Category Archives: Legends

Everything in Threes

Why does everything seem to come in threes? Is it magic number? We have the Three Stooges; plants should be grouped in threes; the Holy Trinity; the three wise men, traffic lights – red, amber, green; clothes, especially for babies: one on, one off and one in the wash; pre-packed meat in supermarkets, chops always seem to be in threes, not one or two or even four; three primary colours: red, blue and yellow; the three little pigs; three blind mice; no buses for an hour then three come along at once; three teaspoonsful equal one tablespoon… I could go on but it does seem odd (excuse the pun) that life and nature frequently have this triplet number. I’ve often wondered why or if there is any significance. Are these things simply a pattern? A lucky number, perhaps? No, I don’t think so for trouble always seems to come in threes too? At least it does in my house. I’ll elaborate…

Dave’s been retired now a month. It’s been brilliant. We’ve had a lot of fun, more laughs than I can remember us having and he and I have enjoyed every moment of this new phase in our long marriage. Except this month has also brought unwelcome and unexpected expense. Picture the scene: a beautiful Sunday, guests joining us for lunch, a roast merrily cooking its way, then bang! All the power in the house goes down. Trip switch flicked on again and again. Bang! Yes, you’ve guessed it, the cooker decided to burn out one of the heating elements in the oven. Oven turned off, meal resumed in the jet stream and microwave. Engineer summoned Monday morning. New element ordered, fitted on Wednesday.

Thursday, pouring with rain. Never mind, have washing to do. Thank goodness for tumble drier as we don’t have room for a washing line in the garden. Load machine with sheets. Drum turns a few times as it fills with cold water. Then bang! Trip switch shuts power off. Dave blames pump in koi pond and goes off to sort. I turn washing machine back on. Off power goes again. Kicks machine. Okay, it’s nearly 14 years old, never broken down so I can’t complain. Suspect pump has given up. Removes wet, soaking bedding from drum. Scratches head. What to do with dripping washing. Engineer summoned again in hope he can fix it. Yes he can. Heater element blown. New one ordered and fitted following Monday morning.

Now have larger washing mountain to climb. First load in: several large towels. Washing machine works a treat and an hour later they are dying in tumble drier. Well… I thought they were. All lights flashing on machine, washing still damp after two hours. Drier defunct. Research problem on internet: Common fault. Terminal. Still pouring with rain so can’t even rig up temporary line. New tumbler on order for next day delivery.

So, that is our three bad things done. Hopefully. Please no more. Dave reckons the dishwasher will be next as it’s over 10 years old. I’ve told him if it does break down, he will be doing all the washing up for wishing it upon us.

It’s still raining, and blowing a gale, but at least the garden is thriving, even if we can’t get out there and enjoy it today.

Kit’s Website and Blog  and Kit’s Art  Site

Pineapples – Product of Paradise.

DownloadedFileI knew when I did the last blog I wouldn’t want to stop the fruit theme. When I saw an article in this months Costco Connection I couldn’t resist writing about the exotic Pineapple.

The largest fresh fruit producer and distributor for the United States is Costa Rica. If I had been guessing I would have said Hawaii.

There are no seeds in pineapples, instead the leafy top is planted or sometimes the slips and suckers, offshoots of the plant that grow out of the base of the fruit and between the leaves. It takes from 12 to 20 months to produce mature fruit. It’s a wonder they are so affordable.

Unlike other fruit once a pineapple is picked it stops ripening. When you see one in a store it is as ripe as it will ever be.

Yummy, and good for you.
Pineapples nourish and protect our bodies. Bromelain is an enzyme found only in pineapple. Its anti-inflammatory properties are effective for sports injuries, swelling and as treatment of osteoarthritis. Ongoing research indicates it may possess cancer fighting qualities.

Vitamin C is also prevalent in pineapples and they have a high manganese content that promotes healthier skin and fights free radicals. Ummm fighting free radicals (aging) is a real good thing.

I’m on a role here so don’t be surprised if I shoot through the summer blogs with this fruit theme.

Do you believe in fairies?

Don’t panic. I’m not about to admit to seeing any at the bottom of my garden. As far as I know, my faculties are still in good working order. It’s just that on a recent car journey with AJ to visit my mother, we drove past a small village in Wiltshire nestled in a valley with its handful of cottages and houses surrounded by a stream. I’ve always referred to it as Brigadoon because it looks so magical and driving past at dusk it’s easy to imagine a sleepy village which only comes to life every hundred years.

The conversation turned to the possibility of such a phenomenon existing and then to the concept of magic in general. While I’m the one in the family who has her head mostly in the clouds, AJ is also open minded to the possibilities that exist outside the known, although he does draw the line at fairies and the existence of other such mythical creatures. Anyway, we discussed magic in its broadest sense and of our personal definitions of the concept—from spells, conjuring and sorcery to the more ethereal of possibilities. Personally, my interest is with the latter concept—the unaccountably enchanting, the fantastical, the sheer wonder of something that has the potential to take my breath away.

