Moths… and Moving On

19619903_153063195248888_642738850_oA beautiful Brimstone moth

When I was a little girl, I had the most magical experience which has stayed with me in clear and vivid detail, right to this very day.

It was when we lived in the cottage in the country, and we had the typical garden that goes with those types of converted cottages, flowers, bushes, a lawn, a pond… I was playing outside, lost in a world of my own imaginings, watched benevolently by Nikki, our German Shepherd at the time, and my black cat, Snoopy. They were often drawn into my games, and participated, bless them, with good heart.

In the rich brown earth, like crumbled fruit cake, under the bush near where we were playing, lay what looked like a curled up dead leaf. I prodded it, experimentally, as you do, and it wriggled… I was quite a curious and gentle child, and I wanted to prevent Snoopy from showing too much interest, so I picked it up and put it in the palm of my hand to examine a little more closely.

It wriggled again, and then, perhaps encouraged by the warmth of my hands, little splits appeared in the leaf-like surface, and a milky fluid started to seep out. The thing wriggled more enthusiastically, and then, before my enchanted, entranced and totally disbelieving eyes, a little miracle happened.

Slowly, a damp, crumpled creature emerged, and I recognised it as a moth… but what a moth! It sat, quite happily, in my hands, drying out and letting its wings dry and spread. Beautiful creature, I was amazed – I’ve never been able to repeat this experience, even though I’ve found other moth chrysalises.

As it dried, Mother Nature touched it with her delicate palette, borrowed from a sunset sky of pink and gold, each tiny hair on its body drying and fluffing, each miniature scale on its perfect wings powdered with gilt and rose. Antennae, as fine and sensitive as cats’ whiskers, quivered, and two tiny glowing eyes looked at me.


I must have sat for about half an hour holding this little wonder, until it was dry enough to fly away. I later found out that this amazing creature was actually an Elephant Hawk moth… I have retained a fondness for moths of all variety of moths, from the slender brown ones and delicate white Plume moths to the flashy red Burnet moth to the cuddly brown furry ones, the Brian Blesseds of the Lepidopteric world… I try to prevent my cats from eating them, as they do a valuable job of pollinating night opening flowers…

Recently, I have been blessed with moth appearances from all branches of the family… to such an extent I wondered whether there was actually any symbolism attached to theses little night-fliers, and whether someone was trying to tell me something. I duly Googled “Moth Symbolism.”

In brief, although moths are more usually night time creatures, they seek the Light, consequently they symbolise determination, attraction, psychic abilities and faith. Intuition, higher awareness and psychic enhancement are all mentioned too. I don’t make any claim towards psychic ability – although I can sometimes freak my son out by my uncanny awareness of what he is doing… but despite, or perhaps because of, various things that have happened to me in my life, I have tried to maintain a path, a striving towards the Light – I’m nothing if not determined!


Coincidentally – or maybe not – I have always felt spiritually drawn towards India and her mysticism… as I mentioned to a friend, in the past week I have met two men who have looked at me and said I should go to India… one man had just come back from Kerala and perhaps saw the interest in my eyes and said; “Go. You know you have to…” And then I had a very interesting conversation with a wonderful man who had the kindest and most peaceful blue eyes…

One final little gem… if you pardon the pun… the novel I’m writing is set in India…



Petalite and Pets


An irresistible alliterative title there, as inevitable as my interaction through my life with various representatives of the Animal Kingdom…otherwise known as pets.

Perhaps as my father was a vet, my upbringing with animals was inevitable really, to some degree, but on the whole, animals have brought a lot of love, joy and loyalty to my life. When I was a little girl, I was quite solitary, but never lonely, as I lived in a magical world where animals could talk and were a lot nicer than people…

And of course cats. Always cats, and apart from a sad time in my life when I was homeless and when my old cat Walter died, I have always been accompanied by a cat, or two…or three… or even four.


Not all my pets have been feline though… my parents tried very hard to get me to like ponies, and although I re ad all the right books, like “My Friend Flicka”, “Black Beauty” and “Flambards” I maintained a polite distance from them, even, to my mother’s immense mortification refusing a ride on Paddy McMahon’s great showjumper, Penwood Forge Mill.


