Smoky Quartz and Sister Cats


Smoky Quartz is a personal favourite of mine, in my crystal family. It has a very suave feeling about it, protective and smooth but without being smarmy… think Pierce Brosnan playing Bond…

As a crystal, Smoky Quartz can help lift depression and restore emotional calm, at the same time relieving fear but bolstering your confidence inn your own abilities to cope with different situations. Smoky Quartz is wonderful to help with relieving stress too.

I have a tendency to become overwrought, sometimes, but ten minutes by myself with the trusty Smoky Quartz helps to anchor me… rather than running away with the stress fairies, and actually just washes away the negative emotions… a spiritual shower that gently sponges away the dirt of negativity to let positive thought and clear insight shine through.


A yin/yang stone of balance and harmony, rather like sister cats… Ting and Tooty are litter-sisters – that is irrefutable despite the fact Ting is Siamese coloured and Tooty is all black. It is not uncommon for kittens to be fathered by two different tom cats, as the queen has the ability to – ahem – pick and choose which swimmers find their way home. I’ve never had sister cats before, and it’s lovely to watch as they greet each other – a quick lick to the forehead, or as they play… although sometimes that can end in growly hisses and tufts of fur…


They are funny though… Ting will go Siamese-cross eyes and squint fiercely down her nose as she advances, tail swishing towards Tooty. Tooty – and this never fails – will collapse on her back, legs in the air, displaying a large amount of soft black tummy to bounce on… not so! Ting falls for it every time as Tooty deploys her toe knives and kicky scratches to embrace her sister in combat… Tooty generally wins as she is the – um – heavier cat, although they are both quite tall in the shoulder, compared to the older girls, Charlie and Lily.

_mg_2847“Hmm, I love children… Couldn’t manage a whole one though…”

The two older girls tend to regard Ting and Tooty fairly dispassionately, more nuisance than family, although sometimes Charlie can be tempted into a terrifying game of chase… terrifying for the cat she is chasing as they are never entirely sure whether she will play or punish… Yet Ting and Tooty will still sleep together with love and affection, perhaps harking back to the sad few days when they were little and lost, cold and frightened… They curl up back to back, or ‘spoon’ each other, sleepily pushing and shoving each other to get comfortable.

However sad I may feel, I cannot help but be lightened by my sister cats… a furry reminder of love and balance.




I have always loved words…imagine my delight when the pasta treat in the featured photograph was released onto the market…

I was quite ill, on and off, when I was a little girl so I couldn’t really rush about like your average toddler. I had asthma, and the treatment for it, in the seventies, when I was growing up, was somewhat … hit and miss.

Television programmes were limited so consequently, in order to give me something to do that didn’t involve buzzing about like a fly in a jar, my mother thought it would be a good idea to teach me to read early.

I don’t remember the actual process, but I do remember looking at a comic and suddenly I could see what the characters were talking about and hear their voices! It was literally as if my mother had handed me the key to a magic kingdom that unlocked wonderful worlds of talking animals, little girls like me, adventures and – well, you get the idea.


I read voraciously – and still do, actually, devouring these wonderful worlds and untold universes created by talented authors…I gain a lot of pleasure from owning books as well, although I have a Kindle too.

But also…words are tools. Words are ingredients. I love whipping up ideas into something readable, humorous or informative and I love the trickery of words… alliteration is a favourite, if you hadn’t already guessed, onomatopoeia, ellipses, similes, metaphors … I could go on and on… a whole host of word bricks that can be used to build something wonderful.

And as you build, so you can take apart… “Etymology” is the study of words, something I enjoy, finding the links between languages that point to a simpler time when we were all part of a common culture.

For example: “pitar” is Pali for “father” – Pali being an ancient Indian language, but look! “Pater” – Latin for “father”, “pere” is French, “padre” Spanish. All these different countries linked by some wonderful word roots! Another interpretation of the World Wide Web, perhaps …

I was fortunate enough to learn Latin at school; that opened another door of understanding, as I like to take words apart for their meaning… rather like extracting a nut from its shell…


Anything ending in “ology” means the “the study of”, anything with “Bio” means “Life”… hence the Study of Life. Just a little example, but once you have the key then it is something you can always notice and have fun with…

Words are good. Words are tools but can also be used as weapons. Use them wisely and kindly, and as my old headmistress used to say:

If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all…”




I have previously mentioned my stray cat problem… however… this is no more. I would like to dedicate this post to the Cats’ Protection League and thank them for all the wonderful work they do.

