Tears and Tabbies


Apache Tear is the name given to a form of black Obsidian. It doesn’t have the hard black gloss to it like its cousin, but instead, a softer, more tactile feel and so it is correspondingly more gentle in its metaphysical uses.

Rather than the “LOOK AT THIS AND CHANGE” message you get from Obsidian, Apache Tear still shows you the negative energy or thought pattern that needs altering, but in a way that doesn’t shock or scare you, gently introducing you to the idea of change so you can process the knowledge and put it into effect.


Apache Tear will help you put thought into action and remove the boundaries you put on yourself, the “I can’t possibly do that” attitude… whilst lending a gentle cloak of protection to the aura and grounding and cleansing the earth chakra.

Apache Tear is wonderful for mopping up grief – it is believed to shed actual tears during times of extreme sadness, hence the name – showing you the source of distress and giving you the emotional strength to deal with this and carry on… think spiritual handkerchief…


I cry a lot. At a lot of stuff… certain pieces of music, the John Lewis Christmas adverts, books, films (NEVER watching “Hachi” again) I also do that thing where you yawn, and your eyes water, then they’re mistaken for random tears for no apparent reason…

But I also cry with laughter – literally. This has got me into some sticky situations, I can tell you …

I cried when I brought Charlie home from the vet after she had been neutered. She had damp rings around her eyes that I convinced myself were from crying because she’d been scared and frightened, even though logically I knew it was from the pads the vet placed over her eyes to keep them moistened … but … still… I felt so awful.


Charlie has kept that handy trick of being able to produce tears of any variety at the flick of a tail, with an unexpected bite or unlooked for cuddle, when she nestles sweetly against me and purrs melodically…

However, she is a wonderful comfort-cat, tender and pretty when I am stressed or down.


My old tabby, Walter, was another kind and empathetic cat, possessed of a definite sense of humour… my partner was having the sort of conversation you do with a toddler:


My cat looked at my partner, holding our son, opened his mouth and replied:

MOO – OO!”


R.I.P. ~ IRON!

_mg_3528Perhaps it’s just resting… 

My iron died yesterday. I had quite a large heap to do, so, rather than feeling sad, I was actually quite annoyed. I am not the biggest fan of ironing, but since joining WordPress, I have learned a couple of life hacks that have lightened the load.

Sue – Space, Time and Raspberries – told me that it really is all right not to iron jeans. Gary – Fiction Is Food – informed me of tumble dryer sheets and the anti-crease button and convinced me that they work. I knew they were there… but I just didn’t quite… believe.

So, then, yesterday, I dragged the ironing board out from the cupboard under the stairs where it lives, along with the overspill of partner junk and set it up. There’s a knack, you have to hold its nose down whilst gently coaxing the leg clip open… I retrieved my iron from said cupboard and plugged it in.

Then I put the kettle on. And the Internet. And the light. And my phone on charge. Nothing. The house did not wake to the magic touch of electricity. I only realised this when pouring what should have been hot water over my teabag…


I thought… perhaps somewhat inelegantly…

In the cupboard under the stairs – I hate that cupboard – lives the fusebox. Now. I am not a stupid woman, so by careful checking and process of elimination I realised that one of the switches was DOWN when it should have been UP. I reversed its position and returned to tea, Internet, iron… nothing. Apparently, the light in the hallway is connected to the downstairs socket… fuse… thing… and it shouldn’t be…

_mg_3522“Told you Mum – fur onesies are the way forward. Easy clean and no ironing necessary!”

Anyway, by returning to the implements and switching one on at a time and seeing what triggered the cut out, I was able to ascertain that it was my iron tripping the switch. I tried it in a different socket – same result, no orange light, no hiss of steam… my iron was dead.


I thought, downright vulgarly…

By this time, I was more than a little cross, having had a rubbish cup of tea, been unable to check my notifications and still in possession of a large heap of ugly ironing. I’d even tried my favourite tactic – giving it a little punch, thank you GarfieldHug for the best piece of electrical advice ever – it might not make the item work but it does make you feel better – but to no avail. My iron was very definitely an ex-iron…

So I went to the shop and bought another one. I chose this one. My old iron weighed roughly the same as two bags of sugar, spat limescale at me on a regular basis and had a steam shot like napalm. My partner chose it.

