Tabbies And Tablets…

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A follow-up to yesterday’s post…

As any pet owner knows, sometimes you have to give your pet medication in tablet form.

As any pet owner knows, this scenario can play out in a number of ways…

With my girls, it is at least a two-person job, preferably three, the third acting as tablet spotter and retriever after it has been flicked away, coughed out, spat out, dropped by a nervous administrator or accidentally inhaled by the holding assistant. Charlie generally has steroid tablets prescribed to reduce the itch/groom cycle… at least I didn’t have to worry about my son spending too long brushing his hair that time…

You can get all sorts of cunning devices from the vet designed to make the giving of tablets easier… the “crusher”, the “cutter”, the “divider”… They don’t work. Trust me. I have it on good authority (me) that they don’t.

If you are lucky enough to have a pet that falls for the “wrapped in a tasty treat” tablet trick, then I am extremely envious; but be warned: there will come a day when you are rumbled. The pet that has swallowed its medication happily and obligingly wrapped up in cheese or bacon (or pate or ham or tuna or sardines or very expensive wet food) will, one day, take the treat, give every appearance of eating it with their usual compliance and then carefully spit out the tablet.

By all means, crush up the tablet with something delicious … like pilchards. Charlie loves pilchards. I thought I was reasonably safe with those… I carefully combined the tiny tablet crushed to powder with a camouflaging amount of pilchards… then watched, disbelieving, as Charlie ate the pilchards and licked the sauce off every crumb of tablet…

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So. The last option is surprise ambush… and generally, if we are lucky, I am the only one that may get nipped if I don’t remove my fingers quickly enough. My son takes Step 1-the enticing of cat onto knee and stroking into purring almost-sleep… The next stage is down to me. I open the tin tablet bottle outside so Charlie’s delicate and supernaturally sensitive ears don’t catch the faintest rattle… I slide back indoors carefully and blend my fingers to the hypnotic stroking…

Oh so carefully, we tilt back the little tabby head and while my son keeps his fingertips under her chin, I place the thumb and forefinger of one hand either side of her tiny jaws and gently ease her mouth open… Then quick as aflash I flick the tablet down her throat, close her mouth and blow in her face.

Six times out of ten, maybe, this will work smoothly and incident-free… the other times descend into a bit of a … kerfuffle. I have found tablets stuffed down the side of the sofa. I have a few scars… both mental and physical…

Really, you wouldn’t think that within 7½ lbs of adorably soft and preciously patterned fur dwells the heart and soul of a fiery tiger warrior princess… all over a tiny tablet!

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Sheep. Just… Sheep.

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Picture sheep and what do you think of… fluffy, cute lambs, gambolling innocently in a spring fresh green field, perhaps accompanied by a bunny or two, symbol of Easter, and the renewal of Life. Or, picture this, a flock of gently milling sheep, woolly and harmless, dainty – hooved and baa-ing melodically as they are guided into place by a clever sheep dog…

Well, you’re wrong. In my opinion, sheep are evil, cunning and duplicitous… but I can see you’re all still taken in by those innocent, curly-wooled faces and soft round eyes… Let me go back a few (well, quite a few) years to my child hood.

As my regular readers may remember, my father was a vet, and in true James Herriot fashion, many a waif and stray ended up staying with our family for a while, some even becoming permanent residents, like our rabbit, Sorrel, rescued from a live meat market as I screamed and screamed for Daddy to save the pretty bunny from Watership Down…

One day, my father returned home with a small, sickly lamb. My mother, being a Northern country girl and well accustomed to sheep, took it tenderly from him and wrapped it in a towel, placing it carefully in front of the fire with our German Shepherd dog at the time, the benign and benevolent Nikki.

I came forward eagerly to greet the new arrival and hesitated… the lamb turned its head and gazed… malevolently… back at me. (I swear I heard the music from “The Omen” playing faintly somewhere…) I backed cautiously away… there was something about its smiling innocence that didn’t sit quite right…

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Oh, yes, little girl… this is MY house now!”

The little creature thrived and grew, boy, did she grow. Named Lindy, she quickly became part of the pack of dogs, thundering up and downstairs with them, barging into the bathroom while I was on the toilet… whatever I’m doing in the bathroom, to be honest, I don’t really care for an audience…

Charlie: “My God! What are you doing in the water bowl??”

