Battersea, Visit, and Then Onto Stafford*

A new destination awaits. At the next stop the next chapter in my life will begin with a new job and a new place to live. It seems surreal and that may be because it is surreal. Just last week I was on another continent and now I’m on a tiny island that is itching to separate itself from a continental union that it can’t live without. What will the next few days, weeks, and months bring? As the train departs towards my destination questions hang in the air.


Yesterday, on Saturday these troubles seemed so far away. Now it seems they’re here for me to take care of as if they’re some sort of puzzle. Thinking of solutions to them was put aside in order to visit old friends and take a detour through a park rarely visited since it has always been slightly out of the way. A brief encounter with a homie from my last stay here to say a brief hello precipitated my excursion. He briefly stepped out from the shadow and then retreated back busy with demands of a family life.


The park loomed close and looking at my watch there was still before the next met up with the first friend I made here the last time I was in the UK. His family recently expanded and he in his element, it was nice to catch up even though his baby’s been sick. The baby has grown and it stared at me with its deep dark eyes responding to my gaze with a slight laughter. We talked Joe and I about the changes in our lives. We have both had developments occur that have steered the course of our lives in new directions.


If there is peace within with there be peace throughout? Battersea Park has a symbol to peace in the form of the Peace Pagoda. I’ve been there before and marveled at the contrast of this Asian monument in this western land. The golden color shimmered amidst the cloudy grey covering the sky. It was a blustery day with the wind propelling clouds quickly from one place to another. The weather has been highly variable lately going from cool but clear to rain to wind a couple of times since I’ve landed.



I am thinking of the practicalities of what I need to do. My emigration is an economic one. I’d like to finally be free of the yolke of debt. Everyone says that you’ll always be in some kind of debt but I think that at least until a mortgage is needed it would be nice to live in relative freedom from the banks. I keep in mind the cost that is not measured in financial terms but in emotional ones. I’ve begun something that I don’t really want to end and yet I’m here separated with a dream interrupted. The danger is that it will slip through my fingers and dissolve in the ether of everyday life. That is the cost of distance.



On the other hand it can strengthen our bond by focusing our attention on the destination we want our life to take. As individuals we can examine our lives and weave them into each other at once strengthening and enriching the individual threads into a rope binding us together. I’ll be in a position to help bring some adventure by creating experiences that we can both share together. If anything it will be something that can help me focus on the immediate and build towards that end. We need to create that vision and foster it together. A relationship is like a sprouted seed in need of care and attention with plenty of water and sunshine to help guide it as it grows. Our little sapling germinated in the waning light of autumn. At first it wasn’t aware of what was happening until nature intuited feelings and honesty strengthened its roots. Our space provided adequate shelter as the cold moved in and turned into winter. Our eyes gazed at each other through the foliage as the wind of change scattered us apart. The roots have taken hold and although we are in our respective places that bond remains. Our conversations will help foster this bond and make it blossom and grow stronger. That is the hope and dream.


There have been conversations over the past couple of months questioning weather or not this is the right course of action or the right person to invest in. I’ve wondered about that myself as our bond has grown under our feet. On the one hand these questions help to flush out any lingering doubt on the other they help to reflect upon the important things that are necessary for a successful union.


There was a lot more to this that somehow was lost… 😐

*This next part is added later after what was initially attempted to be posted.

I was somewhere in Battersea Park and knew that I needed to go and visit Gulnara and Joe. It is important for me to make this visit. Joe is probably one of the first friends that I made here. I remember him inviting me to have a few pints for his birthday a few days after we first met. The rest they say is history. Today he is home with his new baby relaxing after a week at work. His baby is feeling slightly under the weather after catching something from somewhere. Walking over to his flat from the station I am reminded of my time staying with them. That was a lot of help for me at that time. It was also the beginning of my adventure and incidentally this blog. It is like coming full circle. There were changes that happened in his neighbourhood. Some of the buildings previously under construction are now finished. When I left Gulnara was still in the beginning stages of her pregnancy and today I held the fruit of that union in my hands. He stared at me for a while and had a smile soon thereafter. He is a big baby and I am sure he will grow up to be a strapping lad. Joe and I had a chance to talk as he showed me the improvements he made to his abode. The door opens onto his patio from the right direction now. It has improved the access onto his garden immensely. He asked me about the developments that have happened to me and about Barbs. He likes to get these tidbits and I provided him with a quick synopsis. I salvaged some stuff that he held on for me and the rest of the stuff is going to be binned.


I made my way back to where I’ve been staying with Rita and Jaco only to find Jaco sitting around with his son watching the end of the Scotland England game. It took a while for his son to recognise me. I had to do some laundry and finish repacking before my big move the next day. I found crayons and other debris as I put my stuff into the machine. It gave me a bit of a laugh. That little bit of mischief brought a smile to my face. It is something that a little kid would do as well as emptying the shampoo bottle that Jaco told me with an exacerbated  expression. I laughed at that little tidbit too. The boy requires energy so eventually it was just me puttering around placing my items into the luggage.


In the morning the previous days storm had passed and the sun shone occasionally interrupted by some clouds. I had just missed one of the trains and doubled back to get a coffee and wait for the next one in thirty minutes. The luggage is somewhat heavier after adding what I salvaged and what I had in my carry on into it. It is now a formidable size and I got a few looks and a few comments from other commuters. I was stuck by the door and the four carriage train just didn’t have enough capacity for all the people that wanted to use it. I took an elevator down to the lower level at Vauxhall and slowly made my way to the tube down the escalator. It is a short distance to Euston and the train from there will take an hour and a half to get me to Stafford. I wanted to get there slightly early so that I still had some daylight to orient myself to the new area. I sat there waiting for the train taking in the nice windy weather and the multitudes who are also waiting to take a train somewhere.


My luggage barely fit in the little cubby hole meant for storage. There were many with luggage making their way to somewhere north. This train is on its way to Liverpool. There was a big group of older ladies that accused me of sitting in their seat until I pointed out their mistake. They were having a good time together travelling from some holiday on their way back home. They kept pulling out a variety of different candies and sharing them amongst themselves. At one point they gave me the rest of their Pringles crisps to finish off. They didn’t want any more of it. I was busy writing things that no longer exists in digital form. I was looking outside at the undulating landscape passing me by and wondered at how nice it would be for the train to stop for just a minute in order for me to capture some of the scenes. This stereotypically English countryside is a romantic postcard for the heart and mind. It makes me want to share the feeling that these temporary scenes inspire. Now it makes me think of the majestic mountains that I passed on my way to Nelson.


I made it to to Stafford in the early afternoon and dropped off my luggage in my new room before heading off to the station on foot. I needed to time how long it would take me to get there. Afterwards I walked around the town to see what it is all about.


This post has been one of the most difficult ones to write for me. Mostly because of the technical errors that have plagued it. I had a good chat with Barbs. We have really connected and now we are talking more about what is to be and how we feel now. It is nice to see her smiling face and it makes me think of my stay here in a totally different light.


We need to tend to this life of ours and help it grow into the garden of our dreams.

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