Monday, 12 February 2018

Chocolate ... ahem Valentine's Day

Sometimes you just fancy a chocolate.
     We actually didn't have any at christmas. Usually we buy some for ourselves, and get a box as a gift too. This year we ended up not buying ourselves any, and sod's law says 'In that case, you won't get any as gifts either!'
     So I was sitting fancying a chocolate when I suddenly realised that the ideal opportunity for giving and receiving of chocolate was rapidly approaching: Valentine's Day!
     Now to be honest, I am not too happy about the very commercial nature of the modern celebration: you WILL buy chocolates, you WILL buy flowers and they must be roses, red roses! you Will buy a card (how much?!)
     So Graham and I usually make each other a card.
     But when you just fancy a chocolate and a traditional chocolate buying date is handy, why not take advantage of the fact?
     However, I have another problem: Graham is not good at taking hints. I may have mentioned this before. So my saying 'It will be Valentine's day on Wednesday.' would simply elicit an agreement, this would not lead male brain to creak into any kind of action along the lines of : Valentine's Day mention = buy wife something, maybe chocolates?
     So a bit more drastic and direct action was called for and today's shopping list went:
Black Pepper
Chilli Sauce
CHOCOLATES
Milk etc

     However I may now have a slightly different problem: because I have emphasised 'chocolates' today's shopping may well be distinctly chocolate heavy.
     But as a friend of mind said when I mentioned my concerns:
     'And where's the problem?'




Friday, 2 February 2018

Welcoming the Goddess

'Twas the Eve of Imbolc and the night after the Full Blue Blood Super Moon.
     I opened the front door to welcome the Goddess in, and there was the beautiful Moon, full and clear in the starry sky. I called Graham to come and have a look, as the previous night although we could see the Moon, it was through a gauzy veil of thin cloud.
     And as I called Graham, Bridie shot past me through the door, down the path and out through the open garden gate.
     'Oh no!' I thought, hoping we weren't in for a repeat of the previous day's slow motion chase (which really should have the theme to 'Dick Barton - secret agent.' dubbed over it)* But luckily Bridie hadn't gone far and was merely on the path outside the garden and kept peeping back though the gate at us to see if she was in trouble.
     I casually went down the garden path calling, 'Here Bridie! Come on, Bridie!' as I went and as she danced back into the garden again, I quickly shut the gate.
     I went back to the door to continue our welcome to the Goddess, so this year the call was:
     'Bride is come! Bridie, come on!
     Bride is welcome! Come on, Bridie, come on!'

     And happily our Bridie and the Goddess both came in.





* I looked up the theme tune to this classic radio show on Google, and found that the tune is actually called 'Devil's Gallop' which is appropriate - do have a look for yourself

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Case of the Disappearing Dog

Lo the Photocopier cometh!
     Our old photocopier had reached the end of its life. It had had to have major surgery last year and was making a strange clicking sound when it copied. Not to mention its tendency to fade out copies, jam regularly and become strangely incontinent.
     So when George came to see us and persuade us that it was time to swap machines, to be honest we did not put up much of a fight. (Plus the new machine is actually going to cost us less per quarter than the old one) So brand new machine, less cost - win win!
     Today we were told we had the 10am delivery slot, and the engineer would be along in the afternoon to install the new photocopier on my PC.
      At 11am the engineer arrived.
     'Have you brought the copier?' I asked
     'Isn't it here yet?' he replied
    He retired to his car to deal with emails and try and find out where our photocopier was.
     At 1pm two burly gentlemen arrived with the new photocopier.
     As they had to take the old copier away, then position the new one at the top of the stairs, the front door had to be left open.
     At 1.05 a neighbour popped round to tell us he had seen one of our dogs legging it down the street. So I was left to see to delivery men and the engineer while Graham set off in hot pursuit.
     As both our dogs are blue merle rough collies, it was no good asking the neighbour which dog it was, so we both assumed the escapee was Bridie who has a tendency to bolt, and is fast ....
     Happily when I went up to talk to the engineer, I saw that Bridie was being as good as gold, sitting quietly in her special place under the spare bed, so I knew it was our elderly China who had gone walk-about.
     When Graham got home he told me he had been involved in a slow motion chase, which would have graced Spike Milligan. Neither he nor China is in the first flush of youth, and despite being a sprinter when he was young (or maybe because of it) Graham's knees will not allow him to run.
     China had apparently got bored with the comings and goings and had decided to take herself on their normal morning walk route. So she was wandering along in a stately fashion (her leggs don't allow her to run very far either) but she is also going both blind and deaf, so Graham shouting after her was being ignored, or not heard.
     Graham was gaining gradually, but not quickly, until they entered the underpass, where Graham's shout magnified and echoed off the walls and China stopped and looked behind her. This allowed Graham to stride manfully up to her and get her on a lead to bring home again.
    So all is well.
     We have a new photocopier, installed by a very nice young man, and China and Graham have had an invigorating walk.