My new iron is a sleek, dainty little number. It’s perhaps the weight of a fourpack of soap with gently rounded curves and the disposition of a happy little sunbeam. I chose this one – and do you know what? It gets the job done!

_mg_3533My new iron… NOT!

Princess Charlotte and the very small mouse


Perhaps it’s because we had Charlie from such a young age, she missed essential lessons from her cat mother in feline etiquette. Namely, how to kill. Although she is a fierce little cat, defending our garden from trespassers, she has never actually killed anything larger than a moth.

Charlie has a collection of toy mousies, little soft creatures made from fake fur in a variety of girly colours, such as pink and purple, that are hers and hers alone. No other cat can touch her mousies, or they will get a slap.


Lily is an accomplished hunter and has brought numerous offerings to the house on many occasions, for example, two different species of mouse, assorted small birds, large moths and so on. If uninjured, they are caught (not always as swiftly as I would like) and returned to the great outdoors; if hurt, they are shoeboxed and left to take their final journey in peace and darkness. I don’t know why Lily keeps bringing her prey back to the house. Does she think the other cats are useless providers and is trying to show them what to do?


One evening, we were watching television and Charlie came sauntering nonchalantly in, something clutched in her mouth and a look of supreme unconcern on her furry face…

“Charlie, what have you got? Is it.. is it.. a mouse?”

Upon realising she had been busted, she swiftly darted back into the kitchen and re-appeared, seconds later, suspiciously mouse-free, an air of complete innocence and abused trust hanging about her whiskers.

“What? WHAT? I haven’t got anything at all! You never EVER believe me!”


Not persuaded by her teenage ‘the whole world is against me’ attitude, I went into the kitchen and had a look behind the bin, as the nearest, most logical hiding place in a hurry. There, to my amusement, looking back at me, from the safety of a spare rubbish bag where it had been carefully tucked, was a mouse. The smallest mouse I have ever seen. Literally. It was perhaps about the size of a bumble bee and so sweet it would make your teeth ache… Dressed in pale brown fur with tiny pink hands and feet, it made no attempt to evade capture and sat quite happily in my hands, cleaning its delicate, hair-like whiskers; a creature of such unbearable cuteness Walt Disney would have been proud to claim it as one of his creations. It was completely unhurt, not even damp from Charlie’s mouth where she had held it to carry it in.

“Ohhh, you mean that mouse! I actually thought that it was one of my toy mousies, that had somehow got out and was wandering around and I didn’t want anyone else to touch it because it was my mouse and it might have got lost…”


You could practically hear the guilty explanations.

The very, very small mouse was carefully returned to the bottom of the garden and told to make a quick getaway. Charlie was a picture of injured innocence. I found myself apologising to her.

“I’m sorry darling, but you know you couldn’t keep that little mouse, it would miss its mummy and daddy, and it was a real little mousie and you know we can’t have those in the house. Tomorrow, when Mummy goes to the shop, she’ll buy you a nice new mousie. What colour would you like? Shall I get you pink, for a little girl?”



Pyramids and Puppies


There is a wonderful energy harnessed and contained within the shape of a pyramid… much like my mother’s new puppy…

Obviously we associate pyramids with the Egyptians primarily, but they were also present in South American culture – proof perhaps of how closely we were all linked before continental drift took place.

However the shape of the pyramid was arrived at, whether it be alien intelligence, sacred geometry or even just a really good architect, there is no denying that it has an energy, a force contained within its dimensions … much like my mother’s new puppy…

Crystal pyramids may be artificially formed, or naturally shaped, such as Apophyllite. These types of crystal structures are wonderful for holding an energy, empowering it and then focusing it intensely through the apex, the top, of the pyramid; a channel straight back to the heavens from whence the shape may have come…


Most crystals can be shaped into pyramids, and this ancient structure helps to enhance the properties the crystal already contains; for example, this Red Jasper pyramid will gently encourage new energy growth and spiritual insight, so you can find a problem and deal with it before it overwhelms you. It is both cleansing and stabilising, linked to the base chakra and helping with the maintenance of blood and circulatory health.

