Happy New Year!

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Perhaps a little late, but here we are – 2020, perfect vision, a new decade, the Roaring Twenties again… and I find I have taken the roaring part quite literally to heart.

Regular readers may recall I was searching for that little je ne sais quoi, the little added extra, a flourish, if you will, to add as I get off the bus and run away. The running away part is definitely catching on, I’m pleased to say.

On my journey into town the other day I noticed several ladies leaping off the bus and running onwards to their next destination. Not so much men though…come on chaps! Where’s your spirit of, um, adventure!

Anyway. I was with Alex in Asda, just before Christmas, actually, and it was packed. Thronging with desperate last minute shoppers – “Well, why won’t she eat that? She ate it last year!” – “Please stop doing that, Mummy’s very tired and Santa won’t come if you carry on being a little s&*t!”- and all I wanted to buy were the staple supplies of any conscientious cat owner, three different types of wet food and four packets of treats for the Girlies’ stockings, and I found myself welling up with frustration at the mass of humanity seething around me.

I couldn’t help it. I let out a little roar. Alex looked at me, concerned and more than a little alarmed at the unusual noise I produced. So I did it again. And was mildly gratified as one family shot me a wary look and moved to another queue…

I opened my mouth again, preparing.

No Mum, don’t! Look! We’re here now!” Alex interrupted hurriedly, and we paid for the shopping and left.

Then I added in a roar as I ran away from the bus and actually found it quite liberating… Alex was … horrified. Then my mother came for dinner the other week, and afterwards, Alex, his boyfriend and I walked her to the bus stop.

Having seen her safely aboard, I began to run off. Puzzled, Alex’s boyfriend gamely followed me, as did Alex with a look of grim resignation on his face.

Why are we running?” his boyfriend enquired.

No reason,” I replied, then I gave a bit of a roar too.

Ah! I see!” he said, giving a bit of a roar too and throwing himself wholly into the spirit of things…and although Alex ran with us, he declined to roar…

So. Happy belated New Year, everybody, and may you enjoy the new “Roaring Twenties” in every sense of the word!

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Look what’s happening next week – we have a guest! The lovely Marje from Kyrosmagica is coming for a chat (and maybe tea and cake) to kick off her blog tour with us and tell us about her new book!  We’re looking forward to seeing her and hearing all about it as it’s a magical mix of short stories, poems and photographs… and perhaps even a cat!

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In Sickness…Theirs…And In Health…Mine….

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I don’t know how the present weather is affecting the rest of the country, but here in the East Midlands, the rain has not only flooded the surrounding farmlands and countryside, but also seems to have created a fetid fug of soup like flu symptoms that just seem to be trapped in the bowl created by our natural geology, just circulating endlessly…

Now. Don’t get me wrong, I am not unsympathetic to people who are ill… but I do feel quite strongly they should keep their germs to themselves. It started with a hat trick of grandmas… my mother, a confirmed and dedicated smoker, generally has a smoker’s cough, but on this particular day it seemed a little more…vehement than usual.

You’re going to be ill, aren’t you,” I observed, with trepidation.

My mother is a retired nurse and a Yorkshire woman to boot, consequently she is as stubborn as hell and the worst patient ever.

No, don’t be – hrgghhh! – stupid Samantha – bleughhh-ahh!- I’m fine!”

The dogs laid back their ears and retreated to the kitchen. I did likewise.

Then my partner’s mother had the flu jab and promptly caught flu. I had just run home from getting off the bus, contemplating how to add an extra flourish to my run away with a squat, or a forwards roll, perhaps, when-

SAM! SAM! MAM’S NOT WELL!”

What do you mean?” I enquired, more than a little alarmed because she is getting on a bit and has had a few health problems.

“’ER EYES ARE ROLLING AND SHE’S BREATHING FUNNY!”

I decided this necessitated further investigation and trotted round, curbing an arbitrary impulse to attempt a vault over the gate, and ran upstairs to have a look at her.

Are you all right?” I enquired cautiously, poking my head round the door.

Hrrhhha wahhggrr!”

Ah. Let’s sit you up a bit…”

I helped her sit up and her chest eased a little and I sent my partner back to our house for eucalyptus oil.

A cup of tea, essential oil inhalant and a laugh later, I am very pleased to say she was looking a lot better.

Then, although not known to me personally, I heard that Alex’s partner’s grandma was ill too – I spent some time with the Wishing Tree in my garden, asking for help and healing from the Appropriate Places.

Then I went to my mother’s yesterday for dinner, we were watching “Countryfile” and I asked her for the television guide so I could check something. She sneezed in it, closed the pages and offered it to me.

No, I’ll let you keep that,” I said politely, as the dog sneezed in Mum’s face, triggering another coughing fit.

