Crackle Quartz and Christmas Cats


My little cat Charlie is an absolute joy at Christmas. I remember her first proper Christmas, that she was old enough to enjoy too…

I decorated the room, put the tree up and laid out the Nativity scene, all while she was sleeping upstairs. When I had finished, I went upstairs to fetch her and bring her downstairs to look at everything while my partner and son watched.


Her little face lit up. I held her in my arms and showed her the tree – she reached out to touch one of the ornaments and looked at me as if to say:

Can I?”

And I said:

Yes, you can touch … “

My partner said:


In actual fact, Charlie is the only cat who doesn’t attempt to remove the ornaments … the others do. Frequently.


I put her on the floor so she could look at the Nativity scene and she sat in front of it, her whole face alight with interest and curiosity… Baby Jesus did get pushed out of His manger a couple of times …

Later, when she understood that Christmas also meant presents, she was like an excited little girl … and still today, at the grown up age of six, she can’t contain her excitement as she rips the paper off another mousie, rushes through discarded wrapping paper and helps everybody else open their presents…


Her child-like enjoyment of the Christmas celebrations fits beautifully with Crackle Quartz.

This crystal promotes joy and fun in life, appealing to the inner child that still speaks to all of us. At the same time it shows us that we, and we alone, are responsible for our feelings. It is up to us, ourselves, to choose a path of joy and happiness rather than relying on others.


Crackle Quartz is available in a variety of heat-treated and colour infused stones – the individual colours link to the various chakras… blue, for example, is good for facilitating communication.

My pink Crackle Quartz (the featured photograph), was a gift from my son. Being pink, it is linked with the heart chakra but will also work with the solar plexus to heal a damaged past and bring in love…

With that, I would like to wish everybody a loving, peaceful and safe Christmas, from all of us here. Blessings and light, love and peace…

See you on the other side xx

img_2139Charlie says… “Merry Christmas to one and all, and a happy New Year!”

Mistletoe and Memories


I must confess I have rather a mixed bag of memories as regards Christmas, and not all of them are fun-filled.

I spent one Christmas being homeless… the situation was resolved after a couple of months but even now, around the month of December I become anxious and unsettled.

One of my earliest Christmas memories was witnessing a kiss between one of my parents and someone who was very definitely not the other parent under our traditional mistletoe hanging bough…and realising that my parents’ marriage was in fact, in trouble…


Mistletoe, however, is quite magical. This unassuming little parasitic plant was first thought by the Druids to have powerful properties and has long been associated with fertility rites. More recently, an extract of this plant has been found to have some possible beneficial effects in the treatment of some cancers.

Another of Mother Earth’s gifts is slowly having its mysteries unravelled, deconstructed and used for human good.


The memory is such an emotional thing, triggered by sights, smells, sounds… I hope you all create plenty of positive and loving memories with your families, loved ones and friends.


Associate positively to banish the negative. This is why I find being close to Mother Earth a help and a comfort… I have learned to take pleasure in my natural surroundings and feel her energy…always positive.

I may have mentioned before that I am of no particular religious affliliation… however, at this time of year there is a sense of mystery and expectation that enthrals me… I will be returning to the traditions of my childhood and attending Midnight Mass, as The Mystery is contemplated, the year turns its corner and the whole world holds its breath and waits …


Danburite and Darling Cats


Yes, I know. I sound like the typical besotted cat owner, but really there is nothing quite as sweet or as heart-meltingly… darling as a cat that is on the receiving end of bounteous praise and admiration of their unsurpassed beauty…

Who’s beautiful then?”

A blank stare from my cat, Charlie…


Are you talking to me? WHAT?”

Who’s Mummy’s little princess…?”

A slight, satisfied curve to her jaws appears as she acknowledges that yes, yes, indeed she is Mummy’s little princess.

Oh yes, WHO’S the MOST beautiful cat in the world… my lamb, my precious, my darling…?”

