Zombies!


I absolutely love this piece, written by our Town Crier, David Greenway – and so I am taking the liberty of reblogging it. Enjoy!

Town Crier Tales

Mike chenery2

Glastonbury is legendary for a host of reasons. Its parades, processions and staged events, for example, make headlines locally, nationally and internationally. Whenever I’m a long way from Glastonbury, perhaps chatting in a bar half way round the world and I happen to mention Glastonbury, I find that people have usually heard of the “Glastonbury Festival”, at the very least. I can talk from first-hand experience of this event, having talked to the assembled festival-goers from the Pyramid Stage and having also performed there more times than Tom Jones!

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This annual rock and pop extravaganza, that always hosts the big names in the pop industry, sees something like 150,000 followers descend on a small village called Pilton, which is actually about seven miles from Glastonbury!

Before and after this long weekend of music, mayhem and mud, the roads are clogged with cars for miles on end and it becomes something…

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Carreg Cennan Castle


There is, of course, no discrete beginning to my sense of landscape, history and atmosphere. It settled upon me, soft as fresh snow, from the earliest age.

But this instinct became honed and conscious, in a series of visits to special places in West Wales, when I was a student at Aberystwyth University.

I have spoken before of arriving by train, with other freshers, and falling in love with Cors Fochno – shining in old gold on that early October day – as the wheels rattled rhythmically on the rails and Borth appeared for the first time.

I can recall that vivid moment of rapturous ‘Aha!’ when the coach, taking us up the Penglais Hill, revealed hills and a vividly bruised sky and the utter loveliness of my first Welsh sunset.

But castles were an especial joy – and a source of rich imagination, or should that be memory? – and the very best of them, in my view, was, and remains, Carreg Cennan, near Llandeilo.

Thirteenth of November 1977, it was – and, somewhere, the journal entry for that day, and for the twenty-four hours leading up to it, lies.

We drove, my boyfriend and I, to this ancient and beautiful castle and, parking the car, climbed up and up and up. Sheep cropped the grass and tiny flowers. From the top, we could imagine Owain Glyndwr and his troops riding hard, battle-ready and determined to take this wonderfully strategic stronghold.

I won’t go into the rebellion and its ultimate failure here – too much; too sad – but, as we approached the summit, and I saw the castle for the first time, I had an instant flash of familiarity. The ghostly hand of the past clutched my shoulder and said, ‘You have been here before…’

Though my father took us to many castles, and other places of historical significance, we never ventured over the bridge into Wales – and so, if my feeling was right, the previous visit was not in this life time.

Still adolescents, full of vim and vigour and curiosity and daring, we dropped into the cave, and I had such a strong sense of terror and banked evil and the screams of human suffering that I came over all light-headed and panicky and had to get out immediately.

So much was gorgeous, however: The echoing stone passageways; the sublime autumnal views from the remaining battlements; the thrumming of history still oddly present – and that sense I have often got throughout my life of beings, and emotions, and smells, just out of sight, teasing me with their vivid aliveness: Roasting meat, honey, fresh bread, sweat from both men and horses…

Ah! Carreg Cennan, first seen forty years ago!! Such a special place. I shall return…

Legend…at getting lost/taking dire photos! HUMOUR!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/legend/

I am a legend in my own lifetime – when it comes to my total inability to read a map, navigate, avoid getting lost, and my equally embarrassing absence of artistic (or, indeed, ANY!) ability at taking photos and videos!

It all started in Geography lessons when I was at secondary school. I confess I found the subject tedious, not helped by the teacher whose voice was droningly boring even on a good day. Result? I switched off; my map skills are non-existent, and I have to ask for directions every time I point Pep (my car) at an unfamiliar route( as opposed to pointing Percy at the Porcelain). I am the only person I know who can get lost DESPITE owning a Sat Nav.

I did buck up my ideas when I went into the third year (now called year nine) – and took copious notes, wrote excruciatingly neat homework pieces and prided myself upon an exercise book which would have soothed the most extreme Anal Retentive or OCD sufferer! But mappage was, and remains, a closed book to me!

Photography is another of my anti-legend ‘talents’ – though I suppose you could claim a kind of perverted genius in my stunning lack of ability and my inevitable cock-ups when it comes to photographic images. Not for nothing was I booted out of Art classes at the tender age of fourteen, my parents basically being told, ‘We advise Alienora NOT to do this subject at O’level!’ (with, ‘…because she’s an artistic cretin…’ trembling, unspoken, on middle-aged lips!)

When I was in Ghost Weed, I used to take photos of the lads up at Redhill Open Mic – and also attempted to video them playing and singing when I left the band. Struth! Painful doesn’t begin to describe my efforts, though ‘cack-handed’ and ‘fucking useless’ both do!

Bless them, the boys were very diplomatic on the whole – though Neil, who is a professional photographer, must have winced every time a new Ali email dropped its badly-taken load on his laptop!