Our most persistent stray, Boris, has a place! We had adjusted our home routine to keep our girls safe and stress-free, locking the cat flap and night time, giving plenty of love and attention and lashings of Feliway…

I made so many ‘phone calls, it was heart rending. I never truly realised the extent of the stray problem here until I started this, as every other stray cat we’ve helped we’ve been able to re-home privately.

Boris made it through December in a nest of pillows in the porch and had a plate of catfood left out for him morning and night. My girls didn’t like it. Not one little bit. However, they adapted and an uneasy truce was declared.

Then I got the ‘phone call. A place was available in the local shelter – could I catch Boris and bring him in? I was delighted…Boris vanished, unwilling to discuss the terms of his Pexit… (Porch Exit…)


The next couple of nights were cold. There was a frost. With a heavy heart, the morning I was due to bring Boris in, I prepared to call the lovely lady to say that Boris had disappeared and the place would have to go to another cat. I opened the back door to let Charlie out and she hissed angrily. Boris was there!

He “meh”-ed quietly at me and looked hopeful. Quickly, I swept Charlie up and into the front room and emptied a sachet of catfood out for Boris. Now I faced a dilemma – he was accustomed to eating in the porch, having been chased indignantly out of the house by hissing, teeth clattering, paw stamping girl cats.

I placed the food on the doormat and retreated, waiting with bated breath. Boris approached, obviously very hungry, snatched a mouthful of food and went back outside. My heart sank. I was the only person in the house, apart from the cats, and it was beginning to seem that Boris was going to live up to his namesake and be … bumptious.


He came back inside. Had another mouthful of food – and stayed on the mat. I lunged forwards and gently pushed the kitchen door shut. Boris gave me a suspicious look and returned to his food. The cat carrier was waiting, sprinkled with treats and Feliway.

Boris finished his food. Inwardly bracing myself for raked wrists and bitten fingers, I carefully bent down, prepared for the struggle and – PICKED BORIS UP.

He went happily into the cat carrier, turned round, then curled up and went to sleep. Weak with relief, I rang the lovely lady at the shelter to let her know we were on our way.

While we were in the taxi, Boris didn’t fuss, or meow or fight to get out of the carrier. Is it anthropomorphic of me to say he was ready to go and knew I was helping? When we got there, the lady explained how well Boris would be looked after, medical checks, neutering, a warm bed, food…

I saw his little tabby and white face disappear around the corner with a pang, but I know he’ll be happy and safe and make someone a wonderful pet.

Bon voyage Boris and good luck. Time to come in out of the cold now.


Chiastolite and Cheerful Cats


This is a wonderful crystal…a real gift… where we live, the city is built on a network of sandstone caves, carved out of the living rock, that have been used for a variety of purposes since mediaeval times, or thereabouts…

To capitalise on this geographical gift, there are organised tours of the caves, with the obligatory haunted cave and secret passage leading to the castle, as well as a wonderful gift shop. The gift shop sells little bags of assorted crystals, which of course is an irresistible draw for myself and my son.

On this particular day, we purchased the little hessian bag and opened it eagerly on the bus home… out spilled the usual treasures of Red Jasper, Zebra Marble and Green Aventurine. Then a lovely, pinkish stone with a dark cross running through it.


My son recognised it as Chiastolite, but not being familiar with its qualities I had to look it up. And what a little gift it is indeed! It’s a very protective stone – I am always drawn to these – traditionally used to ward off ill-wishing and negativity, its power perhaps associated with the symbol of the cross it carries. It will rid you of negative thoughts and emotions, bringing harmony and smooth transitions.

Again, perhaps because of its lovely inbuilt symbol, this stone is credited with the ability to help you understand immortality, the concept of Life, death and re-birth. It can ease the acceptance of reality, letting go of illusions and help the wearer release old habits and memory patterns.

Chiastolite can help in strengthening the intent to find solutions to problems, clear guilt and stabilise emotions. It provides a constant supply of stability and basic cheerfulness, actually, rather like my Siamese cat Ting… bless her!


She is unfailingly happy…

HI!!! Didn’t realise you were upstairs… that’s GREAT! Now we can play…”


She loves to lie on the bedside rug and air knead and make loud “CURR-ahh CURR-ahh” purring sounds…

She adores lying on the corner stair as you go up, waving her paws and jaws, demanding tummy tickles and strokes…


She loves sleeping back-to-back with her sister or cuddling next to you in bed…


Basically, for a little cat who had such a sad start in life, (The Finding Of Kittensshe adores living, and Life and greets it with a resolute happiness.