   

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Candle Novena

Because today (17th January) is sacred to the goddess Felicitas, goddess of Good Luck and today is also New Moon, I suggested on Facebook that today would be a good day to start a candle Novena to Felicitas for Good Luck in the coming year.
     One of our readers sent me a message asking how to do this, so here is how you do it:

     A Novena means a series of prayers, spells or magical workings, done over a certain period and as Novena comes from the Latin word meaning 'nine', then the traditional number of repetitions would be nine.
    This is a very simple but effective way of doing a spell, because each repetition builds up the energy in the spell. Also nine is three times three, or a triple triple, which is a special magical number, especially to Witches as we call our Moon Goddess, the Triple Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Crone.
    So all you have to do is light a candle each evening for nine consecutive evenings. Each time you light the candle say something like:
     I light this candle for Felicitas,
     To bring me good luck in the coming year.

     Each night let the candle burn down completely and light a new one the next day.
    Alternately you can divide your candle into nine sections, and burn a section each night (much like the Advent candles you can buy, which you burn a section for each day of Advent).
     You can use white candles for any purpose, or you could use green for good luck, or orange which is sacred to Mercury who is also the God of Good Luck.
     If you are feeling up to it you could use a different coloured candle each night to symbolise Good Luck in a special area of your life.
For example, White for the Moon and Good Luck in divination, Yellow for the Sun Good Luck in your career, Red for good luck in sexual matters or to increase your energy and vitality, Purple for Jupiter and Good Luck in finance, Brown for Saturn and Good Luck in your home and family.
     Always include a sentence when you light the candle to emphasise what kind of luck you are wanting. So you might say:
     I light this Red candle for Felicitas,
     And ask for Good Luck with my physical training.

    I light this Purple candle for Felicitas
    And ask for Good Luck with my investments



Sunday, 7 January 2018

Dog Flapping

Last year, you might remember, we gained a new member of the family.
     Of course I am referring to Bridie, who came, as usual, from our friend Angela at Wicani Collies.
     All of the dogs we have had, all have their own personalities, and Bridie is no exception. She is a large and energetic dog who likes to keep on the move, but can be surprisingly nervous about the oddest of things.She will turn over in her sleep, knock against something waking herself up and vanishes in a crash of flailing limbs. She appears to be able to go from a standing start to light speed in less than a second, so you have to be ready for her to bolt if there is an unknown squeak, creak or snap. Having an open fire, this leads to some energetic evenings, with Bridie in and out of the room sometimes every few seconds.
     She is both intelligent and stubborn. If she has decided she will not do something, or doesn't like something, she is difficult to persuade otherwise.
      And now we come to the dog flap.
      Many years ago we had a cat and a Yorkshire Terrier. They both learnt to use the cat flap and popped in and out happily.
     Then we gained out first rough collie puppy, who also quickly learnt to use the cat flap. As we realised she was going to end up a lot larger than both the cat and the Yorkie and could possibly end up stuck in the cat flap, we bought and installed a larger dog flap.
     The dog flap has proved popular with every dog we have had since.
     Except Bridie.
     Bridie prefers to have the door opened for her and is quite prepared to wait hours until one of us gives in and does it.
    We have shown her the dog flap. She has seen China trundling happily in and out through the dog flap. She has even been 'helped' through the dog flap. But she really does not want to use it.
     Through the summer this hasn't been a problem, as we usually have the back door wide open most of the day. But as it has got colder, the door is only opened when necessary, and one of us (usually me) has ended up standing by the open back door, freezing, shivering and waiting for Bridie to decide she has finished inspecting the garden and is ready to come in again.
    Until the other day.
     Graham was out in the shed doing his exercises, and Bridie wanted to go out. I stood by the back door as usual, waiting for Bridie, who was doing a major inspection of the back garden, here, there and everywhere, trotting beautifully from place to place, and galloping past the door.
     I called her a couple of times, she looked at me, then headed off to the far reaches of the garden again. I thought 'Well sod you then.' and shut the back door, knowing that Graham was outside, and if all else failed he would let Bridie in when he came in.
     I stomped upstairs feeling annoyed with Bridie and got on with my computer work - well I say 'work', WoW may have been involved.
    All of a sudden I heard a crash as the dog flap bust open and the unmistakable sounds of Bridie thundering upstairs. 'Have you come in on your own?' I wondered aloud, 'Or has Graham 'helped' you?' I listened to try and hear if Graham was downstairs but there was nothing.
     Then a couple of minutes later Graham did come in and asked 'Has Bridie come in?'
     For the first time, Bridie had used the dog flap, on her own, with no help.
     Whoopee!

