Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Home Sweet Blog

I am slowly coming to realise that I miss updating my blog each day. I find that by coming and writing here, I come to unusual subjects, thoughts and ideas. Sometimes when I have nothing to write about, a post appears from nowhere as I sit with my laptop. I think this is what I miss most, those things that come when I have nothing.

I never started writing this blog for others. It was always about me. The fact that others find it interesting is a bonus. Maybe I am ending up back where I started.

When I first started I didn't read other blogs because I hadn't found any. I slowly found interesting blogs and started to follow them. Some of the writers became good friends, a real part of my life. Others were blogs I read in passing, some were busy blogs I admire greatly and read voraciously but commented little, others flooded my life with visual beauties.

Eventually it got too much. I couldn't keep up. Slowly I stopped reading the vast majority of blogs that I follow. I had overdosed on other people's lives and needed to spend a little more time living my own. So I did and then I stopped writing a daily post because that got too much as well. I had done it for months and months and I guess i needed a break from that too.

I think it is really important to think about what you want and need when getting involved in things online. I am part of four yahoo groups, three book groups, a writing group and four social networks. I have email and facebook correspondence with friends and relatives. I have online games such as My Fairyland and Wordscraper which I play against my Dad. I have too much!

I have collected all these things and slowly I am finding that they are crowding out the things that blogging first bought to my life. I can spend the whole day online trying to keep up with it all. My crafting has dropped to a little beading in front of the TV. I havn't painted silk, art journaled or anything else in quite a while. Little Dogs explorations of new places have become less frequent. I research fewer topics to write about on my blog. Most of the activities I do are there to try and make me better or to increase my creativity and assist with what I produce but they have gotten to the point where they are stopping it, not helping it....

So what do I want? I want to write my blog. I want to play My Fairyland and Wordscraper and chat via email with my mates. I want to make social networks work for me, not I for them. I want to slowly and gently work on A Witch Alone. I want to slowly finish The Artist's Way. I am not sure it is the right time for The Joy Diet, I am actually pretty happy in myself! Do I want to reset my yahoo groups so I don't get all the email updates? not sure...

But writing, here, has come to be pretty important to me. I think it is a gentle form of the Morning Pages. A lot less brutal than them but things still come out....

So the ride will continue and perhaps a little more frequently than recently too....

Monday, 28 September 2009


I have come to realise why I stopped making jewellery. I have come to realise why I have been known to have a hobby that one day I suddenly turn round and never, ever do again.

I like taking a little extra time over The Artist's Way. I like giving my subconscious time to get messages through. I like having time to allow synchronicity to provide a few answers and ideas.

I am not sure where this bit came from, I am sure I read about it in there somewhere. Sometimes we create in such a way as to drain ourselves. We force ourselves to keep going. We drain our souls. We have to give ourselves time to replenish our creativity and we have to respect ourselves and be true to our muse...

I don't enjoy creating jewellery for certain people. The sorts of things they would wear and enjoy don't inspire me. They are neither challenging or interesting to make and I don't find the finished product inspiring in any way really. Some people are easy to make fun things for, they love colour and they have a funky sense of style.

Last year I had a few weeks off after crashing out of my teacher training. I also had a few weeks off just before Christmas between jobs. I made beaded artwork after beaded artwork. I had so many things I sent a handful off to be sold (two did sell!). And then before I completed all my presents, I crashed. I couldn't face another bead.

I have been making a few things again for this years pressies and suddenly I have hit the second piece for a certain person... It is in translucent and pale peach beads so there is hardly any colour to it. It is a simple spiral so there is nothing challenging or exciting about it. I am finding it difficult to make. It is draining. It is work, not fun.

But having started, I am going to continue.

I like making gothy chokers for my niece. I like putting together funky shapes and colours for my Mum and my Aunt. But I seldom enjoy pieces I make for some others...

Sunday, 27 September 2009

A Rant

Cornwall is a beautiful place. It has a rich and varied history that is different to the rest of the UK. Important events in Cornish history are largely unknown outside of Cornwall. To the UK it has always been a far outpost, rural and backward. They like to forget it's history and have long chosen to disregard the social identity, although this has changed to a large extent now.

When I moved here I was ignorant of the different culture and history of the area but I didn't move here with a no-it-all attitude. I came, I listened, I read and I learnt. I still continue to learn about Cornwall and I imagine I always will be. As such I didn't irritate the Cornish and most of them don't suss me out as being non-Cornish. I can feel those who have integrated and those who havn't when I meet them these days. There is a relaxed, easy going sort of an attitude to those that fit here, a sort of what will be will be. many people from up country just can not relax enough to fit here.

The landscape is a small landscape. There is a lack of room and it is full of little valleys and rivers and coves and villages. If you stand on the right hill or headland the landscape can be seen on a different scale, looking at the vistas and not seeing the things hidden below.

We only have one good dual carriageway road and even that isn't dual carriageway all the way. Many of our roads are only wide enough for one car, edged with plant covered granite edges, sharp bends and passing places. This is fine, the locals are laid back enough to just get on with it if they are on a road where they can't overtake the tractor that is going exactly the same way as them. It isn't that we don't get frustrated, we do, it is just life...

People buy second homes here and bump up the housing prices. They don't pay full council tax so don't contribute as much to the services down here, police, fire etc and then they fill their spare house with a stream of people some of whom will have paid a lot of money to be in here in the peak of the summer season. I know people who grew up in villages they will never be able to afford to live in, even though their family lived there as far back as the ark. Some places are so exclusive and so unlikely to have a single local person living there.

Then there are the tourists. They come and fill everywhere up. Drive very slowly. And go to tourist attractions. They pay lots of money to do so but a lot of the time they are disapointed by what they find. Up country there may be grand castles you couldn't explore in a day but down here things are on a smaller scale. It is a place to go and relax and explore. To have the best time you don't want to go anywhere much you have to pay to go, except parking fees. The best places are the beaches, exploring little fishing villages, exploring the landscape. Surely that is why Cornwall has a tourist industry in the first place?

