Pounding the Pavements to Procure Pornography

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I NEED PORNOGRAPHY FOR MY SON!” I roared at the hapless sales assistant. He blushed and appeared confused at the sight of this 40-something year old woman, otherwise appearing perfectly respectable, if a little wild about the eyes and hair, screaming about obscene publications in his nice quiet bookshop.

There’s a story behind this… let me explain. My son is currently doing a Production Arts Level 3 Foundation Course at college, where they study various play scripts, discuss them, not only the content, but all aspects, like stage directions, and how they would produce their own performance, as well as involving themselves in the technical requirements, and then at the end of term perform a chosen play.

I have no argument with this syllabus – indeed it seems ideally tailored to suit budding actors, directors, lighting technicians and so on. My issue is with the reading list. And the county and city libraries. And, as a matter of fact, with all the book shops in the city where we live. Oh yes, and whoever chose the reading list (required of course) and the end of term performance script (unobtainable of course.)

wp_20160929_17_57_53_pro“Are you hiding?”

This term, I personally believe that the college have set out to inflict – no, not the students – the parents or other purchasers of the necessary texts with the most obscure, out-of-print, unperformed plays. My son received his reading list on the Induction Day, and then it was the weekend, so I (foolishly) assumed that we would be able to pick up the books on the Saturday. How wrong I was.

The list started fairly innocuously, with texts by playwrights like Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett… “Oh, no problem, we should be able to pick these up, but I don’t want to be in town all day…”

Six hours later, I am reduced to a sweating, hairy wreck, screaming at sales assistants while my son is standing in a corner, perusing the Classic Literature and pretending he doesn’t know me… I should have anticipated the problem really when I noticed that the end of term performance was ‘Pornography’ Simon Stephens.

I have a bit of mental stumbling block when it comes words that have any vaguely obscene connotations – there is a stop on my bus route involving the word ‘Bottom’… always raises a giggle… childish, I know.

Ultimately, what transpired was that no shop, charity, book, or specialist had a copy of the relevant text. Having been in town approximately five hours longer than I wanted, and having walked probably miles further than I intended, I can hardly be blamed (or excused) for indulging in a bit of a raging hissy fit against my son’s college, the chosen syllabus, reading lists, books, printing presses and Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. My son at this point, hastily interjected:

wp_20160929_17_56_00_pro“Oh, can’t see it anywhere…”

Let’s go and see Lizian!” (my son’s lovely crystal lady and her partner.)

We duly arrived at the shop, and at once an aura of peace, calm and serenity descended… My son explained our problem briefly while I simmered and spat in the corner, muttering dire imprecations about authors, titles…

Liz laughed gently while Ian smiled sympathetically:

Oh, we can put a call out on Facebook, see if anyone has a copy…”

The Universe was gracious to me for the first time that day, as in due course my son’s old drama teacher presented him with a copy of ‘Pornography’. Ian said to me:

You know, Samantha, I shall expect to see a post about this…”

Here you are ~ and thank you for the title!

wp_20160929_18_00_44_pro“THERE you are!”

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Girasol Quartz and Gentle Cats

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This was another new one for me, but I was at once drawn to its gentle vibration as my son placed it in my hand having borne it home in triumph from his lovely crystal lady Lizian. Despite its deceptively simple appearance, clear and translucent, like a good quality champagne jelly, Girasol Quartz is a stone of hidden depths. Its reflective qualities are due to the aluminium present in its chemical composition, adding an extra dimension to this crystal.

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Girasol Quartz can also be known as Moon or Blue Opal, or Opalised Quartz, even though it is not actually an Opal. It is a gentle but powerful crystal, which can enhance and reflect feelings, therefore extremely useful for the guided direction of energy. It also enhances communication skills and is useful for dream work, visualisation and imagination.

It is a good crystal for anyone working in the creative sectors and it will forge new channels of communication between group members, gently resolving difficulties and illustrating solutions. This gentle crystal can also take a step backwards in past lives to heal negative experiences that affect the present day, wiping the memory clean to allow positive progress. It has physical healing properties that help on all levels and may be useful for metabolic disorders and fatigue.

