Forever Free and best made plans…

Well, after all that talk of creating a not-so-fringe ‘forever free’ festival alongside the staged fringe fest’ at the Bilderberg meeting this year, I’m afraid Prajna and I didn’t even make it as far as the Watford Gap Services. In fact we’ve not even had a chance to find out how it all went… not one iota of gossip from the whole event have we heard!

Sadly my dad’s health is spiralling downwards. He’s spending more time in hospital than out of it these days. So we decided to stay in Cumbria, to be as close as possible and to give what support we can to my dad and his wife. Naturally, it’s a very difficult and traumatic time for them both, not helped by the fact that the hospital is an hours drive up the M6 from where they actually live, and the fact that Marge, Dads wife, doesn’t drive.

Coincidentally, we arrived in Appleby on the evening before the annual horse fair officially began, meaning that the only place for us to park-up was on the fair site itself (all roadside lay-bys being either taken or marked with ‘no stopping’ signs, and the whole place being rife with cops). And so there we stayed, in the heart of the largest Gypsy gathering in the world, parked up alongside a really wonderful family who insisted, when they left, that we stay in touch and send regular texts letting them know where we are and how we’re doing. They also told us about an area of common land just a few miles down the road from Appleby, a place called Nateby, near Kirby Steven, where we could stay without hassle or expense.

In fact we met so many wonderful people while we were there(!), including a man called Tom who was already switched on to all the Freeman stuff and who we dubbed ‘horse whisperer’ after he told all about his life-long connection with horses and respect and regard for the ways in which horses communicate. Amongst other things he told us of the ways a horse will communicate friendliness, knowledge which would stand us in good sted before too long!

We stayed in Appleby on the fair site and helped with the clean-up once the fair was over, litter-picking the tons of rubbish that had been left behind to our hearts content. And I have to say, it was an absolute joy to clean the place up and restore it to it’s former green glory! We were told that we needed to be off the site on the Thursday, as the gates would be locked, but that we could pull onto the the ground just outside the gates. So that’s what we did, meaning that we had access to fresh water via the taps installed for the fair and could continue our litter-picking, gathering up the last of the rubbish that had been missed in the main clean-up.

After a few days, and once my dad was out of hospital, we decided to head to Nateby, yet another area of outstanding natural beauty (not my favourite phrase in the world since, in its capitalised form at least, it’s being used to impose Agenda 21 restrictions in the name of ‘conservation’, which basically means anything a given Council decides it means, regardless of merit or argument) but really, there are no other words to describe the place! High fells and Moors, spotted with woodland, hundreds of sheep and… wild horses! Incredibly friendly (I say this because they ventured so close to our van and, whist spooked by sudden movement, not spooked by our presence) and gentle (positively loving toward each other) wild horses. So Prajna and I got to practice our horse whispering skills.

Tom had told us that when a horse ‘chews’ (for want of a better word) and licks it’s lips it’s an indication that it’s not a threat, and when it points it’s ears one forward and one backward, it’s an indication that you can move closer into its circle. I’d noticed that they also tend to bow their heads toward one another in a friendly manner, and I’d heard some time in the past that it’s always best to approach a horse from the side, rather than face on, which they perceive as threatening. And so, armed with apples and carrots, we ventured forth (I mean sideways!), chewing our lips and bowing our our heads. They didn’t exactly eat from our hands, but they did enjoy the food we tossed on the ground for them. As the rain came, so we went back into the van and opened a window wide, where we continued our horse whispering and it wasn’t long before two stallions, a mare and her foal were sheltering along side the van, one even warming it’s behind on the heater vent (I’m convinced that’s what it was doing!).

Hopefully one day we will go horse-drawn… but only if the horses are happy to draw us! 😉

The following day Prajna’s parents, along with his Uncle Murray, all the way from New Zealand, and his brother and sister-in-law, who live in Yorkshire, were due to visit a friend’s farm in the Yorkshire Dales on the last leg of a tour of Europe, so we packed up and came to meet them. – Sadly as soon as we got a signal to our phone, there was a message from my dad saying he’s back in hospital again with yet another infection! We spent the afternoon with Prajna’s family and were treated to a tour of this amazing farm which is being managed in a way so as to encourage the butterfly population… with meadows of wild flowers so beautiful it makes the heart sing! Last time Prajna was here he made a website for the place which includes some amazing photographs… check it out – ) Unfortunately Tom, who owns the farm, is going off tomorrow so our visit will be a short one, though we’ll be back later in the summer to help with some drystone walling. 🙂

I was up early this morning and went for a long walk and just soaked the place in whilst Prajna slept. And oh, what food for the soul is to be found around these hills! – Really, if you’ve never been to the Yorkshire Dales put it on your ‘must do before I die’ list. I promise you wont be sorry!

And so that’s it to date… We’ll be heading off to Ilkley Moor later today and may or may not have access to the internet once we’re there. You will know soon enough if we do…

We need to stay in Ilkley while we order a new water pump for the caravan and a new phone for interneting, so we can have them delivered to Prajna’s brother’s address. I only hope we have a phone signal so we can stay in touch with my dad and his wife.

At the end of the month my sister and the whole family (brother-in-law and three most beloved nieces) will be arriving from Australia… and oh, I can’t wait to see them!!! I’m not sure where they’ll be staying while they’re here, but I am sure that wherever it is we’ll be right there… somewhere!

In the meantime remember, the road to freedom is free, the road to peace is peaceful, the road to joy is joyful…

With love and gratitude for all the adventures,
Kali and Prajna. xxx