Archive for the ‘Ephemera’ Category

Out-Out – Brexiteers, damnation and fear…

June 25, 2016

Out – Out

Out damned spot

Out out brief candle

Out out damned little egotistical island

Little, less, nothing! – and that ended it.

(with apologies to Shakespeare and Robert Frost)

EU flag

So, the people have voted, and in great numbers, but the result is not great. Brexit is not a clear and decisive matter. Oh, yes the UK has definitively voted to leave but the closeness of the contest – 51.9 for Leave to 48.1 to Remain is not really a cause for great celebration. Indeed, the mood has been rather somber since early Friday morning. My ‘ladies who lunch’ were quieter, more reflective, somewhat worried about what it all meant. My year 10s were panicked and frightened – the lesson was lost to politics and history. Even Boris the bouncing shaggy dog of a man was not his usual ebullient self.

What have we done?

In truth, nobody really knows, which is why we are worried and apprehensive in the wake of this momentous, yes, historical decision. I am reminded of how gutted I felt when Paul Keating lost to John Howard, how I felt the loss personally and worried for the country. But life went on and we coped and PJK faded away as John Howard took us back to the 1950s and the rhetoric of hate ramped up – it was the time of Pauline Hansen, remember. (An Australian version of Nigel Farage, for my English mates)

So life here will go on. But just as Australia did, things will shift on their axis. It isn’t the same world it was on Thursday morning. This moment is unlikely to be a small ripple in a pond. This event has the potential to be a tsunami, wreaking all sorts of havoc and damage; destruction not dreamt of, let alone planned for.

David Cameron is slinking away. Having unleashed this all upon the public he will remove himself from the fall-out, play no part in the new world order. One is not sure if he is wise to leave it to others or is just a coward who misread the public dramatically, and foolishly kept an election promise (what politician ever does that now-a-days?) that has divided the country, divided his party and left him as a lame duck – a loser of the first order. What was he thinking, what advice was he taking? Why on earth didn’t he leave the referendum until the latter part of this parliamentary term?

The more worrying thing is who will take his place? Which of the rampant Brexiteers will it be? Bonkers Boris or Malevolent Michael?

Oh, you foolish country, you silly people to allow these too such an easy road to the top. Don’t you know what Gove has done to education, to children’s futures, to teachers’ conditions, to workers’ rights? Do you really think any extra money is going into the NHS, do you really think the refugees will stop, that France will hold the borders in Calais?

EU Europe

Perhaps the EU is broken, perhaps it needs a radical overhaul, perhaps it’s lost its way… But the UK is not Great Britain, as Gove went on and on and on and on about, like some fervent right wing nationalist on the telly and wherever he could get a platform. He may have made sure that children only read British writers in the brave new English (subject) curriculum, patriotically excising the Americans – Steinbeck, Miller and Lee, etc and the odd other nationality – from the reading lists, but that can not and does not make Britain great. It only leads to xenophobia, racism and an extraordinarily limited and dangerous view of the world.

Maybe the UK needed to leave Europe, maybe Europe needs to re-invent itself but the thing we do not need, not at all, and especially not now in this world of lies and mis-information, in this time of brutality to others and desperation of the many, is to ignite fervent nationalism, to identify the other and scapegoat them. Now the scapegoats are immigrants and refugees, but it wasn’t really that long ago the scapegoats were the Jews and we know what happened then…

Be careful what you wish for…     (Images from google free-site)

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English Summer-time and the Weather is Stupid

May 14, 2016

English Summer-time and the Weather is Stupid!

Last week we had several days of wonderful sunshine, in fact several days where it got progressively warmer and we had a BBQ-worthy weekend. And as Aussies abroad that was what we did – burnt some snags on a patio sized Webber. And enjoyed them very much. It wasn’t quite home, it wasn’t thin beef BBQ sausages, there wasn’t a keg of Cascade somewhere with blokes gathered around it, but there was tomato sauce and salad and fresh rolls and the odd drink (Pimm’s I confess: something British that I do quite like).

