and fumer. The first bus away is at 6:50 am from the end of the lane/driveway - maybe not on a Samedi. Must check 'apres manger' so as not to arrive there tomorrow as an Ass.

depart Lodève; Saint Pons le Thomiére, Mazamet et Castres en bus; an earthly ab(be)yss

As my age increases, into the darkness's I am witness, I am less and less interested in anything displayed in the towns I pass through - museum, gallery, castle, shop or bar. Life repeats here this morning as it did for ever. My host forgot I was here because he was on automatic, so he didn't get up for breakfast. He hastily brewed me a coffee cafeteria and comes to the apartment with a tray of breakfast spreads ... He didn't know I had bread: or was he going to return later with it? Any mind ... I couldn't do anything today really, and at eight am a bus carries me onward. It is going to scorch.

Bus Ligne 301 to Clermont-d'Herault and 303 onwards. Someone spoke to me, 'a Quebec, as my body was resolving into a dream (and I think the bus driver saved me money because he said I may use the ticket at least twice again). Time to return to the dream while he returns to his hand in glove.

These are deep yawns I am feeling. Where next? Saint-Pons de Thomiéres.

Of course there is a fascinating eglise in every village, because once these monolithic stone structures were what controlled every thought, action and misdeed. They were probably built by serfs and slaves too! They're always in the same format because that allows us all into a regimented heaven? Some error of our design requires us to replicate over and over; we are batteries. Those who control our Earth also wish to corral our entry to 'their' private domain.

Disappearing along the steep sided valley, where le Taur does flow, I am today to cross over into Tarn from l'Herault. At only €1.60 I scratch the million bumps covering my tête.

Anywhere they can, in France, the French will build their vineyards ... but why is wine considered such a luxury when it is everywhere. We are being sold an illusion as something much more solid much too often for me to take wine officinados seriously (more I have learnt of my folly).

At 10:15 am it is 21°C.

All the industry has gone, many of the houses are boarded up - hotels without doors, glass windows, dilapidated bijoux boutique, piles of traffic heading through the single carriageway in the heat of the day. Articulated trucks heading the only way: towards Béziers; the opposite direction; any direction; a direction; gone. Overweight locals stumbling blindly into the supermarket, as sub human untermensch, pulling their crisps, coca cola and rhum onto the conveyer. The town has died, but no one left. They must've put heavy metals in their water!

Ha Ha Ha you're a shit shutdown town; your blood is so thin that nothing lingers here to feast. At 1150 I catch another bus towards Castres: the sun is belting down again.

The next train to leave for Castres is at 2pm. Le Gare is closed, but the platform, with its shade, is open. The insistent incessant chatter to my left, two mature women à la Les Dawson, leave me wondering why they can't just let the shadow be?

Then a teen with a ghetto blaster attends the stillness; the world is doomed.

Waiting about in stinking, overheating, fly infested stations always puts me in mind of the one bit of Ernest Hemingway I recall (I think it was him) from 6th form: a short piece on photocopied A4.

Things are looking up one of the mature women leaves the scene and I feel the other won't speak again until it is in her defence once the solace Gendarmerie charge her!

Asleep on the bus for half an hour. Now I awaiting a train at Mazamet (alt. 242.04 metres).

It is a purgatory. Connecting with various close towns, via little or no means, other than train, which is on strike, or on bus (which takes forever), but what else should be happening right now?). There is no difference walking or connecting. They're both an unbelievable drain on any mental, physical and monetary resource. The locals are showing signs that they're are not enjoying this heat either? Someone mentions that their is a replacement bus service, from 3pm, to Castres (I only had to go to the other end of the town centre to discover thus fact and now I must head back to the Gare SCNF). Five of us wait out of the sun, in the dust, next to the cacophonous building site. Maybe it is a level below our purgatory, but not quite in the mud at the very bottom?

Patience because by any means is a good means to go and if there was no test you wouldn't recall life's journey at all!

Oh! it is Gratuit Pour Tous ('pour moi?') par Libelllus.

