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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Roberts

Prelude To The Trans-Siberian Adventure

Chicago, 2013

In LAX airport; Chicago and daughter bound. Heaviness and unspoken sadness all around from the tragedy in Boston. No words.

Helping my daughter pack up her entire life/condo for her move to London. 2 air signs, both with Moon in Aries; we look like one of those high speed movies of the energiser bunny, fuelled on chocolate covered coffee beans.

Daughter's life boxed and ready to cross an ocean. Perhaps we aren't so different after all.

Except she does top me in the possessions department.

My Scottish Granny was oh so right about not wasting food... but it seems to be an ongoing blind spot, even for the supposedly ecologically aware.

In the United States, 40 percent of food goes uneaten, says the Natural Resources Defense Council. That means almost half the energy, water, and land used in farming is wasted. What’s worse, the food that ends up in landfills — in some cities landfills are nearly half food waste, contributing to emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Full Moon Lunar Eclipse today; Taurus/Scorpio. For some of us, (we never have any doubt as to who we are), intensity of life is our truest calm.

Most splendid life. Today is a day of emotional brimming over with the wonder and magnitude of it all.

I dreamt that a maggot crawled out of a wound on my body and turned into a glass unicorn. The fathomless, luminous, fantastical ocean of the unconscious can on occasion make the awake world look like a rather muted speck by comparison.

I aspire to simplify.

Mongolian visa now firmly stamped in my passport; my personal version of "better than Xmas". I keep gazing at it as though it were the Mona Lisa.

I bought a new travel suitcase that turned out to have one little bum zipper. Instead of having me send it back for repair, the company wants me to mutilate it so badly that it could never be used again, send them photos, and they will send me a brand new one.

I find this quite disturbing, besides horribly wasteful, and a telling metaphor for the commercial practices of the times we are living in.

Seriously! For a Russian visa you have to list every single country you have been to in the last 10 years, with exact dates. It will take me an entire day to fill this thing out. Grrrrrrrrrrr....

Sometimes I look at the chaos in my little room and it actually makes me happy. It's a sign of a life in motion, and for that I can only feel gratitude.

My daughter is in Canterbury, England. 42 years ago I was an art student there, living with half a dozen others' in a tiny postage stamp of a terraced house, and regularly frequenting the Seven Stars Pub. Had my 1st wedding, (to my very 1st love), at the local registry office, and the wedding photos taken in front of the cathedral, like we were some kind of royalty.

Her visit there has stirred a thousand old buried memories like a flock of chirping birds rising from a seemingly serene and quiet forest.

How I love life's cycles.

How on earth do you return an email to sender... unopened?

Belarus: I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't even know it was an actual country. I'd better get informed, I mean it is actually on this tiny planet - and I'm on my way there in less than 6 weeks.

Delightful Pisces client, with Mars rising in Leo, describes herself perfectly as having a "whim of iron". Classic.

Just spoke to my dearest, almost completely non-techie, (barely any email even), friend in the UK, and asked her if she had an iPhone. Her answer, "I don't think so - would I know if I had one?"

This is a contender for the time, many years ago, when she came to the US and asked if we could go out and buy a film for the disposable camera she had brought with her.

A juicing day, followed by an evening of *moderate* wine-ing. In this quirky Mama's mind the perfect recipe for a childless Mother's Day; spent packing, purging, planning and day-dreaming... whilst listening to superb oldies, (e.g. the Incredible String Band, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn, Nick Drake and Donovan).

Life is Better than Grand.

The great challenge: packing a suitcase for 2 months of climates ranging from Siberian to Tropical, keeping it light enough for sprinting across train stations in order to make 12 minute connections, preferably without injury.

Sun's gone into Gemini, why say in just a few words what can be expanded into a book? Mercury is in his cheeky, chatty glory.

In 5 days I will be in England, sitting by the River Severn, watching the swans, hanging out with my warm and hilarious homeland peeps, with my daughter, meeting her beau, and no doubt sipping on some icy, bubbly, fermented liquid. I'm starting to get happy heart palpitations just thinking about it.

Just took my last walk, (for now), through the oak-studded, golden California hills; steeped in its history of Chumash Indians and Spanish Missions. On Saturday I will be wandering the green, flower-strewn meadows of Shropshire; the site of bloody Norman battles, and where young Charles Darwin held that very first insect in the palm of his hand.

Wherever we are, we are standing on a slumbering, fathomless volcano of history.

I just juiced every single thing left in my refrigerator that had even a remote propensity to be liquified. It's a bit like a cold, runny, vegetarian version of bubble and squeak.


Arrived in Heathrow right after a fire, so bedlam is an understatement. After several hours waiting in the slowest lines possible, my connecting flight was confirmed cancelled, (along with about 200 others). Myself and a few thousand other people were told we were pretty much on our own, and that every hotel in London was full. Managed to make my own way north to Shropshire, by tubes and trains, and a few very kind people assisting me to lug my stuff through elevator-less central London on a Bank Holiday Friday.

And now I'm in one of the places I love best on the planet, with some of the people I love best in the Universe.

Jet-lagged and happy.

Rain, rain, and more rain. Fish and chips drowned in vinegar. Mushy peas. Bournville chocolate.

The scent of a paraffin heater. Filling the coal shuttle.

A today of childhood flashbacks.

It's much warmer and drier in Siberia and Mongolia today than in Shrewsbury.

IPhone apps; the information addict's favourite drug of choice.

Driving across Wales, off to hike on the coast. Blindingly green, gorgeous... and ever so "welsh".

Just hiked 13 miles along the Pembrokeshire coast, a beautiful sunny day, and to say it was stunning would be an understatement. Now staying in a charming B&B overlooking a harbour, in a village so tiny Google can't find it. 12 more miles tomorrow. My camera battery is already almost dead from the 100's of photos already taken.

Latest tid-bit from someone who has done the trip I am about to embark on:"Making friends on the Trans-Siberian is easy, it’s staying sober that’s the hard part."

After taking a stroll through Doctor's Fields in Shrewsbury, (Darwin's birthplace and childhood home), a friend and I ran into a young man working on a documentary. He politely recruited our help, so I panned the camera in, as this mohican hairdo-ed guy rapidly transformed himself through donning a mini kilt, red lace top and full wig, and then introduced Darwin's home and history on film. He is apparently filming Shrewsbury's history as a cross-dresser, all as part of an art project.

What would Charles have thought of this? The mind quite simply boggles.

But he was another Aquarian, so he might just have chuckled.

It's a minor heat-wave here in the UK, and (as Mel puts it) suddenly there are acres and acres of pink flesh on show, with people positively wilting from the !sweltering! 70 degree weather. It's what we tropical creatures would call a mild day, and my Bali family would for sure be bundled in fleeces. Ain't everything so relative?

The very last visa needed, (for Belarus), will apparently be ready a mere 16 hours before I board the 1st train next week. That mysterious force that ever delights in keeping things taut, edgy and to the wire, is being extra rascally this time.

Swans, crooked timbered buildings with tiny doorways, church spires everywhere, the NHS, and forever being asked if I'm: "being served?"; just some of the things I love about Jolly Olde England.


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