A blog for her friends to check that she's still alive, when she's been missing for a while, and what she's whinging about now.

My Profile.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I'm going to move semi-permanently over to here:

Mab of Dream

now that I've learned about the private and public versions.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Wandering and Dreaming...

*runs in to grab a drink and spots the thick dust hereabout* Ooops, I haven't been telling of any of this in here for a while, have I?

I was going to tell you of Branny's initiation; and the final days of Pixie and Dirk being in Britain. I haven't yet mentioned Yoko Ono and a beautiful garden; Barrow Hill and the Maiden; Glastonbury Festival; the conference; London bombs; two REM concerts; nor my MA. I'll tell you of them in a minute, perhaps in ink polaroids as the mood takes me. First I want to tell you of last night's dream.

I dreamt that Kate and I were about to buy a cup of tea on the HP. Kate questioned this logic, asking why we can't just pay for them outright. I responded that I couldn't, because I'd just bought a field of amethyst. I turned then to show her and the dream went into glorious technicolour, like Dorothy opening the door on Oz. As far as the eye could see, there were slabs laid in perfect symmetry, with equal spaces between them. If they were supposed to be amethyst, then they were the wrong colour. They were a milky green, almost blue; their colour gave them gentle depths, which swam like something serenely alive. It was awesome. Then I awoke. In waking retrospect, I wonder if it was a field of Flourite.

I mentioned two REM concerts, that I've been to in the past few days. The first of these has been reviewed for Bob's Between Planets. Here's the link to save the retelling here. That was July 6th, the birthday of the beautiful Georgia Langley. *runs to hug Georgia*

The other was today, July 10th, birthday of another great Cancerian in my life, Eric. *gives Eric the little nod of respect - not too much, in case he gets ideas - that silently says, "Did you do that or was it me?"* So yes, I celebrated both birthdays having absolutely amazing days... without the birthday people. Though I did 'phone Georgia, while the concert was on, and let her listen live to two songs. I couldn't cant at her, because it was too loud for me to hear; and it's taken me until today to phone her properly. At this rate, Eric will get his birthday phone call around the 14th.

As REM were playing in Cardiff today, Kate and I got up relatively early (for a Sunday) to make a day of it. I love daytrips where the journeys are great in themselves and both of these were. Us singing and bopping around to the like of the Kaiser Chiefs, Killers, White Stripes, The Strokes etc, through that pretty countryside, with the sun blazing. (By the time we reached there, the temperature was 25 and rose to 30 during the day. I have no idea what those temperatures mean, because I think in the one that goes up to the 80s and 90s. It was bloody hot though and I regretted the jeans.) Kate drove, because Steve (mechanic) told me emphatically several times that I can't drive Rebecca. Normally he says things like, 'You'll be ok, just take it steady and I'll pick it up Friday night.' This time it was DO NOT drive that car. Honestly, Jo, you can literally move that back wheel a foot! Don't drive the car. Ok.

We meandered around Cardiff the leisurely way (ie stopping at every other bench/cafe for a fag break), which was great, because while the pair of us had been there loads of times for concerts, neither one of us had seen the rest of the city. Cardiff feels like Wolverhampton. You know how, regardless of what you can see, each place has it's own 'feel'? This is the first place I've been to where a) the place in question feels the same as another place; and b) that place is my 'hood.

We got into the Millennium Stadium ten minutes before the rest of the audience, because Kate is a member of the fan-club and got us wristbands. It was fascinating to watch the interactions thereon. Though all of them wore nun smiles, canting to fellow fans as if they were all friends together, the competitiveness for the best views was fierce. Once held, their positions were not to be lost, even if it was more sensible for a little shuffle around. Pairs would create a pincer movement, in an attempt to squeeze an interloper out from where a friend could be standing. The person who had, minutes before, offered you an Opal Fruit, would now be 'accidentally' elbowing you in the face.

Kate was at the very front, leaning on the barrier, and I was just behind her. As the stage was only about 20 foot away, we were close enough to see and hear every tiny gesture by or amongst bandmembers; and be seen and heard ourselves. Kate spotted a member of the crew, whom she'd canted with in Birmingham, and managed to talk him into giving us both backstage passes.

I think that that corridor, tucked away in the innards of the Millennium stadium, and our walk down towards a VIP Room and the REM aftershow party, will stay with me always. It was surreal. Kate looked at me and I looked at her halfway down, and she murmured, 'Tell me that this is really happening.' 'It is.' I don't think that my mind had even registered as far as 'by the way, you'll be having drinks with Michael Stipe in a few minutes', except in the vaguest understanding. It had happened too quickly. Instead, I was enjoying the down the rabbithole sensation of it all; partly drifting onto the realization of how big this is going to be for Kate; partly pondering in astonishment, glee and thankfulness, that me and Kate don't half find ourselves in some bizarre situations.

It has a dreamlike quality. A security guard holding open a door with VIP Lounge written on it and some of our 10-20 strong group of seemingly random people with passes going on through. Me, in a bikini top and my jeans rolled up to my knees with my unshaved legs exposed; glistening, drenched with sweat after the hottest day in the history of the world in Cardiff, followed by six and a half hours standing in a mosh. Recalling all Georgia and Andrea have told me about gentile, Southern gentlemen... The ghost of nerves across Kate's face as I say, 'I'm just popping at the loo'; momentarily, both of us almost like children looking for an adult to tell us what's best to do. If we miss them being in the loo... if we meet them smelling so offensively... and Kate has no lipstick. After drinking a couple of pints of water, and not having been to the loo in over six hours, I'm mildly surprised to find that I don't piss my own version of Niagara Falls into the toilet. I must have sweated it all away in that searing heat out there.

We wash (but no deodorant nor perfume...), then walk from the toilet to the VIP Lounge next door, entering the room as if we always belonged there. The pair of us oozing confidence, taking a glass each of red wine and talking to strangers. It was good to be sitting down, on those large settees; and we seemed more self-possessed and comfortable than 90% of the people in there. We made some friends. Then the news came, about a hour on, that REM were unable to attend. They were dispersing to three different locations, after all, this should have been the end of their tour, but for the Hyde Park concert cancelled on Saturday because of the London bombings. Now there's a week twiggling their thumbs, until they play again on the 16th.

Kate admits her disappointment, but is still in awe that it nearly happened at all. I'm still in that state of half glee, half gratitude, generally with no focus, that I'm me; and we get to live these moments. So we walk back, through the quieter streets of Cardiff, still hot, though it's gone 1am; back to the car park by Bute Park, where I rub sycamore leaves on my feet and in my pits, so I can travel home shoeless without Kate wanting to throw up at the smell of me. Singing and dancing, laughing and canting in the car all the way home, with the night sky so clear that you could see the Great Bear accompanying us all the way.

I mentioned the London bombings above. That was Thursday. The first thing that anyone should know about my Thursday is that I'd only had about three hours sleep. Leaving Nottingham the night before, we'd hit roadworks. Not just a hole with some cones around and we're off; I'm talking about roadworks stretching the entire length of an A-road, while 30,000 people are leaving a concert. It was 1am before we'd even left the county and gone 3am before I went abed. At 6am, Kate woke me with a cuppa. She'd managed to pass through the room where I was sleeping, then boil a kettle in the next room without waking me, bless her. She went back to bed, while I caught a train to Stoke. We had our annual conference there - the most high-profile event in the Aimhigher West Midlands calendar, full of directors, partners, heads and other influential people. And me, surviving on Yaruba, coffee and willpower.