BBQ

This week we’ve had temper tantrums from the Gods of weather – sunshine and rain, heavy cooling rain. It’s just like growing up in Hobart: you never know what to wear, you need your brolly with you every day; you’re too hot or too cold, never, like Goldilocks porridge, just right. It was one of the best things about living in the NT for so many years, the utter reliability of the weather. Hot and dry for half the year, hot and wet for the other half. Brilliant.

Does the warm weather cheer people up, does it make you feel better? The moment the sun pops out for an extended period here people descend on the parks and beaches in droves and yes, they do parade their whiter than white, paler than pale flesh far too early and so suffer the ensuing pinkness for several days. Picnics in the parks are one thing, but bathers and exposed sun-scared flesh as well? Really…

The sunshine here reminds me of the stereo-typical trope of the English and their mania for talking about the weather. Indeed the man at my local shop where I buy my weekend papers and croissants engaged me on the weather this morning. It’s a step up from nodding acknowledgement, to ‘good mornings’ to today’s: ‘it’s a bit odd this weather we’re having’. Face-book fills up with comments about the warmth, just as it does about the rain and the snow when it happens. It is true, the English do love a chat about the weather, about as much as they love a queue.

sunshine

The sunshine and warmth does not cheer up the kiddies. Oh, no: it simply gives them another reason to moan and complain about life, and then if it’s Friday afternoon and you’re fed up and know you’re going to fail your GCSE’s it gives you an even better excuse to sleep. They sit in class, sweating, fanning themselves with hand-fashioned paper fans, guzzling their water, moaning – we can’t work, it’s too hot, open the windows, Miss, how can you stand it? I look at them with amusement and faint pity and think, and sometimes say: Well, my dears, twenty years in the tropics gives you a sort of immunity – a tolerance for heat, no, in fact it gives you a love of heat and warmth, and anyway, this is NOT hot. And indeed it is not, it is only 23 degrees, hardly heat-wave, hardly fainting in the street from heat-exhaustion. But the English, especially the teenage English, love a good moan.

I have mixed feelings on the sunshine, on summer creeping in, on the longer days. It is lovely when it warms, when the evil icy tendrils of winter recede, when the short days lengthen and the darkness evaporates. It’s nice to go to work and come home in the light. It does lighten one’s spirit.

picnic

Summer is lovely. It’s wonderful in our old farmer’s cottage in France, where it really warms up and the countryside hums with the sounds of summer, of crickets and cows and weekend markets and street cafes for lunch; where I can spend all day in our walled garden reading in the sun, doing virtually nothing for as long as I want. Summer is a good way to end the school year as the weather warms and even returning to the fray as summer fades is fine too – you begin in a happy place – provided your exam results were good enough!

country

But, oh does the warm weather make me homesick! Indeed, ironically, far more than the winter. Come summer and I just want to go home, to be in my house, on my river-bank, having BBQ’s on my verandah, gazing on the water, appreciating our gardens, enjoying the fading light of the long summer day sparkle on the river; visiting my daughter on the Huon. Yes, summer does my head in – it’s always been my favourite season and now it is the season that tortures my soul, bringing joy as the light and warm fill my spirit, but a wistful sadness that I am not where I want to be, that I am not at home.(Images from Private Collection)

Guilty pleasures: Top Gear

January 30, 2016

I have a confession: I love Top Gear. I know I shouldn’t, I know they’re reconstructed dinosaurs, who manage to offend all and sundry, and front such an unapologetically blokes’ show but I love it. I do. Let me count the ways.

I have come to the show late – so late it no longer exists in the Clarkson-Hammond-May format on the BBC. But, as you will know, that means nothing in the new era of TV where shows are endlessly repeated and on some days they run end on end on end. So Christmas was a boon period for anyone wanting to watch Top Gear for hours.

