Going home: Dave’s Rabbit chapters 24 & 25

 

Tor Tile

Ceramic picture tile of Glastonbury Tor. I made this a while ago when I was still attending ceramic classes. The frame is based on the mirror frame in ‘Friends’. You can see it has got a crack – this may be due to a cat accident….The original painting I did for this chapter didn’t work and I tore it up in a temper (haven’t done that in a while ) 🙂

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

The next morning Kallis was on her mobile phone early, calling the airline and arranging a flight. There was a seat available on the afternoon flight and Kallis booked it. She packed her bag and had a quick shower, scrubbing the Nile out of her hair and skin. She thought about leaving a note, but decided against it. She didn’t know quite what to say. Kallis let herself out of the apartment quietly. Nobody was up. She managed to find a passing taxi and headed off to the airport, knowing she would be early but just wanting to feel she was on her way. ‘I can sit in a café there until my flight,’ Kallis thought. Once there, with a coffee and some toast in front of her, she texted her friend Mel. Mel texted her back straight away that she would pick her up from Bristol. Then Kallis changed her mind and decided that she would get a bus to Glastonbury  and texted Mel back again. ‘I want to see Dave,’ Kallis decided.

It was a long morning at the airport. Kallis just sat and thought through what had happened to her. She wondered how she hadn’t seen what was coming. ‘That woman in the market was right,’ she thought, ‘but I survived the bad event and I’m o.k.’
How good people are, thought Kallis. Judy would have done anything to help me last night and she had never met me before. The kindness of strangers. Kallis pondered upon this and thought she would send Judy a long e mail very soon and thank her again.

Eventually, the flight was called and Kallis was on her way home. The five hour flight seemed endless and the turbulence woke Kallis several times. On one occasion she was embarrassed when she realised that she had been crying in her sleep. She thought about her father a lot and remembered how she had heard his voice in her head, guiding her up towards the water’s surface. ‘He died a long time ago but he lives on in my mind,’ thought Kallis, ‘and in times of need he is there for me.’ It was a comforting thought.

Once in Bristol, Kallis rang Mel. ‘So, Cairo not all you thought it would be?’ asked Mel.
‘No. Not really. Have I got a lot to tell you.’ And Kallis told her the whole thing while she was waiting for the bus.
‘Bloody hell, Kal, come on back to Newport. Don’t go chasing off to Glastonbury again.’
‘No, no, I’ll be o.k. I want to find Dave. Then I’ll come back.’
‘But, Kal, come on, be reasonable. You’ve had a bad time. You need to be here with your Mother, with me.’ Melanie pleaded with her friend.
‘I’ll call you soon, the bus is here.’ Kallis hung up.

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

Kallis arrived back in Glastonbury at a very late hour. It was dark and the streets were quiet and empty and shining with rain from the last downpour. She got off the bus, breathing in the cool night air. It was a relief after the oppressive heat of Cairo. She headed over to The Travellers. Luckily they had a free room and she checked in for the night. Kallis was exhausted and jet lagged and still in a bit of shock. She spent a fitful night full of strange, disturbed dreams, a mixture of drowning and running away from something horrible.

Back in Newport, Charlotte was up early and on the phone to her work colleague, Jill.
‘Jill? Listen, sorry to bother you so early but I’ve got a bit of an emergency with my daughter and I need you to cover my classes today. Would you mind?’
Jill of course agreed and the work for her students was sent by e mail. Charlotte quickly drank down a cup of coffee and set off in her Citroen Diane.
She had got a phone call from Kallis’ friend, Melanie, last night and was feeling slightly alarmed. Melanie, she felt, had not given her the full story but it seemed that Kallis was back from Cairo and was staying in Glastonbury, and something awful had happened to her. Charlotte had tried calling Kallis’ mobile but had just got a message that the phone was not switched on.
‘I don’t suppose you ever stop worrying about your child,’ thought Charlotte. ‘I had thought that Kallis might be settled down with children of her own by now, but, still, there’s time for that yet.’
Charlotte turned onto the suspension bridge over the Bristol Channel. It was a grey and misty morning and there were lots of lorries about, slowing her progress. Charlotte tried to concentrate on her speed but it was hard. She just wanted to be there with Kallis and to know she was ok. Trying to remember Glastonbury, Charlotte thought she had been there once before but usually she stopped over at Street, the town next to Glastonbury. There is a large factory discount place there called ‘The Village’ and Charlotte had spent many a happy shopping afternoon there with her friend Jill.
Charlotte sped down the M5 and turned off at Bridgwater, blasting along the ‘A’ road, swerving to miss a lone fox in the road, and on through to Street where the Tor was visible through the morning mists as she drove over a small bridge and past a sign welcoming her to Glastonbury, ‘The ancient Avalon’.

