Penny came back into my life as a ‘friend’. After several months of not seeing her she popped up out of the blue or perhaps it was something to do with setting up a community. We were all into that concept at the time.
I told her I was going on holiday in my bus and she asked if she could come as she could do with a holiday. I agreed and she persuaded me to go to Ireland. She said she would pay half of the ferry fare, she didn’t have much money and really couldn’t afford much else. I didn’t mind because if I was going somewhere anyway I would have been paying the cost of diesel etc anyway.
Penny’s father was Irish so she wanted to see where he came from. I don’t think she knew much about him, probably had never met him for all I know. We set out full of eager anticipation on a holiday that I desperately needed because I had to get out of the work and home environment – which were the same as I lived on site.
I wrote a journal on my portable wordprocessor. What follows is a record of the most disasterous holiday I had ever had. It was great pity because I was so looking forward to seeing Ireland quite thoroughly for what should have been three weeks. I ought to point out that at that time I was in a ‘search’ for something or other as was Penny and meditation and all that ‘stuff’ were very much a part of it.
FRIDAY 11th August.
Between Waterford and Cork, 1 miles from Tramore., after an idyllic sea crossing yesterday from Fishguard to Rosslare ended up on a small campsite. Played music, had a ‘spaced out’ breakfast and kinda meditated.
Insight: Perhaps I do have to maintain some sort of detachment in different relationships, to keep things separate. Mrs Harris (the psychic) did say that I need to keep separate/space. Perhaps Penny has been sent to hasten development. THEY (the spirits) did say I was stuck.
Stopped off at Tramore to change some money. It cost £7 to change £100. Funny sort of seaside town with funfair and amusement arcades, almost like a time slip back to the 50’s and 60’s. Horse racing game where horses move along rails in response to balls down holes, like bagatelle, won twice much to surprise of locals.
Green Teddy was the end result. Moved on to Ballycotton, scene of Marlon Brandon cancelled film rip off. Pretty enough. Parked wild. Windy and rained a little.
SAT. 12th Aug.
Set off for Cork. Arrived mid. morning. Mooched around interesting shopping area. Bought music and Sue’s tee shirt prezzie with the message that they printed especially for me; ‘Don’t talk to me, I’m SOME COW’ with a shamrock underneath. I think she’ll like it. Saw Kevin Costner’s ‘WATERWORLD’, entertaining enough but basically rubbish. Only cost £2!
Moved on to Bantry Bay. Eagle Point camping site on 20 acres must be the best (of the few) that I have been on – mind you it’s almost 20 years ago that I was last on camp sites with caravan and family. Penny obviously wanted to make love but I withdrew from her. I knew it would cause further discussion. Listened to the first of the Ascension tapes, and did some meditation with her help.
SUNDAY 13th Aug.
Spaced out all day at Eagle Point.
MONDAY 14th Aug.
Left Eagle Point to drive round the Beare Ring on the peninsula. Grey day with some occasional drizzle. Stopped for the night on a levelled rocky outcrop with wonderful views of the ocean. More meditation, it’s beginning to work now that I know what to expect. P ‘tuned in’ and thought she saw a young girl having a row with an older woman. Had a funny feeling about the place as it obviously had once had a building on it as the entrance was flanked by well constructed gate posts and a driveway.
TUESDAY 14th Aug.
Did some early meditation and saw a vision of a man holding a young child, a 30’s type van by the gate and a building in flames. If this could be confirmed by locals my belief in the validity of such experiences would be confirmed. With that in mind we went back to the small village and stopped to have a drink. We were told that someone had tried to build a hotel there but had been stopped. P said to me that she didn’t believe it that perhaps that was the ‘official’ story. Not so sure myself. Perhaps we were meant to go there for other reasons.
