To Beard… Or Not To Beard?

20747788_1889899961330172_705744493_o

I’m quite into beards at the moment. Not personally, as being female, I would have a bit of difficulty growing one, although I do sometimes grow the occasional one tough facial hair… a remnant from a previous life as a cat, I like to think…

I remember when I was a little girl hearing my father refer scornfully to “beardy weirdies”, and I was at once fascinated. Why were these men weird for having hair on their faces? How did it get there? Were they weird to start off with, or did growing a beard make them weird? Did it grow so far and then just fall out? Did they brush them? Remember, this was in the ‘70’s, and although the straggly hippy beard was still to be seen, the majority of men my father knew were clean shaven, apart from a few of the R.A.F. officers with whom he socialised, who sported immaculately groomed moustaches….

Obviously, as I grew older, I realised that my father meant it as a derogatory remark more to do with politics than actual appearance, but my fascination for facial hair was already – ahem – fertilised… Presently, beards are actually quite fashionable, and I am entranced by the amount of time and product men can use in maintaining a well-furnished face. My sons are both very fair and unable to produce a satisfying amount to require anything other than the occasional shave…

20746706_166081427280398_1418074111_o

I know that if I were a man, I would grow a full beard at least once in my life, just to see what it felt like and because, well, because I could! Some men’s faces definitely suit beards, whether to add character or hide a weak jawline… some men suit the naked look… some men are lucky enough to be good looking with or without facial adornment… yes, I’m talking about you Mr. Jeffrey Dean Morgan…

I had a somewhat morbid fascination with my History teacher’s beard. It was dark, and curly, but one year, a grey spot appeared right in the middle of his chin, with a ginger ring around it. Every year, the grey spot grew larger, as did the corresponding ginger ring… I left before his face was entirely consumed by grey, but even now, I wonder… WAS HIS SKIN GREY AND GINGER UNDERNEATH THE HAIR – LIKE AN APPALOOSA PONY’S???

I am quite pleased by the current hipster fashion for beards, long, silky pelts that are sometimes threaded with beads, or plaited… or both… I applaud your ability to grow beards, gentlemen, and am secretly quite envious…enjoy your symbols of virility and masculine power, but please, answer me this – Do you keep things in them?? I would…!

Unicorn

20623341_164540994101108_888357982_o

A magical Selenite spiral wand, from Lizian 

It was a summer morning, an early summer morning. It had rained overnight and every blade of grass wore a delicate crystal drop, the whole garden outlined with a glassy sheen.

20629018_164534727435068_89223914_o (1)

It was so early, so fresh and early, before the sun had risen and burnt away the magic. A gentle mist wreathed the base of my apple tree, cat-pawed and soft at the bottom of the garden where it is wildest.

20623491_164532654101942_643736367_o

I like the garden to be a little untamed, a place where I can find the little people of my childhood imagination, the Fae, the smile of the Wild in the turn of a leaf; where Mother Nature walks with careful, loving steps trailing her fingers tenderly through the pathways of my garden.

I know we have hedgehogs, and sometimes a fox, birds fly through untroubled by my cats, as if they know a little bit of magic lives there, there at the bottom of the garden.

I gazed around, enjoying the freshness, and turned, alerted by the sound of a slapping fishtail from the pond as one of the goldfish rose to surface to capture a fly.

And then I saw…

creature of silken grace and delicate air
silver faced and spider web hair

Well, this was some Wild magic indeed. Mother Nature smiled at her little lost one and it stepped out further from behind the tree to return my gaze. Large dark enquiring eyes looked at me. I looked back and any idea I had of unicorns as horned horses fell away as this little creature was far more ethereal and dainty.

Barely a blade of grass bent under its weight or drop of dew stirred as it moved. The morning mist caressed delicate fetlocks and rose up to run loving tendrils through the silver mane – oh yes, silver and gossamer fine and plaited with girls’ dreams draped across a slender neck and fine-boned face – that face. Mother Nature must have felt truly blessed when presented with this little creature to love and cherish.

20226581_160501027838438_1216483868_o

And yes, oh yes, a rainbow curlicue of pure shimmer and shine adorned its little face, dainty and fine-boned, yes, but with an air of such Wild magic it took my breath away. For Wild Magic is not governed by man’s rule or human regulation – it simply is.

And as I looked, and looked again, the unicorn met my eyes and I wanted to cry, for there, within those liquid depths I saw love and knowing too. The sun rose higher and a random sparkle struck magic from that twisted horn and in a rainbow flash, a coloured turn, it was gone. And yet, and yet, I knew I was awake, and did not dream, for here…

unicorns shed their horns you know
to learn in love and kindness grow
as do we – with each year
grow in grace and keep love near

20641296_164535287435012_46304884_o

Biscuits And Blogging…

18618990_1840851156235053_913115983_o

I don’t often do awards or tags now, not because I am ungrateful, or can’t be bothered, but because I am actually quite shy and not great at talking about myself…despite the fact that I have a blog which generally includes some of my mindless witterings!

