It’s early and I’m regretting the previous night’s drinking. Head feels like a small demon is inside it, pommeling my skull in an attempt to break free. Quick motions are followed by a wave of nausea and I have to get myself to a rendezvous with my good friends Rooth and Adam’s to make the trip to Land’s End. A quick coffee is all I can handle, so I go stand in the shower in the impossible hope that the water will wash away the hangover, but it doesn’t. That odd taste of nail varnish remover that accompanies the night before stays, and it’s time to leave. Luckily I had packed everything the morning before and after some dithering I get in the car and I manage to get to Ashbourne before I have to pull over and let the nausea take over.
“Why the hell do I drink so much?”
Well, the answer to that is a collection of ex-sixth formers chanting the name of the teacher at the bar followed by “get us a drink!” and several shots of tequila. Can’t say it’s the best start to an adventure but then it makes it more interesting. I get myself together and head to my mother’s house to drop off my car so my uncle can borrow it while I’m away.
“That stone you’re going to pick up at Land’s End made me remember something about Dziadek” my uncle says as though we had been taking for hours.
“Really? What?” was the only reply I could muster.
“Well, when I was smaller, he used to take me and my friends down to the canal and he showed us how to skim stones across the water. It’s made me think. He introduced the whole idea of picking the right shaped stone for skimming and without him the idea would have completely alien to me.”
Now, the conversation continued but my mind was fixated on this newly learnt bit of family history. There seem to be certain links in what we do and our past that we aren’t really aware of. I remember seeing people press stones to the graves of loved ones in Iran and then leaving them there, but I never thought there would be any link to the polish side of my family. We carried on towards Long Eaton and if we carried on talking j couldn’t really say, but eventually we arrived at Rooth’s. I said farewell, we shook hands and I may have imagined it but there was something in my uncles eyes that made me think he wanted to say something, but he didn’t. I wander if I imagined it or there was something he wanted to say?
I emptied my pack at this point and decided to pack everything one last time, decide what I’d leave behind and get ready to jump in the van. At some completely unregistered time we left, I got in the back of the van, lay flat and promptly went to sleep. I don’t remember much about the journey down apart from the food stops and a traffic jam that seemed to appear then vanish with no apparent reason.
Once we got to Land’s End, I wandered down the rocket cliff to find a pebble to carry the length of the country. The south west coast is made up of lots of granite, but amongst it all was a small piece of white quartz. I grabbed it, along with a piece of granite and scrambled back up to the van. It was time for food, followed by pitching up the tent and sleeping. It was all about to begin and I was filled with an odd mixture of calm excitement, complete disbelief and a lack of comprehension as to what I had to do, all with an undertone of doubt. The doubt was all to do with the unknowns that Id have no control of.
“Are you ready then?”
“I have no idea. Gonna find out tomorrow though”