Interestingly – although I can’t remember where I saw this so can’t credit the information, food that is kept underneath a pyramid stays fresher, longer. (A little practical pyramid made of copper wire, I recall, not a thumping great sandstone thing in your kitchen…)

Like wise, when the scientist left the body of a dead bird under the pyramid, it took longer to decay than I would if you just left it somewhere… but not in your kitchen. Obviously.

Essentially, the shape embodied by a pyramid is totally positive: they can be used to draw off negative energies, clear blockages from chakras and restore positive and beneficial energy, invigorating and youthful… much like my mother’s new puppy…


Meet Rocky. He came with his name when Mum adopted him and she didn’t realise how appropriate his name is, although I personally think he looks more like Snowflake Obsidian… bit of a mouthful that, though, to shout when you are out walking…


Mum’s thinking behind his adoption was company for Erin, companionship and fun, as dogs are really pack animals and Erin can be be prone to periods of pedigree melancholy…


But this little dog! He has one of those faces that make you laugh out loud, a kind, confident little pup. Erin was a little “maiden-aunt” shocked by his presence at first, but soon threw away the weight of her pedigree years and joined in the jaw waving and “nanging”, playing with delight.


The tail waving and circling and grinning eager faces are wonderful to behold; then, playtime over, this little pup collapses into purposeful sleep… as peaceful as pyramids!


Paper… (but no fluff unless you look under the bed…)


With apologies to the lovely Gillian of Paperpuff… do go and visit her blog to see what she can craft from paper…

I have always loved paper… Not in a boring way, but in a very visceral way for the sheer pleasure of how it feels, what it can do, what you can make from it and how it can be used to preserve your words and immortalise your own little stamp on the world. I remember staring, fascinated, when I was about ten, at some papyrus fragments that were in an exhibition at the British Museum, and although I couldn’t understand the message, it was still there, after all those years.

I suppose it goes hand-in-hand with learning to read early. Witnessing what could be created on paper I wanted to make my own contribution to the human written record. Then I went to boarding school and in those days, there was no easily accessible Internet and email (although I hasten to point out we did have colour television-my son asked me once if television was invented while I was alive…)

So. In order to communicate demands from parents it was pen and paper, and we were actively encouraged in the art of letter writing, to make it interesting and enjoyable to the reader…what can be more heart warming to a parent than “Please send more money” written exquisitely in fountain pen on paper patterned with roses and kittens…


We went through phases of collecting and swapping pads of variously coloured and patterned writing paper although my favourite to this day has to be the blue Basildon Bond writing pad, with the blotting sheet at the front. When I have to write a conventional letter I reach for the trusty Parker fountain pen and quality paper in an almost ceremonial way…

When I’m just writing … stuff… then it’s notebooks and biros. Putting pen to paper is a very organic experience and I really feel as if I am achieving and creating something as I see the ink form the words from my head…

Paper itself is actually thought to be a Chinese invention, around 25-220 AD, using a combination of hemp and material. Obviously, vellum was around, as was papyrus (thought to be the origins for the actual word “paper”) but this was the first documented instance of paper as we would know it today. Then its use spread to Europe by the 11thcentury and paper mills making wood based paper were established.


When I was a little girl, some well-meaning relative gave me a book of origami dinosaurs… this was a little advanced for me, so with the faith that children have in their parents, I took it to my father. He was never a particularly patient man, but, to be fair, he tried. He persevered, obviously wanting to please his daughter… but this was my first instance of learning that sometimes parents can indeed be fallible… He threw the book across the room shouting:

Horrible f*@%*#g Gami!!”