We have had rats, mice, hamsters and gerbils – I love rats, they make wonderful pets, clean and intelligent and far less aggressive than hamsters. We briefly had terrapins; I remember my mother rescuing one, quite a large one, from miserable circumstances in a pet shop. Amusingly, it bit her – I’m usually the one who gets bitten – and was soon re-homed at a petting zoo, where our pet sheep lived.


Cats and dogs stay though, in our lives and hearts and remain in my memory as beloved family members. Presently, we have our four girls and Lucky the budgie…

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As well as assorted fish and frogs in the pond outside… still petted and cossetted though, as unbeknownst to my partner I spent an entertaining half hour watching him dig up worms and feed them to our frogs.


But there is an honesty and openess about how animals deal with us, of which humans all too often take advantage, of how they co-exist with us and which really, as we are all children of Mother Earth, we should learn to respect. Petalite has a fitting vibration for this day and age.

Sometimes known as the Angel Stone, its pure high, vibration raises the consciousness and opens the path to higher communication. Its wonderfully pale, yet vibrant colour can be used to enhance the experience of meditation.


Petalite is both protective and uplifting, taking you to a higher spiritual dimension where there is emotional safety and insight. You can review your ancestral and family relationships and ascertain whether they need healing.

As a high vibrating crystal, Petalite opens the doorway for you to enhance your own self-knowledge, honestly and without pretence, cleansing your aura and detaching negative emotions.


Live in truth, love and friendship. Now, more than ever.

That Awkward Moment When…


You realise you’ve been staring intently at the person talking to you and yet you have absolutely no idea what they’ve been talking about….

You’re in a crowded room, when everyone around you suddenly falls silent and your stomach chooses that particular moment to do the most awful roar of hunger. Like a lion.

You’ve been going into one room to fetch something… you know you can’t remember what it was, the person watching you knows you can’t remember what you wanted so you have to try and bluff it out…

When you have a massive uncontrollable attack of sneezing, and people around you look at you as if you’ve taken leave of your senses…

A man you’ve never seen before in your life puts a dead fox head on your counter and asks what crystals you recommend for its eyes…

When you’re away with the fairies and you fall over for no apparent reason… and no one believes you… not even the fairies…

When you are genuinely pleased for a man who was in the public eye and underwent trial by media who then appears in various films and television documentaries and you happen to mention how pleased you are for him that he seems to have these nice little acting jobs coming in and then the person you are talking to points out that the person getting the acting jobs is, in fact, an actor, while the person who underwent the trial by media returned to his normal, everyday life…

Just out of interest, who thinks what experience from the above list has happened to me? Does anyone else have any similar experiences they’d like to share, so we can laugh – I mean commiserate… !!

‘The Erpingham Camp’ – You’ll Have A Whale Of A Time


Well! That was a blast from the past… the good old days when the British Empire was still within living memory and not just a story from history books… of knobbly knees and glamorous granny competitions … of class systems and sly humour…

Let me explain. Regular readers will know that I have two sons, the younger of whom is at college, studying Level III Theatre Foundation Course. Last week I attended the final performance of the course, ‘The Erpingham Camp’… by myself… and I can only apologise to those other people who were sitting around me, as I chortled, snorted, hooted and wept with laughter…

Briefly, ‘The Erpingham Camp’ was written by playwright Joe Orton, who was working in the 1960’s. He was in a same sex relationship with Kenneth Halliwell, who later went on to murder him, at a time when homosexuality was illegal and hanging was still a means of criminal punishment. Against this backdrop, Orton wrote works of comedy, poking satirical fun at the Establishment and caricaturing all that was seen as “best of British.”

Erpingham Camp is a holiday camp, run with steely determination by the owner until one fateful day there is an uprising… and his little empire is overturned. ‘Erpingham’, although originally a male part (chortle) was ably undertaken by Francesca, who was very reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher in her glory days. The reins of the holiday camp were held tightly in her dainty grip as for the first part of the show we are guided through the setting and introduced to the various characters.

Of course, every dictator needs a right-hand man… introducing my son, Alex, as the “Padre”… ahh, the days when a camp (chortle) vicar was protocol among the staff… and what a team! Alex, as the outrageously creepy Padre, bailed out of prison and returned to duties as Francesca’s second in command, Kenneth Williams to her Hattie Jacques, the perfect casting of high camp comedy, frankly terrifying facial expressions and wholly inappropriate religious fervour to Francesca’s megalomaniac illusions of world domination – through holiday camps.


