Tuesday 2nd May: updates

Dear readers, followers, and passers-by,

The last three months have been pretty cool. I felt inspired to run this blog mainly to prove my newly made friend Lucy that hitchhiking can and will work on the Isle of Wight, and the results have been immense. Not only does it work really really well, but I also have met some great people as a result, and, in my own little way, feel like I’ve helped bring the world together, just a little bit.

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The rising and clear visions of Beltane

Last week was my final work week at the Neutrik electronics factory in Ryde. On Friday morning, when I was giving in my time-sheet as normal in the supervisors office, the supervisor said very casually “Simon we’re going to let you go”. It came quite suddenly, I hadn’t expected it as I’d only just had my second review in which I saw I was still ‘performing’ very well, attaining 101% for my timings, and getting faster again. I was popular in the factory, though focused solidly on my work.
“Aye??”, I replied, and took a seat.
Helen told be that the work is drying up a little now, and because I had no plans to become permanent there they couldn’t train me up to other jobs. Also, perhaps word had spread that I was already looking to leave to go into part-time work, I felt I wanted to be outdoors more now, and enjoying my life more.
So the next two hours until the end of shift were spent working still very solidly, and saying farewells to umpteen colleagues that wished me well. It’s a good place, where I’ve made plenty of nice connections.

I was expecting quite an incredible hitch home as a result. But, alas, the universe provided me with a very grounding first aid teacher, who taught first aid to royal navy recruits in Portsmouth.

I wrote a song about the Neutrik family, which can be watched:

I then had an absolutely incredulous weekend learning dowsing from Judith Lock (www.wightweekend.co.uk). This was a most amazing ride over the weekend, full of amazing discoveries about my ability to dowse (which I never knew I had), and very vivid dreams at nighttime to accompany the daytime wonders.

And, yesterday, Beltane, sharing a beautiful ceremony with Wake The Wight at Mottistone Longstone.

I don’t know what will happen to this blog in the coming months – because I don’t know where I’ll be working/living – but come late summer I plan to hitch over to Greece with my good friend Alex, accompanied with a mandolin and maybe guitar and drum and didgeridoo. Hitchhiking is often about finding home wherever you are. When hitchhiking as a travel, you hitch to where you will lay your head at night. This is just as much a home as any other, in that moment in time.

My Hitch Home shall continue….!!

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Thursday 27th April: A hitchhiking song

Today is a little bit different, I’m afraid. I’ve decided to write a song, but with my low attention span I couldn’t keep focused on writing a song for more than a few minutes, so I quickly recorded it. It’s me playing on my new mandolin!!!! And it’s about today’s hitch home!!!!!

Enjoy 🙂 the lyrics are written below. I expect it to be a classic in no time.

Lyrics:

Got picked up at 5.45
By a guy who lives in Gurnard
He has finished working at
Go-karting.

He is saving for travelling
In the inter-railing
Across Europe
He will go in June.

Bububububububub……..

[Here we go…….!]

Hitchhiking on the Isle of Wight is great
Hitchhiking on the Isle of Wight is great
Hitchhiking on the Isle of Wight is great
Hitchhiking on the Isle of Wight is great!

Hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch hitch….

I was singing hitch then
Not anything else then,
Hitchhiking on the Isle of Wight
Is great.

Tuesday 25th April (and before): in the motions

I had one lift over Easter. It was when I hitched from Newmarket, near where my dad, step mum and little sisters live in Suffolk, to King’s Lynn, where I grew up. My hitch spot was a pull-in at a small mental hospital, just outside Newmarket on the road to Ely. It’s been my hitch spot for years.

I got a lift within ten minutes. And what a lift. Marc was in locally well-known ska band Captain Black No Stars some years ago, and had 7 years living in off-grid communities in Wales. So, we hit it off pretty good. Then when he was about to drop me off he offered me a couple of beers from the brewery he now works at in East London, and then offered to take me for a pint in town. So we had our two pints at a quirky north wootton pub, and he dropped me back in Lynn.

