Dentists and Dilemmas

_mg_8904Clear Fluorite – good for enhancing other crystals’ abilities during healing and actually quite comforting when you’re at the dentist 

I hate the dentist. Not my personal dentist. She’s wonderful. A petite, dark-haired girl with dainty hands and a touch on the drill as soft as thistledown.

I hate the concept of “dentists”. And unfortunately both my parents are dentist-phobic, despite the fact that one of my father’s oldest drinking buddies was the family dentist…

Let me take you back a few years, to when, say, I was about four years old. My parents were still married, and it was decided-as responsible parents-that we should have a family outing to the dentist.

What fun. Personally, I would have preferred the cinema, but going “en famille” was supposed to encourage unity within our family and support for my father’s drinking pal dentist.

We sat, as a family, in his waiting room. The dentist’s door opened and a young man reeled out, clutching a bloodied wad of tissues to his jaw. A sickly sweet aroma of something wafted out..

Mr. Butcher will see you now!” the perky receptionist announced perkily.

My father went in first and came out slightly paler..

Oh, I didn’t need anything… I promised Bill a pint, I’m fine…”

Of course, now I know my father was blatantly bribing Bill Butcher… not his real name but you see where I’m going here.

My mother was next, smiling and flirtily nervous, exiting shortly afterwards with a relieved smile and casual wave.

I’m just popping outside for a cigarette…”

My sister and I were next. She was fine. I was obviously overlooked by the Tooth Fairy. I entered apprehensively, and sat in the chair, legs quivering, and looked up, expecting to see friendly old Bill Butcher, who usually smelt of pipe tobacco and whiskey.

Instead, I saw an ominous masked stranger, beady eyes glaring… a booming voice bellowed something unintelligible. A finger the size of a sausage prodded at my mouth. Reluctantly, I opened it. A hand the size of a shovel swooped towards my mouth… I bit it.

img_8919Aquamarine – both rough and polished examples, a stone of courage and calm with a general beneficial affect for eyes, jaws and teeth…

I will spare you the details, but in brief, I had to have four teeth out, they were duly removed using nitrous oxide – laughing gas, and I remember to this day the ultimate confusion of screaming in pain and laughing uncontrollably.

Now, given my own childhood experiences with dentists, as soon as I had my own children I decided that I would be Tooth Fairy Extraordinaire. From four months old, my sons visited the dentist, he would prod their gums and check their progress and pronounce it satisfactory.

My dentist at the time was a perfectly nice man, with small, elegant hands, yet all the times I attended with my sons, I shuddered and shook and inwardly wept. One time, my older son was unfortunate enough to need an abscessed tooth removed. He was brave. I was not. The dental nurse thrust the removed abscessed tooth under my nose:


I went white and sweaty but managed to squeak: “Yes.” without vomiting copiously all over her lovely clean uniform.

So my dilemma with dentists then… I’m sure they’re really very nice people. I have conscientiously taken my sons for their check-ups and attended my own. I have rigorously brushed and flossed and mouthwashed and yet my teeth betray me, leading to my continued association with those who practise the profession of dentistry…

Nowadays, they are kind and sympathetic, and receive specific training on how to deal with nervous patients. And yet, and yet, I fear them… my son watched disbelievingly as I hid behind a display of jumpers when our old dentist entered the same clothes shop we were in…

IMG_8929.JPGBlack Onyx – strengh giving and supportive and useful for teeth and bones 

All photos were taken by my son!
















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…

_MG_7427 (2).JPGIt’s enough to make a cat laugh!

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.

IMG_6932 (2).JPGFlowers are always good

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…

Spiders: Part 3

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This. Has. To. Stop. Right now. Or I’m leaving. It’s not even September.

The other day, I was sorting through my wardrobe and I found a blouse I’d forgotten I had. I thought I would try it on. I removed my glasses, took my shirt off and exchanged it for the other one. I didn’t put my glasses back on.

I went to look in the bathroom mirror, to straighten the collar. I saw something on my shoulder – couldn’t quite make out what it was. I returned to the bedroom to put my glasses on and had another look. The dark blur resolved itself into something unmentionable. There, upon my shoulder, beaming happily at me, was the largest spider outside of nature programmes I have ever seen. The breath died in my throat. The spider raised a foreleg in friendly greeting. The spell of horror was broken as I ripped – yes, ripped – all – yes, all – my clothes off and run screaming through the house. The cats watched:

What’s up with her then?”

Oh, I reckon she might have found a little something I left for her…” This, from Lily, who has a somewhat warped sense of humour. (Dead mice on the bedside table, half a mouse in the kitchen sink, that sort of thing.)

