Stop Bugging Me…

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It never ceases to surprise me, the variety and colour and sheer detail of the insect world. From beetles like enamelled jewellery, to the delicate grace of butterflies and moths, I remain entranced by these tiny miracles of Mother Nature, all with their own particular place on the page in this Book of Life.

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I remember when I was a little girl, our cottage had an enormous lavender bush in the garden, with the most wonderful soft, silver grey leaves and tiny rich, purple flowers, brimful of scent. When my Nan used to visit, she loved to pick and dry the stems then sew the dried flowers into dainty lace and satin bags. She would place these pastel coloured sachets in her lingerie drawers and wardrobe and say with satisfaction:

Lavender is such a lovely scent for a lady, dear, very suitable.”

To this day, I love lavender, the oil and the flowers, although the plants aren’t terribly happy in the cold clay soil of my garden. Point being, the original plant played willing host to all varieties of bee, my favourite being the large furry bumble bee, traditionally striped in black, yellow and grey; so drunk on the heady lavender nectar they didn’t notice my little girl fingers, stroking them…

And ants. I was always fascinated by their busyness and wonderful communication – I attempted to convey a sense of this to my son. He was only about two at the time and he squatted down beside me willingly enough.

Look! See the little ants! Watch how they talk to each other!”

My son (to be honest, I can’t remember whether it was my older or younger one) gave me what can only be described as a withering look, stood up and stamped on them…

I remember my older son, at about seven years old, telling me earnestly about some homework from school, looking for ‘minibeasts’. To demonstrate this, he picked up a rock to show me how a little creature could be living underneath, only to be greeted by quite a big spider…

Oi! Put it down!”

He flung the rock down in horror…

At this time of year, I find that spiders give way to daddy-long-legs, and I must confess, I don’t really like them very much. I find the buzzing way they fly straight at you quite off-putting and when you try to capture them, they appear to cast off legs and throw them at you in self-defence…this reduces me to hysteria as I try to bat away the offending leg.

Although, on second thoughts, it could be useful… next time I am accosted by our over-enthusiastic postman (“Does somebody need a hug?” “No. Give me my letters and go away.”) I shall simply throw a leg at him and fly off….

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Dance

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He was excited. He’d dressed carefully, skinny jeans, cool shirt and best aftershave. The thumping bass of the music reverberated in his chest from two streets away and he was drawn in by the primal beat that made the blood leap in his veins.

He had intended to go somewhere completely different, but there had been whispers all around the Student Union about this event. Never fixed to one location, it was rumoured to have the best music, the best D.J.’s, the cheapest drink.

So, when he heard the music, he knew – he just knew – that it was this mythical party to end all parties and he had to go.

Plans to meet a friend abandoned, he turned away from the bright warmth of his usual haunts and followed the music down a dark side street. Shadows prowled and darkness lingered; but he was young and strong and the night held no fear for him.

He traced the music, the intoxicating beat to its source, a battered old door. Paint peeling and scraped, a little ajar with grubby tendrils of ivy surrounding it and seeming to beckon him closer, its grandiose dimensions seemed oddly out of place in the sooty little side street.

He reached out to push it further but before he could touch its surface it was snatched open –

You came! Oh I’m so pleased!”

A blonde girl, whose curly hair bounced carelessly across her flushed face, grabbed his arm and pulled him inside. Somewhat bemused, he allowed himself to be hustled along – he knew the girl, he was sure, she seemed familiar, but had no chance to wonder further as a drink was thrust into his hand.

The lights flickered and gleamed, strangely reddish, striking glints off teeth and eyes from other people who swayed in time to the beat, laughing. He sipped cautiously at his drink. Foul. So much for the rumours about the best beer, and the floor was oddly sticky underfoot…

Just as he was about to look down, his new friend seized his arm and tugged him eagerly onto the dance floor.

I love this song!”

A particularly jarring pop song from the eighties started after the drum and bass faded out and he found himself whirled into the heaving mass of sweaty bodies. Minutes passed – how many? He didn’t know and the music changed again to something he dimly remembered from the seventies, and still the people spun and swayed around him.

But now there was something different, darker, decaying. The girl gasped and giggled and clutched at him with bony strength. He tried to pull away, to be released and go away, sit down, get out; but she pulled him closer.

Again the music changed, and again, till finally they were circling the floor to an old, old waltz. With every turn, rot shimmered in the folds of the dresses, maggots fell in showers from hair, flesh melted and teeth gleamed through sunken lips.

He opened his mouth to scream but couldn’t, locked forever in the arms of his grinning partner and his own dark dance of despair.

Howlite and Hauntings

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month…a bit of a reblog too. Mainly to see whether I could do it…

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I’m not a great sleeper. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleep, I’m just not very good at it. I mentioned this in passing to my son’s lovely crystal lady Lizian and she suggested I try some Howlite, placed under my pillow.

