“Stay At Home…”

Firstly I must say that I hope everyone is safe and well. I confess I thought this staying at home thing would be easy, plenty to keep me engaged… here is a little break down of my past week.

Day 1:

Make list of everything that I need to do, then notice the sun is shining so get sidetracked and go outside where I end up moving three azaleas and planting some radish seeds.

Day 2:

Look at list. Make cheesecake. Eat cheesecake while binge watching so much “True Blood” and “American Horror Story” I feel my brain has turned to mush and will probably slide out my nose if I bend over.

Day 3:

Look at list. Think about doing at least one item on the list. Go outside. Find garden gnomes and instruct partner to repaint said garden gnomes. Argue over what to call garden gnomes. Him: “No, you can’t call them all Dave!” Me: “But why not? They all look like Daves!” Settle on compromise of calling one Dave and the others after the cast of “True Blood”. Dig large hole at the bottom of the garden and eye partner speculatively till he retreats nervously indoors.

Dave…

Day 4:

Look at list. Throw list away. Make trifle. Eat trifle. Go upstairs to tidy bedroom, have a little sit down on the bed and fall asleep, only to wake up and find not only have I drooled in my hair but I missed “Gardener’s World” too.

Day 5:

Decide to go out. Make comprehensive list of everything we need. Go to shop. Discover list is at home and return with pickled beetroot and cat food, neither of which were on the list.

Day 6

Go through music on phone. Play “Crank That ” by Soulja Boy Watch “Crank That” video on YouTube. Learn steps of dance to “Crank That”. Practise steps in front of mirror. Show assembled cats my version of “Crank That” by Soulja Boy. Run after cats as they flee in horror from my “cranking back”.

“Perhaps if we keep very still she’ll just run straight past us…”

Day 7:

Tidy wardrobe and throw old clothes away. Realise you don’t know when you’ll be able to get out and buy new clothes so retrieve previously discarded clothes, carefully replacing errant woodlouse outside.

Seriously though friends, I write to raise a smile in these difficult times – it can help, as does gardening. If you don’t have a garden, try growing something from your fruit or vegetable scraps – I have a thriving celery plant that has its origins in a large supermarket..The sense of achievement is lovely, as is the sense of looking after something living and growing.

Check out some book lists – various libraries around the world are offering thousands of books to download for free. Do something physical – not necessarily “Crank That”.. – just something to get the blood moving.

My version of a sourdough starter…

Eat if not well then at least inventively… A few ideas at any rate. And of course, look after yourselves.

LOOK! “Mr. Sagittarius is Here!”

Mr-Sagitarrius-Mallon-FB“Is she here yet Lily?”86183695_3180852228628363_3708799058614157312_n“Yes! I can see her now!””Thank you Lily – wonderful!”Look everybody! I would like to welcome a special guest to our blog today, the lovely Marje from Kyrosmagica. It’s great to have you here, the first stop on your new book blog tour!img_20170205_090149_185-author-photokyrosmagica-black-on-white1-e1523295724272Thank you very much for stopping by to tell us about your new book – help yourself to tea and cake!84089025_1531202207027206_2373041625145278464_nWe’ve known Marje a couple of years now, and I know Lily in particular has been looking forward to seeing you again.86188645_1569892723177481_1101913631185960960_nLily and Marje were first introduced by our friend Gary, from “Fiction Is Food” blog, when Marje needed a black cat model during the creation of her first Y/A novel, “The Curse Of Time.”Lily’s picture and one of a tourmaline crystal, taken by Alex is featured, among other things, in Marje’s new book, “Mr.Sagittarius.” Please will you tell us a little more…”We’re listening!”86177135_173845187276092_7426235506913968128_n[Marje reads:]

Who Is Mr. Sagittarius?

And what is his connection to twin brothers, Harold and William?

When Harold dies, he leaves a simple memorial request

Will his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the magic of the garden ensure that she does.

A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images.