And that magic word will usually produce the treasured reaction, the slow blink that is the feline equivalent of a human kiss. Her golden eyes are covered by furry eyelids as she squeezes them shut in pleasure and recognition of her supreme beauty…


My partner…


No… you’re not a cat.”


A pause for thought as we all stop to consider the possibility of a feline future… Yet, later…



I lavish these endearments on my cats to let them know I love them… I was listening to a dear old man talking to his dog the other day…

No, my duck, come away, you don’t want to eat that…”

I had to reflect that love for a pet, no matter what species or size, is one of the purest forms of this emotion that we can witness, much like Danburite which contains a very pure vibration that links to the heart energy, the seat of all love.


The pink variety of this crystal is particularly sensitive, as it encourages openness, honesty and the ability to love oneself, despite faults.

Danburite is a kind stone, as it will help you bring deep changes to your life and gently dissolve ties from past difficulties to facilitate progress forwards. This quality also make it a useful stone as someone’s time here draws to a close and they need to move onwards, onwards and upwards as Danburite works with the higher consciousness and opens a path to the angelic realms.


It’s a hug. A pat on the back and a crystal reminder that ultimately, no matter what, love remains, unqualified and accepting.


Reindeer and Revelry…


I follow a number of wonderful craft blogs … I fiddle about with various “makes” but I haven’t yet tried my hand at card making …

My lovely friend, Gillian of Paperpuff ( or Fluffyfrippychicken as I sometimes like to call her…) has made some beautiful cards in preparation for Christmas – please go and have a look – using a reindeer motif that has stayed in my mind.

In the city where I live, there is a stately home that has a deer park attached. It was established quite early on in the house’s life and has a thriving population of both fallow and roe deer. A fond memory for me is when I first took my oldest son to visit this park and I said to him:


Look! Look! Can you tell Mummy what sort of animals those are?” I smiled expectantly at him …

His face lit up and with an excited intake of breath he shouted:


My vision of him following in his grandfather’s footsteps as a veterinary surgeon died a sudden death…

My younger son, while still at school, was involved in a cookery programme to promote venison, with a celebrity chef. My now-vegetarian son saw the deer from whole creature to finished meal, which he cooked himself and I was lucky enough to eat. It was very nice too. And that, really, is the extent of my acquaintance with deer …


Now. Reindeer. Everybody knows reindeer as they draw Father Christmas’ sleigh and are immortalised in countless decorations and appear on innumerable cards to signal the beginning of the festive season. Perhaps a minor point… reindeer are the smaller, stockier sort of creature, while deer, usually the stag, are the taller, elegant type generally pictured with a full set of antlers and a reddish-brown colour in real life.

I mention this as I had a “discussion” with a sales assistant when I required an example of the first creature and was in fact handed a representative of the second species when perusing the selection of Christmas ornaments … (as it turned out, I bought neither – instead I bought four pearl beaded stars, one for each of my girls…)


Point being, along with the robin, the deer (of whatever background) is traditionally associated with Christmas and the ensuing revelries… I used to enjoy a drink. Quite a lot of drinks really, and I was never one to shy away from… er … excessive consumption. In recent years, it no longer holds much appeal for me, and to be honest, I’d rather have a nice cup of tea.

This year, my younger son will be joining the throng of revellers with my words of warning ringing in his ears…

Don’t mix your drinks! Don’t leave your drink unattended! Be aware of how many units you consume!”

But, to be fair, he and his friends approach the serious business of social drinking with sense and far more awareness than we ever did…

So. Go ahead. Have fun. Have a drink. Or even two. But always be careful. NEVER drink alcohol and drive.

Have fun though … I’ll just sit here with a nice cup of Yorkshire tea … the paracetamol and Alka Seltzer are in the cupboard… just in case!