You know, I'm really proud of myself for Thursday. The feedback from people who can tell it as it is suggests that the day progressed like a swan; full of grace and impressive from the outside, but underneath the water, the little legs are going like the clabbers. The feedback from other delegates, who perhaps have to be a little more diplomatic in their dialogue with us, is gushing. I dealt with such a lot - from fielding messages about unaccounted for loved ones down in London (and clearing the decks of duties for the person who had a whole community, family and friends, to account for, as she hailed from Aldgate, where one of the bombs went off); to a fishbone stuck in a throat; to creating a selection of credible questions to be asked of a student panel (one of the main focal points of the day), because I'd left the ones written by the regional director in the office; to dealing with the reception and registration of a huge number of the delegates alone, because my colleague had disappeared, and getting them through professionally and quickly, so that I'm certain that none, if any, actually knew that I couldn't hear a word any of them said to me, because I'm deaf in one ear and they were all talking at onceto successfully blagging my way through the working of a lap-top and projector (though I hadn't encountered either before), because the workshop leader looked to be on the point of nervous collapse; to covering any number of potentially big fuck-ups on the day... and there were a lot.

If someone is afretting, I become calm. For most of Thursday, I was in a dead calm, which gives you a barometer for the sheer level of utter panic going on amongst some of my colleagues. The others just faded into the background and were practically delegates. I want to record this here, because for the consistently smooth passage of that conference on the day, despite all that happened, I take the credit. I'm proud of how brightly I shone that day and one day I may need to remind myself of this. I record it here because it probably wasn't evident to the rest of my colleagues who, if they witnessed any of it at all, would have seen bite-sized pieces of it each; but mostly, they would have entered serene waters all unknowing of the rapids that had been there only minutes before. I could ensure that it's known in the office, but others need the glory more than me. I wear my own crown, one which I'm going to do my damnedest to keep from blinding me in spotlights. There is one person who deserves the largest share of that credit. I've already had a quiet word with Viv, ensuring that she knows how invaluable she was, but carefully worded so she wouldn't (in theory) know the rest of the picture.

We knew there about the bombings in London. There was a television on in the bar area showing Sky News all day. You'd be amazed at how many delegates had someone in London, be it family, friend or close work colleague. I'd creep into the back of workshops and whisper to the delegate to step outside, then pass on the messages - such and such is safe; such and such needs you to call them urgently, they're stranded; the Summer School has 30 children to return to the Midlands tomorrow, but they've closed down the entire London transport system, what do we do?

What struck me was how remarkably unfazed everyone was. People went on to workshops and lectures, fully participating, like London gets bombed every day with *insert name of spouse, family member, friend or colleague* down there. Only two people had stronger reactions - one from Aldgate, who looked shocked to the core, but was already rallying by the time I discerned the rant, '*****'s supposed to be helping with this, but she's just come and gone straight in there to watch the telly and make phone-calls on her mobile phone', but actually heard, through the filter of my mind, 'The wench from London, who's normally highly efficient and professional, has chosen telly and phones over the conference. I wonder where in London she's from...' Her expression, when I found her, was stricken, but she wasn't crying. She was trembling, but she had dialled a number on her mobile. I reassured her that I'd cover everything work-wise; she should sort out her people then, when it was time for the waiting game, she should join me. She did. Then I listened as she told me about them all, and their status on the missing/ok stakes, and who was contacting whom. Within half an hour, that dark, British sense of humour was peeping out with her. She's too down-to-earth to have wobbled far off her centre; her panic manifested as practicalities and what can I do about this... I suppose that I was part-colleague, part-friend, and covertly part-dark priestess for all the time we talked, but fundamentally, all I was, was there.

The other was already so stressed that there was no discernable difference, saving the focus, when her brother phoned to say that her Dad had caught a train to King's Cross. That was a relatively quick panic. Within the hour, he'd checked in. In the meantime, I calmed and reassured, preparing to cover her role in the conference too, though ultimately that wasn't needful. It was after she'd gone away relieved that Val Yates, sitting across on one of the bar settees, caught my eye as she watched me. "You are a really calming influence, you know. You have a really serene aura about you." Right then, I silently agreed with her; then meandered away to the next bit of fire-fighting musing on the fact that, in some specific incidents from the past, if I'd been half so calm as I was that day, then things would have been much better in the end. I forgave myself the learning that necessitated those mistakes; then let them go.

On the way home, I had a few telephone conversations or exchanges of texts, mostly with some of my dear American friends. They'd known I'd been galavanting the night before, but didn't know where. They just needed to know I was safe. I was on three stations during that journey, Stoke, Wolverhampton and Dudley Port. In each of them, there was a noticeable police presense, two officers on each platform; and railway workers, three at each station, each of them with hand-held equipment that I didn't recognize. I wondered if they were for searches of some description.

I was so exhausted once I reached Dudley. I drove to Kate's, had a brew with her and watched BBC News (more measured and less sensationalist than Sky. I saw a snippet from the American CNN too; that made my jaw drop. Their reporting made it all look like a trailer from a film, complete with a spikey, terror-enducing soundtrack. I half-expected their reporter to finish his ricochette voiceover with 'starring Brad Pitt and Angelica Jolie...' This wasn't one of those moments where the enormity, horror and reality of a situation hits, because I could relax, concentrate and see it on the news. I'd already had that, when the London woman, waiting to tick off half of her community from the list of the unaccounted for, had spelled it all out for me. She could envisage only too clearly consequences and complications which simply wouldn't have occurred to me, 140 miles away from London, who still gets excited at the notion of riding on the tube. Plus we'd had most of these images all day on the telly at the conference.

Someone on it said that Londoners were shocked, but unsurprised. I'd extend that to the British full-stop. It was predictable. We've all talked about it as something that's going to happen one day; not in paranoia, but in the resigned, 'this is just the way it is' tones of a nation that's been bombed like this since 1972. It's now Monday and the only people for whom we could justifiably say that the world has stopped, or altered course, or otherwise registered as anything other than a slightly faster heartbeat and sadness, are those still missing and those missing them.

Liz Daplyn - if anyone reading this has seen her, please contact me on mab@witchgrove.org. Thank you.One of these is Liz Daplyn, the 26/27 year old friend of my friend, Ian Anscombe. There was still no word when I last spoke to him and he's starting to get really concerned now. The fat lady hasn't yet sung; she may be lying in a hospital somewhere not knowing who she is or unable to communicate this. Or the Dark Lady could already have her. The not knowing, for Ian and her loved ones, is excruciating, but there's always hope. She's mentioned on the list of 25 people still missing. Ian contacted me to see if I would raise the Grove over it. I have done so and sent energy into the search myself; he's since sent Cerr a photograph to help them focus on her. I just wish I could magic her safe and sound or, at least, located. I wish that for them all.

Birmingham city centre was evacuated on Saturday night. The country is officially on high alert, however 'business as usual' our population is.

Eventually I've come to the politics. The bombings being predictable and us being generally unfazed about it doesn't make it any more acceptable. You have to add disclaimers like that, because so many people see only in black and white or else unquestioningly accept nonsensical equations handed to them by politicians and the media. The example which springs to mind is the giant leap from 'you don't support the war on Iraq' to 'you support Saddam Hussein', which I had to deal with several trillion times a couple of years back. Even now, I'm still hazy on the workings out leading from one to the other, but I'm certain on the point that it bypasses the infinite number of other stances on this issue.

Duncan McFarlane pretty much speaks for me too. If a dam is breaking, it's much better to look at why and repairing the damage, than keep firing at the cracks.

