"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Friday, 30 May 2008

the last tour - let's go shopping!!

the markets were fun.. busy but fun.. the markets that were a few blocks from our hotel were the Ben Thanh markets, a mix of clothing, wares, food and flowers. You could buy just about anything!

we wandered around looking at silk, fabric, jewellery and clothes and our noses told us we were nearing the food section. let me say, you had to be there to experience the smells....

meat just hung like this above, in the heat, flies buzzing around.....and worse still was the fish.

but isn't this lady gorgeous? she was so sweet, allowing us to take her photo. As bad as the markets smelt, they were gorgeous, just look at the white tiles on the counter front.. beautiful

and look at the gorgeous verandah supports on the outside of the building... gawd, would love to have them on my home! As well as the markets we also did shopping in the city centre..and I think this is just about as close as I will get to going into a Louis Vuitton store...

and of course we had to eat. One day we took ourselves into a little cafe for lunch and i was delighted to find that they served near normal food.. well normal to me! I ordered a Croque Monsieur which is french I take it for a ham and cheese toasted sandwich...

and a vietnamese ice coffee... delish! Only thing I could say that I didn't like was that they are allowed to smoke in restaurants.

so that's it from Vietnam... where flowers grow in tubs like they are out of control, where people chase you down the street trying to sell you 'real' Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags... where a country that was torn by war is now healing... with the help of tourists... where people are the most friendly that I have ever met.....

and what happens in Woodford today? I run around like a mad woman, cooking up a storm for the morning tea that I am having on Sunday. I am taking part in Australia's biggest morning tea, to raise funds for the Cancer Council. I have 30 people coming! I have raised about $300 this time.. a walk through my garden with cups of tea and lots of cake.. what more could someone wish for? I am going to harvest some lavender today too, to hang in my kitchen.. maybe I will make some tussie-mussies for Sunday to give to my guests.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

onto the Cambodian border

there were quite a few tours on offer at our hotel and we took the opportunity to do as many as possible.. a day tour to the Cu-chi tunnels and then onto the Cambodian border to visit a Temple..

first of all the tunnels.. I had never heard of them before I went to Vietnam. You see, I wasn't very old when the war was going on and I guess I was a little removed living where I did. Oh, yes, we had friends go to war but our life went on as normal... I don't think we even had a television until about 1972 !!
so off to the tunnels... first thing we did was watch a movie.. it was a propaganda movie made by the North Vietnamese... gawd.. I watched the first few seconds and then closed my eyes and went off somewhere else. Then off for a walk around the area. They have preserved alot of the tunnels and it is open to the public. The trees have grown back and are now 10 years old. We walked where B-52 bombs were dropped, the craters were huge! Joe actually went into the tunnels and he said they were like rabbit warrens, I could not bring myself to go down as I felt i would die from claustrophobia. We walked past a tank that was left by America, right in the middle of the jungle. As I walked along the jungle paths, I said prayers and sent love and light out.. it was all I could do.. to try and heal the heartache felt by many. I did not take any photos while I was there as I felt I was on hallowed ground, men died there and I have read that where a person dies that the ground immediately becomes sacred and angels live there.. and yes, I could feel that... it was the same feeling that I had when I stood at the World Trade Centre site in New York in 2001, just after the terroist attack.
it is actually interesting to talk to some of our friends who are Vietnam vets, they are very interested in our time there and keep asking what it is like now.. some of them wish to go back and see it. They have told us of their experiences and what it was like for them at the time

I keep feeling I have to apologize for visiting Vietnam, not sure why, as I wanted to go to see the country as I had heard it was beautiful. And it was. Lotus grew along side the roadways, people worked in rice paddies, fruit grew wild... as we travelled further in towards the Cambodian border, to a temple owned by the very odd sect Cao Dai...