Top Gear, is as we all know, about cars. And I love cars. Have done ever since my second car, a 2.5 PI Triumph that caused all sorts of woes and troubles and expense but could drag off a motor bike at the lights. Then there were the Jags. Yes, dear reader, 3 of them. I am Three-Jag-Jac. The blue V8 saloon was the most beautiful car in the world but my favourite was the maroon V12 5.3 XJS. Which had more traumatic days than happy days, who cost a fortune but went like a rocket and dragged off the odd policeman. It also only started for me and even my mechanic was awestruck by the engine, if nothing else about the car.

Jag Front close up

So, it’s easy to see why I would appreciate a show that worships cars, their beauty, their style and doesn’t just give me a ‘guide to’ made mainly to soothe the manufacturers or sponsors. I’ll never own 95% of the cars on the show but I like to watch them being driven hard in differing conditions and I like that the boys are honest in their appraisals. Personal and quirky but honest and that actually matters these days.

The dynamic between Clarkson, Hammond and May is magic and it is why the show works and it is why Hammond and May jumped ship after Clarkson was fired. Okay, Jeremy should not have punched the producer, he should not have caused so much offence and so many complaints but surely that was/is part of the attraction of the show. It is the biggest money earner for the BBC, licensed all over the world. It’s impossible to think that Chris Evans can manage to make it work. But the world is a funny place.

The three men play off each other, tease other, bait each other, but the banter is what we love. They are horrid to each other, they fall out during their challenges and have a plethora of not-so-nice names for each other. James is Captain Slow, Richard is the Hamster and the Rural Simpleton/Idiot, Jeremy is the gorilla, the dinosaur and Jennifer. Hammond and Clarkson are Pinky and Perky. They revel in this and we love it too. The show works because they know each other inside out, have different knowledge banks, different approaches to motoring and somehow, just somehow they work together brilliantly.

Top Gear

I love the challenges. They are ridiculous and can’t possibly pass Health and Safety regulations. How on earth was Hammond allowed to be winched up the side of a damn in an old Land Rover? My favourite was the polar challenge. Clarkson and May living the life of Riley in the Toyota Ute (for those of us in Oz) with their meals of wine and foie gras while Hammond was on the dog sled and freezing in his tent. The differences are extreme but fun and of course Jeremy drove too fast and nearly killed the car and James nearly killed him too. I love that they genuinely fall out. But they forgive too.

So, they are offensive. Jeremy regularly says things he shouldn’t. I’m not sure that that’s such a bad thing. Increasingly we are being curtailed by the speak-police, the PC Nazis gone mad. Say something someone disagrees with on any sort of media and you will be trolled. Speak out about an issue and you will be vilified in the media, possibly receive death threats, be banned from speaking at universities (Germaine). So, in many ways, Top Gear is refreshingly unreconstructed in these terms and it is a shame there will be no more of this freedom of speech on free TV.

I have to mention the cinematography too. This is an amazingly shot show. You see the cars from every conceivable angle, but the close ups and angles and all of it actually are works of art. The camera guys, who are regularly mocked for their inability to shoot any wild animal effectively, are masters of their craft and clearly love cars as much as the hosts. If for no other reason you should watch for how beautifully filmed this show is.

But the main reason I love Top Gear is because these guys are literate, verbal acrobats, not always mangling a metaphor but speaking lovingly about the cars, about what they do. I love Jeremy most for this. I could listen to him for hours, with his poetic language, his historical and literary references, his inspired metaphors. These are not ignorant idiots on our screens, these are quite clever men, doing what they love, having the time of their lives. Perhaps that’s what the world-wide audience of men and women love.

Mum and Car

Finally in the spirit of the show, where we decide which of these three cars are the best, we need to decide which of these three presenters are the best. Or, to take it down a level, which one would you sleep with? Many years ago when I was the only female member of senior staff I would, during the more boring moments, consider each of my colleagues and wonder what they might be like in the sack.

