Happy Christmas 

Just a quick post to say thank you to all my friends on WordPress. Thank you for your support, kindness and friendship. Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to stop for a look or a like…

I’m very tired and having a bit of a break now, but from all of us here at CrystalCats, love and good wishes. Enjoy the magic of Christmas and your families, friends and loved ones. And love. Always.



When I was a little girl, there were certain levels of behaviour from my sister and I. We were not exactly of the generation “Children should be seen and not heard” but as the up-and-coming young veterinary surgeon my father expected my mother to keep an immaculate home, maintain a full-time job and fully appointed social calendar and keep us two presentable and well-mannered.

We absorbed these lessons as if by osmosis – we were never told to “mind our p’s and q’s”, or remember to say please and thank you, we just did. Those were the days when you could be socially mobile… it was just on our local news that the East Midlands is considered the worst place to live in the country. Apparently there is no social mobility… not surprising considering the state of the public transport system… I had to wait an hour for a bus the other day…

Anyway, my sister and I learnt impeccable manners – you could take us anywhere and we would fit right in, the perfect daughterly accessories to our aspirational father. One week, he came home from work and excitedly announced that one of his friends from university was visiting for the weekend. He was well-respected in the veterinary community and my father could see advantages to renewing their acquaintance over a weekend of hunting, clay pigeon shooting and delicious meals cooked by an attentive wife.

And us. The slightly unpredictable element of children. Even my father’s dogs had beautiful manners – they were to be trusted…

The momentous weekend arrived, as did my father’s friend, rolling up our driveway in his Jaguar. We all gathered on the patio to greet this pal from my father’s university days, and out he stepped, neatly bypassing a welcoming head butt from our pet sheep. He was a big man, tall, heavily- built and muscular, towering over my father and his

respectable 5”10’ …

James! Good to see you! Come inside, here, I’ll help you with your bags!”

Full of effervescent bonhomie, my father pulled what seemed like an awful lot of luggage for a mere weekend out of the car.

Once inside, dogs greeted and drink in hand, my mother showed James to his room, and left him to unpack and change for dinner.

She returned downstairs to make the finishing touches, fresh flowers on the table, silver cutlery gleaming, the rack of lamb beautifully done and presented and the Black Forest gateau gently chilling in the fridge, awaiting a final dusting of grated chocolate.

Dinner’s nearly ready, if you’d like to come downstairs,” she trilled sweetly.

My father emerged from his study and my sister and I joined him from the living room as slowly, heavily, footsteps were heard from the guest bedroom. They… clomped somewhat hesitatingly, down the stairs and into the hallway. James. But not James as we’d met him…

This James was wearing a nice ruffled blouse. With a pink A-line skirt. And some chunky beige heels. And makeup. A little over-enthusiastically applied, maybe, but the full complement of eyeshadow, blusher, lipstick and mascara.

In his booming voice, he declared:

I rather thought I’d enjoy being Jennifer for the weekend. You don’t mind, do you?”

My father went a little pale. My mother let out a hoot – quickly stifled. The dogs stared. My sister and I said – absolutely nothing. Not a dicky bird.

My father waved his hand vaguely in the direction of the dining room so Jennifer could precede him, while my sister and I followed. I don’t think we had ever been so quiet or well-behaved at any point in our lives previously, up to that particular moment, and we both went on later to be expelled from our respective schools.

My father managed to make awkward small talk as he and Jennifer reminisced about battles fought on the rugby field, Jennifer throwing back his head and roaring with laughter, the foundation cracking at the corners of his mouth…

My mother spent a lot of time in the kitchen that weekend, I seem to recall, with the company of a bottle of whisky – medicinal, of course, every so often, making strange whooping and giggling sounds, like she had a hyena trapped in there with her…

The rest of the weekend fades into distant memory, really, other than remembering my father looking quite… weary, by the end of it. He must, however, have shown James/Jennifer a very good time, since the following year he was appointed president of the British Veterinary Association…!

Rhodochrosite And Rolling Cats…


Thank you Liz for my weekly dose of inspiration!

This gentle pink crystal has a soft, fizzing energy to it… think champagne and strawberries, fragrant, bubbly and loving. As a pink stone it is intimately connected with the heart chakra and all aspects of love. It can be used to help with healing abuse from previous relationships, whilst restoring a positive attitude and preparing you to love again.