Me: “Oh please, really, I’d get arrested if I did this in the garden and Daddy wouldn’t be too pleased…”

Lindy had her own special bed in the kitchen that she stayed in at night time as I screamed when she chased the cat into my bedroom and jumped on my bed. Believe me, my family beat the concept of “Babe” by a good few years with our dogsheep. She had no manners and would quite happily walk past the table and swipe your bread and butter, chase the cat, bite visitors…

My father was a little annoyed when the postman would no longer deliver to our house… he had to collect our letters from the main post office in town as the postman flatly refused to enter the garden after he’d been chased for the fourth time by the sheep… I liked that postman…

The cat and I spent a lot of time up the willow tree in our garden or barricaded in my bedroom. And Lindy grew. When she reached the dimensions of a small dining room table with a head like a boulder, hooves like four circles of Hell and a fleece of wire (I was allergic to her too) her residence with us was abruptly ended.

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My father had put up with her becoming my mother’s particular pet, guarding her and sitting on her lap, collecting the post from town and apologising to the neighbours on a regular basis as she (the sheep, not my mother) crashed through hedges and fences cartoon-style; but when she butted him off the edge of the raised patio and broke his ankle, he decided it was time for her to go.

And so she did. To a petting zoo, where there was a lonely male Jacob sheep… my parents visited her regularly, they were friends with the owner, and Lindy went on to produce many lambs and have a long and happy life.

My childhood peace was restored and though I am drawn to the undeniable cuteness of toy lambs, to this day I remain extremely wary of sheep…

Mummy, Lindy BIT me!!”

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, sheep don’t bite…”

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Pyramids and Puppies

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There is a wonderful energy harnessed and contained within the shape of a pyramid… much like my mother’s new puppy…

Obviously we associate pyramids with the Egyptians primarily, but they were also present in South American culture – proof perhaps of how closely we were all linked before continental drift took place.

However the shape of the pyramid was arrived at, whether it be alien intelligence, sacred geometry or even just a really good architect, there is no denying that it has an energy, a force contained within its dimensions … much like my mother’s new puppy…

Crystal pyramids may be artificially formed, or naturally shaped, such as Apophyllite. These types of crystal structures are wonderful for holding an energy, empowering it and then focusing it intensely through the apex, the top, of the pyramid; a channel straight back to the heavens from whence the shape may have come…

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Most crystals can be shaped into pyramids, and this ancient structure helps to enhance the properties the crystal already contains; for example, this Red Jasper pyramid will gently encourage new energy growth and spiritual insight, so you can find a problem and deal with it before it overwhelms you. It is both cleansing and stabilising, linked to the base chakra and helping with the maintenance of blood and circulatory health.

Interestingly – although I can’t remember where I saw this so can’t credit the information, food that is kept underneath a pyramid stays fresher, longer. (A little practical pyramid made of copper wire, I recall, not a thumping great sandstone thing in your kitchen…)

Like wise, when the scientist left the body of a dead bird under the pyramid, it took longer to decay than I would if you just left it somewhere… but not in your kitchen. Obviously.

Essentially, the shape embodied by a pyramid is totally positive: they can be used to draw off negative energies, clear blockages from chakras and restore positive and beneficial energy, invigorating and youthful… much like my mother’s new puppy…

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Meet Rocky. He came with his name when Mum adopted him and she didn’t realise how appropriate his name is, although I personally think he looks more like Snowflake Obsidian… bit of a mouthful that, though, to shout when you are out walking…

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Mum’s thinking behind his adoption was company for Erin, companionship and fun, as dogs are really pack animals and Erin can be be prone to periods of pedigree melancholy…

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But this little dog! He has one of those faces that make you laugh out loud, a kind, confident little pup. Erin was a little “maiden-aunt” shocked by his presence at first, but soon threw away the weight of her pedigree years and joined in the jaw waving and “nanging”, playing with delight.

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The tail waving and circling and grinning eager faces are wonderful to behold; then, playtime over, this little pup collapses into purposeful sleep… as peaceful as pyramids!

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Amber and Awesome Cats

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Amber isn’t actually a crystal – it’s fossilised tree resin, the sticky stuff that a tree will leak if it’s wounded. It’s popular for use in jewellery, and from ancient times, people seem to have instinctively known that this beautiful golden crystal has some pretty awesome qualities.