Who would you choose? Jeremy, lanky, expanding gut, thinning on top, but with words to woo and long artistic fingers: James, with his gentle smile and kind eyes, his tousled mop and gentlemanly ways: or Richard, with his impish smile, his sparkling eyes, his fit body, his joy in what he does, his vigour and cheerful disposition? (Top Gear picture from the Guardian, other pictures from private collection).

Dreams – why you need them

April 26, 2014

Dreams have many uses in our lives – they help us to sleep and keep us healthy; they help us process the nonsense of our days; and they keep us alive, they give us hope and keep us going, moving forwards, not stagnating in the morass of nothingness.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who sadly died this week, was a man of words, wisdom and dreams – some of his stuff had to have come from his night-time visions. He has this wonderful, oft quoted point – “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

Dreams have played a large part in the world we know. Here’s a few reasons why dreams should not be dismissed as romantic ramblings of useless losers, as the acerbic and altogether too cynical, Scaramouche had it of Galileo’s desire to share his dreams in We Will Rock You.

Literature, Film & Art

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Much of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry came from dreams – Dream-land and A Dream within a Dream

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Misery & Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Terminator by James Cameron

Inception by Christopher Nolan

Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

Music – from and about

Yesterday by Paul McCartney came from a dream

No 9 Dream by John Lennon – came from a dream

Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Dream Baby by Roy Orbison

All I have to do is Dream by the Everly Brothers

I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables

Dream On by Aerosmith, etc

Science

Einstein’s theory of relativity came from a dream about electrocuting cows, or alternatively about sledding down a sleep mountainside!

Descartes apparently came to the scientific method forma dream where he was in a whirlwind pursued by ghosts, while craving melons

Kekule (1800s) had two dreams that led to significant discoveries in organic chemistry – about a snake seizing its own tail which led to the discovery of Benzene

Elias Howe (1845) invented the sewing machine after a dream about being a prisoner of natives who had holes in the tips of their spears

deviot road

 

And…

Abraham Lincoln foretold his own death in a dream. Google came from a dream Larry Page had when he was 23. Insulin was discovered in a dream, as was x-ray vision and Hannibal based his battle strategy against the Romans on his dreams. And one of the most famous speeches of all times beings: “I had a dream…”

We can take on this inspiration as our own. We can let our dreams do some of the hard work that consumes our waking moments, let the back of the brain sort through the mess, find solutions, offer new ways of thinking and being. We may not have world shattering breakthroughs but we can solve the bits of our life that won’t co-operate in the harsh light of day. I find my writing – academic and creative – benefits enormously from dreams and baths!

deviot jetty

Keep your own dreams alive. However small they may be, they are your inspiration, what keeps you going. To deny dreams is to deny hope, deny the future. Okay, so you’re not Brad Pitt (as Shania Twain once said) but you can dream and hope and make plans for a big and wonderful future. To deny dreams is to deny yourself. Dreams let you into your inner most fears and hopes and desires. You need to go there once in a while because at the end of the day the only true knowledge is self knowledge and self knowledge lets you dream big and true.

So get your little dream journal out, sleep well and catch those fragments before they evaporate in the daylight and see where they might lead you… (Images from Private Collection)

A world in two halves

March 22, 2014

Have you noticed how much of the world divides neatly in two? Consider your own life and have a look at this week’s list – a life of two paths, two parts, two ways to live your one and only life – which alternative is you? I’m sure there’s a deep personality indicator here, but my Psych degree is years out of date!

 

Zanzcat

 

Herein a list of opposites, in no particular order, of things you cannot be at the same time:

Beautiful and ugly

Rich and poor

Kind and mean

Smart and dumb (as opposed to educated and stupid, which you definitively can be!)

God-fearing and God-less

Brave and meek

Optimistic and pessimistic

Hobbit and Pirate – think about it…

Fat and thin

Happy and sad

Old and young

old&young

Self centred and considerate

Ignorant and aware

Reader and stupid – you knew it would be here somewhere!