My cat Charlie shares my love of paper. She is an absolute delight at any birthday or Christmas celebration – just show her which presents are hers and she will quite happily rip them open herself. And yours too, if she can. Paper can be hidden under and used as camouflage when ambushing others… newspapers are good for the rewarding bonus shriek as sometimes she even leaps through it…

At the moment, in my paper collection, I have some pre-cut card bases… some beautiful linen based card stock that has a golden glow to it, some hand-made paper with flower petals and other varying shades, samples and shapes… hmmm….what to do with it…?


Words and Pictures


Misremembered fragments and half-forgotten phrases;
Fine, dark eyes and a sad-souled girl.

Who are you? Where do we belong?
Whose stories are these, whose lives am I seeing?

Roads of description and paths of light;
Worlds both real and imagined
And always there is you.

Half a step behind and sometimes in front;
Never quite sure if I’ve found you or not,
If our lives touch in this lifetime
Or not.

Sometimes with a film star gloss;
Othertimes just you, more real
And near.

But always love. Always.



Lapis Lazuli And Loving Cats


This is a beautiful crystal, with benefits and qualities rooted in the mists of time, where people saw its sky blue colour and used this crystal ground up as a paint to try and capture the heavens…

In powder form, it was also used by Cleopatra, amongst others, as an eyeshadow and ornamentation as a crystal in jewellery and statuary.

Lapis Lazuli’s spiritual qualities are as beautiful and as varied as the stone itself… it is highly protective, and as with most blue crystals, balances the throat chakra and helps with communication, both with other people and also becoming aware of your own “inner voice” and listening to it.


Its soaring azure colours, reminiscent of the sky, perhaps illustrates the fact that this crystal encourages you to rise above the boundaries of your physical self, facilitating spiritual journeying. Lapis Lazuli is a wonderful crystal to release stress and lift depression, bringing harmony and balance.

Like a clear summer sky, Lapis Lazuli will also amplify thought – by this I mean clarity. It brings clarity, disposing of woolly, outdated thought patterns that are of no benefit.

A loving and caring crystal – another strongly protective one too – Lapis Lazuli strengthens the relationships and friendships we nurture, allowing feelings to be freely expressed.


I know my cats love me – as Mummy and not just because of my useful opposable thumbs – yet having four, it’s wonderful to see the varying ways in which they express this human quality of love.

Charlie, as befits a lady and a princess, is quite reserved, and I do indeed feel quite honoured when she chooses to sit on my knee and purr, kneading her little paws in a frenzy of:

Oh yes, I’d forgotten, you’re quite nice really…”


Lily has a sweet, trilling meow to signal that she would like some attention, subtly different from the:

Here, look, I’m spoiling you, another mouse…” call. She will butt her small but surprisingly hard head against your hand and gaze deeply and meaningfully into your eyes … When I go to check my son is asleep, she will be there, curled up against him in an indistinguishable ball of black fluff…


Tooty loves to cuddle and will curl up near you, purring mightily… she has a habit of checking if you are available to give out strokes when you are sleeping… there’s been a few times when I’ve been awoken by a cold nose pressed enquiringly against my cheek and catfood breath …

Hi! Are we awake? Tummy tickles?”


Ting is definitely the most demonstrative cat … when I come in, she will collapse at my feet and rub her head on them, purring in a total ecstasy of love and happiness…

Currr-AH…Currr-AH – so happy! You’re home…you’ve been gone AGES…”

clutching my hand between her front paws – no claws – to rub her cold, wet nose on it.


Cats are traditionally supposed to be cold and stand-offish… not my four girls! Although they each have very different ways of showing it, I am rewarded by their love and truly appreciate it.

What greater gift than the love of a cat?”

Charles Dickens

Amazing Older Ladies… Part 1


When I was born, my father’s parents were delighted. I was the youngest grandchild and only granddaughter, and my grandparents were devoted. My Nan sewed tirelessly, believing that elegant sewing is part of every lady’s upbringing; dainty little dresses and crocheted cardigans.

