Sunday, September 09, 2007

Journey to Cirencester

Entry for 6 September 2007:

Mick and I escape from an intense afternoon meeting with the teaching team of the new Counselling Psychology doctoral course. It’s hard going starting a new course, and it feels like there is always another crisis in the offing. We’ve covered a lot of ground in the three hours, but of course much is still left to do. But not by us, today. We are off to Cirencester (pronounced Sye’-ren-cester), and the conference of the British Association for the Person-Centred Approach (BAPCA), to put in some face time with our person-centred brothers and sisters!

South of Carlisle: Late sun is bright on the green hills, dotted with sheep, a few black ones among the white. The train passes through valleys above streams, follows the highway from time to time, but mostly taking its own path south.

Oxenholme: Japanese tourists board train. Mikio reports that Japanese tourists are expected to visit the Lake District, but that he found it boring. From the train, though, it is lovely in the late afternoon.

As we pass into northern England, the train begins to fill up with people heading south toward London.

It turns out we are not on a train journey, singular, but on a journey of many trains: four to be exact: Glasgow to Stafford; Stafford to Birmingham, Birmingham to Cheltenham Spa, and Cheltenham Spa to Kemble, until, at last, we are deposited in Kemble, a dark, deserted station apparently in the middle of nowhere. Mick phones a local taxi, who picks us up and proceeds to drive us at a high rate of speed down narrow, dark country roads with lots of a narrow one-lane bits, while listening to old Marvin Gaye songs on the radio. Fortunately, this doesn’t take very long, although it does seem longer than the 10 minutes it actually takes. The experience brings back memories of driving with my grandfather, a former race-car driver.

Finally, we are deposited at the Royal Agricultural College (which I keep wanting to call the Rural Agricultural College, because we are clearly out in the middle of nowhere). It’s after 11, and various person-centred people are sitting around in the warm evening drinking. One gets up, wobbling slightly, to direct us to the Tithe Barn, which is filled with more folks, also drinking and somewhat wobbly and a bit disinhibited. It turns out that they have already had two community meetings, so it’s not just the alcohol that makes them wobble! This is my introduction to BAPCA.

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