Poet and banker – please tell me otherwise, I’d love this to be untrue!

Superstitious and rational

Indoors and outside

Patient and intolerant

Cheerful and miserable

Cat people and dog people

Married and single

Wise and immature

Gullible and skeptical – spell orange slowly…

Captain and crew

Civilized and barabarian

Country and city – or grass and steel

Neat and messy

Builders and destroyers

Shallow and deep

Champagne and beer

Nick and Tom – this is for you, Greta Creed

Pooh and Tigger

Gandalf and Sauron

Ratty and Mole

Sherbet and Skyhooks – remember?

Lion and lamb

countrycity

So, you have two challenges:

  1. Add your own exclusive opposites to my list, which is by no means exhaustive
  2. Check off where you sit and see if tells you anything you didn’t already know about who you are and how you live your life… (Images courtesy Private Collection and Phoenix Bewsher)

Doctor Who is a Sagittarian Rabbit – Who’d Have Know That…

November 23, 2013

Today is the birthday of the great and wonderful and utterly unique Doctor Who, who took to the airwaves this day in 1963. For all of those interested this makes the Doctor a Chinese Rabbit and a Western Sagittarius. An interesting combination and one you, no doubt, had hitherto not considered.

doctors

It is interesting that 23 November is just inside Sagittarius, which is a wholly good thing, given the cheerful and optimistic view that Sagittarians bring to matters, to wit, the Doctor always believes there are solutions and that he will win. And he’s right. The Sagittarius cheerfulness and joviality can be a bit annoying at times. Also consider that this is the sign that loves travel. Well is this not one of THE defining characteristics of the Doctor – have Tardis, will travel?

Imagine if he had been a brooding Scorpio, a secretive, but sexy (children’s TV?) dangerous Galifrean? Perhaps Tom Baker or David Tennant could have pulled that off, but the others? True the Doctor is wearying for his many companions, his energy and constant movement is more akin to Sagittarius than Scorpio, as is his ability to see the best in all, even his mates and make them feel as if they’re missing out if they’re not along for the ride. Sagittarians are known for good times, for shooting at the stars but being firmly rooted in reality, even if that is the relative unique reality of being a Time Lord.

tom baker

And what of being a Chinese Rabbit? That doesn’t sound too auspicious does it, but consider who else is a 1963 Water Rabbit: Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, George Michael, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Jordan. Not too shabby, eh? Handsome and most talented men, all of them: if not a bit quirky and utterly unto themselves. Is the Doctor not like this – handsome in some lights, most definitely quirky and utterly himself?

The Rabbit is clear sighted and quickly spots dishonesty in others. They work very hard, but you don’t always see it. How often do we see the Doctor apparently goofing off, only to reveal that he has actually been doing/spying/noticing all manner of things? And where did the Sonic Screw Driver come from? His fiddling and tinkering and there in the midst of play was the best little, most unassuming weapon in the universe.

tennant

Rabbits can be unsentimental and quite tough when it comes down to business – well the Doctor has vanquished many of his enemies across time and space, repeatedly. How many Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and Weeping Angels are there in the universe? Not to mention an assortment of other nasties including Davros, who just won’t die, or the Master, who really was quite deliciously evil, most especially when he was John Simm. Yes, indeed Doctor Who was banned in our house because of these horrors when my mother found my pathetic, useless woos of a brother cowering behind the couch. I missed the Cybermen quite seriously there for a while.

the master

Rabbits also like long relationships and make good partners. Well, we know the devotion the Doctor has shown to his companions over the years – Sarah Jane, Jamie, the Brigadier, Leila, Romana, Rose, Amy, and of course K9. And the heartbreak when some of those affairs have come to an end. It must be tough having two hearts and living forever, even in different bodies.

