Tomatoes And Toes…

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I was having a conversation with my mother the other day about tomatoes – not unnaturally, I didn’t particularly want a hot dinner during this most unseasonable weather and opted for salad. My mother is not the most enthusiastic of gardeners, but she does quite enjoy growing her own tomatoes.

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She hasn’t had a lot of success in recent years, but Monty Don (that veritable garden god) said that most of the plants were affected by blight or mildew, hence the lack of success. Thus we have eaten shop bought tomatoes and Mother has complained bitterly about the tough leathery skins and watery texture.

Earlier on in the year, my partner casually sliced up a cherry tomato and flung the slices in a pot – he did the same with a kiwi fruit actually, just on the off chance – and lo and behold, we have some healthy tomato plants with tomatoes on too!

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There is such an amazing variety of colour in tomatoes… orange, red, yellow, but I was momentarily amused to see these purple tomatoes the other morning. Why? They reminded me of my toe… on Friday night, my partner and I went out for dinner at our usual curry restaurant. I ran nimbly up the stairs (so I thought) – and caught my toe on the edge of a step.

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Laughing blithely inside at my clumsiness (and hoping no-one else had seen) I carried on. It was only half an hour later I thought: “No, actually that REALLY bl#$dy hurt!!!!”

My shoe seemed uncomfortably tight and the whole of my toe was throbbing. I gently eased my foot to the edge of my shoe and saw a smallish purple bruise. Reassured, I shoved my foot back in, but when we got home I was dismayed to see that the whole toe was now an interesting shade of purple. And swollen. Like one of those tomatoes.

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It’s almost probably fractured, but not enough to warrant a cast… and to be honest, it’s been quite interesting watching the bruise develop… a whole rainbow in my shoe!

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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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Summer Son

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He was born to her in the middle of the year, when she was bright and warm, full of love and hope. He slipped easily into the world from her body and at once she felt his absence within her.

However, she nurtured him carefully in the outside world and poured all her love and hope and soul into her son, with his eyes as blue as summer skies, hair as gold as ripe wheat and smiles as warming as the Sun himself.

Mother and son formed the perfect unit of two, never needing anyone else, their spiritual footsteps so closely linked they were like one person. Her son grew and thrived.

When does it begin, the slow inexorable divorce of child from mother; the loving, inevitable withdrawal, as he chose his own paths, his own way, and the life that was once so closely bound to his mother’s diverged.

He kept a part of himself for her; but her boy, her bright boy, into whom she had poured her life and soul, left her.

Autumn crept into her bones and winter settled in her heart; yet still she hoped he would return to her sometimes, and bring a little brightness with him, restoring a little of her own youth.

She was grateful, then for the windows of social media that allowed her to look through at her son’s life and glimpse a little.

Eventually, the soul cold winter triumphed and she gave in on a day not unlike the one on which she welcomed her son into the world. It was only later, when he was checking his messages, that he found out she had died.

Some Of Life’s Little Trials…

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“Really, the woman has no grace or elegance at all…”

1. Sneezing too enthusiastically when you are reaching down for your handbag and headbutting the wall.

2. Dropping your moisturiser and not realising that the hot weather has turned it into liquid, thus when you drop it, it leaves a large purple, lavender scented splat across the floor. (At least the floor is now nicely moisturised…)

3. Being convinced for most of the day that you are actually having a heart attack (hypochondriac? Me? Never!) and then at night when you get undressed for your shower, discovering that the underwire from your bra has come loose and has been stabbing you in the chest…

4. Having successfully captured a howling Siamese to be anointed with spot-on flea and tick treatment – then carefully pouring most of it unawares down a crack in the table…

5. Lovingly filling a planter with plants, then forgetting what they’re called, so they are forever known as “orange stuff”, “the pink thing” … and so on.

6. Dropping a full box of cotton buds – the lid is off, of course… why you can you never replace them as neatly?

7. Proudly opening a brand new umbrella to protect you from the elements… then watching in resigned disbelief as a gust of wind gets underneath it, rips the fabric from the frame and sends it flying away down the street, while you are left clutching a bare carcass…

Hematoid Quartz And Hot Cats

37867639_297316924347055_2763508256054706176_nI’m very into these Dragons’ Eggs, or Seer Stones, as they’re sometimes known, at the moment. Shaped into ovals and roughly polished, and then with a slice taken off and that side polished to a high sheen, you are supposed to be able to see the future, whilst gazing into the polished side.

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I have quite a collection of these, a recent addition being this lovely Hematoid Quartz egg. I bought a darker one for Alex too… As the name suggests, this is Clear Quartz with inclusions of Hematite. It has a very smooth energy to it as a crystal – the natural grounding properties of Hematite are amplified by the Clear Quartz to help calm your mind, giving you the focus to filter out distractions whilst retaining the information you need to utilise at the right moment.

This is a good stone for students, as it will help bring creativity to your thinking and help you find the simplest solution to most issues. Hematoid Quartz will bring determination and perseverance to boost your willpower. It gives you the genuine desire for peace and harmony in mind, body and spirit and the physical world too.

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Hematoid Quartz is a great stone to use in healing and crystal therapy as it cleanses and organises the chakras, reabsorbing negativity and replacing it with unity and self-worth. As a crystal, Hematoid Quartz is also associated with the healing and calming energy of water.

Water – an always important resource, even more so at the moment in this unexpected heatwave. Obviously, now it’s more important than ever to look after your animals’ welfare, making sure they have plenty of clean, fresh water, somewhere cool and shady for refuge and that they are not stressed or uncomfortable in this hot weather.