My Grandad was a sensitive, very intelligent man, at times a little highly strung, but loving, warm and supportive. My Nan was a lady in the true sense of the word, immaculate and strong and her pearls of wisdom and sayings still enrich my life now while my Grandad has left me with a love of music hall, variety acts and theatre.


My grandparents met when they were 16 and 18 and were very rarely apart. Devotees of healthy living before it was fashionable, they both lived into their 90’s. I miss them still. This is a little of their story in my Nan’s own words from a letter that she wrote to me when she was 90.

When I was 15 years, my mother had my younger sister, June, at 48 years old. We were in the throes of building a larger house and although we had help, my father said that he would pay me a proper wage to look after my sister: “Your mama and I will still go to the theatre and dancing so you will be in full charge…”

I also went to private tuition for short hand typing and book keeping. When June was 2 years old, I was 17 and worked for a building company (my father’s firm had financed them.) This was in 1934 when Bricklayers were paid 1/7d an hour, Labourers 1/2d… riches indeed.

At 16 years I met Grandad at a Football Dance, he played for Wolverhampton Amateurs on Saturdays. A reasonable footballer, he was a rotten dancer, but he was always fun to be with.

Grandad was a metallurgist and when he had qualified he was a Member of the Institute of Metals. He met an American who asked him whether he would like to learn the technique of putting glass onto metal. I used to type all his notes about Bessemer furnaces and took a job at a rolling mills.

When Grandad was 21 years old, he bought a plot of land for £100 – a lot of money in 1937, where we built our first house, and then we were married in 1939. While we were on honeymoon, war was declared and Grandad tried to enlist for the navy, but when it was discovered that he was a metallurgist, he was involved in Ministry work for parts of bombers.

EPSON MFP imageNan, in later years, with my father

After the war, Grandad helped rebuild factories in Holland, France and Italy – an awful lot of travelling. When he had to go to the States, he used the Queen Mary, or the Empress line for Canada and oversaw his final project in Mexico at the age of 70.

He could talk on his subject ‘Vitreous Enamelling’ for hours and never need notes and lectured far and wide, South Africa when Apartheid was in full swing and invited behind the Iron Curtain. He was given a doctorate but wouldn’t use it.

He always said that he had no regrets, he had a very busy but enjoyable life, from school to business, and was very tired when he died at 92 years. I miss him terribly and know that I always will.

Although I didn’t see my grandparents as much as I would have liked in later years, both Nan and Grandad had an impact on how I view the world… I secretly fancy myself a somewhat better seamstress than I actually am and I know a surprising amount of music hall songs off by heart…

img_5773My Nan’s favourite flower, and a scent that always reminds me of her…

Fathers and Funerals


I’ve only ever been to one funeral… and I’ve only ever had one father too… there’s a link already… No. Seriously. Although I don’t really see my father now – second wife syndrome – we do exchange cards at Christmas and I do have some fond memories of him when I was younger.

I used to enjoy going out with him on his farm visits and seeing the different animals, I’ve seen quite a few lambings, calvings and foals being born … He always used to carry a roll of extra strong mints in the car and the challenge was to see how long I could keep a mint in my mouth without screaming and spitting it out…


My partner and I moved to our current house in order to be near his parents, his father in particular, who was elderly and infirm. In due course, the expected happened, and this led to my first experience of a funeral. Admittedly, I found my partner’s father somewhat … challenging and we were never exactly… close, but I found the funeral both distressing and traumatic.

To begin with, there was a disagreement about cars, as to whether I warranted a place in the “daughter-in-laws” car since my partner and I are not married. Then, at the service, another section of his large, extended family arrived without invitation and tensions were evident…

The cemetery was cold and desolate. Windswept and stark. My nerves – never great – were shredded and I did not want to go and stand by the graveside. Instead, a neighbour and her daughter stood with me and we looked at the wreaths.