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Sunset over London, on Saturday, taken from Greenwich park

Yesterday I got a lift fairly quickly off a couple. The man works for the council at county hall, but the woman was made redundant a while back. I was so knackered from work/all the travelling I’d done the day before (I only arrived back on the island at 10pm on Sunday..) that I didn’t so much appreciate opportunity to converse…

But, today, with a new sign:

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New sign 🙂

I was extremely blessed to meet Alan, who I had a thoroughly soulful connection/conversation with. One of those times when the driver stops at the dropping off point, but neither of you want the conversation to stop yet so you keep going an extra 10 mins or so. He told me about the real issues that people with severe anxiety and depression have with life in modern society. And we both agreed that modern culture isn’t helping at all – there is no encouragement whatsoever to get out and do things, but the entertainment culture is just getting stronger and bigger, with TVs central to people’s lives. But there was a deeply spiritual side to our conversation, too.
There were a lot of things that Alan said that moved me a lot, and I felt equally moved that he was sharing so much of what meant something to him to me. To me, who had a few minutes before been just a total stranger.

And, what I keep saying is that hitchhiking brings the world together. It really does.

Thursday 13th April: see you on the flip side!

No hitch today, Lucy wasn’t feeling it as it was a bit cold, and I going over to hers for dinner, soooooo I’ll see you all on the flip side! Probably no hitching for me all next week as I’m with family, so next hitch home anticipated for Monday 24th April.

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Wild garlic bliss

Here’s a pic of me working my way through a forest of wild garlic last week to compensate for the lack of hitching photo today. Wild garlic = bliss.

Wednesday 12th April: My Cycle Home

I have news that could affect in some way the future running of this blog (though I’m sure not too seriously… I’ll explain).

Today, in my morning tea break, I saw an advertisement for a 21-speed bicycle going for £30. £30 is a decent price for any bike, no matter how good, so I got introduced to the guy selling it, and he told me about the bike.

He seemed pretty sound. He told me the bike is in great nick, and is a Dawes touring bike. He said it comes with a pannier rack fit to hold loads of bags from all angles. An hour later he came up to me with the key for the bike and told me to take it for a spin at lunchtime.

I was really excited. Just the other day I got my old bike, an early ’70s Raleigh, on the road again after feeling sure in my mind that it had a bent wheel and it turned out it didn’t. But the gears are out of action, as are the back brakes, both needing new cables, and so it’s not yet rideable. Also, it’s more a leisure bike that anything, and I couldn’t imagine myself doing any kind of distance on it (including even the work commute).

But this bike is fantastic. I cycled it to tescos, whizzed along at nicely high speed. I got the money out, had lunch, and whizzed back to work. Happy to give the £30, for me this bike is totally worth it, and could well be the secret to me getting fit again.

I stopped cycling in spring 2012, when my hips wouldn’t have it anymore. I was later diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both hips and especially the right hip, and underwent several years of different alternative therapies, and dietary changes, and working the miracle of going barefoot. My hips are massively better now, but should I get any sign of them going bad again on a bicycle I shall stop right away.

My cycle home today was awesome. There were bits where I went really fast, not quite as fast as the traffic at 50mph but fast nevertheless. And there were bits where I slowed going up the slopes. I was feeling the exertion on my chest, and arriving home was quite heavily breathing. It was my first exertion of that intensity in a long long time.

And here’s the bike:

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She's a beaut.....

This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop hitching though. I don’t want to. So I reckon I might be alternately hitching one day and cycling the next. Tomorrow will be a hitch. Then I’m off to Suffolk to see family all next week. And I’ll see what feels right regarding cycling or not in the mornings I guess….. 😂

Tuesday 11th April: HITCHING 4 LENT!!!

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New sign for the festivities!!

On Sunday I was foraging the Freegan underworld of Ryde when I came across TWO Christmas hats! One a typical Santa hat, and the other a proper awesome jingly Elf hat. This was brilliant because only a few days ago Lucy and I were discussing dressing up for the occasion of hitchhiking this week.

