‘Fly away home…’

Originally posted on The Silent Eye:

derbyday 490The ladybird was swimming desperately as I scooped it out, feeling that little rush of warmth at having rescued the tiny creature from a watery death. It wasn’t happy, but I placed it on the side of the sink to dry out while I soaked. I would take it outside when I was clad in something more decorous than a towel.

From my supine position in the steam, I could see it begin to move, flexing its legs and shifting on the slippery surface; a tiny splash of colour against the porcelain. I like ladybirds. As a child they always fascinated me and I was almost offended when I read that they could bite. Surely… they wouldn’t?

They are called ladybirds, apparently, for the Virgin Mary, who was often shown cloaked in red in the early paintings. The seven spots of one of the commonest types were said to symbolise…

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Notes from a small dog LVI

ani tableThis post is brought to you from behind the barricades,  somewhere under the dining table… about the only safe place in this house at the minute. I’m feeling a bit glum. All I’m getting is ‘not nows’ and ‘laters’. It doesn’t seem to matter where I go… she’s everywhere. Bits of material… sharp, sticky pins…stuff that smells really interesting in the kitchen … though she says if I investigate that too closely she’ll do dire things to me…

I mean, I ask you… what’s a dog to do when it smells all sweet and gooey in there? She says I wouldn’t like it anyway. I say I’ll be the judge of that… but she’s not having any. And neither, apparently, am I. Unfair I call it!

ani 002I did point out that she’ll only complain that she’s getting a big rump if she eats it all to herself. She says it is for sharing… but I don’t seem to see any coming my way… She also says raisins aren’t good for dogs. Which is silly… isn’t it? Oh okay, then, maybe not. But there had better be some chicken left…

She disappeared upstairs earlier. Now that’s unfair too, ‘cause I normally go up and wait in the spare room when she’s up there for a while. There’s a nice bed in there. This time she just sort of shrieked and dived to shut the door…

I mean, all this dashing around can’t be good for her. She doesn’t look too good, I have to say… her hair is sticking out like someone crossed her with a haystack and plugged her into the electric. Yeah, you’re right, that’s a bit unfair. More like a porcupine then…

And about as prickly if I get too close to the kitchen or the white stuff…

Personally, I think a nice long walk would do her good. Get her out in the fresh air… maybe chase the odd duck or something… ‘Later’ she says.

Bakewell Imbolc 001 (13)

She needn’t think she can fool me either… she’s going off on her travels again soon, I can tell. So at least I’ll get to play with Gooch for a few days. Has to be more fun than hiding under the table.

Thing is, you see, it’s my duty to look after her and if she’s diving round like a midsummer bee, then I think I need to do something about that.

Perhaps I should sit on her.

She may call me a small dog, but coming from her that’s a bit rich. I’m big enough.ani4

She’s a sort of mini-mum.

So sitting on her might work.

‘Scuse me while I go and try…

Much love,

Ani xxx

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Secret solitude Where light is born in darkness Guarded by angels

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One in the Eye

I sat upon the bedroom floor
All bent, an awkward stance,
I’d rather use the table
But it only took a glance
To see the small dog’s moulting
And so, almost everywhere,
In spite of all my efforts
Is still sprinkled with her hair.

Now chiffon isn’t easy
It attracts the stuff you see,
And if I tried to sew downstairs
She’d want to come and see…
I thought the bedroom better,
It would have to be the floor…
And just make sure and certain
That I’d closed the downstairs door…

The Silent Eye is busy
With a workshop coming up,
When tears from Horus’ golden Eye
Will fill a royal cup…
The Cobra’s Eye is watching
With a mind to plot and scheme
But as with any story
Things aren’t always what they seem…

Tonight though, is a different game
As costumes must be sewn;
I need some help with pinning,
But of course, I’m all alone.
There’s just one Eye that interests me
And so I put the light on
And rolled my mental sleeves up
Knowing we would have a fight on.

I tried it with the threader
But that didn’t work at all,
I stood the damned machine on end
And leant it on the wall…
I almost went contortionist
And tried with all my might
The only Eye that interests me
Was putting up a fight.

I even dug my glasses out
They didn’t help a lot…
I notice that quite suddenly
My Eyes have gone to pot.
I’ve tried it every way I can
And though I coax and wheedle,
I just can’t get the bloody thread
Through that Eye in the needle!