Talking about Ian Anscombe, he and I met in London on June 17th, so we could go and watch Yoko Ono at the Queen Elizabeth Concert Hall (I may have the name wrong). It seems so strange, looking on a calendar, that this was less than a month ago. I feel like a different person and that weekend was when the shift finally made it over to the positive. I remember being a stressed thing that left work that Friday noon to drive down to Hillingdon. A week before, Viv had sent me home from work, because I twice nearly fainted and I'm not the fainting type. The office was cool, I'd eaten and I'd had enough water that day. But I was going under with burn out and stress. The only major difference between that day and going to London a week later was that I was being gentle with myself now. I'd withdrawn permission for me to brutalize my own mind.

I still caught myself red-handed afretting on things or prodding mental wounds on the journey down. I made it down to Hillingdon quite quickly and caught the tube to meet Ian and our friend, Pete Ramsdale, at, I think, Charing Cross. We had coffee and cake, then Pete left us, while Ian and I aimlessly explored London. We found a Corpus Christi Roman Catholic church that was... just there. It was somewhere in the vicinity of Covent Garden, though that doesn't mean much when put beside me and Ian on an epic meander. It was a peaceful, undoubtably lovely place. Whether exposure to the DiVinci Code or my own Paganism is to blame, we spotted a LOT of overtly Pagan symbolism in there, including, inexplicably, a framed picture of Pan on the wall. We blessed ourselves in the holy water, which presumably makes us Catholic now.

Meandering on, we found ourselves in Trafalgar Square and climbed up onto a ledge on Nelson's Column. It was so hot. Really baking us, when I spotted a sign over the road. Ice cream. I was actually pointing it out so we might go that way next, but Ian, bless him, climbed down and ran over to get us a carton each. Nice! After scoffing that, we climbed a lion. Well, more to the point, Ian climbed the lion, then pulled me up after him, because the thing is slippery and much bigger than I am. We must have sat on our lion for an hour or more, playing at Narnia, talking crap or seriousness, cogitating how long we would have to sit on there before everyone who we knew in the entire world would walk by below. It was on that lion when, in retrospect, I crossed that line between resolutely coating everything with a determination to look to the positive to actually living my life in a positive world. I wasn't looking that closely at the time. I just know that I was happy and we were both blissfully content up there. We also knew that a week later, we would be at the Glastonbury Festival. We noted the time, 7.05pm, that's when, whatever we were doing at the festival, we'd look at each other and send a nod back to ourselves on the lion.

(I did remember this. For much of the festival, my phone was switched off. Apart from friends, this is my only source of GMT time, and festivals enduce a sense of the meaningless of time anyway. I was with Loz, and some others, when it occurred to me that it was Friday night. I had no idea what the time was. It could have been anywhere between mid-afternoon or sunset. So I dug into my bag to find my phone, switched it on and looked at the time. It was 7.05pm. I was gob-smacked, but there was no-one with me who'd get the coincidence of that - unless I'd just been whacked in the face by the 'hello' sent by me and Ian the previous week. I phoned Ian straight away, but his phone was off then. When he rang back, I couldn't hear a word he was saying over Elvis Costello. LOL)

We moved with glacial slowness down Whitehall - me discovering some anti-racism wristband, which are £20 in Wolverhampton and £1.99 in London (?); and Ian checking on his cat, Charlie, who's been ill, then negotiating with Kate whether we could stay at her house that night - then down to the Thames. On a previous visit, Ian had found a beautiful garden. A bit of investigating later, we found ourselves sitting on a bench in Embankment Gardens, looking across at the tallest trees I have ever seen in my life. However, I was a little concerned that time was getting on and we had yet to find the place where Yoko was performing.

It was close by, but she started promptly and had no support acts, therefore she was already 20 minutes underway by the time an elderly lady shone a torch to find our seats. To be fair, I was there because Yoko is in Ian's personal pantheon. I bought him his ticket as his birthday present and neither of us knew what to expect. It helped that I'd seen a video of her performance art from the '60s earlier this year; instead of viewing her as a singer, I saw what she was doing as art. Once I'd made that shift in my perception, her performance that night was compelling. I can't say I understood it, but I'm glad I went there. She does something with voice and ambience that takes you somewhere. I know you could say that about any singer with a song. It's different, but I haven't the vocabulary to explain why.

It did spark inspiration for a story in my head though. Next day, I was scribbling away totally lost in it. Kate and Ian haven't seen me like that for a while, oblivious to the world because I'm writing. It felt really good.

We caught the tube from Westminster to Hillingdon, then I put my foot down to get us home at as reasonable a time as I could. En route, we put the world to rights; and talked about spirituality. Ian said that my outlook on life sounds very Buddhist. He said a lot of other things too, which helped put some things in context. Then we were at Kate's, unknowing that the next two days were going to be so amazing.

I won't repeat it, here's how I told the Grove:


**What's everyone doing this year for the Solstice? :-)**

I'm going to have a thoroughly amazing day, in the sunshine and a wood. Around
sunset, I'm going to lead my two friends into a chasm and spot the ledge we need
to be on at the top of it. I'll then climb up the face of it in order to show
them that it's easy. Both of them will follow me, then we'll walk along the
single-file, overgrown track to find a huge tree stump.

We'll sit on it, facing perfectly to the West. Only then will one of these
people remind us that he has vertigo. Pride will swell in the other two,
because he climbed that chasm and he's sitting now with it underneath him. My
friend will ask him, 'Are you ok with this?' He'll respond, 'Yes, but if Jo
would stop dangling her legs over the side, I'll feel a lot happier.' I'll
point out that there's a tree root protruding and my foot against it, then, when
he's stopped looking, carry on as normal.

The sunset will be stunning, with our view covering three counties and as soon
as the sunset goes down, fireworks will flood the horizon in five different
directions. I'll begin celebrating my solstice a day early. Then, around
midnight, we'll leave our perch and, surprisingly, it'll be the other two (inc
the one with vertigo) who advocate part climbing, part sliding and part falling
down the side of the chasm (I'd prefer to see if there's a path just up here...
it's fine, I have great night vision...).

We'll descend, me last, topless and with a short skirt now riding up around my
waist, not entirely graceful in the darkness! LOL Then we'll reach the bottom
and they, with torches, will meander on ahead. I'll go very, very slowly,
because I can never see anything at night when I'm blinded by torchlight.
Through the trees, harking once something which might have been a badger, might
have been a bird. Then I'll turn a corner and watch my friends standing
canting. They'll turn, see me and both simultaneously gasp. I'll ask if
they're canting or waiting for directions. Kate will breathe, 'Tell me you just
saw what I just saw.' Ian will respond, 'It depends on what you just saw.'
'I'll tell you when we get back to the car.'

I'll lead the way through the moonlit woods, the torches turned off behind me;
down Barrow Hill and onto Vicarage Road. At the car, Kate will say, 'Ok, what
did you see?' 'A woman in white...' 'Me too!' But they saw slightly
differently. Kate saw a dress like Alice in Wonderland, complete with Alice
band, all pure white. Ian saw white robes. An inner light. It came from
me, walked four feet or so in front of me towards them, then sank back into me.
Then I walked towards them as myself and said, 'Are you canting or waiting for

And I'll think back to Beltane and me, lost, in Wareham Forest,
'It was Beltane and I figured that this was all part of the Great Universal
Game. Very early on, I was looking up and saw torchlight up a ridge and what
sounded like Kate and Pete. I got my torch out and flashed them. One figure
waited at the top, while the other came down the track. In the torchlight, I
could make out Kate's orange blanket/coat, then, as I watched, the apparition
changed and became a Maiden, all in white, complete with white cloak. She went
behind a tree and never came out again. The torchlight had gone from the top as
well. Later, Kate and Pete told me that they'd never gone away from the fire

And decide that the Maiden is definitely after me. *grin*

Then we'll sit on a wall, in the moonlight, talking about our holiday next week.

