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Dear Diary: Sulis, King of the Pixies and Flying Keyboards

A goddess image

Before I had even finished writing the book, Pagan Portals Sulis I started to think about an image for the front cover. My first thought was a photograph of the ‘gorgon’s head’ that went above her temple, or one of the altars found in the Roman Baths, but it didn’t feel right. Then I was struck by inspiration (it happens on rare occasions) and I asked the very talented Suzi Edwards Goose, the Ink Witch if she would be interested in a commission. Thankfully she was totally onboard with the idea.

Roll forward to this past weekend and the image of Sulis was completed and I was not disappointed. Suzi has completely captured the essence of Sulis. Her image is a pre Roman Sulis (which was my only request), she squats gazing into the waters of a natural spring. Rock carvings around her represent the offerings made at the pool along with snake and sun symbols. She has 13 white flowers for the 13 moons. She flows into or is it out of the water? Seven rocks to represent the land and the hills of Bath. And of course there are tattoos!


The book is in for its first edit at the moment so it will be a while before it gets a publication date, hopefully towards the end of 2024.


King of the Pixies and other stories

A story from my childhood and perhaps part of where it all began…

When I was very young I spent a lot of time in the garden with my dad who has always been a keen gardener, being organic before it was fashionable and always having had an allotment. He has always been very nature based too, knowing and understanding the land and the creatures and plants that live on it. As young children he would take us on trips to ancient sites, including picnics in Stonehenge. Literally in Stonehenge because it wasn’t fenced off then and you could just park your car on the grass verge and go sit on the fallen central stone and eat your picnic lunch.

Add to that another story about my Uncle (my dad’s brother). When I was a child I would go and stay down in Devon with my Uncle and Aunt. My Uncle would tell me he worked for King Neamo of the Pixies. I may have misremembered the pronunciation or the spelling, perhaps it was Nimeth… anyway, I wholeheartedly believed that’s who he worked for. The King of the Pixies would leave me gifts on the doorstep, wrapped in leaves. Little pieces of jewellery, once a shell covered box and when I was poorly, a bottle of cough syrup, which was the best cough syrup I have ever had. My belief in his employer ran for many years, right into my school years. And perhaps beyond.

As a child I loved books and stories, particularly those about dragons, witches, wizards and fairies. I have several ornaments that I collected in my youth that represent all of those things. I also have a very tiny charm bracelet, that doesn’t even fit halfway around my wrist now. The charms on it include representations of Cornwall and Devon but also piskies and a mother of pearl crescent moon. All of the above and of course, having been born on Halloween, I suspect it was fate from the start.


Flying keyboards

In the past few days I have felt incredibly stressed and my temper has been short, very, very short. I have a flying computer keyboard to show for it (I threw it across the office because the computer was arguing with me). Nothing particularly stressful is going on in my life, just the usual stuff. But I am still struggling with the tail end of the menopause and the delightful hormonal issues that come with it. I believe I am over the physical side of the menopause, at least I hope I am (fingers crossed), but the hormones are still temperamental. I am taking some herbal stuff, which is vile, but supposedly good for me, to see if it will balance them out, here’s hoping, because I can’t afford to get through any more keyboards.


Favourite books

If you know me at all you will realise Terry Pratchett and his Discworld creations are some of my favourite reads, but what else?

As a child I loved Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit. My grandfather also put me onto the Sherlock Holmes stories, which I have read and re-read over the years. I have all the Roald Dahl books which are also well thumbed.

When I was a child I belonged to a book club and loved the magazine when it arrived, I got to choose a book from it each time. I still have some of them including a couple of favourites which are Emmie and the Witch’s Button and Green Smoke (it’s about a dragon).

My dad would take us to the library every Saturday and I looked forward to each visit. It sparked my love of reading and in turn I took both our children to the library regularly too.

Modern books - I am working my way through the Ben Aaronovitch Rivers of London series which is brilliant. I also love the cozy mysteries by Kim M Watt, particularly the Dragon series. I also love the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine. I love books and there are a lot more than these, this is just the tip of the bookcase!


Hair

I had a visit to the hairdressers this week, I am so pleased I had the very long cut taken up to an inverted bob last time. This time she shortened it a bit more to a regular bob, it is so much easier to deal with. I was reminded that I have had pretty much every hairstyle going over the years; perms, mullets, bobs, pixie cuts, crew cuts, you name it, I have probably had it at one time or another. That goes for colour too; red, orange, black, blue, lilac, pink, blonde, even khaki green once (that was a mistake), but I am now embracing my natural silvers, it is quite liberating. (Photo circa 1982)


Writing

The Hedge Witch manuscript stands at 14000 words. This week has been a bit hectic as youngest is back at college and there has been stuff to deal with, but my head is full of ideas for the book, I just need to get them down onto paper, well the computer screen.


Stuff

Join me on my Wednesday morning chats if you are free, replays are on my author fb page and my YT channel.

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