Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sherlock Holmes - The Movie

"Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England."

"After finally catching serial killer and occult "sorcerer" Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with his partner's new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the dauntless detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic - and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler."

(Above taken from here).

I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, so I'd been looking forward to getting to watch this movie. I have to say, I was disappointed. It wasn't that it was a bad movie as such, but I didn't feel it was as good as it could have been. An example of one of the issues I have with the movie is that I never would have thought that a gentleman like Sherlock Holmes would be involved in a bare chested boxing match in an actual ring, nor did I expect to see Dr. Watson punch Sherlock Holmes because of a simple disagreement between the two of them. In fact, I felt there was far too many times where punching and kicking came in to it. I suppose if you haven't read the stories, so haven't formed an opinion of Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Watson, then you could thoroughly enjoy the movie. But if you're familiar with the way Sherlock Holmes generally works, then you - like me - would probably not enjoy the movie as much.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free cat

When I took Gwydion to the vet yesterday they told me they had a cat that hangs around the vet that was looking for a home. They offered it to me... For free!

I wanted to take it.

But I didn't.

I know Kelly wouldn't have minded; he's been missing having cats around too.

But we already have Gwydion and Kero.

Kero would have been OK with it... Well, after a few days of chasing the poor thing about, and the two of them attempting to figure out who's in charge (I think the cat would win... Our cats were always in charge, despite Kero being first to come in to the house... But don't tell Kero I said that).

But a cat with an indoor guinea pig? Probably not a good plan.

I still almost took it though.

And after he found out about the cat being in need of a home, Kelly almost went back to fetch it, proving he wouldn't have minded me bringing it home.

I don't think we should get another one while we still have the boys though.

But... I miss having cats!

Dear John

"While John is on leave in his hometown, he finds Savannah, a college student visiting the town. Although love was unexpected, it doesn't mean they didn't find it. With the knowledge of John having to leave for the army, their love still lives, until his re-signs on due to the 9/11 attack. Troubles invade and their love put on hold. One cannot bear it anymore; can the other?"

(Above taken from here).

An emotional movie, with a lot less action and violence than I expected to see (which I'm pleased about). Definately not one to watch with the kids, but possibly enjoyable to adults. I thought it was pretty good, anyway. One tip though... Those of you who cry in emotional movies will probably want to have some tissues on hand.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Furkid thoughts: Gwydion's outing (FD)

Hi there humans. It's Gwydion here.

I had the most awful start to the day!

Mami dragged me out of my cage before breakfast and shoved me in a plastic box thing (the humans call it a "pet carrier"). Then that got put in one of those noisy machines with seats that the humans ride about in (the ones they call a "car"). After a load of bumping about in that "car" thing the humans picked up the carrier and took me in to a building that smelled of all kinds of animals, and some other stuff I didn't like the smell of, and we went in to a room where Mami pulled me out of my carrier. And that's when I figured out where I was... The vet!

The vet human clipped my claws, and had a look at a sore I have on one of my paws. She thinks I got it from the fact Mami left it a bit longer than she should have before getting my claws clipped, so I've been putting my foot down at a slightly weird angle. The vet human cleaned it up and told Mami it should heal up nicely now my claws have been clipped. Then we were allowed to go home... Thankfully!

I hated it; when they put me back in the pet carrier thing I was trembling so much the whole thing was shaking. And when they got me home they had to take the thing apart to get me out, because I'd buried myself in the hay they'd put in it for me right at the back of the pet carrier, and was not coming out! And, when they put me in my cage I ran right to my bed to hide from them and the scary vet human!

My day wasn't all bad though; when - a little while later - I got up the courage to come back out of my bed, I found a big, juicy fresh strawberry waiting for me in my bowl!

Squeak soon,
Gwydion

Movie: The Greatest

"Teenagers Rose and Bennett Brewer were in love, and then a car crash claimed Bennett's life. He left behind a grieving mother, father and younger brother, and Rose was left all alone. She has no family to turn to for support, so when she finds out she's pregnant, she winds up at the Brewer's door. She needs their help, and although they can't quite admit it, they each need her so they can begin to heal."

