This is dedicated to my old friends Jaki Whitren and John Cartwight – they eloped upstairs together a few years ago. They’re the greatest rock band you never heard of, big in Glastonbury in the 1980s-90s.
And this podcast isn’t what you might at first think it’s about… this is about reincarnation.
Introduced and outroduced by the Massed Corvid Choir of Lower Grumbla, Cornwall – crows and jackdaws that live in the woods below the farm. At dawn they get worked up and suddenly they all take flight, hundreds of them, and they settle on the roof of the farm. You can hear them arriving and landing just before the music starts.
So this is about reincarnation, and the many lives we live in this life. For me, towards the end of my current life (I’m currently 72, with cancer) this takes on a special significance, since I know in my bones, and always have, that it doesn’t just go blank and dark when you die. It doesn’t end there. You carry on – but without a body or a slot in Planet Earth’s rather bumpy reality.
And when you get born, you aren’t a blank sheet – you come with character, proclivities and tendencies already there, brought with you from before.
Oh, and, for your interest, this is Paldywan on steroids. Yes, literally. I had my cancer treatment today (Weds 7th Dec), and part of it is a steroid called Dex, or Dexamethasone. After my treatment, as you might imagine, I’m buzzing. This time I thought I’d do a podcast to harness the buzzing.
The steroids tend to loosen my vocal chords, so if you’re one of those who likes my voice, this is a good one! But I’m a little slurred too, in places, not entirely in my body.
With love from West Penwith in Cornwall – a rather magic place. Thanks for listening. There’s more to come. 35 mins.
I had rather a debate and struggle about what to blog or podcast about next. So I decided to drop it and go up the hill on our farm to sit on the bronze age barrows up there and have a good think. Or a non-think. Those barrows have energy and I go there for an energy-bath.
On the way up I had an encounter with our big thumping bull. He’s great – he’s not a threat, but he’s definitely worthy of respect.
The whole of his herd of wives and children was spread across the field. Often they’re mainly to one side, so I go up the other side. But today it wasn’t possible, and the bull was right in the middle, staring at me.
We eyeballed each other. I let him hear the sound of my voice. Since we both have low voices we can read each other quite well. He grunted. We both wondered what to do. It took a while but we weren’t in a hurry. This was contemplation of the scene rather than anxious concern, for both of us. I decided to take an initiative, slowly heading uphill toward the left and, fascinatingly, as soon as I started moving he lumbered off to the right. We had both had the same thought.
As soon as he starts moving the whole herd starts moving. Belted Galloways, they’re a real herd, this lot, socially as well as genetically. So they shambled over into the next field. They have a big ranging ground all over Botrea Hill, with organic pasture and wild moor. I staggered uphill on my sticks toward the badger sett – a big, old and mature sett that apparently has been there for centuries.
Further on, up on the barrows, I lay there absorbing the sun, connecting my heart and solar plexus into the earth and letting my psyche float free. Then I turned over and opened up my aura to the heavens, drifting off somewhere. Came to, had a drink, fired up my sound recorder (a Japanese Zoom H4N Pro) and suddenly realised I was going to talk about aloneness and loneliness. Out it came. This is it.
I have a feeling some Far Beyond listeners will relate to this podcast quite personally. Loneliness falls on all of us at times in life, but it falls heavily nowadays on certain people – it’s a hole you can fall into and get stuck in, getting so accustomed to your own company that you start losing interest in normal social interactions. It’s insidious.
That’s weird, considering the world’s population is at its highest ever. That’s about social isolation, even alienation.
But we have a new issue today: you can be physically alone for much of the time but well-connected remotely over internet with loads of people. Online home-workers can get isolated – not just grannies and the disabled. As a book editor, I would take 2-3-4 weeks over each book, with little need to talk to anyone for that time – I specialised in tricky, intricate books that demanded a lot of editorial thought. This online connectivity is both a blessing and a sad symptom of the way we moderns have adopted a surrogate digital life.
I too use this medium as a way of overcoming isolation, and this podcast is an example. Though this highlights one of the points I make in the podcast: it’s possible to turn even loneliness to good use.
A new series of occasional podcasts from down’ere in Cornwall
It has taken a while, but I’ve just completed the first of an occasional series of podcasts, and you’re welcome to use up eighteen minutes lending it your ears!
This blog will remain my cancer-and-life blog, while the podcasts will cover interesting things that come up as the zeitgeist rolls on, my antennae twitch and the right day comes for putting together another podcast.
The first pod is all about an ancient trackway and what it means for the future.