Thursday, 31 January 2013

Hades, Hell and the Afterlife

(Warning, this post may get a little religious, which is totally unintentional. This is just the wanderings of my deranged mind so feel free to ignore me, that is fine!! Especially if you have a different take on things, you are completely entitled to your own beliefs.....still friends??)

Wow, way to dive right in the with a heavy topic. I guess I could have started with a little small talk first.....So the meaning of life anyone?

Earth screensaver 1.02: Download free earth screensaver

Lets start at the beginning, not 'the' beginning but the beginning of my train of thought. Yep that's right a joy ride on the Sleepy Express again, fasten your seat belts!!

I have been thinking a lot about soul-mates ever since I read Brida, by Paulo Coelho, last summer, which then led to the development of a story that is growing here. I have come to the conclusion that I believe in the concept, in fact I buy into Coelho's version. That one soul is split, almost like a fertilised egg, to create two souls. Which are then in turn split, thus there can be many parts of the same soul, all connected all trying to find a part of it's self.

My mind then wandered off, is this the point of our existence  Is this our reason to live, to find each other across time, across space? 

Our bodies are just chunks of meat, it is the electrical impulses coursing through them that makes us who we are. The neurons firing, nerves sparking, the feelings that they produce is this the essence of the soul? So there is some law or another that says nothing can completely disappear, only ever change. Our bodies decay and feed the earth and their essence continues, but what of the electrical impulses? What of our soul? That won't simply decay and apparently it won't just disappear, does this mean there is an afterlife? A place for the dead, a place for our souls.

The Greeks and Romans had Hades a place of the dead, the realm inhabited by darkness and dreams. The Vikings passed to Valhalla and Christians brought the concept of a Heaven and a Hell. A place for good souls and a place of torment for dammed souls. Mythology and religion spanning time all have a take on what comes next, but there is usually something and not nothing.

I was raised a Christian; I believed in God, Heaven and Hell. I tried to live my life as prescribed and earn my seat in the good place. Right up until I started to question things. My beliefs have changed somewhat, I live as good a life as I can and hope that that will be enough. 

There is a small part of me though that looks at the suffering around us, that sees the pressures we put on ourselves and wonders if hell isn't here with us. Torturing us into believing we are never good enough.

I don't know, I get the feeling I won't find out until I can't give the secret away to anyone else! All I know is if the reincarnation religions are right I will probably come back as a bug and there is no way I will be let into heaven...

So I will leave you with this Lokiism:
"Welcome to Hell, we have marshmallows" (at least they will be toasted...... maybe!)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Curiouser and curiouser

Just having a little look back over recent posts and I realised I have been somewhat laxed about including some cool tunes. This seems odd to me because music has been increasingly taking over my life.

It all started when a friend of mine started to try and 'educate' me.....apparently I wasn't listening to some great bands that I should have been! I have to admit I wasn't! What I was listening to wasn't bad, it was just quite limited.

He reminded me of the likes of the Stereophonics to my music library.

Introduced me to the Lostprophets (regular readers will be aware of the minor obsession that sparked) and Stone Sour.

By this point I had headed down a rabbit hole of devouring everything I could get my hands on from any of the bands that I liked even a little. Just as things were starting to dry up a little other friends started stepping in with suggestions of what I should try, so next came Placebo

And still more with Gas Light Anthem, Queens of the Stone Age....

Until my latest obsession popped up in the form of 30 Seconds to Mars:

At this point I started to think I had hit the bottom of my rabbit hole and could happily climb out enjoying all the music I had discovered along the way. Sound in theory, apparently though I jumped into a rabbit hole that dropped me straight into wonderland because at the bottom I discovered Last FM. Now I have eaten and drunk all the things I had to to go through the door into a whole new wonderful world packed with even more musical delights. So I will leave you with Simple latest discovery and hopefully not my last ;-)

Oh what the hell I couldn't decide which one to include so you get both, well why not they are good songs!

I hope you enjoyed your trip down my musical rabbit hole; we had to have a trip to wonderland seeing as it was Lewis Carroll's Birthday this week!