(Above taken from here).

Definately a good movie, though perhaps a little too graphic in parts for some people... Very emotional too, so those who cry in emotional movies will probably want to grab some tissues!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

"In London, the sideshow troupe of Doctor Parnassus promises the audience a journey to the "Imaginarium", an imaginary world commanded by the mind of Doctor Parnassus, where dreams come true. In the stories that Doctor Parnassus tells to his daughter Valentina, the midget Percy, and his assistant Anton, he claims to have lived for more than one thousand years; However, when he fell in love with a mortal woman, he made a deal with the devil (Mr. Nick), trading his immortality for youth. As part of the bargain, he promised his son or daughter to Mr. Nick on their sixteenth birthday. Valentina is now almost to the doomed age and Doctor Parnassus makes a new bet with Mr. Nick, whoever seduces five souls in the Imaginarium will have Valentina as a prize. Meanwhile the troupe rescues Tony, a young man that was hanged on a bridge by the Russians. Tony was chased until he finds and joins the group..."

(Above taken from this page).

I thought this looked like a pretty good movie, but I was disappointed. So much so that I'd lost track of things and gotten bored within about 10 minutes or so, and just changed the channel. I'm not saying it was a bad movie, but it wasn't as good as I'd expected it to be, and - for me at least - was a bit too confusing to fully follow. Perhaps it was a visual thing? *Shrugs*

Random dribble - 27 June 2011 (kinda FD)

The local Tesco - if you don't know what Tesco is, it's a shop similar to Walmart. It isn't our Walmart though, that's Asda - is doing some work on the building to make it bigger, and is also enlarging their carpark/parking lot. In doing so they have done two things: 1. Made their carpark smaller for the time being. 2. Increased the issues with traffic near there because of all the construction work they're doing. Mam helped me take these photos the other day while we were still - after 15 minutes of going absolutely nowhere - waiting to be able to get out of the carpark.




It's not much better elsewhere... In fact, in some places it's worse... Still, it's annoying; and made worse by the fact the work has been "in progress" for a couple of years now, and the Tescos is near one of the main junctions in town. Oh, and... If you're wondering... This was one of the quieter days; some days we've waited longer! This time just felt longer than it was, because we had Emma in the car with us, and she hates being in a mode of transport (buggy/stroller, car, or whatever) when it isn't moving. Good thing she has some toys kept just for car rides to make it a bit easier on her (and us) when waiting in traffic.

***

I had some one on one time with Emma Thursday night, and loved it (of course). Yes; even with having the "pleasure" - OK, not so much - of witnessing her defiant struggle against sleep at bed time. 45 minutes of her crying, calming to a whimper, changing to singing to herself, going quiet, then pulling herself back awake to start the whole thing again... And I still want one of my own (and I was even saying that just after she finally gave up the fight; ask Iggy). The only part I hated? I had to give her back! I always hate that part! I hardly slept Thursday night, but I still didn't want to not be the one looking after her any more. I wish I had one of my own; then I wouldn't have to give it back!

I know, I know... I'm a complete nutter, and I shouldn't be daft enough to wish for my own so badly - and wish time to hand Emma over to my Mam didn't come so quickly - when a good baby like Emma can do something like cry for the best part of 45 minutes. Maybe I just like torture? LOL!

Speaking of Emma though...

She's so smart! She says so many things, helps carry something in from the car (OK, with a lot of, "no, Emma... This way," but still... Come on, she's 15 months old), helps put items in the fridge (she's obviously not given easily broken or squashed things to put in... So no eggs), brushes people's hair (not well, but still...), wipes her face with a cloth (again, not well, but still), brushes her own teeth, no longer has a bottle at all, can use a spoon and fork, and dances and sings when you put music on (be it on the TV, or whatever).

Children are so smart these days!

I think - if her love of music is encouraged - she's going to grow up to do something involving music. Maybe she'll be a famous musician? Or a singer? Possibly - at the very least - a DJ or a dancer of some kind. Like I said, as long as her love of music is encouraged as she grows up.

***

I think they've finally gotten me all caught up with the knitting magazine I subscribed to back in March. I got a big parcel from them with a few issues and a bunch of stuff in it a little over a week ago. At least they sorted it in the end!