I returned home to be greeted by the mournful face of my partner, mouth breathing, wheezing and coughing… I thrust paracetamol, honey and echinacea at him, seized my sage and thyme infusion and ginger capsules and fled upstairs.

So. I have been taking powdered ginger in capsule form for about a month, I gargle with sage and thyme infusion, have a spoonful of honey every day, a pack of sanitising wipes to hand and I have anointed myself liberally with patchouli and lavender essential oils, hoping that their overpowering scent will fox any particularly persistent germs.

Just in case though – I have my lovely doctor on speed dial…

*

On a serious note, friends, look after yourselves in this season of illness, and I hope you’ll join with me in wishing my wonderful friend Jean at The Canadian Cats all the very best for a speedy recovery back to full health. Get well soon, Jean, love from all of us here xxxx

“A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Theatre…”

 

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Sometimes I actually do feel as though the stuff that happens in my life is part of a Universal vaudeville routine… I try to console myself with encouraging platitudes like Oh well, it could be worse, it could be raining…

Alternatively, I think: “F&#$k it that’s an absolute b#@%ard”… I swear quite appallingly so I’ve been told, although personally I think I do it rather well, having a flair for the more , um, earthy side of our language… but anyway, generally I just laugh.

For example, the other day my morning began at 5.00am with a sound guaranteed to make any cat owner react with lightning fast speed – I awoke to the sounds of Tooty vomiting copiously down the side of my bedside cabinet. I leapt out of bed, a little too late unfortunately to prevent drippage on to the handles of the cabinet, wondered momentarily at the cat’s ability to run and vomit at the same time, but cheered myself with the thought Well, it can only get better…

On the bus to my appointment with my psychologist – yes, I have a psychologist, yes, I have now managed to instil a level of anxiety in him concerning random issues that he has never previously considered, like doorhandles, and should beans and chips really touch on the plate if you’re eating them together – but I happened to overhear a weary father talking to his little son on the bus as the child burst into a bellowed rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

No, buddy, that’s not a star, it’s a snowflake,” the father patiently pointed out yet again.

But it looks like a star!” the child insisted. Then, a little defiantly: “Well, I’m going to sing every time I see a star or a snowflake!”

A look of hopeless resignation settled across the father’s face…

Then, as I was coming back, I noticed a man leaving the supermarket who clearly had his life’s priorities sorted. He was carrying a tray of cans of beer and a large pack of toilet rolls – I shudder to think how he was going to spend his weekend, but mentally I applauded his ingenuity, for, he had the toilet rolls on his shoulder first, then the beer on top, thereby creating a soft and comfortable pad to carry the items home.

I also recently seem to have adopted quite an interesting habit as I disembark from the bus…I leap off and run away…not quite sure where that’s come from, I know that “Mission Impossible” left a lasting impression on me…but the puzzled look on the other passengers’ faces is quite rewarding to see as I speed away… Try it…

A Bit Of A Re-Blog…

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I just seem to have had one of those weeks where I have run out of time, not been able to catch up with anything and I have been using the same shopping list for the past ten days…consequently we have plenty of cat kibbles, a bewildering preponderance of frozen peas, pepperoni and vegan pizzas and an advent calendar for Charlie. The others don’t bother so much but Charlie loves the daily thrill of opening the little doors…

Anyway, I was trying to catch up with my NaNo when I found this little story from a few years ago, and it made me feel a little sad at how bleakly it read, although the original idea was actually sparked by a charming dinner service I saw in our supermarket, with all manner of fanciful beasties…have a read and see what you think, friends, and I will try to be more organised and catch up with everybody…

Alice Updated.

Don’t worry, you’ll make friends once you’ve settled in.”

Don’t forget to work hard, we know what you students are like, out drinking all night!”

These words fell on frightened ears as her parents left her. They left her, in the hall of residence in a nameless, faceless block in a city she didn’t know and she was afraid.

It was bleak, it was dark, it was autumn and she longed for the golden days of summer when she had been at school. The city was brutal, it was dark and it rained. She didn’t know where she was or how she felt to be so tenderly abandoned. She was not equipped for this.

The gentle county of her youth, her kind teachers and thoughtful friends, the lessons, the plans, the routine, these were things she understood.

Scornful tutors mouthed incomprehensible words in echoing lecture theatres and people laughed. She couldn’t eat, she didn’t know how. And yet, and yet, she was touched with kindness as others saw her and were drawn to this sad, lonely girl, “Alice of the Otherworld” as the darkness called her.

Here, come out with us, have a drink, you’ll feel better!”

The tall dark boy with knives in his eyes laughed like a maniac and pushed the glass towards her.

She drank, and was transported. Down and down she fell, tumbling down a smooth golden tunnel that smelled enticingly of childhood and weepingly of home.