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It’s a powerful healer and natural analgesic – I don’t know if this is psychosomatic, as I do get pretty panicky at the dentist’s, but when I am there, wearing my amber jewellery or clutching a piece of Amber in my hot, sticky palm definitely reduces the pain and panic…

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As “tree blood”, Amber has a strong connection with Mother Earth, and powerful grounding and healing energies. Whilst dissolving negativity, Amber will take this energy and change it into something positive, a force that will help to stimulate the body’s own healing process.

The Ancient Greeks called Amber “Elektron” and through it discovered static electricity … my Nan showed me this by rubbing her string of Amber beads with a silk scarf so they became positively charged, full of energy…

Like you, dear…”

and would attract other little objects, like pieces of torn paper.

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Amber is a wonderful, positive crystal that’s all about the energy; warm and golden, it brings warmth and happiness to Life, clearing depression from the mind and negative energies from the spirit, Vitamin D for the soul, if you will…

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Cats can be pretty awesome too … although I mean that in the traditional sense, provoking awe and wonder, rather than just being pretty cool… (cue reproachful look from Charlie… )

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From the time our first feline friend was attracted to the warmth of a caveman’s fire and proved their use by deterring rodents, Man has regarded Cat with a sense of awe for their grace and elegance and at times almost unearthly powers … the Middle Ages was not a good time in the history of the cat, rather a comedown after the glories of Ancient Egypt.

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And yet our fascination with cats remains on the whole, positive. They have inspired any amount of artworks, poetry and literature … and have proved time and time again that they have an awe-inspiring ability to adapt and move with the times, from solitary hunter of years gone by to multi-cat household of the 21st century.

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Tooty’s Tale

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Tooty had a… confused start in life. She is Ting’s sister, no doubt about that as they share a bond of sibling affection that I don’t see between Charlie and Lily, even though they’ve known each other since they were a couple of months old. How we found them is the subject of an earlier post: ‘The Finding of Kittens’, but although Ting’s place in our family was assured – my partner knew of my secret, long-held desire for a Siamese – Tooty, as a black cat was held as being surplus to requirements in my partner’s opinion. Besides which, we already had a black cat, little Lily, the dainty, pretty murderess who had captured my partner’s heart with her killing charm.

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However, I loved Tooty the moment I saw her for her bravery. She was the first one to leave the safety of the hedge for an unknown future with us. I had absolutely no intention of separating the sisters. I just never mentioned it. So she stayed, and I say a ‘confused’ start to life with us since we were convinced she was a tom, and actually called her Derek for her first few months of living with us.

She grew and developed into a black cat with a charm and beauty of her own. She doesn’t have the fragile prettiness of Lily, rather the sleek, powerful lines of the traditional parlour panther. She is the only cat I have with eyes the colour of Citrine or Amber, depending on the light… a proper witch’s cat but she has the temperament of a particularly cuddly marshmallow.

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Like all my girls, I took her to the vet to be spayed, however, she did develop a chest infection after, and although it cleared up after antibiotics, it has left her with the tendency to snore. And I mean snore. A real roof rattling reverberation… Her meow is quite funny too. She’s not the most talkative of cats, unlike Charlie or Ting, but when she does meow, it’s more a croaky “Wah!” sound. A bit like a goose. Tooty “Brrrp’s” a lot though.

Brp! Hi, I’m here,”

BRPP! I didn’t see you there, you scared me!”

Brp-wah… sure it’s feeding time…”

Tooty has the most wonderful purr though, a deep, melodic soothing rumble. She likes to cuddle in the bed next to you and will lie, legs in the air, so you can stroke her chest, eyes blissfully closed, purring away like a little motor.

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She and her sister, Ting, still play together as well – sometimes a little too roughly and the fur tufts fly. It’s soon forgotten though, as they greet each other affectionately with a tender lick between the ears.

So. Despite having a duplicate of colour in cats, Tooty brings her own special qualities to my feline fur family. She is loving and affectionate, a confident panther who stalks the rooms of my house, “brrrping” and throwing catnip mice around…

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Girasol Quartz and Gentle Cats

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This was another new one for me, but I was at once drawn to its gentle vibration as my son placed it in my hand having borne it home in triumph from his lovely crystal lady Lizian. Despite its deceptively simple appearance, clear and translucent, like a good quality champagne jelly, Girasol Quartz is a stone of hidden depths. Its reflective qualities are due to the aluminium present in its chemical composition, adding an extra dimension to this crystal.

