Rhyolite… And Really Naughty Cats!

35348030_256724055073009_6555514871440474112_nRhyolite is actually another member of the Jasper family, its alternative name being Leopardskin Jasper and derived from its intricate pattern of spots and rosettes, like a leopard’s fur coat.

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It has a directness about it that enhances our spiritual state but also encourages self-acceptance. It’s another crystal that brings emotional balance and stability, especially if you are prone to extreme mood swings.

Rhyolite brings its owner the ability and confidence to deal with tricky situations with calm and compassion in order to reach a quick solution. Who says a leopard can’t change its spots? This crystal paves the way for change and progress, removing doubts and obstacles from our past lives to show us a clearer way forward.

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Rhyolite is a useful crystal to help with healing skin conditions as it fortifies our natural resistance. It teaches us how to be happy within our own skins and also aids communication with the Animal Kingdom, on this plane and the spiritual.

Hmm…sometimes it doesn’t matter how often you ask, or how politely you phrase it, if a cat decides she’s going to do something – well, it’s going to happen. Simple. My girls have been absolutely full of hell this week, and yes, really quite naughty! I don’t know if it’s the sunshine, but the offences have ranged from opening other peoples’ letters, chewing the corner completely off the wardrobe door and beginning a new patch of wallpaper shredding. Mind you, Charlie’s back is healing nicely and if ripping wallpaper is the therapy she needed to stop over-grooming… what can I do…?

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Charlie has also invented a new compulsory game that all the cats have to play… basically it involves her hiding, being very quiet, and then when an unsuspecting victim passes, she leaps out – “Brrr-RRP!” scares the living daylights out of them and we all have to run away. I shudder as Ting rushes up the stairs in fright, streamers of carpet trailing from her claws…

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Ting… in meaningful conversation with the fish… 

Another recent favourite is disconnecting my partner’s speaker system, done with stealth and cunning as the wires are pulled out of the back so when he goes to play his music there is nothing but a faint hum…

Minor misdemeanours really… and not such much naughtiness as joyful expressions of normal cat behaviour. That’s what I say anyway, and then they can do something so unexpected… While I was ill, I managed to summon enough strength to put some bedding plants in, thinking a little gardening would be good therapy.

As usual, all the cats were watching me as I feebly scraped holes in the compost, pushing in petunias and coughing over geraniums. After observing me carefully for about five minutes, Charlie very sweetly brought me half a chewed leaf to plant…

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Bread.

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My mother’s freshly-made seeded bread

Looking back at this midpoint in my life, it’s funny to see how many markers are set in childhood, at least for me. By this, I mean how memories, smells, associations, images and even sensations like touch are ingested in early life, remembered both mentally and physically, and how they continue to have an emotional effect in later years.

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Brioche…with onion rolls on the right

When I was a little girl, we used to live in a village- a medium sized one, as it had its own little church and school – but most importantly, a bakery. Just across the road from our house, where it had been for years…

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Fig and walnut, sweet and rich…

I don’t know if it’s still there, I hope so, as it was the genuine article, big old bread ovens, kneading counters and proving trays, a real step back in time.

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Cheese and tomato flabread

And of course, the smell… that wonderful, evocative smell of bread baking, yeasty and warm, soul soothing and body nurturing.

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Wonderful artisan breads, thank you Alex for use of your photo

It was such a treat as a little girl to go carefully across the road with my mother and sister to collect the bread, choosing the great warm pillowy loaves, crisp and still holding the heat of the old ovens.

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Wholemeal…still warm… 

Then, at home, watching my mother break them open to reveal the complex textured inside, a miracle of tiny bready caves conjured by yeast, warm water and flour. A childhood memory layered with taste, smell and feel…

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A machine made cheese and onion loaf

This love of bread has stayed with me, and I am fascinated by the different varieties you can get nowadays…so essentially this is a food porn post… just look at that butter… melting…

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(I’m) Back… And Bacteria

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An interesting couple of weeks… not! Whatever I had became bacterial… I felt no better – in fact, distinctly worse – so I returned to my doctor.