Speaking of knitting...

I'm making good progress with the projects on my "to do" list. I've finished a project in this past week, and I've almost finished my next project, so will soon be starting on another. Luckily a lot of them are small projects; stuff to give as presents to children mainly, actually. I'll tell you more about them soon... When I finish - and sort a post for - the item I'm just finishing. And, yes, there will be photos! :)

***

I'm managing to get some nice walks in with Kero, but not as many as I'd like - and definately not as many as he'd like, since he would be happy to be out almost constantly. I'd take him out more, but it keeps raining. I think someone forgot to tell whoever is in charge of the weather that Summer isn't over yet; so much for the scorching hot weather we were meant to have through all of June! Even the nice weather we did have wasn't as hot as it was predicted to be. Ah well... At least we aren't among the people suffering from a lack of rain; I should just be greatful for that. I mean, water is essential for all living things (in small amounts for some creatures, but still; at least some water is essential), and at least I can honestly say we have plenty of it. We usually do in Wales.

Don't get me wrong, we have had some nice weather. I mean, yesterday was a really hot day, and - despite the breeze - I spent the parts of it where I wasn't out with Kero sitting in front of the fan. And today is looking like it might be one of those days too. But we've definately had more rain than sunshine recently!

***

With everything going on - and everything I wanted to post - last week, I didn't end up posting about what weight I lost. So, I guess I'll do both last week and this week's weight loss info today. If you're not interested, feel free to skip this part!

Last week I lost 1lb.
This week I put half a pound (8oz) back on.
Making a total weight loss so far of 1 stone 6 pounds (20lbs).

I'm not really all that bothered about the little bit I put back on; I expected a bit of a weight gain, because I definately didn't eat right last week. Plus, The number is going down slowly, and that's what matters at the end of the day. Sure, I'd have liked to have lost something rather than putting a bit back on this week, but at least it was only a small gain. And, like I said, the number on the scales is going down most weeks, so the odd small weight gain wont hurt. As long as the number goes down most weeks, that's what matters... Right?

***

OK, I think this will do for today... Enjoy whatever's left of your day!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Furkid thoughts: "Litha"

Hi humans,

Yes, that's right, it's Kero again! I wanted to keep this post seporate from the one I did yesterday, hence doing a post two days in a row. Anyway...

My humans have been doing weird things. No, I mean weird for them. They made fire happen on a smelly stick with string sticking out of it (they said it's called a "candle") and said some words that made no sense to me. Then they dug a hole in the garden to bury something, which is so unfair, because I'm never allowed to dig in the garden! I swear the humans are getting stranger by the day!

I have seen these "candle" things used before, but it was strange that they both did it, and that - Mami says because of where it was - I had to be held on to. I wanted to get away, but Mami said I had to stay. I still don't understand why!

Mami says it was for something the humans call "Litha"... I have no idea what - or who - Litha is though. I'm so confused right now! Just when I figure out some of the strange human behaviour, the humans start doing even stranger things!

Just wanted to share my confusion; thanks for listening!

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Meet the Robinsons

"Lewis is a brilliant inventor who meets mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson, whisking Lewis away in a time machine and together they team up to track down Bowler Hat Guy in a showdown that ends with an unexpected twist of fate."

(Above taken from this page).

This was an entertaining and amusing movie. Not one of my favourites of the ones I've seen recently, but pretty good.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Furkid thoughts: that darn cat!

Hi humans, guess who?


That's right, it's me... Kero!

Well, I just wanted to do a post to show you a couple of photos my humans and I managed to get of that darn cat... You know? The one who keeps sneaking in to my garden, and who snuck in to the house to try and get my little brother (Gwydion the guinea pig) not too long ago... Remember? Well, here it is:



I hate that cat! I like cats most of the time, but this cat insists on tormenting me.



Yeah, that's right... Keep on walking, buddy... And don't come back!

Anyway, that's the cat who keeps trying to get inside my territory... Darn cat!