How about this one: We stopped for a drink at ……….. and Stan from the Manor Inn (Mucky Duck now) at Lydford looked across at me and said, ‘fuck me, it is Ray’. Fancy meeting him there of all the lonely places! It seems he is buying a place near Bantry for £10,000. He has moved over here (three weeks ago) to be near Rachel as Charlotte has moved here with a new boyfriend. ‘kin hell as they might say. This part is very pleasant, almost sub tropical with palm trees. The last time they remember snow was over twenty years ago. Think of the growing in poly tunnels that could be done (Don’t need much soil).
Moved into Co Kerry and went through a very nice town (Kenmare) full of people (fair day) and brightly coloured buildings. Went on to Killarney in a vain search for the stone circle marked on the map. It seems it’s on private land and they don’t want anyone to go there. Didn’t find it anyway. On to Killorglin where we went round in circles for a while. Scruffy town.
As we parked up a young woman saw the anti fox hunting sticker, came back and stuck up an approving thumb, ‘nice poster’ she said. We went in a bar and had a very good glass of Guiness (it’s not always that good) The young woman was there and asked me how to set up a pool table. I duly obliged and discovered that she was called Lizzie and had an intriguing scots accent.
She said that she was filled with tears of joy by the country and the friendliness of the people. She had only been here for a week but she thought she would stay. I just know that if Penny was not with me I could have picked up a travelling companion. Missed opportunity. Rather tasty too. Never mind perhaps next time ( not her but someone else perhaps)
Getting rather frayed aro0und the edges by the driving and P’s obtuseness about Dingle Bay and our destination. Stopped in a crap site overlooking the water.
WEDNESDAY 15th. Aug.
Woke up after an uncomfortable night that started with P accusing me of snoring. For fuck’s sake, I was awake and on my side! She must be plagued by internal snoring noises. Anyway, the front tyre was very flat. Blew it up and decided it was a slow puncture. P, who has now turned into SASP (strange, always sleepy Penny) didn’t want to wake up at 9.00am.
‘We’re on holiday for fuck’s sake’. Yes, and I am too and I don’t want to spend the whole holiday asleep! Leave site without paying (no one asked) and stopped o0ff at the Inch beach, miles long with car parking. Went into sea and typed this on beach.
P is acting strange and withdrawn because she was again being obtuse about Dingle, and Dingle Bay (said she was winding me up, but I’m not so sure) She’s probably thinking that I am acting
just like Steve (her ex) but I don’t suppose she bothered to wonder why.
Maybe her behaviour during eig
hteen years of marriage made him exasperated at times, just like me. We can’t all be angels, can we? UPDATE: Am told that it took her further back than that, back to her childhood. Found a site outside of Dingle, rather gross I suppose.
THURSDAY 17th Aug.
This turns out to be a really Bad Day at Black Rock! Firstly I got up VERY QUIETLY at 7.00 am as I was uncomfortable in bed and I had to have the sort of good fart that can only be done on the bog. Sat in the van as quietly as possible after discovering that the front tyre was flat again,(and the man in the garage said it would last)
POAP (pissed off angel Penny) woke, crossly at 8.30am and accused me of ‘making a lot of noise on purpose’ Boy, did that piss me off, especially as I had crept around like a mouse. I wanted to get off to have the tyre done ASAP because I did not know how long it would hold up and it would be nigh impossible to get out of the field or change wheels.
P wanted to meditate for an hour, and perhaps ‘miracles’ would happen. Frankly, the only miracle is that I did not lose my rag completely. It seems all has to revolve around her feelings, never mind my feelings of anxiousness about the situation. She was in tears. It seems that any replies to her outbursts are totally out of order, God knows I try to be patient but then I’m accused of treating her like a child.
Oh well, some you can’t win and some you lose. The commercial vehicle garage on the edge of town were only able to repair the puncture after the mechanic broke his wheelbrace trying to remove the wheelnuts. Some chance I would have stood. They only charged £5, which was some surprise. P said she wants to go home. Perhaps she ought to.
