Sunday Sojourn – Glastonbury

Today I’m joined by the lovely Isabella May, who’s taking us on a trip to the mystical Glastonbury…

Isabella Doorstep Pav Pose (1)

What’s so special about the Town on the Ley Lines?

Glastonbury. A word which conjures up the most iconic of images: a mammoth music festival frequented by Kate Moss and her cronies in their version of ‘glamping’, the goddess-like Tor guarding the ancient isle of Avalon, crystals and incense, faeries and steampunk top hats, mud and wellies…

Why then doesn’t this very unique place feature more often in fiction? It’s something I pondered long and hard before writing my debut novel, ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’, and I still don’t have the answer. As a key part of the South West tourist trail, she offers the writer everything on a plate. Yes, this truly one-off destination has so much to offer the literary and film world (go on Paramount Pictures… you know you want to!). And that’s why I just had to give her a starring role in my book. In fact, I don’t think there could be a better backdrop to a story.

Maybe I am more than a little biased having lived in Glastonbury for much of my childhood – and a little beyond that too, but here’s what she brings to the mix, whether you’re a regular tourist or a creative type looking for ideas to ignite a spark:

1: Glastonbury is… quirky You’ll be hard pushed to find another melting pot where so many different walks of life effortlessly come together. Glasto is one of those few places in the UK that everyone feels they own a little piece of. It just is. From locals (townies) to those escaping city life, tourists to hippies, festival-goers to the famous, and goddesses to pagans.

glastonbury-857590_1920

2: Glastonbury is… magical Myths and legends abound here. Forget J.K Rowling and the Harry Potter studio tour. In Glastonbury every twist and turn reveals the mystical and the unexpected. Be it the wonder that is the Tor (and the never-ending hearsay as to why she was built), Arthur’s burial site, the story of the Holy Thorn, the tale of the spiritual trees, Gog and Magog… or indeed the treasure troves that are the Harry Potter-esque shops (the kind of places where you truly do feel like you are in a potion shop with witches and wizards), Glastonbury will blow your mind.

Here’s a little snippet from my novel to illustrate that:

Pavlova Book Cover

“As I rounded the corner onto Beckery, making my way home out into the open countryside and the starry night, I realised there were a lot of things I loved about the rural-ness of it all; the complete one-off-ness and chaos of the place. There really was nowhere else quite like it. 

Only in Glastonbury could you find a bookshop shelving every title from shamanism to transcendental meditation and then pop next door to the quaint tea rooms to read about faeries whilst feasting on a traditional cream tea, putting your hand up and miming ‘Awwrriigghh’ to Norman the Egg man and his re-stitched bag, as he trundled by in his eggshell grey Morris Minor van. 

Once you’d digested that, you could amble a few steps to a delicatessen to arm yourself with a litre of Scrumpy by recommendation of The Wurzels, and a block of the finest quality Cheddar to accompany it; all fuelled up for the incense, oil and candle trail. Here you could wonder in awe at the Harry Potter-esque specimens stocked in the medievally-styled shops; the Holy Grail of all things essential oil and herbal, before ruminating over the contrast of your purchases at arguably the best fish and chip shop on the planet. Should you still feel the pangs of hunger, the organic vegan cafes that fringed the High Street offered a plethora of hemp breads and spirulina-based smoothies. Still uninspired? You could become a Pagan for the day, go visit the Holy Thorn or Arthur’s remains.

And was there ever a more iconic and magical sight than the Tor moor-side? Her familiar bumps and contours running the length of her mound at sun set with the Brue beneath her becoming but a trickle, embraced by pale willows. That mysterious celestial quality of light only seemed to capture the ancient tower and the hill she guarded. One day presenting a canvas of lush velvet grass dappled with the occasional shadow, the next transforming her into a sombre Goddess frowning upon her subjects.”3: Glastonbury is… full of contrast One moment you are approaching this iced gem that is Somerset’s jewel in the crown via The Levels and the pale fringed, willowy banks of the River Brue, and the next you are witnessing Ed Sheeran busking impromptu outside the gates of St John’s church in the High Street. Another moment you are eating fish and chips in undoubtedly THE BEST fish and chip shop in the world, and half an hour later you can be at The Chalice Well, revelling in its holy water and wonder.

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4: Glastonbury is… freedom Nobody bats an eyelid here, quite frankly, if you feel the need to dress up as your favourite comic book super hero and strut your stuff far and wide. Glastonbury takes liberty to a whole new level. Which could also be why she and her outskirts attract Nick Cage, Johnny Depp – and the ilk; in their quest for a life incognito.

5: Glastonbury is… inspirational Forget St. Ives or any of the other eponymous centres for art and excellence. This little epicentre in the West Country is the real cauldron for creativity! Why? Because just about any scenario you can conjure up would be plausible here, making it a piece of the Rainbow’s End Cafe’s luscious carrot cake for you to pen that story/write those song lyrics/unleash that poem locked within.

And if that doesn’t convince you to visit Glastonbury, I don’t know what will!

About the book

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy. Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.  Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future. And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom… But will she escape before it’s too late?

About Isabella

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel… and her second novel, The Cocktail Bar, will also be published by Crooked Cat Books in early 2018.

You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author


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