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Father of the Bride Part II

"In this sequel to "Father of the Bride", George Banks must accept the reality of what his daughter's ascension from daughter to wife, and now, to mother means when placed into perspective against his own stage of life. As the comfortable family unit starts to unravel in his mind, a rapid progression into mid-life crisis is in his future. His journey to regain his youth acts as a catalyst for a kind of "rebirth" of his attitude on life when he and his wife, Nina, find how their lives are about to change as well."

(Above taken from this page).

This was a pretty good, really funny movie. Probably not to everyone's liking, but I thought it was pretty good. I don't think I've seen the first one - at least, I don't remember seeing it - but if it's as good as this one then I'd say it's worth watching.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Emma-Jane's doll blankets

OK, here are the promised photos of Emma's doll blankets...

One in two different pinks:


Another in pink and red:


Since finishing these I've been working on other items from the list of knitting projects I want/need to get done. But I'll post more on that another time. For now I just wanted to post the photos of Emma's two doll blankets.

Where the Wild Things Are

"An adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world--a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler."

"An adolescent named Max has an active imagination, and he will throw fits if others don't go along with what he wants. Max - following an incident with Claire (his sister) and her friends, and following a tantrum which he throws as a result of his Mother paying more attention to her boyfriend than to him - runs away from home. Wearing his wolf costume at the time, Max not only runs away physically, but runs toward a world in his imagination. This world, an ocean away, is inhabited by large wild beasts, including one named Carol who is much like Max himself in temperament. Instead of eating Max like they normally would with creatures of his type, the wild things befriend Max after he proclaims himself a king who can magically solve all their problems."

(Above taken from this page).

This was a really weird movie... Good weird, but still weird! I've not read the book... I wonder if the book is as weird as the movie?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Watching the sky in Wales

Last Wednesday - as in June 15th 2011 - was, as you probably know by now, a night when there was a full moon and a lunar eclipse. So, with camera at the ready, we - Kelly and I - waited for sunset, and for a chance to capture photos of the eclipse.

Kelly said it was a beautiful sunset, so I told him to take a couple of photos for me to post on here. So, he did, and here they are:




The eclipse should have been happening some time between sunset and 11:00 pm here. I'm assuming it did - especially since my Mam said she saw it - but we couldn't get in to a position where buildings weren't blocking our view of the moon during that time. We tried, and tried, and tried some more. But no luck. *Sigh*

When the moon finally came in to view (around midnight) it was too late. We figured we'd get a photo though; at least then we had something to show for our evening of watching the sky. So, here's the photo we got:



According to my Mam the eclipse was only visible as a partial eclipse in our area anyway.

I still would have liked to get a photo though...

Far From the Madding Crowd

By Thomas Hardy

"Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy's novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships."

(Above taken from here).

I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the other Thomas Hardy book I read/listened to recently (Ttess Of The D'Urbervilles), and - being totally honest - in the beginning I wasn't sure I was going to like it at all. But it did turn out to be a reasonably good book, and I am glad I continued reading it, because it did turn out to be worth reading after all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Celebrating Litha 2011

I was going to post this another day, but since Iggy was able to sort the photos quicker than expected - thanks for that Iggy - I figured I'd post it now. So, for those interested, here's the post about our Litha celebrations yesterday:

The first activity we'd planned to do was making the lavender syrup. So, we grabbed our bags of lavender:


And our other ingredients. Measured out what we needed for a batch of the stuff, and put it in the saucepan to cook. Here are the ingredients cooking in the pan:


I took these photos of Kelly while he was cooking the syrup:



(We decided it was best for him to be the one in charge of the part involving the cooker).

It turned out pretty good... As far as I can tell anyway. We did 4 batches (2 cups of lavender, 4 cups each of sugar and water) and it filled four of the five jars we had available to use. And here it is in the jars:


A jar for my Dad and Nan, a jar for my Mam, and it turned out to be 2 jars for us.

Then we got our pouches of herbs ready for our ritual:


And collected some Summer flowers for our altar:

(Being sure to thank the plants for giving up some flowers for us).