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Girasol Quartz can also be known as Moon or Blue Opal, or Opalised Quartz, even though it is not actually an Opal. It is a gentle but powerful crystal, which can enhance and reflect feelings, therefore extremely useful for the guided direction of energy. It also enhances communication skills and is useful for dream work, visualisation and imagination.

It is a good crystal for anyone working in the creative sectors and it will forge new channels of communication between group members, gently resolving difficulties and illustrating solutions. This gentle crystal can also take a step backwards in past lives to heal negative experiences that affect the present day, wiping the memory clean to allow positive progress. It has physical healing properties that help on all levels and may be useful for metabolic disorders and fatigue.

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Holding my Girasol Quartz, I had the wonderful sensation of gentle warmth and spring rain… a freshener for the soul if you will, with a vibration as light and soft as cat fur…

I love my four Girls dearly and although they are not particularly ‘bitey’ or ‘scratchy’ cats, they do not have the same innate quality of gentleness that I loved so much in my old cat, Walter. The Girls are strong, independent women of the 21st Century with their paws firmly, but daintily, planted in the modern world, while Walter possessed a gentleness of spirit and manner that seemed to belong to earlier, gentler times.

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Walter’s life started, inauspiciously enough, on the 17th March 1993, when my tabby gave birth to a litter of four, two black girls and two tabby boys. The others quickly found homes, but Walter remained with me, through accident or design, I can never be sure…

He grew up to be the perfect gentleman, impeccably housetrained, kind and courteous. Pleasant to my dog, although not above wrestling her to the floor and giving her a good kicky scratch if she presumed too much upon his person. (She was a little dog and enthusiastic cat-lover when she was a puppy, although as she grew up, she learned to value Walter for his companionship and comfort.) He was the perfect cat to teach my sons respect for cats, never objecting to sticky fingers in his fur and only placing the gentlest of restraining paws on hands when the stroking got a little too enthusiastic…

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My cat Walter was my partner’s first introduction to feline friendship, as he was really more of a dog person, but Walter’s courtly manners, dignified presence and pleasant behaviour soon converted him. Recently, viewing the shredded back of the sofa, with artistically clawed wallpaper, I heard him sigh disappointedly:

Walter never used to do things like this, why can’t you… just… behave Charlie?”

My Tiger Princess smirked at his disappointment…

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During a routine appointment to check his teeth, a lump was found in Walter’s jaw. Upon further investigation, it was found to be inoperable as it was pushing the bones of his lower jaw apart. It broke my heart. It absolutely broke my heart. But, I knew I had to do the kindest thing and let him go; a dignified, calm sleep, little enough repayment for the 16 years of love, comfort and companionship that my wonderful cat had given me. So it was, on a bitterly cold February morning, the 17th to be precise, in 2010, I held my precious cat in my arms and told him I loved him, thanking him for being the best cat in the world as my tears fell in his elegantly striped black and grey fur for the last time. That was it. For the first time in 16 years I was officially catless.

It took nine long days to find a kitten, because at that point in my life, I needed a kitten, that would be my world and keep me occupied, stem the burning tide of grief that threatened to overwhelm me. And I got her – my fierce little princess, as different from Walter as chalk to cheese… I sometimes dream of him still, think I feel his paw patting my face gently, catch a flash of grey and black fur from the corner of my eye. Every time I see a striped tabby with white shirt front my heart turns over… I hope he’ll be waiting for me, first in line with all the other members of my fur family that I have loved and lost throughout my lifetime…

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Brrrpp! Mam-ma!” My attention is imperiously summoned back to the present as Madam Princess requires food, comfort, love, treats, play and not necessarily in that order. I pick her up and am rewarded by her sweet purr, a gentle comfort that both echoes and heals the hurt of Walter’s going; bringing us back to the calm, gentle crystal that is Girasol Quartz.

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Emeralds and Eyes

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Emerald is one of those versatile crystals that lends itself well to jewellery as well as being used in crystal therapies. It is the birthstone for May, coinciding with the horoscope signs Taurus and Gemini. It sometimes is linked to the Heart Chakra, like the majority of green stones meaning it can provide both emotional healing and instill compassion.

There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding this beautiful crystal, including one that says the Holy Grail is made from a large Emerald. It was also said to be able to protect the wearer from enchantment and Emeralds were traditionally given to travellers to protect them on their journey.