And today, the Doctor is 50. That’s quite an achievement. I’ve been with him most of the way and remain true and am ecstatic to discover after all this time that he, like me is a Sagittarian – it only deepens the bond. I confess my favourite remains Tom Baker, but closely followed by David Tennant, Peter Davidson (who is forever Tristan from All Creatures Great and Small) and Patrick Troughton.

What will the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi bring as a 55 year oldie, who is an Aries Dog, who is amazingly the same age as the original Doctor, William Hartnell. Oh, how 55 has changed these 50 years. How will Capaldi’s astrological mix merge with the Doctor’s? We can but hold our breath and wait and see. Ah, anticipation…

capaldi

Happy birthday Doctor Who, may you have very many more. (Doctor images courtesy Google Images)

Weather Wherever – Within/Without

March 24, 2012

Which season are you? (Which is not the same as which season do you prefer – later) Are you sunny and warm, pleasant and easy going, welcoming like a Spring day? Are you hot stuff, a bit too much, too extreme if there’s too much of you, better in small doses, overwhelming for most, like Summer in January in Australia? Are you mostly warm to cool, sort of tepid and not much fussed about anything much, more muted in your approach to the world, a bit Autumn? Or, are you cold and frosty, but cosy in a fire-side sort of way, better as people warm up to you, finding beauty in the icy coolness of your being, all so Winter?

We tend to have a favourite season, one where you feel you are at your complete best, where you are all that you can be. It is different for each of us and some people simply love the changing seasons, the colours, the moods, the way time slips by us.

Autumn is something of a sad time; the sweet warmth of Summer ebbing away, things dying, falling away, preparing to sleep and go slow. But Autumn is time to breath again after the extremes of Summer, the rains come, the temperature cools and the world seems more at ease with herself.

Winter is darkness, coldness, closed in and shut down, but that can be good too. Days shorten, night reigns, clear and bright on cloudless nights, cloudy and raining on others. There’s nothing nicer than being inside on a cold wet night by the fire. This is where Winter shines – comforts against the storms, watching the rain beat against the window, with you on the inside, safe and warm. Loving the countdown to the shortest day – the Winter Solstice (love that word) – knowing the light and the warmth are on their way back into the world.

Spring is life renewed, buds in the garden, newborns in the animal world, polar bears emerging from hibernation. Spring is the return of colour, of blue skies not grey, of a pale gold sun, of green grass and flowers. There is a perfume in the air and the world smells sweet and alive. You want to be outside again. The sun cheers our souls and we believe in the goodness of the world once more.

Summer is the brightness in us – the colours deepen and strengthen take on jewel hues, the sea is turquoise or jade, the sky ultramarine, the grass is emerald, the sand is topaz, the sun is amber with ruby flecks as it shines and burns with increasing ferocity. We sit outside, have picnics, we traipse to the beach, we swim and paddle, we sweat and complain, we tan and burn. We are so alive in Summer but for some of us it is too much and we yearn for the release that Autumn brings.

In some parts of the world the seasons dwindle to two – the tropics live between two main seasons. But in between there is the Build Up where the humidity climbs and the sky threatens and you nearly go crazy waiting for the rains, for the unending relentless rains and storms of The Wet, where mould attacks your walls and its impossible to dry clothes. The sweetness of The Dry cannot be over-stated – every day the same – blue clear skies, bright yellow sun, azure seas, dragonflies and the perfumes of frangipani and hibiscus on the air. Sweet air, clean air, dry air. Every day you smile, every day you know you live in the best part of the world and can’t remember the strain of the Build Up.

But it’s the weather within that matters. As Crowded House told us back in 1991 ‘Everywhere you go you always take the weather with you.’ So beware the sunny days without if you’re still stormy within. No amount of sunshine will change you, cheer you, if you don’t want to feel its beneficial rays.

Move around the world, live in the rain, live in the sun, find your season but vibrate to the positive in the universe, the vagaries of the weather, don’t become the storm yourself, don’t rain on every parade in town. (Images courtesy Google Images and Private Collection)

Dreams

March 17, 2012

I wake with the tail of the dream in my hand. If I open my eyes too quickly the dream evaporates, gossamer threads lost to the morning light.