Funnily I think this is the way it was meant to be! The piles of vacant locals on here. What is the meaning of all this. Time for more food. I would decline on a chase longue soon!

***

Walked across Castres to the SNCF Gare to waste a little time. Now I might be insight of rest!

Ta da ... Room 9 at the En Calcut Hilton (Abbey) it is where silence is a golden rule. All the days trials are behind. If the Father let's me stay until Sunday or Monday I will be devout daily. Saint Benoit. Time to study the reason behind the loveliness and tranquility. There just aren't enough places like this left. From Saint Oswald's to here in a couple of weeks. I have goosebumps all over from a joy; I don't think it is the bites!

It just cost €5.60 to catch 6 buses. That can't be right... I think in l'Herault they gave me passage for so little (€1.60) that there must've been compassion pouring toward my much eaten tête.

***

Sleeping heavily reveals the Truth.

Saint Benedict was a naughty boy presenting such strict rules. What money was behind him? Was/is the Roman Church a castration of Christ? He was standing on the Freeway as a means of Toll; the troll was hidden below the bridge but Benoit was stood barring the way. Forgetful of the location of the place of the altar of the Christ. This is a repackaged parable. The meek will inherit the earth. There is so little God, Christ or Holy Spirit inside Roman Catholicism that it surprises me that all the billions haven't seen this Truth? It is complicity of the ancien regime and a state sanctioned religion; yet it still lasts? In the final days it returns with a vengeance because it is a sign of the devil. Strip away all the layers and the heart beats, but it is nearly suffocated. Who are the reptiles! Come out to bask again so I can gobble up your multitude. Do not let one escape the cull. Political, church, secular and business leaders are all part of this myth; but I must ask why?

As the multitude gathers for the Messe I am reminded transubstantiation is literally cannibalism.

What it the attitude that must waste time? Come to the garden for solace away from those who see in the Messe a connection which never was. The last supper is a suggestion of the history of the past. All this religion is a cult of death.

However I find friendship in Philip Joseph, the frère hôtelier, who helps as much as the is able with love in his heart. This man is good. On the morning I will head up to the GR 65 and Figeac.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Etape 5, bent and all that jazz.

Just before nine pm I pack what I can, the line has my washing hanging on it (still damp), but I hardly feel the weather likely to alter much. Brewed a pot of heavy black tea to give me the strength. It's utterly silent here now. Such a relief from the frantic "dub" being played until 4am - someone informed me that 21st is the one time of year when no one requires a licence to play music! Thanks for that moment of clarity Charles de Gaulle! He, or they, thought that one long and hard - why would we actually need more music in such a noisy society?

The bell chimes and at the Accueil I am joined by a couple from Germany. They seem the sensible silent types from Aachen.

***

In the morning it is a time to climb the gorge, before returning to the valley for another gorge. Setting off again. Another 1km before "Le piste". The weather; it is 1pm and it is a killer!

Wherever you cross a road a capitalist with zero interest in you, except to make a ton of cash, waits like Shelob. I trust the flies more because they don't pretend it is just your body they're after. So with a swift shit, blown raspberry and a trickle of sirop de citron vert (€1) I carry on from Arboras, swearing, in the wrong direction! One of these days all maps will correspond!

***

End of day five. I felt the last hill. Total ascent 1200 metres in 32°. The scenery in l'Herault is stunning; I contemplated the taste of the numerous berries, I had passed, as my energy declined. It would be useful to be able to ask someone! Another Gites d'Etape is closed tomorrow ...

***

At the end of such a hard day it feels like "here's Johnny". Can tomorrow deliver me another complexity. There is no Gites d'Etape in the long horizon of Wednesday. Five days and I can barely remember which day of the week it is. I wonder how Jesus felt after 40 days? You have no rationale for time; other than the movement of foot aprês foot. Tonight I found I had no way to pay for the municipal gîtes, or diner, I begged in the Epericure and told the Marie I would pay them €15 once the La Poste is ouvert. She allowed me a tin of sauerkraut, uht and a pain simplicitie.