She has been in a state all day, even after I drove to a nice beach the other side of the headland, mainly so she could relax and ‘get some space’ It seems that I have to tiptoe round her sensibillities all the time and it’s becoming a pain in the arse (literally) The Sananda tapes are avidly listened to but she does not seem to be responding to the messages within them.
This over-the-top spirituality stuff is also becoming a pain in the butt, I thought I was coming on holiday to relax and enjoy myself. It seems to me that it was all a mistake (with P) and maybe other things should have been done instead.
Parked up in the middle of Dingle by the new Marina so that P could get up early to swim with Fungi the dolphin at 8.00am tomorrow. She has decided that she doesn’t want to communicate with me anymore. It seems to me that she is acting very much between a spoilt child and a hypersensitive, self centred stupid bitch.
I told her that I was in a state of ‘survival neutrality’ which means that I communicate, we can get on and function as travelling companions and finish the holiday.
She says that she can’t separate that higher level consciousness, spirituality’ from normal functioning (my words). I say that it is necessary to interact with the normal world in order to survive but you can’t live your life in the state of nirvana unless you are in a monastery or convent.
I haven’t raised my voice or lost my temper, just become irritated and yet she thinks MY behaviour is intolerable because I am not coming from a place of love. I say that how can I do that because right now I am pissed off. I tell her that as human beings we cannot be perfect and that in a community we won’t be perfect, and we would have to work round and accept peoples faults.
She went out in the evening, obviously for entertainment. I went too, had a couple of halves in ‘live music bars’ – and there sure are plenty of them. I thought I saw here a couple of times, and I reacted with anticipation, but there was no sign of her. When I got back she was sitting in the drivers seat, smoking. ‘Did you have a good time’ she asked. ‘Yes’ said I lying through my teeth.
The truth was by now I was hurt. Hurt that she had acted this way, still smarting from the earlier events of the day and I do not thaw out at the drop of a hat, once into the frozen state. It seems to me that this is all very one sided, as I said, Penny-at-the-centre-of-the-universe has dumped ALL her stuff on me I am supposed to know all about her feelings but she is totally unaware of mine, she doesn’t want to communicate, she doesn’t want to understand anyone else except herself.
Anyway, it’s about 11-30pm, time to go to bed and she suddenly, without warning, goes into meditation mode. Now I do know that she needs to do that so I stay very quiet, in one position. After an hour I was getting pissed off again at her lack of consideration, especially as I wanted to move the bus across the other side of the car park away from the traffic noise. I had to break it up and told her I was going to move the bus. ‘Well, why didn’t you say earlier’.
I suppose the answer is that I hadn’t thought of it earlier because I didn’t know about the crowds of revellers passing within a few feet of the bus.
FRIDAY 18th Aug.
Looks like yet another Day at Black Rock. P has to get up early for a change to swim with Fungi. She goes outside to pee in a public car park wearing a flimsy dressing gown. Why the ‘fock’ she can’t pee in the PortaPotti beats me!
Anyway, she locks herself out and raps on the door. Me, half asleep, struggles to get out of the sleeping bag, shouts ‘alright’. I then limp to the door with severe cramp in one leg. As I open the door I say in a dull, resigned tone, ‘If it was me that done this, there’d be hell to pay’. That’s it. I’m the most horrible, unloving, impatient man she’d ever known, and she’s going home. I try to point out the impracticality of that and we should talk about it (very patiently) She’s having none of it and starts packing her bag. ‘I could leave her bag on the quayside if I want to get away’ she says.
For focks sake, the womans impossible. I told her ‘that as far as I was concerned it’s another day and it’s up to her, but if she doesn’t want to practice her beliefs she must do what she wants. I only regret I didn’t come with someone else, and anyway I had only come to Ireland because of her.’ I just can’t believe the way things have turned out. It only remains to be seen if she is in the same mind when she returns from the dolphin (the boat’s coming in now as I write), but as far as I am concerned I have bent over backwards to be reconciliatory. It’s entirely up to her now, but if she does go I want nothing more to do with her. Here she comes, we’ll soon see.