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Holding my Girasol Quartz, I had the wonderful sensation of gentle warmth and spring rain… a freshener for the soul if you will, with a vibration as light and soft as cat fur…

I love my four Girls dearly and although they are not particularly ‘bitey’ or ‘scratchy’ cats, they do not have the same innate quality of gentleness that I loved so much in my old cat, Walter. The Girls are strong, independent women of the 21st Century with their paws firmly, but daintily, planted in the modern world, while Walter possessed a gentleness of spirit and manner that seemed to belong to earlier, gentler times.

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Walter’s life started, inauspiciously enough, on the 17th March 1993, when my tabby gave birth to a litter of four, two black girls and two tabby boys. The others quickly found homes, but Walter remained with me, through accident or design, I can never be sure…

He grew up to be the perfect gentleman, impeccably housetrained, kind and courteous. Pleasant to my dog, although not above wrestling her to the floor and giving her a good kicky scratch if she presumed too much upon his person. (She was a little dog and enthusiastic cat-lover when she was a puppy, although as she grew up, she learned to value Walter for his companionship and comfort.) He was the perfect cat to teach my sons respect for cats, never objecting to sticky fingers in his fur and only placing the gentlest of restraining paws on hands when the stroking got a little too enthusiastic…

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My cat Walter was my partner’s first introduction to feline friendship, as he was really more of a dog person, but Walter’s courtly manners, dignified presence and pleasant behaviour soon converted him. Recently, viewing the shredded back of the sofa, with artistically clawed wallpaper, I heard him sigh disappointedly:

Walter never used to do things like this, why can’t you… just… behave Charlie?”

My Tiger Princess smirked at his disappointment…

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During a routine appointment to check his teeth, a lump was found in Walter’s jaw. Upon further investigation, it was found to be inoperable as it was pushing the bones of his lower jaw apart. It broke my heart. It absolutely broke my heart. But, I knew I had to do the kindest thing and let him go; a dignified, calm sleep, little enough repayment for the 16 years of love, comfort and companionship that my wonderful cat had given me. So it was, on a bitterly cold February morning, the 17th to be precise, in 2010, I held my precious cat in my arms and told him I loved him, thanking him for being the best cat in the world as my tears fell in his elegantly striped black and grey fur for the last time. That was it. For the first time in 16 years I was officially catless.

It took nine long days to find a kitten, because at that point in my life, I needed a kitten, that would be my world and keep me occupied, stem the burning tide of grief that threatened to overwhelm me. And I got her – my fierce little princess, as different from Walter as chalk to cheese… I sometimes dream of him still, think I feel his paw patting my face gently, catch a flash of grey and black fur from the corner of my eye. Every time I see a striped tabby with white shirt front my heart turns over… I hope he’ll be waiting for me, first in line with all the other members of my fur family that I have loved and lost throughout my lifetime…

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Brrrpp! Mam-ma!” My attention is imperiously summoned back to the present as Madam Princess requires food, comfort, love, treats, play and not necessarily in that order. I pick her up and am rewarded by her sweet purr, a gentle comfort that both echoes and heals the hurt of Walter’s going; bringing us back to the calm, gentle crystal that is Girasol Quartz.

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Versatile Blogger Award

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What a lovely surprise! Two nominations for the same award on the same day by two different blogs! Is that random… Consequently I must thank Xenia and her wonderful whippets Pearl and Eivor of Whippet Wisdom and Ella May of Testarossa for thinking of me and nominating me for this award. Please go and have a look at both of these blogs; Whippet Wisdom for beautiful photos and uplifting words and Testarossa for a wonderful combination of fashion, thoughts, travel and student advice!

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The Rules For This Award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.

  2. Share the Award on your blog.

  3. Share seven random facts about yourself.

  4. Tag up to ten bloggers with less than 1000 followers and let them know they have been nominated.

As I had a double nomination, I thought it only fair to provide not seven, but fourteen random facts about myself…! Likewise with my nominations… here goes with fourteen random facts about me… sometimes I wonder myself…

  1. I have a Kindle and a Nook, but still prefer a physical book.

  2. I can fold a table napkin in the shape of a water lily.

  3. Never been stung by a bee.

  4. I’ve lived in a haunted house.

  5. My sign of the zodiac is Cancer.

  6. I hate mushrooms.

  7. My grandfather was a metallurgist…

  8. When my son and I saw ‘Hachi’ at the cinema, we couldn’t leave for half an hour after it finished because I was still crying.

