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My last day in Longtown. I almost don’t want to leave the place. I almost feel like a local here, like I belong here. But I also want to get home. The realization that came out of this mixed feelings is that I now have a special home – this village in England is a village I will always think of as ‘my home in England.’
I visited Sylvia at her house, I had got gifts for them from India – South Indian Coffee (powder). I bid my farewell after thanking them for their kindness. I did a mini photoshoot of Artur in the farm, he was sporting the gift I had got for him. ‘Angavastram,’ and tied it around his head as Indian farmers would wear it. The Angavastram is an essential part of a South Indian farmer’s clothing. It was so exciting to see Artur in it.
And then Artur clicked pictures of me. But as I was posing, I think I saw the remains of a rat/bird outside the caravan, ‘Tsk-Tsk’ was upto something last night.
But Tsk-tsk is always upto something, so no surprises there. One couldn’t have suspected for she was all curled up inside the caravan. This is the closest I have been to having a cat for a pet. Gosh, I will miss Tsk-tsk too!
Artur says ‘pose’ and I do.
Now, did I tell you that my backpack is super heavy and I had two? Did I also tell you that the nearest bus stop to the farm is 30 minutes away? That meant Artur and I had to walk with heavy luggage until the stop.
Did I tell you that Sylvia offered to drop me at the bus stop one of the days when I was walking on the road leading to the bus stop? She’s really that kind and sweet. I was sure she wouldn’t giving Artur and me a lift to the bus stop. I only needed to ask her, but I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea. I didn’t want to cause them any slightest bit of trouble. As I was thinking, I asked Artur if he was coming to the bus-stop with me. ‘I am coming to Carlisle with you’ was his reply – it delighted me.
As Artur and I spoke, there was a knock on the caravan’s door. Now Artur, has had absolutely no visitors to the caravan. I guessed it would be Sylvia. And it was. She had come up to the caravan to ask if I she can drop me at the bus stop ‘if you don’t mind’ she said. My heart expanded with gratitude at her gesture.
This is sweet Sylvia
As I stood on the doorstep of the caravan, Artur picked up his guitar and played a quick ‘goodbye tune’ for me.
Off we went in Sylvia’s SUV, last time (until next time) on this road between The Fauld and Longtown centre, a road I had come to love.
I had a few hours in Carlisle before my train to London which was at 1440. Artur and I went back to our favourite John Watt & Sons coffee shop. While here Artur and I spoke a lot on a lot of things, he made me laugh, shared stories as he did the last four days. The most touching story Artur shared is that of a bull. “You know that bull was strong enough to harm all of us there, but it didn’t. It was afraid, it was sorry – a bullet was shot right through it’s chest but it stood there saying … sorry, please don’t beat me, I don’t know how I have wronged.. I am sorry”… Of all the stories Artur shared with me, this one teared me up. This guy in the picture below is the best Belarusian story-teller I will ever know.
I had a feeling I needed to get to the railway station though it was only 1215. Artur had to leave soon anyway as he needs to be back on the farm by 1500. As much as I found it hard to leave Carlisle, I had a strong feeling that I need to be at the station.
As we left John Watt & Sons, Artur made a pact, a deal. Soon, I will write a book, publish it and gift Artur a copy and Artur will gift me a parrot. In other words, it meant – ‘we will make our dreams come true.’
When your instinct says something strongly or repeatedly – LISTEN TO IT. I did when it asked me to get to the station. It so happened that my train at 1440 was cancelled and there was a train on the platform just then which was leaving for London and which I could take, it was only 1240 then. I rushed, made it into a business class coach and the doors closed.
Artur stood outside. I realized, we didn’t have a proper goodbye – no hug. The train left and Artur stood there, waving. I met him as a stranger only four days ago and bid farewell as a friend, pained at leaving.