When she opened her eyes, she was lying in a field. The day was golden and dusted with sunshine, the old oak tree she reclined against felt warm and comfortable, as comforting as her bed at home.

She sat up and her hands touched grass, grass that slithered through her fingers as soft as silk and as warm as blood. A winged rabbit fluttered by, its delicate wings etched in green, flushing pink as it startled at her presence and shied away.

And as she looked, and looked again, what at first she took for flowers beat their wings and flew away in a chattering flock, and she heard the swallows singing at home as they prepared to fly to Africa.

She sighed and laid down again. This was not home, but it would do, the echoes were familiar and some of it was comforting. She drew this atmosphere around her, like her duvet at home, and shut her eyes.

*

Ally! Ally! No! Ally, wake up! You bastard, what did you give her?”

The dark youth smiled uneasily and slid away, as her head lolled and a trickle of thin, yellow vomit escaped her smiling mouth, while the one who would have loved her grabbed his phone and cried.

The Bus!

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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…

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Peridot And People

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Obviously, as a true “catlady” (the crazy part can be added depending on whether you know me or not in real life… ) I regard my cats as people. Not the human variety, you understand, (I’m not completely bats… ) but as distinct little persons – in fur – with their own foibles, personalities and responses to the world around them.

By nature, I am a solitary person, but on occasion I am called upon to converse and interact with others. Don’t misunderstand me – I find other people endlessly interesting, everyone with their own story to tell and their own chapter to add in this Book Of Life.

Sometimes, the lovely Lizian asks me to look after the shop and really, I am not going to pass up the opportunity to babysit all the wonderful crystals… And the people… the people I’ve met who want to stop and share their story, have a chat, touch base – I’ve got used to the disappointed looks from some people when they realise it’s only me…

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There is one particular gentleman and his wife who are regular visitors and he was only too delighted to find a new (and captive) audience. To be fair, though, he spoke entertainingly and well – I laughed in all the right places and gasped in others as I learned of his days in the armed services and how he met his wife… a real Romeo and Juliet story.

I was privileged to meet a truly lovely lady who has had various serious health issues yet met them bravely and with determination – helped by a few crystals, of course…

And there are the lost ones, the ones who have at some point been beaten rather badly by Life and seek refuge and comfort from the shop and the reassuring figures of the owners. All these people are worthy of a more in-depth blog post, although obviously I would have to ask permission as really, these stories aren’t my own to tell, but I can try to help where I can, otherwise, what’s he point? To quote a well-known phrase – from various sources – ‘We’re all in this together…’

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Peridot is an appropriate crystal to choose, as it is commonly associated with the month of September, and it is also a transitional crystal, by which I mean it’s one of those stabilising ones that will ease the passage of Life from one stage into the next. It is good to encourage independence making up your own mind about things without too much pressure from external influences.

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Likewise, Peridot will help you to see when you’re wrong, about a person or a situation and helps to resolve any anger or guilt you may feel. Peridot has a strong protective quality to it and is also a good cleanser for body and spirit. By removing these ideas that be cloud intellect, Peridot opens the mind to recognising negative influences and detaching yourself from them, using your own intuition to see your way forward.

Above all, Peridot shows us how to accept our stories, learn from them and move on.

Sometimes we can choose to stop and share these stories or keep them to ourselves. Either way, everybody has a story to tell, and sometimes it helps to lend an ear.

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Vengeance

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Thought we’d squeeze in another Poetry Pimple before the end of the month…

 

Every unkind word,
Every mean look
Or spiteful gesture

Each nasty word
Each liberty you took
The casual blatant disregard

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I will gather these gems of bitterness
And hoard them to me
Greedily like a dragon with its gold.

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Then, one day when you are watching,
I will cast these gems before you
And watch you squirm

Then as you are watching
I will laugh
And you will burn.

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That Awkward Moment When…

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You realise you’ve been staring intently at the person talking to you and yet you have absolutely no idea what they’ve been talking about….

You’re in a crowded room, when everyone around you suddenly falls silent and your stomach chooses that particular moment to do the most awful roar of hunger. Like a lion.

You’ve been going into one room to fetch something… you know you can’t remember what it was, the person watching you knows you can’t remember what you wanted so you have to try and bluff it out…

When you have a massive uncontrollable attack of sneezing, and people around you look at you as if you’ve taken leave of your senses…

A man you’ve never seen before in your life puts a dead fox head on your counter and asks what crystals you recommend for its eyes…

When you’re away with the fairies and you fall over for no apparent reason… and no one believes you… not even the fairies…

When you are genuinely pleased for a man who was in the public eye and underwent trial by media who then appears in various films and television documentaries and you happen to mention how pleased you are for him that he seems to have these nice little acting jobs coming in and then the person you are talking to points out that the person getting the acting jobs is, in fact, an actor, while the person who underwent the trial by media returned to his normal, everyday life…

Just out of interest, who thinks what experience from the above list has happened to me? Does anyone else have any similar experiences they’d like to share, so we can laugh – I mean commiserate… !!

