The Show Must Go On

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He closed the door of the flat behind him, pulling it gently to for the last time until he felt the lock click. He sighed, as he closed the door on years of memories too. The love and the pleasure, the happiness of learning one another, the likes and dislikes, the simple joy of finding that other person that made his half whole.

He took a step away from the door, and looked up into the sky, dark and lowering with the threat of rain and the colour of an old bruise. He shifted his backpack so it sat more comfortably on his aching shoulders and hefted his case down the steps, stopping one last time to look up at the window, the window into his past, his happy memories of love and closeness and belonging.

The grey, faded curtains remained resolutely closed, closed like an unreasoning mind, shut to explanation, not at home to trust.

He started to walk away, and, as he did, a light rain began to fall, bringing with it echoes of accusations and questions, the tears, the tantrums. His heart pained and his soul weighed him down, failed expectations biting at his heels like the mad dog of despair.

Ahead, a solitary ray of sunshine made a gleaming appearance through the clouds, coyly peeping at his destination. The theatre.

With every step, the sky brightened and the clouds receded. His heart lifted, as did his step. By the time he reached the stage door, the early evening had warmed and dried.

The backstage scents of body, costumes, old makeup welcomed him. He opened his dressing room door, the door to his future and switched on the light.

Sitting at his mirror, he carefully applied meticulous layer after layer of foundation, blusher, contour, eyeshadow, then outlining a pair of lusciously generous lips, filled in with rich opulent purple. He glued outrageously false eyelashes and with every layer, every sparkle, every glittering false nail his heart healed.

Finally, he stepped into the crimson crushed velvet gown and checked its fall around his hips and stockinged legs, leaning towards the mirror to fluff creamy blonde curls around his sculpted cheekbones.

Drawing one last sigh, casting aside his cares with a flick of his gown, he stepped out. Out onto the stage and struck a pose.

House lights down – stage lights up and –

Hello-oo Dahlings!”

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Crystal Hearts And Cat Hair

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I’m loving the shaped crystals at the moment. When a crystal is shaped, a focal point is added to its energy, making it easier to direct, and as we know, the heart is traditionally a symbol used to convey affection and compassion, emotional intelligence and love.

In Egypt, the heart was regarded as the life essence, the first part of man that sparked into life and the last to be extinguished. As well, the heart can be used as a sign of encouragement meant for others, and in crystal work, when coupled with the individual benefits of the crystal from which the heart is shaped, then you have something wonderful and warm to work with, that leaves a feel-good residue as lingering as cat hair on your favourite sweater…

21081989_169843050237569_459617910_o (2)A Selenite heart for tranquillity and peace, on the left a Reptile Skin Jasper for protection, calm and harmony, and an Aventurine heart for luck, love and prosperity…

There is a protein in cat hair that can cause allergies for some unfortunate people, but keeping your cat clean and well-groomed can go a long way towards keeping it under control.

I look at my cats and every hair is a little coloured wonder… Charlie’s hairs are individually banded in shades of grey and brown, with a little ginger thrown in, just to be alternative, giving the tabby effect.

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Lily is, at first glance, just an ordinary little black cat; but in the right light, she reveals her secret… she is, in actual fact, a chocolate coloured cat, with burnt ginger stripes.

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Tooty’s outer hairs are very smooth and sleek, yet underneath she is fluffy and grey.

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Ting is all edible shades … caramel, chocolate, vanilla and biscuit… a delicious little cat.

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Only Charlie’s fur seems to possess the delectable fragrance that is essentially her… warm and comforting, somehow a mix of me and her.

I remember when my old cat, Walter, passed, I was so heartsick and sore, so utterly bereft without him… and yet, I was comforted to find a whisker that I knew was his. Undoubtedly. And I have it still.

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Moonstone and Meanderings…

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Moonstone is another crystal to which I am particularly drawn. Usually connected to the potential for new beginnings and a fresh start it is obviously linked to the Moon and her cycles. I value Moonstone for its physical reminder that change is a way of Life, part of a pattern that we need to accept.

Moonstone mirrors the calm serenity of the Moon herself and is emotionally calming whilst promoting intuition.

I have several pieces of Moonstone and it is also one of the birthstones of myself and my son, and I found it especially resonant in November, perhaps answering the call of the Super Moon…

My various coloured pieces bring to mind the relationship between Moon and Earth, Day and Night, this cream piece reminding me of Mother Earth herself, the whole of her creation bound within a golden network of ley lines and old ways, that those who can, still use, blurring the lines between the 21st century and our past when we lived so much closer to the Earth and were more ready to listen to what she had to share.