Yesterday I unveiled the costume, Lucy very happy with her jingly Elf hat, we got some cardboard from the shop for a new sign, and discussed possibilities for our new festive sign. Lucy gave a great suggestion, but a bit too long: ‘Living is for life not just for Christmas’. And she gave other great but really long suggestions that I can’t remember right now. My mind was just about ticking over, I could feel some neural connections happening from time to time, when suddenly I got it: ‘Hitching for Lent!!!!’. We both loved it. So that became our sign, but ‘4’ instead of ‘for’ to be a bit more cool.

So Lucy had just finished drawing up the sign and shading it in, we just about to unveil it to the world of Ryde roundabout land, when a car coming out of tescos beeped and waved at us. It was Charlene and Charlene’s mum, and their two adorable little doggies, who if you recall I got a lift from on Tuesday March the 7th (see here). It was lovely to see them again, and the really fluffy one was with us in the back and licking me all over. So that was great.

Today we thought to do it properly. We have to actually be with our sign this time (pictured above is me with it today). The weather lovely, and people’s responses were great. Lots of big smiles and enthusiastic waves. The costume and sign were really making a difference.

But I realised just when I was getting my phone out for Lucy to do the photo that I’d received a voicemail message from my mum. She was going to ring the doctors today and try get my an appointment, because I have a dodgy back, frequent headaches, toe problems, and a possible internal issue too. She said in the voicemail that I was booked to see a doctor at 5.50pm!!! It was 5.35pm when I got this. The doctors is in Brading, only 5 minutes drive, but it needed for hitchhiking gods to come out and deliver the spoils.

At I think 5.41pm, after 6 minutes or so of singing funny songs about me needing to see a doctor for various different reasons, these two young guys stopped. Brilliant!!!! Thankyou hitching gods!!!

The guys were very nice, they both knew Neutrik well from having worked there themselves before, lasting a couple of weeks (which I congratulated and said that’s pretty impressive really, normally people last much less…). One now works for the council, the other still works through PerTemps (the agency through which I work) but as a refuse worker (which is work I’d actually rather like to do sometime, having only ever done it at a festival once and had a great time with it).

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A friendly face 🙂

They were going to Sandown, which was where I guess they took Lucy to. I got to my doctor’s appointment with an amazing two minutes to spare (and only had to wait five minutes!), have been referred for a scan of some kind, so I guess it was good I got to it…

Tomorrow will be another new costume 😂

Friday 7th April: Ross!!

It still feels a bit funny hitching at midday on Fridays. A few people put their thumbs up or waved, but generally people seemed a bit in their own worlds (which is what I noticed before when hitching earlier in the afternoon).

Anyway, I got a ride within a couple of minutes from a carpenter. Great – as I love talking building/carpentry 😂 Ross is just filling up an old fireplace (I think? My mind is a bit of a boggle this side of the week…) for someone in Cowes, and had to pick up some old bricks in Ryde as it’s an older house. I love this kind of story – it sounds so simple, but it’s great to hear that old bricks are still very important for being used in old houses, to keep with the character of the house.

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Carpentry Ross with old bricks in the back 🙂

Ross has never hitched before. I told him I hitch home every day, but I understand the possible risks of hitching, and have in the past rejected lifts on a number of occasions because of getting a funny vibe from whoever stopped. There was one time, hitching with my friend Judi back towards Bath from north Devon, when we had two offers on the outskirts of Taunton both from people that we had weird vibes about. Obviously we kindly rejected their offers, said that we were actually looking for a lift going further or something, and a little later we got a lift from an awesome guy who was going to a 5 rhythms dance in Glastonbury (which was the first time I heard of 5 rhythms, and now I’ve been to plenty of dances and feel that I base my life around 5 rhythms in the long-run…).

Anyway, Ross was happy to hear about my hitching successes on the island (and the fact that I’ve never rejected a lift here and have only met really nice and interesting people I think says a lot about the general vibes of the island!).

