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!”


Pornography and Pies


I have seen “Pornography”… No… not the naked body stuff. The finished product. The end result. The final performance of the text that caused me so much stress…

It was performed last week at my son’s college and I was privileged to attend it. My younger son is currently doing a Theatre Arts Foundation course and “Pornography” by Simon Stephens was one of the set texts to be interpreted and performed by my son and his classmates.

Now, this play is from a modern, gritty genre written by a Manchester playwright, reprising the events of the 7/7 bombing and following four separate, yet linked stories and characters. I am very much a traditional theatre goer- I like the glamour, the costumes, the sets and rolling sonorous tones of Shakespeare declaimed to the gods.

And yet, upon reflection, I found myself inexplicably moved by this stark production. Its power lay in its words, the dialogue – one line will haunt me forever:

Images of Hell. They are silent.”


These ten young people infused their lines with passion and power. The production itself was striking by its very starkness; the actors, all attired in plain theatre blacks, moved between lines and scenes slickly and sleekly, pushing the play on to its inevitable sad, tragic conclusion.

If you get the opportunity to go and see a production, I would recommend it. I was enthralled (and very proud of my son) to see these ten young people deliver their lines with power and conviction, faces filled with the promise of the adults they’ll become.

So now I have a guilty secret… I am a fan of pornography.

NO! NOT the naked body stuff! My sort of pornography involves magazines, thick, glossy magazines whose pages cling lovingly to my fingers as I turn them and let my eyes linger lasciviously upon pages of… of… recipes!


Yes. Since I have given up smoking, I have had the money to indulge myself in a luxury magazine. I am an indifferent cook, but I am always fascinated by the wonderful recipes that make a treasure out of a boring food item… mince pies.

Not rhyming slang, but a seasonal festive treat and something which I generally regard with a distinct lack of enthusiasm, but in one edition of my magazine, the recipe called for glitter! Edible glitter, sprinkled on top of a star shaped pastry cut-out, covering the mundane mincemeat.



So… whether it’s a pie… or a play… don’t dismiss something out of hand without a closer look!

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.