Posted by: Peace Day Pilgrim | July 21, 2009

Day 10: he lives in a house, a very big house, in the country

Today is my first rest day of the journey and Satish very kindly invited me to accompany him to Tapeley Park to meet with Hector Christie and George Monbiot. He had been invited to give a talk along with George to a small audience and decided it would be a good idea for him to introduce me and let me explain Waterpilgrim. A big thanks to Satish and Hector for making this happen. It was good to talk with the people at Tapeley about the issues and the walk.

Hector describes Tapeley Park as “The Sustainable Stately Home in the making”. He has broken with the traditional mould of Lord of the Manor in so many inspiring ways. He blockaded his farm during foot and mouth in order to save his herd of cattle. He has demonstrated and interupted the Labour Party conference. He has written about the state of the country and where it is going. He has even invited people who are trying to get back on their feet to live in his big house in return for 15 hours of work on the farm. He appears to be an excellent advocate for community and good sense. Yet, he owns most of the area. Again, one man owning so much when so many do not. Is it easier to be generous when you have a lot to give. Is it more impressive for someone with alot to give so much compared to someone with nothing giving their all? I was happy to meet with him briefly and enjoyed sitting in the large drawing room with so many, rain-soaked people, listening to the wise words of Satish and George, surrounded by priceless art next to graffiti murals! Surreal in some respects and perhaps in the future, people will reminisce about those times at Tapeley? I mostly admire Hector for standing up for what he believes irrespective of what other people think. This is a strength which must be rare in this country when we have a government performing actions that so many of us do not agree with and yet we let it carry on. Empowerment at grass-roots level is vital for the future of our humankind.

It was great to be joined by the Skinner family again. Layla, Ron, Amanda and Martha turned up to hear the talks and it was great to have another chance to thank them for the hospitality. It was good to meet Layla finally having been the person that offered her parents house up to a wandering stranger without a second thought. Lucie joined us shortly afterwards and we wandered through the gardens of Tapeley enjoying the kitchen garden, Italian terraced garden and Permaculture area. We discussed many things including critical mass, banning plastic bags and packaging and the campaigning that Ron had done in the local Safeway over GMO. Later I was delighted to meet Biddy who has done so much on the fight against GMO.

George Monbiot’s talk on denial was interesting and he made some good points for us all to take away. Again he pointed towards a balance. Too much denial and we miss reality. Too little and we become depressed and lose hope! For him, the balance allows him to find a way forward with optimism and yet remain aware of the truth.

Later, Lucie and I headed down to Widemouth Bay to meet with Jackie and Colin Pearce at the Shorething bed and breakfast. In fact, Jackie was the first person to offer me a place to stay many weeks before I left. She offers help for the CoastAlong for WaterAid team walking this stretch of the path and as soon as she heard about my walk she offered a place to stay for two nights, food and everything else I could wish for. They both treated Lucie and I so warmly and I can’t thank them enough.



  1. Hi Max

    What a great read. And you met my cousin as well – a small world.
    I am loving the wisdom that is coming out in your words – how liberating to not have the distraction of attachments.
    I wish you all the best of times and for many to be inspired by your actions. I am sorry I won’t be able to join you for any time. You are truly looked after by the universe

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