As I sat in his room I couldn’t help but let a tear roll down my face (I hate being ill) as I miserably wheezed and spluttered at him.

Oh, that’s often the case with these bacterial infections,” he said cheerfully.

What?” I thought – overwhelmed by images of wriggling green rod-shaped single-celled organisms flooding my already labouring lungs…

I left the surgery, clutching a prescription for industrial strength antibiotics, of the tetracycline family no less, and some steroids to chase away the maracas-playing demons that seem to have taken up permanent residence in my chest cavity.

So, a little better then, despite the battalions of hairy wrigglers that marched in to colonise my body without so much as a by-your-leave or even wiping their feet… As you may have guessed, I hate being ill. I have a couple of physical issues that I chuck the usual painkillers and physiotherapy at, but having a germy sickness gifted to you and trying to get rid of it is something I don’t deal with very well.

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I can only put it down to the fact that when I was a little girl I had really bad asthma, so I suppose I associate the weakness of being ill with being a helpless child again, unable to control and unable to understand why my body wouldn’t behave without rendering me breathless, wheezing, aching, condemned to sit quietly in bed.

As a result, I learned to read quite early in life, giving me another much loved source of entertainment – no mobiles, computers, etc…I remember Alex asking me whether television had been invented then and replying somewhat indignantly – and being generally watched over by my cat Snoopy and the dogs. However, times and medications change, although asthma is a frightening condition if not controlled and on average, according to statistics from www.asthma.org.uk three people a day still die from this.

But now, I have set about vanquishing my unwanted and unwelcome bacteria (the friendly ones can stay) with ginger, turmeric, thyme, sage, steroids, antibiotics, cough medicine, throat sprays, crystals and cats… (Hypochondriac? Me? Not at all…) I think I feel better. Although Charlie is still giving me funny looks when she hears me breathing …

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Chest Infection…

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I know exactly when it’s going to start… a delicate wheezing like a mosquito trapped in my upper respiratory tract, a distant burning sensation in my chest, just behind my breastbone.

Then, the spread… a sickly sheen of sweat that slithers across my brow and collects along my ribs – I wipe it away and am instantly left freezing cold and shivering. Needle trolls take up residence in my joints and ply their craft, red hot sparks of pain grinding and crunching every time I move.

And the cough – oh the cough. A convulsive hacking, mucus bubbling, throat burning, lung rattling retch of pain that leaves me breathless and clutching my chest.

A brief respite – hunched miserably in the shower, letting the warm water run on my aching back and the steam ease the clench of infection from around my labouring lungs.

Heavy and tired… body like leaden sand… so tired you feel like you could dissipate molecule by molecule and sink into the floor.

Then sleep – pressed upright, feverishly waking every so often to cough and thrash and when morning comes, feeling strangely light and pressed out, dries and cracking and baked in pain.

Thank goodness for the beneficence of Aunty Biotics… her calming touch soothing away the pain, mopping up the mucus and restoring me to something like myself…

Fluorite, Friends And Family.

33384838_244632196282195_5819976450412904448_nAnother crystal worth a return visit, and although it’s always been one of Alex’s favourites, I’m still getting to know it… we are in the early stages of our friendship.

All types of Fluorite are protective and cleansing, they will shield you from negative outside influences and psychic manipulation – that friend who always has your back – and it helps to draw away anything stressful and restore order and discipline – think spiritual spa day with your best friend.

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Green… good for stomach disorders and absorbing negative environmental energies

Fluorite helps to sharpen intuition, giving you the confidence to trust your own judgement. It helps you to recognise and remove the old and stagnant patterns in your present life with kindness and empathy.

This crystal is useful for working with groups as it brings unity and purpose, while being stabilising and clarifying. Clear Fluorite is good for dentists’ visits (you can hit them with it – no, not really, it just helps to reduce pain, yours, not theirs…moving on…) and it also helps you to learn new information and process it.