Leave dishes of water out for birds, hedgehogs and other wildlife, ensuring it is fresh and changed regularly. We haven’t cut our grass in ages, to make sure there are some cool spots and undergrowth left for the toads and newts and the cats, of course.

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My girls are all short haired, but even so, they’re feeling the heat and I keep a careful check on them. I leave the bedroom blinds drawn so the room is slightly cooler, and when we all retire, the fan is usually running.

I’ve come across some helpful hints, which you may already know, but they bear repeating. Keep some towels in the freezer for a pleasant chill down – you can even buy self-cooling gel mats. My girls have one but they prefer a more direct method of cooling down… lying on the bed while I fan them…

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“I’m waiting….!”

Don’t leave wet food down too long in this heat either – it will very quickly spoil and the last thing anybody needs is an upset tummy…Wiping paws and the inside of ears with a cool damp cloth is also useful. Do NOT shut your animals in a small, enclosed unventilated area – there are still people out there leaving dogs unattended in hot cars and they can’t sweat like we do. Panting is how they cool down and if there is no fresh air coming in, you can imagine how quickly the atmosphere becomes stale and the animal begins to overheat.

Despite the weather warnings, I still see people who think it’s a greta idea to take their dog for a walk at midday – would you take a child out for a barefoot walk in scorching temperatures??

We leave a large plastic bowl of water out on the park for passing thirsty canines…Rant over… but stay safe friends, watch out for your furred and feathered family and our wild friends too.

A Train … And Some Rain.

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I had an interesting day last week. Alex had an audition for an advert, so I went along to keep him company. The casting agency was based in Manchester, so I must admit to a certain curiosity about revisiting my old university stomping ground, especially since I haven’t been back in twenty-something years.

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The day dawned bright and early, a beautiful morning, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Alex had efficiently booked the train tickets online, brushing aside my feeble protests about maybe walking… so we boarded the 9.45 am train for Manchester.

It’ll rain, as soon as we get past the Pennines,” I predicted confidently.

Alex clearly didn’t believe me, as we sped through cities and across moors. Trains make me vaguely anxious, but I behaved well enough, and indeed, quite enjoyed myself, as it’s a long time since I’ve been anywhere further north than Asda…

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We alighted in Manchester Oxford Street station, and my usually reasonable sense of direction deserted me. It’s changed a lot as a city, but I still had an anxious feeling as the sky began to cloud over.

We found the casting agency and as Alex began to get ready, I chatted amiably to the receptionist:

Yes, we haven’t had rain for about ten days now!” she chirped happily. I replied darkly:

Oh, just you wait… it knows I’m here…”

And sure enough, just as Alex came out to get changed, it began to rain. We said goodbye, and as my foot hit the street outside it began to rain in earnest, a million tiny slaps of funny-tasting water all across my face… head… body… feet…

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Yep. We’d dressed for summer, light trousers, t-shirts, no coats or jumpers, and b y some bizarre twist I’d forgotten to change out of my gardening shoes, which a re canvas. With a hole in the sole. Of course.

It rained like it meant it. Manchester knew I was there and did its very best to try and drown me. It reached such a point, we had to dive into a nearby shop for Alex to purchase to umbrellas, while I dripped and muttered in the corner like a madwoman. Feet squelching like demented squids, we continued our tour…

I was surprised and saddened to see that my old hall of residence is under heavy repair, perhaps condemned, a wise decision in light of the Grenfell tragedy. The pub I used to drink in had, by contrast, gone completely upmarket.

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I was quite glad to reach the train station, for although we’d enjoyed a pleasant dinner, I was ready to leave. A thriving city, with a great vibe – but not for me. Too many memories.

As soon as we get past Stockport the sun’ll come out!” I prophesied confidently to Alex. And do you know what? It did!

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Mother – Don’t Go!

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It was a beautiful night and I was restless. I couldn’t settle to sleep indoors so I went outside to the garden.

Dimly lit and full of perfume, bats fluttered overhead, moths whirred softly by and with every drifting breeze the petunias and stocks released their scent to float softly on the warm night air.

I fell asleep. And I dreamed:

I saw a young woman. She was beautiful. I looked at her face and in her eyes was all the kindness of the world. Love shone from her skin and water flowed in her hair, the eternal movements of the seas and the patterns of the rivers.

I saw lush forests and grassy plains, alive and full of burgeoning life, shimmering behind her skin. It changed.

The delicate bones of her face filled out, herds of buffalo roamed across the plains now; the rivers and seas teemed with movement, fish, seals, otters, whales and dolphins played and lived. The forests filled with birds and chattering monkeys and the love for all these creatures welled up in her eyes and made her bloom.

She smiled and in her motion humans were made and she loved them, nurtured them, cared for them. Her skin was rich and bloomy, her hair glowed with warmth and being. Then the picture changed again.

Her eyes were worried, unhappy, pained. The lushness of her hair faded to grey, drab and coarse. Across her face and behind her eyes wars and famines raged. Disease and death followed, carving misery in her countenance and sorrow, bleak. People died. And as they died her face grew thin and gaunt, cheekbones like dead branches, till finally, finally burning tiny embers appeared on the plains.

Black holes spread quickly, the ashy edges spreading and charring and killing her vitality. Seas dried up, rivers ran dry and forests decayed. And still they did not stop.

I tried to hold her hand and then I wept as she died.