What do you think, have I been educated well enough? Are there things in your musical rabbit hole that should be in mine? Let me know, I'd love to discover more!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

By Request (Fairy Tale Friday, just a little late!)

In December I surrendered a Fairy Tale Friday post to return to a favourite fairy tale of a blogging friend, Snow White and Rose Red. Following that post a few of you wanted to know what happened next and I guess I did too.

So here is the end of Snow's tale and what became of the stranger in the night, Sorry it took me so long to find the happily ever after!

Snow White and Rose Red, The Happily Ever After

The days began to lengthen and winter gave way to spring. On this particular morning Snow White and Rose Red were tending the garden and planting seeds ready for the summer crops. Snow looked up and to her surprise the stranger who once spent a night with them by the fire was there, standing at the edge of the forest. Her heart leapt, for in the months that had passed not a day had gone by when the stranger hadn’t crossed her mind.

“Hello Sir” Snow greeted him; “We hadn’t expected to see you again.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t usually return to the same area, let alone anyone who has helped me. But for some reason I was drawn back here.”

There was something familiar in the stranger’s eyes that Snow couldn’t quite place. As they stood there drowning in each other’s eyes his grew darker.

“What troubles you so?” Snow asked.

“I shouldn’t have come here. I have put you and your family in such danger. I just haven’t had a meal in days and was close....I thought....No I’m sorry, I will leave.”

He turned to leave, “Wait, don’t go. At least have something to eat before you set out again” Snow said desperate for him to stay a while longer. “We were just about to prepare some lunch any way.”

The stranger hesitated, “Please, come” Snow whispered and stepped forward to taking his hand. Gently she pulled him towards the cottage.

While Rose continued with the chores outside, Snow and the stranger prepared lunch. They talked, mostly about the life Snow and her sister led, although Snow managed to find out that he was called Will.

That afternoon Will helped the sisters continue to prepare the garden for the coming season. They laughed and talked all afternoon whilst working and before they realised the sun was setting in the sky and dusk was upon them.

“Please stay the night” Snow begged Will, who was insistent that he must leave. “Father has not been well; some company may brighten his spirits”

The sky was clear, it was going to be a cold night and eventually the sisters managed to convince Will to remain with them for the evening. Will was humbled for a second time by the families trust and selflessness.

After dinner the girls regaled their Father and guest with tales of old; of fairies and dragons and other creatures of magic. During one particular story of a conniving dwarf there was a strange and unworldly howling from the forest. Will seemed to be worried by the sound but a moment later the stress was wiped from his face by Snows words and the noise abated soon after.

The next few days sped by in a haze of contentment as Will helped the family with chores in exchange for a spot in front of the fire. He almost forgot about his plight.

That night was a full moon and there was a strange feeling in the air. As Will watched the pinks of the sunset streak across the sky he dropped the tools he had been carrying and realised he had made a terrible mistake.

Snow sensed that something was wrong and also stopped.

“Will, what is it?”

“I fear I have put you in grave danger.” Will said

“Why do you say that?”

“I need to tell you a story. I need to tell you my story.” Will explained.

The pair sat down on a tree trunk that was used as a bench. “It all began many moons ago when an unassuming man of small stature came to the door on a winter’s night, a night which was very similar to the night I first met you. He was cruel and bitter and continued to ask for more and more which my parents eventually said no to. This enraged the little man who cursed me and my brother to a life wandering the lands. A life where we cannot settle, we cannot love for when the moon is whole we become monsters the likes of which you have never seen. I should not be near you when that happens, for in those moments I may not be able to control the beast.”

“Oh, Will” Snow exclaimed, “is there no way to end the curse?”

“There is, the man who is responsible for the curse must die under a full moon. I have tried many times and failed. I must leave now to try and get far enough to keep you safe. I will return to you, you have my word”

“Please don’t leave again, I don’t think my heart could stand to feel so empty.”

In that moment the words didn’t mean anything, in that moment Will fell to the ground and began to turn and contort in many different ways. He was becoming the one thing he feared most and all Snow could do was watch, feeling her heart break for the pain this was causing him.