(PS I'll start it a day early too. HAPPY SOLSTICE ALL!)


The Glastonbury Festival... it was unadulterated amazingness. *grin*


Yes, there are stories, moments... maybe another day.

And finally, on Friday 8th July 2005, I received word that I've not only passed my Masters degree in History, but with a higher grade B. A-E are passes.



Saturday, July 02, 2005

From Vera Lisa

Understanding the energetic human form

Rivers of light

The luminous energy cocoon is a mirror of the Earth's magnetic
Energy streams from the North Pole and circumnavigates the planet to
re-enter again through the South Pole. Similarly rivers of light
travel out of the top of the head and stream around the luminous
forming a great oval the width of our outstretched arms. Our cocoon
penetrates the Earth 12 to 18 inches. The rivers of light re-enter
the body through the feet.

Along the surface of the planet run flux lines, similar to
acupuncture meridians, connecting the major chakras of the Earth.
These meridians traverse the globe, transporting energy and
information from one part of the planet to another. Seers can
communicate with each other through the luminous matrix formed by
flux lines of the Earth. Trained seers are able to sense and
sometimes see the luminous grid of the universe, extending beyond
Earth and into the galaxies.

Like the flux lines running along the body of the Earth, the rivers
of light run along the surface of the skin connecting energy points,
which are in essence very small chakras. These rivers of light are
the circulatory system for the luminous cocoon. Seers can learn to
extend fibers from any of these smaller chakras, as well as the main
chakras. One who 'sees', can perceive these rivers of light and
readily see locations where the light is choked, stopped, or
rerouted. Certain stretching and pressing techniques are quite

The 10 major light arteries in the luminous cocoon pass through the
fingertips. A profound balance ocurrs when we touch our
thumb-to-thumb, index-to-index, etc. Seers can learn to extend these
rivers as a defense force, first in dreaming and later with the
physical self.


The luminous c! ocoon contains information that can kill us or heal
It holds a blueprint of our body just as an architectural drawing
holds the design of a house. But unlike the house, which remains
intact as it ages, our luminous cocoon is continually informed by
incidents we experience. Unresolved psychological, emotional, and
spiritual traumas becoming engraved like scratch marks in our
luminous field. The blueprint that shaped and molded us since we
inside our mother's womb contains the memories of all of our former
lifetimes -- the way we suffered, the way we lived, how we were ill,
and the way we died. These imprints contain instructions that
predispose us to repeat certain events from the past. We want to
learn where these energy imprints are located in the luminous cocoon
and how to erase them so that the body, mind, and spirit can return
to health. This is sometimes called Recapitulation.

The outermost layer of the ! luminous cocoon is the membrane
or "skin"
of the luminous body. This membrane serves as a defense shield in
same way the skin is protective of the body. The imprints of
traumas and diseases are etched onto this membrane like designs cut
into glass. When a person is suffering from a prolonged illness,
there is an energetic imprint that is depressing the immune system.
If the imprint is not cleared, recovery can take months or years,
a person not only will be predisposed to a recurrence of the same
condition, but will carry the imprint into her next lifetime. The
imprints etched into the emotional layer of the luminous energy
predispose us to live in particular ways and to become attracted to
certain people and relationships. These imprints dictate the course
of our emotional lives. It is very difficult to change our lifestyle
without clearing the imprints in this layer. The imprints stored in
the psychic l! ayer inform and organize our physical reality. The
imprints in the spiritual layer choreograph our journey through life
including the kind of spiritual fulfillment that we will attain.

Imprints are formed when negative emotions that accompany trauma are
not healed. When an imprint is active, it pulsates within the
luminous cocoon. An activated imprint launches its programs, fueling
them from the energy stored in the luminous cocoon. It's nearly
impossible to stop. It's toxic energy spills into a chakra, wreaking
emotional havoc or compromising our immune response. If we are able
to heal the emotional component of a painful situation as it
an imprint is not created in the energy field. And active imprint is
recognized by the dark energy around it. When it begins to play
itself out, we gravitate to people in situations that will allow us
to relive the circumstances of the original wounding in an attempt
heal it! , a subconscious attempt to recapitulate. The imprints can
arrange strange and apparently unrelated events in the world. They
can orchestrate our meeting love partners who have all the same
personality traits. They can strand us in the oddest places to come
upon someone we are destined to meet.

Seers believe that intellectual cognizance (talk therapy) rarely
scratches the service and is not enough to bring about true healing.
One must clear the imprint or be predisposed to reenact the
situation. And old imprint is activated the through a traumatic or
emotional experience. The seer is interested in draining the toxic
emotional energy around an imprint and then erasing the imprint
itself. This is called an "illumination".

from the talks of Alberto Villodo

Friday, June 03, 2005

A Handfasting is Held!

The whole group of us, minus Bex, Branny and Aud, set off from the George and Pilgrim to work to the Tor. Pete, bless his socks, had only held my bag (containing all the tools for the ceremony) for two seconds, but refused to give it back. I'm not used to gentlemen, but he carried it up there for me. Most of the other blokes were out of view very quickly, having much, much longer legs than the like of Pixie and I. At one point, I said, 'shit, does Dirk know the way up there? Who's he with?' Froggie. Ok! LOL

It was really pleasant walking up. The sun still shining but lower in the sky, coming up towards the sunset. I was sorted until we reached the Tor itself. Froggie after climbing the Tor. Photo by Branny (click for site) I maintain that the Pilgrim's Walk is far worse than the other side. It goes on forever, gradually getting steeper and steeper; the other side starts steep, has two stops, but is over quite quickly. You don't notice the Pilgrim's Walk getting steeper, you just suddenly realize that you want to die or rest, whichever comes first. The other side is bad for those with vertigo, as there's a definite being on the edge of the world sense; but I'd still recommend it over the Pilgrim's Walk. Naturally it was the latter we were climbing.

I was going up cursing (not seriously) Andrea for over-estimating how cold it is in Britain. My robes are beautiful, but very, very hot going up that Tor. Pixie and I were more or less together, stopping every three seconds for a rest, particularly towards the end. St Michael's Tower was in close sight, the path had been taken up for relaying and I'm crying out, 'I need a rest! I'm a smoker!' Pixie the asthmatic was several steps ahead! LOL But eventually we were up there, fighting for breath inside the tower.

It might look from photos that the tower affords some shelter from the elements. Nope. Two open arches to the north and south ensure that any wind from those directions whistle straight through. There's no roof. The only thing you are protected from in there are the direct hits of east and west winds. That was enough. I sat on one of the slab blocks (are they tombs or benches?) and got my breath, with the help of a bit of water. I soon recovered and stepped out into the wind to work out where to hold the ceremony. Pete and Froggie were with me. The place were I would ordinarily have done it was fine, but the work on the path would have been in the background of photos. Two alternatives were to the side of the tower, which was sheltered from some of the wind or on the open plain to its north/north-east. In the end, I fetched the bride and had her decide. She went for the latter, which would have been my choice too.