Flint and Fear

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The very first stone that I can remember being actively drawn to and picking up was actually a piece of Flint. I felt it had some sort of story to tell me… Not surprisingly, Flint and humans have a long-standing connection.

It was one of the first stones to work for Man in the creation of fire and tool making, both means of fending off fear for the early Man. Thus Flint manages both male and female energies, and perhaps harking back to its earliest connection with humans as tools, can be used to spiritually sever negative thought patterns, sharpening thought and response to any challenges that Life may put in your path.

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It is another highly protective stone and will shield you from curses and ill wishes; and again, has the dual purpose of both helping to keep you grounded, yet acknowledge and come tot terms with your own spirituality… A stone of comfort and ability, a metaphysical pacifier, if you will…

Despite the common usage of the term “scaredy cat”, I wouldn’t say that my cats are particularly fearful… unlike me. I’m afraid of loud noises… the dentist… spiders… deep water. Well. I could go on. But my feline family demonstrate what I prefer to think of as a healthy sense of self-preservation… apart from Charlie (of course) who has the soul of a tiger captured within her small furry body.

She terrified a fox once… it was passing through the garden, minding its vulpine business, and stopped to have a look in the pond. Our landing window overlooks that part of the garden so I am able to bear witness to Charlie’s fearlessness.

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My little cat spied the hapless fox and at once began walking menacingly down the path towards it. And as she walked… she fluffed…. Until by the time the fox looked up, it was being pummelled by a tabby tiger striped fur bomb…. It fled. Rapidly… leaving a rather large tuft of its fur behind on the hedge as it forced its way through in panic.

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I went rushing downstairs to comfort my little cat, but she was:

No worries. I had that. Got rid of the large, stinky squirelly looking thing…”

However, fear, no matter how irrational it may seem, is there to serve a purpose. This response is part of the human psyche, deep-rooted, for self-preservation where the primary response to a threat is flight, fight or freeze. As mankind evolved, progressed, adapted, our fears became more complex… fear of failure, of not fitting in or matching up to expectations.

Sometimes, we may feel that these fears will overwhelm us, that we are alone. Sometimes, the first step to overcoming these fears is to reach out, hold out your hand, feel the warmth and the love and know that you are not alone.

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Iolite And Impressions

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A lot can be learned from first impressions. Generally I am a reasonable judge of character, but sometimes I just get these… feelings. I would hesitate to claim any psychic ability, but these impressions have been strong enough, or made a lasting enough impression on me to the extent where I avoid the person or place.

An ex-neighbour is a case in point. My partner thought he was all right, one of the lads. I hated him. Wouldn’t give him house room. My partner couldn’t understand this, since the man was always perfectly pleasant to me; but we later found out that he’d been arrested for domestic abuse.

Another instance of impressions… my son’s class were doing a performance in a pub in the city so of course I went along to support and watch. It was actually taking place in an old music hall that had been restored – there has been some sort of public house on that location since the 1400’s. I was uncomfortable from the word go… the whole place felt like a musty old jacket from a charity shop… too many echoes, too much going on, too many voices to process…

Iolite – pronounced “eye-OH-lite” – ( I didn’t have any on me that day!) is a vision stone… it switches on your ability to tune into your surroundings, your gut instinct, if you will. Not surprisingly then, it’s a crystal of journey and insight, often used in shamanic ceremonies. Iolite can bestow the understanding and clarity of a clear night sky, which it so closely resembles, dark blue with paler flecks.

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Thus it helps with the clarity of thought, banishing negative ties and releasing your true self. It makes you aware of yourself and your place in the Universe, a kind and gentle stone to help with spiritual growth and creativity.

Always trust an animal’s first impressions… that’s what people say, although if I trusted my cats’ first impressions of people who come to our house I would spend a lot of time a) up in the apple tree b) running across the park or c) under my bed… nothing would get done…

It’s always interesting to watch an animal meet someone new. I remember the first time my old cat, Walter, set eyes on our new next-door neighbour, a tall, good-looking man à la Sidney Poitier… Walter couldn’t stop staring. To the point where I was so embarrassed I had to get up and remove my cat from the room, in case he asked for an autograph…

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Impressions then… knowledge and hints from others and our surroundings, built in responses and learned behaviours… Nature vs. Nurture, almost as we impress upon others our own self-images and interpretations. Listen, learn, absorb, but always trust your own self, your own judgement.

From the moment of conception our feet may be placed on the path we choose to lead in this Life; walk lightly, my friends, and be aware of every step.

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