Some friends are visiting the area. All the way from Sicily. All the way from Turkey. All the way from Cyprus. Staying at a hotel in Walsall. Close friends. Part of an international project with some work to do …
But we set out on a mission: to find the churchyard where former Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is buried. Led Zeppelin – never my favourite band from a time where loyalties were tribal: so the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin? Mod or rocker? And me? Loved the strutting arrogance of the Stones and I’d heard Made in Japan at a biker’s party – my loyalties were forged.
But Led Zeppelin were legendary*, among other things, for being loud. And especially Bonham: no nonsense, intimidating, aggressive, big and demanding. Born and raised in the West Midlands. Eventually we find the church (St Michael and All Angels at Rushock ); surrounded by sweeping agricultural farmland: barley, pastures … and quiet. A few martins slipping through the blue skies. Otherwise, if you stop talking the only sound you can hear is your own breathing. This provokes some interesting thoughts about life, death he nature of eternity and – once photos have been taken and tokens left … where to go next.
… and back again, to the magical mixture of clean, high air, friends (old and new), chemical free beer, home brewed schnapps and to-die-for cakes.
To Linz via a Germanic-efficient and very dramatic “go-around” (aborted landing) at Frankfurt’s massive hub. Arriving late at the “Blue Danube” airport. Which must have disrupted the lives of people who were collecting me … though you would not know it from their greetings.
Life moves on different wheels here. The pace is human and addictive, relaxing and energising. People are friendly first, ask questions later: no pressure, smiles are big, generosity bigger.