Just the sight of her slightly crossed blue eyes gleaming from her dark chocolate face is guaranteed to make me smile…



Small Boy… Large Puddle


This happened a good few years ago… more than I care to remember really. Suffice it to say, my oldest son was about two years old.

We are fortunate to live near a large country park which is a favoured spot for dog walkers and has been the scene of quite a few adventures for me…

The park has undergone a few alterations, including the installation of a BMX stunt track; but on the whole it remains a palatable chunk of green space in my otherwise urban surroundings.


There are treasures to be found… cobnuts and blackberries, wild raspberries, hawthorn, hops and fungi. One year, we had an invasion of giant puffball mushrooms, like perfectly round alien eggs laid at regular intervals amongst the dewy hillocks and tufted grass. Apparently, you can slice them and fry them in butter like steaks… wouldn’t know, never tried… don’t like mushrooms…

There is a wonderful woodland walk where you can hear and sometimes see jays, and at the top of the hill, there are flat, broad fields with great swathes of unmown grass, left specifically for the insect life.


Mini beasts… beetles and butterflies gather, and because of the heavy clay soil, water gathers, creating miniature lakes. It’s quite boggy land anyway, so the standing water doesn’t often drain away or dry up, resulting in large puddles.


The dogs love this walk… Mum had her two dogs, Rosie and Rebel, while I had my little dog and eldest child safely strapped into his pushchair. He was wearing his brand new Wellington boots. His shiny red Wellington boots of which he was very proud… what kid doesn’t love Wellington boots…

My mother thought she would up the fun gear a little and said:

Oh, let him walk a bit! He can try his new boots out!”

Child duly released from pushchair, my mother exclaimed:

Ooh LOOK! Go and run in that big puddle!” which lay, balefully gleaming, like a giant’s eye…


My son took a moment to smile at me in childish excitement then ran …. full tilt … into the puddle.

The next sequence of actions remain, even to this day, indelibly etched in slow motion in my memory … I reached out my arms and roared;


as my son fell flat on his face. He lifted his head and opened his mouth, ready to start bellowing in outrage …

A tiny tidal wave of muddy puddle water rose up and slapped him in the mouth… my mother rushed forwards and attempted to haul my son out of the puddle, helped/hindered by the three dogs dancing excitedly around the edges of the liitle lake…

Yes! Small human has right idea! Let’s swim and get muddy!”

I laughed.

My son’s clothes were drenched. I had to take my jumper off and hold it out for my mother to insert my screaming child into…

Here we are! A baby in a bag!”

she said, attempting to distract my son …

Well. That finished me off. We walked home, me, snorting and staggering, choking and weeping with laughter, my son retreating into sleep, a tide mark of mud staining his cheeks as a reminder of the afternoon’s adventure…


Halite and Hydrated Cats


Halite is a wonderfully different crystal with an interesting history behind it. It is part of the Salt family of crystals, and salt traditionally has a lot of symbolism attached to it, as well as many practical uses.

Salt can be offered to show hospitality – sitting above or below the salt in mediaeval times was an indication of social standing. It can be used as a symbol of purity and has its place in the armoury of protection against dark outside influences.

Salt was used to preserve and dry meat or fish, was a valuable trading commodity and can obviously just be sprinkled to enhance flavour…


As a crystal, Halite draws on all of these family qualities. It will draw out any spiritual impurities and restore inner balance while helping you to assume a more objective perspective. Halite can open your eyes to the existence and guidance of a higher self, and will draw upon its historic background of protection to guard against any negative outside influences or dark energy attachments.

salty-4My son’s Pink Himalayan Rock Salt lamp…

Halite can help in the banishment of negative thoughts, soothing anxiety and encouraging emotional well-being. It can be used in acupuncture and acupressure to ground and magnify the healing properties of other crystals. As salt, it is used in water and sugar solutions to restore the balance of electrolytes in the body. ( Just a quick mention… Halite is NOT a crystal to cleanse under running water as it will do as salt does and just dissolve … leave it in moonlight or in a bowl or a pouch with another cleansing crystal such as Carnelian.)

Mankind has long known about the benefits and uses of all forms of salt; Halite is equally as useful for the spiritual body… soul seasoning, if you will.