Then it was backwards and forwards getting the tools and working out where everyone would be. Cabochon joined me and the nerves were showing on his face. I took his hands and was able to do the calming/bonding thing. I'd already done my panicking half an hour or so before. The wind was as blowy as it always is up there. We gave up on the pouring of water etc into the chalices, giving Pete a bottle to hold instead. Then it was time.

Photo by BexPhoto by Bex

Everything there had something to do, be it hold an element, hold the cake or mead, photograph/film or get handfasted. We quickly all got into position and raised the circle. That was stunning. Cabochon did the actual spoken calling, but it was a joint effort raising it. Perhaps we should think on that in future - me, Cabochon and whomever was holding the element ALL concentrating on it, on the Tor... Bex held Air. Soon as we'd called Air, I could feel the wind picking up. I just figured that it was how the wind was rising anyway.

Three times round with Bex, then we're in the South with Aud. I'd lit the candle inside a lantern to give it a change of surviving (Bex had created candles for everyone, with ribbons in case wind stopped flame. They all held them and the ribbons did the job. They were really beautiful!). Aud's candle-flame survived the calling and the first lap, then went out. It wasn't needful. As Scott had called, there was a pause, then behind Aud, on the Levels below, I saw the world get lighter. It was a brief second, as if the sun had come out over the site of the Glastonbury Festival, but definite, and around we went. I whispered to Aud on the second lap not to afret on the loss of the flame. She is fire, concentrate on the flame inside her. She did, you could see it in her. (She was singing 'we shall not, we shall not be moved' when it came to take the circle down later! LOL)

Onto Ian. The rain is spotting and we call water... We got water! Photo by Bex Look at the picture, no discernable rain there. When it came to take it down again, the back of Ian's coat was drenched, while the front wasn't too bad. We all knew that the rain was coming from the west when we tried to leave the Tor, but the back of Ian's jacket was my clue right there. *grin*

Still each of these were made to feel hard to raise in comparison to Earth. Bex, Aud and Ian were air, fire and water sunsigns respectively. The only two earth signs there were myself and Branny - one HPS-ing and one to take the pictures. Froggie, an air sign, was happy enough holding earth, so he got the job. Normally you feel the subtle up as the element is raised, not so here. Cabochon and I went, pulled and it was like tensing yourself to lift a heavy box only to discover it's light. I nearly did the energy-raising equivalent of falling backwards. LOL

The ceremony itself was beautiful. For the first time ever, I had the words colour-coded and bullet-pointed into a book (which Aud had bought me), but the vast majority of the ceremony was improvised right there and then, as these things should be.The Handfasting. Photo by Branny (click for site) Then a beautiful moment of synchroncity...

Earlier, as Froggie and I had left his shop, he'd picked up a staff. He asked if I wanted to use it in the ceremony, but I had my stang for that. He opted to bring it anyway and was holding it during the handfasting. Cabochon and I managed to handfast Pixie and Dirk together, then I turned to find the stang... I'd left it in the tower! I was just about to cut myself a door to run and get it, when Froggie chucked me his staff. I laid it down, the couple, handfast, leapt over it, and there! They were Bride and Groom. I loved it! I loved the pure synchronicity of it! Loved it!

The food and mead were blessed by Bride and Groom, then taken around to share with all. By now, the wind and rain are really starting to lash down. Pixie and Branny look frozen to death, but most everyone else have huge grins on their faces. Once they were back, I announced,
'For those who think that they may die of hypothermia, I'm about to cut a door in the circle. Everyone else, all that's left is to take the circle down.' Branny left quickly; Alan left after Aud kicked him out for 'farting about', everyone else stayed. Pixie and Dirk both looked so cold that I expected them to run too, but Pixie told me later that she didn't think it was right with the rest of us stuck out there.

Me? I was perfect. I was dry. The elements threw their worst at me and my robes kept me completely dry. Afterwards, I was to walk into a room of sopping wet people and announce, 'Ladies and gentlemen! Twin Rose Designs!' as only I and Dirk (in Cabochon's cloak) were dry. Only the people who had been wearing clothes made my Andrea. Aud and Bex both told me later that they never wanted to leave that circle ever, for all the weather. Cabochon was downright intoxicated on the energy by now as well. Ian was running around like a wild thing soon as he was able too. There must have been something in holding the elements or being clergy that got to us. It was such an amazing feeling. Still, I didn't know that right then and I know my own capacity for loving wildness doesn't always translate, so I ran to close the circle as the rain thundered down. Three times round, as Cabochon led those holding the points. I was high as a kite on the energies by then.

We hurriedly packed up, Cabochon asked me what to do with the last of the cake and I suggested that he crumple it up as an offer to deity and the spirits. He went outside just in time to see forked lightning on the horizon behind where fire had been raised. He came back even more hyperactive. People 'fled' (insofar as they were able, with the wind so high and the rain lashing down into our faces), but Ian and I were the last to leave the summit. Even though we just overtook Branny and Cabochon (poor wench had a torn ligament and Cab was helping her), we were only ever a few paces in front. I was only halfway down when I saw Aud go arse over tit near the bottom. She did her knee in, but was apparently on the floor for so long because she was laughing so much.

Laughing about covers us too. In truth I wanted to stay up there, which sounds strange to say, given the weather right then. I was just high, really high. No actual chemicals had entered my body, nor was I drunk. I was just loving every second of this. Beside me Ian was running wild too; behind us, Cabochon was bouncing around and in our little gang, only Branny was being cautious, though that may have been ankle related. She couldn't afford to slip!

Partway down, the path snakes around to face the south-east and I couldn't move! The wind was so strong that I couldn't walk against it. I held out my arms thinking that I could start flying in reality, riding on the wind. Ian and I did that in Wales once, during a strong wind on Cader Idris and I wanted to do it from the Tor; but I must have been too heavy to lift up, even though it was too strong for me to walk into. Like a solid wall, that wind, until Ian grabbed me and pulled me through and us laughing our heads off.

We eventually reached the bottom, getting to just by Dion Fortune's house before Branny went over on her ankle. She just went pure white and you could tell she wanted to cry, but she didn't. I was expecting to learn some new Dutch swearwords, but she was very restrained. Very slowly, covered in two Cancerian males and me, she breathed out and her colour came back. There was nothing we could do, short of her waiting while I fetched the car. That could have been up to half an hour in that rain. She braved the walk over the pneumonia and we went on, swigging mead and whiskey; me and Cabochon being told to slow down every 100 yards, as we got over-excited and started Tigger-ing up the road. Ian kept pace with Branny, with us running backwards and forwards. It was so much fun! (Obviously not for Branny...)

Back at the George and Pilgrim, Froggie was in the bar, but everyone else had gone upstairs to dry off or get changed. We got Branny sat down and I ran to get a stool to put her foot up on. I can't really remember much else, I think I was just way too hyper. I know that I raced up to Pixie and Dirk's room and Pixie asked me to gather everyone up there rather than in the bar below. I did that then, running up and down stairs, trying to get the message to everyone. That took some time! In the finish, I was in the bar gathering Froggie, when Bex and Pete arrived down. I was trying to shepherd them upstairs, when Pixie and Dirk turned up. I was just bouncing around, happy to have a drink anywhere.

We did end up upstairs again. By now, even the outer coating of my robes were dry.Pixie I was in shock, because they had no right to be. I had to call Andrea! I did so and the phone went around the whole room, with Pixie trying to intercept it because it was running my phone-bill up. It came to me, I said hello and passed her to Branny. I think Pixie gave up around then. Bless her.