  9. I used to smoke Windsor Blue cigarettes.

  10. I always carry a notebook and pen in my handbag.

  11. I can make meringues.

  12. I played lacrosse at school (although to be honest I spent more time hiding behind the gym…)

  13. I have had four black cats since I was a little girl.

  14. My phone is really annoying me at the moment. It needs to be careful in light of the fact Christmas is now not far away…

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Now. This is generally where I come unstuck… my own nominations for other blogs. I started my own blog on 26th March of this year and during that time, I have come across so many wonderful blogs and lovely people I am hard put to choose specific nominations… I have met so many people I am pleased to call friend, how do you choose?

So, here it is. Some blogs I would like to mention specially like Brian and Lily, PaperPuff, Lady Joyful, Garfield Hug’s Blog, gillyflower – oh dear it’s turning into a list, so many talented people in many different areas… yep. Can’t do it.

YOU ALL DESERVE THE VERSATILE BLOG AWARD!

Thank you as well, as always to everyone who’s taken the time to stop and read, like and subscribe!

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Dentists and Dilemmas

_mg_8904Clear Fluorite – good for enhancing other crystals’ abilities during healing and actually quite comforting when you’re at the dentist 

I hate the dentist. Not my personal dentist. She’s wonderful. A petite, dark-haired girl with dainty hands and a touch on the drill as soft as thistledown.

I hate the concept of “dentists”. And unfortunately both my parents are dentist-phobic, despite the fact that one of my father’s oldest drinking buddies was the family dentist…

Let me take you back a few years, to when, say, I was about four years old. My parents were still married, and it was decided-as responsible parents-that we should have a family outing to the dentist.

What fun. Personally, I would have preferred the cinema, but going “en famille” was supposed to encourage unity within our family and support for my father’s drinking pal dentist.

We sat, as a family, in his waiting room. The dentist’s door opened and a young man reeled out, clutching a bloodied wad of tissues to his jaw. A sickly sweet aroma of something wafted out..

Mr. Butcher will see you now!” the perky receptionist announced perkily.

My father went in first and came out slightly paler..

Oh, I didn’t need anything… I promised Bill a pint, I’m fine…”

Of course, now I know my father was blatantly bribing Bill Butcher… not his real name but you see where I’m going here.

My mother was next, smiling and flirtily nervous, exiting shortly afterwards with a relieved smile and casual wave.

I’m just popping outside for a cigarette…”

My sister and I were next. She was fine. I was obviously overlooked by the Tooth Fairy. I entered apprehensively, and sat in the chair, legs quivering, and looked up, expecting to see friendly old Bill Butcher, who usually smelt of pipe tobacco and whiskey.

Instead, I saw an ominous masked stranger, beady eyes glaring… a booming voice bellowed something unintelligible. A finger the size of a sausage prodded at my mouth. Reluctantly, I opened it. A hand the size of a shovel swooped towards my mouth… I bit it.

img_8919Aquamarine – both rough and polished examples, a stone of courage and calm with a general beneficial affect for eyes, jaws and teeth…

I will spare you the details, but in brief, I had to have four teeth out, they were duly removed using nitrous oxide – laughing gas, and I remember to this day the ultimate confusion of screaming in pain and laughing uncontrollably.

Now, given my own childhood experiences with dentists, as soon as I had my own children I decided that I would be Tooth Fairy Extraordinaire. From four months old, my sons visited the dentist, he would prod their gums and check their progress and pronounce it satisfactory.

My dentist at the time was a perfectly nice man, with small, elegant hands, yet all the times I attended with my sons, I shuddered and shook and inwardly wept. One time, my older son was unfortunate enough to need an abscessed tooth removed. He was brave. I was not. The dental nurse thrust the removed abscessed tooth under my nose:

Look!”

I went white and sweaty but managed to squeak: “Yes.” without vomiting copiously all over her lovely clean uniform.