It just seemed wrong, somehow, leaving the old man there. Yet I have my own memory of him, that I am blessed with, that I chose to share with my partner to try and comfort him…


He had left his father in his wheelchair, after his last stroke, by our pond to look at the fish, while he went inside with his mother to discuss something. His father didn’t know I was there, but I saw, I remember… my little dog, who was a bouncy, jumpy-up sort of dog, went quietly up to the old man and lifted her face up to him.

He laid his gnarled old hand on her head and patted her, a smile lighting up his face. Just that. A simple moment, but a little moment of joy that the old man and my little dog shared, a comfort and a knowing.

Later, the wake was pretty awful. Excess alcohol and tears, and, all in all, what the day left me with was an overwhelming memory of flowers and feuds…

In a conversation quite recently actually, with my partner, regarding funerals, I was taken aback with the Victorian relish he greeted this subject…

Oh yes, I want everybody in floods of tears. You have to wear black … and a hat… with a veil… “

Me: “ … ???…”

The Victorians, most notably the Queen herself, introduced the lugubrious practise of death-relish; the yards of black crepe, jet mourning jewellery, wearing full black mourning for years, the effigies, the elegies, the monuments, the mausoleums…

I can appreciate the comfort this may offer, but my partner declaring “I want everybody to be miserable because I’ve gone” is not for me.

I’ve planned my funeral. Not in the morbid sense and not because I intend dying any time soon … but because I would like it to be a celebration of Life left behind, and for people to remember me with laughter and love.


To this effect… my funeral music – although I prefer “celebration” music will be “Always look on the bright side of Life”, from Monty Python’s “Life Of Brian” and José González’s “Step Outside”- a truly uplifting and beautiful piece of music. I don’t really want black to be worn, unless as a tasteful accessorising handbag perhaps. People can bring flowers, but take them home, don’t leave them to die, and I would like the poem “Do not stand at my grave and weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye read out. It points out that death need not be the end… it is a transition… a becoming… a returning to Source.

I would like a selection of exotic teas to be offered to my guests… and cake. The most expensive, decadent, delicious cake that you wouldn’t ordinarily buy… And to end… “My Way.” By the Sex Pistols. Of course.

As that great comedian Tommy Cooper is reputed to have said: “Always leave ‘em laughing…”


Amber and Awesome Cats


Amber isn’t actually a crystal – it’s fossilised tree resin, the sticky stuff that a tree will leak if it’s wounded. It’s popular for use in jewellery, and from ancient times, people seem to have instinctively known that this beautiful golden crystal has some pretty awesome qualities.


It’s a powerful healer and natural analgesic – I don’t know if this is psychosomatic, as I do get pretty panicky at the dentist’s, but when I am there, wearing my amber jewellery or clutching a piece of Amber in my hot, sticky palm definitely reduces the pain and panic…


As “tree blood”, Amber has a strong connection with Mother Earth, and powerful grounding and healing energies. Whilst dissolving negativity, Amber will take this energy and change it into something positive, a force that will help to stimulate the body’s own healing process.

The Ancient Greeks called Amber “Elektron” and through it discovered static electricity … my Nan showed me this by rubbing her string of Amber beads with a silk scarf so they became positively charged, full of energy…

Like you, dear…”

and would attract other little objects, like pieces of torn paper.


Amber is a wonderful, positive crystal that’s all about the energy; warm and golden, it brings warmth and happiness to Life, clearing depression from the mind and negative energies from the spirit, Vitamin D for the soul, if you will…


Cats can be pretty awesome too … although I mean that in the traditional sense, provoking awe and wonder, rather than just being pretty cool… (cue reproachful look from Charlie… )


From the time our first feline friend was attracted to the warmth of a caveman’s fire and proved their use by deterring rodents, Man has regarded Cat with a sense of awe for their grace and elegance and at times almost unearthly powers … the Middle Ages was not a good time in the history of the cat, rather a comedown after the glories of Ancient Egypt.


And yet our fascination with cats remains on the whole, positive. They have inspired any amount of artworks, poetry and literature … and have proved time and time again that they have an awe-inspiring ability to adapt and move with the times, from solitary hunter of years gone by to multi-cat household of the 21st century.