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This piece of Clear is fascinating – the manifestation within changes constantly… sometimes it just has rainbows… 

Rainbow Fluorite brings its own special energy to the party, encouraging independent thought, mental agility and emotional well-being. Plus I like rainbows.

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A mixed bag of crystals then with a variety of beneficial qualities – rather like your average family.

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However, sometimes family doesn’t mean someone you are linked to by blood. Sometimes, a blood relationship counts for nothing and it can be as spiritually toxic as a septic flesh wound. Sadly then, we must admit defeat for our own sakes, and although we may always love that person and forgive what they did, or what they put you through, we can never actually forget and those memories continue to colour our responses towards them.

Sometimes, though, within your own family, you also find a friend, that person who just “gets” you. Friends and family both are my girly cats, they provide love and comfort (when they feel like it) and I provide cat food and unquestioning adoration, even as I pick up the scraps of shredded wallpaper…

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Guess the paw’s owner… 

They make me laugh, and they graciously put up with the things I sometimes ask them to do…

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The tiara may be plastic but the princess attitude is real!

And then there are human friends – they step in to fill the gaps that family can leave. That’s the wonderful thing about WordPress too – I’ve had some difficult times, but the support, love and friendship from people here has been equal to and above that of family.

For which I am humbled and grateful. Sincerely – thank you. And, of course, Love. Always.

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Clear and Rainbow, best of both with the symbol of eternal Love

Ghostly Guinea Fowl…

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Spot the birdie… 

I’m being haunted. And I don’t really know why – my conscience is relatively clear… although I was thinking about writing about my terrapins that my sister accidentally murdered when we were kids.

It began a couple of years ago, when I was walking back from the chemist at the top of the road, rather than my usual one. I crossed the road – safely – and went towards the cut through where I saw something totally different. And extraordinary.

It stepped out of a hole in the hedge in the manner of a gracious lady descending from her carriage and stopped to look at me. It was one of the weirdest looking things I’ve ever seen… scaly pink legs ending in powerful feet equipped with long, strong claws, and a plump, pear shaped body smartly clad in black and white checked feathers… a spindly neck, leading to a little head, turned to one side so a beady eye could examine me imperiously in return, with an air of faint disgust.

It looked as if it had had a fight in a clown’s make-up bag… powdery white teardrops and cracked red lipstick… a strange bony up-do and a blue wattle like an old lady with blood pressure problems. Bizarre. It decided I was no longer worthy of scrutiny and turned away – but I wanted to take its picture! Whilst fumbling for my phone, I slid cautiously towards it, too close for comfort, the creature decided and popped back through the hedge.

I rushed back round the other side, it looked sneeringly at me:

Damned paparazzi!”

And fled through the other side again.

Not before I managed to grab a somewhat blurry photo on my phone, which quite frankly, could have been anything. I was forced to abandon my quest for the impossible bird as two mothers and their children were approaching – then it came to me:

Guinea fowl!”

The passers-by looked alarmed at my avian exclamation and hurried away, as did I, in the opposite direction, turning back hopefully just in case the guinea fowl had re-emerged, but of course it hadn’t. A minute later, there was a rushing sound and a creaky wheezing, like an asthmatic old door right over my head and I saw the impossible bird fly away… I’m sure it was laughing at me.

Since our initial meeting, that cold winter’s morning, I’ve seen the guinea fowl quite a few times. Sitting in the middle of the roundabout. Laughing derisively at me from a roof top. Most recently, I was bending down to check on the alliums’ progress, when peering back at me through the fence was the spectacularly ugly face of the foul fowl. It “churred” mockingly at me…

YOU…You…!!!”

I don’t know if it’s real… or a figment of my imagination… but every time I’ve seen it I’ve been alone. And I don’t think people quite believe me…

Ooh…’er at the end there… bin in t’ catnip again she ‘as!”