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I’m not fond of winter – I was born in July – but it is at this time of year I sometimes feel closest to Mother Earth as she is laid bare, frosty bones exposed and stripped of summer finery.

These wintry November mornings we have recently been blessed with are clear, cold and sharp, a powdering of frost delicately decorating exposed earth and furrows, Mother Earth in her naked glory, Crone of the year’s age and experience, Spring Maiden and Summer Mother temporarily laid to rest for another year …

There is a sense of wildness at this time of year, an almost mediaeval connection, bringing to mind the great ancient forests where wolves and wildcats freely roamed and wild boar searched for roots.

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Coils of early morning mist drift across the garden, as I watch the Sun rise, gently moving aside the night to make way for dawn in shades of frozen peach and delicate blue, while ice crystals streak the sky and touch the garden with silvered magic.

I half-expect to hear the crackle of a log fire, in a time slip moment of looking back when we didn’t have the luxuries of central heating or hot water at the flick of a switch, When nothing was certain but we accepted the changing of the seasons and adapted to what there was, the slow-burning energy of carbohydrates instead of the quick sugars of Spring.

My black Moonstone brings to mind the cold clarity of the Winter Solstice skies, the dark velvet mantle of night drawn across Mother Earth’s aching bones as she rests and gathers energy for the year ahead.

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Moonstone reminds us there is no fear to be had in the seeming dark night of the soul; it’s just another stage, a transition in this life, completing the journey of those who went before…

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Carnelian and Compassion for Cats

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These cats are breaking my heart… I have a stray cat problem as I am sure I may have mentioned before. With the onset of winter and the colder, wetter weather, I am seeing homeless felines everywhere,

Why? Why do people do this? I will never understand why people take on the responsibility of an animal and then as soon as it grows up or loses its cuteness or does something wrong then the animal is abandoned. I would sooner chop off my own arm than abandon one of my cats – they are family.

Another new face on the stray circuit, a battered looking black and white tom, found refuge in our conservatory on a cold night last week. My partner had to go out and move him on:

I’m sorry, I’m afraid you’ll have to leave. Can’t have you upsetting the ladies.”

All right Guv’nor, all right, just give me a minute to get me things and I’ll be off…”

I don’t want to make light, really of what is, after all, a heart breaking problem, but I just wish these owners would have a little compassion and think what these animals suffer as they are deprived of a home through no fault of their own, and face an uncertain future.

_mg_8508Boris, the stray, in happier times

This is why we must never ignore these charities such as the Cats Protection League, RSPCA and the PDSA, that do such amazing work. These charities, both here and abroad, do such amazing work, like FACE Foundation, with TNR programmes and empty shelter days, where they try and re-home every animal need our support and help.

And it’s not just cats. Dogs too. Animals that we assume responsibility for and then forget as though these little lives mean nothing. I’m not going to turn this into a rant, but I would urge everybody to donate, help, volunteer, foster, adopt, whatever you can.

I have my four girls obviously, but if I could afford it, then that four would probably become fourteen. And I do think it is about time our government addresses various issues that beset our animal population, for example, look again at the Dangerous Dogs Act, implement policies that would regulate the breeding of animals and protect their lives, set aside some funding for a nationwide programme of trap, neuter, return… If we cannot exercise compassion for our animal friends, then how can we hope to extend that to our own species?

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Carnelian, a stone I have not personally experienced although I own several pieces, is a crystal that both stabilises and encourages… It can help you be realistic whilst giving you the energy and motivation to put thoughts into action. My son is fond of this crystal – it is useful in the dramatic arts and can also help cleanse and recharge other crystals, just by being near them.

Carnelian is a very empathetic crystal, it can help to banish fear of the unknown, of death, whilst promoting positive life choices and instilling courage in its wearer.

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Linked to the Base chakra, it gives the courage to overcome abuse of any kind and its physical benefits include aiding the absorption of vitamins and helping with depression, back problems and rheumatism.

Carnelian is kind, yet practical. It banishes mental chatter to improve clarity of thought and enhance perception. It removes emotional negativity, protects against other peoples’ negative thoughts and enhance perception. It removes emotional negativity, protects against other peoples’ negative thoughts and promotes a love of life, with all its ups and downs.

Everybody has room for a little piece of Carnelian in their crystal repertoire… everyone has room for a little compassion too.

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If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

14th Dalai Lama

Septarian and Serene Cats

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Look! Look at this crystal! Doesn’t it just seem a divine combination of delicious things… like an expensive handmade chocolate. The paler brown, like the foam on a good quality hot chocolate, the darker blocks and lines of brown, rich unctuous milk chocolate and finally the golden chunks of calcite, like wonderful crystallised pineapple…

I must mention In The Autumn of My Life and thank her for bringing this crystal to my attention – she did a wonderful post about her Septarian egg. I’m still getting to know my piece, but I was overjoyed to see a little piece – just right for me – when we visited my son’s crystal lady a couple of weeks after reading In The Autumn of My Life’s post.

