Friday, 28 March 2014

Planet Alice.

The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad?"

Alice: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are."

A Professor Richard Wiseman of Hertfordshire University has teamed up with developers YUZA to create an app called Dream:ON. The app uses 'soundscapes' to influence your dreams, such as birds singing to induce a nature dream or beach sounds to induce a calming, well, walking on a beach type of dream I suppose.
The very thought fills me with horror, fancy trying to influence your own dreams, especially in this way that hopes to bring calm to the night-time. I love the uncontrolled, wild, crazy, furious. frenetic, hysteric, passionate, terrifying adventures I become embroiled in during sleeping. In fact my sleeping life is so much more fun than my awake life.
Last Saturday night I was in Paris with Picasso and Edith Piaf, I spent the evening speaking fluent French in a smoky bar while Edith warbled on, "Nuits de chine/ Nuits calines /Nuits d'amour/ Nuits d' ivresse (Chinese nights/ Caressing nights/ Sensual nights/ Intoxicating nights) while my friend Pablo flirted with the many ladies of the night. We drank from little glasses and got very drunk and Edith fell off her chair but she just laughed hysterically as if it was the funniest thing. I ended up in a heap on the steps of Montmarte.
A dream I visit often involves walking up the high street (which in reality is a drab affair of boarded up shops and broken down eateries) but becomes a swirl of golden spires and skyscrapers, glistening pink pavements, good looking slim people, restaurants displaying fresh fat fish and giant bottles of champagne. I eat oysters in the sunshine and pass the time of day talking to handsome, fresh smelling gentlemen.
I have also spent many a night with Prince Charles but my dignity ( or the threat of a charge of treason) will not allow me to divulge the content of this dream, suffice to say that I wake up happy.
I dream of Greek Gods, I visit the labyrinth quite often, I've been on the Argo with Jason, swum with Poseidon, picked flowers with Demeter and flirted with Eros. I've been in battles and wars, I've held Wilfred Owen in the trenches and have been in a bunker with Churchill.
Animals are a big feature and they can always talk, elephants are especially friendly and wise and I've been saved from danger many a time, the last time I was trying to escape an evil foe who had chased me into a huge blue lake, (it was a chalk pit lake, better known in real life as Bluewater shopping centre) and the female elephant scooped me up in her trunk, plopped me down on her neck and swam off with me.
Of course I have horrible dreams as well, a recurring one has its own title which is The Uphill Dream and is self explanatory. I'm driving a car up a very steep hill, so steep I can feel the car lifting from the road as if it is going to flip backwards and every time I think I'm going to reach the pinnacle the road elongates. This is a very tiresome dream.
I haven't had a 'flying' dream for a long time but when I was a child I flew a lot and I can recall the sensation of gliding above tree tops and swooping high and low above lush, wild- flower filled meadows.
The list of dreams is endless and the best thing is that I've no idea where I will be the next time I go to sleep.
Through dreaming I have also been of service: An old Colonel who walks his dog in the park approached me not long ago and saluted and bowed, "Celia, my dear girl, you have done me a great service and I thank you for it most kindly," he boomed, "Ah, you've had a dream?" I replied. "Indeed I have and you were magnificent, I feel a good fifty years younger this morning."
"Glad to be of service," I replied thinking of Prince Charles.
I won't be using the app.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Lady Chatterley's Lover.

One of my favourite books is a tome. I bought it from the sweet old book man at Greenwich Market a few years ago. I was a trader at the market at that time so I got a discount. This beautiful, magical book cost me just four pounds. It is a collection of novels by D.H Lawrence. I have read it from cover to cover but still like to open it at any one of its 960 pages. It's like dipping my toes into a warm sea of nostalgia. Yet at the same time I find a shining wisdom beaming up from its yellowing pages. Today I opened at page 764. This is a short excerpt from Lady Chatterley's Lover:
'And however one might sentimentalize it, this sex business was one of the most ancient, sordid connexions and subjections. Poets who glorified it were mostly men. Women had always known there was something better, something higher. And now they knew more definitely than ever. The beautiful pure freedom of a woman was infinitely more wonderful than any sexual love. The only unfortunate thing was that men lagged so far behind women in the matter.
They insisted on the sex thing like dogs.
And a woman had to yield. A man was like a child with his appetites. A woman had to yield him what he wanted, or like a child he would probably turn nasty and flounce away and spoil what was a very pleasant connexion. But a woman could yield to a man without yielding her inner, free self. That the poets and talkers about sex did not seem to have taken sufficiently into account. A woman could take a man without really giving herself away. Certainly she could take him without giving herself into his power. Rather she could use this sex thing to have power over him. For she only had to hold herself back in sexual intercourse, and let him finish and expend himself without herself coming to the crisis: and then she could prolong the connexion and achieve her orgasm and her crisis while he was merely her tool.'