It is this everyday kind of magic that can, for me, turn the seemingly mundane into something quite enchantingly extraordinary. It can be a snowdrop peeking through layers of snow; a puppy gazing up at me with pure adoration in its eyes; my husband telling me that after almost forty years of marriage I’m still his dolly bird; a fabulous sunset; a little village in Wiltshire that I call Brigadoon…the list goes on and on and on. Pure magic, all of it, and I truly believe in this respect we all live daily in a magical universe.

And if I ever do get lucky enough to see a fairy at the bottom of my garden? Well, I’d invite her in for tea, of course. Can you imagine what I’d have to write about on a future blog post!

How about you? What are the magical things in your life?

If Easter Eggs Don’t Wash Their Legs Their Children Will Have Ducks by Valerie J. Patterson

That line is from a song aptly titled “The Nonsense Song”.  It’s a song I learned as a child.  Every once in a while I sing it for the bubbly hubby and—for my effort—he graces me with a smile, a shake of his head, and a squeeze of my hand.

Today’s blog is not so much about nonsense as it is about traditions.

St. Patrick’s Day and Easter—both holidays right around the corner—are steeped in tradition.

My grandmother—Dad’s mom—with the maiden name of Brady, was Irish and very proud of it.  St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal in her home.  Not because she liked green beer, but because she was a faithful Catholic and Saint Patrick meant something to her and the country where her ancestors lived.

The Wearing of the Green—commonly misinterpreted as wearing green for Ireland actually means to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing.  St. Patrick often explained the Holy Trinity using the three leaves of the shamrock.

Annually, Dublin, Ohio holds a huge Irish Festival that showcases fabulous Irish music, dancing, and dress.

Irish Truth—It is often that a person’s mouth broke his nose.  I don’t think that really needs interpretation, but just in case:  If one keeps his mouth shut, he removes all reason for someone to plant a fist on his nose!

March 17 commemorates the date of death for Saint Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland.

Legend states that St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland by chasing them into the sea after they attacked him while he was fasting on a hill.

Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day is full of parades, celebration, and drinking all over the world, not just in Ireland.

Easter comes with its own traditions from the coloring of eggs to the wearing of Easter bonnets, spotless white dresses, and patent leather shoes.  From hunting for hidden Easter eggs to devouring candy found on artificial grass inside a straw basket, to looking for the Easter Bunny.

The Egg Bump—traditionally each player brings their own decorated hard boiled egg to the competition.  Two players stand across from each other and roll their egg into the egg of their opponent, bumping eggs.  The player whose egg cracks is out of the competition.  Play continues until only one intact egg remains.

Early Christians stained eggs red as a symbol of the blood Christ shed.  The egg traditionally represents life.

The Paschal Greeting is exclaimed on Easter Sunday.  Instead of “hello” it is customary to say, “Christ is risen” to which the response, “He is risen indeed!” is returned.

Easter also—for me and my family—celebrates the resurrection of Christ on the third day after the crucifixion, offering salvation to all who wish to accept it.

For you and your family, I hope there are traditions that are held precious and dear to your heart, that are steeped in meaning and sentiment, and that are shared with each new generation that arrives.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Easter to all of you!

Until next time, take care and be happy.

Refreshed and Renewed

The weather is currently glorious here in the UK and we took full advantage by booking a few days away on the North Devon coast. Named “Little Switzerland” by the Victorians, the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth enjoy a fabulous location nestled between the sea and the cliffs. Zorro had a ball as the whole area is a dog walking paradise, with deeply cut wooded valleys, rivers, waterfalls and Exmoor – Lorna Doone country.

We stayed in a little thatched cottage in pretty Lynton, the higher of the two towns, and enjoyed spectacular views of the rugged coastline. Going down to Lynmouth was lovely with an easy walk through wooded valleys and streams, but getting back up was no joke. Thankfully, the two towns are linked by the Cliff Railway. Opened in 1890, this environmentally friendly railway is, I believe, unique. There are two cars – one going up and the other going down – which are powered by water. A hydraulic lift operates the cars and as the topmost car is filled from a reservoir, it causes that car to move down while simultaneously lifting the other car upwards. Again, the views are pretty amazing and it’s said that it’s the closest thing to being in a helicopter without actually leaving the ground. It certainly felt that way to me.

We also visited Watersmeet, which is now owned by the National Trust. A leisurely walk along the river gorge past waterfalls and the occasional interest of the area’s wildlife, is rewarded by a much needed and appreciated coffee and cake at an old fishing lodge which is now a pretty tea shop right in the middle of the woods.

We took a walk on Hollerday Hill and viewed the remains of an Iron Age settlement, again with spectacular views. This was also the site of a huge mansion owned by the area’s Victorian benefactor, whose property was mysteriously burned to the ground at the turn of the century, supposedly by the suffragettes, although this was never proved. We then walked on to the mysterious Valley of Rocks. There are many stories and legends associated with this fascinating area, such as the weird rock formation named Rugged Jack. Here legend has it that the devil appeared to a group of druids who were dancing and revelling on a Sunday and promptly turned them to stone. Then there’s the original site of the church in Lynton which it is said the pixies disapproved of. Each morning the workers would arrive to find the previous day’s building work had been demolished and the stones moved across the way to another site. It was soon decided that the church should be built in this new site to avoid the pixies’ wrath.

