The Power of Believing…

 

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I have always been fascinated by dragons since I was a child, where myths and dragons were the order of play. Maybe there is a Welsh strain in my DNA somewhere!

I have a small stone plaque with a skeleton on it that I bought years ago when I was in Cornwall.  I really should move there, I love the place so much, but there is a problem. I can’t for the life of me decide which I like best, Cornwall or Wales. Decisions, decisions!
This plaque is supposed to have the bones of a baby dragon embedded on it, but it’s probably some kind of lizard. Most of the time I prefer to believe that it is real.

As writers, fantasy is basically what we are about, so I think I more than qualify!

Enough of all this dragon whimsy, and back to the subject of this weeks post.

Is there some kind of power in believing? I must admit I have a certain amount of trouble believing most things at face value, and that probably makes me sadly lacking somehow, or just stupid?
Surely not.
Why can I believe there were once dragons on this planet, but have trouble believing what people swear to me is the truth?

It does depend on the person of course. There are some people I wouldn’t believe if they swore on a stack of bibles, but when my granddaughter tells me that she loves me and that I am wonderful, I tend to believe her! But honestly, I think it must boil down to our common sense. I think that if something seems logical, it is probably true. Or is that just my stupid brain?

I recognise that I have a problem in this department and I blame all the people who have lied to me in the past. Too many, I fear.

It is astonishing the things we do insist on believing. Like I choose to believe that my writing will get better if I work at it hard enough.

And maybe it will, simply because I believe it…

©Jaye Marie

#Poetry: The Rose 1975

 

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The Rose

The rose stands in the garden bare

No petals on the ground, no perfume to be found.

Silver frost and sharp thorns adorn her now.

Cold and silent is the rain, Spring a long way off

Memories of long summer days, the heat of the sun

Soft dew on her face, the bees having fun.

Now the warmth has all gone, she stands naked and cold

Waiting patiently all winter, she slowly grows old.

She will not lose her beauty though time comes and goes

Each summer brings a miracle, a peaceful lovely rose…

©Jaye Marie1975

#Poetry: Yesterday…

 

 

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Yesterday

I walk among the dead of yesterday

A willing prey.

Unholy voices fill the air

With shattered hopes, they linger there

Ever deeper in despair

I sit alone, beside an empty chair.

In the darkness soft and sweet

All my sins of yesterday I meet.

With fear and sweat upon my brow

I stand before you empty now.

Heavenly angels take my hand

Lead me to your promised land

Help me find the love I seek

Which Jesus left for us to keep…

(an old one from 1979)

©Anita Dawes

#BlogBattle: Cave…

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Dreaming

I was dreaming about a cave in Cornwall. If you are lucky enough to find it, you will meet your future self, or so the legend goes. I am here in a beautiful sunlit cave that goes through to the other side and surprised to find an old woman sitting on a ledge. She was wizened and thin with grey hair.  I wondered how anyone this old could have climbed down this cliff to the cave. She must be ninety at least. When she turned to face me, I could see she had my eyes, black like coal my father used to say. Could this really be me in years to come?

“I lived a long life and hoped it was a good one.” She spoke in a tone of voice that I hear every day. “And that is why I am here to tell you. Don’t come any closer, to be in the same space would not be good for you. If we touch I could swap places with you and live all over again.”

I am nearing thirty and haven’t done much with my life. My childbearing days are slipping away. Maybe a swap wouldn’t be so bad. I could do so many things differently. I wanted to ask so many questions but they became jumbled in my head. She seemed to notice this. “There is nothing much I can tell you, we were not meant to meet this way.”

I could see she was sad. Had her life been lonely? My life, I should have said.

Her body was stooped with age. Is this what becomes of me? Old, sad and alone, I could see no ring on her finger, she had never married. Before I knew what I was doing, I flew at her, hoping it was true, that we would swap. I would be able to start my life again.

Her voice echoed around the walls. “You foolish thing, now you will have to find this cave in Cornwall to get your life back. My life was good. Yours has now changed. You may not like what you become.”