Part of the problem is that I do not possess a Smart Phone (mine being decidedly remedial/Special Needs), let alone a camera – and my philosophy of point and shoot does not go down well in darkened pubs, clubs and so forth!

Cutting to the current chase: This morning, I had my hair re-oranged and re-sparkled in time for the Solstice Celebrations – and then thought it would be a great idea to take a selfie! Ye gods, you’d have thought I’d have learned by now!

Frankly, all this bollocks about holding the phone in front of one but backwards makes what little technological brain I DO possess pack its bags and bugger off in utter confused despair – and that’s before I even attempt to work out an angle which might, just might, capture my Pre-Raphaelite locks in all their glory (ha bloody ha!). But, you see, Maths is yet another of my Negative Legend Statuses – and the chances of my being able to work out the angle of anything is NIL!

I am sharing these latest failures because laughter is so therapeutic, isn’t it? And, once I had stopped throwing up in disgust at my resemblance to a ginger-wired blobfish, I let out a mighty guffaw (causing Pippa to leap three feet in the air) and thought, ‘Yup! These could easily go down in tale and legend as examples of the very worst of the genre: Yippee!’

Oops! Seem to have beheaded myself!

No forehead and fifteen chins! Christ on a bike!

Cat hair ball?! Fuck knows!

Oh yeah, very clever: The face chopped in half look; I can see that being a winner (NOT!).

Lopped off the chin this time: Genius!

Aha! The old Straight up the Nostrils ploy, most fetching!

Left eye’s gone this time – and I also look as if I have received enthusiastic overtures from a vampire!

See what I mean?

Photographic anti-legend!

 

Ascend: Photo Challenge


The first image is the last photo taken of Jumble, my dog, on November 12th 2017.

The second shows the corner where he both slept and died.

After his death, I created a little natural shrine to his memory.

It reveals two things: My honouring of a beloved animal by revitalising his site of passing – and my belief, expressed through colour and flowers, that he has ascended to wherever doggies go when they die.

Both photos show love and its quality of spiritual ascension.

Ruminations on approaching sixty!


This is me portraying Witch 1 (shown, in the photo, with Stephen Cole, who played the eponymous villain of the piece) during Shadow of the Tor/His and Hers Theatre production of ‘Macbeth’.

I think it apt – as the months, and then weeks, roll up the carpet of fifty-nine and, very soon, propel me into the new weave of my sixties – that I was able to enact on stage something of my own beliefs concerning Crones, age, witches and women – and, indeed, that I got the part in the first place.

My birth sign of Capricorn starts in ten days’ time – and my sixtieth birthday will occur two weeks after Christmas. I love this time of year, and always have. My spirit often blooms with life and colour and joy, and I adore Yule, Christmas, the Solstice. I love wintery weather and the fragile beauty of days like this one. I cherish holly, the red and the rarer golden, and thrill to the sound of carols, both ancient and more modern.

I feel, at present, lively, spritely and inquisitive about reaching sixty. It is a number I have not attached to myself before and I am curious to see what it feels like and how it fits the bundle of youth and age I have always been!

Thinking of the Triple Goddess, I love all the stages therein – and do not think we ever stop being Maiden entirely, nor does the Mother aspect leave us. Crone I have been, in many ways, for several years now – and it does not frighten or disgust or worry me. It just seems like the logical next step upon Womanhood’s rich and diverse Path.

I think I have strong roots and, though my bark is a little bit bald and grey in places, and some mossy clumps have infiltrated the clean lines of youth, the early morning December sun still shines gloriously upon my trunk and leaves and, as the solar orb climbs and radiates, gives a russet glow to the mistletoe at the top.

There seems to be a deep-seated, and widespread, fear of darkness, Winter and age, especially amongst women. I attribute this to the common assumption that Cronehood confers ugliness and takes away sexuality and the power to attract – and, of course, death’s ability to terrorise. And yet, for this, I think my extended Winter-based metaphor works very well. A morning like this one is every bit as beautiful, as inspiring and as conducive to inner fluids flowing and loins stiffening as is its Spring counterpart. Increasing age is the same!

So, I look forward to reaching sixty! I hope to celebrate it with family and friends – and I am determined that this sixtieth anniversary of my birth year will finally see the publication of ‘Heneghan’!

My garden, caught in these images this very merry morning, is every bit as lovely now as it was during the burgeoning of Spring, the heights of Summer and the colourful glories of Autumn.

Female power and loveliness does not depend upon the smoothness of skin, the lustre of hair or brimming fertility. Beauty, to my mind, is bred deep in the bone – and the power to attract both survives youth and goes far beyond the sex act!

With thanks to John. G. Moore for the ‘Macbeth’ image.

Courtyard Natural Therapy Centre, Wells: Aromatherapy Workshop


Cold, it was, but sublimely beautiful : One of those exquisite Winter days that abounds in rich sun and, somehow, lifts the spirits of all who venture out in it.