Cat's Eye Green.jpgThis is Cat’s Eye, a man-made version of Chrysoberyl… still very beautiful and an excellent focal point for meditation…

The word ‘Emerald’ simply means ‘green stone’ and is derived from the Greek ‘smargos’. The oldest known mine is in Egypt, from around 3000 BCE and supposedly a favourite of Cleopatra’s. Emerald also has the reputation of being able to enhance domestic bliss and ensure good relationships – didn’t bring her much luck – although if it changes colour then that is an indication of unfaithfulness.

An interesting crystal then. A traditional interpretation of its metaphysical benefits is that it can help with the recovery after an infectious illness and also detoxify the body. It enhances metal clarity and is therefore, good to use in promoting group co-operation and expression. It is also said to help with diseases of the eye and improve vision, both physically and spiritually as the colour mimics the beneficial and restorative powers of Nature.

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Emerald then, is a useful and practical crystal to have. As well as being attractive to look at, it encourages unity and friendship. Quite a few cats have green eyes, although having said that, out of my four, I only have one cat that has green eyes; Lily, my little huntress with eyes of deepest Emerald… cat’s eyes are a fascinating thing to look at anyway, regardless of colour. They can see up to six times better than people which gave rise to the belief that they can see in the dark. In actual fact, cats have a special layer of cells at the back of their eyes called the ‘tapetum lucidium’ which reflects light back to the retina, thereby making use of every bit of ambient light to enable better vision, a little like camera settings.

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This also gives the eerie reflective glow you sometimes get when photographing a cat or seeing them in half light. Ting’s glow purple, which startled me, till I realised it’s because her eyes are blue… All cats have blue eyes when they are born, the adult colour develops around three months of age. Some sort of recessive gene causes adult blue eyed cats to usually be deaf, and you can also get some cats that have one blue eye and one green, or yellow… heterochromia iridum is the technical term.

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I remember when I was a little girl my sister and I had an alarming encounter… We used to live in a cottage in a little village in the country. I think it was originally two tiny farm workers cottages that were knocked into one larger dwelling. We had beams, open fireplaces, atmosphere… I hated it.

One evening, our parents had gone to a dinner party. At 16, my sister was considered old enough to look after me responsibly while they were out. Naturally, she let me stay up long past my bedtime, we made a large bowl of popcorn (and a mess in the kitchen) and settled down to watch the late night horror film. We had quite a long driveway leading up to the house, so there was plenty of time for us to rush up to bed if our parents returned.

We were watching one of those Hammer House of Horror films, starring those late greats Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. We sat in delightfully horrified silence as Mr.Lee – as Dracula- bared his vicious fangs and hissed…

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There was a scratching behind us. There was a SCRATCHING behind us! The cat was on the sofa, with us, the sheep was in her bed in the kitchen and the dogs…were watching something…Their ears were pricked and they were following the progress of something across the room.

We looked at each other, my sister and I. She said, reassuringly:

Don’t worry, if it’s anything bad, the dogs will start to growl.”

The dogs started growling. Their hackles raised. I did what any self-respecting 6 year old would do and burst into tears. My sister-as the responsible adult – got off the sofa, me firmly attached to her leg. The dogs, Nikki, the German Shepherd, Damask the Great Dane and Misty the whippet, were all staring behind the sofa. It was pushed up against the wall, but didn’t fit flush to it, so there was a gap of perhaps ten inches into which… something… could creep.

My sister and I bent down to look behind the sofa. A pair of RED eyes swam into view… about three feet away in the gap behind the sofa. They blinked – AND SHOT TOWARDS US VERY QUICKLY!

That was it. My sister flung me aside – I grabbed her jumper and we legged it. Ran for the stairs and upstairs to our parents’ bedroom where there was another telephone, the dogs now barking, the sheep awake and all charging upstairs with us. The cat slept on…

Needless to say…tearful telephone calls to the house where our parents were dining, my sister’s boyfriend and the police. My parents were disbelieving, thinking that perhaps my sister had got into the drinks cabinet, but hearing my distressed shrieking in the background, decided to come home sharpish. Actually, all those summoned arrived pretty much together, and reassured by my parents’ presence, the boyfriend comforting my sniffling sister and a rather large policeman, I directed them towards the back of the sofa.

There was nothing there.