Kallis woke in the morning starving hungry and realised that she hadn’t eaten very much the day before. She headed across to the café over the road and ate a hearty veggie breakfast and drank lots of coffee. On her way back to ‘The Travellers’ Kallis spotted a tall, blonde lady heading into the reception area. ‘She looks a lot like my Mum’, thought Kallis. As Kallis walked in she realised that it was, indeed Charlotte.
‘Mum!’
‘Kallis! Thank goodness.’ The two women embraced.
‘Mum, what are you doing here? How did you know where I was?’
‘Well, Melanie rang me, of course, and don’t be angry with her. She’s very worried about you. She wouldn’t tell me what was going on so I thought I’d better and come and find you.’
‘Oh, Mum, I didn’t want to worry you. Well, Cairo didn’t work out for me. Come on, let’s walk and I’ll tell you about it.’
They headed off slowly through the town. It was still quite early and not many people were around. Kallis told her mother the whole story; she didn’t really have to time to think of an edited version. Anyway, once she started talking, the words just all came out.
‘Oh, Kallis, darling. Look, never mind, you were brave and you dealt with the situation, and you are o.k. Shamiela was pleased to see you and in a way it is nice that you got to see her again.’
Both women were quiet for a moment, lost in thought. They had walked a long way and were standing by an old building that had a small field with apple trees and some Jacob´s sheep in it. One of the sheep had worked out a technique for scrumping the apples. In spite of its large woolly bulk, it was able to stand and balance on its hind legs and thereby reach the apples on the lower branches. It looked both strange and comical. Kallis and Charlotte both started to laugh at it. It broke the sombre mood.
‘Kallis, I can’t believe you jumped in the Nile. It’s a miracle you got back out ok! Thank goodness for that Judy. What a thing to do, although I agree the alternative was not attractive either. I wonder what Shamiela told Yusef when he came home.’
‘Yeah, well, she would side with him and try and keep the peace, I suppose.’
‘I hope she had a go at him. In fact, from what I remember about Shamiela, he would have been in a whole lot of trouble.’ Charlotte rubbed her eyes. ‘What a morning! But I am glad I came, darling, and found out what had happened to you. Why don’t you come back with me now and spend a few days at least, in Newport? And we probably ought to get you checked out by a doctor; the Nile is none too clean’
‘Mum, I feel fine, really I do. And I want to stay here and try and find Dave.  I feel he will understand what has happened to me and …well; there are some other things I need to talk to him about. But I’ll ring you soon and let you know my plans.’
They started to walk back to the town.
‘Well, knowing you, Kallis, I don’t suppose I will be able to change your mind. Make sure you ring me, mind, and if you feel strange get to a doctor straight away.’
‘I will, Mum, don’t worry. It’s been good to talk to you and I am glad you came over to find me.’

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The Crossed Pistols Inn, Glastonbury: Dave’s Rabbit Chapters 8 & 9

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The Crossed Pistols Inn, Glastonbury. Loosely based on ‘The Riflemans Inn’ 🙂

CHAPTER EIGHT

After the late night out on the town, Kallis awoke with a small but definite hangover. Rolling over, she checked the clock; it was just after nine. Kallis headed down to the kitchen and put the kettle on, drinking orange juice straight from the carton she located in the fridge.

‘Kallis!’ Her mother appeared, clutching her dressing gown around her. ‘For heavens sake, how many times have I told you NOT to drink from the carton?! SOOO unhygienic.’

‘Sorry, Mum. I’ve got the kettle on though.’

Her mother sat down at the table. ‘Mmm, well, did you have a nice night out with Melanie? Where did you go?’

‘Oh, um, well, Mel cooked me the usual pasta and then we just went to a few bars.’ Kallis filled two cups with the boiling water and dunked two teabags in them.