After which we got our altar fully set up:


We went with a simple altar. Part of this was because we don't have all the tools we should have; they never got replaced after being given up for, in my case, going to Canada, in Kelly's coming here from Canada. That's something we should have seen to sooner and plan to see to as soon as financially possible. You may notice though that my altar tile is on our altar; at least that gave us representations of some of the things (like a goddess symbol, a God symbol, and a couple of elemental symbols). We really do need to replace our ritual tools though.

And did our ritual (sorry, no photos were taken during the actual ritual).

Kero was pretty good during the ritual, though he got a bit anxious from the moment we started to cast the circle, and when we lit the candle I had to hold him tightly to stop him running right out of the circle and breaking it. I'd suspected something like that might happen - though I hadn't thought the anxiety would start with the start of circle casting... Guess he felt the energy in the air or something? - that's why I'd walked him before the ritual and neglected to remove his harness and lead when we came home so as to have some control over him.

The ritual ended with burying the pouches, so we placed the flowers we had taken from the garden with them so as to give them back to the Earth.

After that we set to work on the dream pillows.

I had knitted the pieces for the pillows before hand:


And made them in to pouches, so Kelly stuffed them with teddy bear stuffing and lavender and I sewed up the end that had been left open for this purpose. Leaving us with four little dream pillows:



The purple one is mine, the yellow one is Kelly's, the red one with the pinky coloured stripe is Nan's, and the pink one is my Mam's. No, Mam and Nan didn't come and join in, but I knew they would like a pillow each, so I made one each for them.

I'd told my Grandma (the one who some of you knew who used to come on the blogs) that if we had lavender left to do so I would make her a dream pillow too, and we still had loads left, so I spent the rest of the afternoon making this pillow for her:


We still have just over 2 bags of lavender; I guess 100g would have been enough to make syrup and dream pillows after all. I hope lavender keeps well. ;)

By the time I'd done that it was time for our "Solstice Feast" of cheese pizza and strawberries and cream. We shared a bit of the pizza with Kero, and some of the strawberries with Gwydion, so everyone had some of the feast.

A little while later we rounded off the celebrations by getting the bowls of offerings for the fairies ready:



And putting them outside:


One has a mixture of honey and lavender syrup in it, the other milk.

When we fetched the bowls today some of the contents of each bowl were missing, and it was obvious someone had been eating/drinking from them. Whether it was fairies, cats, or wild animals of some sort, I have no idea. But someone liked our offerings anyway!

Story: Meagan's Summer Solstice

By Kathryn Dyer ©1996

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Meagan. She lived with her mother Elizabeth, her father Michael and her brother Corwin. One day, Meagan was playing with her cat Starweaver. She was excited. Soon it would be Midsummer Day, the longest day of the year. Meagan knew that it was also called Litha. She and her family would celebrate all day with a picnic and a ritual at the farm that one of the coven members owned. Meagan had to be careful not to mention the word coven around her Gramma Lee and Granpa Scott because they were Christian and might get upset about Meagan and her family being pagan. Meagan wished that her grandparents understood how nice all the pagans that she knew were.

It was hot and Meagan was getting thirsty. She started back home to get a drink. On the way home she saw a woman in a nurse's uniform coming out of her friend Mrs. Hanson's house. Meagan slowed down. She had become friends with Mrs. Hanson after leaving a May basket on her porch. She wondered who the woman could be.

Meagan sped up and ran the rest of the way home. She raced up the stairs and into the kitchen. "Meagan!" said her father, "you know the rule about running. We only run outside where we aren't likely to get hurt if we fall down." Meagan stopped by the refrigerator. "I'm sorry Daddy. I saw a lady in a nurse's uniform down at Mrs. Hanson's house and I was going to call her and see who it was. I was coming home to get a drink anyway." Michael nodded, "It was thoughtful of you not to stop at Mrs. Hanson's house. If she's sick, she might not want company. I tell you what...I'll call Mrs. Hanson while you get a drink." Meagan poured herself a big glass of herbal tea while her father went into his office to make the call. She looked for some cookies but didn’t see any.