We’ve had our ups and downs, my sister and I, but this is one thing we agree on to this day. Those eyes were there. They were evil. We never found anything that could be responsible for them…

IMG_4722 (3).JPGThis is Boris, a stray that seems to have adopted us – he has the most beautiful eyes…

To return to eyes, then, my original subject along with the serene beauty of the crystal, Emerald:”The eyes are the windows to the soul”…This saying is popularly attributed to Shakespeare, but a true enough reflection when you think of making eye contact and what you perceive of the person, or animal, within.

Emerald for clarity of vision then, as clear as cats’ eyes and as guileless; beautiful and mysterious, holding secrets of the ancients.

IMG_4955 (2).JPG“Who’s Princess?”

Spiders: Part 4

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I am afraid. Very afraid…September is here. Three days old. And I’m waiting. I know something will happen…it’s my oldest son’s birthday, but that’s not what I’m talking about…Spider September is here…

This is the month when all the single male spiders come out to find a partner…and my house seems to be a particular focus of lonely male arachnid attention. I’m not sure why because I certainly don’t encourage them – I actively wish they’d go elsewhere in search of true love and the possibility of baby spiderlings…

I’m prepared. They’ve thrown little testers my way which I have met with equanimity and fortitude. The spider sitting in my favourite cup – an old one but a good one that never fails to raise a scream. The observing of the routes that I take in our garden whilst pottering about, digging up things to see if they’ve grown, then sighing and replacing them as I see that they haven’t…The stringing of silken lines across these paths that I take so I am left screaming and flailing, clawing desperately at my face and leaping up and down as I try to remove the clinging, sticky threads from my face and hair…

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Oo look! ‘Er at the corner’s off again…doing one of ‘em funny dances that she does..”

I had a particularly trying moment with a spider the other night. I’d gone to bed, and I was quite tired, so I’d fallen asleep quite quickly. A couple of hours later, I was awoken by a gentle tickling against my thigh. I shifted irritably, hoping that my partner would get the message that he had absolutely no chance…A minute’s peace and the tickling resumed, edging up underneath the hem of my pyjama top…I sighed and flung my arm out crossly, hoping to discourage him with a pretend sleep whack. His side of the bed was empty.

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In the split second I registered this my eyes pinged open and I was completely awake and alert. I have a bedside light and carefully-oh so carefully- I reached over and pressed the on switch. Then, with a little light on the situation, gently – oh so gently – I peeled back the sheet and duvet and looked down at my body. The edge of my pyjama top slipped aside, and out fell a spider. Not a very big one, admittedly, but a fair sized one, perhaps about the size of a raisin.

Everything’s fine, Miss Murdoch, nothing to worry about up there..”

With a friendly wave, the spider continued on his exploration of my bed, whereupon I leapt agilely out of my bed, catching my elbow painfully on the bedside unit and entangling my toe in the sheet so I fell, arms and legs akimbo to the floor…

Gasping breathlessly, I raised my head and the spider is WATCHING me, a faintly puzzled look on his hairy face:

Oh, come back…I won’t hog all the duvet and I don’t snore..we can have a little cuddle!”

With bones of water and lungs of lead I managed to lurch away and finally scream for my partner to come and rescue me from this over-friendly arachnid bed invader.

IMG_5286 (2).JPGBlue Lace Agate… good for overcoming suppressed fears and linked to the Throat Chakra, enabling good communication… could have done with a piece to help me scream properly… 

Perhaps you see my predicament…I won’t kill them any more, they don’t deserve that, but I do wish they didn’t feel so…compelled to make me part of their lives. If this is just the beginning, then I am more than a little apprehensive about what is in store for the rest of the month…

Amethyst and Active Cats

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Amethyst is a commonly found crystal and as such is often used in jewellery, which is useful, considering it is most beneficial when worn over the throat. Amethyst is my second go-to crystal, as it is highly protective and will both absorb and deflect negative energy. It is a clarifying stone and can help with making decisions, awakening common sense. Its name derives from the Greek word ‘amethustos’, meaning sober – supposedly the wearer of Amethyst is protected against inebrity and if you drink from an Amethyst vessel you will never become drunk… not going to try that one.