‘I didn’t fancy a club or anything. It was just nice to see Mel again and catch up on all the news and gossip.’

‘What are your plans now, sweetheart? Are you going to be applying for some more jobs?’

‘Yes, of course Mum, but not just yet. I’m ok for money you know; I’ve been sensible.’

Her mother looked at her closely. ‘Well, Kallis, sweetheart, I’m sure you have but you must start thinking about what you are going to do. I’m sure you don’t want to stay here in Newport  – not after the excitement of London?’

Kallis added milk to the tea.  ‘Mum, I know I’m changing the subject here but, well, I’ve been thinking lately about when we used to live in Cairo. Do you ever hear from ….Shamiela?’

Her mother continued to stir her tea. She was silent for so long Kallis was afraid she had upset her. ‘Mum, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned her.’

‘No, no, it`s ok, you took me by surprise that’s all. You’ve never really asked me anything about her or our old life in Cairo. Actually I DO hear from Shamiela: not very often and not for a few years but, yes, she’s ok, remarried and to a guy with lots of money from the sounds of it. They’ve got an apartment in Zamalek and a farm outside the city as well. All very nice from the sounds of it. She has a son too. I’m happy for her. She actually was pregnant when – well, when your Dad was still alive but she miscarried. So, – Charlotte sat back in the chair and pushed her hair back from her face – ‘I AM glad she has a son. I think he’s called Yusef. He’d be in his twenties now.’

‘Mum, I’d like to go and see her. And him. Visit Cairo again. Do you think she would want to see me?’

‘Well, Kallis, you ARE full of surprises this morning. Um, yes, Shamiela would welcome you, I am sure, she was always very respectful to me and adored you. I can give you an address but I don’t have any phone numbers, I’m afraid.’

Her mother was rummaging in the kitchen drawer. Yes, here it is – the last letter I had. Let me see, dated some 3 years ago. Sent with an Eid card.’

Eid was the celebration at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims don’t eat or drink from sun up to sun down.

Kallis took the letter from her mother and read:

Dearest Charlotte,

I so hope this finds you happy and well, and your beautiful daughter, Kallis. Maybe Allah has blessed your life with a new husband and more beautiful children. I hope with all my heart it is so.  
My husband is a kind man and I can ask for no more. Our son Yusef is a fine and strong man, I hope soon he will take a wife and we will be blessed with grandchildren.
I send this to you with love to let you know I still hold you both dear in my heart at this happy time of festivities, when the end of our long fast is here. Think of me and remember us when you see the new moon of Islam shine bright in the night sky.

Praise be to Allah,

Shamiela El Khallil

There was an address at the bottom of the card.

CHAPTER  NINE

Kallis was sitting on the bus, talking to Mel on her mobile phone. ‘So, I booked the plane ticket and I’m off! Going to Glastonbury tonight, staying at ‘The Traveller’s’, then straight to Bristol airport in the morning and it’s a direct flight through to Cairo.’

‘Ok, let me get this straight.’ Mel sighed. ‘You are flying off with no idea if this woman will want to see you and no idea where you will be staying when you get there….’

‘No, no,’ Kallis interrupted her, ‘I‘ll go the Marriott hotel.They’re sure to have a room and if not I can always find another hotel. Its only for a few days, Mel, I bought an open-ended ticket so I can fly back when I want, as long as there is a seat on the flight. It’s what I want -and need- right now. If Shamiela doesn’t want to see me or I can’t find her, I shall just enjoy Cairo. Have a look around, reminisce, soak up the atmosphere.’

‘Well, mate, take care, won’t you, and ring me when you get there and if you want me to pick you up from Bristol, I will, no problem. Wish I was going with you!’

‘Thanks, Mel, and don’t worry. Speak soon.’

Kallis rang off and watched the countryside passing. She was remembering that she had travelled this way before and still had no answer as to how. Kallis felt excited and scared all at the same time. She was going to be in Glastonbury again this afternoon: a chance to look for Dave, then a taxi to Bristol airport early in the morning. Kallis checked her small bag again. She had a few things borrowed from Melanie, and a few bits and pieces, clothes and toiletries purloined from her mother. Her ticket had been purchased over the internet and she need only to show her passport at the airport. Kallis tucked her feet up underneath her and put her head down on her knees. She wondered where to go first to look for Dave, maybe the local bars and cafes. Anyway, it would be fun to have a look around the town of Glastonbury.