There before Snow was indeed a monstrous creature. It was twice her height and resembled the form of a great bear. However Snow was not afraid of the creature before her, its fur was the colour of Will’s hair; its eyes were the same warming hazel and full of sadness and shame. He was there still, locked within. Snow stepped toward Will, making to touch his muzzle but he shied away from her touch and bounded towards the woods. Snow fell to her knees; she had found the missing piece of her being only to have it ripped away so suddenly.

Rose came rushing to Snow’s side, “what is the matter sister? Are you hurt? Where is Will?”

“Gone” was all Snow could whisper.

Snow added guilt to the mix of sickening emotions she was feeling as she sat uselessly watching her sister do all of the evening chores. After they had eaten their evening meal the sisters sat before the fire as usual, however there were no sweet and melodic notes this evening. Suddenly there was a loud hammer at the door to break the silence.

Snow leapt from her spot and flew to the door thinking it could be Will seeking refuge, throwing open the door she stumbled and only just stopped herself from falling onto the small man who stood  in the door way.

“Good evening young miss, I wonder if I may trouble you this fine evening for a spot of water? I have been travelling for many days and my canteen is empty.”

Snow didn’t know why but she didn’t trust the sincerity in his voice, “I’m sorry sir, I cannot help you this evening. There is a stream a ten minute walk across the pasture, the water is pure and you can easily take your fill from the banks.”

With that the man’s eyes became thunderous and he screamed at her “you are all the same, no one is kind to anyone who is different to themselves.” He grabbed her arm and dragged her onto the path.

“Is this what you covet beast?” he growled into the forest, “is this what you returned for? By the time the sun has risen in the sky she will be gone, a tasty snack. Then I will return for the other two!”

There was a rumbling and then an almighty roar from the trees and Will came bounding, in his bearlike form. One swipe and Snow was thrown to the ground, free from her captor’s grip. The fight seemed sure to be over in minutes; the beast against such a weak man. But then the man pulled something metallic from beneath his jacket and in a swift and nimble movement sliced at Will’s stomach.

“No” screamed Snow as Will crashed to the ground, blood seeped from the wound, steaming when it pooled on the frosted ground.

She was about to run to him when the man turned his eyes on her, “Thank you. I needed him to become attached to someone or some place in order to catch up to him. And now he is finally dead the kingdom’s riches will be mine.”

Snow felt at her belt for her mother’s dagger. Her father had given it to her as protection in the forest for her and her sister, until now she had never needed to even touch it. But now she touched it in anger, in rage. The man started to make his way to where she was on the floor and as he bent to grab hold of her once more she buried the blade up to the hilt in his chest, removing the blade, as her father had taught, to maximise the inflicted wound.

“What the...?” he gasped, falling backwards against the garden fence and crashing through it.

Tears were streaming down Snow’s cheeks as she raced to Will’s side. The beast was retreating and leaving a very naked Will in its place.

The wound in his stomach, although quite deep, was not fatal, and with Roses help Snow cared for Will over the coming days.

“Why?” Will whispered a few days later, “Why didn’t you just run?”

“Because I was taught to fight for what you love.”

The two were married and Snow’s father was well cared for in the light of Will’s considerable wealth. And Rose? When Will’s twin brother returned from his cursed exile the four part puzzle was complete.

"A powerful force that seemed to connect all these tales. Hope" Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz - Once Upon a Time

We all hope for our happily ever after, will we recognise it when it arrives?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Random and very linky Thursday

The blank screen...... I haven't ever been really stuck for something to write before. But sitting here with the blank screen in front of me I find myself with no real news to fill you in on, nothing to complain about and nothing even particularly random to report......

Ah ha, light bulb moment, I am going to have a bit of a linky post....why didn't that occur to me before??

Katie at Nested has made me laugh out loud this week through just sheer honesty.

Loki at The Modfather posted a comic this week which was not only amazing it inspired a little sketching of my own. I had an image in my head and it actually turned out the way I wanted it too, which is odd for me I tend to doodle and if it turns out ok then so be it.

A friend has recently started a new blog, check it out it's ace! Blogs and Boulders come on the name is great, no?!?