It was a bowl of finesse. And the bottle of vin became erstwhile. The last 250ml goes into the oldest plastic bottle. Tomorrow I carry 3l. I trust. My eyes feel the heaviness of my heart. Truly the road to Damascus was just a tributary?

Here is the end of another day.

What is my function here?

***

Good morning? Questions mark this morning! If there is no Gîtes in the next Etape how far would I need go to arrive at the next spot?? The TopoGuide® Sentier GR 653 recommends the next town of any merit (Lodève) is only 13 kilometres away over one hill of 500 metres.  Perhaps, after a visit to La Poste, this is the destination for lunch time? My thumb is getting itchy once more! A short walk, a simple meander, would be best but over mountains in 31° this could never be! At 7 am the sky is blue from ear to ear. There is a Cloister and a Buddhist Temple close by.

Café (forte), pan au fromage. Time to kill and time to waste discovering my body is covered in petite bites.

***

I was unable to pay for Gîtes or the food I had begged at the Epercurie - €20 - La Poste is unable to do transactions to withdraw funds. With clouds of guilt I disappeared as fast as I was able up towards the Anc. Priéuré Grandmont (7.5 kms to climb up 500metres). At any moment I expected the Gendarmerie de la Saint Jacques de Compostelle to find me and lock me away. Now I have paid €25 for an apartment on Grand Rue and I will hide here considering my fate!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Argh!

An urgent need for a toilet circling about this village looking for a discretely positioned - phew another house is open just in time. The gates have opened and the demons pour forth without restraint!

And so the road goes on forever. As the sun reached its zenith, at this mid point in the calendar, and I had followed the A9 for as many kilometres as my insanity would allow.

Can I walk anymore from Verdargues into Montpellier? Nine kilometres! Another option presents itself a granddaughter and grandmother in their BoHo ceramics workshop feed me fraise, pommes, etc, then promise to give me a lift to a tram stop so I won't have to walk any further in the extreme heat.

...

Into the ether. Bonkers. Summer Solstice concludes at day break on the 22nd. Then my alarm awaken me again at 6am. Now Magpies battle outside the hostel and this is the last place a pilgrim should be asked to retreat to prior to another 32°. Coffee and flee!

Monday morning and without wasting anymore tiredness on Montpellier (another time and another place) there is a way up into the silent means. The route from Arles to Montpellier is bad. If this is meant to be a structured walking, with reachable sleeps, I don't think anyone from the council GR653 has thought it through?

...

If it was up to me I would relocate the Saint Roch Accueil to the beginning route: through such a large metropolitan area your feet really suffer if you can only follow "rue et place", and then another at the end of the city. A short etape. Is there more Couvent, Monasteries et Maison Religious than the guide accords?

More Donativo and less Gites Chambre d'Hotes. Linking huge cities on a Camino! Why does it feel like another tourist trap? Flies around shit.

...

Tram stop Parc Euromedecine up yonder hill. Only three Kilometres to Grabels. The smell of burnt metal fills the air: circular saw. The speed of smell? The absence of morning smiles: Monday is bluntly corrosive.

...

How is this possible?

...

I am that I am. Here I lie at the end of a very difficult day of sweating, walking up tracks with decomposing bed rock, between cicadas and the bare sun; blue skies from horizon to horizon. But that I am here is enough.

Tram line one from Saint Louis to Parc Euromédecine then walk all the way to Montarnaud, short break at Bel-Air and at the Chambre D'hotes at the end of the bitumen road in Montarnaud. At Crois de Félix I hitched to the end of the Etape. The first person's car reported 31° at 3pm; I will sleep!

The difficulties of finding a bed, in the undulating heat, makes me wonder how I can "interpret" what has no meaning? If I were to lay by the side of the Chemin how long would it take for the rats to bring my body back to the earth? My passage is losing ground in a universe I can't understand. It is time to walk passed the unoriginal Bar/Tabac as if they did not stand heavily on my mind. There is a consequence that can be irradiated. What about this so called 'pilgrimage of Grace' ... Pay it no mind. But mentally used up my life too early?