It’s not the most beautiful crystal I own, but it is certainly one of the most useful. It has a cool, silk texture and a satisfying feel to the hand, one of those crystals that conjure “mind pictures”, and I at once thought of a tall glass of milk, cool, soothing, calming.

I was unsurprised to learn, therefore, that it is in fact, a wonderfully beneficial stone for those with insomnia. I use it in conjunction with Selenite, and these two crystals combined allow me a glimpse of the Promised Land … Slumber.

Howlite stills the mind, turning down the volume of everyday life and allowing serenity and…

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Blogposts And Birds**t…

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Bizarre combination, I know, but trust me, it’ll work…

Firstly, I must both apologise and thank everybody who has wished my son well and given him support since he was introduced here on my blog. You’ve wished him luck in his “A” levels, then for his Theatre Foundation Course, and now university, which he left for on Wednesday. Thank you, everybody, for your love and support – it means a lot.

I must apologise for being hideously BEHIND on my comments, replies and followed sites – there has been a number of personal issues with my older son and my mother which have left me feeling quite drained, and to be honest, unwell. Still, not going to dwell… and then, of course, there has been the sorting and packing of eighteen years’ worth of things that my son decided needed to accompany him, from Gino Baboo, his very first special stuffed toy, to his camera and God only knows how many crystals and clothes. Add to that things like duvet, pillows, saucepans… I am extremely grateful to his father’s brother-in-law who helped us convey all the essentials of student life to university for us.

Thank you, everybody, for bearing with me during this time of change here at CrystalCats.

Now. A little confession. Alex – my son – used tolook after the technical side of the blog for me, as tose of you who know me well know that I’m a bit… technically challenged. I do the writing, and I mean writing, good old-fashioned pen-to-paper stuff, and typed it and painstakingly learned how to save it to a memory stick; but Alex used to take the pictures and add them to the text, transfer the text to the WordPress site, schedule etc… (imagine me gasping for breath and wiping away a panicked tear…)

So. I have had to learn how to use WordPress properly too… Yesterday’s post was done mostly by me with a little prompting… so please bear with me, I’m learning all the time, although the picture quality and content may go downhill… expect photos of fur blurs running away… startled looking shots of me…my feet… I am now on Instagram which has helped my erratic photography skills. I do tend to get sidetracked a little with all the fab crystal and cake pictures, not to mention the life hack and cake icing videos. So please, bear with me…I’m learning and Alex has very kindly written out instructions for me in words of one syllable that I can easily understand.

As for birds**t. We have a budgie, Lucky, (Alex has left him with me. Yay.) so I am reasonably used to being crapped on. However, Alex and I were going to the shops the other day when a passing bird, possibly an albatross judging from the resulting splatter of yuk, crapped so copiously on his head that a piece rebounded and hit me on the sleeve. Fortunately, I am usually well-equipped with tissues, wipes and sanitiser so we were able to clean ourselves up. Apparently though, being crapped on by a bird is considered good luck…

Right. I’ll go with that. Good luck Alex, in your university career, I have every faith and confidence in you. And of course, love. Always.

Desert.

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The sniper sighed and shifted his position slightly, careful not to disturb the smallest rock, anything that might betray his spot to unseen watching enemy eyes. He slowly eased his finger back and forth on the trigger of his rifle and squinted into the sight, grimacing as a bead of sweat rolled down his forehead and stung the corner of his eye.

He waited. High overhead, a hawk wheeled aimlessly in the sky, searching, looking. The soldier rolled over carefully, onto his side and allowed himself a drink of water. He knew it was all about being patient, not losing the “edge” – or his nerve, but still he wished something would happen.

Night fell. He closed his eyes and dozed, a little, stirring once as a bold jackal ventured closer to investigate and sniffed delicately at his boots. Early hours – he awoke and stretched, another drink of water and a bite of chocolate – quick energy boost.

Dawn approached and the desert was painted in uniform hues of grey and silver. The sniper amused himself by focussing and re-focussing his rifle sight and settled down to wait again.

An hour or so passed and he watched a scorpion, intricate and jointed, scuttle across the rock in front of his nose. He knew it was harmless and didn’t flinch from it, momentarily distracted by its hinged legs and shiny carapace.

There! What was that? A flash of movement caught his eye and he raised himself up on his elbows to gaze through the rifle sights, anxious not to miss his target. But. This was not the expected enemy army convoy… a ragged group of men, dressed in what looked like robes and armed with – swords?

And as he watched, mouth agape slightly in shock, some men on horseback appeared – how? – and fell upon the ragged little group. The riders were richly dressed, the blues and greens of their robes stood out clearly in the sepia morning light.