So you have places like Padstow which is very exclusive and dominated by Rick Stein. You have St Ives where you can barely move in the summer and can purchase a wide variety of arts and crafts. You have Newquay where the chances of you seeing a sober person is considerably reduced. These places havn't been made this way by the locals. If you don't like a place you go to, then chances are a lot of the locals won't like it either....

So it really bugs me when people come down here and comment on Cornwall in vast sweeping terms. When they visit tourist places and complain that they are touristy. When they pay a meagre £3 to see something and expect the earth. When they call it claustrophobic and arrogant. arrogant? The cornish are not arrogant as a rule but many of the middle class non-local enclaves are very arrogant indeed.

So why am I so pissed off exactly? An old, old friend I havn't seen in years came to visit and we spent a few hours together. When they went home they commented on Cornwall and their holiday and I found it somewhat offensive....

For years they had wanted to visit Tintagel. A ruined castle on an isolated headland linked to Arthurian legend. We warned them that there were treacherous stairs down the cliff and then back up the other side to the castle. I said that I did not feel fit enough to go myself. We said they were brave going with a baby carrier. We gave them a leaflet on the place which certainly would also have explained the difficult access. They went anyway and then complained a lot about little they enjoyed it. One couldn't carry the baby because of issues with heights. They were too sweaty to relax once they made it there.... We did warn them, they just didn't want to hear and we didn't want to annoy them by being to forceful about it....

I guess what I have to remember is the friends I knew before I moved down here have made very different life choices to the ones I have made. They may travel the world, drive fast cars, have prestigious jobs and generallyhave a fair bit of cash. I may have chosen a less exciting looking path but I am content (mostly) with my lot. I love Cornwall. I love my friends down here. I may not have heaps of money but I have time to appreciate the beauty of the place I live. I have time to be connected....

If ever you visit me here, please, please don't insist on going to all the tourist traps. Take a quieter, softer, more relaxed route. Chances are we will both find some new and beautiful place to explore.


I like Magpies

I have for as long as I can remember. I am a little superstitious of them.

I guess it all starts with that rhyme. And there are so many versions....

One is for sorrow
Two is for joy or mirth
Three is for a girl, a funeral or a wedding
Four is for a boy or a birth
Five is for a silver, heaven or a fiddler
Six is for gold, hell or a dance
Seven is for a secret never to be told, the devil his own self, old England or tale never to be told
Eight is for a wish, to live or Old France
Nine is for kiss or to die
Ten is for a bird you won't want to miss, a time of joyous bliss or to eat bogey pie!

I remember hearing that in folk music each new version allows them to estimate the age of the song. so a song with four versions would be twice as old as one with two. By this estimate this makes the magpie rhyme very old. I have no idea where I got that from though....

Some of the things in it make me smile - the heaven, hell and the devil his own self version is just so Christian influenced. The boy and girl bit is much from a time when women were pregnant all the time.

Other things have grown up around magpies, mostly do with getting rid of the bad luck of seeing one. Saying hello Mr Magpie and saluting them were both things my Mum told us. We thought she was joking but they are there on wikipedia.... It also says that if a magpie looks you in the eye they respect you and you don't need to worry about bad luck....

I see magpies.

I have become very sensitive to them. I can recognise their calls. I recognise their peculiar flight. The merest hint of magpie and I am on it. The flash of black, or white or that wonderful irridescent blue green....

I can't remember when all this started but I already felt strongly linked with them by the time I was 18. The Wiccan friend I made was aware of it. She found a dead magpie in her garden and remembering my tendency to use them for omen telling, was very disquietened by this. Later that day she found out a friend had died. I never forgot that.

I don't know that I stick to a rhyme, I just kind of feel my way through it.... It depends not just on how many, but what they are doing.

My watching them has taught me a lot. The juveniles stay and help their parents with the next batch of kids. They live in extended family groups and work together. You can identify their territories and once the chicks are raised they seem to get a little less defensive of their territories and you are more likely to see them socialising in larger groups.

They have become very common because they are generalists. At work we have a carpark surrounded by mowed lawn. The magpies can survive using this lawn where other birds can't. Smaller garden birds live in the hedgerows and scrub just beyond the fence but the magpies are the ones who survive best in the artificial domain we create. Meadow that is mown once or twice a year is so varied and beautiful. Why do we have to have lawn that is mown regularly and consists of one type of grass maintained with chemicals?

The magpies are to me a bird about balance - black and white - good and bad. They are tricksters, magicians and thieves (they like shiny things). There dominance is a sign that things are out of balance. I love them though and am glad that something can survive in these places we have created...

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Celebrations and Jubilations

Yesterday was my birthday. It didn't begin as I had hoped. The alarm went off at seven because the boiler man was coming to find out why it keeps switching itself off and flashing little lights at us. I would much rather have had a lie in but hey...

It turned out to be a little corrosion on the sensor that tells it the pilot light has gone out.

After some pressies and some breakfast lovingly cooked by F, he forced me out the door and into the car. I knew he was taking me to a far away wood. It started to drizzle as we drove there. hmmm

We ate our food and then wondered over to the map. He asked me which trail I wanted to do and I chose the nice easy one the went a long one side of the river, over a bridge and back down the other side. It had easy next to it and I suspected it would be lovely and flat.

Cardinham Woods is situated in the Glynn Valley. A lovely valley that is just so beautiful. Full of little rivers carrying water away from Bodmin Moor. Steep sided valleys run into each other. Covered in trees. The woods are mostly pine because they are Forestry Commission plantations but there are some broad leaved areas here and there.

Little Dog met and socialised with a few dogs including a Collie that swiped her side for no reason leaving her with a cut. She danced in the rivers and ran backwards and forwards and was generally joyful. The only times she was bad with other dogs and even growled was when she got bitten and also when I went to stroke another dog who had jumped up at me. I think growling is a fairly minor communication really. I doubt the Collies owners even realised their dog had drawn blood.