     Now we only have to get her used to the idea that she can use it to go out as well.





Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Fraud Allert

Yesterday I had a strange and scary phone call.
     Scary because it was designed to be so.
     I picked the phone up to hear, 'Hello I am calling from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, we have been trying to contact you because we are compiling a case against you.'
     I immediately went into panic mode, what must I do? what do they want? co-operate and we might avert this 'case'!
    The woman, who spoke with a strange foreign accent, and was on a terrible line, I had trouble hearing what she said, asked me to confirm my name, address and date of birth. She then asked for my national insurance number.
    I hope you do not know yours off by heart, I certainly don't and asked if the woman would wait while I tried to find it. At this point Graham said to me, 'How do you know they are genuine?'
     Somehow, that cut through my panic and I asked the woman on the phone, 'How do I know you are genuine?'
     She gave some sort of reply, but again I had trouble hearing what she said and asked her to repeat it - at which point she rang off.
     I tried the dial back code (1471), expecting to get a 'number withheld' message, but to my surprise I got a London telephone number, which I made a note of.
     I then found the number of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and rang them. I explained to the lady I spoke with there what had happened and she looked at their files, assured me they were not preparing any sort of case against me and said, 'It has come up on my system that you are to ring the National Action Fraud Police line.' and gave me their phone number.
     I rang the Fraud Police Line, which compiles information for the police on cyber crime and other kinds of fraudulent crimes, such as I suspect was in my case attempted identity theft.
     I gave her all the details of the phone conversation, and the phone number I had got from dial back. She said the information would go into the police data base where it could be checked against other similar events. She did say this did not always lead to a conviction, which I can understand, these people are sneaky, that is why they are criminals, they will cover their tracks as much as possible - which is why being able to get a phone number on dial back surprised me.
     She asked me how upset I was on a scale, and I was quite upset by the experience.
     I suppose you never expect this kind of thing to happen to you. And that phone call was designed to create a panic, so that you do not think clearly, and may well give out information you would not normally give.

     And that is why I decided to write about it on my blog.
     It did happen to me, and if I can help put anyone else on their guard against these heartless, cruel and evil people, then I will be happy.

    Incidentally, as a Witch and proud of it, I have passed their evil on to the ones who can deal with it. The hunt is on.


If you feel you need to contact the Action Fraud Police line the UK number is 0300 123 2040
They can also be found online at www.actionfraud.police.uk and you can check there to find out about the latest kinds of fraud which are doing the rounds.




Sunday, 10 December 2017

What to do on a Sunday?

So what do you do on a Winter Sunday morning when it is minus 4° (yay! just found the degree symbol°°°)
     Go to North Cave Boot Sale!
     I love a Boot Sale. You never know what treasures you might find.
     Even, as today, when I am sitting in the car, waiting for Graham to search the stalls, I still find the anticipation exciting.
     There is always a mental list of things to look out for: books (always books!), jigsaw puzzles for me, stoneware bottles, glass jewellery. But there are always the unexpected surprises - some cutup pieces of yellow plastic necklace, which turn out to be amber beads, a Chinese box full of ginseng, a pair of Goth Boots which have been to a 'Cure' gig.
     Today I am actually parked close enough to see what is on some of the stalls, and the outstanding object is a red wooden front door, complete with door knocker.
     Hang on, Graham is back! Much sooner than expected.
     He said there are less stalls than usual, perhaps the forecast threatening snow has kept sellers away. But he is very proud of himself as he is bearing the buy of the day - a HUGE bunch of Mistletoe, covered in berries.
     He is even more proud of himself because he has 'haggled' for this purchase.
     There are actually 3 smaller bunches priced at £2 a bunch, and Graham offered £5 for three bunches and it was accepted!




Now, that is what I call a bunch of Mistletoe!