I awoke feeling the same as before, nothing had changed. Yet I wondered about the dream. I read a story like this when I was a child. Just a legend, I told myself. I wouldn’t have to go looking for a cave in Cornwall, would I?

A dream can’t change anything, I told myself. But as I passed the mirror, I split the air with a scream so loud I thought the mirror would break.

There she stood, my ninety-year-old self. Words whispered from the glass, “Come and find me…”

©Anita Dawes

Death on the Stairs!

 

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When I first saw this photograph, I was shocked at the stupidity of it.

Trying such a death-defying stunt just to decorate a stairway seemed a very stupid thing to do.

Then my mind took me back to the early days when we did so many silly things, trying to put food on the table when the kids were small. I remembered the house that we were hired to decorate. Gloss paint on all the woodwork and a very expensive wallpaper on all the downstairs walls and of course, the stairs. Nothing very complicated, we thought. A piece of cake…

Now, I am very tall, but that doesn’t help with old houses with high ceiling

We had a ladder, but that wouldn’t be any good on the stairs. Then I remembered the exercise bar that I had at home. The kind that spans a doorway so you can do pull-ups. With a bit of luck and a following wind, we could clamp it across the stairs to take the other end of our scaffold board. Make sure it is firmly fixed and level, then we could balance the stepladder on it to reach the top of the wall.

At this stage, I have to confess that I don’t like heights. I get nauseous and more than a bit giddy, but we needed the money.

Praying to all that was Holy, and armed with a carefully pasted and folded length of wallpaper, I ascended the ladder. It was very wobbly and I fully expected to fall and end up in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, wrapped up like a parcel in soggy wallpaper.

Those of you who have papered a wall will know that a fair bit of stretching goes on as you align the paper, trim the top and smooth all the bumps and air bubbles away. Several times, I swayed precariously on one leg but managed to complete my mission.

What I didn’t know at the time, was all the near heart attack moments that Anita was having as she tried to keep the ladder steady. She was in the perfect position to see just how dangerous it was and how close we came to disaster.

We had a lot of fun in those days, taking incredible risks, and some impossible jobs. This particular job was memorable for another reason too.

The owner of the house had several celebrity friends and they would often have to duck under our ladders as they came and went. The best day of all was when Bucks Fizz visited, and Mike Nolan signed his name on Anita’s arm! They signed their latest record for us and told the world about the crazy girls who were decorating their friend’s house!

So, taking risks was worth it that day!

Not every job had such high spots. Like the time Anita knocked over a tin of white gloss paint all over a dark chocolate coloured carpet! The owner caught us trying to scoop up the paint with spoons, and we expected our marching orders (or worse!) But they couldn’t have been nicer about it.

By the way, how are you supposed to wallpaper stairs?

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We want to send a very big THANK YOU to those readers who boosted our follower list to 1000 last week…

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Our Cat Merlin…

 

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My daughter and granddaughters gave him to us and he has been a great blessing. Each day he greets you when you rise, very vocally.

He talks a lot and sits on the arm of my chair, his face too close to mine. I have the feeling he wants to get inside my head. I cannot reach for my coffee, so I shoo him away.

My son says he doesn’t know why he loves me so much. I am told that whenever I leave the house, he howls, for he doesn’t like me to go away.

I call him dog because he acts like one. There are times he follows me so closely that I trip over him.

But he is a shadow I cannot do without…

©Anita Dawes

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Another Trip in my Time Machine…

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I am taking another trip in my Time Machine to a time at Clapham Common when we had gas lamps in our square. The man would come with his small ladder to light them every night, and again in the morning to put them out.

Mum would send us out to pick up the coal left in the road after the coal man emptied the sacks down the coalhole. He was always so dirty and so was the small boy that sat on the horse-drawn cart.

The man on his bike with the grinding wheel would call out, and mum would send me down to get her knives and scissors sharpened.

The one bike I looked forward to was the ice cream man. If I was lucky, mum would give me three pence for some of the best icecreams. So much better than what was in the shops.

Mum didn’t often have any rags for the rag and bone man, so I didn’t get a free balloon that often.

All these things seemed every day then. Looking back now, they are magic. All that fun without an Xbox!