Rhodochrosite shows you how to accept the sometimes painful lessons that love can bring and learn from them in a positive manner. It can help with the release of painful and repressed emotions, gently easing them away rather than a big powerful wallop of “Well I never saw that coming!”

Rhodochrosite will help you to take a good look at yourself with kindness and self-awareness, giving you the ability to process the information, learn and move on. It prepares the way for you to find your soulmate, your life partner, linking you to that higher state of mind, yet giving you the ability to freely and spontaneously express your feelings.

Within reason. Of course.

I’ve had quite a few funny looks as the people passing on the park look over the bushes and into our garden… my cats usually follow me most places, including over to my partner’s mother’s house, or down the road…

WAIT! WAIT! We’re coming! Don’t leave us!”

No, you have to stay – I’m only going to the shop…”

Why ohhhh WAA_Oohhh…come back!”

And then when I return, the full-on greeting ceremony, no matter how long I’ve actually been, including all four cats hurling themselves to the floor at my feet and rolling about ecstatically, legs waving, paws air kneading…

As any cat owner knows, though, the body language of cats is a law unto itself. A roll over to expose the tummy fluff can mean a few things, primarily with my four it is a sign of trust and love… “So pleased you’re home! Tickle my tummy!”

Not every cat requires such a hands-on approach, so you do have to take note of other signs, like a flicking tail, or what might seem an adorably soft expanse off fur can suddenly turn into a bear trap as four Murder Mittens are clamped around the unwary hand.


A cat can roll over in a fight which is not “Oh, I’m giving up..” Rather, it’s a deployment of all weapons at their disposal, claw paws and teeth.. Lily will roll for pleasure in dust or dry soil and come in looking like she’s just been reborn from the Earth. Tooty will roll in greeting and combat… Charlie will roll with elegance and grace…


Ting will drop and roll with all the precision of a parachutist… even as I type, she’s rolling in my Jammy Dodgers…




I do love a good tree… I don’t actually have any of any great size in my garden, other than the apple tree which my partner lovingly grew from a pip about twenty years ago.


Its apples are horrible, but the flowers are beautiful, and I love the goodness, the symbolism of my apple tree. It has had many a wish made on its branches, and next year, in the Spring, it will have Tibetan prayer flags draped around it.

Trees are inherently symbolic and packed full of meaning – just look at the Tree of Life. I feel the bareness of tree branches in Winter, reaching out their empty arms and pleading with Mother Nature to return soon with their leafy covering…


There is something very primitive about walking through a wood in Summer, harking back to our lives centuries ago, when the first upright walkers left the safety of the trees for the open plains.


Every step taken through these enclaves of trees is a passage to the past when Mankind was far more intimately connected to the cycles of Mother Earth. Our lives have been entwined with trees like ivy round a trunk… they provided shelter, fuel, symbols, myths and legends.

Every time I see this tree I fully expect the Green Man to be just around the other side…


There is a stark beauty too, woods in winter, naked, bare and beseeching reaching up to the sky, the very heavens, Nature’s own cathedrals; while down below their roots grip Mother Earth secretly, drawing hidden life to the surface.


Another bridge, another link in Life, chapter in this Book … And when all is bleak and bare, there is comfort to be found in the promise of returning Life.

Butterfly Brain…


Oh God… why can’t I breathe – what’s that awful smell of catfood doing in the bed – Tooty! GET OFF! Don’t dribble on me…

Good morning girlies! Are you ready for breakfast – I know a song about that – No? Ok, Mummy won’t sing then…who left me the dead mouse? Lily, you shouldn’t have – no really I mean that!

Right…let’s get organised. Kettle on- teabag in, tea done. . . .Aaah. Best drink of the day… now, if I could just have a cigarette to go with it – NO! NO! Don’t think like that, Samantha, it’s been over a year now – disgusting. Filthy habit…

Let’s get dressed. Please get out of the wardrobe Ting… Oh my God – who’s chewed the corner of the door?? I mean, really? Like you don’t have enough toys?

Teeth cleaned, someone’s been in the sink, muddy pawprints everywhere – fab. If only mud were the new black… bet there’s a blog post in there somewhere… must remember to get more toothpaste…hope that offer’s still on… wonder if Alex needs anything getting, although it’s not as if they don’t have shops there…

I’ll have to get catfood from there next week as Nottingham seems to have stopped selling their brand… Going out girlies! Be good, guard the house, Charlie, don’t be a bully.