While tales of pixies, fairies and ghosts abound in this region, for me what makes it magical is the sheer beauty of the area. We all came home refreshed, renewed and with aching legs. But it was well worth it.

Where Were You … ? by Valerie J. Patterson

“TRUE! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily –how calmly I can tell you the whole story.”  An excerpt from  The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, 1843

Where were you when you first read or had read to you this fantastic short fiction by the grandfather of American Horror Fiction?  I was in 7th grade and I instantly fell in love with the intense imagery of Poe.  He became my writing hero.  I read everything I could–even if it wasn’t required reading for my Advance Placement English courses.  Later, when I taught English to home-bound students, I introduced them to Edgar Allan Poe–not just his fiction but also his poetry, which is just as incredible as his macabre fiction.

Poe’s life was incredibly tragic.  He was raised by an apathetic, cold, unloving foster father after he was orphaned when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned them.  In the end, it’s been written that he became an alcoholic and died in the street.  The success of being a writer and a poet evaded him, recognition not coming until well after his death.

Poe was a master at his craft.  He drew fantastic paintings with well chosen words.  The images his stories and poems created stuck with me long, long after reading them.

The Tell-Tale Heart was my first introduction to Poe.  It began a love affair with his work that continues today.  Oddly, his is the only macabre I read.  The others–like Stephen King–pale in comparison.  I won’t even buy them.  To me, it’s not about the gore.  It’s about the words and the images they create.  It’s about the words and the setting they create.  It’s about the words and the feelings they create.

It’s about the words!

Where were you when you had your first encounter with Poe?  Or your favorite author?  Why was it memorable?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I thought I’d leave you all with a little chuckle …

Twas the night of Halloween
And all through the town
Not a Lavada Dee nor a Laurie
Could even be found.

Tricia in her cape and
Jan in her gown
Looked hither and yonder
All through a quiet town.

The silence was eerie
The October weather dreary
At the end of their search
They both were rather weary.

On a dead-end street
On the wrong side of town
They passed the cemetery gates
Which were guarded by a clown.

The music was blaring
It was turned up real loud
I swear I saw Nancy
Wearing a shroud

Everyone entered the gates
Past the clown they did dash
To see Jillian and Jamie
Doing that Monster Mash.

Off to the side near a bramble bush strand
Stood Janette and Marion
Doing their version
Of the dance the CanCan!

They stopped when they saw us
And froze on the spot
Suddenly church bells were ringing
It was twelve on the dot.

The moon rose up brightly
And on a tombstone sat a cat
Michal took off running
And Lavada flew off with a bat.

The clown at the gate
Was clean out of sight
No one would believe us
If told what we saw that night.

If your name wasn’t mentioned
It wasn’t a slight
It’s hard to fit in everybody
And still have it sound right!

Happy Halloween
To all of you here
Maybe I’ll write a better poem
This time next year!

~VJP~

The Fountain of Youth

I was trying to think of a subject to blog today and with the Spring blog Laurie wrote I thought of the legend of the Fountain of Youth. I guess I always feel a little younger in the spring.

Myths and legends surround longevity. One of the most famous legends is The Fountain of Youth. It was said that anyone who drank from the Fountain would have his or her youth restored.

Legend has it that in 1513 the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon looked for it in Florida. Native stories in the Caribbean told of a restorative spring located north of the Bahamas. He didn’t find it and now there is speculation that he might have never even searched for it but that it might only have been a romantic addition to his story of exploration.

One common characteristic in most of the legends is that the Fountain of Youth does not create immortality, but merely extends life. This legend and others like it might be seeds of reality as modern researchers explore balms, treatments and even special waters to rejuvenate and restore youth and vitality. In a way this is becoming a new Fountain of Youth. Not so glamorous, the original fountain was not just a place, or the water just a thing, it was more a dream. One that was a desire held by early people.

Today, we’re more likely to buy a lottery ticket to support our dreams. Why not, one common denominator in the young is hope. And, be honest when we purchase that ticket don’t we dream a little as we hope for . . .

I find the Fountain of Youth when;
#1. I eat better. The better choices I make in diet, the better and more energetic I feel. Eating things I shouldn’t means I have less energy, so do less.

#2. I put some physical activity in my day. Walking, playing a Wii game, heck even housework. Again the more I do the more energetic I feel, the less I do the more sluggish I feel.

My trouble is like the car in the grocery parking lot I keep losing the darn fountain. I stick diet and activity (notice I don’t use the E word) into a slot in the day, then forget where I put it.

Have a great day and remember to stop and enjoy. Maybe that’s the true Fountain of Youth.