Water and Salt are important elements in most forms of life and obviously any animal needs a constant supply of fresh water – this is number one in the list of Animal Freedoms : “FREEDOM FROM HUNGER AND THIRST – by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigour.”

cam00595Ting likes to keep a bottle handy

My mother’s dog, Erin, has a 2 gallon bucket of water to drink from – I’ve had many an impromptu wash from this as I have changed it for her… My girls have a water fountain, two bowls of fresh water, humans ready and willing to turn the tap on so they can sit in the sink and have a quick drink… and yet they will still quite happily drink out of a muddy puddle or even the pond…


My cats have all, at some point, spent hours in the bath-not full of water obviously – fascinated by the drips from the tap. I have spent time in the bath or shower being closely observed by the cats and, upon occasion, followed, much to my alarm and the cat’s surprise…

photo-0101Lily in the kitchen sink…

Suffice it to say, Water, like Halite, which also balances and purifies, is a vital element to the life and health of every living creature.

Princess Charlotte and the Half-Chewed Dragon…


As every cat owner knows, and doubtless has experienced, catching and killing various small prey items is an inherent part of feline nature. It doesn’t mean they’re evil murderers – it’s just what they do.

Sharing my life with four cats, I have had a lot of things gifted to me, courtesy of my girls. Beetles, slugs, dead leaves, twigs and the usual assortment of mice and birds. Ting went through a phase, like some teenagers do, I suppose, of stealing from the neighbours. Highly embarrassing.


Coat hangers, cables, pieces of wire, pegs and once, a rather good quality paintbrush, of the decorating sort that my partner still uses, actually. Ting’s downfall came when she stole half a cooked chicken and ate it… it didn’t agree with her and so it was off to the vet…

Lily, our smallest cat, is definitely the most lethal. She is a tiny killer who has brought me two different species of mouse and a variety of birds – not always dead. I’m quite glad, really, that we don’t live anywhere where there is anything larger… like deer… or bison…


Found this. Thought you might like it. It’s made a bit of a mess in the house and it was a struggle to get it through the cat flap but still…”

However, my little cat, Charlie… I don’t know if it’s because we had her before her feline mother had chance to show her how to kill, or whether she is just naturally a pacifist, but I can confidently say she’s never killed anything in her life.


There was one afternoon, last year, when we were all outside enjoying the summer sunshine… my partner is a keen fish enthusiast and has always built his own pond where ever we have lived. Our current pond is a little wildlife preserve, and in addition to our fish – some of whom are older than our relationship – we also have frogs, newts and toads.


In the summer, it also attracts dragonflies, not just the little stripey hawkers, but full-on magnificent representatives of the order Odontera, bejewelled in iridescent armour and splendidly purposeful in flight. They lay their eggs and leave their larvae in our pond, aquatic demons ironically called nymphs, that can and will quite easily catch and eat a baby fish…


I love to watch their buzzing flight across the pond as they settle on the water lilies and skim lightly across the surface of the water, like miniature helicopters. They are notoriously difficult to photograph or capture; however on this particular afternoon, one of these sky knights must have hesitated, dangerously, for a fraction of a second before charging back into the sky. He’d been caught.


I don’t know by whom, but he’d been chewed and crumpled like a shiny piece of tin plate. In a way, he was fortunate that Charlie found him. Obviously, his “I’m dead and no longer worthy of your attention” act had convinced the author of his downfall to abandon him and move on… like most little girls, Charlie is attracted to shiny pretty things, and it just so happened that she found this fallen knight…


The resulting scene really should have been videoed for posterity, as Charlie, in all seriousness, came running towards me with this crumpled creature in her little mouth. The dragonfly was flailing his arms and legs in indignation:

Madam! I say! This is most unmannerly of you! Unhand me at once!”

I’m afraid to say I fell about laughing… Charlie looked like she was wearing one of those comedy moustaches that spin round and round and the dragonfly’s impotent rage was palpable to see… I congratulated Charlie on her way of making new friends, but suggested the dragonfly might have other things to be getting on with, and wouldn’t she rather come and have a look at a new catnip mousie…


My son placed the somewhat battered dragonfly on a branch of the apple tree, and we watched in wonder as he regained his strength…

Thank you, squire! Now, I believe I’ll be leaving…”

And with that he spun into the sky.




Zombies. Technically, they can’t exist. Logically, they couldn’t survive. I know this, and yet I am going to indulge in a spot of “fangirling” – thank you, Priscilla, my internet daughter, for introducing me to that term; and to Gary, of Fiction is Food, for whetting my appetite for the dark, the dystopian and the somewhat macabre…

I am hopelessly addicted to the television programme “The Walking Dead”… in brief, it is a series adapted from the comic books (oops, sorry, I mean the graphic novels) of the same name and it tracks the journeys, both physical and mental, of a group of characters in a post-apocalyptic world populated by the undead; and where the fact that you have survived doesn’t automatically mean you are a good person.

