Landscapes, Legends and Literature

Earlier this month, we took a trip down to Cornwall in south west England. This was partly because we made a decision to start exploring parts of the UK we have never visited before, but mostly because I’m writing a new paranormal series based in the area and wanted to get a real feel for the place.

SAM_0736We’d visited Cornwall once before when we were much younger, but I’d never really appreciated it then and this time I was stunned by the beauty of the area. We based ourselves in Bodmin, a town on the edge of the hauntingly beautiful Bodmin Moor. Having expected a largely barren vista, I was surprised that the moor’s landscape is so diverse. At eighty square miles, we only scraped the surface. For starters, we decided to follow The Copper Trail, a sixty mile circular walk along footpaths and tracks which take you through the remains of the hard rock mining industry and 5000 year old prehistoric monuments.

SAM_0728We began by driving to Golitha Falls, a nature reserve on the southern edge of the moor which is home to otters, great spotted woodpeckers and grey wagtails. So lush, and incredibly peaceful. Just the sound of birds, water and our gasps of awe at the beauty to be found there. Moving onward, we visited the Minions, an area dotted with old copper mine engine houses and tors, which are weathered granite rock towers. Then onto the Bronze Age monument, The Hurlers, a group of three great stone circles. The name derives from a legend in which men were playing a Cornish game called ‘hurling’ on a Sunday. As punishment they were magically transformed into stones. SAM_0747

On our way home, which took us straight through the middle of the moor, we made a stop off for morning coffee at Jamaica Inn, the place where Daphne du Maurier set her famous novel. She is said to have been riding on the moor and sought refuge at the inn when a thick fog set in. While she was there, she was entertained with smuggling tales and ghost stories, which obviously provided much inspiration for her novel. Built in 1750, Jamaica Inn was originally a coaching inn and a staging post for changing horses. It is said to be one of the UKs most haunted places, and during the year several ghost hunting weekends take place there.SAM_0757

SAM_0759We had a really great time during our first trip to Bodmin, and are already planning a return trip this summer. There is so much to explore. Oh, and Daphne du Maurier wasn’t the only one inspired to write while on Bodmin Moor. I came back with ideas buzzing, not only for the current series I’m writing but a future one too. I can’t imagine anyone visiting this beautifully eerie, rugged and intriguing place without having their imagination fired.

Mantle of Memories

I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about family lately and should probably branch out into other topics, but these are the things I’m passionate about, so they will probably keep coming. :)

P1100955Here’s the straight ahead view from where I sit on our couch. I love that, when my day is done and I sit down to relax for the evening, the first thing I see is the pictures of our eight grandchildren and our godchildren. It’s a diverse group, since they range in age from 22 to 1, and in interests from cars and the outdoors, to basketball, Barbies, and Mega-blocs. Whew! I change out their pictures each year until they graduate from high school. So eventually, we’ll have all their graduation pictures on this mantle.

It’s a still-changing, very satisfying visage to end my day on. Both hubby and I regularly look at these pictures and realize how lucky we are to have each of them in our lives, and to watch them grow and become adults in their own right.

Also, I’m focused on family today because one of them, our daughter Michal, who keeps an eye on this blog, is having a birthday today! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR MICHAL! Wish we were there to celebrate with you in person!

Feeling the Bus!

I’ve had an interesting time since the last time I popped in over here. It’s clearly been “Kick Jillian” month in the legal world. I have three big cases going on right now that I am more involved in some than others but they seem to all have people who want to deflect the fact that they have nothing to base their case on and put the spotlight on me and what I may have done that makes them unhappy.

When I was in law school, I had a professor say, “If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on y0ur side, argue the facts. If you have neither, pound on the table.”   We have definitely been having some table-pounding going on in my world.

In one of the cases, the other lawyer said such awful things about me that were completely untrue, I got in my car and drove three hours one way to court where I was initially going to appear by telephone. I felt I had no choice and needed to be eyeball to eyeball with the judge when I set the record straight. AND in fact, after pointing out that my integrity had been impugned,  I argued the law, not the emotion of my anger at being thrown under the bus and the court granted my motion other than one item she needed more information about.

So, just as I got over that incident, along came another, less slanderous issue.

After I handled that, one more blindsided me. I almost, almost didn’t read the pleading because the issue was between two other parties but I decided to give it a once-over and shock me! – the one lawyer used 8 pages out of 14 to trash me and yet again, I was thrown under the bus- AND this wasn’t even my issue.  Crazy world.  I responded to that as well and set the record straight yet again and the court ruled in a way that showed the other side had wasted their time attacking me.