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Amethyst is a good stone for focus and concentration as it calms the mind whilst helping you concentrate, thus balancing the highs and lows of emotion to find the steady middle. From this centre, Amethyst can be used in dealing with loss, dissipating anger and encouraging selflessness, opening the doors to spiritual wisdom as it is linked to the Third Eye chakra. Ultimately, Amethyst deals with energy, drawing off the negative and employing positive energy for the benefit of mind, body and spirit.

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Cats are renowned for their ability to sleep and conserve their energy for short bursts of activity, perhaps a remnant from their wild history, where hunting for prey was of paramount importance. Thus, with food uncertain and the finding of it often long and wearisome, any cat’s instinct, from the domestic feline to their larger cousins, the lions, is to sleep and recharge…

Moments of activity and play are wonderful to watch and participate in, I admire my cats’ elegance and grace as they twist and leap lithely with balletic charm, every inch of furry body alight with positive energy.

I would just like to say thank you to Xenia of Whippet Wisdom for inspiring this post and encouraging my son to pursue the action shot. Thanks also to my son’s mentor and friend for his patient instruction on the technique…

The Thought Mouse

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The old lady sat in her chair and looked out of her window, over her back garden. The front garden was little more than a token, a slip of green and a stone step, enough on which to set a pot of cheerful seasonal bulbs. But her back garden brought her pleasure: crammed with old fashioned roses that lounged against the walls or reached joyously upwards, spilling silky petals and heavy scent.

The potted jasmine threw lacy designs against the trunk of the old lilac tree, growing delicate white flowers, the shape of an elegant lady’s shoe that overflowed with perfume. As the old lady’s sight had failed, she had come to value her other senses more dearly and had taken care to grow plants that spoke to her with their smell and touch. She reached absent-mindedly down to the side of her chair, reached for the soft warm ears and rounded head of her dog, then sighed as she remembered. He had passed from this world and into the next a couple of months earlier, lying in her arms while the nice young lady vet spoke soothingly.

The old lady felt a shove of grief, as vicious as a mugger but pushed it aside and resolutely peered into her garden, seeking distraction at the bird table. Bold starlings chattered and bustled, while little brown sparrows darted in to seize a beakful of seed and deliver it to their half-fledged babies, chirping sweetly and fluttering their wings imploringly

But what was that? A sudden scurry, a swift rush, sharp enough to catch her old eyes. A little mouse! He looked cautiously from behind the geraniums and darted a little closer to the food. The old lady smiled to see him select a sunflower seed, holding it in his tiny pink paws and nibbling at it delicately. She watched as he wiped his whiskers fastidiously and left, following an obviously familiar route along the old brick wall. Weeks passed, and it grew to be a regular event.

“Come on then, cheeky,” she would call and a small brown head would pop out of a crevice in the wall, black beady eyes alight with interest, The old lady waited for his visits and he brightened her hours, for as summer progressed, she knew she hadn’t long left.

One day, she left a little piece of chocolate by the bird table, a particular treat for herself and something mice preferred above all else, she recalled hearing somewhere. She waited for the little mouse. He arrived, following his usual route, but instead of seizing his chocolate and retreating, he sat up on his haunches and regarded her steadily.

“What is it then? You’ve got a look in your eye like my old Rex when he wanted a stroke!” Gently the old lady reached out and touched the tiny head. Smooth warm fur, soft as silk met her fingertips and the old lady smiled.

A sudden flurry of wings startled the mouse and he left rapidly, with a whisk of his tail. The old lady got to her feet – for all her age she had remained fit and limber, thanks in part to careful eating and regular walking. Suddenly tired, she returned indoors to sit in her chair, and enjoy the evening sun as it set over her garden.

“I’ll just close my eyes a minute, then I’d better see to dinner,” she thought. As her eyes closed, she felt again the warmth and fragility of the little mouse head under her fingertips and smiled, as the last of the evening sun fell upon her tired old face.

***

The house was empty and clean. Airy and welcoming. The young couple marvelled at the price and high ceilings, loved the mortgage and picture rails.

“All untouched, so perhaps if you fancy a good make-over project, rip out the garden and extend the kitchen into this area…” The man and woman looked at each other. It was peaceful, happy and welcoming. No one had lived there for months and it would be a lovely house to raise a family, pleasant and untouched.

And yet, if anyone had cared to look, as the smart young estate agent swept the hopeful young couple out of the room, they would have seen a trail of tiny pawprints, along the old skirting board and disappearing outside.

Words and drawing Copyright © 2016 Samantha Murdoch