The Badger Line bus pulled into the side of the road by the town hall and Kallis thanked the driver as she alighted. ‘The Traveller’s’ was clearly visible across the road next to ‘The George & Pilgrims’.  The town was colourful, with lots of red and yellow flowers in hanging baskets and big planters. Kallis walked over to the guest house and checked in at the friendly reception desk. It was a basic and cheap but cheerful sort of place. You shared the bedroom with 3 others (same sex!) and the toilets and showers were down the end of a long dark hallway. Kallis had a quick wash and packed her things into a locker and headed off into the town. It was after one o’clock and Kallis thought she’d try a café first for some lunch. There was a friendly-looking one at the bottom end of the town advertising vegetarian food on a chalk board outside. Kallis went in and sat at a table in one of the large bay windows. Soon a waitress appeared, a pretty black girl with baby dreads and a big smile.

‘Hi there, what can I get you?’

Kallis ordered the veggie lasagne and a cup of camomile tea.

‘Excuse me,’ Kallis asked her as she came back with the food, ‘but is there a really local pub here, the sort of place where the barman knows everybody? I’m looking for a friend and have no idea where he might drink really.’

‘Well, – the waitress scratched her cheek thoughtfully with her pencil – ‘depends on what sort of person your friend is. If he’s a local-lived-here-all-his-life kind of chap then he might hang out in ‘The Bull’; on the other hand if he’s a traveller type or living the ‘alternative’ type  lifestyle you could always try the ‘The Crossed Pistols’.

Kallis laughed. ‘Yeah, I guess you could say he fits into the latter category! Thanks a lot; I’ll try later. Which end of town is it?’

‘OK, walk to the top of the High Street and turn right along Chilkwell Street and keep going. It’s a bit of a walk but you can’t miss it’.

Kallis finished her lunch and then spent a happy afternoon perusing the shops in the High Street. Kallis looked at all the crystals, Indian beads, candles, and toe bells, went into a shop for witches and looked at scrying mirrors, cauldrons and do-it-yourself spell packs; she bought a ‘Big Issue’ from a friendly chap in a bobble hat, lingered in a beautiful shop that had a tinkling fountain inside and crystals set into the floor, bought some chocolate from the organic and  health food shop, watched as a half naked guy sat by the pinnacle busking with a home-made didgeridoo, and peered into the dark doorway of a shop offering to pierce or tattoo any part of your body. Such was the range of things to buy and do in Glastonbury. After a while she headed up to the top end of the town and turned into Chilkwell Street. After about ten minutes’ walking she spotted ‘The Crossed Pistols’.

The pub was quite empty as Kallis walked in. A juke box blinked coloured lights in the corner of the room and a large fireplace was filled with pine cones in the absence of a fire. It appeared to be a very old building, with large wooden beams and a flag-stone floor. The tables were made from roughly hewn wood. Kallis walked across to the bar.

Nobody seemed to be about.

‘Hello? Are you open?’ Kallis sat down at the bar. Upstairs she heard a door slam and the thump of footsteps coming downstairs.

‘Awright? Sorry, didn’t hear ‘e come in. As ‘e can see, we’m a bit quiet s’addernoon, thought I might get me bit of a nap!’ The barman was a young chap, probably in his early twenties. He was tall and skinny and was sporting a demi Mohican hair style. ‘What’ll I get you?’

‘Mmm,’ -Kallis wasn’t sure what to have- ‘what’s the local drink here? Cider, isn’t it? Perhaps I should try that.’

‘Here’.  The barman pulled her a little bit in a glass, ‘Try it first. Not to everyone’s liking’.

Kallis took a sip.

‘Oh. Not sure’. Kallis pulled a face. ‘Maybe I could mix it with lemonade?’

‘Nah. Try it with Vimto. That’s a popular mix ‘ere’.

‘O.K. Cider and Vimto it is’, said Kallis, bravely.

‘So, where you from, then?’ The youth looked Kallis up and down with an appreciative eye. ‘Not local?’