We happily trundled along until we reached a point where another trail left our nice easy route. F pointed up the trail. And yes I do mean up. This trail snaked up the side of the valley, clinging precariously to the side of the hill. I went pale and said no. It soon became clear that F really wanted to do this and that i would feel bad if I didn't, even though I didn't want to climb hills...

I had to stop a lot. The Mistress of Pain had taught me a couple of stretches to help with problem parts of my legs. I had to stretch out my ankles most times I stopped. At the top I knelt down and leant back to stretch out some other muscles, somewhere in my legs that hurt. It helped a lot but not completely!

Once up the side of the hill, the path wound around the hills at a steady height with only minor slopes. Once I stopped glowering at F i actually enjoyed it. The only person we saw up there was a Ranger doing an annual check to ensure there were no dangerous fallen trees endangering the path. And he was driving.

Amongst the pines were other things. Many dung beetles. The occasional fungus. I could hear buzzards calling. And there were other trees, oak, beech and then, suddenly, a little cluster of Rowans. These are not trees I see very often, in fact I can not remember the last time I did. They are not common in the areas I have lived. I have often wanted a piece of this wood for different things while reading witchy things. It has always somehow seemed the last obtainable. When I thought about making a tree oracle, this was the one that was going to be hardest for me to find. It is one that is recommended for wands and stangs.

So I see a little cluster of the trees and I say to F that I want some of their wood. Neither of us willing to chance the steep slope to get to them. We continued on. And there, at a fork in the path was a cluster of them, within reach. I begin looking. It was pretty hopeless. I told F that I wasn't willing to take living wood from the tree itself but the temptation was of course huge - to break one little twig. F got bored and carried on. I spotted a cluster of berries that had fallen and was caught in a branch. I took this as a gift, even though it wasn't what I wanted. Preparing to give up, I turned to move on.

And then I saw it. It was not a twig. It was probably a little tree, or maybe a branch of a larger tree. It had somehow been broken off and a couple of the twigs had started rotting. At it's base, a section the length of a think wand dangled. I broke the thick length at the bottom off to use as a wand but I didn't want to just leave the branch. I called F and he helped me strip the the twigs. I was bemused to find that I was left with something looking very much like a forked staff. I discovered that for all it's lack of thickness and the gently bowed nature of the branch, it made a very, very good walking stick. I gave silent thanks for this gift and moved on.

We descended the hill back to the easy trail and saw many beautiful spots. It seemed that most dog walkers took the opportunity to cross the first bridge and loop back so this far section of the easy trail was deserted. We found a little path that led down to the river and here I took off my socks and boots and dangled my poor sore feet in....

We continued on, past a beautiful old fashioned granite bridge. Past cottages. Past all sorts...

My exclamation halted F. I was a bit surprised that he thought such an eclamation might relate to the siting of another dung beetle. I had seen something on the path and I knew what it was. I had never ever seen one before and this was a very special moment. We have three 'snakes' in this country. The Adder is poisonous and has a distinctive V, I once had an encounter with one and it was beautiful. Then the Grass Snake and Smooth Snake. This looked like a snake but I knew it wasn't, it was a legless lizard, a Slow Worm.

It was a beautiful copper colour and it glistened. Reading about them online, it would have been a female that we saw. We took many photos. We watched as it decided we were not a threat and moved across the road to the verge where it nimbly moved through the moss and stones. It was lovely. A real priviledge.

We returned to the car and I squeezed my new stang in before collapsing in a tired aching heap. I dreamt of nice hot baths all the way home and couldn't wait to use some Lush treat I had purchased the week before. Little Dog actually lay down all the way home.

So we pull up and F announces I have an hour and a half and then we are off out.... I had my bath and it was lovely and then we bustled out of the house.

He took me to Carn Brea Castle. I posted about the hill this castle sits on here. I have wanted to go there ever since I moved to Cornwall. It was originally built as a medieval chapel, possibly to St Michael but was later rebuilt by the Bassett family as a hunting lodge. It isn't considered to be a proper castle because it is built on top of rocks and is classified as a folly. I think most importantly in terms of last night, it is now a restaurant. A tiny restaurant but a lovely one.

We ate Jordanian food that wouldn't fit into our diet plan and later the owner played his drum. It was a lovely intimate evening. Lit by candle light in a tiny, relatively bare room with rock walls, we were snug and happy and well fed. Afterwards we walked up to the monument in the dark....

A beautiful day. all thanks to my lovely F.

Friday, 25 September 2009

A Month of the Moon

I said for a book I am doing that I would pay more attention to the moon for a month.... So this post is my documentation of the moon for a lunar month...

It was new on the 18th. I hadn't really been out at night so I didn't spot it until....

24th - The moon was a quarter sitting high in the sky as we came home from Fat Fighters. The sun had just set, turning the blue sky a whole range of colours and dusting the belly of the little powder puff clouds in the sky. Away from the sunset in the darker sky, the moon sat and watched all going on beneath it. The moon had risen, unseen at 2.08 pm so by 8pm it was pretty high. I think it would be lovely to watch a full moon rise one day...

I have just been looking online at the times of the lunar rise on full moons and it seems I will not see one this year because it is rising too early.... Maybe next year....

25th - It was there again as we drove out. Hanging half full in a clear sky that was still light. When we came to leave it had clouded over and the only sign of the moon was a glow in the clouds. The clouds stopped the light vanishing into space and yo could identify the towns, even those hidden by distant hills by the orange glows on the underside of clouds. It was very clear and we realised we could see all the way to Penzance and Mousehole.

26th - saw the moon half full in the day sky again. Forgot to look for it later (probably the red wine!)

30th - As I climb the stairs to go to bed I feel the light of the moon wash over me. We have a very big window at the top of our stairs making our landing one of the few bits that gets lots of lovely light, despite our huge sash windows as they point the wrong way... It was lovely and growing and I remembered I had seen it a night or two ago briefly. I couldn't see the face but the two children that the Scandinavians see were right there.