It sounds fabulous!Being a cat mother I sometimes come into contact a little closer than I ever really wanted with the Natural World, but I know that you have a wonderful eye for detail and a way of capturing the beauty in even the smallest creation of Mother Nature. Likewise, living with a family of four sister cats I am interested in reading about the sibling relationships – please don’t slap Ting, Tooty, not while we have guests… so I am very much looking forward to reading “Mr.Sagittarius” for myself!Ooh – could I ask anyone who is on “Goodreads” to add “Mr.Sagittarius” to their “To Read” list and I must also mention that Marje is very kindly donating the first month’s ebook royalties to the Australian Bush Fire Appeal, please follow the links at the end of my post to buy your very own copy.Marje – I hope you don’t mind, but the Girls wanted to ask you a question, and as the oldest -“And most intelligent!”- Charlie felt she should be Spokesfeline…85090693_2587970881491009_6472501507320184832_n

Charlie asks :
“I notice there is a poem called ‘Life Lessons From Cats’ with my sister Lily’s picture. What would you say is the most important lesson you’ve learned in Feline Philosophy?”
Marje :
“Hi Charlie.
Your sister Lily’s photo with Buddha is really cute. That’s such an interesting question regarding feline philosophy. Cats teach us much about the world in which we live. I’d say the most important lesson they impart to us daft humans is to nurture a curious spirit. Without a curious spirit, life would be very dull.
Unfortunately, having a curious spirit can be dangerous sometimes, so I’d say don’t forget to combine a curious spirit with a state of awareness, so no harm comes to you when you’re crossing them pesky roads. That’s especially true as I lost my dear ginger tom cat Chester to a road accident.
Chester
Chester was as curious as any cat can be. I miss him so much. He was such an adventurer and very popular with everyone, probably because he had lots of fascinating feline tales to tell!”
That’s a lovely answer, Marje, thank you very much!
It’s been wonderful to see you – no, Lily, you can’t ask if Marje would prefer a sparrow or a mouse to take away, something sensible – please take our good wishes with you for the next step in your tour and every success with your new publication!

Follow Marje’s tour:

Organite And Organisation.

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That came out of nowhere… readers – they got me. Just when I thought I had successfully escaped the onslaught of germs a chest infection crept up and got me, gleefully destroying all my carefully laid plans, trampling all over my neatly written lists and positively p—-ng all over my timetables for blog posts, shopping, relative visiting…

Oh well. Man plans and God laughs. Perhaps I should invest in some more Organite. This combination of resin, crystals and natural materials is reputed to help balance and strengthen a person’s energetic field, giving protection too against EMF’s.

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Thank you Liz for the models x

Organite can also help to intensify meditation, boost plant growth and disperse negative energy, giving strength and purpose to intentions and visualisations. Orgone energy was originally discovered in the 1930’s although the idea of a Universal Life Energy is obviously not a new one.

Everything – from a teacup to a tangerine to a terrapin – is made of energy. Wilhelm Reich established the idea of orgone in 1930’s although in Chinese traditional medicine it is known as “Qi”, in Ayurveda it’s “Prana.” Reiki, of course, uses these energies to help heal and repair imbalances in the body.

Organite can come in any shape, as long as it contains a mix of organic and non-organic materials to simultaneously attract and repel the bio-energy. It generally contains a mix of flowers, crystals, metal shavings – all encased in a petro-chemical resin. Then these shapes can be used in healing and maintaining good health. Different people respond differently to Orgone as some feel it immediately as a warm tingling sensation where others may notice an improvement after sustained use.

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Basically though, Orgone can help with better sleep, higher energy levels, balanced moods, increased resistance to illness and spiritual and psychological growth so Life can progress in an orderly and organised fashion. Allowing for cats, of course…

On the night before Christmas Eve, Charlie was thoroughly over excited and spent her time chasing either Ting or Tooty up and down the stairs to the extent they were sick…Lily became strangely obsessed with the parsnips, who were just sitting innocently on the side minding their own business till she started rolling on them…Charlie had to sit on my knee to open her present and got thoroughly over excited again on Christmas Day and when my mother joined us for dinner Ting decided she would rather spend the day in silent contemplation in my bed.

Tooty disappeared on private business – I think she moonlights as a spy, possibly – and despite feeling like I’d been kicked in the chest by a rhino I managed to cook the dinner, make a beautiful pumpkin pie and an extremely nice trifle thanks to a recipe by the amazing Queen Mary of Berry.. as well as managing to enjoy half a glass of red wine and my rescued parsnips – which were very nice, roasted with herbs, salt and covered in gravy…

So. Now I just need to extend this organisational ability a little further…polish one completed manuscript, finish a second, catch up with my WordPress friends, redecorate the bathroom and – breathe!

