The Bus!


I have decided to afford The Bus the dignity of two capitals, since as well as being a convenient mode of transport (I don’t drive – away with the fairies too often to be a reliable driver… ) it is a never-ending source of amusement and material.

For example, the classic two men in conversation:

You’ll NEVER guess who I saw the other day!!” said in tones of great excitement.

His friend, catching the enthusiasm:

Ooh! Who! Who?!”

Ohh…you don’t wanna know…”

This little exchange left me in tears of silent laughter.

This next snippet has to be my favourite though. My partner and I were returning from town and overheard a phone conversation between a man and his mother.

Mum, I went in Aldi and I bought one of them things… you know… them grill things… like a sandwich toaster but a grill… oh you know… that man… a George Formby grill!!”

Well. Of course that set me off, but my partner has the same ability that Alex has inherited – the power to remain stony-faced while I collapse like a giggling idiot.

I was dying to ask did it perhaps let him know his pork chops were done with a quick burst of “When I’m Cleaning Windows”? Or warn of imminent immolation with a sharp blast of “Leaning On A Lamp Post”…

I don’t know if this system is used on other transport networks, but our Buses employ a system of code words printed on the ticket to show they are valid on that particular day. I always check the word of the day and find infinite amusement in the choices, which can be anything from “frying pan” to “fluffy”.

Some days I find the words to be peculiarly apt, like a travelling oracle… look…



Siamese And Slugs…


I don’t know if all Siamese cats are like Ting, having only had personal experience of her, but she’s just so funny. For example, I have never known any other cat that likes “Botty Smacks”… Indeed, if I even attempted such an outrage on Charlie I have absolutely no doubt I would be hearing from her solicitor in a very short space of time. Lily and Tooty would probably just bite me…

With Ting, however, she adores the physical contact, delivered to the side of her legs, hand slightly cupped, so the air makes the loud smacking noise. When she’s had enough, she will collapse on her side, purring wildly…She quite enjoys being chased too, so I am often to be seen running after her, arms outstretched in the manner of an over-enthusiastic toddler.

Ting has such zest and joy in Life, a summer soul, like myself, and she adores the freedom of our garden, never wandering very far from home at all. On her travels, though, she does seem to pick up a few select companions… your friendly local gastropod… or slug by any other name.


Now. We have a large (and grouchy) hedgehog that lives at the bottom of our garden, various sorts of bird visitors and a fishpond with newts, frogs and toads, as well as our fish. Consequently, we don’t use slug pellets or any other chemicals in our garden to protect and preserve our little wildlife family and their food sources. Consequently…I’m not quite sure how or why… Ting attracts slugs.

She doesn’t eat them – they seem to serve a multitude of purposes for her – accidental cushion (I found the remnants of one glued to her backside) fetching headgear (one was clinging grimly to the centre of her forehead) avant-garde makeup (smooshed decoratively across one cheek and up the side of her face) or as slimy jockeys, attached to various parts of her body for later discovery and removal, usually by me.

A couple of truly gross instances – leaping out of bed in the middle of the night to indulge in my late night hobby of catching mice and treading on a large slug which had disembarked from Ting and plopped onto my bedside rug.

The other? Ting, lying beside me in bed, with her back feet propped up against me….me, engaged in watching a television programme and absently massaging one of her back paws.

Ooh Ting! What’s the matter with your toe?!”

Gasping in horror as one of her toe pads felt like it had become detached, I lifted my hand towards my face and peered short-sightedly at it to find that I had been gently rubbing a small… brown… slug.

Thank you Alex for the use of your lovely photos xx

Points And Predators


I met a lovely lady the other day when I was helping out (playing with all the pretty crystals) at Lizian’s. You really do meet some interesting people… I was pawing my way through the stacked up boxes and I came across some wonderful crystal points, smoky quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, clear quartz…


My partner had previously bought me the above crystal point online the week before, a very special piece, just full of rainbows… I also like to collect the different shapes of crystals so this sent me off in that direction. Anyway, this lady was showing me the different formations within these various points. Obviously you can read these sorts of things in books, but to have someone actually show me made it all crystal clear…if you pardon the pun…

Most crystals form points which can be natural or artificially shaped and these are popular for use in healing – directed away from the body they draw energy off, while pointed inwards, they channel energy into the body. There are also wonderful things to be read within and around the shapes of crystal points. Some look as if they have had lines carefully etched into them. These are called Lemurian crystals and are said to retain ancient information which can be accessed and used to help with healing.

Manifestation crystals look as if they have another tiny crystal or shape locked within them, while Cathedral crystals as their name suggests, are like the spire of the building, with smaller points around it. A Tabular crystal has two flat, wide sides so energy flows freely along it and can be used to help with communication. Record Keeper crystals have small triangles etched into their facets, which are said to hold ancient information to help us grow and evolve. It takes time and practice to achieve the correct state of mind to use them… but personally I am entranced by the beauty and sheer happiness that’s contained within these points.