Lady Chatterley's Lover unleashed a raging hurricane around the very name of D.H Lawrence and prevented publication, except in private, pirated or expurgated editions until the 'trials' of the 1960's when the complete work was finally allowed publication.
If the novel had been allowed publication back in 1928, the course of the women's movement may have been very different indeed.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Turner Towers.

I wake up to an alarm clock-not mine, then another alarm clock-not mine. I hear Billy barking in the garden. I hear a hair dryer humming and a shower running. I feel Billy jumping back into my bed, wet and cold. A wet nose kisses my face and a warm body snuggles in beside me.
I go back to sleep, dreaming wild dreams..
A good-bye from one daughter and then a good-bye from another.
I toss and turn in a hot sweaty mess, half asleep and half awake I worry about the outstanding bill from Thames Water, the overdue payment to British Telecom, what to have for dinner that will be cheap and cheerful and perversely what to wear that day.
I wake suddenly as I am about to leap off the top of Tower Bridge. My heart is beating fast and I breathe deeply to calm myself.
I am amazed every morning as I swing my legs out of bed, I will be forever grateful to the NHS for giving me a new hip and a new lease of life. I wonder at my new agility as I swirl myself into various yoga positions.
I sit in the 'conservatory'  drinking a cup of coffee; Asda Gold Roast.  I used to be a Sainsbury's girl but can no longer afford that privilege. The 'conservatory' has hardly any windows, just gaping holes where windows once lived, there is no back door, just a gap and the roof is missing in places. I like it though, I can be at one with nature, inside and outside at the same time. It's great fun when there is a storm, fat frogs leap in and out, wind and rain lash about, thunder rolls around me and lightening nearly blinds me, it's exciting. This morning though it's cold and bright, a sniff in the air reveals spring to be on its way, thank goodness. I am a summer baby and the long grey days of winter wear me down.
I've chosen to wear shorts with warm tights and my favourite frayed grey jumper. I am probably too old to be wearing such attire but every year the doubts recede and I convince myself that I look okay.If I had a husband I would probably be wearing a dumpy skirt with a round necked jumper, I'd probably have a dumpy figure too but as I haven't got a husband I am wearing shorts in February and I am tall and slim.
I walk Billy around the block. Lots of people are washing their cars, everyone is cheerful because the sun has got his hat on. So British!
The home phone rings and it's a man from Thames Water. I honestly cannot understand a word he is saying and start to feel embarrassed as I can feel myself getting angry at the thought of being rude to him. I am feeling so frustrated at having to have a difficult conversation which would be bad enough with an English speaking person let alone an Indian person calling me from Delhi that my anger erupts and I am rude to him and then I feel ashamed at myself.
The last time I felt like this was when I was on the 'phone to British Telecom and the lady (in Delhi) told me to stick a pen/pin into the socket of the home hub in order to re-start the broadband. I asked, politely, about ten times if she was saying pin or pen (either sounded decidedly dodgy) but to no avail. She then told me to go on-line to solve the problem at which point I was almost crying with frustration and told her through gritted teeth that I had no broadband therefore could not go on-line to which she replied,' stick a pin/pen in the socket.' Aaaargh.
I pop to the shops to buy my three items of meat for ten pounds. A chicken, chicken thigh fillets and minced beef will provide a roast, a curry, chicken chasseur, lasagne and more lasagne and keep us fed for a week.
I check my e-mail and spend too much time leaving comments on the Tarot Professionals Facebook page.
I rip a load of stale bread to pieces and soak it in milk ready to make a bread pudding.
I finish a painting that I am hoping to sell one day. The art market, well, my art market, seems to have shrivelled up and died.
I pop the chicken in to roast and play ball with Billy in the back garden. Amazingly I kick the ball into one of the rare spaces in the conservatory that actually contains glass.

Life after Life.