But here’s to 2020 friends – love to you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me! xxx

Ambivalent About Birds…

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Although I welcome birds to my garden – and sometimes my house, usually courtesy of Lily – as part of my wildlife-friendly environment I have endeavoured to create, I have decided I don’t really like them. They’re quite rude.

Alex had a budgie, who was a much loved and sadly missed family member, but even he had issues – a small yellow and green bird with the heart of a lion and the temper of a wolverine.

But yes, birds outside. I was planting some dianthus and violas in the back border when I heard a scream of raucous laughter.

Rude,” I thought, “I’m just minding my own business.”

I heard the laugh again and looked up, prepared to make a cutting remark like “Go away!” when I saw a magpie, perched on a tree branch above my head watching me. It opened its beak and gave another yell of unrestrained laughter at my gardening efforts and flew away.

Then the other afternoon, I was calling Ting. Every time the word “Ting” left my mouth it was echoed by a chuckling rasp, like nails down a blackboard. I looked up, and sat in the ash tree on the park was a jackdaw. It cocked its head on one side and laughed derisively, glaring at me with its pale blue eyes.

Ting! Hehehehehe!” it bellowed, and flew off in a flash of silvery black feathers.

We have a park at the back of our house and I can look out over it from the one of the back bedrooms, and I often see crows and seagulls diving and whirling like fighter jets, executing such tight turns and spins a Red Arrows pilot would be envious. Usually they battle each other, but sometimes they will unite in the face of a common foe and mob the peregrine who flies across every so often in search of food, screaming and laughing like demented banshees.

I don’t mind the little robin, Mr.Gibbs, who is part of the Avian Quality Control team in my garden. He will sit in the honeysuckle and make politely encouraging remarks. I also have a pair of little wrens, charming tiny brown birds that flicker in and out of the hedges, although they have a terrible, booming alarm call if one of the cats wanders too near their territory:

Cat! Cat! CAT! CAT! CATCATCATCAT!”

Now. I have a herb garden, which I planted earlier this year, and I am quite proud of it, not least because I recently introduced my partner to the pleasures of cooking with herbs. I was gazing absently out of the kitchen window – the back door was open – when I heard the most terrible scream.

Uh-oh, Lily’s got a bird!” was my first thought.

I ran outside to find the source of the enraged screaming and fluttering, fully expecting to see Lily at least dragging a pheasant, when a black feathered ball of rage shot past me.

There, in my lovely herb bed, was a battle royal. Two male blackbirds were having a massive punch up, going at it like professional wrestlers. One seized the other by a wing tip and flung him into the parsley- which was flattened by the force of his landing. He rebounded off the sage and dived for the other, grabbing him by the leg and upending him into the lemon balm. The other one retaliated with a solid body blow that knocked him into my thyme – I’m very fond of my thyme as it has therapeutic benefits as well as flavour – and that was when I decided enough was enough.

Oi! Get out of it you little b$%*&@*s!” I shouted – most unladylike, I know, but I had glimpsed what they had done to the chives.

They turned and looked at me.

Fair cop guv!”

And fled.

For such little birds, they fought with surprising ferocity – easy to see they’re descended from dinosaurs!

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Now – butterflies I like!

Stichtite And Suspicious Sisters…

 

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There is always something new and wonderful at Lizian – the colour of this stone drew me at once, a wonderful lavender purple, with a soap-soft feel to it.

Stichtite is a protective stone that opens your mind to being aware of how negative attitudes can damage, giving comfort and support while you learn how to adjust. It’s a happy stone that offers companionship and calm while helping you to open and attune your mind, emotional awareness and opinions.

I would hate to even hazard an opinion as to what Ting and Tooty were up to the other morning, other than to say it made me extremely suspicious…

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“We’re just sleeping…honest!”

I was pottering about in the bedroom wiping a trail of muddy paw prints off the windowsill that someone had thoughtfully left for me (“Got to keep her occupied, haven’t we…”) and I happened to look up and out of the window – our bedroom overlooks the close, which is sort of L-shaped, with a blind spot at the top corner masked by a hedge.

