Pub Crawl

I think that is what they call it when you visit more than one pub in a day! Yesterday (Saturday) I decided I needed to walk. It was not a very nice day, but I’m heartily sick of sitting in an office and walking has always helped me to think so I didn’t let the rain put me off.

I wanted to see whether I could hear any of the rumours Susan had said were going around about the witch at the Harbour, and I thought perhaps the pub might be a useful start.

I went to the Cock and Hen first. It was full of men and I felt a bit uncomfortable on my own, but I found a stool at the bar and got myself a half of bitter shandy. It was Daniel who taught me to ask for that all those years ago and I really think of it as a summer drink, but I don’t much like beer undiluted.

At first I thought I was wasting my time, but then I did overhear a conversation that might have been referring to the Harbour and some kind of action to be taken against us.

I didn’t stay very long. It was still raining when I left but I decided not to take the bus. I wanted to walk and think about what I had heard. Then, when I reached the Wheatsheaf, I decided to go in there too. It would be my local if I had one.

Everyone seemed to stare at me when I went in, I suppose because most of the people knew each other. It was a bit embarrassing really, but I found a corner to hide in. It had a very different feel to the Cock and Hen, people were playing darts and couples and mixed groups were enjoying the warmth – much more of a neighbourhood pub I suppose.

I went to the toilet before leaving and a woman I had met before was in there. She remembered me and that I came from the Harbour. One thing she told me was quite disturbing. Apparently a neighbour of hers has a bedroom that overlooks the grounds and she has seen people appearing and disappearing. She easily could have and if she didn’t understand it would be very confusing. No wonder people are afraid of us.

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Decisions, decisions

The visit of the cult has really made me question the wisdom of planning an open day. A couple of things have helped me to at least think sensibly about it though.

The most important was a phone call from Kel. Just hearing his voice warmed me and steadied me. I always tell him he is my anchor. I wish he was closer, but his route at the moment is quite far from the Harbour and I don’t want him to skimp his work there just to come back for me.

Oddly enough, the other thing that helped was actually meant to unsettle me. Along with the post on Monday morning was a bunch of St John’s Wort. As well as being very useful medicinally, this also offers protection against witches (at least so Nemle taught me). I put it in water on my desk to show anyone interested that I am not the slightest bit disturbed by it.

I’m trying to think clearly and sensibly about the open day.

The main argument for holding it is that our neighbours might have a chance to get to know us, and of course we might get to know them too.

Another possibility is that it might lead to additional income if people become aware of the opportunity to rent a room or use the front lawn for playing games.

On the other hand it may also open us to the kind of abuse the cult used to frighten me. Susan came during the week and told me of rumblings she had heard about the witch at the Harbour.

What I need to remember is that there is always a cost. The important thing is to recognise the price and decide whether the gain is worth it.

In this case I have to think it is.

Nothing is ever straightforward

I was hoping for a couple of quiet weeks, just dealing with the post, answering letters, paying bills, filing receipts. Next month it will be much busier because the boats will start coming in for refits before the Gathering.

Susan came to visit, mostly to talk with the old ones and with me about what it means to be able to see the water, but she did tell me that our afternoon on the boat has led to problems for the boys, Jack especially, because he has been accused of lying about his experience. That hurts, I know. I remember how it felt when I was accused of lying about using the discipline of the mind all those years ago.

Anyway, it seemed the least I could do, to offer another afternoon and the opportunity for the children each to bring one friend.

I thought the afternoon had gone well. The children seemed to enjoy themselves, but I was conscious that three more families would be brought into contact with the water dimension. I didn’t expect quite the extent of the trouble it brought however.

One of the children came from a family that belongs to some kind of strict religious cult. Susan rang to warn me that the father was particularly angry that his son had been exposed to evil magic.

This afternoon I had visitors, the child and his parents and the cult leader.

It was horrible. He told me I was evil, shouted it at me, not just evil but a witch, a magician and even the devil. Then he started to curse me. I shut the door on him, shut and bolted it, but I could still hear his words, so filled with hatred.

I went out the back way and home to Day Bringer. At least I managed to get there before I started shaking.

I didn’t mean to call him, but suddenly, as I was fighting for control, Kel was there in my mind. He held me and we sang.

A Surprise for Susan (and Me)

Today was the boat trip for Toby and his family, his wife Susan, his sons, Jack and Rob and his daughter Emily. It was obvious that Susan was apprehensive when they arrived, but the children were excited at the idea of going on a boat.

Toby had told Susan about his short voyage and I tried to let her know that any decision was up to her. When I said something about the boat being too small for us all to live on, trying to reassure her that I didn’t want to keep them in the water dimension, she actually suggested that I might not want them to live!

Then, we rounded the building to where there was a view of the Harbour and Susan could see! It was such a surprise.

At first I couldn’t understand how she could get to thirty five and not have discovered already, but when we talked about it I could see that it was not so strange. She only came to Sefton Middle after she and Toby married and her life focused around him and his work and the children. It makes me think that there must be others, perhaps many others, in the same position, with a gift they don’t know they have. She has promised to come back and visit the Old Ones. They will enjoy that, and she can ask them questions and listen to their stories.

I took them north to the first turning place. Once they were used to the water dimension the children could explore Day Bringer and even sit in the well deck with Susan. It was more difficult for Toby and he was happier looking out from the saloon with Day Bringer’s hull keeping him enclosed.

I moored for a bit while we had tea. My scones were rock hard. I’m never confident that they will turn out well. They were eaten, however, and Susan brought biscuits she had made so we had plenty.

I think Susan was reconciled to her different viewpoint by the time she left, but it obviously disturbed and challenged her at first. Children adjust to new ideas so much more easily it seems. The day has shown me how important it is to be known.

The day has been very hard work and it would be easy to stop there. I really prefer solitude, my song and my clay, but I think if I don’t act when it matters then I’m really denying my song.