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Beyond the need-fire Passion wears a tattered robe When the flames have diedRonovan’s haiku challenge

Image from Mister Fox: The Legend

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Magical tour of Ireland’s river legends: Guest post by Ali Isaacs

Originally posted on Barb Taub:

Today’s Guest Post is written by visiting writer Ali Isaacs, who lives and writes in a world of history and myth and magic—in other words, Ireland. I was enchanted by the way she mixed all of that in her books, especially her YA series, The Tir Na Nog Trilogy, which I reviewed at 5-stars here. Please welcome Ali as she takes us on a tour of some of her favorite legendary Irish rivers.

River Legends of Ireland

Figure 1 Newgrange, Ireland's most popular archaeological site on the banks of the River Boyne. (c) Ali IsaacFigure 1 Newgrange, Ireland’s most popular archaeological site on the banks of the River Boyne. (c) Ali Isaac

Ireland is a land of many lakes, rivers and mountains, shrouded as much in mythology as it is in its gentle misty climate. It is a fertile breeding ground for tales of mystical Gods, powerful warriors and the beautiful, enchanting folk of the Sidhe.

Our ancient ancestors believed that through water lay the way…

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Dear Don XXV

CA Village and church (13)

Dear Don,

“…but my race is of Heaven alone…”

The Waters of Lethe… only you could come up with such an obscure way of highlighting my forgetfulness the last week or so! Though knowing you it is a quote from something more contemporary…

The devil’s in it that the whole 666 theme keeps cropping up my end too… quite by chance. We really ought to look at that while we are on popular misconceptions…

CA Village and church (48)I can’t help thinking of Cerne Abbas with the whole body/perception thing, you know. The outer depictions so grotesque and yet the inner, with the hidden beauties of the wall paintings… even if it was another of our beheaded saints… the Baptist, if I recall… seems significant somehow… along with his entombment and the baptism of Jesus.

“We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men.”

CA Village and church (46)Well, one of us anyway.

By the way, did you know that the plant, St John’s wort, used for depression these days, bleeds red in August according to legend? They used to soak it in oil to make a chrism called the Blood Of Christ. Its old name was Fuga Daemonum (Scare Devil) and its modern Latin name of Hypericum means “over apparition”.

Yep, I’m full of useless information like that and even know that if your horse steps on the plant you will be carried away by the fairies … so its modern usage as an antidepressant should be no surprise.

lincoln bakewell 001 (118)I like the idea of St Michael’s spear being earthbound. Does that make St George’s spear its earthly manifestation, or is that the equivalent heavenward transformation, do you think?

The Beast has deigned to eat some chicken again. I was getting a bit concerned, you know.an 002

Personally I think it is a ploy… and I a pawn in the game.


Wen x

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foggy morning 009Misted avenues
Silent, shrouded secrecy
Leading who knows where

A living statue
Futile immobility
In Technicolor

There is none to see
But the predatory lens
Captures a jewel

foggy morning 012Just for Leiah ;)

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The Sunday Show – Defining Moments with Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent:

A huge thank you to Sally for having me over again this Sunday!

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

My multi-talented guest today exudes calm and passion in equal abundance and I was delighted when Sue Vincent accepted my invitation to share her Defining Moments. During my research I came across some incredible interviews packed with information so today I am going give you a brief introduction to Sue’s life and work and then focus on what she considers those key times that impacted the direction her life was taking at the time.

Sue’s life has not all been plain sailing and in fact there have been times when tragedy and life’s events have resulted in a complete rethink in both lifestyle and location. It is clear however that these events also according to Sue, changed her outlook for the better and that love and laughter thrived.

We often joke about the North/South divide in the UK but Sue has experienced that for herself. Having made the choice…

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Aim for the moon…

I was, as always, with my son today. After he had downed the green sludge he calls a smoothie and I simply call vile, he suggested he needed time for it to settle before breakfast. I had to agree, this stuff simply gloops into the glass. I couldn’t agree, however, that exercise was the best way to keep it going down. I’m fairly sure my own stomach would have other ideas were I ever to drink the stuff.

Now some of these exercises are a bit of a joint effort. Much of the time, thankfully, all I have to do these days is observe and make sure he’s getting it right. Sometimes, however, I have to demonstrate and I was thankful today that he agreed the shots of me with my feet in the air should never see the light of day. It worries me a tad that he still has them as ammunition… However, I couldn’t complain as I had been snapping pictures myself. “There has to be an article in those shots…” I had laughed. He said I should write it, given what we had been discussing.