Just at that particular moment, Ting and Tooty came hurtling around the corner. They were a good couple of hundred yards away and they were really going for it – a full out cat canter, monkey sideways gallop, tails up and to the side.

They came, absolutely belting down the road, neck and neck, even though Tooty is a lady of the larger persuasion, hurdled the garden gate like a pair of tiny steeplechasing horses and vanished.

Seconds behind them came my neighbour in his car – he screeched round the corner, pulled up with a jolt outside his house, flung his car door open and ran into his house, looking upset.

I went downstairs and into the garden, just to, you know, ask if they’d been up to anything.

Hi Mum! Any treats going? Whatcha been doing?”

I was upstairs – I saw you both running. Anything you’d like to tell me?”

Nope.”

Sure?”

Yep… absolutely nothing… you might want to avoid him two doors down for a bit though…”

Ah.

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Ting’s Evil Genius face…

Chrysoprase And Crazy Cats…

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I happened to be sorting out a mixed bag of crystals one day and my partner was watching me. He said:

Ooh I like those ones! They look like crocodile eyes!”

I picked up the crystals he had pointed at and on closer inspection I thought to myself:

Hmm, he’s actually quite right…”

Glowing green orbs looked back at me, set in a scaly brown matrix. It seemed friendly enough, but I had no idea what it was, unsure if it was crocodile… or alligator, so to speak. I put it away in my handbag, for the next time I happened to see Liz.

Ah yes! Apple green Chrysoprase!” she exclaimed.

The stones themselves seemed quite pleased to have an identity, and armed with their name, I thought I would have a look at what they do.

Chrysoprase is good to use in meditation, bringing a deep state of contemplative relaxation. It can be used to help calm and overcome impulsive thoughts and acts, encouraging reasoned thought and the release of judgemental attitudes. It is also said to help with attracting new love, abundance and prosperity. Essentially a crystal of joy, it brings happiness and helps to heal the heart from depression and anxiety.

Chrsyprase is useful in promoting forgiveness and supporting independence, especially when coming out of a toxic co-dependent relationship. It’s a nice crystal to add to any collection as it energises the heart and sacral chakras and infuses the physical body with Universal energy… always a good thing.

Apart from when it’s half-past three in the morning and really you should be sleeping, but for some reason – blindingly apparent to the feline brain of the Siamese persuasion, yet clear as mud to my humble human brain – the done thing is to run about, claws clicking madly on the laminate flooring like a demented lobster, shouting:

Wa-oh-ah! Wahhh! Ma – ow!”

No idea what it means.

Then at times, the whole feline family is beset by a moment of oddity – the cat flap will slap and Lily will enter the kitchen with an air of great self-importance.

Mew! Mewww- weh!”

Then she turns around and marches away, tail twitching smartly above her furry trousers.

Charlie, having listened to what Lily said, will leap off the sofa and run into the kitchen and out through the cat flap. Driven by her urgency, Ting and Tooty will usually run after her, and it doesn’t matter how many times it happens, they never remember that Charlie will wait -with malice aforethought – on the other side of the cat flap to smack them as they pass through…

Some kind of feline re-birthing therapy? I’m really not sure. Sometimes I think I’m the only normal one in this house…

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Smelly…

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My sense of smell has vastly improved since giving up smoking, although obviously humans don’t have the ability to smell as acutely as dogs or cats.

It always amuses me when my mother’s dogs greet me, I can see their noses actively working to “read” me and decipher where I’ve been; but it has also recently been put forward that in fact cats have a better sense of smell than dogs.

Here’s the science bit… all mammals have three different types of scent receptors, dogs have nine variants of this, humans have two and cats? Thirty… It is thought, therefore, that scent and smell play a far more active part in a cat’s well being and health than previously assumed. I must say though, that any self-respecting cat owner is bound to be aware of their feline friend’s almost supernatural sense of smell…

Oh my God… what is that perfume you’re wearing?? Vile!!