The standing, half-serious joke of the evening was Pixie, every 20 mins or so, hushing us all up. She'd read the blarb on a sheet which came with the room. 'This is a 700 year old building and, as such, has no soundproofing...' Pixie would get us told with that line and everything would go into low voices for all of 30 seconds, then rise and rise. I had no hope of hearing. I was lip-reading and bouncing around a lot.

The call went for food at around 11. No restaurant in a small town is going to let you in at that time, particularly 11, reasonably drunk people. You'd get fed in a city, but not somewhere like Glastonbury. However, Aud and Bex managed to wing something over at the local Italian restaurant, but only if we seated now. I turned to find no people behind me. I wrapped my shawl around me and headed off back into the rain and night, so loving that rain! (Really, that's not sarcasm, that's why I volunteered to go!) I found the Bride, Groom and assorted stragglers in their room, still in the George and Pilgrim. Then Alan appeared behind me, they were refusing to feed us unless we went NOW.

Off we toddled for a beautiful meal there. Came to pay and found that Cabochon had paid for us all. He's such a wonderful man.

Cabochon, Pixie and Dirk

We were up until the early hours, making way too much noise for a 700 year old building with no soundproofing; drinking mead, wine and whiskey, eating cheese. I felt like I could stay up all night, but married couples might need to go to bed... Crank calling people... probably on my phone bill, but I was way too drunk by then to notice. ;-) It's still cool, if it was.

Branny and I had us a cup of tea in our room. I offered to read her a bedtime story from the free Gideon's Bible, but she declined. Almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was asleep.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Five children questioned after boy, 5, left hanging

'Kin hell...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Journeying to Avalon

Saturday 21st May 2005:

We were setting off in several cars, but had it all worked out beforehand. I got off really lightly, as I didn't have to pick up anyone, just take Pixie and Dirk from the house I was in too. Everyone was leaving at 9, except Aud and Alan, who were setting out earlier in order to pick Scott and Ian up from Birmingham, that way we'd all meet up in Glastonbury at roughly the same time.

It was a great journey down. Last year, I'd learned to detest driving. This was three-fold - I had whiplash, which made driving really painful; also I was one of only a few drivers in a large group, which meant that I had to drive if we were all going somewhere. In the past, Kate's been one of any group we're with, so we've taken it in turns, but she wasn't part of this group; and also by the latter half, Rebecca wasn't a well car, so I lived in fear of her breaking down or worse. I spent a lot of last year driving along, in a lot of pain, stressed over the car, really wishing that I wasn't driving. This journey down to Glastonbury, with Pixie and Dirk, reversed all of that. I thoroughly enjoyed not only that journey, but all the others too. (Even the final, mad journey to Gatwick on the Wednesday, I didn't dislike for my own part. If we hadn't been battling against the clock, it would have been a good journey too.) This is one of the huge gifts that I brought out of Pixie and Dirk's visit, this renewed okayness with driving again. Plus Dirk and Branny between them identified the two remaining noises that Rebecca is making, so I can get them sorted.

I've never known the journey to Glastonbury pass so quickly (excepting the time I did it in the middle of the night at 100mph). It was almost a disappointment to reach it, almost, I say, because then the excitement of being in Glastonbury took over. We stopped at Froggie's shop for ages, before meeting Bex and Pete at the Blue Note.

There were still minor stresses though, because we'd all managed to keep Branny's arrival a secret until now, but things didn't quite go according to plan. We sat in the courtyard of the Blue Note, Bex and I purposefully sitting side-by-side at the other end of the table to Pixie and Dirk, so that the text messages between Aud and Branny and us could be kept away from them. Aud and Alan had dropped off Scott and Ian, who'd joined us, then gone for Branny at Castle Cary. I'd have gone, but my absense would have been too noticeable. At first, Ian said that they were 'parking up'. Then time stretched out and out. The texts said that Branny had hitch-hiked to Shepton Mallet, while Aud and Alan were at Castle Cary. They were going for her. By now, Pixie was getting very suspicious. I ended up lying through my teeth, saying they'd gone up Clarke's Village for flares for on top of the Tor. Behind Pixie, Ian was giving me that 'you lie way too well, Harrington' look, so I was ignoring him. *grin* Then I remembered that I hadn't bought the pay and display for my car. My mind had been so full of the Branny situation that it just passed me by. My job was to get Pixie and Dirk into the Blue Note and keep them there; somewhere along the way I simply forgot about buying the parking. Pixie and I ran back to my car, but there was a parking ticket on it. (Oh! Shit, I still need to pay that!)

There was no way we could stay together at the Blue Note any longer without giving the game away. A glance at the time showed we'd been in Glastonbury nearly 2 hours anyway, so it was nearly time to check in. Off we all went to the George and Pilgrim, each of us (except Pixie and Dirk) watching entrances and waiting on the next text messaged progress report. If we'd split up now, then we didn't know how we'd spring Branny on them. Then, as Pixie signed for her room, Branny turned up. I remember looking at her, thinking, 'there's Branny'. No reaction. Looking again, 'yep, Branny'. Then the third time, 'SHIT! THAT'S BRANNY STANDING THERE!' Dirk saw her and she put her fingers over her lips. I surreptiously got my camera out. Pixie turned and it took a second to register, then she screamed and ran to hug her. LOL Two seconds later, we had an Aud and Alan too and all the surprises were over. We'd all nearly slipped up as well. The night before I'd said to Pixie, Dirk and Kate, 'Shit, I didn't get myself some pyjamas and I'm going to be... sharing a room...' Then covered it with reaching for my drink. It had sounded well suss to me, but no-one had picked it up. I'm just amazed that Pixie hadn't counted on her fingers and wondered who I'd been sharing a room with!

The George and Pilgrim had fucked up. I triple-checked since first booking the rooms months ago. Two twin rooms, two doubles and a four-poster bridal suite. Yes, yes, yes. Then, last week, I'd checked again, suddenly all of the rooms were doubles, but being charged at twin room prices... There was nothing we could do about it. Branny and I shared one double room, while Scott and Ian shared another. Branny and I originally had the four-poster room (charged at the price of a twin room.... mmmm...), but we took one look and went to find Alan. This should be his and Aud's room, as this amounted to their second honeymoon. Aud herself was over the Blue Note. She needed food urgently (medical reasons rather than plain hunger) and a breather before coming out to play. Branny and I were in the Nun's Cell. LOL Alan and Aud got the Henry VIII room, where he'd stood to watch the desolution of Glastonbury Abbey. Pixie and Dirk got the huge Abbot Selwood room, which is the room you always stand on Glastonbury High Street looking up at and wondering what it's like to be in it. Ian and Scott got the Priest's Cell, I think, or it could have been called the Confessional. It was directly above me and Branny anyway. Bex and Pete were in a newer part of the building, so their room was called 'number 10'.