1st - We had to go for a drive but the moon was too high in the sky to do anything more than catch a glimpse of it. The face was clear tonight and as we drove the moon scudded between fluffy clouds, getting fuller and brighter. We got home and F grabbed his camera so we could go find a hill and photograph it. Typically the clouds decided to take that moment and hide it. The moon vanished with it's only trace some nice bright clouds.

10th - The moon has been hiding behind clouds this week. Last night I woke in the middle of the night and went downstairs to get a drink. On my way back up the stairs. I could see it shining. A perfect half. Then it vanished again. It came back but it's brightness varied a lot. Little clouds skidding by, sometimes just wisps, but sometimes more substansial.

This week the moon has slowly been rising closer and closer to the time I get up. Each morning I have seen it hanging in the dark sky outside my landing window as I get up to go to work. Each day it has become smaller and smaller. Friday I got up later and I could not find it. The sky was light, the moon shrunken to nearly nothing as well as the likelihood it might be hiding behind the large tree. Tomorrow morning the moon will be made new.

I like this cataloguing of the moons movements. The stopping to take time to seek her out.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


I know I am not blogging much. It is a flurry of activity here at the moment with much jewellery making. We have been out a few times as well...

Black Cliffs - This is part of the long beach of Gwithian Bay. Black Cliffs is the part close to the estuary mouth which faces out to sea. It was a beautiful day and with most people at work and few tourists around, the few people about were separated by huge areas of sand. The sky was blue and so was the sea. A gentle frothy white surf and a warm breeze.... I really do mean huge expanses of sand as well. It was around about low tide and the sand went on forever. The beach is so long that at low tide there are acres and acres of sand. You could clearly see the sand bars around the mouth.

We walked out to the sea and along then back into the cliffs and back. The sea was beautiful, the sand unmarked. The cliffs were interesting with water seeping through and interesting rock structures on view. There were faults and folding a plenty, along with an arch, pools lying beneath the cliff in the sand and raised beach platforms (the old rock cut base of beaches from times when sea level was higher.)

Restormel Castle - We took a little trip to this castle. Cornwall doesn't have the grand huge castles you find elsewhere up country. Instead we have little castles that were all about defence and not much about grandeur. Hill forts are one of the most common archaelogical remnant down here. People needed to see what was coming, from the sea and the land.

The castle is a ruin on top of a hill. It is circular with a circular courtyard in the middle. There were two bits that stuck out of the circle - the chapel and the gatehouse. The green moat is still there and you can still walk the battlements. All the floors have gone in the higher rooms but you can see where they were. The castle has a well in the middle but unfortunately they decided to widen the access to it and used it as a latrine as well.

The views were good from the battlements and it was very pretty.

St Erth Pits - Most of the nature reserves I have visited in Cornwall have been stunning. This one wasn't. It was a small overgrown wood with some evidence of nefarious goings on, probably at night and not during the day as there was no one around at all, despite the many child sized tracks going off into difficult to reach places. It felt as if the brambles, honeysuckle and ivy were strangling the life out of much of it. We were not overly enamoured.... The landscape was pocked and it had obviously been well worked at a past time but you couldn't see much of it or get to it. You could see the remains of a tramway in one place.

Reading about it now I guess it makes a little more sense. The pits were used for quarrying sand and clay used for mouldings. It was used by Harvey's Foundry in nearby Hayle and taken by rail all over the country. Apparently these beds are the most diverse yet described in the world with over 350 different ostracod fossils recorded as well as a huge array of other animals and plants. Why would they want this geological wonder open to plundering?

It was worked until 1950 so the woods are young and still establishing themselves in places. The brambles and honeysuckle will eventually be smothered by trees, except where one has fallen and light comes in.

I guess this one nature reserve they don't want to become too well known. To be honest you get that feeling about a lot of the nature reserves in Cornwall. They are places protected and not highly advertised. Known to locals and people who are interested enough to search online or look at maps, they are safe. Kennal Vale with is treacherous paths would cause the Trust to be sued if it became famous and the wrong person was hurt. St Erth Pits would be at risk to plundering by collectors if they opened it up. All these treasures are there if you want to go find them, but they are not going to shout out loud for your visit.... Not like the dramatic coast or the tourist attractions of the county.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Proper Job Pictures

The delectable F has decided to start posting his photos on his very own blog. Now he has the posh camera he takes hundreds everywhere we go.... So the ones he posts are the best of the bunch. If you want to see more of my Cornwall then go have a look!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Week 6

Money Madness
People with money are lucky
Money makes people lazy
I'd have more money if I won the lottery
My dad thought money was precious
My mum thought money was easily spent
In my family, money caused secrets
Money equals fame
If I had money I'd travel
If I could afford it, I'd buy some land
If I had some money, I'd learn lots of crafts
I'm afraid that if I had money I would never leave my house
Money is evil
Money causes unhappiness
Having money is not selfless
In order to have more money, I'd need to be career motivated
When I have money, I usually spend it
I think money can bring happiness
If I weren't so cheap I'd do up my house
People think money is evil
Being broke tells me I should look at my bank balance more before spending

I don't like this week. There are no easy written exercises. No thinky things. Just doing things. I havn't done my morning pages much recently either. Do I really believe I can be prosperous? I don't think I do. Not every day for sure.

Clearing out is something we have planned anyway... F and I have decided as we are both off work this week that we should gather things for a car boot. I am always picking up pebbles at the beach... Now I need to pick and dry flowers. Say yes to freebies? What freebies - I havn't noticed any - does that mean I didn't notice or that there weren't any?


Saturday, 19 September 2009


Nothing is a negative word to many, but I think it is a grand word. From nothing is born everything. It is the first week of The Joy Diet with Jamie Ridler and nothing is the word. And the action to.

We have to do nothing for a minimum of at least fifteen minutes a day. Maybe not precisly meditating but something towards it. A first step perhaps.

I have a history with meditation. I remember clearly the first time I came across the word. I was pretty young and I was having a conversation with my Mum about how we got to sleep. I don't remember why we were but we were. She asked me how I got to sleep when I was struggling and I told her.