Of course, being predators, my cats have their own sets of points which they use to great effect. Lily is the only cat who consistently catches and brings in prey though. Sometimes it’s dead. Other times… not. The “not” times always make for an interesting evening as Lily generally chooses the hours between twelve and three to return with her little gifts. I am usually asleep (for optimum inconvenience) while Chris is having his last cup of tea.

Brrp! Br-me-OW! Brrp!”

This is Lily’s special call, not dissimilar to a mother cat calling to her kittens. This particular evening I was just teetering on the verge of the Land of Nod when –


I leapt , quite agilely, considering the time of night, out of bed and rushed downstairs to begin the Rodent Rhumba…

Chris went one way, I feinted the other, Lily danced between us both until sh dropped the mouse, unhurt. It made a dash for the corner for the rug in the hallway, whereupon Chris had a brainwave and opened the front door. The mouse saw the opportunity offered and darted outside. I returned to bed, Chris, to his tea.

Perhaps half an hour later –


Cursing cats and mice, once again I leapt out of bed and ran downstairs.

IT’S GONE UNDER THERE!” Chris said, pointing under the unit.

I adopted my best mouse catching pose – on hands and knees with a prayer in my heart – and as he began to move things away from the unit I was poised with container to retrieve the recalcitrant rodent. A small fat mouse shot out from the newspaper and I slapped the container over it.

Chris put it outside and we went to bed, having first cautioned Lily in the strongest of terms.

Peace. Quiet. Till about 4.00a.m. Then –

Brrp! Me-ow! Brrp!”

Again… I leapt smartly out of bed and put the landing light on. No Lily. In fact, she’d been asleep in Alex’s room, sulking. Instead, an eager Charlie looked up at me. She had very bravely caught and killed – a fluffball!

The fearsome furry face of a real predator!

Pancakes And Protests.


I do love a pancake. And despite my mother’s protests, Pancake Day – or Shrove Tuesday to give it its proper name – is a tradition to which I firmly adhere.

I remember when I was a little girl and my mother had to work, my sister stepped (wo)manfully into the breach to make sure I was not deprived of my seasonal treat. Batter mixed, oil smoking slightly in the frying pan, my sister poured a measure of gloopy liquid in and I watched in awe as she proceeded to fry a picture-perfect pancake.


Buoyed with success and imbued with the confidence of two weeks of cookery lessons, she grasped the frying pan firmly by its handle and prepared to flip… The golden brown circle rose… and rose… and rose into the air… and stuck. To the polystyrene ceiling tiles. Of course, the dogs had been watching the entire proceedings with great interest and turned their eager faces upwards to follow the pancake’s progress. With a timing so perfect it could have been scripted the runaway pancake chose that moment to unpeel from the ceiling and flop over Damask, the Great Dane’s face. A dogfight ensued as the other dogs decided they wanted to share…

However. I persevere with pancakes. Part of the returning me to boarding school ritual involved stopping on the M1 motorway services at the Little Chef…

Please Dad – I don’t really want to go back -”

Rubbish. We’ll stop for a Jubilee Pancake and you’ll be fine.”

This was a thicker, more American style pancake that was served with cherry pie filling and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delicious.

My mother hates making pancakes. I can’t. I haven’t even attempted them to be honest. So I am forced to resort to wheedling…

Mu-um…pleee…aseee…look pancake mix! Plee…..aaaasseeee!!”

Oh for God’s sake Samantha! Why do we have to go through this every year..”

But I LIKE pancakes! And I never…” (cue trembling lip)


I got my pancakes. And very nice they were too… this year I had salted caramel spread on them…

With thanks to Alex and friends for the use of their pancake photos as I forgot and ate mine…

Anti-Social Snacking…


It’s funny how your tastebuds change and develop as you get older. As I have mentioned in other posts, I do have a sweet tooth which is often my downfall, although I do have a fondness for certain savoury snacks.

My lost love….

I used to adore pizza, all melting cheese and spicy tomato, until one day, unaccountably, my usual pizza left me with such awful indigestion simply nothing would quell it. I have, since then, isolated the culprit – cheese. That’s actually quite upsetting as I am quite fond of cheese… the creamy texture of mozzarella… the savoury bite of Cheddar and the delicate crumbly flavour of white Stilton with apricots. I would be better off swallowing napalm really, considering the intestine-torturing, gut-wrenching fiery pain cheese now wreaks upon me.

Dragon fruit…interesting

Likewise garlic – I am very fond again of the multi-layered oniony flavour, my partner? He’s not so keen as it does tend to linger. And linger. However, at this new point of love and understanding in our relationship, when we were out shopping the other day, he recalled my fondness for a certain potato snack… let’s call them…”Ogre Nibbles”. In particular, I like the pickled onion flavour.

