365 Days on Tor (part 3)
Part three of the edited journals of feckless 50-something AOR and 2012 enthusiast James Gladwin-Turner. This prog: James doesn’t quite have a heart attack, and chats up a lady.
February 13th 2012
I finally understand what all the bloody fuss is about. I’ve climbed the Tor every day since I arrived, as per my publishing contract, and – to be honest – couldn’t grasp why this large pile of soil was such a big deal. But, as a Glastonbury resident might say – I was not properly attuned to the subtle vibrations of the place. In other words, I was neither turned on, nor tuned in (I’d dropped out long go.) But this morning it all makes sense. I wake up ridiculously early (6.30am) feeling suspiciously optimistic. Light a fag, brew a flask of coffee, sling on the donkey jacket and step out into the darkness. It’s cold, but very still and quiet. I take the usual route: up the hill, along Wick Hollow, right onto Bulwarks lane, then left along the sunken lane, out across the meadow onto Wellhouse Lane, and finally right again onto the path leading up to the Tor. My face and ears burn from the cold and my lungs violently object, wheezing like knackered bellows, but I’m perversely enjoying myself.
At the foot of the Tor I stop and listen. Birds, the distant hum of traffic, my ragged breathing. The sky is completely clear; stars are still out and the moon sits high in the blackness. Then, something strange happens: I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end; I’ve got butterflies in my stomach. What is this new sensation? Excitement, expectation? God, I haven’t experienced either for years. And excited at what? I’m not doing anything, except standing outside on a freezing morning looking at Glastonbury Tor… The Tor… Maybe it is responsible, exerting it’s strange pull; irradiating me with serious vibes.
The steep climb still utterly destroys me, but I’m getting better at it – can almost do it without suffering a minor cardiac arrest. At the top, gulping down air, I collapse against the tower, then do a quick recce of the summit. No-one else here. That’s because no-one’s as stupid as me. The sky begins to lighten over the hills – a faint pink and yellow smudge. Up against the tower to keep out of the wind, I sit and pour a cup of coffee, and then calmly watch the dawn. The view from here is magnificent as the winter sun rises; I feel like a Zen Buddhist looking out over the Himalayas.
An old boy with his equally old dogs has just arrived. I see him most days. We chat briefly about the weather. A few more folks turn up – runners mainly. I scorn them for their fitness obsession. What about your mind, man? That needs exercising too – chill out, take in the view; open your third eye. Jimmy Page didn’t run to the top, have a squeeze of Lucozade, then run back down again did he? No, he hung out up here all day, soaking up the positivity. Probably.
More visitors. Dog walkers, couple of Goddess worshipers – women, obviously. One of them stands at the edge of the summit, doing some kind of yogic stretching. Nice arse. She turns. I know her. It’s Queen Ligeia, or whatever the hell her name is. In seconds I’ve scrambled to my feet and casually walked closer to stand alongside. I say hello. She looks at me blankly. I remind her of the pub on NYE.
‘The new boy!’ she says, smiling. I ask about the party but she doesn’t give much away. She wants to know more about me, albeit in that ‘I’m not really interested, just making conversation’ sort-of-way. ‘Do you come up here every morning to celebrate the new dawn?’
I nod casually. ‘Yep. Every morning. Well, not every morning as such, but I come up here without fail. To… Er… Open my eyes and look at the day, see things in a different way.’ Fucking hell, I think I’ve just quoted a Fleetwood Mac lyric at her.
She nods, oblivious. Wants to know what I’m doing in Glastonbury. I tell her I’m writing a book about the 2012 phenomenon.
It’s like I’ve turned into Brad Pitt.
‘That’s fascinating’ she says. ‘I truly believe this year will mark a major transformation in humankind’s understanding of its destiny, and its place in the universe.’
‘I completely agree’ I say. ‘And luckily I like it here.’
She nods. ‘It is a very special place.’ Then she proceeds to tell me all about the Tor – how it was once called Ynys Witrin, the site of a Druidic college, or the entrance to Anwnn, the realm of Faerie; how two natural springs – one red and one white, male and female – flow from beneath the hill, and how some believe it to be the resting place of the Holy Grail; and how others regard it as Avalon – the Fortunate Isle of Arthurian lore, or simply a focal point for powerful energies.
I nod sagely. She really does have fantastic knockers. Time to stop mucking about and move things up a level. ‘Look,’ I say. ‘I’m still finding my feet in the town. It’s tricky fitting in, making contacts, talking to the right people, but I want to meet as many folks as possible, understand all the angles, you know?’
While I’m in full flow, two men walk up, one tall and carrying a staff, the other shorter and wearing a wide-brimmed hat with feathers in it. Ligeia introduces these sullen Germans as Lars and Bruno. I vaguely acknowledge them, hoping she isn’t banging either one. Finally they wander off.
‘So perhaps you could help me out?’ I continue. ‘I’ve got a cottage up in… Booveton. Why don’t you come round tomorrow for dinner? No strings. Only if you’re free, of course.’
I look at my watch. Tomorrow is February 14th. Valentine’s Day. This is a real long shot.
‘I’d love to’ she says. Not so much as a flicker of doubt.