I focus on my feet really hard till they become tingly and then I move the tingle up my legs before I start on my fingers and do my arms. This focus completely relaxes me. My limbs feel like I can't move them. And they tingle. I have never been able to make my main body tingle and I no longer try. I am not sure if it is the focusing or the relaxing of my body that helps me relax but it has always worked. I seem to have come up with this technique out of nowhere... Anyone else come across it anywhere?

My Mum informed me that this sounded a bit like meditation so I asked her what that was...

Many years later I was trying to learn to meditate. One day I actually managed to switch off my inner voice and look within. I didn't like it. It was black and quiet and still. I don't know if this is what you aim for, if there is something more, a mistake or a reflection of where I was at that time.... I have never tried to hard since.

So I can do 15 mins a day but I am not sure how rigorous I shall be with it. I would love any meditation experts out there to tell me more about my experiences...

I am looking forward to filling my life with joy. Truthfully I have been horridly grumpy since yesterday lunch time and my 15 minutes today did bring me out of it somewhat....

Troll Beads

A Troll bracelet was a type invented in Denmark. They are generally made of metal and the original ones look like they are made of woven strands of wire. They are flexible and have a circular cross section. At one end of the bracelet the catch comes off so you can thread on troll beads.

Troll beads are round like polo mints or rubber rings. Some are beautiful glass with metal lining the hole. Others are metal charms. There are many designs...

You can go to Troll Beads or Lovelinks to see quite a lot... There are other sellers too...

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Yay! After my first week of the new regime I have lost 4.5 pounds! And that was with a few bits of chocolate here and there and a few other naughties... Troll bracelet here I come!

I havn't found it easy adjusting because suddenly when you start weighing and measuring things you discover there isn't enough of them to base a meal on them. We will settle into it I feel and I like the group support thing....

Tomorrow is the full moon and it feels like some sort of changing time tipping point. Lots of things start tomorrow it feels. I have things I need to get done tomorrow evening. I also have thoughts zooming....

It has been an emotionally draining week. There seems to be a lot going on at work (understatement) and with my reduced free time due to cooking alterations I just seem to have even less time than normal.... eek!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I am still here and in a much better mood..... Not got time to post a full post and I have some ideas that still need to ferment some more anyway....

Monday, 14 September 2009

I am tired, grumpy and hungry. I don't think I have anything nice to say. Nothing that is properly me. I have spinach and riccota canneloni in the oven and I made the filling. I don't t hink changing diets is a nice happy thing.... I hope I adjust soon...

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Treasure Map

I like looking at maps. Sometimes you find out really interesting things about the places around you. Sometimes you find cool places to go.

Today was one of those days when we went to a new and good place because I spent some time looking at the map.

There is a bay called Gwithian Bay which stretches from Godrevy Ligthouse at one end to St Ives Island at the other. The villages of Gwithian and Lelant as well as the towns of Hayle, Carbis Bay and St Ives sit along it's length. In the middle is the mouth of the Hayle Estuary. If you could stand at the mouth you would look along cliffs to Carbis Bay and St Ives and along sand dunes past Hayle to Gwithian and the headland of Godrevy.

Hayle is an unusual town. I admit I didn't think much of it when I first went there. A long road stretches parallel to the dunes along one branch of the river from Copperhouse to Foundry. This road isn't the most exciting but it is the part everyone sees. Copperhouse and Foundry were iron founderies and their social effect on Hayle was huge. People worked for one or the other and they lived at the appropriate end. Huge rivalries developed between the two groups.

The industry had a very marked affect on the geography of the town as well and there is a good map here. The river flows past Copperhouse parallel to the dunes to Foundry and then it turns towards the sea and out. A number of quays are found at the Foundry end and one of them leads into the Copperhouse Canal which allowed ships to make it to Copperhouse.

Parrallel to the dunes you have first the old railway (no longer running) then the river then the canal and finally the road with all the houses of Hayle beyond. There are three large pools, Copperhouse Pool between Copperhouse and Foundry, a lovely duckpond inland from Foundry and Carnsew Pool the other side of the Foundry from Hayle.

Carnsew Pool is separated from the quays by New Pier. New Pier extends nearly all the way into the mouth of the estuary and separates the river that flows through Hayle from a second river that exits here. The pier also has a second leg that goes all the way round Carnsew Pool.

We walked from Foundry along past one of the many Quays and onto new Pier today. This took us past Carnsew Pool which tumbled over a waterfall and under a bridge in the pier. I expect at high tide the water flows the other way. I loved this. The water was clear and you could see all the stones of the fall. The bridge was all blocky and old fashioned with the many of the stones of the arch protruding outwards. From here the view across the pool to the far arm of the pier was fantastic.

We walked along the pier to the end where we sat on a bench. We were only a couple of hundred yards from the beaches on either side here and we could hear the conversations of others but we were separate and alone. Those to our left basked on a beach backed by dunes and those to our left walked dogs on a beach backed by cliffs and rivers flowed out to sea on both sides, glittering in the sun.

The pier is like much of the quays - faded industrial glory. Much of the buildings here are gone leaving that strange post industrial landscape. Gravel and hardcore compete with gorse and scrub. The pier has been built using all sorts of waste and more has probably been dumped over the years. Bricks, glass, bits of quartz.

Much of the quays are derelict as well, bits of wall demolished stones missing here and there. Anyone thinking this is a sadly declined fishing harbour is wrong, fishing was not the cause of this harbours complexities but it is now the only benefactor. Piles of lobster cages lie on the quay here and there.

F took lots of pictures but i don't have any to post right now, but I shall. I would also like to show you more of this bay because I like it very much and it would be good for me to explore more of it....

Saturday, 12 September 2009


So many things seem to be happening right now. So many things seem to be about to start. So very much a time of change.

The weather has suddenly decided to go all summery. Beautiful clear skies. Air so fresh it tastes sweet. A beautiful gentle warmth cooled by sea breezes. Lovely. And I like it even more because it isn't Summer. There is a slight nip to the air at times that lets you know this Autumn. The night is lasting longer and longer. This is September at it's best.