Afterwards, we all split up. I nipped to the loo and discovered that I'd come on, so I went hunting Glastonbury for sanitary towels. It started really raining, in defiance of the Grove spells on the subject. Every so often, we'd all meet somewhere, like the time when most of us were crowded in Froggie's shop, buying him out of stock. Now Branny was here, my mind was onto the handfasting, which was the next biggie. I'd got all of the tools for that, but Scott was getting cake and wine. I'd walk about and think, 'Shit, I needed to ask Scott that...' twice I did that, looked up and he was in the shop as I was walking by. I did that once with Aud too. I was beginning to suss that I could call people to me, so I turned into the alley by the Blue Note and called Ian with my mind; walked out the other end and heard the word, 'Wolverhampton'. I looked across and there were Branny and Ian sitting having a brew. :-D

We largely sat there for the afternoon, with folk coming and going, which is how we usually do it. Usually I do more running off and coming back though, though there was a bit of that too. Bex asked on the arrangements for the evening and I arbitarily said to meet at the George and Pilgrim, dressed up, at half 6. Pete, Alan and (I think) Dirk were in the King Charles watching the FA Cup final, though Dirk may have been with Pixie looking around. Glastonbury is tiny, so we always tend to split up. If you need folk, you only have to stand by the Cenotaph and look around, soon enough you'll have everyone. LOL But on this occasion, soon enough everyone had passed through our bit of courtyard, so had the half 6 thing. We needed a definite time, because some needed to have a head start, as that climb is extremely steep. For a start, Branny had a torn ligament in her ankle.

Around five, I went up to Froggie's shop to see if he was joining us. I ended up staying in there until closing, canting with him, then we meandered down to the George and Pilgrim for a pint with Dirk, Ian and Aud. Time was getting on and I realized that I still hadn't had ten minutes to quiet my mind before the handfasting. It was still full of - has everyone got their room? Do Scott and Ian want to move rooms because of the leak? Is Branny sorted with her ankle? Are Pixie and Dirk having a good time? Have Aud and Bex chilled into Glastonbury? Did Pete and Alan get to see the match? Have I got everything for the ceremony? Is everyone happy and alright? Why am I stressing? Am I happy and alright? etc etc. The usual internal dialogue of a Virgo who's accidentally vaguely 'in charge' insofar as anyone is. This sounds like I was stressing far more than I actually was. In reality, I was having a great time, just very conscious that I was supposed to have a quiet mind in a circle very shortly. I'd meant to pop into the Goddess Temple for all of this, but by the time I was ready, the place had been shut ten minutes.

So I went upstairs and found Branny in our room. Got my robes on, which felt beautiful, and, though I knew the bag had everything needful, I double-checked it. It didn't have the oil that Aud had made from Chelle's recipe. I slid into utter panic attack. I thought I'd been doing well. At one time I'd said I'd never do another handfasting, Wiccaning etc because of how panicked I got, but that was so last year. I crouched by the side of my bed in utter terror, mind just flashing with random shit; Branny walked out of the bathroom and I said, 'Branny, I'm panicking now.' She said, in her precise English accent, 'You'll be fine', and disappeared back into the bathroom. I just laughed. I got the Bach Rescue Remedy and the Quiet Life down me, picked up the bag and called that I'd meet her downstairs.

Once downstairs, those who were going early hadn't gone. There was talk of calling a taxi, so I volunteered to run them up, then walk up with the others. Aud, Bex and Branny wanted the head start, so I drove them to the Tor, then turned around in Wellhouse Lane feeling the panic really rising again. I was getting well disgusted with myself. I knew that Ian has dealt with a million panic attacks of mine, so he could sort this one; I knew that Pixie has dealt with them on the phone, but this was her big day. Aud could mother for England, when it comes to it, but I'd just dropped her off. I put on some jingly, jangly Celtic music and drove back to the George and Pilgrim. By the time I got there, I was very calm. The final panic was all over. I'd just needed that five minutes alone with Celtic music. I abandoned the car, joined the others and we walked up to the Tor.

*to be continued*

Pixie and Dirk Came to Britain!!

Thursday 19th May:

I'd set my alarm clock for 9am, but woke up at 20 past 7 and bounced out of bed so excited. I didn't have to be at Aud's until eleven, so there was time to kill. It had been noon until the night before. I tatted on the computer; cleared all my e-mail folders; watched a bit of telly. By 9, Aud was worn down by my incessant bouncing around via e-mail and said I could go to hers at half 10. I made a cuppa, I did a few repairs on the Witchgrove website. I wondered if there were spells for making time go more quickly.

Apparently there are. The clock was out on my computer. I only sussed when an e-mail arrived from the future! It was 40 minutes later than I thought it was and I was already late for Aud. Arrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!

Aud and I abandoned my car at FT Kate's house, while Alan and Harriet came for us in his 7-seater mini-bus. I'd chucked my keys through Kate's letterbox before I realized I'd left my handbag, in full view, in my car. I retrieved my keys with frightening ease, even for a Wulfrunian, which caused me to poke them halfway across her floor with a piece of wire I found in the gutter. I then took the wire with me in my handbag, in case any thieving Black Country dude had witnessed it all. And off we went on our adventure.

It was well cool being chaffeured down the motorway. I got to see lots of pretties that I wouldn't have ordinarily seen. Aud pointed out Chilton in the distance, where she grew up; then we stopped in Rugby, which was her 'hood before she moved into my 'hood. I got to see the field where William Webb Ellis committed handball and deserved a penalty against his team picked up the ball during a football game, thus inventing the game of rugby. I also saw the church where Aud was married to her training husband, before she married Alan. Then it was off to Heathrow to pick up Pixie and Dirk.

We only just got there in time. Roadworks and all kinds of things held us up, but we'd just parked up, had a fag and crossed the road to arrivals and there was an almighty Pixie-like screech. They had just that second arrived too, so we ran, hugged them, and Aud and I put Wolverhampton Wanderers scarves around their necks, like Hawaiian people put flowers around the necks of their visitors. Of course, until then, it had been red hot. I'd taken my jacket off in the car and was still boiling, so I didn't expect the scarves to see much wear. But soon as we left the airport, it started raining. Only showers, but the sun had just disappeared while we'd spent those five minutes in Heathrow Airport.

We drove around looking for somewhere to park up, that was reasonably secure (because of the luggage), but also on the tube line. That became a magical mystery tour and I saw parts of London which I've never seen before (which isn't that hard...). I'd originally jumped in the back, on the basis that Aud knows London to direct Alan, but the further we went the more my stomach was turning. I got to the part where I thought I'm going to throw up any second now, when Aud noticed and got Alan to pull over. I was mortified! But I suppose it would have been far worse if I'd vomitted all over Pixie in Alan's car. Once I'd had a few gasps of air and gagged a bit, I was fine. I got into the front then. It was safer.

We parked up in Hammersmith and was walking to the tube station when Cerr 'phoned! Dirk had just been speculating on what Yoda's penis looks like, which amused Cerr greatly. LOL I handed her to Pixie for a short cant, but we were nearly at the tube station, so was going to lose signal. I got to say goodbye, then ran after the others. Alan paid for all of our tube tickets and refused point-blank to have any money off me for petrol. I did try to sneak him a twenty via Harriet when he later bought a round in the pub too, but Aud caught us and sneaked it back into my pocket. Git.

The voice on the tannoy didn't say 'mind the gap' to the disappointment of me and Pixie. ('Neverwhere' by Neil Gaiman...) We landed at Westminster, which was strange. Every other time I've landed at Westminster, I've had a banner or a candle and I'm about to protest something. It was bizarre seeing it minus thousands of people chanting! We had us some crepes from a stand beside the Boudicca statue, with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament over the road; then headed towards Westminster Abbey, which was closed. It had started to really rain by now, so we sheltered in the Abbey shop. I nearly bought an American-English dictionary, but Pixie and Dirk assured me that they'd never heard of half the American words in it.