However, the lovely Gillyflower has nominated me for a Liebster, and although I was touched and pleased to receive the nomination, I had every intention of refusing it.

Until I saw The Question.

That’s right, just the one, and it just so happens it concerns an issue I feel quite strongly about.

Oatmeal biscuits with raisins? Or without?”

Now. As you may recall from previous posts, biscuits form quite a large part of my diet and in my opinion they should be accorded the dignity of a separate food group in diet classification. To me, they are the ultimate in comfort food, largely responsible for my weight gain since I stopped smoking, and an imminently practical source of energy as they are easily transportable and easily consumed absolutely everywhere from the bus to the shower… I am so skilled in the art of biscuit consumption that I can eat an entire packet in bed whilst remaining completely crumb -free..

To address the second part of The Question: “Or without?”

Without raisins! Of course! And always!

This is akin to the Jaffa cake/biscuit classification row of last year that raged throughout our county… The actual word “biscuit” is derived via mediaeval French – “bescuit” and Latin “bis” and “coquere” , roughly meaning “twice cooked”, because of the process of making it. No mention of any fruit, raisin or otherwise…

The traditional definition of a biscuit is: “A small baked unleavened cake, typically crisp, flat and sweet.” Still no mention of any raisins… and it wasn’t until about the 18th century variations like bourbons and garibaldis were introduced, the latter containing examples of the aforementioned dried fruit…

So then. Biscuits with raisins are relatively new additions in the timeline of Man’s diet… and in my opinion, a betrayal of the old times when we would crouch over our smoking hut fires and slap a bit of left-over bread dough on the embers.

My answer, then, my friends, is:

BISCUITS ARE BISCUITS.

The addition of anything other than perhaps chocolate (in chip or coating form) would render a biscuit into something else altogether, a hard porridge, perhaps.

And biscuits are of course, best consumed with tea (never dunked) … a subject worthy of a post all to itself. Anyway…do excuse me…

More tea, Vicar?”

Oh yes please, and perhaps a nice biscuit with raisins…”

Get out.”

***

Seriously, thanks to the lovely Gillyflower, please do go and check out her blog – I know she’d love to see you! Feel free to take up the Liebster nomination to help spread the word about other blogs! Also, I feel we must give her the credit for the creation of a new tag, born of the Liebster but very much her own…please pick it up, people as I nominate you all for the “With? Or Without?” tag…

liebster-award

Hematite and Hurt Cats

img_0500

Well. What a week it’s been. And not just in the wider sphere of the world, but within my own little parameters too.

I may have mentioned before that we have a stray cat problem … Over the summer, we acquired another face, co – incidentally around the time of “Brexit” and Mr. Cameron’s resignation. I don’t know if you noticed, but some of the key members of government disappeared… then one day a tabby and white stray cat appeared in our garden.

Jokingly, we called him “Boris”, after Boris Johnson, although I’m quite pleased to say we never had George Osborne turn up… Perhaps remembering Billy, our adopted stray, my partner began to leave Boris the odd dish of food.

Having conducted a series of wars with Stalincat and Ginger Ugly, I was reluctant to welcome this interloper, although I did feel sorry for him. However, as the saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Boris began to pick on my girls. Not too much, at first, just a bit of playground hissing and chasing.

Then, one day, Lily didn’t look very well. She’s quite a secretive little cat – not like Ting –

_mg_7842

OH NAOOOH! I’ve broken a nail!! HELP me …”

So when Lily entered the kitchen I casually seized her and began to check her over. She’d been bitten. Quite badly. On her head, and she was beginning to sport a nice infection too.

I promptly burst into tears and rang the vet and was lucky enough to get an appointment for the same day. Poor little Lily’s head was clipped and cleaned; she was given a pain killing and antibiotic injection, and we returned home, with more antibiotics.

_mg_6407-2

It never even entered my head that Boris could have been the author of this bite, treacherous and double dealing…

Earlier on this week, my little princess Charlie was looking hunched and unhappy.

What’s the matter, my love…?”

Grr – waaoh – grrr …” she replied threateningly.

She jumped off the sofa and walked painfully, LIMPING away.

Oh my God she’s broken her leg!!”

