Me , my teeshirt and my GPS bring you Night on Earth!

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People keep asking me how I am. It’s an impossible question to answer; although my dad was a huge part of my life, for the past year or so he’s just been so ill. Even if they did dose him up against the NMC’s guidelines with a drug he refused, and he died unready (early or not), his death has stopped his pain. I disagree wholeheartedly with what they did, and I’m angry that they did it, but my sadness is more unplaceable about his actual death.

I hurt, I hurt a lot. My mind slides so easily into a place I find it very hard to be. I stare at some object, some spot on the wall or ceiling, and I’ll stay there for an age. But just as quickly as the sadness comes, it goes.

I feel guilty that for big swathes of time I’m ‘okay’. I feel more or less like myself, in fact, I can be quite happy and bouncy. I can be the person I was before my father died. And for long periods of time I’m okay. Which is, if I’m honest, really very nice for me. Unlike my mother, the other person people ask about.

My mother is still weeping, angry as she can be, hurt that they lied about the drugs, torn between being here… where my dad was… and where she wants to be. I think some time away in Amarvati would help her so much. Just one day there, and I feel so healed. I want to go back, go on a retreat, my dad always wanted to, always left it. I will do it as soon as I’ve finished my degree.

A weekend, or a couple of days, some time to be mindful and peaceful.

At any rate, we went there yesterday, to offer dhana for my father, listened to the sunday talk (‘What’s Important’) and spent some time meditiating (even I managed to meditate…). I found out that the Buddha symbol is a western (Greek, actually) invention. The Buddha, is not a god, as I’m sure you’re aware (indeed, Buddahood is actually a state), simply an enlightened teacher, and when Buddhism first came into being, apparently the symbol used as the centre for meditation was that of empty space or of a footprint. It’s a western gift to the philosophy, the Buddha statue. So there you go, I didn’t know that. Nor did I know that the Stupa; often a place for reflection or meditation, pre-dates the Buddhist philosphy – and is a ‘centre of the universe’. So, a learning experience, and a peaceful day which helped me greatly in so far as it allowed me to marshal my thoughts and bring consideration to bear upon them.

Today, however, has been a bit different.

I got up this morning and showered before heading out wearing my (one of very few, TEK 1608) teeshirt (TEK 1608, Incidentally, is a game for the RiscOS series of computers, not that i own the game or anything.. no, I won it in a competition. It’s rare as fuck, this teeshirt). This is because I had a very limited selection of clean items and was just going (I thought) to pick up the trike I won for my mother on e-bay. I hopped in my mum’s Peugeot, on the basis it’s a hatchback and I’d not have to piss about trying to squeeze a trike onto a mog roofrack.

En-route however, I found 3 abandoned buildings… Ignoring them, and having found the place, I loaded up the car, the Trike looking completely shot. I was actually thinking “oh god, I’m going to have to take it home and strip it completely. It’s going to need all new bearings… oh… urk”. Having piled it in the car, I headed back and stopped at the first place, which shall remain nameless.

I did my first bit of urbexing. Well, more rur-exing. See, there was this… gap… in the fence. And I’ve had a shit preceeding week(s). So, I just thought… well… okay. I’ll go for it. Also it’s in the middle of frickin’ no-where, who’s going to see?

So I squeeeeezed through the gap and wandered round. You’ll see the unartistic quickly squeezed off shots soon. And then I started making my way out through the fence… and then I saw the Land Rover heading rather rapidly across the field. Rather too rapidly. So I shot out from the gap like a whippet, and across the fence by the road, clearing the stream on the other side in one jump and across the road into the Peugeot. I put the key in and…. it wouldn’t start. Like a cliche’d film, I tried it and tried it… the third time it caught and the engine rev’d into life. Slamming down the clutch and checking my mirror I flew off into the wild blue yonder.

Having heard tales of being shot at by farmers… I didn’t want to test the theory that since I wasn’t doing anything or taking anything apart from photo’s he’d not be annoyed.

I discovered something. I’m an adrenaline junkie. My god did it feel good, the fear running through my veins like some illegal narcotic.

Of course, trespass is wrong. But it did *look* abandoned. Uh. Yeah. Okay. Shut up now. And to add insult to injury, I ripped my bloody tee-shirt. Stop saying I deserved it. You’ll like the photos anyway.

‘course, I can’t upload them ’til I get home.


On the way back I didn’t bother with one, it was a difficult to get to one, again in a field, but this time right on the edge of a village. Far too close to people.

The third, a burned out pub (‘The Prince of Wales’) in ‘Challow Station’ (that is apparently the name of the village), was well and truly fenced off, which is a shame because it had some nice photo opportunities. On the other hand I’m not sure if I’d’ve actually done more than stick the camera in and wave it about, it seemed to be verging on collapse from a couple of angles.

Anyway, I got home, Pashley Picador circa 1970 in the boot. Unloaded it and set to. About 2 hours later the bike was declared fit, but in need of a really good clean, paint, lights, tyres, inner tubes and reflectors. Unfortunately, I have none of these things. Unfortunately number two, the tyres are 20″ x 13/8, which is an ‘old’ size, that Halford’s don’t stock. Nor can they tell me how quickly an order would arrive (a range from ‘tomorrow’ to ‘a couple of weeks’ was the best they could do). Apparently, the inner tube (of which I also need three) is also a special order too. Bah.