...

Tomorrow will be very tough. The mountain isn't so high, 500 metre, it might be two, however there is no bakery in the picture postcard village! A thousand nipping flies pounce as the bells chime 8pm.

Is it really possible. Three days of hills? Hmm.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Angular motion.

Cats calling, bin men operative and municipal strimmers timed my sleep to dreams finding a long lost shore.

Annie and I at 6:30 upon the day, breakfast and a Q&A "if a pilgrimage was a ..." A school psychologist she is and it was a nice way to spend an hour.

Second round of ablutions, socks on and ready for grand depart. I will turn left to visit the amphitheatre, town square before over we go. To turn left or right I will decide after the pont du ...

It has come to my attention I need never rush again. The end is not an aim, neither is the start something we can revue, alter. Never has it been how we assign it.

First pilgrim - going to Arles - and I think she was returning from Santiago on the Le -Puy route. So very inspiring. But we are all invisibility.

A rest. My feet become a little weary. A certain tension exists on the back roads - they're still bitumen, tarmac and not once cushioned for a pilgrims tender parts, but there are a million ways to feel pain . Plenty of bicycles going both directions. It is flat, reedy, a slightly saline smell in the air, dykes and canals, Wind from the North keeps the midday heat away. Saw paddy fields, white horses, bamboo, dank mosquito waters. I am approaching Le Petit Rhône - the western edge of the delta. Saliers is the village to rest some moments.

Saint Gilles du Gard Maison de Pelerin €12. Ravioli at Casino Marche €2.20 and Muscat €3.50. Sports Akileine NOX for an ampoule (blister). Stop.

The levels of being writhe in Saint Gilles du Gard! The centre convulses as Bart (Antwerp) and I discuss the inescapable doom brought on by the seismic shock of the modern broken world implanted unresolved in Gard. Is this why the south elects such right wing politicals? There isn't one French person in this 'republic' who the Terror would've kept. The Terror now would be a systematic cull a la National Socialism/Bolshevism because there would be no options. Why is the "village" so destructively North African? Do not disturb. A few glasses of wine back at the h'ebergement. This might be a cell in which to sleep, but it is not the prison that square represents; and at the end of the passion I just packed away and left the turmoil of 10,000 souls.

I've retired just before ten pm, there are now four pelerin where there is space for eight; 2 Swedes (father and son), 1 Belgian and me. They're outside but their existential conversations are singing me to sleep; knowing I am not alone. The pathetic excuse for an etape is over and 1er is an erroneous decamp. This might be because it is away from the tourist trot? Night all.

The Horror! The Horror!

The west is now either middle class possessives, drug dependent or mentally disassociated. The working classes have been 'outsourced' to the far East. In between there lies the religious fanatics for whom there is no solution other than mindless idolatry and they have been shipped in to lie alongside the soulless ex-miners in Bar Tabac.

The longest day, sun beating down, as another North African argument occurred in Vauvert. The 'etape' is closed there so without further 'a-do' sort out my feet - as well as is possible. Another 13 kilometres before another chance at the dice. 21st is Sunday. Solstice.

Now this town has a 'middle class' riot occurring in the cattle auction house (or is this an arena?). An unreal man with shades, highlights, EA tee steps up to the mic and there it is. To walk 30 odd kilometres today into the blue and see middle class D'oc in all its meh: Gallargues. Dance frenetically you pointless representative of the entertainment (cl) ass.

What does Bohemian look like in the modern world? I feel it still exists if only propped up at the end of the bar. Wreathed in cigarette smoke and alcohol vapour, clothed in a whimsical suggestion,  bleary eyed and wet necked in poverty of the state we're in.

Coffee time. A half dozen gentlemen hang about waiting their espresso fix. Spandu Ballet ... The era of short shorts, Platini and Viva Hate? "Exterminate the Brutes!"