I promptly burst into tears and rang the vet …

She’d been bitten. On her leg. Quite painfully. The vet clipped it and cleaned it and gave my little girl a painkilling injection and antibiotics, and tactfully asked me if I had a stray cat problem…

_mg_7739

So. I am afraid Boris is now out in the political wilderness once again. Like his namesake, he is canny and sharp and has managed to avoid all attempts at capture, but I am deploying isolationist policies to protect my princesses and property; whilst brokering a suitable plan for his future… We have cat-proofed the garden and I’m buying a micro-chip operated cat flap, and the Cats’ Protection League is on speed dial…

Perhaps I should just construct a barrier of Hematite…

img_0512A precarious looking barrier, but these are actually Magnetic Hematite, stuck together to create this structure…

Hematite is a wonderful crystal, satisfying to hold and full of useful purpose and intent. It’s a very “solid” crystal, having a definite strength to it and as such, can be used to give confidence to a fearful person, boost self- esteem and encourage the ability to adapt and cope with any situation in which life may place you.

img_0506

Hematite can help overcome addictions – another stone I carried while giving up smoking (74 days and still smoke-free!) – and can also help you to accept any mistakes you may have made as a learning experience. It is beneficial for concentration and can help awaken original thought and enhance memory and logic.

It is a very good stone for grounding and protection as it gently dissolves negativity and can restore harmony and equilibrium to mind, body and spirit.

img_8598

A beautiful example is Specularite… my Planet Sneeze … but Hematite can also be red in colour, and the powdered mineral was in fact used as rouge, many years ago. ‘Haima’, originally from Ancient Greek means blood, so this crystal is particularly good for helping with the treatment of blood disorders.

A versatile crystal, it has a strong impulse to restore balance and unity and dissolve negativity; also preventing dark energies from penetrating the aura and promoting peace and harmony from within the body.

So then. A useful and versatile crystal, a stone of strength, learning and progression. Qualities that are to be encouraged and developed in any situation, for this world that we live in.

***

‘When You Go Home,
Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow,
We gave Our Today’.

Kohima Epitaph

Thank you to all those who serve, and have served, and gave their lives.

img_0533Brecciated or Poppy Jasper… a crystal for balance and protection and a reminder to mankind to help and nurture each other always.

3 Day Quote Challenge Day #2

img_5627-2

HThank you to Dolly once again for this challenge, please do stop by her blog… Some wonderful recipes and fascinating history.

This beautiful piece of writing is new to me, but it personifies how intensely I feel about the sanctity of this world that we live in, the caring we must share and the inter-connectedness.

You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

The rules of this challenge are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and link back to their blog.
  2. Post one quote a day, for three consecutive days.
  3. Nominate three other blogs to pick up the challenge and run with it.
  4. Obviously, let your nominations know!

img_5598

Todays’s nominations are:

 

All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe

Real Neat Blog Award

real-neat-blog-award

I was nominated for this award a couple of weeks ago by the wonderful Alex of Brian And Lily, I must thank her for this and her kind words. She’s one of my earliest friends on WordPress, so please go and have a look at her blog and meet the adorable Lily and Brian, her dogs. Alex (great name!) writes a wonderful blog full of details about life with and caring for her dogs.

Questions… I nipped over to Whippet Wisdom (another of Alex’s nominations and a great blog too!) to borrow the logo and questions for this post.

Here are the rules for the Real Neat Blog Award:

  1. Post the Award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you and link to their blog.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like and link to their blog.
  5. Let them know you nominated them by leaving a comment on their blog.

_mg_9073

  1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?That’s hard to answer as it seems to vary from day to day… The UK, the States and Canada, but I’ve also had visits from Singapore, Israel, Finland, the Philippines, Cape Town… all over really and all wonderful places that I aspire to visiting one day
  2. What is your favourite sport or exercise?I do a lot of walking, myself, as I like to observe, take note, pass the time of day with whatever happens to be out and about. Not really one for sport. My games teacher at school once gave me this report: “If Samantha were to put as much effort into participating in games as she does in avoiding it, she’d probably get on quite well.” Apparently that won a prize in the staffroom for the most original report.
  3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2016?Starting this blog and entering the wonderful world of WordPress. I have met some great people that I am truly pleased to call friends.
  4. What is your favourite quote?I’ve answered this question a few times… the answer is still the same: This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.’ 14th Dalai Lama. I love these words, a great philosophy to live your life by.
  5. What was your favourite class when still at school?English. I love the vagaries of the English language. From ‘through’ to ‘thorough’ to ‘rough’. It has been used to write some of the most beautiful and memorable pieces of literature, yet remains quirky and individualistic.
  6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?
    To ride a bike. Still haven’t learned – too afraid of falling off… and I have a feeling it would have been a useful skill…!
  7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?I always wanted to learn to play the piano, it struck me as an elegant sort of an instrument.

    img_9000

My questions:

  1. Sunshine or rain?
  2. If you were a herb, what would you be?
  3. First thing you ever cooked or baked?
  4. First pet?
  5. What country would you like to visit and why?
  6. What one piece of advice would you give to your 16 year old self?
  7. Favourite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?