Just then, Meagan's mother came in the door carrying several net bags full of groceries. Meagan's family always used cloth or net bags at the grocery store to help save the earth's resources. "I'll help!" exclaimed Meagan running up to her mother. "I'd rather you went to the car and helped your brother bring in the rest of the bags please," said her mother. Meagan went outside and found Corwin testing bags to see which were heaviest. "Here," he said, "these are the perfect weight for you." Meagan took the bags and took them inside. She helped put up the groceries. Meagan wondered why her father had not come back and told her about Mrs. Hanson. She asked her mother if she could take Mrs. Hanson some cookies when they made a new batch. "Sure honey," said her mother, "that reminds me, we should probably make three batches tonight so that we'll have enough for the picnic on Saturday. In fact, you might ask Mrs. Hanson if she'd like to go on a picnic sometime with us. She isn't pagan and I don't she'd enjoy going to Litha"

"I'm afraid Mrs. Hanson isn't going anywhere for awhile," said Michael from the doorway, "I just talked to her on the phone. It seems that she's broken her leg. That's why she wasn't home last week, the doctor had her stay in the hospital so that it would heal better. She's home now, but he still wants her to take it easy. There's a nurse's aide who's going to come bathe her several days a week but she was wondering how she was going to get her meals. You know that she doesn't believe in convenience foods so I offered to bring over a helping of what ever we're having until she's back on her feet. I hope you don't mind." Elizabeth walked over and hugged him hard. She smiled up at him, "Why should I mind? You do most of the cooking! Besides, it was very kind of you to think of it."

So that night after dinner had been made Meagan and her brother ran down the road with some reusable containers. Corwin rang the doorbell twice and unlocked the door with the key that their mother had given him. "Hello! Mrs. Hanson?" he called into the house as they brought in their packages. "I'm back in the family room," they heard her call from the other end of the house. Corwin carefully locked the door behind them and put the key into his pocket. They carefully took their packages into the family room. There was Mrs. Hanson sitting in a recliner. She had a table on either side of her, a wheelchair near her and a TV remote in her hand. She smiled when she saw them. "I didn't know how serious your father was about his offer," she said, "I really a appreciate you bringing me something to eat." Mrs. Hanson was surprised when she saw what they had brought her. They had a drink, some casserole, some vegetables and some cookies for dessert.

"We made lots of cookies today because we're going on a picnic on Saturday," said Meagan, "I wish that you could come but it's a family thing and mommy says that not just everyone can come." Mrs. Hanson smiled and patted Meagan's hand. "It's very sweet of you to offer but I don't think I'd feel like it right now anyway. I tell you what, after I'm feeling a little better, perhaps you and I and your friend Cindy could have a picnic on my patio." Meagan nodded. Mrs. Hanson said that she would call Elizabeth and Cindy's mother Anna when she felt up to fixing a picnic. Corwin smiled, "I'll do you one better, why not just let us know when you feel like eating out on the patio and we'll have a potluck picnic!" Mrs. Hanson frowned, "What is a potluck picnic?" "Oh!" said Meagan, "that's when everyone brings one thing that they are good at making. I like to bring ice tea but I have to make sun tea because I'm still not old enough to pour hot water over tea bags. I don't want to get burned." Mrs. Hanson thought that was a good idea.

Meagan and Cindy planned for their picnic so that they would be ready when Mrs. Hanson felt better. Soon she called their parents and made arrangements. They decided to have their picnic the Sunday after the Litha celebration. Soon it was Midsummer's Day y. Meagan and her family packed up a picnic basket filled with good things to eat. They had brought yarn to make God's Eyes. Meagan and Corwin decided to look for sticks at the farm to make the God's Eyes. Meagan knew that they made God's Eyes to celebrate ate the sun at the height of its power. They spent the day playing, eating, singing and dancing. It didn't seem like very long before it was time for ritual. It seemed strange to have ritual while the sun was still up but Meagan's parents said that they would not be done until the sun went down. First the grownups all got dressed in their robes and went from field to field to bless the crops. Meagan and most of the other children stayed behind to set up the altar. They put candles in containers around t he altar and helped put the smaller stones around the fire pit while one of the grownups put bigger stones.