I have finished reading 'Life after Life' by Kate Atkinson and can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am going to recommend it to my aunts who all lived through The Blitz and my daughters who now both work in London. The actual street where my youngest daughter works is mentioned and is set in 1945 when a captured pilot, presumed dead, returns, much to the delight of his 'girl' and his sister. St Paul's is also written about but in the capacity of its saviours from the deluge of bombing. My eldest daughter lives in the shadow of this beautiful creation. The story is about that mysterious phenomenon known as deja vu and other mysteries of the human psyche. The main character, Ursula, is affectionately called, 'Little Bear' by her loving father. My dog is called Billy but we call him Little Bear.My father could not be described as 'a loving father.'
I wish my mum could read this book but she died last year on 13/03/13, she would have liked that date.

Today has been rather historical. Record breaking floods and winds have been pummelling the country. Rail and road networks are in disarray. Communities seem to be coming together and displaying 'The Dunkirk Spirit.' Oh the irony, I have sat here reading about The Great War and the not so great war while my rickety old house has been battered by wind and rain, the lights blew but the landlord restored them quite quickly. There are no dead bodies hanging from rafters and no 'mounds' that were once rows of houses.

I love reading and this book 'Life after Life' will stay with me for a long time.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Not Liz Jones.

Oh dear, oh dear.
I feel almost embarrassed these days reading Liz Jones' diary. I feel like shielding my face so no-one sees me actually reading the drivel  or quickly shutting the lap-top when someone comes into the room.Even the comments have stopped rolling in and they have always been the best bit on the page. Why has the soppy date become so cringemakingly wet?  Where have all her beloved animals disappeared to? What's happened to her sister? Is the family talking to her? Has she repaid her debts to the toothless community from which she fled? Has the cupboard (mansion, to us normal folk) become her full time abode? Has she abandoned life in the Yorkshire Dales (where the local psychiatrist is charmingly named Mr Muddle) has she taken to eating huge steaks now her appetite has improved?
We don't know as sadly Liz has pushed the backward button on her transporter belt and is now swanning around the streets of London in the early nineteen eighties. It's not the  London I knew in the 80's as that was raging at the time, we were all dolled up for nights in Blitz, we were all Prince Charming, Banarama and Boy George. I expect Liz was probably stuck in the cloakroom even then. But alas the poor girl has returned to a former life in an attempt to turn back time.
I worry for her. The illustration that comes with this week's diary shows a young pleasant looking girl hugging a slim line man who is sporting a neat black ponytail. Laugh, I nearly choked on an eggy soldier. Please stop this.
Liz has fallen in love with an old boyfriend, she tries to tell us that she hasn't seen him for twenty something years but unfortunately she wrote in her column in 2005 that she had met up with him again but that's just a Lizicism, (she doesn't mind telling a few porkies, slagging people off, parking in disabled bays, sneering at shoppers in poundland, waging war on mothers, sniping about her sisters, humiliating her family even her dementia ridden old mum) the list of Lizicisms is quite long.
The thing is this, Liz seems to be looking through a very dirty mirror, it's as if she herself thinks she has morphed back in time, she certainly is writing as if for Jackie magazine, on it's way out even then. The boyfriend does not have a neat black ponytail, he is middle aged for goodness sake and the ponytail is of the matted long dead squirrel variety. How she could even think of telling us of their love life is mortifying. In her previous life, which she has now reversed to future life, she would rather be dead than make love unless she was waxed to within an inch of her life, lingeried up to the nines, plucked, buffed and polished. Now she is sleeping in her make-up. The horror.
The boyfriend whose name she has told us sounds like a right drip and a bit of a control freak at the same time. He wants her to square it with him before she has more surgery (are there any bits left?) he may use her connections to promote his business. He is making her stand outside in the cold while her posh heels sink into the soddy soil. This is not the Liz we know, it has taken absolutely no time at all for her to undo her entire personality for a bloke. Pah!!
No-one looks to Liz to be a role model, well maybe a 'this is how NOT to do it ' role model but this kind of writing is seriously bad news. I can't imagine anyone under the age of forty being interested in her diary but now she's alienating everyone over the age of forty as well.
Would someone please tell her that although she thinks she's wandered into Mr Benn's changing room this is 2013. Women call the shots, we don't flail  around after our men swooning and congratulating ourselves at being loved, We are not prepared to give up our freedom and lifestyle just because some ancient ex has responded to a desperate e-mail and we don't live in the 20th century.
Please don't let her regale us with any more of these tawdry tales.
Who IS feeding the menagerie anyway, probably the trusty Nic, the soon- to- be -left- to- get- on- with- it Nic as Liz swans off into the sunset with D.Scrace.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Misogynist Mail.