Our destination was the Courtyard Natural Therapy Centre, in Wells – and our mission, which we were all slavering at the bit to take on, was an Aromatherapy Workshop led by Aromatherapist, Stephanie Mathivet.

The walk from car to Wells centre – along the footpath by the Bishop’s Palace Moat, a flurry of birds flittering and flinking, ducking and diving in gelid water; the Cathedral, limned in gold ahead and fields etched in sun’s warming palette behind – was so beautiful and calming that I feasted eyes and spirit upon its details and felt taut muscles beginning to unwind.

Alyson, Rosie and I got to the centre just as the previous group left – and found Stephanie and Practice Manager, Karin Baynes, awaiting us with broad smiles, welcoming auras and a festive feast of delectable biscuits and Quality Street chocolates.

On a table to our left were some of the tools of the aromatherapeutic trade: Blue bottles, mysterious smaller bottles of essential oils, a plethora of pillows, and so forth: All most enticing and, with the delicate scents from earlier still permeating the air, evocative.

We started with a session of questions and answers. This was fascinating, and Stephanie’s knowledge very impressive. It made me realise how much I did NOT know about aromatherapy – and the extent to which so many of us rely upon rumour (often highly inaccurate!) when speaking of this most ancient of therapies.

This was followed by a wonderful sniffing session (the nasal equivalent of Proust’s Madeleines, in many respects!), as we detected the top, middle and bottom notes of Grapefruit, Geranium, Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils.

As a music-lover myself, the connection between perfumery’s vocabulary and that of music was fascinating and lovely: Notes, tones, compositions. I have always felt that music was the most immediate, and sensual, of the arts – and, let’s face it, you cannot get much more hands-and-nose-on than perfume!

We were then let loose on the Alchemy side of the morning: The blending, in bottle-shaped blue ‘crucibles’, of our own mixture – and our attempts, through mixing and matching, sniffing and sinus-clearing, to turn base oil into olfactory gold. Lovely!

Concoctions ready, we were then seated opposite a partner (I worked with Alyson), a pillow between us, and instructed in the art of hand and arm massage. But this was no academic exercise! Au contraire, it was oiled and sweet-smelling hands straight on and up and down.

Being, as I always have been, a trifle cack-handed, this part of the workshop, though thoroughly enjoyable, did not come naturally to me – and I struggled a bit with the instructions – though I hope I didn’t cause Alyson any actual bodily harm!

Alyson was a natural – and being massaged by her felt wonderfully relaxing and soothing.

All in all, it was a delightful session, and I adored the Therapy Centre. A wealth of therapies take place within its walls – and I would totally recommend the place, and the two ladies I have met so far, to anyone wishing to investigate alternatives treatments in a lovely setting.

Thank you, Stephanie and Karin!

 

 

Llancynfelyn Memories: Bonneville and Anti-Mate!


The dog, Bonneville, wasn’t overly keen – on the old connubial bliss, I mean. She didn’t go a bundle on long lines of randy males, tongues out and nethers alert (shall we say?), queuing up half way down the road for her seasonal favours. In fact, cowering and whimpering, she gave the impression that she would much prefer it if the whole sex-crazed pack would just bugger-off, vanish without trace, and leave her alone.

Unfortunately, the olfactory evidence of her state of readiness was undeniable – and I was expecting local wolves, foxes and passing Beasts of Bodmin to join the line at any moment.

It was already proving damned embarrassing: The poor farm workers couldn’t move an inch without tripping over a horde of horny hounds, and I could clearly see one of them surreptitiously oiling his gun (though whether he intended to shoot us, the dog, the Blue-balled beggars or himself was hard to work out).

Something had to be done – and fast. We did briefly consider buying a large can of the canine equivalent of Stud Delay – and letting them have it right up the proverbials – but common sense made us see that, by the time we got to the end of the line, the front few would have rediscovered their maimed mojo and gone into Gang Bang Mode.

So, we invested in a vanishing property for the dog herself: Anti Mate, I believe it was called, and we had to spray it liberally on the affected area.

What we were aiming for was twofold: The vanishing of the scent which so aroused the by-now-Guinness-Book-of-Records-sized-Pack – and, the speedy vanishing of the sex-crazed swains themselves, under the wheels of the 10.23 Machynlleth to Aberystwyth Express (which, naturally, took hours!), if that’s what it took!

We sprayed like demons. The stuff smelled repulsive. God knows what it had in it – but I swear I caught more than a passing note of sheep-dip, festering badger and chicken forgotten in the oven for two weeks. Even the dog looked a tad taken aback!

By God it worked, though: It cleared that farmyard (and adjacent road) quicker than sprout-induced flatulence in a bar – and the whole putative leg-over brigade had vanished almost before we could screw the top back on.

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Blesséd relief, I can tell you!