Finally I had a fabulous walk yesterday. It was amazing in many ways that I cannot hope to explain here, but one thing that made me smile so much was getting out into the unbroken snow. I tried to take a photo to convey this but as usual me and my iphone did a pathetic job. Photography might be on my bucket list, but I don't think this lifetime would be enough time to scrape together even a few decent shots. It is for this reason that I will link to my favourite photographer to illustrate my point with much more finesse. Head over to Lee Johnson Photography he posted some gorgeous photos yesterday that capture the gorgeousness of the winter landscape so much better than I could ever hope to do.

So, I will leave you with this;

Unbroken snow, so crisp, so perfect,
Lay endless out before us, 
Behind us lay a map of our time.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Happy feet

You can all breath a sigh of relief, today is not going to be another depressing, thought provoking or down right morbid post! I know I have been there for a few weeks but today we had a snow day.

Now that word for most Britain's is something to strike fear into their hearts, I mean seriously as a country we don't deal with the white powdery stuff very well at all!! However in our house the other half kind of .... how to describe the level of his excitement .....

Yep, that about does it.

Me, I was just glad to get an extra hour under the duvet before I had to get up and start to contemplate clearing the drive. School might be closed but jobs still need to be done!

Honestly, leave me in there and you have one happy Joe....Sleepy Joe (it's all in the name). Or even let me get back in at some point, like when I have been shoveling snow and I am seriously cold. Let me slide between the sheet and duvet, let me curl up, let me warm up. I don't necessarily need to go to sleep, a cosy story time is just fine too.

Anyway that was our day yesterday, I did also want to post a picture of the worlds best snowman....however it seems I am not raising snow sculptors  I am raising great big wusses! After about half an hour came the cry, "I'm cold, I'm going inside!" So now we have a snow mound on our lawn and lots of footprints (Grrrr does anyone else prefer untouched snow? Sooooo pretty!). I was tempted to just lob the hat and scarf on top and say it was a snowman mid-death, but then I would have to wash said hat and scarf when they came back in. Nah heading for the duvet was a much better plan, who am I kidding the girls take after their Mum!!

Here instead is a link to some snowman comedy that I discovered today. For those of you that are not sensitive, Google 'funny pictures of snowmen' and marvel at others imagination for snow creations!!!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Find My Heart

Following on from last weeks post my reading has continued. Gossip from the Forest (Sara Maitland) continues to educate me, although sometimes I think that this isn't a hard thing!

Take today, I had a huge 'doh!' moment when Maitland was discussing the unique connection of forests to European fairy tales. An obvious thing when you think about it; no children are likely to get lost in a forest in one of the 1001 nights. Who'd have thought......I can be so docile sometimes!!

Anyway, forests......

Soft mulch underfoot, an earthy smell,
Angel rays through branches filter.
Time to sit and breathe and think
Where leaves are troubles sanctuary.

From silence and the shadows,
If only we do wait.
Sprites and fairies come out and dance,
And in our dreams do play.

For here is where my heart is light,
Here is where it sings.
This is where my heart does lie,
In the forest, hidden.

Its funny how I set myself these little tasks, I intended to write a little story about a heart hidden in the forest. A place of sanctuary and protection, not danger and loss. But then that is not what comes out at all. A little idea to be filed away for another time maybe.

So what has your mind conjured?

Just because I love this song at the moment!

And a little food for thought, do you believe?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Cure for Love

There are a number of fantastic ladies I have the privlage of working with, one in particular provides a fantastic service to the people in the community that are unable to make it into the library for books.

Today she showed me this little note, a small post-it stuck to a returned audio book from a 92 year old lady.

"I still have no cure for love"

This made me smile at first, such a cute little note. But then it made me a little sad! I don't think the lady is seriously looking for a cure for love, I think it had more to do with the book that it was stuck to. It just got me to thinking.....

I think better in places like this:

With views like this:

And this:

However I didn't have long, as usual!! Even so my mind kind of drifted to my virtual BFF Deb's medicine cabinet challenge, would a cure for love be something you would want in your medicine cabinet?

When I think of my ideal medicine cabinet it would be more a Narnian wardrobe leading straight to here:

Complete with potions master preferably!