We walked in the rain to Regent's Park, then under the sheltering canopy of trees to Buckingham Palace. The flag was up, which meant that the Queen was in, but we didn't ask to go in for tea, because the rain was belting down. Instead we found the nearest pub and went into it. That was fun AND surreal. Pixie and Dirk, wearing Wolves scarves, sitting with us in a pub... but also like old friends just nipping over for a visit, which was precisely what they were. But, for me, there wasn't that 'stepping out of a story-book' feel that there was in Vegas, which I reckon was because they were in my 'hood and because I'd met them before.

The rain wasn't about to let up, so Pixie and Dirk decided they'd seen enough of London and we should head back. On the tube was a woman who looked completely wrecked. You could smell the booze a mile off and the businessman holding her up looked so embarrassed. The only space in the carriage was around her, as folk were waiting for her to throw. He practically carried her off at their station. Back in Hammersmith, poor Harriet got packed into the luggage; Pixie had a near miss with a toilet stop; and we all bounced around a lot, generally over-excited.

We phoned Georgia once we were back on the road, because it was the anniversary of her divorce and also because I'd written an e-mail before I left (and posted it to mods) suggesting that Britgrovers meet Pixie and Dirk on Tuesday night in Seamus O'Donnells, but I didn't want to plan their holiday for them, so I wanted to ask them before sending it. They agreed, so I asked Georgia to do so. We all loved her up and wished she was there... though where we would have put her in that car... *giggle* I'd have had her on my lap.

We stopped off in Beaconsfield for a meal at the Greyhound pub. We snuggled around a table and that got a little surreal. *grin* It was so lovely to look up and see my friends there, especially Pixie, who I know so well but rarely see. She got a round in and went to pay with her Visa, but it wasn't signed, which is illegal here. She got all American on the landlady and the wench just accepted the card! LOL Pixie explained that no-one signs their cards in America, in case of having their signature forged. Everyone does here, so a blank one would just end up with the thief's signature on it. It's all crossing over to pin numbers anyway now.

There was a no mobile phones rule in there, so I blushed my head off when FT Kate phoned me! The whole pub cheered and catcalled, while I dashed outside. I had no idea how long it would take to get home, so I kept texting her ETAs as I got my bearings. When we got there, she opened the door in costume from her play ('Murdered to Death'). She plays Miss Maple - a spoof on Miss Marple - so was an elderly lady. LMFAO! She kept it on all through making us cups of teas and coffees or getting the beer open, then ran upstairs and came back transformed into herself.

We were up until the early hours then; opening presents; sampling peeps. Pixie's dad had sent me a little Yoda action figure, with a gun, so we executed a peep to test it. LOL Very loud and raucous, we were, but Nick (Kate's housemate in bed above us) forgave us.

Friday 20th May:

There were no real plans, but I woke up at half past 7 and heard voices in the other room. Pixie and Dirk were already awake. I remembered where I was and what was happening to me, so bounced out of bed. Understand that bounced and half 7 in the morning is relative. I bounced inwardly until I'd got two cups of tea and several cigarettes inside me, then I was awake enough to bounce outwardly too!

Aud wanted to play and Pixie and Dirk wanted to sample a traditional English breakfast, so I killed two birds with one stone and added a bonus bird for myself, by picking Aud up and going round the corner to The Lunchbox. I used to go in there every dinnertime until about four years ago. They not only remembered my name, but also the double-decker egg, beans and cheese toasted sandwich that they'd invented for me. :-o Pixie and Dirk had the full English. I thought it would turn out that despite the name it was known the world over. Nope. They had never seen the like before. Americans don't even have baked beans for breakfast. In what became a trademark of British meals, they found it much more greasy than they were used to. Dirk, in particular, was talking very wistfully about American food (and weather) by the end of their visit here. Poor cariad.

We set off for the Black Country Museum, via Morrisons, and it was really good fun. I've been there millions of times, so I thought I would just be going to show Pixie and Dirk, but in the event, I learned things about my 'hood that I hadn't known. It was visiting for my own sake then! LOL Before we went in, I'd told them that they wouldn't find the Black Country on a map, because everyone has their own idea of where it is. When we were in there, there was a short presentation over three screens telling folk all about the Black Country. A professor-type bloke pops up on one screen saying, 'The Black Country is where the coalfields were' and up popped a map of this on the middle screen. On the far screen another professor-type bloke pops saying, 'No, no, the Black Country is where the steel and iron were, the industrial areas...' The map shows a bigger area, then disappears. Up pops Ayli or Aynok, saying, 'Tha' Block Contrees we-ah a Block Contree mon seys ittis...' It became a standing joke after that, with Pixie keep saying, 'Tell, where is the Black Country?' I guess you had to be there...

We wondered around the museum then, in and out the houses, down on the tram, and taking a tour of the ironworks. The bloke doing the door really couldn't cope if something went off-script. At one bit he picked up a length of iron and Pixie jumped forward to touch it. The look on his face! LOL I actually thought he was handing it to us, but evidentally not. He told us some interesting things though. Like how the workers used to punch in their presense on a huge dial, which looked like a clockface, hence 'clocking on'; and how they used to be paid by their wages being poured from little pots into their caps, hence 'coming cap in hand'. We also nipped into the little cinema and watched a Charlie Chaplin short film, before going into the pub. We walked back up via the cake-shop - beautiful home-baked cakes, but a bit too sugary for the Americans - and the precious stones shop. I'm sure that hadn't been there last time!

We dropped Aud off then went via the garage to fill up on petrol for the next day. Dirk and Pixie had gone into the shop by the time I finished. I walked in to find that they'd paid my petrol! :-o (Pixie did this again on the Tuesday night, plus bought me Red Bull etc for the journey down to Gatwick.) That was so lovely of them.

We made our way back to Kate's and caught a taxi into Stourbridge, eating at Chicago Rock (apparently it didn't look like Chicago, even if you closed your eyes. LOL), before walking down to to the Stourbridge Rock Cafe to see Chumbawamba. We were well early, so watched Bleeding Hearts doing their soundtrack. They were quite good! Kate's brother, Andrew, and all the Stourbridge posse joined us, including Stefan, who I hadn't seen since 1993. Bleeding Hearts were brilliant, but had got us all ready for dancing, when Chumbawamba came on - minus Alice Nutter and Danbert - performing a largely accoustic set. It took a while to adjust, because we kept thinking that they'd start on the more raucous songs. They were still good, but completely at odds with the mood in the place.

It was all way too smokey for Pixie in particular as well; Dirk told me afterwards that he was shocked at just how many Britons smoke. By that point, every single person he'd met smoked, which was proving to be hard on their lungs. He mused that it might be that Americans are more educated about this, until I showed him the cigarette packets, all telling us just how bad for us they were. Branny was there when we had this conversation and she confirmed that the Dutch are also well informed. It seems that all three countries have the anti-smoking adverts too. Maybe there's something more fatalistic in the European mindset, I don't know.

Back to the Friday night, we caught a taxi home and then partied on at Kate's house. This was her night out after a long, long hard stretch of working every weekend and rehearsing for her play every night. She'd been gutted when she'd realized that the dates clashed (thus she'd had to drop out of Glastonbury, which had really upset her). I knew that she wanted to party on all night long, but Pixie and Dirk were wilting, Nick was asleep upstairs and I had to be driving a car at 9am. I felt really sorry for her, but by 1-2am, we had to call it a night and go abed, which was a shame, because I was loving it too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


ON HOLIDAY! ON HOLIDAY! ON HOLIDAY! No more work for a week! And I'm meeting Pixie and Dirk tomorrow! And I'm going to London! And it's so exciting!

*bounce bounce bounce*


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