It has been far too long.
Far too long rummaging through the boxes and drawers of my past.
This morning I took the 7.19 train from Sevenoaks. The drive to the station was slow and cautious. The frost as thick as lard on a slice of white bread.
The platform was freezing. I hid in a shelter my fingers pulled into my pullover and a woolly scarf wrapped round my head.
The other travellers were stomping their feet and walking small distances to keep warm. The train was three minutes late, which given the temperature, felt like three hours.
I meditated on the train, sitting next to an oriental gentleman who had monstrous headphones. Mercifully the music stayed in his ears and didn’t bleed into mine.
We arrived at Charing Cross people running to all the exits like snooker balls.
I covered my head and walked out into the air. Cold. Sharp. Bright.
The bells of St. Martins in the Field clanged. The sun, crimson red, on the top of the Coliseum. I walked past the National Portrait Gallery as the last of the eight chimes rung out over an empty Leicester Square.
Where is Charlie Chaplin’s statue?
Its criminal that they have taken him, and his walking stick away.
I weaved through China Town, through Carnarby Street, past The Palladium, onto Oxford Street and exactly 20 minutes later I arrived at the new BBC.
A Christmas Treee stands outside the revolving doors. It has a protective barrier around it. That’s the Beeb for ya….
It was lovely to be back in the studio. It felt like I had been away for months.
My mother’s legacy paid for a retreat.
So I booked it having researched it on line. Vital detox. Glastonbury, Middlewick Cottages. Annie, Anna, and Fiona, three Trojan women who run an eight day course of surprisingly effective juicing.
I arrived on Friday 23rd November, having driven myself down the M25, onto the A303 and off to Shepton Mallet. The area was submerged under water. The recent rain had flooded the whole area. I was lucky to get there dry.
Fourteen people. Three men and eleven women. from doctors to physiotherapists, from accountants to university administrators. Russians, Italians, English and Black Country. From 27 to 80 year olds.
We gathered in a big warm room, a stove burning dry logs as fourteen leather bean bags were placed in a circle.
I don’t remember much of the the first night, but we greeted each other, scanned each other, weighed up each other then left for our respective cottages.
Laid out my diaries, organised my books, unpacked my clothes and finally took to my bed.
I was awakened out of a deep sleep with a scream, that came from me. There at the end of my bed was the spectre of a man wearing a crumpled suit. His face clear enough for me to see that he was wearing glasses. He smiled and faded into the night followed by a white light.
Yeah of course I was scared. The rest of the week meant I stayed up very late watching Jennifer Aniston films until I could sleep without the fear of ghostly visitations.
We were a 30 minute walk from Glastonbury Tor. Expect such disruption, the women said.
The first day we had meditation at 8.00 Then our first juice at 9.00.
Off to learn about our cleansing rituals which we all did to our own bodies in our own bathrooms.
12.00 juice then a lecture about nutrition and life style.
A 2.00 walk through a farm with two plump piggies who smiled when you scratched their backs. White doves and chickens and the smell of Glastonbury earth.
I was accompanied up The Tor by one of the juicers. A tall man who guided me up the steps and round the grass. The wind was fierce, and the grass slippery. When we got to the top a handful of people gathered in the Tor. The wind whistling through it and our bones. The 360 degree view was unnatural, said the locals, flooded fields, just like back in the 14th century when the Tor was built.
Coming down was worse than going up it was a relief to hit terra firma.
The 3.00 juice then a bit of therapy from Andrew who was a massoose of distinction.
6.00 juice and I knew that it was just too good to be true. Apples, and carrots, beetroot and me being diabetic and all…..
8.00 a mug of hot broth and then it was back to the cottage.
By Sunday my blood sugar was so I high I nearly combusted. One of the Russian women used her blood glucose monitor on me and I was reading 18.
Even I knew it was too high for comfort.
So Fiona set about doing what she does best. Green juices, fenugreek tea, chromium, cherry juice. Whatever she could lay her hands on to make me better she found.
By Tuesday my blood sugar had gone to 8.8
The last three years had taken their toll. Operations, sacking, movings, death. The retreat was my own full stop. The End of months of misery and my blood sugar had registered. I was getting back to normal.
I cried everybody cheered.
And so the juices and the meditations, the walks and conversations continued. People spoke of intimate things and hugged each other through tough times. One on one sessions with Anna and Annie continued through the week The women held us and guided us. Fed us and comforted us.
By Thursday morning my blood sugar was normal. I’d lost a stone and my skin was glowing.
Sarah came with her wraps and pots and gave us treatments that only the Ancient Egyptians knew of.
By Friday morning, and after a raw feast on Thursday which included green lime mousse and cashew nut hummous, it was time to leave.
Eight days of intense cleansing, eight days of books and films, chat and walks.
When I arrived home the old git noticed there was ever so slightly less of me.
Saturday was ridiculous we had to drive into West London for an 80th birthday party, then North London for the first of the Christmas pig outs. I ate wrong, I ate bad, and today I ate more with the lovely Richard Johnson on the show.
By the time I got home though I had sorted out my head.
Whats done is done, I won’t dishonour my mothers gift or the work of those women over the last eight days. I owe it to myself to take on board the lectures, the love and the effort.
So I have made cashew hummous and a divine dressing with Sesame seeds . I have made my very own green juice and sorted the cupboards so that there is room for all the nuts and seeds.
This is crankology at its best.
Tomorrow we have another funeral, a dear man who died too young, by Tuesday, hopefully, I can get back to some kind of normality – whatever that means.
Thank you Soryl for reminding me that I needed to blog.
Hurrah for kale, cucumber and corrective juices.