And they will grace you with that gape-mouthed, whisker wrinkled expression of complete distaste that leaves you feeling vaguely inadequate and revoltingly smelly… This is actually more correctly known as the “Flehmen response” – cats have a special scent receptor in the roof of their mouths which helps them analyse what hey are smelling, hence the disgusted look they pull as they open their mouths to allow the scent molecule laden air in to flood their receptors… try not to take it personally. Or maybe just change your perfume…

Anyway, I had to buy some peacock feathers the other day (a costume for Alex) and I had laid them out on the bed while I looked for something to pack them in safely. When I came back, Charlie was sitting on the bed, studying the feathers intently. I wished then, that I could see into her mind – what was she seeing?

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Her little nose was working, wrinkling back and forth, and I would have loved to have known what pictures were conjured up in her little mind as she smelled the iridescent feathers… did she see majestic blue birds strolling serenely across well-kept lawns, their feathers gleaming under the heat of an Indian sun…Was the lush verdant jungle, so unlike our own garden, brought into being in her mind’s eye, emerald green vines wreathing the long-forgotten remains of mysterious crumbling redstone temples…did these foreign scents call to her own inner tiger… or did she merely think:

Good grief! That’s the biggest bloody sparrow I’ve ever smelt!”

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Rough And Tumble…

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Fluorite (left) ~ to increase concentration, balancing and positive, Moonstone (right) calming and soothing

Not that I would ever engage in that myself… no… Alex and I visited a new crystal shop last week, a lovely lady with some unusual rough pieces of crystal in stock. I am often asked, which is better for using, rough or tumbled crystals and I always reply that there is no right or wrong – it’s simply a matter of taste, personal preference.

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Rhodonite -~ the pink stone in the foreground, good for dispelling emotional pain.

Obviously, if like me, you carry a lot of crystals on you – my partner always warns me to stay away from water… – then tumbles are a lot easier to shove in your pocket and off you go. That’s purely practical though…

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Rough Howlite ~ good for calming the active mind, relieving muscle tension and stress. It’s sitting in a flattened nest of my ornamental grasses, mentioning no names. (Ting)

I asked Liz the same question and she gave me a lovely explanation that completely made sense and that I’ve been able to pass on to other people who ask me without getting too confused.

Rough crystals are basically a mass of energy – polishing them into tumblestones, wands or palmstones, helps to contain and focus the energy and healing benefits. Liz used the example of walking into a room and turning on the light, or using a flashlight. Focus, direction – that’s what polishing does, perhaps making the energies a little more accessible too.

Sometimes, though, rough pieces are simply too beautiful or too unusual not to have… my very first crystal, courtesy of Alex, was a piece of rough Rose Quartz, whose loving, warm energy was a big help at a rough time.

My relationship with my sister is a good example of rough and tumble, although now we are a little older, not literally of course! We have only just – well, about two years now – really started speaking after a fall out of ten years, that ended up being one of our more epic sister scraps….

When we were younger, our rough-and-tumble was slightly more physical. Anyone ever tried an onion fight? No? They can be quite good fun, providing your opponent is smaller and weaker than yourself… The aim of the game is to seize a piece of cut onion and hold it to your adversary’s eye, for as long as possible – or without being caught by your parents.

As my sister is ten years older than me, you can probably guess who came off worse on a regular basis. Like a cat, then, I made stealth my skill… and crept up beside my sister to shriek “BOO!!” in her ear just as she was taking a roast chicken out of the oven… it ended up as an involuntary foot covering.

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Ting… tenderly licking Tooty on the top of her head!

It’s a joy to see the family link between Ting and Tooty, there is a definite bond of love, affection and sisterhood that is exclusive to them and not shared with the other two girls. It doesn’t stop them having pretty spectacular kicky scratchy fights and slapping matches where tufts of fur fly as do the hisses.

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Ladies, please!

But as with most relationships in Life, as long as you respect one another you learn to take the rough with the smooth…

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My sister cats xx

Eclogite And Echoes

38519078_277884036277589_5483915063595106304_nAn unusual crystal this, with a strong and fluid energy to it – not surprising when you consider where it came from. It’s actually a piece of oceanic crust that was forced up from Mother Earth under tremendous pressure.

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The pink bits are actually Garnet

Eclogite brings new vigour and energy to the inner “you”, perhaps reflecting the bubbling cauldron of perpetual life it emerged from. At its junction of creation, between land and water, it unites the life force within its wearer or owner, mind, body and spirit, opening and energising the chakras so you can reach your full potential.