‘No. Brought up over in South Wales but, well, currently travelling, I suppose you could say!’ Actually, this wasn’t really true, as Kallis still had her flat in London, but she felt brave and adventurous and, well, she was off travelling, wasn’t she?

‘Actually, I’m trying to get in contact with a friend. I wondered if he ever came in here. He’s called Dave and he travels around, doing odd carpentry jobs. He’s kind of tall and skinny with reddish hair’

‘Ahhh…’ The barman scratched at his stubbly chin. ‘You could ask could Acker out the back. ‘e sometimes ‘as someone help him with the chicken sheds.’

‘Oh, great, is he out there now?’

‘Most likely, yes. Hang on. I’ll give him a shout.’ The barman went through to a back room and bellowed, ‘Acker!!!’

‘Wot?’

‘Some pretty young thing ‘ere to see thee.’

‘Hoo, hoo, my lucky day, eh?’ Acker appeared, rubbing his large red hands on a rather grubby looking towel. He was at least sixty but hard to tell really, his face friendly and ruddy cheeked, well weathered. He was wearing a string vest over a large beer belly and his trousers appeared to be held up with a bit of binder twine.

‘So, my young’un, you buying ould Acker a drink, then?’

‘Ah, yes, what would you like?’

‘Pint ‘o zider, me dear, if ‘ee don’t mind’.

The barman winked at Kallis as he pulled the pint for Acker.

‘So. What can oi do for YOU, me pretty maid?’ enquired Acker as sipped from his pint.

‘Well.’ Kallis was all smiles. ‘I’m looking for a chap called Dave. Does carpentry and odd jobs and I wondered if you might know him’.

‘Well, now me dear, does this Dave ‘appen to ‘ave a rabbit with ‘im by any chance?’

‘Yes! Yes!’ Kallis was excited now. ‘That’s him!!!’ Have you seen him lately? Do you know where he is?’

‘Well, as it ‘appens, he were here a few days ago. Left a bag here as well, if oi remember rightly. Think ee’s gorn out Dunstan’s farm to do work there this week.’

‘Oh, that’s great. Thank you. He’ll be coming back here, will he? Can I leave a note for him here with you?’ Kallis looked from Acker to the barman.

‘Sure, no problem.’

‘Thing is, me dear,’ Acker continued, ‘this bag he left isn’t his. Said a friend had gorn off and left it with him. Would ‘n ‘appen to be yours now, would it?’

Kallis couldn’t believe her luck. ‘It might well be, yes, can I see it?’

Acker nodded at the barman, who disappeared upstairs. There was the sound of something large being moved, a crash and then he appeared again. It was Kallis’s rucksack.

‘Oh, it’s mine alright. Thank you SO much! What luck to find this pub and you guys. This is just brilliant.’

‘At your service, me dear’. Acker bowed dramatically and returned to his pint.

Kallis took out a notepad and a pen and scribbled out a note for Dave.

Dear Dave,

I came back to Glastonbury to try and find you. Have been over in S.Wales and  how I got there is a story I cannot possibly write down- it’s really crazy stuff! But please believe I didn’t mean to go off and leave you like that. Anyway, thanks so much for leaving my bag here for me. I am off to Egypt (yes, really!) tomorrow (Friday) morning, but should be back in a week or less. I will come back to this pub so please leave me a note here or a message where I can find you. I would really like to see you again and tell you all about my adventures.

Love to you and the rabbit,

Kallis X

Festival boots: Dave’s Rabbit, Chapter TWO

Kallis’ festival boots – used my own boots as a model, just added  purple and a few flowers 🙂

CHAPTER TWO

‘I’m getting hungry,’ said Kallis, ‘it must be nearly lunchtime. Is there any of that bread left over?’

‘Yeah, there’s loads of stuff left in my sack,´ said Dave, stubbing out his smoke. 

They spread out their sleeping bags on the ground and Dave emptied the contents of his rucksack out onto the ground : some French stick, still in the brown bag, some apples, tomatoes, black chocolate, a half empty carton of orange juice. Dave broke the bread in half and handed this to Kallis, along with an apple. Dave ate his noisily and with great relish. Kallis nibbled her share slowly. Dave regarded Kallis thoughtfully.

 ‘So, where do you call home, then?’ he inquired in his slow, sincere way.