I seem to have written a lot about Nick lately. There are reasons, mainly to do with how much he is progressing. This morning, as I was dismantling the heavy, weighted walking frame he has hitherto needed just to cross his living room, I couldn’t help thinking about that. To be folding this thing up after several years and consigning it to the shed had me near tears. It had already been an emotional morning. It had all started with the balancemaster, a machine he had installed to help him regain that function, lost to his injuries. He had showed me the latest, quite amazing progress and I, as often happens, had ended up in tears. A screwdriver through the brain is bad enough, but while his recovery from the damage caused by that initial injury was utterly miraculous. The secondary damage from the prolonged subarachnoid bleeding and excessive pressure within the brain cavity is a different matter and affects many of his motor functions and balance. He had woken from the coma paralysed down his entire right side, and though hemiplegia had fairly soon given way to hemiparesis, with the spasticity and the lack of coordination and control, the outlook wasn’t good. His chances of recovering , we were given to understand, were about zero. I could bore you with the details, but Nick suggested I show you instead.

whitebackground1We, of course, we simply overjoyed to still have him with us and his personality definitely ‘all there’. I had told the surgeon that if Nick came back, he would come back fighting and I was right. There was the first time he was able to move at all.. the first words.. the first time he sat alone and stood… There was also the hidden damage, the emotional rollercoaster and the dark times. It has not been plain sailing. Nor is recovery from such an injury merely a case of waiting for time to heal and perhaps a little physiotherapy to get things underway.

There were ten, twelve, fourteen hour days… where Nick spent every minute working for his recovery. There was seldom a minute where he was not doing something focussed. His body, weakened, unresponsive and malfunctioning, he honed, strengthened and bullied, bit by painful bit, into doing as he asked. Everything from facial exercises to reading aloud, from lifting weights to sweating on a gym ball. It was non stop. What we didn’t know, we learned, what we couldn’t learn, we made up for with improvised gadgetry and common sense. Little by little he made headway.

whitebackground2There were times… are times… when the progress seemed to halt. Those plateau moments are hard. Nick seldom looks back to see where he has come from. To begin with his mind, still only functioning in low gear, simply thought he would recover, as if the injuries were no different from a broken bone. Then he determined he would recover. He blocked out the way he was in the early days. It was too much. Now, finally, he can look back without shame at ‘what he was’ and see what he has achieved.

Watching him exercise today, we were laughing. To be fair, there was no way you couldn’t… some of the positions he got himself into were just very strange. At one point he looked as if he was bidding fair to become a one-man human alphabet. On the other hand, the control, the strength and the flexibility he has acquired are incredible. Yet these are not goals in themselves, but tools he can use to carry himself to the next step… quite literally.

whitebackground37Today I put the heavyweight walking frame away and replaced it with a lightweight version he can take outdoors with him; something that may be hard to really understand for the rest of us, but which, to him, is a major victory. He shouldn’t be able to walk at all, yet he can…albeit slowly and with support. The next step is to learn to do it outside, alone…. Then unsupported.

So far the journey has lasted almost six years.. six years of unremitting hard work. And we don’t know how long it will take to achieve the goal. We don’t even know if it is possible. We do, however, believe that it is. And that is what prompted me to write today… and why Nick thought I could.

whitebackground34Because it doesn’t matter what it is, we all face impossible-seeming tasks and situations at some point in our lives. We all have unrealistic dreams we want to achieve. Uphill struggles where we seem to be wading through treacle. We all have a goal that hovers just out of reach. We will never reach that goal, achieve that dream or beat the odds if we do not try. “I would hate to look back and wonder if I could have done it… I don’t want to regret not having tried,“ said Nick.

If you aim for the moon and miss, you might just hit an unexpected star… you can never tell what is out there, but it is certain that you will hit nothing unless you pull back the bow and let the arrow fly, if you allow your dreams to be silenced. No matter what your dream may be… take aim for the moon and see where the arrow falls. Nick may never attain his goal of walking, alone and unaided through a green field. He may never walk alone along a deserted shoreline at dawn. He knows this. So do I. But there is a chance that he could and for this he works. Even if he ‘fails’, he has already gained much, not least his health and fitness, a huge amount of control of his own body… and the right to hold his head up high for what he has achieved.

Nick today


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