Dammit!! Nearly got run over – hate this crossing… crossing between two worlds… heheh… bet there’s a story in there…ooh! Pretty kitty, hi! Bus, up or down… oh actually I’ll go upstairs, the coughing man’s there – crap! Nearly fell down the stairs…

Oh dear, how can I tell Mum I don’t really like pasta… I hope Alex likes pasta considering I bought him a bag the size of a small child to keep him going…wonder what he might like for Christmas…

I know what the cats want anyway… I’m not getting them any more of those catnip mice, it sounds like they’re hurling rocks around in the front room when they play with them…

We all have some sort of internal monologue that runs in the background like an open app while we go about our daily business. This is a sample of mine… I never really realised what junk I think to be honest. My mother calls it Butterfly Brain, Alex calls it Being Blonde… upon reflection, I think maybe my mind is like a rubbish dump – and I’m still looking for that elusive hidden gem..!


Kakortokite And Kisses…


When I first saw this crystal it reminded me of this wonderful chocolate I used to be able to get… a decadently sweet but oh-so-smooth white chocolate with little surprises of freeze dried raspberry gently enfolded within its silky embrace. Similarly, this crystal is a sweet and happy little stone that can help with lifting depression and also SAD.


Kakortokite is a lovely stone for winter because its sugary sweet vibe lifts and energises, helping to re-invigorate the body with fresh life. It asks for immediate attention, to help you deal with the present moment, giving you the energy to make the best of your present moment but also giving you the confidence and insight into how to improve it.


Kakortokite’s confidence boost encourages others to trust and have confidence in you too, helping to overcome jealousy whilst promoting forgiveness, a sugar boost to the soul, a cosmic kiss to lift and cheer while reaffirming your connection with Mother Earth.

Does Charlie want a kiss-kiss?” is usually her cue to turn tail and flee as I approach her, arms outstretched, a look of manic love on my face… I do love to kiss the cats and although they respond in varying ways, there is nothing quite as sweet and fulfilling as delivering a smacking kiss to my cats’ heads.

I know not to push my luck with Lily – I have actually seen her bite Alex’s nose before. Tooty tends to struggle and honk-meow if you pick her up for a cuddle and has absolutely no compunction in farting as a means of self-defence if you don’t let her go. Ting will screw up her face in protest but allow me to kiss her and Charlie kisses are just the best… she has such soft fur and such a special delicious scent that if I could bottle it I’d make a fortune… and sometimes, just sometimes, she will reward my kisses with the tiniest of purrs, to let me know that my excessive show of love is, after all, appreciated.

Kisses are funny old things really. I remember watching a wildlife programme on childrens television years ago, where this wonderfully macho presenter and naturalist had fought his way through the jungles of the Amazon with his tough, veteran camera crew, and they had discovered a new species of rat, the Giant Pouched Rat, I think. However, what amused me was the sight of them all standing around with this cute furry animal, totally adorable with big round eyes and soft brown fur, completely unafraid of people, taking turns to cuddle it. And even as the presenter was saying how really human interference should be avoided, he couldn’t help himself and dropped a little kiss on the rat’s head.

Alex has an affinity for owls. Not quite sure if that’s symbolic somehow, but you can guarantee generally wherever we go, there will be a wild bird display, a raptor event, or my favourite, a regular sight in the city, a random man walking around holding a barn owl. As you do. Obviously, as a careful parent, my first question is “Are they friendly? Is is all right to touch them?” But Alex is straight in there for a kiss. These birds could probably do some serious damage, but they accept these kisses with good grace and enjoyment, the little barn owl even lifting its heart-shaped feathery face for more…


So then, crystals, kisses and cats. Chocolate, owls and rats. A mix of subjects but I hope you agree words and pictures to make you happy!

With many thanks to Liz who understood and interpreted my request for “that crystal that looks like chocolate..”