The last few days I have been stuck in work of a day and to busy of an evening to make it to the beach. So I promised Little Dog we would go first thing today. And we did. 8 am found us stepping onto Perranporth Beach with a fairly low tide giving huge expanses of golden fluffy sand. And I do really mean fluffy because the beach cleaning tractor was there sifting sand for trash and laying it back like a fluffy powdery stuff.

Little Dog was pretty good and I got a better balance today between her desire to chase after the ball and her need to not run herself ragged. As we left the beach it was just beginning to get warm enough to make running risky for her. She cooled off in the stream before we headed back to the car.

A good start to the day. I then spoke to my Mum and discovered she is also trying to lose weight right now for her diabetes. She has decided to give herself a treat with every half stone. She is going to buy a troll bracelet with her first milestone and a troll bead or charm for it every one after that. We are going to do this together now because it is such a lovely idea. By the time I am thin I should have a beautiful collection of beads that I would have trouble justifying normally.

The diet is going OK. I have planned the meals for the rest of this week now which seemed to take ages. It doesn't feel easy yet. Last nights tea was a glitch though.... Now I just have to make myself cook it all and stick to it. I need to make myself go out shopping really... I left lunch to late and let myself get hungry. This is something I do and then I go and get all the wrong foods....

The new TV has arrived but I can not unpack it until F gets back. It is our first real big purchase of something new together and as such we will enjoy it's first moments together. I would love to be able to watch it tonight though... Oh well....

Work has gone a little odd in some ways but in others it is fine.

Jewellery making is now progressing at a snail's pace. I am making a bracelet for my Aunt (thankfully she has tiny wrists) using tiny delica beads sewn into tiny squares and then sewn together. The way it sits is a bit like an egg box sort of a shape. F's Mum's necklace has ground to a halt because I ran out of beads. My sister's earrings have swelled in number to three sets but I got bored of earrings and stopped for a bit. My Mum's bracelet is done. This just leaves my Neice, who isn't turning gothy after all. Of course this is only the first round - they all need birthday and Christmas presents....

On other crafting - I need to do some silk painting and some sewing (eek) and some how neither seem to be getting started. It is just a question of making myself get started really... *sigh*

Some major decluttering has been accomplished while I was safely out of the way at work. F has removed a wardrobe and now I can actually see all of the width of the window from the bed. The room seems so much brighter suddenly!

I think I am putting off going shopping....

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Fat Fighting

Tonight F and I joined fat fighters*. We received books telling us how to calculate what we should eat and how much. It is a diet of choice, so many things form option A, so many from B and all the healthy things we can eat till they come out of ears.

I was left feeling a little panicy. How do I digest all these books in time to get food in tonight so that I have something to eat tomorrow? I am out tomorrow for a roast and some alcohol, how on earth can I justify falling off the wagon before I even really got on?

I at once have too much info in my hands and not enough because what I have, I have to make apply to me and quickly. I also am going to have to adjust my intake of calcium pretty radically. Being a non-milk sort of a person, I top up on calcium rich foods when I have cravings and not generally before. But now cheese and milk are going to be forced into my diet whether I much like it or not.... Or at least, having not read much, that is how it seems...

Anyway, I have many books to read and a pizza to eat(it starts tomorrow).

*not the real name of the group in question but a fictional name taken from the TV series Little Britain...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wishful Thinking

I have dreams, just like most people. A couple of days ago, i found the embodiment of those dreams. 42 acres, with 6 of woodland, 32 of fields, a couple of gardens and the rest of sundry areas including a nice long private drive. A beautiful old house with bags of charm and character. A barn converted into three letting cottages, another barn, a garage and an external study. With a river running through and plenty of watery-ness. Perfect.

So in the interests of manifestation I have decided to spend a lot of time picturing myself living there. Manifestation is a big topic in the Artist's Way for this week. Putting your dreams out there and allowing the universe to fulfil them is what it's all about. Now I would love to see the universe give me the means to buy a mini-estate with a value of over a million pounds, but short of freak accidents to everyone I am related to or the lottery jackpot coming my way, I can't see it happening. Losing my family would be too high a price to pay for any dream. At the root of this dream is the desire for place and family afterall.... And with a family like mine I already have so much to be grateful for.

So I have a dull job that I can do and let my brain take me off to other places. This week I have been living on the estate and to be honest, I have really, really enjoyed it. I am not finding it easy picturing everyday like, mostly because I don't know whether we would be working, or me at home with a fledgling brood or what. I picture walking with Little Dog through the woods and to the river. I picture vague shadows of other unknown dogs cavorting around but I don't know them, how they would come to us or when and I certainly have no fixed ideas of what they might look like.

To be honest, what I seem to be spending most time on is my wedding. Or rather the party to be held afterwards on my mini-estate. The complex details of families and festivities have sucked me in. I have struggled with the idea of a venue for my wedding and suddenly, here it is.

Now you might think I am getting my hopes up about nothing and to be honest, maybe I am, at least a part of me is. The rest of me however has discovered that dwelling in this lovely dream is a beautiful place to take my mind away from the dullness of work. I feel happy. I have spent the the last couple of days in the place of my dreams and no one can take that away from me. Fancy joining me tomorrow?

Monday, 7 September 2009

TAW Week Five

Time for another TAW session! I am sure you all enjoy reading these *laugh*

The Virtue Trap Quiz
The biggest lack in my life is fitness
The greatest joy in my life is F
My largest time commitment is work
As I play more, I work less
I feel guilty that I am fat
I worry that I will never realise my dreams
If my dreams come true, my family would celebrate
I sabotage myself so people will feel comfortable and less threatened by me
If I let myself feel it, I'm angry that I have no career
One reason I get sad sometimes is boredom

It seems my life doesn't actually serve anyone....