So I lie for a moment, still, my hand tight around the thread, gently pulling it in – letting the image grow stronger, let the feeling develop, see the face, the place before I fully awake and then if I’m lucky the dream will come to me unbidden as the day unfolds and by the end of the day I will know and understand my dream.

There will be

Places from the past, but not as they really were – now they are some re-imagined dream-scape that I do recognise

Houses that I know and don’t – often with rooms locked away from the rest of the house, rooms that hold treasures and pleasures known only to me

Lovers from my youth – who visit me often, always as they were – handsome, aloof and somewhat out of reach. Some days I wake with the feeling and taste of them strong in me. It is an oddly pleasing thing to have them still in my life this way – dreams of them make me smile and remember them fondly

My family – but not usually all together. This is where the terror in my dreams lives – when frightening things happen to them. I wake in fear and must check immediately they are fine – these dreams I let go as quickly as I can

The dreams of work – the symbolic nakedness, the child refusing to do as asked, the undermining colleague – the friend I have adventures with

And sometimes, so very rarely, there will be a dream of my mother and I am always left wondering what if…

I revisit places and people and wonder why I’m here, what does being with this person mean? Why does water make me feel so good?

I hold the tail of my good dreams until they are strong enough to ride through the day, like a tiger – exotic and precious, dangerous and wonderful, making me strong and brave. (Images courtesy Google Images)

2012 – YEAR OF THE DRAGON

January 21, 2012

Being the mother of an awesome Dragon it is only right that I share with you some bits and pieces about being one of these wonderful beasties. My boy is charming, lucky, clever and destined to go far. You will too in the Year of the Dragon, because while it is the best sign to be born under, it’s also pretty good times for the rest of us. Given the state of the world at the moment this might cheer you up! So look forward to good times from Monday, 23 January 2012 to February 9 2013.

So here’s a brief heads up about the Chinese Dragon. I’ve included a couple of brilliant sites later on if you want a far more detailed run through the joys of Chinese astrology, who you are and what’s in store for the coming year.

The Dragon personality

The Dragon is one of the more famous beasts of myth and legend. It is a great symbol of good fortune and of intense power. The Oriental Dragon is regarded as a divine creature – it bears no resemblance to the evil, destructive, fearful dragon of Western Mythology. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon is said to be a harbinger of good fortune and a master of authority. In China the dragon and the phoenix are the royal couple and can be found in art and decorations across the country. In China the year of the Dragon is considered to be the most auspicious year to be born in.

A Dragon born with Rat and Tiger parents is especially blessed and will go far.

Years
1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Dragon Attributes

Equivalent Western Astrology Sign: Aries

Element: Earth

Hour: 7am-9am

Country: China

Yin/Yang: Yin

Direction: East-South-East

Zodiac Location: 5th

Ruling hours: 7am to 9am

Motto: “I Reign”

Season and month: Spring and April

Fixed Element: Wood

Stem: Positive

Lunar Month Dates: April 5 to May 4

Birthstone: Amethyst

Colors: Gold

Food: Wheat, poultry

Dragon Characteristics

  • Innovative
  • Enterprising
  • Flexible
  • Self-assured
  • Brave
  • Passionate
  • Conceited
  • Tactless
  • Scrutinizing
  • Unanticipated
  • Quick-tempered

Dragon Careers

  • Computer analysts
  • Inventors
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Lawyers
  • Philosophers
  • Psychoanalysts
  • Brokers
  • Managers
  • Salespeople
  • PR People
  • Advertising agents
  • Officers in the armed forces
  • Campaigners
  • Politicians

Sign Compatibility

Compatible with the Dragon are the Rat, Tiger, Rabbit, Snake, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, and Pig.

Incompatible with the Dragon are the Ox, Dragon, Horse, and Dog.

