Tales from the Road – Magpies, Community and Coopers Dark Ale.
We arrived in Australia a week ago and this is the first time I’ve had the chance to sit down and publish anything on my blog. Time has been filled with wonderful things so I’m certainly not complaining!
Over the weekend both myself and Cerri were booked to speak, and I played a concert with my good friends Spiral Dance. But before I get to that I want to talk about the first morning.
Jet lag is a thing, there’s no doubt, but arriving quite late in the evening was a real help. As the dawn broke the air was filled with the sounds of Australia. The marbled song of their Magpie, quite different from ours in the UK, the call of the Raven going “whaaaaat?” and “ha!” and “feeeeeeck!”, the laughter of the Kookaburra, made me wake with the biggest smile – I was back.
That day we had a lovely walk through the Mount Lofty Botanical gardens with Adrienne, lead singer with Spiral Dance. The perfect way to reconnect.
Meeting everyone at the Australian Wiccan conference once more reinforced the fact that the Pagan community is worldwide and thriving. Talks of magic, the connection to the land, our varied and colourful traditions. Rituals of unity and diversity. You really can’t beat it. It fills me up. Standing under the Gum trees of the Southern Lands in circle, listening to the sounds of the landscape that are so foreign to me, yet hearing the air be filled with human voices chanting and calling words that are so familiar. Well, I guess you’re getting how amazing that is.
On Saturday night both me and Spiral Dance did a set each. From the moment I stepped on stage I just knew it was going to be a special night. The singing voices joining me from the opening word. When I got to play The Dreaming, a song I’ve written about my love of Australia, I couldn’t quite hold it together. I got to the line “my heart must try to understand it’s now shared by another land”. I saw the faces of friends, heard them singing, and welled up. It’s hard to sing when you’re crying with joy. I think some of the audience joined me. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
A big ritual of unity brought everyone even closer. It really was an amazing weekend.
On Monday I played a special concert for everyone who sponsored our trip, playing some songs I don’t normally play. It was the hottest October day for over 70 years – 36 degrees – and the venue’s air conditioning system had broken so it was HOT! But we all had an amazing night together. Thank you to you all, and to Adrienne and Spiral Dance for making the trip happen.
Then during the day yesterday I had the pleasure of playing a round of golf in Australia with Paul, Spiral Dance’s accordion player. I used to play when I was managing director of my own business years ago, and took it up again when I turned 50. We had a lovely round and I don’t normally have to avoid Emu drippings on the rounds I play in Sussex. Then yesterday evening we went to the Adelaide moot and had a question and answer session about the things we do back home. Diane who led the evening had put together a lovely presentation of Cerri’s art, so Cerri spoke about her creative process and answered lots of questions. That, combined with ice cold Coopers Dark Ale made for a another wonderful evening with good friends.
This weekend we head off for a gig in Melbourne. If you’re in the area you can find out how to get tickets on my concerts page. Otherwise just come along to Bar 303 on the night. Doors open at 7.30.
Until next time. Peace and blessed be. The adventure continues.