SMOKADAQUAR.jpgSome pieces of Smoky Quartz, excellent for protection and deflecting negativity…

Having reached the safety of the kitchen, it was daytime, so of course all the blinds were open – sorry neighbours – I thought to myself, it would be safe enough to go back and check… I edged carefully up the stairs and peered cautiously around the corner into the bedroom. It had gone. (Well, really, what did I expect? The spider parading up and down in front of the mirror: “Hmm, I could do with a smaller size, but the colour’s not too bad…”)

I lifted the blouse up. No spider. I put my jeans back on. No spider. I haven’t found it yet. So, it’s still in the house, somewhere, with me… It’s a large one. Large enough for me to harness it to a shopping trolley and go racing off to town like some modern day Roman charioteer…

Oh, excuse me, I see it now, galloping past the kitchen doorway, one of my bras clutched in its jaws…

FrogMum with Speeder (3).jpeg

All photos were taken by my son!

‘A Picture Says a Thousand Words’

(The featured image is a clear Quartz sphere, said to help with clarity of thought and decision making…)

I had a dilemma this week. A horrid, uncomfortable one, that may to some people sound reasonable, like my craven fear of dentists. My current dentist is lovely, by the way, a softly spoken lady with a touch as light as silk on her dentist’s implements. My son doesn’t quite get my fear, he can empathise, but not understand. However, this particular dilemma was of my own making…

My son’s friend and mentor gave me the mental shove I needed to start writing again. I used to write a lot of poetry when I was younger, filled with angst and self-harm. I enjoyed it though, and I wanted to see if I could still do it. It started well enough, and my son’s mentor actually accepted my submissions for publication, ( mentioning in passing that a photograph would be required.

I conveniently forgot about this until the other day. I don’t like photos. Not generally, I love looking at photos on everyone else’s blogs, there are some lovely ones, I’ve taken some myself (cats and kids) and my son is a more than capable photographer. No, I don’t like having my photo taken.

There are photos of me as a child up to about sixteen, then they stop, apart from the occasional family event where I’ve been caught unawares. I find them upsetting… (Not family events, photos…) There are some when I’m a baby and obviously happy, then a toddler, but at about four years old, just when my parents started having marriage problems, there is an unhappiness in my eyes that perhaps only I can see, but I remember it all too well.

I don’t like having a memory frozen in time and being forced to re-visit that emotion each time I happen across that photo. First day at school photos, normally a proud time for parents, were just another milestone in misery. There are about eight photos in existence of me between fourteen and perhaps sixteen, and of course this was in the 80’s, so I had the awful frizzed hair, thick glasses and hideous fashion sense typical of that era. Still at school, still unhappy. Photos then capture me looking half dead or just plain strange… There are some photos of me with my mother when my oldest son was little. She’s quite a small person, but every time she sees these pictures, she exclaims gloatingly how dainty she is in comparison to my balloon-like frame and gigantic height. I am in fact, a respectable 5’ 7” ¾, and only a little overweight, but her remarks have left me feeling uncomfortable and abnormal.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not vain, I have no pretensions to beauty and I am aware of that. I am perfectly at ease with myself and accepting of what I am. I just don’t like to be reminded of how long it took me to get here and the memories…

Back to the present day. A photo of me was required. My son kindly offered to attempt to take one of me, knowing how unhappy I was about the whole thing and thinking I might be more relaxed with him. WRONG! We tried: writing in the front room. “No! My head looks a weird shape!” Smoking in the kitchen: “No! You can see my double chin!” Sitting at a desk: “No! My arms look fat!” Lying on my bed: “No! I look like a prawn and bald!”

Finally – my son, bless him, has limitless patience and understanding when it comes to his mother’s peculiarities – hit upon the idea of me holding my tabby cat. Although my cat doesn’t look terribly pleased at being used as a prop, my son achieved a photo of me that didn’t make me want to cry or look like a strange-shaped-headed-alien-being with a huge body and gangling limbs.

I look normal. Almost. 


How I see myself…


Spiders: Part 2


I have unwittingly taken part in a comedy routine that, if sent to one of these humorous clip shows, would have undoubtedly won a cash prize…

I came downstairs this morning at my usual time and saw what I thought was a ball of fluff on the front room floor… Not being at my sharpest until I’ve had the first cigarette and cup of tea of the day, I thought: “Oh dear, who came off worst in kitty wars then?” and bent down to pick it up. I mashed it gently between my fingers, thinking “Hmm, not quite cat fur texture, more leathery…” Whereupon it sprouted legs.

I feel a little sick thinking about it even now (and that’s after more tea and LOTS more cigarettes!) The spider, not appreciating its impromptu massage, scrabbled desperately at my fingers. I was doing one of those weird horror film screams where you think you’re making the loudest sound in the world when really it’s just a breathless squeak…

I dropped the spider. It scarpered off towards the cat flap.

“Rubbish service here… Not tipping you!”

I fell shocked and quivering to the sofa.