The best thing of all was Billy Smarts Circus. They would pitch the tent on Clapham Common and very often, we would get in free under the canvas. Elephants, tigers, the clowns, and best of all, the high wire act. Watching them swing so free across the ring, never dropping one another. With my head tilted back, I could believe I was flying with them.

On my way home, I would stop for a while and watch the men with their model motorboats on the pond where they were allowed to play. I preferred the ones with sails, the old buccaneer kind.

Time to go home for tea, maybe I will take another trip on my Time Machine soon…

Anita’s Time Machine…

 

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Mr Edwards ran the baker shop not far from where we lived, and Mum would often send me for a fresh loaf, warm in my arms, smelling like heaven.

All the way home it was so hard not to take a bite. I did once and that was enough. The best thing for us kids was the fish and chip shop. If we took in an armful of newspapers, we could walk home eating a free bag of chips.

On hot days, we could get a cold drink from Mr Tom’s sweet shop. He offered one-penny drinks or a small one for a halfpenny. When you had been running around, it was better than popping indoors for a drink of water, for Mum would ask why was I so hot, and what had I been doing. Spending that halfpenny was best.

It was always easy to come by a penny or two. Take the rubbish out for Mrs Kindle, or sweep the yard for old Mr Wright. I ran many errands and often earned enough to go swimming and buy a bag of broken biscuits on the way home. For a penny, I could spend all day in the paddling pool.

For five pennies, I could spend an hour in a tin canoe rowing myself around the small island in the middle of the pond. When our time was up the man would call us in by our number and I always wanted canoe number 5.

Oh, for a time machine so I could take my kids back and show them how I lived and how I played…

Anita Dawes

Writing Inspiration

 

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This collage is some of the photographs I have from Cornwall, my favourite being St. Nectan’s Glen. I have stood beneath it, getting soaked to the skin, and climbed up the rocks and stood looking down at the majesty of the thundering water. The sight and sound of it put something in my soul that I know wasn’t there before. It was a truly wonderful experience, and if I had the money, I would move to Cornwall just to be near it. And I would love to go and experience Niagara Falls too! (mind you, if I did, I may never come home again!)

If you ever feel a little bit worthless or a waste of space, and I believe a lot of us do feel that way sometimes, you need a place like this. You need to be able to see and feel something that you just know is stronger and more powerful than anything you have seen or felt before. Once you find it, you will be a different person, believe me. I always love to be near water, any kind of water. I wanted to live on a boat when I was growing up and it still appeals to me.

The first time I went to Cornwall I was not really prepared for just how much that County had to offer. Apart from all the quaint old villages, there were magical forests, wonderfully rugged beaches and coves, dramatic rock formations and inspiring scenery everywhere you looked. I have had more inspiring moments in Cornwall than just about anywhere else.

I need some of that inspiration round about now, as I am still trying to finish my fourth book and find myself dragging my heels. I am at the stage when things should start to happen as we approach the conclusion, one of the most important sections of any book, in my opinion. For some reason, my mind is foggy, reflecting the autumn weather, and I desperately need some clarity. This year has been hard, trying to cope with a brain that is uncooperative at best and empty on occasion. Something keeps telling me that this may have to be my last book as the constant struggle to see, remember and keep on track is becoming a problem. I am refusing to listen to this voice in my head. I will continue somehow, even at a slower pace.  One way or another I will get it right and get it done, but where is my inspiration at the moment? I think it has gone to Cornwall without me…

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Four Seasons: Winter

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Winter is a time when I hope to see snow falling. I know it can be trouble, electric cables pulled down with the weight of it. People left in the cold with no lights, often no water either.

Roads closed, yet for me, it is pure magic. Not one snowflake the same as another. The world under a white blanket.

Spring bulbs loving the cold, a time of woolly hats and warm coats.  Hands hidden inside gloves, snowballs, looking over garden walls hoping to spot a snowman. This all reminds me that a part of us never grows old.

I always build our snowman in the front garden so I can see the smiles on people’s faces as they pass by.

Best of all, it is a time to sit with my family around a log fire, toasting marshmallows as we look forward to Christmas.

Not forgetting the carol singers…

Anita Dawes