Glastonbury Tor picture inspired by ‘Tor Magic’, a photograph by Bernard White.
‘It’s funny really,’ said Dave, ‘but I’ve never been able to give him a name. I think it’s because I haven’t been able to talk to him – vocally, that is. Most people talk to cats and dogs and horses, some even adopt different voices when they do so, but the rabbit is silent and doesn’t meow or bark. He’s like a solemn little brown monk or holy man who’s taken a vow of silence and to talk
to them, when you know they can’t respond, seems – I don’t know – disrespectful, somehow. But sometimes he just sits there on his big back feet, little nose all a-twitch, and looks at me with those big, brown, unblinking eyes, and suddenly an answer will come to me, something I’ve been chewing over for a while and not getting to the bottom of. Now, I’m not saying that the rabbit telepathically communicates with me or anything freaky like that; more like he’s like an aid to meditation, rather like a yogi would use a candle or the symbol ‘Om’ during tatrak.
The festival was long over and the police were keen to move on the few stragglers remaining. Dave sat on the grassy bank squinting in the hot sun. The non-furry one of his companions was listening intently and petting the rabbit around the silky fur just under the ears. ‘Well, he’s certainly the cutest rabbit I know,’ she said, ‘not that I’ve known many; we always had cats for
pets in our family’. Glancing up she added quickly, ‘Well, we’d better make tracks before Mr. Plod over there throws us out.’
Dave scooped up the rabbit and popped him into the top of his rucksack; one ear was just visible through the rouched string at the top.
´Doesn’t he mind being in there?’ asked Kallis, a concerned furrow between her black brows.
‘Naah,’ said Dave, ‘he’ll probably have a snooze now.’
They set off on foot towards the inviting prominence that was Glastonbury Tor : an intriguing couple, although to most of the locals inhabitants of the area, one festival-goer looked pretty much the same as another, and just as unwelcome too, most of the time. Dave was tall and thin, wiry would be the word really. His hair was light brown but shone reddish in the sunlight. He wore very muddy boots, camouflage trousers and a battered trench coat with the rucksack blocking
most of the back view. A grubby blue sleeping bag was furled and hung loosely from the straps on the back. Kallis was petite with long, raven black hair and green eyes ringed with black kohl. Silver rings and chains glinted in the sunshine. Her doc martens were decorated with small flowers and were purple in colour and a good deal cleaner than Dave’s.
Dave stuck his thumb out at passing cars but knew really that this was a pretty fruitless exercise. Most passing cars were local and would not dream of giving a lift to a smelly and muddy hippy who probably had all sorts of drugs and God-knows-what-else on him. Probably on her own Kallis would have had a better chance of a lift, especially with any passing lorry drivers. Still, it was a
nice morning and the sight of the Tor, which was really only a few miles away, cheered them both.
Kallis had met Dave when she nearly stood on the rabbit, whilst making her way back from the rather unpleasant festival toilets. Dave had been lying on his back, asleep or unconscious, it was hard to tell. The rabbit had been busy nibbling grass, at peace with the world, when a small, purple boot nearly took off his bob-tail. The rabbit hadn’t squeaked or anything, but Dave had sat bolt upright as if it had been him that had nearly got the boot. Kallis had petted the rabbit and cooed over him, and Dave had smiled at the striking girl with her true black hair and a friendship had been struck.
Now the festival was over and it had been agreed that they would explore the town of Glastonbury (the festival was actually in the village of Pilton, and not Glastonbury itself, as anyone local to the area would tell you). Both Dave and Kallis wanted to climb the Tor, which towered over the Somerset levels and had watched over the festival itself since Michael Eavis’ idea had taken hold, 30 odd years before.
The road to Glastonbury took them past a couple of country pubs with signs outside advertising pub lunches and special deals of the day, then wound slowly uphill, past a public school playing field and finally along Chilkwell Street, where there was a sign pointing ‘To the Tor’. Dave and Kallis turned up into the shady lane, over the fence at the end and then followed the well- worn track that started the climb up to the Tor. A few cows looked up at them, then looked away with bored, grass-filled faces. It was a Monday, so not many people were around; they passed only a jolly grey-haired lady being pulled along by a rather large reddish-colour dog. She gave them a cheery, ‘Good morning! Beautiful day!’ Kallis answered her politely; Dave just gave his usual grin. The view was already panoramic – you could see where the sea was, if not the sea itself and Wales stood proud and, well, Welsh, on the other side of the English Channel. Glastonbury and Street spread out at the foot of the Tor, the main road and by-pass busy with the morning traffic that they couldn’t hear. All was quiet as they followed the concrete steps that wound around and up to the top.
The remains of St Michael’s Chapel stood at the top. It was just the bell tower really; the rest had fallen in an earthquake many moons ago. Dave and Kallis walked around the tower, looking out at the West Country spread beneath them. The sun was getter higher and the day was getting warmer. There was a large, flat direction finder and Dave sat on this, legs crossed beneath him. He undid the top of his rucksack and the rabbit hopped out and bobbed around sniffing the grass and twitching his nose. Soon he began to nibble on the grass. Dave rolled a cigarette and blew grey smoke into the air, blinking up into the blue sky. Kallis danced around, happy to be at the top of the world, rushing from one side of the Tor to the other, hiding inside the tower itself, reading the information plaques and the graffiti, avoiding the smelly corners and the cowpats. No one else was up there; no drumming, drinking ‘alternatives’; no tourists with binoculars and guide books; no local dog walkers; just a moment of quiet and the Tor to themselves. Perfect.