Chapter 10 - Eel Pie DaysLife as a draft resisting hippie was becoming more tolerable. Most evenings we stayed up until the wee hours smoking incredibly strong three-paper joints of tobacco and hash and sucking on hash-stuffed chillums. Sometimes there were impromptu musical jams. Many could play, or attempted to play, guitar. We would all sing, until finally we lapsed into stoned reveries.
Those who had a lot of sexual frustration to work out organized a sex room. Despite my interest, I only visited the orgy room once in its heyday, and only as a voyeur. The unventilated room was so thick with the smell of spunk and sweat that it put me off, and I didn't have the confidence to perform in front of everybody.
And so the evenings and nights were spent in stoned bliss. I wouldn't get up until mid to late afternoon, and then I'd wander across the bridge to the Linton Cafe. It was a narrow workers' cafe which served healthy portions of bacon and eggs and toast and tea for only three shillings and sixpence. There was a small dining room upstairs, overlooking the alley leading up from the embankment and the bridge, and often the room was filled with Eel Piers eating their one meal of the day:
A gate in the hedges opened into a botanical gardens for a stately house, which was public property. There were three rectangular garden areas, bordered by high trees. A magnificent artificial waterfall splashed into a pond overseen by a statue of Venus surrounded by naked nymphs. Often I would sit in the lotus position beside a small fish pond and meditate on the beautiful scene.
Other days I would wander into the greenhouse, which had flowers blooming all year round. Sometimes I would follow the towpath a couple of miles into Richmond. It was a pleasant walk, and it led past old boats moored under weeping willows. Most days I found the walk idyllic, but occasionally I had a down day, and amplified by all the hashish even the ducks and swans and weeping willows wouldn't lift my spirits during the walk.
Sometimes I would take the back streets of Richmond, and enter the park by the back gate. Once into the park I felt free again, and would walk for hours. The park stretched for miles, and there weren't many other people on weekdays. Sometimes I would find a secluded spot and meditate, or take out my notebook and write poetry.
Eel Pie Dharma is protected by international copyright laws. Individuals may print off a copy of this work for personal use only to facilitate easier reading.