Forbidden Joys
Beautiful clothes that fit!
Horse riding
Walking long distances
A good warm and waterproof outdoor coat
A pair of fur lined boots from the Celtic Sheepskin Company
Doing a jigsaw
Live on a large plot of land with a stream or river, woods, fields for animals, room for gardens and food growing and a forest garden, with a beautiful old or eco home.
Take a Tai chi class
Become confident at sewing
Make a rug

Wish List
I wish for joy and bountiful happiness
I wish for stars to dangle from my ceiling
I wish for a warm and snuggly bed
I wish for a new mattress
I wish for a newspaper sanded floor
I wish for another dog
I wish for children
I wish to have no need to 'work' in a dull job
I wish for butterflies to hang from my plants
I wish for a green man face for my garden
I wish for a door from my lounge into my garden
I wish for more light in my house
I wish to never feel cold
I wish for better circulation
I wish for a quicker metabolism
I wish for dragons

I guess if I had to list my desires, most of them, the deepest ones, centre around where I would like to live. I want land. I want to grow my own food. I want to have sheep and goats and pigs and maybe a cow or two along with some horses and chickens. I want a forest garden. I want a wood with bluebells. I want some wild boggy land and a river and a pond. I want a home, either an old on or one I have designed and built myself. I want a home for the family I want to have. I found the perfect place online last night for the bargain price of £1,250,000... 42 acres with 6 acres of wood and a river, a lovely old stone house, three letting cottages converted from an old barn, a barn, an external study and a lovely long private drive..... I want it!

Five Imaginary Lives
Trapeze Artist (? *laugh*)
Crane Driver
All a bit random really, except the links to animals and the wanting to be a Mother....

If I were twenty and had money....
At 20 I didn't want children, I wasn't ready and it wasn't anywhere near time. So my wishes for me back then are so different for what I would wish for me now...

I would travel and have adventures. Dive the Great Barrier Reef. Climb Uluru. Go to Borneo and travel up river to visit indigenous folk. Explore cave systems in the middle of rainforests. Walk the great wall of China. Travel across the Mongolian desert. Visit exotic ruins in Egypt by moonlight. Stay in a cliff house. Visit Machu Picchu. Fly over the Atacama desert. Travel around the Grand Canyon everyway i can. Ride horses on a ranch. Go white water rafting. Watch crocodiles in mangrove swamps. Glide down river at dusk watching fire flies. Visit the North Pole at the Summer Solstice. Cruise along the Nile. Climb Mount Kilamanjiro. These are the things I should have been doing at 20....

If I were 65 and had money...
My children would have left home and be exploring their dreams with our loving support and generous trust funds. Maybe one of them might have returned home, ready to settle and to begin, slowly taking over some of the land, maybe living in one of the holiday cottages. F and I would begin to holiday more. A little charity work maybe and a lot more crafts and maybe a few grandchildren.... A balanced life that reflects our bodies gently decreasing ability for hard labour...

Ten items I would like to own but don't
A good warm and waterproof outdoor coat.
sheepskin lined boots from the Celtic Sheepskin Company
A TV (arriving on Saturday! Yay!)
A leather corner sofa
Weebles ( a fantastic toy from my childhood...)
More music that I love from my teen days - particularly grunge and alternative rock
A wedding ring
A decent mattress, preferably memory foam
A SMART roadster (a sporty looking eco car)
A horse

Sunday, 6 September 2009

In The Garden

The garden has a small museum which I didn't stay to look at for long. I have looked around before and the only thing I stopped to really look at were the quotes written above the displays. It seems Barbara loved Cornwall for it's pagan landscape and St Ives for the sense of community it gave her with other artists.

Upstairs some of her smaller creations are on display along with a glass jug and a huge quartz crystal which look in need of a good scrub. And then outside!
The garden isn't that big and is in the middle of a busy town but for the most part it is quiet inside. People are driven to talk in hushed tones. There is a meditative feel to it. A small green oasis...
The garden itself is lush and green but then being blessed with Cornwall's warmth and rain and St Ives sheltered position, this isn't surprising. A path snakes all the way round the outside of the garden and a tiny network of two or three paths snakes across the middle. Along one long side is a high wall against which sits her workshops and a conservatory. Where this wall meets the bottom of the garden is her house which was not particularly big. The bottom of the garden is also walled with a seating area that acts as suntrap and a little summer house containing a bed. The other walls are lower and topped with vegetation.

So it really, really isn't very big!
And everywhere, of course, there are sculptures. Some bronze. Some stone. Some sit huge within the garden and can be seen from several points. Others nestle in a corner or an alcove and you suddenly find yourself there, on top of them, as they appear from nowhere.

They don't compete with the plants. They all sit there together in harmony. The sculptures don't even compete with each other. And they certainly don't just look good from one angle...

Her complex geometrical shapes appeal to me. They are not sharp and angular in the main, they are fantastically curved. The garden has a lovely deep energy to it. It feels feminine. It feels healing. It is very calm and grounding. I can imagine though, that Barbara bought the garden alive when she was in it. I suspect the energy of the garden changed with her moods.

I lingered in several spots, soaking it all up....
I learnt that although she died in a fire, caused by a cigarette she dropped when she fell asleep after drinking a little whiskey, that it wasn't the fire that killed her but the fumes from the plastics she she worked with to coat some of her works. The dirty jug and crystal have never been cleaned from the fire. The calendar still sits on the date that she died. Her clothes sit on the back of the big door in her workshop. Unfinished works sit around, in progress. Fresh lumps of granite lie, awaiting her touch. It as if she might return any moment, as if she had just gone for a snooze. The careful work of conservationists keeps it just so, stuck in a bubble of time.

Getting to the Garden

Lack of TV and reading this week due to TAW (The Artists Way) drove me to doing a proper, longer Artist's Date this week! But it had a rocky start...

We have officially become a one car couple this week, even though in reality we have been for a few weeks. I told F that I wanted to get up early and get into St Ives so I could park at the bottom of the hill and go buy some beads. He didn't react overly well because he had planned an entire day of things he wished to do with my car. I agreed to drop him off with the things he wanted to deliver before going on my merry way and then when i returned we would go and look at garage forecourts (*yawn*). I later admitted that I had planned to go to the Barbara Hepworth garden as well. By this time he had calmed down because he was still going to get to do everything he wanted to.