The odd vile of Veritaserum would come in really handy or a little Felix Felicis tucked away for necessity.

Yes love is hard but would I include a cure for love? What instance would you even consider needing a cure for love? 

I have felt all consuming love, I still feel all consuming love. I have loved and then had the object of my love taken from me, yet still I don't think I would want to be cured of that love because it fuels my memory. 

Hmmm, there is unrequited love; the times when you fall so completely for the one person you can't have or that hasn't fallen as far for you. Would you cure yourself of that love? Is this the cure I need to keep tucked at the back of my medicine cabinet along with my liquid luck for emergencies? For times when it hurts and you have to try not to love someone.

But alas, I fear my medicine cabinet will forever be stocked with the staples of nit lotions, spot potions and Calpol (because it mends broken bones). If someone is still looking after 92 years I don't think there is a cure to be had! There are much worse things to be told there is no cure, there are worse things to live with than a heart full of love.

Would you use a cure for love?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The hilariousness of me when I'm ill

So the family lurgy hit yesterday. I think the hint was in the clothing!

Picture this.....

Me - fleecy pants, thermal vest, mountaineering base layer, extra jumper, extra thick woolly socks with fleecy lining and faux fur edging plus extra blanket wrapped around me ala ET! - Still COLD!!!

The Other Half - shorts and t-shirt (ok so he is usually warmer than me) .

The girls - jeans and thin t-shirt.

Ok, so maybe there may be something wrong with this picture.....aren't we in the arctic, I think everyone in the house is ill?!?!?

Think I could use an extra blanket!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Fairy Tales and Forests

If some one said 'forest' to you, what would your first thought be?

Ok, had your thought?

My other half's initial reaction is to shout back (please imagine appropriate accent), "Run Forest, run!" Which makes me giggle every time!

If you were in a forest or woodland area what direction would your mind wander in?

Slight tangential paragraph, hang in there it will make sense!

I love working in a library. Simply for the fact that librarians are amazing at finding books, how much more amazing is it when they get to know your quirks and when a random book crosses their path they know you will be interested in it! I'll tell you....totally amazing. A colleague has done this for me recently and I took a look at the book in question today, oh and I have fallen for the book within the first few pages!

Sara Maitland - Gossip from the Forest (The tangled roots of our forests and fairytales) 2012
It starts with the dedication; ".... the true princess (No green vegetables were hurt testing of this hypothesis)"

Then continues with the definition of 'gossip'  and goes on from there. See I told you that I was going somewhere with that ;-)

She talks about the earth before the last ice age and what was left behind after the melt. And this line caught my imagination.
"And so once upon a time it was all forest. Forest enough to be lost in it forever"
Ooooo, did you get a shiver?? I did. The next couple of pages (which is as far as I have read) she goes on to talk about how, whilst camping in a forest, the conversation she was having made it's way to fairytales. I have to say, with the way she describes the forest they were in I think that is where my mind would have wandered.

For more from this talented photographer visit Lee Johnson Photography

Here's a challenge; if you can go out into a forest great, if not your imagination is your greatest tool. Imagine you are in a forest or wooded area, now where does your mind go? If it is a particular fairytale, which one? Is it even fairytales at all? Let me know in the comments or turn it into a blog post if you like and link back. I will complete the challenge and report back next week, including any other gems from Maitland's book I discover.

Happy dreaming.


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Random Thursday - Walking in the dark

 I got me some fancy new walking boots yesterday. I have needed some for a while, the squelchy feeling in my boots every time I walked anywhere this (oops last!) summer was proof of that! Yesterday I bit the bullet and bought a pair of gorgeous (ok actually brown and unassuming), ever so slightly expensive and very practical boots.

Do you remember when you were a kid? When you got something new you had to try it on as soon as you got them. The brand new trainers were on as soon as they were home and covered in grass stains as soon as possible. Ok, so who am I kidding? I ever grew out of this!! Last night was proof of that. I had half an hour spare, half an hour to grab the boots and go for a wander.