Taking Electricity For Granted…

My plasma ball – these are clear glass balls filled with noble gases and a high voltage electrode in the middle. When electricity is supplied, these beams of coloured light are created

We had a series of little power cuts a few months ago. Now, this didn’t bother me too much, as it was summer, and if you have pen and paper you can write pretty much anywhere. However, the goings on in the street were quite amusing to listen to …

One by one, house alarms started to go off. My partner’s mother was screaming because she didn’t know how to turn her alarm off, next door’s kid was yelling because his computer had gone off… in a matter of minutes, the whole infrastructure of the street had been compromised.

It’s so dark!” “Burglars’ll be round..” (cue screaming from my partner’s mother..) “I didn’t save my level!” My most pressing concern was the freezer, although there wasn’t actually that much in it.

But it just gave me pause for thought, about just how dependant we really are on our ability to create light and power at the flick of a switch. Granted, electricity has been around for, well, for ever, and early humans even managed to utilise it in the Baghdad Batteries – although these are now more commonly thought of as a rudimentary method of electroplating – but I bet William Gilbert never thought his discovery would become a mainstay of modern society.

I noticed, for example, just how really dark it is in the countryside. There is still some relatively unspoilt countryside between here and Loughborough, when I go to visit Alex, that is quite pleasant to pass through. It was dark, though, last time I came home on the bus … A primitive kind of blackness, only illuminated for a few feet in front of us as we travelled down these narrow country lanes in our juggernaut of a bus, speeding centuries into the future…

Any big city has a permanent glow of electricity around it, so true darkness is very rarely seen, due to this light pollution. I remember the power cuts of the seventies… mainly because my father couldn’t find the candles in the cupboard under the stairs and banged his head, swearing loudly and expressively…

it’s quite scary in a way, to think just how helpless we would be if our power supply was threatened… I must go and Google how to make a generator –

B*&%$r!! The electricity’s gone off…


Yuletide Yapping…


Overheard snippets of conversation provide endless interest and points to ponder… for example, when I was on the bus home the other night, a conversation between two older women, and one younger, the daughter of one…

“’Ave yer got yer trimmin’s oop yet?”

Nahhhh, don’t bovver now it’s just me. Fell aht wi’ mi ‘usband ‘baht two year agoo, ‘e used to come an’ see mi, but then we ‘ad a big bust up, so nah I don’ even see ‘im…”

(Why? Whatever did they fall out about? Why did he still see her?)

Yeah, yer better off by yersen, can do what you want, wear what want, eat what you want…”

At this point the daughter broke in –

Yeah, don’ wan no bleedin bloke tellin’ yer what to do, I ‘ave to do everythin’ by ‘is rules…”

(What? Just suggest a compromise…maybe he thinks he’s being helpful…)

Yeah, mi daugh’er lives at the bottom o’mi road, ‘aven’t seen ‘er for months. Although she did text mi last week to see if I were all right…”

Yeah, don’ wan’ no bleedin’ bloke or tree an’ it jus’ starts too early…”

At this point, I had to get off the bus, but a couple of things stayed with me… the fact that a lot of people seem to spend the festive season alone, perhaps through choice, and the second being that social media can be quite isolating, for all it brings the rest of the world closer…

The festive season also seems to bring bad temper bubbling to the surface… I was in a shop the other day, when an older lady, reasonably politely, asked the woman serving her the price of something else she’d seen in the shop. The cashier replied:

How should I know? I’m only on the tills, love, not the shop floor. I can’t be expected to know prices…”

Reading those words back, they seem innocuous enough, but they were delivered in such an unmannerly way that the customer went bright red and left the shop without saying thank you for her purchases.

The cashier continued:

Honestly, I get sick of people asking me stuff like that and I don’t know why she thought I would know…silly old cow…”

The customer returned – she had just been standing by the door but the cashier still argued… unfortunately then I had to leave. I sincerely hope the customer filed a complaint and at least got an apology. First rule of customer service – make sure they’ve actually GONE before you start bad-mouthing them…

I don’t know what it is, perhaps it does have something to do with the fact that Christmas does seem to begin earlier and earlier each year, but I don’t think that is any excuse for bad manners. Ever. Perhaps the cashier was stressed, or she’d had a bad day, but manners cost nothing, and how difficult would a simple “Sorry I couldn’t help” have been?

We all seem to have become de-sensitised to the true spirit of Christmas… not necessarily just the Christian celebration, but the fact that it is a time for friendship and sharing. Be that as it may, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy 40-something year old woman, manners cost nothing and are free – all year round!