 ‘Well.’ Kallis wondered where to begin. ‘I was born in Egypt, my Dad was Egyptian but Mum is from South Wales. Mum met Dad when she was teaching at an international school in Cairo. They fell madly in love, and in spite of the disapproval of both families, she converted to Islam and married him – and had me nine months later. It was all going swimmingly for about 5 years until Dad bowed to family pressure and took a second, local wife. Of course, Mum was horrified but couldn’t leave. In Egypt you need your husband’s consent to travel out of the country. Dad wouldn’t let her go. It was me, you see. Mum would have done a runner if not for me. Two years down the line and my father gets killed by a motorbike whilst trying to cross a main road. After that, his family are more than happy to see the back of Mum, although there was a tussle over who should have me. In the end the British Consulate stepped in and Mum was allowed to leave the country with me. I’ll never go back though.’

 Dave raised an eyebrow. ‘Do you remember your father?

 ‘Oh, yes, quite well, I was eight when he was killed. Mum still loved him really, and Egyptian life was all I knew at that time. I was even fond of his second wife, Shamiela. It was like having a close aunt living with you. She had some sisters as well, although I don’t remember them quite so well. My dad was lovely really. He was only doing what was expected of him. He had just never warned Mum he might marry someone else as well!’ 

‘So where did you and your Mum go then?’ asked Dave. 

‘Oh, Mum took me back to her family in South Wales, to Newport, a town just outside of Cardiff. We stayed with her sister for a while, then got a place of our own. I settled into the local school and Mum got work there teaching. Mum still lives there now. Anyway, I quickly got used to a different culture and way of life. The Welsh were really nice to us, and even though I looked different at school, I never got teased or suffered any racist remarks, not that I knew about anyway!’ 

‘And after you left school?’ 

‘I did a degree initially at Cardiff Uni, then changed to London and finished up with a degree in Business Studies. I’ve been working for a company that sells pensions recently in London. Just a month ago I got fed up, quit and now….I don’t know really. Searching for something, you know, meaning of life, the Universe, trying to find myself and all that stuff.’

 ‘Hmmmm,’ was Dave’s only comment.

 Kallis was lost in thought for a while; she lay back on the sleeping bag and watched small clouds drift by.

 ‘How about you? What’s your life story?’

Kallis rolled over and looked at Dave. He was sound asleep, lying on his side, his rabbit curled by his stomach into a fluffy ball. Kallis regarded Dave for a while; the contents of his rucksack were still strewn around him. Idle curiosity made her start to pick things up: a small wooden box, sandalwood probably, a packet of Rizla papers, a cigarette lighter carved with the initials E.B. She wondered who E.B. was.  A glass bottle lay on its side. It was small and blue and shaped like a twisted shell. Kallis picked it up and fingered it thoughtfully. There was a liquid inside that half filled it. Kallis shook the bottle. It was a still liquid and quite viscous. No bubbles formed and the liquid moved slowly and smoothly , leaving a coating on the glass, rather like a thick rum might. There was a cork stopper. Kallis tugged this out with her teeth and sniffed. It was wonderful! It smelt like, well, like nothing she had smelt before. Imagine coconut and honey, but somehow mixed with creosote and made sweeter. It was definitely something to drink. It didn’t have that alcohol smell to it. It was more medicinal, Kallis decided.  Kallis looked at Dave. He was still sound asleep and had not moved at all. She put the cork back in the bottle and shook it again. The liquid caressed the inside of the glass again in a slow, thick wave, as it settled back in the glass. She was going to have to do it.  What was it a friend had once said to her?  ‘Try everything once except incest and rice pudding?´ Or something similar to that, anyway. Kallis eased the cork out for the second time. She let a drop drip onto her fingertip and inserted this into her mouth.

‘Mmmmm.` 

It tasted exactly as it smelt, in a way that coffee never quite does. Kallis upended the bottle and swallowed the contents, slowly, savouring it to the last drop, holding the bottle for a while upside down over her mouth, to ensure the last of it had slid out.  She lay back in the sun and was gone.

Glastonbury Tor: Dave’s Rabbit Chapter One

Glastonbury Tor picture inspired by ‘Tor Magic’, a photograph by Bernard White.

CHAPTER ONE 

‘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.