This poem was originally part of a set of five that I called ‘Cameron’s Quintet’, and is basically a reflection of the state of some of our streets. There is so much generated each year and the festive period usually sees an upsurge in this…

Please. Think twice before throwing something away… re-cycle… re-use… re-purpose… Donate…

Gangs of cans loiter in corners
Cheek by jowl with fast food wrappers
Sweet papers and pizza cartons jostle by the bins
Cushions of chewing gum trap the unwary.

Cigarette ends huddle in gutters,
Lost sheep looking for their shepherd,
Blotches of blood outside the chippy
Carpet the way forward.

Shattered shards of glass like
Dragon’s teeth glimmer
Mysteriously, beckoning to the
Lone plastic bag tumbleweeding by.

These random remnants
Signpost into the dark.

Chrysocolla and Coughing Cats


In all my years of sharing my life with cats, I have never seen a hairball. Not that I want to, particularly, they sound terrifying and somewhat grotesque to be honest.

I am usually extremely alarmed when my cats cough…the outstretched neck… the bulging eyes… the pained “Heek-heek-heek-HURHH!” Then the gentle clearing of the throat and reproachful look in my direction, as if to say:

Well, really! Whatever did I do to you to deserve that?!”

Suffice it to say, whatever it is that makes my cats sometimes cough, it isn’t a hairball.


(“Miss Murdoch, sometimes cats do just want to cough… like people. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with them…”)

Similarly, my mother is possessed of a truly awful smoker’s cough, from her 30-a-day habit. And although I have recently stopped smoking myself, I am not going to become a nicotine nazi… However, I do feel that perhaps she could be a little less… rude when I show my concern for her or attempt to press a herbal remedy on her:

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, a piece of biscuit went down the wrong way…”

As a student in a city in the rain shadow of the Pennines and notorious for its inches-per-month count, I swore by a proprietary brand of cough medicine to get me through lectures without hacking up a chunk of lung. Any effect it had on me was probably due more to its high alcohol content than any actual healing ability.

Chrysocolla would have been just the thing, really… This blue-green crystal has the wonderful appearance of Mother Earth as viewed from space, and it manifests her presence in its tranquility and strength. It draws off negative energies of all kinds and gives you the strength and peace of mind to accept situations that are constantly changing. It is a pacifier for uncertain relationships and can help with cleansing and aligning all the chakras, opening them to the awareness of the divine.


Chrysocolla is a lovely crystal to give the wearer/owner self-awareness and sensitivity without being too “precious” about it.

It can also be used to help with lung problems, it re-oxygenates the blood and maintains the cellular health of the lungs. Perhaps this is why it reminds me so much of Mother Earth, her blue-green colouring attributed to the oxygen in our atmosphere.

Again, we must look to the health of our planet, and protect and nurture our atmosphere as we would our lungs…

Just in case anybody fancies having a go, this is my tried and tested and actually quite nice cough syrup. (“Don’t be stupid, Samantha, who in their right mind…”) You need boiled water, fresh thyme and honey. Pour the recently boiled water over about 2 – 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme and let it steep, until colour of strong tea without milk, or until about room temperature. When it’s cool, strain out the thyme leaves and add a cup of honey. Stir well and put in a suitable glass jar to use as needed. Maybe about 2 tablespoons in the morning and late at night, when the cough is most bothersome.


As for coughing cats. I still haven’t seen a hairball, as when they cough, it is not usually a ‘productive cough’ as my doctor would say. It’s still my fault though… and I don’t fancy my chances of administering cough medicine to my cats. Perhaps a custom-made collar of Chrysocolla.


Hedgerows and Hares


I grew up in the county of Lincolnshire, which even today, in the 21st century, is still mainly agricultural. Its flat fields lend themselves well to the mass production of crops with little natural land remaining as 90% of it is used for farmland. Compared now to my current city life the county seems very reminiscent of times gone by…

As a little girl, I remember witnessing what was almost a second agricultural revolution as the flat open fields made for easy industrialisation methods, large machinery such as harvesters, being gradually introduced. The patchwork system of fields gave way to rolling fields of uniform yellow, oil seed rape, and green, sprouts and cabbages.