Well, I’ll be. The dolphin appears to have done his stuff. She has come back all smiles. Moved from the centre of town car park to Fungi’s cove.
SATURDAY Aug 19th.
Stayed at Fungi’s cove all day. Cycled to a cove around the corner where Penny hired a snorkel and mask. I cycled into Dingle to purchase a few things (bread and two tee shirts) stayed out a few hours. P and I seem to be establishing some sort of working relationship that would at least enable us to continue with the holiday.
SUNDAY Aug 20th.
Got up early (7.00am) to see Fungi playing with the early rising swimmers. Once the boats arrive he spends more time with them, that’s obviously why the swimmers have to get up so early. Left Fungi’s cove, took a last look at Dingle and set off for Limerick via Tralee and Newcastle West.
Skirted round Limerick for the Loch Derg camping site at Killaloe. Very pristine site by the side of the loch. Expensive too! £7.00 for van and £3.00 for us!
MONDAY Aug 21st.
Drove from Loch Derg campsite at Killaloe, 18 miles from Limerick to Galway. Clutch playing up, difficult to change gear. Galway is a lovely city, well worth
more time. Managed to buy diving mask, but no snorkel.Took the coast road around the bottom of the peninsula. Not impressed. Tourist unfriendly.
The locals (Irish speaking) unsmiling and perhaps resentful of strangers. The countryside very rocky, scrubby and lots of poor quality dwellings. Hay made in the old way. Hay cocks with plastic sheeting on top. Tiny fields with stone walls. The coast is hard to find, lots of sea weedy inlets. A very depressing place. Nowhere to stop, not even to make a cup of tea. Roads very, very bumpy the bikes were shaken off the back twice. Tyre worn through on mountain bike due to dragging on ground. Found a slip road to park on for the night, by a small loch on the edge of Connemara National Park I think because some doubt about where we actually are.
P has admitted she has behaved badly, mainly because Steve used to give in and treat her nice when she ‘put on a spoilt brat show’. It would seem that I don’t stand for it and she has learned it doesn’t work with me, therefore best not to do it.
TUESDAY Aug 22nd.
Set off from park up into a much nicer part of Galway. Mountains, lochs and few dwellings. Tourist friendly. Stopped off at Leenane and posted some cards off. Went on to Westport, a pleasant town at the head of Clew Bay. The quest for a snorkel finally satisfied. Spent the night in a field by the beach at Mulrany, West of Newport, Co. Mayo.
Thought it was free, no toilets or facilities but man came for £3. Public lavs just 100yds away though. Free parking on the grassy mudflats. Set up tent so P can ‘have some space’.
WEDNESDAY Aug 23rd.
Having spent the night in the tent P finally emerged after ten only to dive back in for at least an hour’s meditation! All sort of shit comes out because I said ‘Oh, you’re out, I thought you’d died in their.’ Innocently said, it turns out I am attacking her beliefs.
It has to be discussed at length. I tell her to forget it, leave it but she’s like a dog with a bone. The weather was forecast to change to cooler with rain. At eleven it’s still sunny and just slightly cooler.
Set off towards Achill Island around the Atlantic Coast Road. About halfway round some of the most stunning scenery in the British Isles P declares that she is bored with this. The paradox is that she doesn’t seem to want to visit castles, waterfalls and other places of interest nor indeed is she interested in beautiful scenery, towns or whatever. What the ‘fock’ does she want apart from reading books derived from the ‘Miracles’, sleeping and meditating.
It seems to me that now she has done what she wanted to do (swim with the dolphin) she wants to get out and get back. I have yet to climb my mountain, or use the snorkel and mask, and one or two ancient ruins might be of interest. She declares Achill Island a dump. I actually like it, the remoteness, the tight knit supportive community etc. We park up on the quay at Dooeg, a small hamlet on the Atlantic Coast.
