I tried to book the bus to Gloucester it on my new smart phone, but it kept spelling things wrong. You have to have incredibly small fingers to type right. So that attempt failed, so I am now going straight to the Bus station to TALK to a human. My problem is going to be luggage. I packed the maximum because I am staying for year, but getting around with luggage is expensive as you have to use taxis. Oh, Here there is NO fixed price on anything. It depends on demand. Prices can jump daily and hourly. My plane ticket cost 2000 more 2 days later, even the hostel has different rates depending on the day of the week and demand for beds. The train depends on the time you travel. Oh, you don’t realise how lucky you are in SA to have fixed prices on trains and buses and rents. However, I am amazed at what you can do! I managed to book my plane, a bus from the airport and 5 days stay in London over the internet, and while here have managed to simply use my card as normal..although 1pound is 20 rands and so you get a shock at what seems cheap but isn’t. But I also managed to send money back and pay my obligations back home without a flicker.
We live in a global world, so I thought, so I was also quite shocked at what I had to go through to get a visa for a year. Beaurocracy rules okay here. There are so many details you have to fill in just to prevent immigration. It literally took me a year to get here. Even my mother and fathers details..and theyre long dead. Also you have to know where you’re going, where you’re staying, when you’re returning. The size of your shoes… They also only give a months visa, and then you have to go to your UK address and pick up your extension within 10 days of arriving.
Well I finally arrived in Gloucester to pick up my extended visa. It is impossible to find an address even with google maps being my close companion, as the streets go around in circles. I decided to hire a car to go and see Alexandra, as the car hire was cheaper than taking the train! This was freedom, and I didn’t have to lug my years luggage around with me, except I spent hours just trying to find where I was going and getting used to driving in Britain. I hired a smart little fiat 500, which you need as it has a small turning circle, and as I kept getting lost, I’d have to keep turning around.
So I headed for Totnes (pronounced TotNASS by the locals). Well, I missed the turn, followed the signs, found myself going backwards on the same road and ended up going right around Dartmoor (a huge reserve) into a big city (Plymouth) at peak hour traffic, and finally found Totnes. this is a shop in Totnes that basically only sells HARPS. I am not sure such a shop would survive in SA.
This is Totnes castle built by the Romans!
It was good to see Alexandra, and at last someone I knew. Of course for her, it was during the week and she was in the middle of a main lesson, but nevertheless we managed to share some time. I visited the South Devon Waldorf school, which is very much like Imhoff except the High school is wooden. They also only go up to class 10, which is usual for Steiner schools here, because they do the Cambridge matric which starts in class 11 (They do this at other schools). This school is planning to go up to 11 next year while offering the International Steiner certificate offered by New Zealand (ISSC). This school is very land based, and the curriculum has extensive gardening and agriculture. The other lessons are squeezed as an after thought inbetween the main lessons and agriculture right through the High school. The woodwork and forging area is to be envied, and Tracey and Kath you would love the light airy art room.
Greenwood turning..look how many pole lathes!
They are having some financial problems and I think we are a bit tighter here on fee payments, threatened to close, but in the Waldorf community spirit, have risen to the challenge. The school remains.
This is an outdoor kitchen where they serve lunches and at functions.
One night on my travels I failed to book a bed for the night, thinking that I would stop in a small town (Frome) where I was certain there would be lots of space. They however had a pub festival on, and there were no beds at any Inn, and I was too old for the YOUTH hostel. So I travelled down these wiggly windy roads and found an old church yard, parked the car next to gravestones and smelly silage barns and TRIED to sleep in a Fiat 500! Impossible.
Also driving through Glastonbury, you see these unexpected hills..man made, where the rest of the land is flat as a pancake. This one is called a mump. (halfway between a mound and a hump) It has an old church on top.
So finally, I went to Nailsworth, where I would be staying and checked out Ruskin Mill and my landlord and dropped off my luggage. Went past Wynstones finally (Howards old school and Gaia also went there.(.I did say Hi, but it was Saturday and no one was there), envied their Hall and workshops and dropped off the car, taking a bus back to Nailsworth, where I promptly got a bad dose of flu (thankyou Lily and Jack , who got sick while I was in Tones), and slept for 2 days. Luckily it only lasted that long.