As I am sure you’ll know, Britain joined the European Union in 1973. For farmers, this was supposed to guarantee the stability of food production and reduce price fluctuations in farming production, ensuring that farmers received a minimum return for their labour and produce.


This didn’t really happen. I remember seeing gallons of milk being flushed away, some years ago, and everybody must remember the more recent “cows in the supermarket” news item.

With the farming revolution we lost what came to be an important part of the British countryside, the hedgerow.

Hedgerows… similar to the garden hedge but a country variety and integral part of our British countryside, providing both habitat and border…

The Acts of Enclosure, roughly between 1720 and 1840 (must learn to Google rather than relying on memory…) meant that open land, that had previously been available for all to use, for grazing livestock or foraging for food, since mediaeval times and before, was gradually removed from use. Landowners wanted to build bigger and better, more harmonious to the eye and pleasing to the soul and the last thing any designer wanted were flocks of scruffy sheep or inconvenient villages…

To this end, round about 200,000 miles of hedge, mainly blackthorn and hawthorn were planted and mediaeval methods of farming, the strip and patchwork appearance of the country gone. These little smallholdings and former fields are only really visible from the air, ghost traces of footsteps left upon our land.


These hedgerows became home to a whole host of creatures that are now in decline as the cycle of Life turns again. We may think the sparrow population is plentiful enough when we look at our bird tables, but in actual fact, the tree sparrow, distinguishable by its chestnut coloured head, has steadily dropped in number since the 1970’s.

This is due to the habit of now ploughing in Autumn rather than Spring. There is no over-Winter stubble to provide food and shelter, also putting one of our most magical native animals at risk: the hare.

The EU recognised the devastating effect these changes were having on our wildlife and introduced a system of subsidies that meant the farmer could afford to leave some of his hedges in place rather than ripping them up to utilise every square inch of space just to make ends meet.

As the countryside became commercialised, ‘social knowledge’ became lost. I must thank Gary of Fiction is Food for this wonderfully descriptive phrase. It was no longer necessary to wait for the first frost before ploughing as the mechanised drills would tear up the Earth with ease. The simple rule of crop-rotation, one field fallow, one with peas or beans and one with potatoes was no longer heeded as the Earth was battered with chemical fertilisers.


During the 1940’s, the excessive use of herbicides eradicated some of our native wildflowers that had been with us since the Stone Age and which would have been recognised and used by Neolithic farmers. A gentler system of social knowledge, how people could work hand-in-hand with Mother Earth with the seasons, rather than against them, was swept away during the agricultural and industrial revolutions.


Hedge laying and coppicing, basic blacksmithing and make-do and mend. The use of Nature’s bounty to heal and care – time was when every housewife could whip up a cough remedy from elderberries and thyme… Again, nowadays, chemicals rule and these little bits of knowledge past are preserved only by the few, like the lovely Gillyflower of Wood So Wild. Please go and have a look at her blog… wonderful things…

However, as we move further into the 21st Century, people are becoming more aware of what is going on with the Earth. Lost social knowledge is being retrieved in the 21st Century guise of ‘re-cycling’ and set forth again.

We must look to the animals though, as our native British wildlife no longer thrives. Hedgehogs are in difficulties – although the one at the bottom of our garden is fine! Bird populations are altering – witness the parakeet colonies in London.


Perhaps the most potent symbol of change for me is the hare, a creature of myth and magic, fable and witchcraft… I have been lucky enough to see a hare, both in the wild and in my father’s surgery.

Different somehow and wilder than cuddly bunnies, magical and fierce, hares were thought to have been first introduced in England by the Romans… truly magical creatures, long eared and long legged, graceful symbols traditionally associated with the moon, femininity and by extension, witches. I remember my first sight of a hare was when I was younger, about ten or so, when we were out with the horses. It was lolloping, loose limbed and effortless across the field and although I’d never seen one before it was instantly recognisably different from a rabbit.