An interesting empty house would make a nice retreat. We subsequently learn that the owner is the nephew of the previous occupant and lives in Philadelphia. Something could be done with it, it’s a pity is neglected and falling down.
THURSDAY Aug. 24th.
Set off from the quay, the little grey bearded lephracaughan type man waving goodbye. P obviously wants to set off back towards Dublin. I want to stay on the west coast. I want to see the rest of Achill Island so we go off to Keel. Not very inspiring, but a good beach. Weather not too good, rainy at times. Visit a deserted village just outside Keel on the side of Slievemore Mtn. (I do, P isn’t interested) A number of stone built houses strung along the side of the mountain, must have been abandoned in the last century.
As I sat there I heard only the sounds that they would have heard all that time ago: The sheep, cry of the Corncrake, shepherd whistling his dog, the wind and the surf pounding on the long beach in the bay a mile or so away. If you tried really hard, you could hear the sound of the village community that existed here before.
As I sat there, meditating in my own way, the way that works best for me I asked ‘Great Spirit if all this is not nonsense (Spirit) show me’ immediately the answer came into my head (almost like a voice) ‘It’s all around you, drink of it’. I felt as if I was in touch with something, that it was real. I then asked if ‘this would be a could place for a community’ immediately the answer came back ‘Community is within, where it is without, matters not’. Now that made sense, and I don’t know where it came from but I would never have thought of that, especially in that way.
Went back to Keel strand (beach) with the intention of staying overnight (P suggested we might stay and I was really pleased as I didn’t want to get off the island just yet) but the wind and the rain made it a bad place to stay.
Anyway, we ended up driving to Knock. If I could have found somewhere better I would have preferred to stay but I knew P wanted to go and it must have some influence. Took a while to get there and the difficult roads (a strain driving) the dodgy clutch, and the task of finding a parking site at night was, I must admit, making me edgy.
P accused me of being angry. She insisted I was because, and doesn’t it prove it, I angrily denied I was. Her insistence on knowing what my feelings are really does make me angry, however, it get’s right to my feelings of injustice, to be falsely accused of shouting for instance. Hasn’t anybody shouted at her before (I wasn’t) doesn’t the stupid woman know the difference between defending yourself when under verbal attack and shouting.
I demonstrated the difference to no avail, ‘fucking’ Penny knows all there is to know (actually she thought that 1873 is in the eighteenth century!) but actually all she knows is how she feels to her. She is unable to stop and think that to an oversensitive spoilt princess like her that the pea cannot be felt even beneath one mattress to anyone else.
The world does not revolve around her, there are other people’s points of view and feelings to consider. How could anyone like this be into counselling? And so we parked up and bedded down at Knock in a disused roadway by the entrance to the shrine.
FRIDAY 25th August.
I awoke in the early hours by P saying loudly ‘fucking hell’. I believe that she thought I was snoring (she actually snores quite loudly but nothing is ever said about that). I don’t think I was. I was sleeping lightly enough to respond with ‘why did you say that’. No reply. She wakes grumpily, saying, ‘I want to go home’. That would piss anyone off, especially as it has been a constant theme throughout the holiday.
She thinks two weeks is enough, I point out that she knew I was going away for three weeks at the onset and I was not going to cut my holiday short because of her. ‘You won’t bend an inch’ she says, ‘No, why should I’ She replies that she feels trapped, I say I do too, having her with me when she doesn’t want to be. A row develops because she insists that if she feels I said something a certain way (I can’t remember what it was) that was the way I said it.
I go behind her and brush my hand against her back. ‘Did I hit you’, ‘Yes, she said’. I explain that I brushed against her, that she only thought I hit her, and that it was the same with what people say and how they say it. She will
have none of it and insists that she i
I tell her that she is an arrogant bitch, how can she tell me how I am feeling. This makes me more angry than the ‘want to go home’ thing, and I decide we must get to Dublin so that she has the option of going home, so that she doesn’t have to feel trapped.