So, I’ve staggered around this month getting kicked about but always getting back up.  I’m trying to avoid buses to be tossed under right now but thought maybe I should try to make friends with one that seems to be lucky and so I’ve shared this youtube link.

Happy April from a beat-up but not defeated Jillian. By the way, this is my 100th post over  here!  PARTY!!

Showing Your True Colors by Valerie J. Patterson

I’m certain we’ve all heard the saying, “She’s showing her true colors“.  And I’m also certain we all know that it means to show one’s true self.  But did you know that this saying originally referred to ships in the heat of battle?  Warships would often fly multiple flags, each a different color, hoping to confuse their enemies.  However, rules of wartime dictated that prior to firing, the ship had to hoist its real country flag, hence showing its true colors.

I was thinking about the phrases and sayings we have grown up with and how each generation–it seems–has their own sayings, but that there are phrases that remain regardless of the passage of time.  I decided to look into the origins of some of the sayings and phrases I have always heard, and I was shocked by some, grossed out by others, and somewhat surprised to realize that I knew more about some than I would have thought.  Not sure what that says, but…here are some sayings and their origins.  Enjoy!

Spill the beans–of course, this means to tell a secret.  In ancient Greece, voting for candidates was conducted by depositing either a white bean (voting yes) or a black bean (voting no) into a container.  The candidate never knew who voted which way nor did they know the outcome until the beans were counted.  Occasionally, a clumsy voter would knock the container over and reveal the votes to the candidate, thus spilling the beans.

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed–of course this is often said of a grumpy person.  However, in “old times” the left side of the body and anything dealing with the left side was considered evil.  In order to ward off evil spirits, innkeepers would push the left side of the bed against a wall, giving guests only one option: to wake up on the right side of the bed!  As a left-handed person, I find this idea offensive! (wink)

No spring chicken–refers to someone past their prime, but it actually does refer to old chickens.  New England farmers got more money for chicks born in the spring rather than those born in the wintertime.  When times were lean, they attempted to pass wintertime chicks off as spring chicks and the wise buyer would reply, “That is no spring chicken!”.

Here’s one that surprised me:  Rule of Thumb–this means a benchmark, a go by.  It is said to have originated in England when 17th century judge, Sir Francis Buller ruled that husbands could beat their wives with a stick providing the stick were no wider than his thumb!  [Someone should have beat Sir Buller!]

Go the whole 9 yards–means to give it your best, your all, and try your hardest.  Fighter pilots of WWII were issued a 9-yard ammunition chain.  When a pilot used the entire chain on one target, he was said to have given it the whole 9 yards.

Here’s one that simply grossed me out: Cat got your tongue–obviously this means someone is at a loss for words.  But it actually originated from the practice of cutting out the tongues of liars and feeding them to cats!  Yick!!!!

So as not to leave you with that image, here’s one more.  I just found this one very odd:  Butter someone up–we take this to mean flattery, but it’s actually an ancient Indian custom of throwing balls of clarified butter at statues of gods to gain their favor.

I don’t know about you, but I doubt I will ever use the phrase cat got your tongue again!

Until next time, have a great weekend, and may your blessings always be more than you can shake a stick at!!!!



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After the amazingly mild winter we have had it’s hard to believe that spring is here and we will be in the high 70’s later this week.  We actually enjoyed the last couple of weeks of rain, plus we really … Continue reading

Surprise Visit

bunny02Easter was just over a week ago and I got up a little late. It was a beautiful morning and I have a few spring flowers blooming adding to the joy of the day.

Still a little sleepy I started a cup of coffee and while it was brewing I glanced out of the window and saw this big beautiful bunny. We have a lot of wild ones over at the other house but this one was a lot bigger. Seeing it was a surprise as I have a six foot wooden fence, and except by the gate it is a pretty snug fit at the bottom.

So a nice visit to start the day and a new week. Sometimes it is the small things that make me stop and think what a great world we live in. And what better day then Easter for this little guy to make an appearance?

We’ve been talking quite a bit about Spring but it’s hard not to when the whole world seems to be in bloom. Talking about the bunny… I did find where he had done some nibbling on the plants. Oh well what’s a little pruning in comparisome to the joy he brings as he hops around the yard. I can’t seem to get a picture and haven’t seen him for a few days so he may have moved on to another garden.


April – its Tax Time

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Another month has flown by.  I think I blinked and March was gone.  It may have been that I was deep in editing my last book for my publisher. I finally got my taxes done, I’m usually much better about … Continue reading