So my dilemma with dentists then… I’m sure they’re really very nice people. I have conscientiously taken my sons for their check-ups and attended my own. I have rigorously brushed and flossed and mouthwashed and yet my teeth betray me, leading to my continued association with those who practise the profession of dentistry…

Nowadays, they are kind and sympathetic, and receive specific training on how to deal with nervous patients. And yet, and yet, I fear them… my son watched disbelievingly as I hid behind a display of jumpers when our old dentist entered the same clothes shop we were in…

IMG_8929.JPGBlack Onyx – strengh giving and supportive and useful for teeth and bones 

All photos were taken by my son!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragons’ Eggs and Dogs

img_8615Beautiful Clear Quartz Dragon’s Egg, the ‘open’ side allows insight and vision whilst containing the healing properties of Clear Quartz. It stores information and will work with all chakras as it contains all colours.

Dragons’ Eggs, also known as Seer Stones, are usually naturally water polished crystals that have one side sliced off so you can access the inner world of the crystal.. These are wonderful stones for focus and meditation, as they are very tactile… As you hold them, you visualise and concentrate, returning deep to your inner self for healing and awareness.

img_8609My lovely Amethyst Dragon’s Egg – one of the most spiritual stones as it encourages selflessness and intuition, reaffirming our connection with the Divine. The ‘scrying’ or vision allows you to centre your emotions positively whilst dispelling the negative. 

It is also said that you can ‘programme’ your Dragon Egg to return you to a specific moment in time so you can experience it again and learn how to progress forwards. I prefer rather, to use them in the ‘here and now’, as a gentle focus to clear your mind and get in touch with your inner peace.

img_8626Two Smoky Quartz Dragons’ Eggs – these give you the insight to realise and accept your physical body. It is linked to the Base chakra, allowing energy to pass freely through the body and is grounding and protective. The stone on the left is chambered, due to the repeated chemical structure of crystals – added storage to hold your love and intentions. The one on the left clearly has four chambers and a cross… A powerful symbol in itself.

My mother is somewhat… sceptical of the idea of inner peace, yet if she is unable to walk her dog, Erin, then she is stressed and grumpy. Walking with her dog in the local country park is her way of retrieving inner calm that she may have lost touch with during the course of the day.

img_4842“AAAANNND EYEEEEE EEEE EYYYEEEEE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOUUUUUU!”

Erin is, herself, a calm and loving dog, her company is restorative and her eagerness, her ‘in-the-moment’ dogginess never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Dogs have an inbuilt intuition, perhaps born because of their long and close association with humans throughout the years. They instinctively know when we are upset, or worrying about something, and they do their best to comfort us.

img_5193-2“Tooth hygiene – important you know!”

I grieved terribly for my old cat, and mum’s dog at the time, Rowan, was so comforting. She would lay her head on my knee so I could stroke her, or prod m with her nose until I paid her some attention, as if to say:

I’m still here. Look, I feel your pain too…”

I read somewhere that when dogs put their paws on your knee, or anywhere else – my son has had a paw in the unwary face before – then they are trying to stroke you back.

I sometimes wonder what they would say to us if they could speak… I’m sure they would have deep, philosophical words to offer, secrets of the Universe… or maybe just:

Really? I’m having this brand of dog food again…?”

I know there is an indefinable comfort to be drawn from the presence of the dog, and although for the moment I am primarily a cat person, I miss the presence of my little dog, her unquestioning love and pleasure just at being alive and with me.

img_4821-2Patrolling the garden with mother…

I know I would worry about my mother more, as although we see her everyday, she lives by herself. Erin is with my mother constantly, both companion and comfort, instinctively knowing how to be around my mother. Dogs have the infinite wisdom of soul companions and a vast canine store of knowledge and love, the sort we can bless ourselves with through the sympathetic guidance and vision of these beautiful crystal Dragons’ Eggs.

img_8611My lovely Rose Quartz Dragon’s Egg – warms the heart as it works with the Heart chakra to instill emotional balance and healing, while allowing you to give and receive compassion. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smells…

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Since giving up smoking, my sense of smell has come quiveringly out of the corner of my nasal passages, raising its little head enquiringly, yet hopefully…