Surprise Sparrows And Mystery Mice

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Duck… duck…

I suppose it’s an occupational hazard really when you live with four cats you can expect the occasional uninvited and totally unwanted house guest.

This first incident happened when we were at the hospital last week, while my mother was having her moment too. Honestly… nothing for ages then three stories all in one day… but anyway… Usually my partner and I try to ensure one of us is at home for part of the day, so the girls aren’t left too long by themselves. They do of course have access to outside via the catflap, beds, plenty of food and water, emergency litter trays, credit cards… well, maybe not the last, but we don’t like to leave them too long by themselves.

With justification as it so happens. We returned home that afternoon to find Tooty looking suspicious in the kitchen, Charlie and Ting were bot in the front room, managing to look accusing, reproachful, pleased to see us and annoyed. Lily – was nowhere to be seen.

We’re home girlies, whatever’s the matter?”

Rushing past them upstairs to go to the toilet (peanut bladder) I noticed a huge smear of blood on the landing window, on the inside, horror movie style..

Oh..o.k..”

Then I stopped. Went back and looked. Properly. Huddled on a corner of the window ledge was a distressed sparrow. I yelled for assistance and we were able to catch the poor little thing, ascertain the blood was from a scratch on its leg, and let it go outside where it flew off quite rapidly.

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Goose!

We had to take the blinds down and wash them, likewise the window, since the sparrow had managed to splash quite a bit of blood about. Charlie was like:

Look, I’ve told you before, I really can’t be responsible for the other three if you two go out together and leave us for AGES… “

Sparrow Number Two surprised my partner… Ting and Tooty were behaving suspiciously in the garden hedge – typical teenage behaviour – so he went to investigate and found them prodding a half-fledged sparrow. It had obviously tried its luck from the tree in the neighbour’s garden only to land in the hedge and be found by the two younger girls.

He scooped the poor little bird up in a container, being careful not to touch it, intending to put it high up in our apple tree. He left it on the window sill while he went to fetch the ladders, and as he returned round the corner he was horrified to see a blur of black and white feathers flash past him, knock the container off the ledge, seize the poor little fledgling and make off with it. He was horrified and actually quite upset to think of the magpie, eating another bird, compounded by the fact that two adult sparrows were chirping and flying around looking for their missing baby. Such is Nature though – sometimes it’s cruel.

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The sparrow did not wish to be photographed… 

It’s a mystery where the cats keep getting the mice from and a mystery where they sometimes end up. When we first moved into this house, we had Walter, who although not a keen hunter, liked to keep his paw in. We used to have a large wardrobe with a spare fish tank jammed beside it, one of those things my partner said he’d sort out and never quite got round to it.

One day, Walter had obviously happened across a mouse and thought he would bring it into the house and let it go in the bedroom, where it promptly took refuge behind the wardrobe and died. Unbeknownst to us… Weeks progressed as did the smell. I, (understandably) thought it was my partner. He (unforgivably) thought it must be me. Being polite, neither of us said anything to the other and I just bought more air freshener.

One day, my partner finally decided to move the fish tank and it was then that he found it… a dry… dessicated mouse, pressed flat as a pancake between the wall and the fish tank. One little paw outstretched, pleadingly, towards light and freedom… The mystery of the rotting rodent was solved.

Then the other day, I was vacuuming the stairs quite vigorously, trying to avoid the threads in the dark brown carpet where the cats have pulled it. (I’ll never buy that sort of carpet again – I wince every time they run upstairs and I hear their claws catch in it.) I reached the hallway at the bottom of the stairs and thought:

Hm. Whatever’s that? Looks like a leaf…”

I bent down short-sightedly and peered at it.

What an extraordinary looking leaf…it looks like a dead – oh my God it is a dead mouse!”

My partner was summoned for its disposal as I would not have been pleased to have mangled mouse clogging up the vacuum filter. The mystery of that mouse was that no-one ever owned up to it…

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It’s an ornament. Really.