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Essentially, too, especially in these difficult times, Eclogite brings hope, dissolving negativity and encouraging recovery.

Speaking of recovery – or rather, not speaking, “croaking” – I have an ENT appointment on Monday to investigate my lack of voice… I hope they don’t intend to stick a camera down my throat … they’ll have to catch me first!

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The consultant can just look at me from a distance and intuit what is wrong. I’m n ot keen on being prodded about. However, my husky croak has made for some interesting conversations with the girls.

Ting and Tooty both share quite a harsh “WAH” of a meow, delivered in varying tones, and I’ve found I have been able to echo their meows quite accurately. No idea what I’m saying half the time (nothing new there) but the cats looked at me curiously and replied too.

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“WAHHHH!!!”

The story of Echo in itself is quite a sad little tale – a beautiful nymph who provoked the wrath of a god’s jealous wife is doomed forever to repeat the last few words of what she hears… Birds are obviously very adept at echoing all sorts of sounds. I remember being fascinated by a mynah bird in the pet shop near us when I was a little girl. Every time it saw me it used to sing Happy Birthday for some reason.

A close relation of the mynah is the jackdaw and a particularly annoying one seems to have taken up residence in the tree at the bottom of the garden. It makes fun of me… every time I call the cats at the moment it echoes my harsh, croaking voice… I swear it’s laughing at me…

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“What? I never said anything!”

Who Ate All The Pi’s…

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No, not really. And obviously don’t eat stones either… not good for you… although I have a distant childhood memory of eating both sand, soil and catfood – purely in the spirit of exploration. Not as a regular food choice.

The pi’s that I mean are these wonderful shaped round stones, with a hole either in the middle or towards the top of the crystal, so it can be threaded on a cord or chain and worn, an item of both fashionable and practical jewellery.

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Pondering the Meaning Of Life… 

Due to their circular shape, they are also sometimes known as “doughnuts” (mmm…doughnuts…) but they are also symbolic of the circle of Life, the path the sun follows in the sky and basically the entire concept of wholeness.

These pi stones encourage awareness of the eternal pattern – we’re born, we live, we die … and so on, because the energy that we are never really dies, it just re-emerges in a different form or way. Pi’s are wonderful tools for use in healing and energy work, and in addition to the symbolic shape, there are the crystal benefits too.

The main photo is Lepidolite, the most recent member of the family, courtesy of Alex from when he went to Bristol. Lepidolite is a good stone to wear next to your skin as it actually contains lithium, as used in antidepressants, so it helps with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It’s pretty and sparkly too…

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BEE HAPPY!

Then, of course, the basic starter kit as I like to call it, of Rose Quartz, Amethyst and Clear Quartz. Rose Quartz is a kind and caring crystal, stone of infinite love and compassion. Amethyst, again another lovely crystal – sorry, I know, they’re all lovely… and even if I meet a crystal I can’t get along with, I can still find something to admire – traditionally used to guard against drunkeness. But I use it more as an anchor as it is highly effective at both warding off negative thoughts directed at you, and also any self-directed negativity that you may feel bubbling up within you is gently soothed away.

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Rose Quartz and gladioli…

A comfort then, rather like the reassuring steak and kidney pie dinner on a wintry night. Pies have a long and honourable history, believed to be a Greek creation dating from the 5th century. Essentially, they started life as handy containers for savoury fillings, but now, obviously, there is a wide variety… the whole thing, top and bottom, encased in pastry, just a bottom, just a top, an individual rolled up thing – although we are straying into Cornish pasty territory there…

I must confess… I don’t really like pies. They seem to promise much and deliver little, and if my mother serves pie for dinner I invariably infuriate her by taking the lid off, generally giving it to a conveniently placed dog and dissecting the contents… rather appropriately I feel, since in mediaeval times pies were also known as “coffyns”.

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Shepherd pie!!

I think though, what finally did it for me with pies was when I had actually managed to find a decent brand, with a reasonable filling of chicken and asparagus, where the pastry wasn’t too stodgy either.

I left it on the baking tray for a minute while I went to fetch something and when I came back, Ting was curled up asleep on top of it…

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