Then, not long after this, my father had one brought into the surgery (he was a veterinary surgeon). It had been hit by a car, and was, surprisingly, unhurt, just stunned.

It hunched, fiercely, in the kennel, rolling its great round eyes imperiously and scuffling its long, powerful hind legs. My father soon pronounced it free from concussion or any other injury and delegated its release to one of the nurses.

Hares are not so common now, another victim of the changing face of our countryside; but they live on in myth and folklore, their essence captured in jewellery and ornaments and sketches of memory.


Hunting For Garfield


I have a wonderful friend, Garfield Hug’s blog, and we’ve known each other since I first started on WordPress, back in March this year. Do go and pay her a visit, she’s very funny, informative and a lovely person.

Obviously… she likes Garfield, so this post is really a bit of fun for her. (Although I literally COULD NOT find Garfield…)


I have a friend who’s very dear,
Her blog is fun and full of cheer.

She lives far away in Singapore
And by Garfield she sets great store.

To cheer her up I thought I’d find
Lots of Garfields – have I gone blind?

I hunted high, I hunted low,
Far and wide for Garfield did I go…

“I’ve not seen Garfield here in years!”
I said and then burst into tears.

It had me tearing out my hair –
Couldn’t find Garfield ANYWHERE!

I promised Garfield Hug a Garfield treat,
Perhaps you’ll find a drawing sweet!

So. Here he is in all his glory
Complete with this – a little story.







Rose Quartz and Running Cats


Rose Quartz is my all-time favourite crystal. It was the first, serious, ‘purposed’ crystal I had ever come across, when my son gave me a piece to help with depression and anxiety, and all the other lovely little mental trolls that go with these conditions.

Rosie’, as I affectionately call her, is my featured Gravatar as well as being a symbol of love and peace.


Rose Quartz is an important crystal both to me and in the metaphysical realm : it is linked to the heart chakra and shows the true meaning of love. It purifies and heals; it calms and reassures; all important qualities that my son had in mind when he chose this particular piece for me.

Rose Quartz is calming and healing, bringing peace and stilling that unsure voice of self – doubt in the back of your mind. It is beneficial for relationships as it draws love towards its wearer/owner and restores the balance of trust and harmony.


Rose Quartz sends bad vibes packing while encouraging empathy and sensitivity. It can help with accepting the inevitable changes that life brings and will heal heartache and soothe grief.

This beautiful pink crystal teaches you how to love yourself, to value yourself and promote peace… the hippy of the crystal world… yeah man…

Needless to say, my Rose Quartz collection has grown, from freeforms to spheres to eggs… a family of tumblestones in various shades of pink from palest blush to strawberry milkshake. Rather like my feline fur family…

_mg_1259-2Beautiful translucent rough piece of Rose Quartz… looks like a shark fin… 

It’s a never – ending source of amusement to me just how very different from each other my girls are. Charlie, our “firstborn”, is very much our little princess, number one girl. Lily has absolutely no pretensions to being anything other than what she is, a charming, pretty, fluffy little killer. Ting, our Siamese babe. Beautiful, kind, but not exactly over – burdened in the brains department. Tooty, our furry marshmallow. Cuddly, soft and sweet, who’ll lie happily on her back beside you, paws waving, as she purrs and air kneads.

Yet, they all share the same quality I love in cats, an elegance and grace of movement, an economy of speed that eats up the ground as they leap, effortlessly, across the garden in play or hunting mode.

_mg_7576Rabbity hind legs!

When I come home, I love the fact that my girls all run to meet me, tails up and joy on their fur faces, “Meep”-ing and “Waoh”-ing encouragement to quickly, quickly come inside and open catfood…

Where have you BEEN? You’ve been gone AGES… we thought you’d gone forever…”

Part of the returning home ceremony is stopping to greet them all as they gallop towards me … Charlie reminds me of a little clockwork toy, dainty tabby toes going “tick tock tick tock” rapidly down the path towards me.