Septarian itself is a crystal stew of Calcite (yellow), Aragonite (brown) and Bentonite (grey) and this combination brings the qualities of patience, tolerance and nurturing to the fore in anyone who wishes to work with this stone. It has strong links to Mother Earth and acts as a physical reminder that we must take care of and nurture our environment, our home. Septarian is a marvellous crystal to encourage unity within any spiritual group; and brings harmony and serenity as an almost physical object to any home.

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Septarian is a distillstion of pure love and the joy of being alive, it is supportive, nurturing, willing to help those who suffer from SAD and encourages the body to kickstart its own process of healing. Serene, comforting, nurturing and harmonious. Think happy feline…

I must also thank Marc at Katzenworld for his brilliantly helpful review of Feliway Friends.

After last week’s unpleasant happenings, a modicum of harmony has been restored to my fur family. I purchased Feliway and use it religiously…

SAM! WHAT’S THAT HORRIBLE SMELL? IT’S THAT CAT STUFF!”

No, it can’t be it’s a synthetic pheromone and they are scentless…”

WELL I CAN SMELL SOMETHING!!!”

I didn’t bother answering him. I didn’t want to point out what he had obviously stood in something outside… I just left the room…

We have more litter trays – the usual rule is one per cat and one spare – we have one per cat, one spare and one ‘just in case’. We have instituted a timetable of outdoor hours and the Girls know when they have to be in so Daddy can lock the catflap to keep intruders out. After Christmas I REALLY want a microchip operated catflap… Brilliant inventions.

There is a definite easing of tension in my little cat. She still prefers it if either my partner or myself goes out with her, and I was touched to see Ting, our Siamese accompanying Charlie on her usual walk round the garden. Charlie didn’t grumble or hiss at her, it was more:

Oh, yes, of course, if you happen to be going this way…”

Ting: “YAY! Does this mean we’re friends now and you’re going to be my big sister now?”

“No… Just… no.”

Lily is quite happy now to come in and go to bed where previously she was a little bit of a wanderer. Any bed will do, she makes it hers. The cooker. The sink. The coffee table. And you can’t move her. She has a way of opening an eye – just the one, mind, and evil things are implicit in that slice of emerald green, evil things that can happen to you if you move her…

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My garden has returned to its usual state of splendid isolation. My New Leaf lady gave me a plant that she said repelled cats. I brought it home and my partner and I eagerly planned to place strategic clumps around the garden… then Ting ate it… I carry my Septarian with me every day at the moment, to re-establish links of love and compassion.

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By some happy coincidence, my Septarian mirrors my little cat’s fur, brown, gold, chocolate, grey… a veritable cornucopia of fur and crystal colouring.

Calcite and Clever Cats

_mg_8943Honey Calcite tumblestones – useful for enhancing confidence, memory and intellect, linked to the Sacral and Solar Plexus chakras, helping to align the two

Calcite is a wonderful, all purpose crystal that comes in a variety of colours – much as cats do – and is a positive reinforcement of beneficial emotions – much as cats are… well at least when they’re in a good mood. Careful placement of calcite throughout the home or work environment ensures a calm flow of energy that circulates, bringing serenity and carrying away stress and negativity.

_mg_8975Aids mental healing, and can dissolve ingrained beliefs and thought patterns. Can stimulate the immune system and absorbs negativity

Calcite improves energy flow and cleanses it at the same time, removing emotions that may have stagnated and linking to the higher consciousness. Calcite is both active and stimulating – be prepared for a burst of physical and spiritual awareness as it encourages spiritual development.

_mg_8961A powerful detoxifier, it can be used to facilitate new beginnings and cleanse and align all chakras

Calcite is found in a rainbow of colours that can work with your chakras, in addition to their metaphysical properties of cleansing and energising both the physical and spiritual bodies and their environments. All the rough pieces pictured have been acid-treated to enhance their colours and give a soft tactile feel to the stone.

_mg_8948Linked to the Base chakra, this crystal increases energy and releases both physical and spiritual blockages

However, although it is an active crystal, it is also stabilising and supportive, encouraging belief in oneself and allowing you to face your fears and formulate solutions to setbacks.

_mg_8938Mangano/Pink Calcite, a stone of forgiveness and love that can release past fears to allow forward progress, linked to the Heart chakra

Calcite calms the mind, allowing clear thought and analysis and establishes a link between emotion and intellect… I have had quite a lot of cats during my life so far, every one of them a joy in their own individual way.