So I came home and tried ringing all the cycle shops in the locale. Not one of them is open (or at least answering), so my mum might not get them this visit. If not, then I’ll go get them from the nice cycle shop in Brizzy, because I’d far rather support a proper shop than piss about with Halfrauds.

Anyway, whilst I was touring the environs of Newbury and Thatcham I tried out my new and oh-so-shiny GPS. It works, which is the first good thing. The holder works well also. I can make out the voice most of the time (it’s a bit difficult to follow at 60, but you can tell it said something and glance at the next-action indicator). Interestingly, my speedometer is almost mile-per-hour accurate, at least up to 60mph. I’d always presumed it over-read, until Lauren was follwing me and declared I’d done most of the motorway at 90, at which point I started to consider that it under-read, and my car was sickeningly fast for a standard minor. Now I have to come to the conclusion that my car was quite quick for a minor and that Fiat speedo’s overread by some phenominal amount.

Tom-Tom 3 seems to have a few interesting issues, for a while I was driving down a river, and then about 30 feet to the right of the road, that was fun. But for the most part it was really good, quickly recalculating a route as I continuously ignored it (knowing the way I go to Newbury, not the alledged ‘quickest’ route). It clearly favours, very strongly, out of town routes, bypasses and motorways, which I don’t. But for the most part it seemed pretty quick and impressive. Of course, longer journeys are called for with it in tow. It doesn’t, sadly, remember preferances for routes, at least as far as I can see. But ne’r mind. It does what I wanted – and it all fits fairly neatly in the car. I need to faff a bit with the cable layout, but the GPS is handily magnetically backed and seems to sit happily out of site under the dash and work well, which I was a bit worried about. It also charges the iPaq, which given my iPaq has a battery life conveniently measureable in seconds when it’s on.. well, that’s handy too.

In other news, I’ve been listening to Night on Earth – Rialto’s second album. When I first got this album I think I described it as crappy easy listening. I never really listened to it past it’s first hearing; which was dreadfully unfair of me.

It’s certainly unlike their first album which was a good bit of darkness lurking under a modern indie-pop skin; catchy guitar tunes hiding lyrics of death, drug addiction and the destruction of lives. The second album is no-where near as catchy and doesn’t really have any single stand out songs. Also, it’s a bit of a cheat – lots of songs appear to be re-workings or alternate versions of the first album. But it’s actually so much better than I thought. It’s still got Rialto’s patently weird lyrics; but it’s quieter, less jarring. It’s taken a couple of listenings to get used to it, but now I do like it. Glad I didn’t send it back…

I was pondering what to take to Alaska (can you tell I’m still excited?), and wondering if I should drag back one of my mum’s period 1960’s suitcases. Green, expanding, it is. Ancient too. The thing being, I can fill it with my jumpers and teeshirts and the very few decent trousers I’ve got, oh, and all my socks (hah, like they’ll serve any purpose; thin as they are. They’ll probably vapourise mid flight anyway, my socks all seem to disappear when I’m not looking at them). But, there’s sod-all I’ve got that’s really suitable for anything below 0 degrees C, beyond my bike jacket, so I guess…that’s all I’ll need to take… Still, gives me plenty of space for stuff to bring back. Mind you, there’s my work, some of that’s going to have to go out there… Gah. Meh. I wonder what the hand-luggage limit is? And Travel Insurance (well, Health Insurance… I need to sort that out). And my passport. As soon as I get home. Yes.

[pause for dinner]

We’re going back to view the body, my dad has long since left, tonight. We saw it before, my mum utterly distraught by the fact it looks nothing like him. I don’t know why; his face seems to have changed shape, his smile’s not his, the body isn’t right.

But… well, for me, it helped. [I have trouble remembering what I’ve written in my personal journal, which I started recently, and what I’ve written in my online journal / livejournal]. It helped me separate “my father” from “the body”. I feel very strongly that what makes up ‘you’ leaves your body when you die. And every single dead body I’ve manouvered into those plain white bags in hospital has furthered that belief. With my father, it was hard, when he died he still seemed… like my father. But I still believed he’d gone. And to see ‘the body’, last time, it just separated them completely. There was the body, and my father’s gone. Reborn or whatever, but not there.

But my mother… it hurt her so much. And now she wants to go back. I don’t quite know why. Or I do, I do know why, I just really don’t want to. But I’ll take her, and support her, however hard it is. Because she’s devastated. I’m upset, but she’s devastated.

My poor mog is clocking up endless miles… *sigh*.

As if supported by my father’s very existance, since he’s died, the Peugeot’s clutch has (well, okay, I’ve driven it and noticed that the clutch is) nearly worn out; the washing machine’s started to leak (my dad repaired a broken internal pipe a few years back, I think I need to return with tools), one of the outside lights has stopped working and the phone packed up earlier today. My mum’s mobile’s given up, and the chimney’s started dumping ash down into the fireplace in the lounge…

…This house is huge for one person. I worry about my mum being here alone.

My father’s work is everywhere: the kitchen, he built. The windows, he repaired. The shelves, he put up. The floor upstairs he carefully repaired and refixed the floorboards, sanded them and varnished them with countless coats of varish. The kitchen floor, he so carefully painted and repainted to cover the concrete we couldn’t afford to cover.

If his death was peaceful, I think it would be different, but to be put to sleep like some kind of dog, desparately fighting, it’s destroyed any chance of my mother having peace.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at