One of the children had found a dead ash tree earlier in the day. Everyone was excited because they could make things from the wood without harming a living tree. Meagan and Corwin both had pieces of the tree to make a wand with. They brought them into the circle with them. Soon the other coven members began gathering. They were excited. Tonight they would also have a handfasting! Jeremy and Sybil had been handfasted for a year and a day at the last Litha celebration. Tonight they would be handfasted 'for as long as love lasts'. It was time for the ritual to begin.

Meagan was still very excited when it was time to go home. She had had a good time and she still had a picnic with Corwin, Cindy and Mrs. Hanson tomorrow! But it was very late and she fell asleep in the car on the way home. Her father carried her into the house and put her to bed. Starweaver curled up beside her and purred. It had been a good day.

(Above taken from here).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fairy friendly

Today is Litha - or, the Summer Solstice - so I wanted to wish you all a blessed Litha!

They say the fairy folk are at large on this date, and that it is one of two days out of the year when the vail between our world and that of the spirits and fairy folk is the thinnest (the other day being Samhain/Halloween, which you may already know). They say that's why the fairy folk are out in such large numbers on this date, and why magic weaved is so much more powerful tonight - and Samhain night - than it is the rest of the year. They say that on these nights you should offer food to the fairy folk to please them and to prevent them from playing nasty tricks on you. I hear they like sweet things best; like honey. I'm leaving out milk and honey for them here... And hopefully some lavender syrup too!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Midsummer Tree

You might think that the erection of the maypole is a tradition associated exclusively with May Day (Beltane), but you would be wrong. The raising of the Midsummer tree is an authentic Midsummer custom found in many areas, including Wales, England, and Sweden.

The custom was called "raising the birch" in south Wales, and "the summer branch" in the north, and the dancing around it "the dance of the birch". It was decorated with ribbons, flowers and even pictures. A weathercock with gilded feathers surmounted it. The cry of the cock at sunrise indicates the end of the darkness and the start of the day. Celtic festivals were held from dusk till cock crow of the next morning.

Sometimes one village would try to steal another village's pole, and it was considered very ill fated and a disgrace to one in this fashion. The bereft village was not allowed to raise another until they had succeeded in stealing one from elsewhere, and the poles were guarded all night by groups of youths and men.

(From the book "Midsummer: Magical Celebrations Of The Summer Solstic" by Anna Franklin).

Litha Activities And Ideas (FD)

*Go berry picking. Chose your best berry and throw it back into the berry bushes as thanks to the Goddess and the bushes (or just nature in general) for the fruit.
*Make a Wicker Man and burn him in your Litha bon fire
*Leave out milk and honey as an offering to the Fae folk
*Have a mock battle between the Oak and Holly King. Remember that this is part of the cycle and as the wheel turns the Holly King will rise again at Winter Solstice
*Make a charm to hang around your neck with a seashell
*Make your own Stonehendge at the beach like you would a sand castle
*Have an outdoor breakfast picnic to welcome the Solstice
*Stay up and watch the sun go down on the longest day of the year!
*Draw a picture of the sun at sunrise and sunset
*Try a fire divination, stare into the coals of your bonfire as it settles or look for forms in the leaping flames.
*Create a ritual to bring healing and love to Mother Earth
*Dispose of those qualities that trouble you: project them into a burn-able (bunch of dry twigs, paper, etc.) and thrust the mass into a cleansing fire
*make staffs
*make dream pillows
*make herb craft items like wreaths .

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

"In the USA, UK and Canada - Fathers' Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in June since being made a national holiday in 1966. In Australia and New Zealand, fathers are honored the first Sunday in September. Other countries celebrate fathers throughout the year."

(Above taken from here).

Today is Father's Day, so... Happy Father's Day to every Dad, Daddy, Dadi, Pa, Papa, Father, etc, out there! I hope your family is making today a really special day for you'!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mansfield Park

By Jane Austen

"Fanny Price, is a young girl from a relatively poor family, raised by her rich uncle and aunt, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, at Mansfield Park. She grows up with her four cousins, Tom Bertram, Edmund Bertram, Maria Bertram and Julia, but is always treated as inferior to them; only Edmund shows his real kindness. He is also the most virtuous of the siblings: Maria and Julia are vain and spoiled, while Tom is an irresponsible gambler. Over time, Fanny's gratitude for Edmund's kindness secretly grows into romantic love."