What camp commandant is complete without her minions, her subordinates, her – Yellowcoats! ‘Harrison’, as played by Vanessa, demonstrated a hilarious talent for the rushed, breathless innuendo style of comedy as written by Orton – her crush on Riley, was tear-inducingly funny. ‘Riley’, as played by Louis, captured the essence of hopeful and ambitious Entertainments manager, a cheeky Irish chappie, whose unwitting departure from camp procedure leads to the eventual camp downfall. Assisted by Rowena as a suitably flirty ‘Jessie Mason’, and Ben, ‘Jim the Circus Boy’ Riley devises an evening of entertainment that ends in a revolutionary uprising…

Where are our happy campers? ‘Lou’ and ‘Ted’ as played by Ned and Brad, are a very respectable couple, pillars of society and members of the Conservative Club; stalwarts of camp life who enter every competition with gusto – note their visible comic disappointment as Ned fails to place in the Glamorous Granny Competition. Upright and law-abiding, this couple conform in every detail – even down to the trim on Ned’s costume that matches perfectly with Brad’s shirt.

The other husband and wife team the audience are invited to focus on are ‘Kenny and ‘Eileen’ as played by Sean and Becca. They are our working class Romeo and Juliet love story, as Eileen shriekingly reminds us, their families didn’t approve. Sean is masterful and macho as he guides his wife up the social ladder. Becca – the frail- and heavily pregnant – wife, rescued from a loveless life by marriage to her proud husband, matches his aspirations, but this delicate little flower can’t half pack a punch as we find out later…

On to the evening of disaster… I was on my second packet of tissues by then… the usually impeccably behaved Ted is coerced into an impromptu strip which he enjoys a little too much while Lou and Eileen are egged into a screaming competition by Riley. His ill-planned entertainments spark a physical conflict between the ladies – Riley attempts to stem disaster by slapping the hysterical Eileen, but he didn’t bargain for the outraged Kenny, suitably attired in a leopardskin, retaliating with fists – not quite the done thing – and Ned’s surprise when Becca hits her is superbly comic, as if a kitten grew teeth and became a tiger…

A few other mentions: the scene where Erpingham is under siege, Francesca inspiring her Yellowcoats, the Padre leading them in a chorus of “Love Divine”, while we hear the rioting campers wreaking havoc offstage, I was put in mind of Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’, before Agincourt, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…” Alex’s big reveal… I screamed as my son’s priestly vestments were torn asunder to reveal – electric blue ladies’ underwear and lacy stockings… The delicate timing with which Ben, as Jim the Circus Boy knocked out Sean with an acrobatic kick to the jaw… The people behind the scenes, Ethan, the stage manager who guided his actors through the set changes; Monica, the set designer, Georgia and Sophie who were in charge of sound and lighting; Kathy, for her costume skill and design.

From Benny Hill to the ‘Red Flag’, Orton’s satire on standards and expectations of society is brilliantly brought to life by this NCN class of 2017. The cast delivered lines and blows with great timing and the practised aplomb of seasoned professionals. Amy Legge, as Director, has done a sterling job with this talented cast – thank you very much – they were amazing! Look out for these names, people, I fully expect great things from all of them – and a re- run of ‘Erpingham Camp’ in twenty year’s time…

Congratulations Class Of 2017!

19398911_1860155600971275_376908560_n(From left to right: Becca, Lauren, Rowenna, Jonathan, Vanessa, Sean, Francesca, Monica, Brad, Ned, Louis, Alex, Leon, Laila and Ben on the floor)

Opals And Obedient Cats


There is a phrase… “like herding cats” which is generally taken to mean a frustrating and pointless task, as cats are notorious for wanting to do their own thing, and responding unwillingly to any form of training.

My partner was not a cat person… until he met me… and he was fascinated to see how first Walter, then the girls, learned and responded to us and their environment. They all know their names and answer to them, and I said to him:

Well, what do you expect them to do… ignore you?”


Which they do, actually, as he is definitely Number Two Cat Parent.

Like any responsible parent, I have tried to teach my girls the basics: “No,” “Sweets,” “Down,” “Come”, “Up” and so on, as it is useful to have them understand some basic manners too – entirely another matter as to whether the choose to comply or not.

I have come to the conclusion that cats understand extremely well the actual concept of obedience… if what you would like them to do coincides with their intentions at the moment, then all well and good and everyone is happy…

Opals are traditionally associated with bad luck and unhappiness, although it’s really a beautiful crystal and the highest grade is used in jewellery.