He saw the ragged men fall apart, one man landing hopelessly, clutching at his stomach where rubbery ropes of coiled intestines slipped between his desperate grasping fingers.

Savage yells of pain and rage reached his ears, the whinney of a frightened horse whose rider was pulled from his saddle and set upon in a blur of blades and fists. They hacked and sliced and cut – the watching soldier winced as he clearly heard the wet thubbery sound of blade striking flesh and the myriad sucking, slicing sounds as the swords withdrew and bit again amidst angry roars and yells of pain.

He moved slightly and blinked and what? – The men were gone. Nothing. A swirl of sand blown by the wind made a miniature whirlwind across the patch of ground where seconds before he had glimpsed a horrific battle scene.

Nothing. The sniper sighed, and settled down to wait…

Blue Calcite And Brave Cats

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Calcite is a useful and easily found crystal. Most of the specimens – like the ones pictured here – have been treated with acid to gently enhance the colour and smooth the surface. This does not harm the metaphysical and as my son’s lovely crystal lady says, it’s good to work with colours.

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Calcite, then, is a useful crystal to add to your collection. As it is blue, it also works with the throat chakra to aid the flow of communication so you can speak your words with truth and confidence. It calms and encourages you inwardly, to complement the outward appearance of bravery.

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Blue Calcite can help memory health and also give you the courage to make judgements and stand by them.

Sometimes bravery is found in unexpected places against unexpected odds… Ting and her sister Tooty were abandoned as kittens in the hedge at the bottom of our garden, and although now Ting is the more confident cat, Tooty was the first kitten who was brave enough to come out and meet us, to take the chance that we might be good or bad prospects.

Cats are by nature, generally solitary creatures who prefer to avoid conflict rather than engage… However, there have been times when my girls have banded together in a show of bravery to see off an intruder…

There is a large black and white cat who lives over the road and who likes to take the occasional wander over to my garden. I don’t know his name, so I just call him Big Ears. Because he has, well, big ears. We have a corner house, so I was watching from a hidden vantage point as he casually jumped the gate and sauntered down the path. Tooty appeared from behind a plant pot and darted off around the bend of the garden.

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A few seconds later, she returned, accompanied by Charlie. Big Ears stopped and sat down, appearing somewhat disconcerted.

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From another part of the garden, Ting emerged… Big Ears was now facing a triumvirate of feline warriors. All just… staring at him.

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Then Lily appeared, (late as always) squeezing through a gap in the hedge after she’d cantered across the park, the fourth member of this feisty feminine feline family was too much for Big Ears. Charlie rose to her feet, and took a step forwards – Big Ears’ nerve broke, and he turned tail and ran.

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It’s easy to be brave in a crowd, but it takes a special sort of courage just to take that one step, by yourself, sometimes.

“A HANDBAG?” With apologies to Oscar Wilde…

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I do love a handbag… they don’t have to be a designer brand, I have no use for dainty Chanel bags, although I love the perfume – I like big bags and I cannot lie…(sorry.)

When I was a little girl, I used to detest the pastel frilly dresses my mother inflicted upon me and couldn’t wait to change into jeans or trousers because they had pockets. And what do you do with pockets – why, put things in them of course!

I think I was about fourteen when I realised I could make the transition from pocket junk to a handbag, mainly for the purposes of being able to carry more stuff around with me… And yet I still use my pockets. They generally contain the crystal of the day, tissues, cat treats, phone, spare hair elastic…

My current handbag was a birthday present from my mother, a useful size with handy zips and compartments. A quick inventory of its contents follows, just for curiosity… my son is actually afraid of going in my handbag – in case he never makes it out alive…although if my handbag is left lying around, generally a passing cat will use it as a temporary resting place.

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Here goes: perfume, body spray deoderant, hand sanitiser, hand wipes, tissues. (The bathroom section..) A paper plate, sachet of wet catfood, cat treats, hairbrush, three notebooks, address book and diary. Four pens, a selection of handbag crystals and a crystal guidebook, stress relief tablets, hayfever tablets and painkillers. And a packet of pink paper napkins with cacti on – my latest addiction – collecting paper napkins. In fact, they deserve a post in themselves…

But oh dear, what a lot of rubbish I carry around with me! Keys, moisturiser… no, I think that’s it, actually. But these, to me, are all items that I need, that make life a little bit more comfortable and nicer, just to have all these little essentials – to me, at any rate – on hand.

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I think, perhaps also, my bag love could stem from my homeless days when you had to travel light and have all your essentials with you at all times… not unlike boarding school really, now I come to think of it!

And at least with handbags there’s none of that annoying tissue fluff that spreads over every item of clothing if you happen to forget and leave one in your pocket when you put your clothes in the washing machine.

Right. Time to put notebook and pen away in my bag… – ooh! Bonus handbag sweetie… tucked away in a corner… !