My nominations:

  1. Ella
  2. Chic-Soles
  3. Paperpuff
  4. Sasha’s Journey
  5. gillyflower
  6. Chloe Douglas Blog

As always, these nominations are a mark of appreciation. There is no pressure to accept of course, either.

And to everyone who’s been kind enough to stop and have a read, a like, or a subscribe –

THANK YOU VERY MUCH! xx

_mg_9266


Some lovely autumnal photos, taken by Alex Marlowe


3 Day Quote Challenge #3

WP_20160416_11_02_44_Pro (3).jpg

Day 3 and the last day for me… final thanks go to Nikhil of Weirdly Wired for the challenge. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading…

So, rules:

  1. Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
  2. A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  3. Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…

Don’t forget to let your nominees know on their blog… 

TAG, YOU’RE IT!

 

The theme today is crystals and the quote is from my oldest son’s favourite scientist/thinker…

In crystal we have a pure evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and although in spite of everything we cannot understand the life of crystals – it is still a living being.

Nicola Tesla

My final nominations are:

  1. In The Autumn Of My Life
  2. Granny Moon’s Morning Feast
  3. Crystal Clear

 

Obviously, there is no pressure to accept – it’s just a bit of fun:)

The Brotherhood Of The World Award

brotherhood-award

I must thank Xenia and the wonderful whippets, Pearl and Eivor for nominating me for this award. Thank you for thinking of me and I can highly recommend the blog WhippetWisdom for haikus, hounds and harmonious pictures and words.

EPSON MFP imageMy Whippet Misty and Burmese cat from when I was a little girl

The Brotherhood Of The World Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers.

The rules for the Brotherhood Of The World Bloggers Award are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

  2. Answer the questions sent to you.

  3. Nominate around ten bloggers.

  4. Create your set of questions for your nominees.

  5. List the rules and display the Brotherhood Of The World logo in your post and/or blog.

Question 1: Which blog post do you consider your best one so far?

I hesitate to say ‘best’ – I always have a crisis of confidence when I’ve finished writing anything. Perhaps I could say enjoy most? I enjoy writing the occasional short story, and I always enjoy writing the Crystals and Cats posts… sorry, I know that’s not really a proper answer!

Question 2: What is the best comment ever on your blog?

Best ever comment? That’s a hard one. I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment, and I have had some fabulously funny conversations as well as interesting insights and information from other people.

Question 3: Did you make blog posts receiving much more attention than you expected? Which one, for example?

I am really pleased when anybody stops to have a read, but I think I was particularly pleased and surprised by how many people like Moss Agate and Motherhood… thank you everybody!

Question 4: Did you make blog posts receiving much less attention than you expected? Which one, for example?

I don’t really know… that’s the thing, you can’t expect everybody to like what you write all of the time. If I make one person smile, or think: “Ooh, that’s interesting!” then I’m happy.

wp_20160716_14_15_51_pro-2
A gorgeous piece of Amber, great for unity and loyalty…

My nominees are:

  1. Key Image – Samantha – great name! – has a wonderful blog following the adventures of Bertie the bear and Croc. Filled with interesting places and facts, her blog is definitely worth a visit.

  2. Passionate Mom Honey Bee – a sweet and gentle lady with wonderful recipes.

  3. theutopiauniverse – visit Brooke’s blog for her words of wisdom and motivational tips.

  4. Castle Vets Reading – and invaluable blog filled with wonderful veterinary advice and helpful information.

  5. AngelsWhisper2011 – visit Binky, she’s beautiful, kind and picture purrfect!

  6. Space, Time and Raspberries – incisive, humorous and artistic, go and have a look at Sue’s blog.

  7. NiaSunset – I just love her, she’s kind, sweet, if you don’t already know her, go and have a look.

  8. ChloeDouglasblog – have a look for interesting insights and great book reviews.

  9. Floating Speck – beautiful pictures and lovely words, friendly and welcoming.

  10. And finally… anyone who has been interested enough to stop and have a read, who’s thought again, who’s cared. It’s the Brotherhood Around The World Award after all…

Brotherhood Questions:

1) What makes you angry?

2) What was your last random act of kindness?

3) What is your key to happiness?

4) What is your philosophy of life in three words?

As usual, there is no obligation or pressure to accept this award, it’s just a nice way to show appreciation and recognition to other bloggers, and pass it on.

Thank you, as always, for reading. 

cam00596“I only have sisters… can I pretend you’re my brother Mr.Bottle?”