My son bought me this green Kiwi Opal, and it is one of the kindest crystals I have encountered, encouraging spontaneity and creativity, whilst gently releasing inner conflicts and inviting spirit and body to work as a united whole.


Thus it is a useful stone to possess and use if you feel repressed or confined. The opal nurtures and makes the owner aware of the benefits that come from being nurtured, a calming, caring and co-operative stone.

19369060_141704846384723_1802846821_oFire Opal – helps initiate new ideas and stir enthusiasm, Yellow Opal – for emotional stability, called the ‘Stone of Hope’

Opal contains more water than most crystals usually do, which is perhaps what aids it attune its own vibration with its owner, as opals quickly synchronised with their owners. Of course, Opal comes in various forms (thank you Lizian for letting me play with the pretty stones…) but the underlying crystal properties are the same.

19250084_141705089718032_55389870_oPink Opals to help heal emotions, bring compassion and ease painful memories…

Its varied and beautiful colours awaken the spirit of creativity, while its gentle, almost motherly vibe encourages us to communicate honestly and kindly with one another, helping where we can and caring too. Always.



Sight_2016_05_12_115649_622 (3)

He took the misshapen little hand-rolled cigarette his mate offered him and eyed it doubtfully. He had smoked before and quite enjoyed it- all his mates did – but this was something new. He’d nicked cigarettes out of his mother’s packet and lied about it and when he stayed at his grandmother’s she was stupid enough to give him money to buy his own, but this was something new.

Go on, yer pussy! Just take a drag!”

His mate jeered at him through a haze of smoke.

Well, because his mate was doing it too – he put the soggy tip to his mouth and inhaled…

The cares he thought he had and that had threatened to swamp him floated away on a cloud of fragrant smoke that stung the inside of his nose and invaded his lungs. Life suddenly seemed so much easier – pleasant, almost.

And that was just the first.

What a crutch, what a pleasure, what a blessing! It dulled the girlfriend’s nagging voice, muted the grandmother’s sycophantic pleas and wiped his mother off the face of his earth.

You don’t know what I’m like when I’m with my mates!” became the call to arms.

He did, however, find he needed the special smoke a little more each time to reach the place where calls went unheeded, tears could be ignored and job abandoned.

His grandma’s house became his refuge as he found he no longer cared what his mother or his father thought. His grandma’s purse became his bank or he punished her with silence and absence. The rare family get-togethers were punctuated with cries of “What’s the matter with you?”

He chanted his battle cry in reply:

You don’t know what I’m like when I’m with my mates!”

He got nervous, stressy, thought people were following him.

Those handy smokes from his mate just took the edge off, eased things back a bit’ and if he had to pay a little more, well, it didn’t really matter, because they were mates, after all, and he was doing him a favour.

He didn’t want to see his mother, blamed her really, it was easier that way, as he didn’t have to see the disappointment in her eyes. He didn’t want that sort of help.

One day, his mate didn’t want him staying in the house while he smoked. He took his stuff and found a nice quiet place in the park, rolled up and floated… All that promise, all that hope and love, gone in a cloud of sweet, sweet smoke.

When he woke up, he was cold, he was hungry, he was afraid, lying in a pool of his own piss.



Gardening… With Cats…


1. Quietly ascertain the exact location of each cat (two younger ones on bed, small black cat lying on laptop, tabby asleep on chair.)

2. Stealthily open shed and collect trowel, seeds and clematis that really needs planting out.

3. Turn to shut shed door and jump in fright, dropping compost, as four pairs of eyes watch you… accusingly.


4. Sigh in resignation and walk to spot in garden where you intended planting clematis, first removing small black cat from shed and seeds from Siamese.


5. Observed by cats, dig hole for lovely new clematis plant.

6. Turn away to retrieve plant then shriek in horror as you see small tabby princess squatting elegantly over hole, preparing to… um… christen it.

7. Wait until tabby has finished and fetch watering can to rinse hole out, only to find Siamese using new, conveniently dug hole, while the two black cats look on, politely waiting their turn.


8. Comfort clematis – it is visibly shuddering in horror.

9. Find nice clean ceramic plant pot.

10. Abandon idea of planting clematis directly in garden, instead filling previously-mentioned pot with compost, placing clematis carefully within, watering and removing to an ideal location on the patio.