In to the park, paths only because I am not a complete idiot, and off I went. A walk in the dark. Oh and it was soooo worth it. They fit like a glove. My toes rejoiced in their warm and cosy cocoon; encased in love. I could have walked all night, but I didn't have all night. I didn't have all night to enjoy the way the light played through the trees, or to listen to the owl hoot into the night sky. I couldn't keep breathing the crisp night air or stare into the midnight blue sky and let my troubles float to the stars.

I could have walked for hours.....but I couldn't


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Not in the mood to laugh Tunes

As I seem to be suffering with a terminal case of the holiday blues today is definitely a Tuesday tunes day and not tickles!!

I thought I might just treat you all to another shot of my latest lyrical obsession and let y'all enjoy a little more 30 Seconds to Mars. The irony of the name is not lost on me given I am typing whilst watching the re-make of Total Recall and thinking about the original Arnie version!

My favourite song of theirs so far is Hurricane, unfortunately I seem to cry every time I hear it. Oh and even the censored version of the video is a little *ahem* Fifty Shades. Yes well if you want to see the extended version, video and all click here. Otherwise here is a PG version of lyrics only for your enjoyment :-)

What songs make you cry? Is there a reason or did it sneak up on you like this song did with me?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Random Thursday - Best Ever New Year

I have had the best New Year in probably about 16 years. We had no plans, no wild parties, no fire works, no-one else to celebrate with......just us. Now we never make plans and never celebrate with any one but usually end up in bed before the dongs.

I think that is what made this year so special, simplicity!

New Year's Eve: The kids didn't last till midnight (although I didn't expect them to) so a glass of wine, a log fire and New Year's Eve the DVD it was. Corny in it's entirety but I loved every minute!! (my previous best was baked beans on toast al a carte)

New Year's Day: A sunrise, coffee and a note pad. Followed by a family walk on the beach and a hot chocolate to warm up with afterwards...I tell you what the pictures tell the story better.

Blue sky and sunshine we could be anywhere, right?
Sunbathing like this?? Um No!
Yep, that's more like it!
We splashed over the rivers in the sand
Spotted Nessie (although there was some debate about this one!)
Click on this one to see a bigger picture and you will realise that we definitely weren't in Kansas (yes it was a little windy)
Yummy warm up treats and a spot of me time, only a spot though....
Because Jessie showed up Yee Haw :-)
I hope your New Year transition was a magical as mine. What did you get up to?
Oh and I have discovered the joys of Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars. I have loved everything I have heard, favourite so far being Hurricane, but had to share this....they have covered one of my all time favourite songs and did it justice :-) Plus the topic seemed to fit given our wander today!!

All as part of your Random Thursday's broadcast from Sleepy Joe, linking up with Larissa at Papa is a Preacher (head on over she is cool and loves hot chocolate as much as I do!)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year, New Rules

Because today is a new day, a new year and life is a work in progress!!

With a significant amount of help from Loki at The Modfather I have decided not to make any resolutions as such but to set myself some simple rules to live by. Well seriously I have a crap track record at following through with my resolutions...last year I wanted to keep in touch with friends and family on a much more regular basis....epic fail and write more...not so epic fail but I have yet to complete a story I have started!! I did however manage to find the courage to post more original writing on here, all thanks to your encouragement dear readers!!
Anyway, as I was saying, not resolutions, no specific goals, just some simple rules to live my life by on a daily (ish) basis.
1. Do what makes you happy, this is no-one else's life but yours so live it!
2. Be yourself and never be embarrassed of who you are.
3. Listen to your body, if it is telling you to slow down or that there is something wrong now is a good time to take a break!!
4. Spend time with the people that make you smile, they might not be there tomorrow!
5. Take time each day to see something beautiful in the world around you, it might not be there tomorrow!
6. Make time for the things you want to do, there might not be another tomorrow!
7. Appreciate what and who you have in your life.
8. Carry out random acts of kindness on a regular basis, they are great for lifting the soul.
9. Don't be too hard on yourself, you do not have super powers and they have not discovered and extra hour in the day as yet!!
10. If all else fails stick to the first three at least!!
I hope you enjoyed your New Year celebrations last night, I hope you got to ring in the new day with the one you love.
Lets make 2013 rock ;-)
Happy New Year xx