And we talked about the wonderful sunshine! I work in a very nice factory every day, with a great vibe and everything and windows open, music on all day, but it’s still indoors, and is ridiculously physically inactive. It’s wonderful to finish early on a Friday and be out in the warmer sunshine, but I see my future as working outside and connecting more and more with nature. Ross spends about half his time outdoors with his work, and I get about 45 minutes a day of possible time outside (during my breaks). I’ve thought about it a fair bit the last few days, I had the thought come to my mind the other day (that had been at the back of my mind for years and years) of living in a yurt/teepee with a stream curving around where I live, and growing food biodynamically/tuning in more and more with the elements. But I have to get this bloody driving license sorted before I make any baby steps out into the open (I promised myself a full driving license before I make any big decisions future-wise).

So you can expect to see a lot more of my hitching home for the months to come!

Thursday 6th April: Bruce and Smiles

Today was another gorgeous day. Every day is great sunshine right now, and warm, mid-spring-like.

Lucy coming round for a potential walk and meal, she excited to hitch. We singing songs, and waving at the many cars waving at us.

The bus doesn’t turn up – I think because of a road closure in Newport, it would’ve affected the buses getting to Ryde. It takes us a while to get a lift, but as the bus was a no-show it’s still obviously much faster this way.

And Bruce stops, in his van. He’s awesome and pretty much a depiction of the day rolled up into human form. He’s smiley and incredibly upbeat. A builder on a traditional 15th century cottage somewhere.

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Bruce and us 🙂

So we part ways and marvel over how nice all things are in this moment.

Wednesday 5th April: Building bridges over islands

The weather was beautiful again for today’s hitch home. People’s thumbs were out (I got two thumbs up in a row!), and smiley faces too.

A van stopped after about 3 minutes, it smelling slightly like a gardener’s van (that subtle grassy petroly smell). So it came as a surprise that my new friend is a civil engineer, working at the moment on the new wightlink place at fishbourne, as well as in another place that I didn’t catch the name of.

We talked a bit about hitchhiking (he’d lived in Ireland years ago and hitched there a lot, but was under the impression that it wouldn’t work on the Isle of Wight..). And pretty soon we were in Brading. And I feeling the best I’ve felt in days – it’s been a rough ride these last few days, but maybe now I’m on the other side of it.

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En-route to Ventnor tonight

Tuesday 4th April: more and more new people :)

I could’ve had a lift before I’d even got to my spot today. A young lady with her kids in the back offered me a lift, even though she was going back into Ryde – I knew her from, I think, the fracking walk a few weeks back. I kind of regret not taking up her offer, even though it would’ve taken her completely out of her way, because she obviously wanted to just reconnect/chat about things, and wouldn’t have minded taking me to Brading.

Anyway, it was back to Hans Solo today as the clouds were out again meaning Lucy would get the bus home instead of hitching. I expected still a lift very quickly.

But in my experience, when turning down an offer of a lift there’s always a bit of a wait until the next offer. It’s how the hitching gods work.

People seemed a bit glum today. Maybe it was the grey or something, or the Tuesday feeling…..but I came out of work today buzzing a bit, and even started hitching with a buzz, but the vibes wasn’t like yesterday when everyone waved and smiled. Today people kept to themselves.,

So the unthinkable happened. The bus passed me, Lucy waving sympathetically. And then, in comical fashion, the very next car pulled up – they’d actually passed me a few minutes before and had turned around to pick me up.

Bob and Janice are lovely. Bob explained he’d seen me before hitching there, a few weeks ago, and Janice this time made him stop for me.

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Bob and myself

He’s a car broker who drives a small van – a bit of a cosmic joke of sorts.

They seemed excited to hear about me working at Neutrik, as someone they know is a supervisor there (though not specifically one of my supervisors – he may be working on Lucy’s side, or else in a different part of the factory).

We decided we’d see each other again sometime, when the roads bring us to reconnect again!