Smell is such an evocative sense and one that I tend to associate with memories past and present…An early one for me is the enormous lavender bush we had growing beside the pond at the cottage where we used to live when I was little. A heady, wonderful perfume that floated on the air like tangible lilac ribbons. The tiny flowers seemed brimful of perfume that spilled over enticingly, so bees, big fat furry bees would loiter casually amongst the stems, headily drunk and so complacent that I, as a little girl, would stroke their wonderful stripy fur and marvel at its softness…

Another smell memory: both my grandparents have passed now, my grandmother, just two years ago, but I have fond memories of staying at their bungalow in the Welsh countryside. At six o’clock in the morning the heating would come on, and the smell of gently heating house would enter my bedroom, the raffia mats in the kitchen, the toasting smell of the special bread Nan used.

I think I inherited my love of perfume from her. My grandad used to travel a lot on business and yet without fail, he would always bring Nan some perfume. The classics, of course, like Chanel – Chanel No. 5 is my all time favourite – and also the Bentley of perfumes, never mind the Rolls Royce, Joy. (Also my Nan’s name.)

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Joy’ was created by Henri Alméras in 1929 for couturier Jean Patou. It is apparently one of the most expensive perfumes in the world, around 10,000 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen roses are required to make a 30ml bottle. Summer in a bottle, magical and picturesque – as a very special treat, Nan would dab a little on the inside of my wrist – “Never too much darling, a lady should be scented, not overpowering – it’s vulgar.” ‘Joy’ will for ever be my Nan.

Later on in my life, I lived somewhere where there was a dog food factory, a maggot farm and a sewage works. My sense of smell, already somewhat traumatised, went into permanent hiding.

However, as the days of non-smoking pass, I am finding continual olfactory surprises. My mother was slicing cucumber the other day – I was standing, usefully, watching her, when suddenly I was aware of a wet, green, fresh smell. Cucumber!

My cat, Charlie, smells delicious. Her fur is scented with a combination of grass, my hand cream, and some indefinable essence all her own. My mother’s dog, Erin, smells of warm leather.

Living in a house with two sons and my partner, aftershaves and deoderants were all a messy scribble in my nose… but now I can identify Firetrap from Polo, Kouros from Beckham…

I wish I could bottle the smells from my childhood… the golden days of summer, when the sun shone and the sky was bright blue and the Earth gently baked…

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I’VE DONE IT!

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I have stopped smoking! I have now been 16 days smoke-free and I’m not going to lie… it’s been difficult! I must thank everyone who has wished me well and good luck – I’ve certainly needed it – and I must also mention Hayley Lucas and thank her for her blog Quit Smoking full of useful facts, help and support.

I hope I stay stopped, since theoretically I stopped smoking every night when I went to sleep… However, as the nice lady at New Leaf pointed out, never mind a week, or a month at a time – just work towards the next hour of being without a cigarette.

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It’s been a long and torrid love affair, Nicotine and I… I had my first drag when I was actually four, my parents both smoked, as did my older sister, so cigarettes were always readily available. At this point I must both excuse my parents and blame my sister… let us pause and consider the blessing of having an older sibling. I learned at an early age that cherished childhood figures were… myths and what went on in grown up bedrooms was a horror story to my unwary younger ears.

My sister thought it would be amusing to make me carry lit cigarettes from her to her boyfriend in my mouth… My parents were out, I coughed and inhaled and… threw up. That knocked that little party trick on the head. My next brush with cigarettes was at school. An all-girls’ school where I learnt to smoke, drink, and swear like a particularly foul mouthed T.V. chef, picking up a few exam results and more ladylike qualifications such as embroidery and napkin folding along the way… Peer pressure.

Somebody acquired a packet of ten from an older brother (there we are again) and we gathered furtively behind the gym to be daring and adult. Nobody really liked it apart from me.

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And there was born a habit, an addiction that has ruled most of my adult life. It became part of me to such an extent that when some friends and I were playing an association game, and it was my turn to be defined, somebody said I smelled of cigarettes, vodka and perfume. I gave up drinking some years ago. Now cigarettes – I AM NOT GIVING UP MY PERFUME!

I am not romanticising smoking or condoning it – it’s awful, addictive and you will never have any spare money. Just don’t. Just don’t do it. Don’t start, and if you have, then please stop. I did.

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