Famous Dragons

Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud, Mae West, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Keanu Reeves, Orlando Bloom, Colin Farrell, Sandra Bullock, Princess Beatrice

Some Excellent Chinese Astrology Sites to Explore & Enjoy

http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/Dragon.htm

http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/2012ChineseHoroscope.htm

http://www.squidoo.com/year-of-the-dragon

http://www.moonslipper.com/chinese-zodiac.html

Kong He Fat Choy! (all images courtesy of Google-images)

Welcome to the Pleasure Dome

October 15, 2011

In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree… Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

We’re a long way from home, welcome to the Pleasure-dome… Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Pleasure – a lovely sounding word, feel how it sounds in your mouth and think about the things that bring you pleasure. Be as salacious as you like, it’s your imagination. Pleasure-dome conjures evocative images of a central controlled space of pleasure, luxury, riches, indulgences. Close your eyes, remember the poem, recall the song…

Welcome to my Pleasure-Dome – my bed. I cannot afford a stately kingdom full of every imaginable pleasure known (and unknown) to (wo)man. But I have my bed and it brings me pleasure wrapped up in a great many packages.

The pleasure of sleep – it is impossible to over-rate the importance of the joys of sleep. We’re supposed to spend a third of our lives away with Orpheus so we should enjoy it all, especially our dreams. Dreaming is the stuff of wonder, the place you and only you can go to play, frolic, sort out your problems and find fabulous solutions. A good sleep in can never be over-rated. A good night’s sleep is what keeps us functioning sanely in this insane world.

The pleasure of sex – well, how can you speak of bed and not of sex? Although I would suggest that bed is where most people actually make love. Sex in an actual bed doesn’t tend to happen for a while as a young sex-crazed being. Sex and bed tends to be for more tender, passionate embraces, the languid, luxurious love making that a comfortable mattress ensures. The joy of sex in a bed is in the slow unwinding from the heat of congress, the lying together bathed in spent passion as you resume a normal heart beat and your bodies cool enough to find sleep. And a very good sleep at that.

The pleasure of reading – don’t you just love reading in bed? Half an hour before you sleep, in the morning of a weekend? Anytime really. You can stretch out, plump up your pillows, play a bit of music and settle into the most comfortable place to read and then travel off with the story you are into at the moment. Remember, a bedside table is for the stacking of books, so you must read in bed.

The pleasure of eating – this divides people. Crumbs and spills and stains are horrid things. But if you’re careful breakfast in bed is one of life’s major pleasures. Add to that snacking while you’re reading and a glass of wine and chocolate while watching telly and you’re away. If you live on your own there are no holds barred about eating in bed but sharing means negotiation and consideration.

The pleasure of writing – thank God for the lap-top. Now you don’t have to be chained to the desk to get on with your best seller. A large bed is also very helpful for spreading out your notes and drafts and organising yourself. Writing in bed vastly improves the quality and quantity of your out-put – tis true, really. (No, this is not penned from bed).

The pleasure of telly and DVDs – I have come to this again later in life, as for many years we had the TV central to our family life, now we watch DVDs on my iMac from the comfort of our King-size bed. With the lights out and a beverage and a snack it feels more like being at the movies, except of course you can pause to go to the loo or restock your supplies. If you’re sick, there’s nothing nicer – bed + TV + food = pleasure despite the suffering

The pleasure of chatting with loved ones – you should be doing this before and after the ecstatic act of love. But you can talk to others too. Baby girl loves sitting or laying on the bed disturbing my reading or writing to chat, aimlessly, endlessly. It’s unmitigated bliss to relax, chat and be with her. As a baby I used to read her to sleep in bed, her warm little body, on mine, reassuring, life affirming. Now I read and she does her homework and I offer wisdom when asked.

I always loved books and movies where some lady simply took to her bed and never got out again. How divine! For me a day in bed can be as good as it gets. Ah, bed, one of the under-rated Pleasure-domes of the world.