I drive hell for leather towards Dublin and we end up at Greystones, on the coast just a few miles from Dublin. Even now I took her there because that’s where her father came from. She is not interested.
SATURDAY 26th Aug.
Goodbye from Greystones. Trains taking us further apart as I go north to Dublin and she goes south to the ferry port. Hello Dublin. I spent the day there. Stopped at campsite Pennyless so to speak, Silver Strand, Nr Wicklow.
SUNDAY 27th Aug.
Couldn’t find a mountain to climb so cut the trip to Ireland short. Got the evening ferry from Rosslare (9.50 pm) Extra cost £45! because of weekend. Stopped in a layby on road to Cardigan.
MONDAY 28th Aug.
Arrived at Aberystwth went up the hill on Vale of Rheidol railway to Devils’ Bridge and came down the hill again. Each trip inspired storylines. Going up the hill inspired by people around to do some storywriting:
Waiting for Kevin – outline for a 30 min Radio play.
Kevin, typical of his type, is an ardent train spotter. He went to St Petersburg to find a wife, not having the ‘what it takes’ to find one at home. Nadia, a divorcee with two children wants to give them a better life and convinces herself that she has fallen in love with Kevin.
After a series of trips to all the steam railways in the UK she wonders whether she has done the right thing especially when she meets Bran who is on holiday, taking a trip on the railway.
Kevin was supposed to meet her on the train but having driven up the mountain to get some video footage of the previous train chuntering it’s way up to the top he lost his way back down and was unable to catch the train.
Nadia and Bran strike up a lively conversation and it’s obvious that they are attracted to each other.Through ‘think talk and flashbacks’ we learn the background. After hearing what Nadia has to say about her situation (it all gushes out) – after all Bran is a good listener, Bran embraces her tenderly as she breaks down with emotion. It turns to a tender kiss which becomes passionate.
Bran asks her to leave Kevin and come with him on his travels. She refuses saying she ‘is waiting for Kevin’ waiting for him to get ‘better’ to ‘how you say’ grow. He is a kind man, better for security. After living in the USSR since the end of the ‘old regime’ she knows that security is the most important thing.
Coming down the mountain; Observing People
Doting parents with Brat who’s shit himself. Dad could do the decent thing and hang the kid out of the window for all our sakes, or mum could at least have concealed a ‘Giant’ size spray can of Air Freshener about her person.
Oh, look at the horses little monster. And the baby cows. Ooo, there’s a cat with some kittens. Come to think of it don’t mother cats eat the excrement of their little darlings and lick their bums clean?
Come on mum do your stuff. I’ve got a Polo mint you can have when you’ve done it.
Drove south to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology
TUESDAY 30th August
Walked up Capel Idris. It was hard going. When I got to the top I found that there were loads of OAP’s. It seems there was a much easier ‘Zimmer frame’ route. Perhaps I should have taken that.
Stayed at campsite just 200M from Centre for Alternative Technology.
WEDNESDAY 31st August
Visited the Centre for Alternative Technology. Negotiated entrance price from £7.50 down to £5.00
Drove back to Tavistock. First thing that happens is that Paula, my relief manager introduces me to Nicky who had been accepted as homeless and given Flat 2. Here we go again, another bloody princess!!
Penny turned up a week or so later to pick up the things she couldn’t carry when she left. She was all ‘sweetness and light’ and ‘of course she would pay the money she owed for half the ferry cost’. She never did, apparently because it took her two days to get back home and cost her ‘money she couldn’t afford’.
My response was if she had paid the money for the ferry when she was supposed to it wouldn’t be an issue and she could not use the excuse that it ‘cost money to come home’ because that was her choice.
We had nothing to do with each other after that, although there was a chance meeting at the ‘Rising’ some years later, and agreed it was all ‘water under the bridge’.