_mg_7550Beautiful speedy turn!

I love my little girls dearly and value them for the unqualified love, joy and companionship they bring me. My life has been enriched selflessly and generously by a succession of feline family members, and I hope… and I hope…

_mg_9899Look at this cat! She’s so FAST! Over here, over there…!

I lack all certainty
yet still I hope
that at the edge of death I’ll see
a small cat racing from the dark
to welcome me.

Pam Brown

My Nan’s Sewing Basket


My paternal grandmother was one of a generation brought up to believe a lady should have a well-equipped sewing basket and furthermore, be able to use its contents in the way in which they were intended.

Likewise, at my school, we were all expected to be able to sew a straight seam, replace a button, follow a pattern and know a reasonable amount of embroidery stitches.

I don’t think my grandmother and mother altogether approved of each other…

Shall I let the seams of those trousers out a bit, dear? They do look awfully tight…”

No thank you, Mrs. Murdoch, they’re supposed to be that way, it’s fashion…!”

My mother was more for the practical uses of sewing, like stitching up gashes in fetlocks, plaited manes, ready for showing… so it was left to my grandmother to teach me its gentler applications.


Now, I am not the world’s greatest needlewoman – I still can’t follow a pattern and the finer points of knitting escape me – but I remember very clearly the delight of being able to have a look through my Nan’s sewing basket, and marvel at its treasures…

Reels of sewing thread, neatly aligned and in a wonderful spectrum of colours from black to red to pearl grey. A little packet of real gold thread, purchased solely for the mending of a ball gown; strips of a white bendy substance, that I found out was real whale bone, frowned upon nowadays but which had in fact been salvaged from one of her own mother’s dresses.

Soft skeins of embroidery silks, heaped and shiny like material jewels, ready to be used on the squares of cambric, I think it was called, that came with useful little holes for me to practise my stitches.

I loved the wheels of glass headed pins, and liked to re-arrange them in the order of the rainbow colours, and fiddle with the needles, arranged in size order, in their cotton case, stabbing little holes in the cushion shaped like a tomato…

Don’t do that please dear, it will end up being more hole than cushion…”

I loved hearing the stories behind the scraps of fabric and lace:

Well, that came from your uncle’s christening gown that I made, your grandfather brought me the lace back from a trip to Brussels…”

I would listen, spellbound, stroking the soft velvet ribbons, lilac and white, neatly coiled and fastened with a tiny gold safety pin.


The button tin – well, that was a separate treasure all in itself. I think at one point it had been one of those tins handed out to soldiers in the First World War, and somehow, it had found its way back with the family member and been passed to my Nan as a keepsake tin. Most of its paint had been rubbed off and it was a little battered, but it did useful duty guarding Nan’s collection of buttons… Brasso-ed buttons dull with age that bore some indecipherable insignia on it, possibly from that same relative’s military uniform; tiny, dainty mother-of-pearl buttons, lost from evening gloves and never returned, horn toggles from my father’s childhood duffle coat, workaday buttons of plastic in shades of grey, black and white, jewelled buttons from various dresses that had long ago been cut up and re-purposed and my personal favourite, a menagerie of buttons shaped like animals, little ducks and giraffes and kittens of course, all of which at some time had been used on a dress or cardigan for me.

I was the only girl grandchild at that time, and Nan loved making the beautifully crafted frilly dresses, with smocked fronts and lacy hems, the delicately crocheted cardigans and jumpers…

She also taught me the value of having a decent pair of scissors in the house. She had several pairs, all for different jobs, all regularly sharpened and housed in their own protective cases. She never would have dreamed of using her dressmaking scissors for cutting hair, or her embroidery scissors for trimming nails…

I may not have been lucky enough to inherit my grandmother’s skills with a needle, but I was BLOODY annoyed the other day when I found my partner using my good sewing scissors to remove the fat from his bacon…