Chinese Quince…no thanks…

I only really eat pickled onions once a year, at Christmas, when, for some reason, they seem to constitute an integral part of the festive fare, even though we never eat them at any other time. For me, they present an irresistible temptation, the fragrant wash of pungent vinegar across my palate… followed by the choking, crunchy onion. So then, to find this masochistic taste sensation in a crisp was something I had to try and share…much to my partner’s horrified and fascinated distaste.

A rainbow of colour and texture!

The delectable crunch, the spicy burn… oh yes, something to be savoured and shared with people, whether they want to or not. A charming side effect of these starchy snacks is that they linger and permeate. I was amused to see my partner lean in to kiss me after I had consumed a packet – then reel away, horrified at the oniony stench.

Manfully, he returned for another try… so here it is:

Love Is…Kissing Someone Even If They Smell Like They’ve Bathed In Finest Malt Brown Vinegar!

Lemurian Jade And Leaping Cats…


Our eyes met across the crowded village hall…dark green, seductive, I was irresistibly drawn towards him… I reached out my hand to gently cup him…

Liz! What’s this? It’s…beautiful! Can I..?

Never one to stand in the way of true crystal love, Liz turned my latest crystal purchase over to my tender care and I sped away, so we could become more… closely acquainted.

Lemurian Jade – smooth and silky to the touch and wonderfully satisfying to hold, the sensual weight of this crystal in my hand transported me far away… think Amazonian jungle, green and verdant, the colours so vivid and varied you can tast them on the back of your tongue. Spotted with gold and dappled with black, this lovely crystal, named after an ancient civilisation thought to pre-date Atlantis, has a strong connection with Mother Earth, helping you to strengthen your own bond with her and live in balance with the planet.


Lemurian Jade brings stability and confidence to a relationship, encouraging balance but also trust and honesty. Its presence alleviates conflict and smoothes away friction, replacing them with healing and courage. New energy and growth are stimulated and it’s a wonderful stone to help heal past abuse and life difficulties, also bringing a gentle recognition and awareness of our blessings. It helps us to feel gratitude for this knowledge and move on with new awareness… to make that leap of faith, if you will, in yourself and those around you, as sure-footed as any cat.

Charlie leaping!

Holding my Lemurian Jade I am soothed by the flow of images… servals, ocelots and margays; cats of the jungle who slide and leap easily from one tree to the next, much as a passing thought is captured, examined and sent on its way.

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Ting… not leaping… 

I find echoes of these jungle cats in my own cats, their elegance and grace always a pleasure to watch, even if I’m just a little too slow to capture that perfect picture. The image remains, as does the love. Always.


Coffins And Coughs…


I was on the bus the other day, gazing vacantly out of the window as you do, when I caught sight of a funeral parlour’s window display. The dramatic backlighting stood out even more brightly, as it was a dull morning, shining splendidly on a glittering pink… coffin. Behind, a white one, shoulder to shoulder with a sleek black model and the traditional mahogany…

I recently watched a programme where a lady pre-ordered her coffin and paid for it to be entirely covered in Swarovski crystals. There is moey to be made even in death…I didn’t know that coffins are actually the customary slope shouldered ones you automatically associate with Halloween; while caskets are the long rectangular box shaped ones.

On my way to visit Alex at university, I was intrigued to see a signpost for a Natural Burial Ground. Of course I had to look this up, but effectively, it is exactly what it says it is. Consider this – every year, thousands of gallons of embalming fluid are seeping into Mother Earth as people are buried and embalmed in the usual way, slowly poisoning her. Formaldehyde is one of the fluids used during the process and is in actual fact a carcinogen…likewise, look at the consumption of endangered hardwood trees just to make coffins, while cremation undoubtedly contributes towards air pollution.

On the other hand, with a natural burial you are wrapped in a shroud made from natural fibres, without your body being treated by any chemical preservatives and so on, and then you are returned to the arms of Mother Earth, where you can be naturally re-absorbed, broken down, resuming your primal state. Having looked at it…it does have a certain appeal….

Apparently, now that I’ve given up smoking my life expectancy has increased. I must confess, though, I kind of miss my nicotine shield….germs and illnesses courtesy of other people seem to come and go without as much as a by-your-leave…I’ve only recently got over the most horrendous bout of pharyngitis that made me cough and rattle like beads in a box and left my chest feeling like a rampage of rhinos had been Riverdancing on my ribcage.

As I sit on the bus during these winter months the variety of coughs you hear is practically symphonic… the dry, high tight-chested cough of the asthmatic… the hoarse bark of the bronchitic and the slapping wet rumble of the dedicated smoker with an incipient chest infection brewing…

The irony is that in all my years as a smoker I never once suffered from the eponymous “smoker’s cough”… and I don’t intend to have a crystal-encrusted coffin either. I told Alex just to put me out with the recycling and give the binmen a fright…!