Friday, 30 June 2017

Celebrate the small things

Some BIG things to celebrate this week in my world. First of all our eldest daughter got engaged! And then our youngest daughter received her final university mark and she passed with a First Class Degree. Yay, go girls!

Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

With everything going on recently, I realised I hadn't posted about the June birthstone. I have just managed to squeeze it in before the end of the month!

This month's birthstone is the beautiful pearl. Their natural lustre and translucence make the pearl one of the most well known and much favoured gems. Apart from the usual milky-white hue we associate with the pearl they can also be found in silver, cream, green, lavender, blue, black and golden shades.

Formed from the tears of Aphrodite, a love potion from Cleopatra, a wedding gift from Krishna to his daughter. The legends surrounding this, one of the oldest gems, are numerous. Here are just a few more facts and interesting stories.

  • The word Pearl is from the French 'Perle' which in turn has origins in the Latin word 'Perna' meaning leg. The thought is that the shells in which pearls are formed have a shape similar to a ham or leg of mutton.
  • The characteristics of loyalty, faithfulness and friendship are associated with this gemstone
  • They are reputed to be helpful for health problems relating to the stomach and intestines, heart and spleen.
  • The Roman General,Vitelllius allegedly financed an entire military campaign with one of his mother's pearl earrings!
  • Wealthy Roman women liked to wear their pearls whilst they slept. They adorned their couches and trappings with them also to remind them (and others presumably!) of their wealth.
  • Julius Caesar was noted to be a great lover of the pearl.
  • In Tudor England the 1500's were known as 'The Pearl Age.'
  • In the 1900's the first successful commercial culturing of saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920's cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.
  • The largest pearl in the world is believed to about about 3 inches long and 2 inches across and weighs about  1/3 of a pound. Known as the' Pearl of Asia' Shah Jahan of India gave it as a gift to his wife, Mumtaz (for whom he also built the Taj Mahal).
  • Warriors from India encrusted their swords with pearls to represent tears and sorrow.
  • In South Asian mythology pearls were said to be dewdrops from heaven that fell into the sea where they were caught by shellfish under the first rays of the rising sun at full moon.
  • Pearls have often been used in medicines and to prevent diseases. In China there is evidence to suggest this was as early as 2000 BC and in Europe they were widely used until the 17th century. 
  • One of the most famous pearls is said to be 'La Peregrina' (The Wanderer). It is said that around 400 years ago a black slave gave it to his master in exchange for his freedom. 
  • Pearls are a gemstone for 30 years of marriage. 
Finally , I will leave you with the verse from the Gregorian Poem for this month. Happy birthday to all born in the month of June.

By her who in June was born,
No gem save Pearls shall be worn,
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.

Rose is the birth flower for June

Friday, 16 June 2017

Celebrate the small things

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few lovely relaxing days on Dartmoor.  Hubby and I really like it there and try and go two or three times a year, to walk and take some 'time out' from the daily hustle of life that we all seem to get caught up in. It is the perfect spot for us to take a short break as it only takes us about an hour and a half to get there. No fun spending hours in the car after all!

This hill is very close to where we usually stay. We've walked round the bottom before but this visit we decided to go for it and climb it! 

Now, it may not look so huge from this picture . . . but trust me it was certainly a challenge! My fitbit registered 82 floors when I checked it! However, it was worth the effort as we were rewarded with this super view.

It was so peaceful up there, if a little windy! We just sat and enjoyed the view (and got our breath back!).
When we got back down we rewarded ourselves with some delicious local ice-cream.

On another walk we met a herd of Dartmoor ponies complete with foals.

I didn't get any writing done there, but I did get lots of fresh air and exercise even if we did have to dodge the rain a few times. 

This week I have edited a short story and sent it off to a competition. My next task is to actually get back to my WIP which I feel I have sorely neglected for a while! Maybe I'll open the document and the writing piskies will have been working on it for me . . . I do write a lot of fantasy so one can always hope!

NB - In case you are not familiar with the term piskie - it is the Cornish word for pixie. 

Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Welcome to this month's posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! I'm feeling generally insecure about a number of things at the moment but I'm not going to talk about them right now. Instead I'm going to jump right in with this month's question . . . 

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Whilst I've never actually said "I quit," I've been quite close to it! Probably, most writers have at some point. I love writing, I truly believe it is what I should be doing, but it is hard. It is hard to keep motivated and enthusiastic when all there seems to be is rejection and knock backs.Then comes that little nugget of gold . . . you know the request for a full, genuinely positive feedback, a place in a writing competition . . .  and I feel the 'buzz' again and the urge to persevere kicks in.

There may be times when the words aren't flowing and I seem unproductive but I always seem to drag myself out of that feeling and keep chasing the dream. I sincerely hope I never quit!!