Rick, as played by Andrew Lincoln, falls into the role of leader of a group of survivors, and we follow his development as he learns to cope in this new, dystopian world. He begins by being essentially good, but undergoes a transformation of epic, almost Shakespearean proportions…

img_5465My mother’s dog, Erin, doing zombie-squish face

And like any self-respecting hero from the playwright’s tales, Rick has a flaw. Romeo was impulsive, Lear too proud; Othello was jealous while Macbeth was ambitious… with a wife… Rick is complacent; smug little master of his safe little world… Just when things seem to have settled into an almost-normal semblance of ordinary life, the Universe (or script writers, actually…) sends Rick a trial to overcome and learn from.

Of course, Rick is not on this journey by himself… Carol, as played by the magnificent Melissa McBride, starts her Walking Dead career as an abused, down-trodden wife and experiences a metamorphosis that turns her into an Amazonian warrior with a conscience in later episodes. She is driven by love and loyalty, and a need to protect. She will kill unhesitatingly for the greater good… a latter-day Lady Macbeth..?

Rick’s right hand man and brother in spirit and arms is Daryl, played by Norman Reedus… a brooding, muscular figure who has taken many a heroic beating for Rick and is a dab hand with a crossbow. A useful man to have onside… I’d make him a nice cup of tea and even offer him one of the good biscuits…


Naturally, it’s pure escapism… but such is my emotional engagement with these characters I have caught myself seriously considering my weapon of choice… ready for the zombie apocalypse…

Sunstone and Sleeping Cats


Cats seem to have captured the art of sleeping perfectly, much to my envy as I am a horribly restless and inept sleeper. They flow so perfectly, so completely into slumber that they could illustrate a ‘How To…’ manual.


Sleep is obviously an important restorative – Margaret Thatcher is said to have managed on five hours a night – but any little thing can disrupt it. One of my issues is when the clocks go forward or back… I’m a morning person. I enjoy the solitude, drinking tea, (not smoking cigarettes any more) planning for the day ahead and writing up various ideas.

My partner is a night owl and loves nothing more than an in-depth discussion about politics at 11.45p.m. when I am searching for slumber, undeterred by my monosyllabic replies and complete lack of interest in the latest economic policy of our country at that time of night…

img_6151-2On the right is Sunstone, with Citrine (top left) and Goldstone (bottom left)

Sunstone is a wonderfully happy crystal, and a great equaliser… it has a natural joy to it and the clue is in the name. It is light inspiring and energising and can promote links to light and sun and help you recognise the changes that living in the light will bring.

img_2273A spill of sunny sequins (sorry kelleysdiy, couldn’t find the wing shaped ones, but there’s little shells and cogs…)

Sunstone will clear and energise all the chakras and can be particularly useful in the treatment of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Like the Sun, this crystal is nurturing and restorative and can gently help to sever non-productive emotional links that are draining your vitality.


My cats are generally most active around dawn and dusk, ‘crepuscular’… wonderful word… but as cats have joined us in our lives and homes they have adapted their sleeping patterns to coincide with ours… well, mine have.

wp_20161231_003Charlie in her Christmas bed…

In addition to all my usual night time bothers I am generally accompanied by a gentle chorus of feline snores and sleep-contorted bodies. I have often been woken by a paw in the eye, but I wouldn’t have it any other way as we gather in the bedroom to rest and re-charge…

Everyone has positive possibilities and Sunstone reminds us of this – we can all make the best of the gifts we are given.

Leave the darkness behind and step forward into the Light.

wp_20161230_025Best. Sleep. Ever.




Come, my friend,
And let us go,
If only for a while.

For I have tales to tell
And things to show
That may not make you smile.

Come with me a little way,
Just to see how humans play.
Loving and crying.
Fighting and dying.


See, see, see what you have done!
With blade and bomb,
Poison and gun.

Cities laid waste
Children dying.
The earth is crying.
Death wind sighing.


“I’m going home. I’ve had enough.
Why are you showing me all this stuff?”

“It’s dead, it’s gone.
There’s nobody there.
No one left, no one to care.”


“Come, my friend,
And stay with me.”
And Death, he smiled,
For it was he.