Haven't posted on here for a long time as I am heartily sick of the misogynist Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail. I haven't bought the actual paper for ages as I would be embarrassed to be seen holding it in public. I am disappointed in the calibre of writing and dismayed at the level of journalism as exhibited by the female columnists. The latest one Katie Hopkins (?) well she is an insult to womanhood and actually comes across as being quite thick. I feel a bit sorry for Samantha Brick regarding her infertility but goodness me, did she not listen in school? Did she really believe the Hollywood hype about having babies well into your sixties? Perish the thought.
As for Liz Jones, well, her diary is just a cringe fest, I feel embarrassed for her. I sit dipping my toasted soldiers into my runny egg on a Sunday morning despairing whether to contact her and give her a good shake or leaving the equivalent of a counselling session in the comments.
It annoys me that these silly women are given free rein to spout their daft outpourings. They are awful role models, perhaps they are a little unhinged simply because (with the exception of Katie whatsname) they don't have children? No mother would have the time or inclination to moon over a middle aged pony tailed pumpkin or pitter patter around an overweight and overbearing French dinosaur.
It has been an absolute pleasure to read The Sunday Times every week, proudly held aloft for all to see. The female journalists actually like and respect women, they are excellent role models, interesting writers, funny, intelligent and kind. It is a delight to share with my (grown up ) daughters, who like me, seem to learn something new or see something from a different angle, laugh, commiserate, empathise and enjoy.I especially like India Knight (I know the horrible history re: Liz Jones) and my eldest daughter is a big fan of Camilla Long. A newspaper that appeals to women of the 21st Century.
For the sake of your daughters ditch the Mail and hook up with The Times.

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Embracing My Digital Darling.

I've been off the Celia scene as I've been studying a lot and trying to think of ways to earn some money. I'm finding it very hard to push myself out there and it seems especially hard as I seem to be glued to the lap-top where my research and marketing is taking place.  I'm fully aware that I'm not actually achieving much.
The business cards have arrived , the blogspot is in place and is attracting readers, I am tweeting away, have joined LinkedIN, have been on facebook for years and am being inundated with e-mails from various group members in the art / literature /tarot world.
I am following all the advice on how to get your business going in the digital age. I am learning and fast- I can't figure out how to change the 'about me' in the side panel here- that gets attached to any blog I write a which is annoying as it really isn't relevant to this one and quite frankly makes me sound like a loony* but is quite fitting for another blog I write called Dignified Tarot. (I have to keep mentioning DIGNIFIED TAROT as apparently this helps the search engines find my work.) I also am not keen on the 'mumsnet' logo as I feel a bit of a fraud because I don't really have anything to do with that organisation at all but I've no idea how to remove it from the page**.I must admit I'm learning something new everyday but then there's the problem of realising what I've done wrong in the past- posting photos on comment sites that have been cut to thumb nail (?) and now only display my left boob  for example.
I upgraded my phone about three weeks ago and my girls thought it would be a disaster but it's been the opposite. I went to the Three shop and told the man what I wanted the phone for; facebook, twitter, texting, camera etc and he recommended the Sony Xperia. Well six months ago I probably would have run out of the shop longing for the days of the red phone box but how times change! I spent ages in the shop with the staff while I asked them how to do this and how to do that, I asked them to ring me so I knew how to answer the thing, text me and wait until I had replied, take photos and send them to fb and twitter, check my e-mails, listen to Xfm, loads of stuff. I was determined to come out of there with a good knowledge of my new toy so that I can be part of this world and not side-lined and adrift in the world of 'not modern enough,' as distinguished by the phone, sorry, handset, you use. Well by this criteria I'm thoroughly modern Millie. I'm having to try and stop myself from becoming too besotted with the thing but I can see now why people do gaze lovingly into their handsets often while ignoring their partner/kids/ granny.
There's a long way to go along this digital journey and there will be more hiccups along the way. My daughter is very cross with her IPhone at the moment as they've changed an app and she keeps finding herself putting people on hold or shouting at them or blaring music into their ears. The goal posts change a lot I find as one day I am perfectly capable of writing a blog, posting pictures, updating pages, chatting to worldwide group members and then the next day I can't even access my hotmail. I've learned though that this happens and to either turn the whole thing off and start again or walk away.
Blogging, texting, handsets, pods, pads, x-box, google ,internet, lap-top and lots of other words did not even exist when I learnt to read so I'm pretty pleased with myself that I am embracing my digital darling.

*By the time this was published I figured out how to change the 'about me' column so If I still sound like a loony it's obviously meant to be!
** Removed logo 5/12/2013. Hooray!