I gave in too easily. He made very little effort to be ready and have the car loaded for 9.30 (typical laid back Cornish Man). I may not have been ready either but I had less to do than him. When I was ready, he still wasn't. I dropped him in town to drop one thing off, parked and waited for him to come and get the other things. Then I drove to the shop got some cash bought him coffee, milk and sugar so I had some change and then returned to await him in the car.

By the time I got to St Ives it had gone 11. The tourists had roused themselves and along with all the day trippers they had filled the lower car parks. I managed to park in one only part way up the hill. By this time I was very, very grumpy with him. I had been up for hours and could have been in and parked in a prime spot at 9. i could have been home for him in time for him to still do everything he wanted but no, his immediate thought had been to prioritise his things and mine had been to accept. I must learn to take a step back at times like this so i can see the situation clearly....

St Ives was still busy but not so bad you had to fight for your space to walk in the road. St Ives is an old fishing town that was adopted by artists. It has several beaches and a harbour and the hills rise steeply behind the sea front. Building into the hill has meant that it has tiny streets, higgedly piggedly houses all on top of each other and tiny little alleyways. It is full of gift shops, craft shops and art shops.

I spent quite a bit of time drifting in and out of the craft shops. I love them for their inspiration. I bought a beautiful card with a picture of the tree of life which shall sit by my altar. I bought some soap and bath treats. I bought some beads but not the glue I needed but discovered that in the summer the factory shop opens in the Summer on a Saturday, yay! I bought a baguette and some elderflower presse.

Eventually I headed to the garden by a somewhat roundabout route which requied me to have a nice chat with an artisan as a result of requiring pointing back the way I had come... The garden was much as I remembered....

Saturday, 5 September 2009

On Being a Mother and Trying to Get a Life

Ok, so I am not really a Mother... but I did give birth to something this week and like any first time Mum I am there constantly checking and tweaking and looking... Enough said... I need to let it grow by itself a little. I just hope it does grow. I hope it doesn't turn into a nasty teenager and remains a nice dutiful, kind sort of a being.

Time to leave it be and not obsess...

I did my first vision board Thursday and I love it but I shan't post it because I ruthlessly borrowed images and feel I shouldn't repost them. The thing that came through is the phrase the root of me with the question what is the root of me? It has a celtic circular pattern, a moon over water, a spiral stone staircase, a brightly coloured duo of person and child, a man looking at a tree and a fantastic and strange planty sorty of a lady.... I just need to finish the lettering and stick it up by my shrine.

Last night we went out to see District 9 which is very good but I would hesitate to recommend. It is a sci-fi movie with aliens and gore and action but it is also a strong statement about the morals of people and the society we live in. Many who would like the moral story wouldn't like the gore and vice versa. It is a film I hope they don't make a sequel to. We then ate some lovely food and came home to bed and Little Dog.

This morning I have promised myself a trip to St Ives for my Artist's Date. I want to go and buy some beads and some more glue. I also want to go to the Barbara Hepworth Garden. I don't know how famous Barbara Hepworth was around the world but she was a fantastic sculptress who lived in St Ives. The garden to her old home is beautiful. It may be small but her understanding of space and shape allowed her to transform it and of course, to fill it with sculptures that sit well in their surroundings..... I love it there...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

An Invite

I have done a little reading on Ning and it seems you can give people an invitation link which allows them to join a private social network. You can then, at some point in the future, change this link so that the old invitation link doesn't work.

So I heartily invite you lovely people to come and join...

by clicking here!

I do hope this works!

Oh and yes, if you tried it before and it didn't work, it should work now....

The Spiral Path

I belong to some beautiful online groups. Some are about creativity. Some are about that edge where creativity and spirituality blur. All are full of lovely supportive people and I accomplish more because of them. I find their ideas fill me with ideas and an extra energy or impetus.

I am not sure how my thoughts took me there this morning but it occurred to me that I want a different sort of group. I want a witchy group or maybe more of a green pagan group or maybe just a spiritual group. I want to do the book A Witch Alone by Marian Green with other. I want to do it in the loosest sense though. Talking about the subjects she covers each month and setting one goal and each of us talking about our experiences with that. A Spiral Path, twisting and turning upon itself of beautiful womanly, earthy learning.

Such a group of women of course could accomplish many things. Many, many things. All depending on what they wanted. The initial thing though is to set up a community of such women. Except I am a part of such a community already, here in blogville. I guess I just want to focus it all a little more. I want to give my spirituality the same support I give my creativity...

Any ideas? Any suggestions? Would you like to join such an endeavour? I personally think such a group should be private and password protected.


I got a little distracted just then. I belong to a lovely creative group called On The Wing which is hosted on Ning. Just discovered how easy it is to set up such things and now it exists... Here to be precise...


Earlier on I noticed that Jamie Ridler's Wishcasting Wednesday question was 'What Do You Wish To begin?'

So this is what I wish to begin! What a coincidence! Even if you don't fancy it for yourself, I would love for your wishes for it to be a happy supportive community, even if it only ever has me as a member (*laugh*)

Oh I have so many things I need to do to it to make it look nice so don't be expecting any lovely fancy thing....

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


I am sat here having had no book or TV or F for the evening....

I knew this was coming and wasn't relishing it so I did something I should have done a while back. I facebooked one of my teacher friends (although unlike me, they made it through the course). We hadn't met up since last Christmas even though I work about two mins drive from where she lives.

After work I went and collected her for coffee and we talked and talked.

I didn't have to worry about Little Dog because F had been home all day and started work as I was finishing. I could just sit and revel in the good company. Bliss. Why didn't I do this sooner? Why can it sometimes feel so hard to sacrifice books, TV and laptop for an evening? I didn't stay out late. I didn't drink alcohol. But this was a lovely social occasion.

We talked about education, family, feminism, religion and many other things. We are both opinionated but it doesn't matter because while having opinions, we accept others may differ and move on. We focus on the similarities rather than the differences.

Heres to friendship in all it's forms.

So what do I do tomorrow? Maybe it will be the night to attack the contents of my wardrobe....