I don’t like the arachnid sense of humour. Granted, I don’t want to kill them any more, but really, they don’t have to take liberties. Once, I was getting a cereal bowl from the kitchen cupboard, and as I brought it down to eyelevel, I saw there was an extremely large spider sat in it. It saw me and gibbered. I gibbered back. I dropped the bowl and the spider ran away, I swear it was laughing…

I don’t like it when my cats and spiders collude in practical jokes. All my girls have a special meow when they’ve caught something, that means: “Come here! See what I’ve got! You’ll love it!” I’m never entirely sure what they’ll bring me, so I like to have mouse catching equipment to hand, kitchen towel for bird entrails etc.

This particular day, it was my older black cat, whose sense of humour can be a little warped…

“What have you got?”

“Here, I know you’ll love this, I selected it specially…”

A large spider leaped from her jaws like some kind of horrid circus act.

“Hahh! April Fool!”

As I ran away crying, I could hear them laughing…

“Same time next year then?”

“Sure, just give my agent a call.”


All photos were taken by my son!



Like most people, I am susceptible to crippling bouts of paranoia… the dramatic, horror-film type where you’re in the house by yourself, but you can hear strange noises. A passing policeman gives you a thoughtful stare as if to say: “Ah, yes, I know all about YOU.” You’re in the middle of a crowded shop, yet the hairs on your neck are standing up in primal awareness. You turn around and YES, there’s someone staring at you…

I have a particular sort of paranoia. I was walking to the bank when I passed this man I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE and he looked at me. I wasn’t wearing anything out of the ordinary, or gibbering and waving my arms around, as I have been known to do. He didn’t look at me in a man appraising a woman way – disappointment that way would lie, as I am nothing special and dress somewhat nondescriptly… but HE LOOKED AT ME.

I dismissed my paranoia as a temporary aberration and carried on. I went shopping with my mother, and as we rounded the corner into the next aisle of the supermarket THE MAN was there, examining the reduced items with extreme interest. Our eyes met as he clutched a marked-down mackerel and I fled in fear, leaving my mother shouting: “Come back! I haven’t looked at the wasabi/pickled gherkins/chestnut purée yet!”

I met my son in town later. I saw THE MAN standing over the same DVD section we wanted to look at. My palms broke out in a clammy sweat and I said nonchalantly to my son: “Oh, let’s go somewhere else, I’m sure I’ve seen it cheaper there…”

That day, I saw THE MAN a total of seven times. He looked at me. He didn’t make any menacing overtures, or even look at me threateningly, although I must confess when I saw him on the bus home, he did look somewhat puzzled as I scrambled from my seat and demanded to be let off the bus IMMEDIATELY.

I haven’t seen him since.

I often see people I’ve never seen before anything up to ten times in one day and then never see them again. Is there a whole gang of these nameless individuals out there, just waiting to… to… LOOK AT ME??

Think I’m going to bed now. I’ll be safe there…

Spiders: Part 1

Phone book

I hate spiders. Loathe, detest and live in fear of finding a spider somewhere really inconvenient like in my shoe, or in my teacup. (It has happened…) I can’t bear to look at them on the television, I won’t read a book if the cover has a spider on it and I can’t even stand cartoon spiders. I can’t remember any particular traumatic incident from my childhood involving them – I just don’t like them.

Now, I believe that every living creature has its place in the Universe… just not spiders in my house. And my God, my house seems to harbour some Jurassic monsters of spiders, that make their presence particularly felt in September. Apparently, so I’ve been told, this is when all male spiders come out looking for a female. I do not appreciate my house being used as an arachnid singles bar. When I lived by myself, I always used to keep a nice, thick telephone directory handy to drop on them, but some of these spidery residents are big enough to pick it up and throw it back…

One specific incident made me change my spider exterminating ways. I was in my front room, minding my own business, when a spider, not too bad, about raisin sized, emerged from under the sofa. I leapt to my feet, grabbed the trusty book and loomed menacingly over the spider, book poised to crunch it out of existence when it stopped. It may have looked up at me, but I swear, it cowered as if it knew what I was going to do. Yes, I dropped the book. It was one of those horrible moments where the action is already taking place and you are just seconds too late to avert it.

I killed the spider. I felt absolutely awful. Really awful and guilty. I shed a tear because it was only doing its spidery thing and what right did I have to kill it?

Since then, I haven’t killed any more. Its obvious fear of me made me pause and rethink. I carried that guilt with me for a long time so I hope to redress the balance a little by commemorating the spider in this way…

I have hidden, terrified, in the bath as one squeezed itself under the door and cornered me while I was cleaning my teeth. I have placed large bowls over the hairy legged beasts that have cantered through my kitchen, carefully labelled: ‘SPIDER!!’ to await later removal to the bottom of the garden. But I haven’t killed any more.