(Above taken from here where you can read more if you wish. WARNING: Link contains spoilers!)

Providing you're familiar with the writing style of the period, and providing you enjoy bbooks by the likes of Jane Austen, then you may enjoy this book. Personally I found it to be a reasonably good book, though not really one that will be making it in to my favourites any time soon. Still, it was a relatively enjoyable read.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Plans for Litha 2011

We've figured out our definate plans for Midsummer/Litha/The Summer Solstice, and I know that at least some of my readers are curious about what we plan to do, so I thought that - now that we have our plans finalized - I would tell you. So...

I got hold of some suitable lavender from this site, so we are going to make some lavender syrup and a lavender dream pillow for each of us. I'm knitting pouches to sew up as pillows instead of us buying fabric though, to add that extra bit of a personal touch. I'm knitting up the pouches ahead of time so that all we have to do is stuff them and sew them up on the day. In fact, I've knitted the pieces for them, and now I just need to stitch them in to a pouch shape (which I will be doing over the weekend) so they're ready to be stuffed and have the last bit of stitching done on Tuesday.

We will also be doing this Summer Solstice ritual (this is the ritual I mentioned a couple of weeks back that Kelly was fetching the stuff for up town). We're hoping to do it outside in the back garden, but if it rains then we will have to do all but the burying of the pouches inside. Kero will have to have his lead clipped on during the ritual. Well, he has to outside now anyway, but we don't want him stepping outside the circle once it's been cast, so I'll have to keep him by my side to make sure he stays within the boundry. Especially since I'm not sure how he'll react once we light the candle, since he varies in his behaviour around things like that.

For a "feast" we plan to have a cheese and tomato pizza (round, and covered in yellow and red - plus it has tomatoes - so it's a reasonable option for a Summer feast) and some strawberries. We would have had salad, but Kelly doesn't eat salads, and a cheese and tomato pizza is one of the few foods that Kelly will eat that's also suitable for me as a vegetarian. We don't often end up eating the same meals, because of the fact I'm a vegetarian and he's not. But I thought that - since it's a special day - we should eat the same thing. Well, Kelly usually has meat on his pizza, but has agreed that if I don't make him eat salad then he will just buy a cheese and tomato pizza, so that I can share it. So, that's what we're going with. And, as I said, we're following it up with some fresh strawberries.

The final plan for the day is to leave out milk and honey for the fairies... It's meant to keep them on our good side and stop them from being tempted to play tricks on us. If the Lavender Syrup works out well, I'll leave a bit of that out for them too!

We didn't want to be doing anything too complicated due to it being the first time we're doing things together. Besides, we're on a budget this year as well.

Asterix and the Gauls

Astérix le Gaulois (original title)

"In the year 50 BC Gaul is occupied by the romans - nearly. But the small village of Asterix and his friends still resists the Roman legions with the aid of their druid's magic potion, which gives superhuman strength. Learning of this potion, a Roman centurion kidnaps the druid to get the secret formula out of him."

(Above taken from this page).

I enjoy all the Asterix movies; but this one isn't quite as good as the others. I think this is one of those rare sets of movies where the sequels are better than the first movie in the set. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this one too (and would watch it again). I'm just pointing out that - of all the Asterix movies - this is my least favourite.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Walk photos from late May or early June 2011

I recently decided it was time to get more photos from where we walk, so, we got Kero ready...



And off we went.

Along the path we walk there are trees and the river on one side, and there are houses on the other. Well, we decided to take photos of any flowers and plants we saw, whether they were wild ones or ones in the gardens of the people who lived on the one side of the path. Anyway, because of this some of the photos I'm about to share will have pieces of houses in them. So, to return to our walk...

There were several different types of flowers in full bloom in people's gardens...















Including some red roses...





And several wildflowers...








And lush green leaves...



And birds flying about in the sky...




But, as the sky began to darken...






And it became obvious it was going to rain again...





We knew it was time to go home. So, home we went, making it just before the rain came.