_mg_8983Blue Calcite is gentle and soothing, helps recovery, removes anxiety, lowers blood pressure and enhances communication. It filters and returns positive energy…

However – and this is not just a proud mother speaking – my cat, Charlie, or Princess Charlotte Oddpaw to give her full name and title, is undoubtedly the most intelligent cat I have ever known. Ting, my Siamese, is definitely the sweetest, but she’s not exactly the brightest sandwich in the tool box… I look at Charlie and sometimes I am a little intimidated by the very aware, non-human intelligence she possesses.

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She is self-aware, which is apparently a marker for animal intelligence. This is tested by means of placing something on the animal you wish to test, like a sticky dot, or something, then putting it in front of a mirror, pointing the dot out to the animal, and seeing what happens next. Or something like that. I’m no scientist. (If you want to check… use Google and look for the Mirror Test, developed by Gordon Gallup in 1970).

In the spirit of scientific research, I stuck a little sticker on my cat – obviously not very sticky as it can cause fur trauma – and put her in front of my mirrored wardrobe. I pointed to her reflection, at her shoulder where I had stuck the dot, and said in a horrified tone:

Oh no, what has Mummy done to you?”

She looked at her reflection, looked at me, and delicately removed the sticker with her teeth and dropped it on the floor, her thoughts as plain to see as if she’d written them down…

Stupid woman. Did she really think I wouldn’t notice?”

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Charlie can open doors. With the power of her mind… No, not really… she has very dexterous little paws that she can use to good effect to obtain what she wants. She can hook her paw underneath the fridge, and press the rubber seal so it opens. She knows quite a lot of words – I lost count after twenty – and can even say some of her own.

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For example, she knows to run away quickly if someone approaches her saying:

Does Charlie want a kiss kiss?”

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And yet she will sit, regal and queen-like, as I do homage to her beauty…

Who’s the best cat? Who’s the most beautiful?…” blinking golden eyes, slowly and superbly, secure in the knowledge that we, her people, are putty in her dainty little paws…

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Smells…

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Since giving up smoking, my sense of smell has come quiveringly out of the corner of my nasal passages, raising its little head enquiringly, yet hopefully…

Smell is such an evocative sense and one that I tend to associate with memories past and present…An early one for me is the enormous lavender bush we had growing beside the pond at the cottage where we used to live when I was little. A heady, wonderful perfume that floated on the air like tangible lilac ribbons. The tiny flowers seemed brimful of perfume that spilled over enticingly, so bees, big fat furry bees would loiter casually amongst the stems, headily drunk and so complacent that I, as a little girl, would stroke their wonderful stripy fur and marvel at its softness…

Another smell memory: both my grandparents have passed now, my grandmother, just two years ago, but I have fond memories of staying at their bungalow in the Welsh countryside. At six o’clock in the morning the heating would come on, and the smell of gently heating house would enter my bedroom, the raffia mats in the kitchen, the toasting smell of the special bread Nan used.

I think I inherited my love of perfume from her. My grandad used to travel a lot on business and yet without fail, he would always bring Nan some perfume. The classics, of course, like Chanel – Chanel No. 5 is my all time favourite – and also the Bentley of perfumes, never mind the Rolls Royce, Joy. (Also my Nan’s name.)

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Joy’ was created by Henri Alméras in 1929 for couturier Jean Patou. It is apparently one of the most expensive perfumes in the world, around 10,000 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen roses are required to make a 30ml bottle. Summer in a bottle, magical and picturesque – as a very special treat, Nan would dab a little on the inside of my wrist – “Never too much darling, a lady should be scented, not overpowering – it’s vulgar.” ‘Joy’ will for ever be my Nan.

Later on in my life, I lived somewhere where there was a dog food factory, a maggot farm and a sewage works. My sense of smell, already somewhat traumatised, went into permanent hiding.

However, as the days of non-smoking pass, I am finding continual olfactory surprises. My mother was slicing cucumber the other day – I was standing, usefully, watching her, when suddenly I was aware of a wet, green, fresh smell. Cucumber!

My cat, Charlie, smells delicious. Her fur is scented with a combination of grass, my hand cream, and some indefinable essence all her own. My mother’s dog, Erin, smells of warm leather.

Living in a house with two sons and my partner, aftershaves and deoderants were all a messy scribble in my nose… but now I can identify Firetrap from Polo, Kouros from Beckham…

I wish I could bottle the smells from my childhood… the golden days of summer, when the sun shone and the sky was bright blue and the Earth gently baked…

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