the Temple was incredible and we were allowed inside to see the people preparing for Mass....very ornate and colourful. The religion is a hybrid of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucuanism and Christianity

there are many levels that you must achieve before you get to God, you must attend mass once a day and women are segregated from the men. They all wear white and their level of achievment is signified by a different hat... up at the altar there is a huge globe and in the middle of it is a very large eye.. that I think signified God... very weird as I felt I was being watched all the time and I even got a feeling of not being good enough.. ..I must admit, I felt very uneasy as I watched the people getting ready. Sick and drained. I forgot to protect myself before I went and when I arrived home I had to a very long auric cleansing as i still felt very drained and nauseous. Thankfully I had take some consecration oil with me as well as one of my garnets..
then back home late in the afternoon.. to busy Saigon where all manner of transport is allowed on the city streets including this rickshaw that was pedalled by a little old vietnamese man...

today in Woodford the sky is cloudy... not rainy clouds but those kind of clouds that make the air feel very still,.... like time has stopped for a little while... I hope to get into my garden this afternoon. Yesterday, the magpies were in my trees, about 30 of them, all calling to each other... as i heard them, I realised that yes, I am connected to nature ... I sat and listened for a few minutes and felt blessed.
oh and don't forget Faery Land opens soon... June 1st and continuing through the month of June...

Friday, 23 May 2008

weekend away

Van Gogh - for no reason except I like it.

it seems I just unpacked my bag from my time in Vietnam and I am off again... this time on the bike for a weekend ride to the north coast - a seaside town called Harrington. We are staying at an Irish Pub and the theme for the weekend is 'green'... so I have a sparkly sequined green hat and a t-shirt that says: "kiss me I'm Irish" (even though I'm not).. and another t-shirt that says 'GREEN - is the new black'.... I hope to be able to take a walk along the beach as I am feeling very disconnected right now. Maybe I will even find some stones to make my own runes.... have a wonderful weekend! xo

Thursday, 22 May 2008

sight seeing in Vietnam

first of all I guess I should show you where we stayed in Saigon:

The Hotel Equatorial, which, according to our travel agent was 4 star but in reality it was 5! It was divine.. the only thing that I could pick at was people are allowed to smoke in the lounge area, something that is not allowed here. Being a non-smoker, I did find it hard to deal with as I sat and read while having coffee.

The Opera House is in the centre of the city and we made this our pick-up point. Each time we wanted to go into town, the shuttle bus that was supplied by the Hotel, would weave its way in the traffic to various points, dropping off and picking up. The Opera House was one block away from the markets.. one of the contrasts that I mentioned. Even though this is in the middle of the city, there are still women wearing the coolie hats and women selling their food that they cook in the little pots. I loved that part of it!

one of the tours we did was a full day to the Mekong Delta.. unfortunately the floating markets weren't available due to the low tide of the water.
feeling very much like Katherine Hepburn on the African Queen, we crossed the Mekong to visit a group of islands....

funny thing is, in the photo I think I look very much like my great-grandmother Viola:

our first stop was to visit some cottage industries...

where they made coconut candy.. using the coconut meat and milk to make the candy and the coconut shell for fire 'wood'.. nothing is wasted. We got to taste it too, it was really delish, so we ended up buying 10 packets. Then we visited a bee farm and were served Honey tea.. black tea with copious amounts of honey stirred into it and a dash of lime juice. It was served hot and the islanders drink this every morning and night. I liked the taste of it and am planning on making it for myself here.. I even bought a little teapot and cup so that it will feel authentic. One thing I did notice as we travelled along the water ways was how many dragonflies there were. Not one or two, but millions. Truly! they were everywhere. I felt like i was surrounded by faeries.

along the canal....

to the next stop where we were served lunch. We were served Elephant ear fish.. a local delicacy.. the cook it over open fire and serve it wrapped in rice sheets with mint leaves and chilli sauce. It was quite delicious! We also had a curry, salad and soup and for dessert...

we were served a variety of local fruits, which grew wild on the islands... pineapple, papaya, lychees and jack fruit (which I didn't like alot).. these were served with a mix of coconut, salt and sugar with a dash of chilli powder. You dipped the fruit into the mix and as odd as the mix may sound it was really quite tasty.. something I think I will remember for those hot summer nights... and of course to finish.. a cup of tea.

then back to Ho Chi Minh city late in the afternoon. I love seeing how the people live.. it is very interesting. They live simply, farming their land. Fishing the water for their families, not for profit.

so there is another glimpse into my time away...

what is it like in Woodford today?
Brisk... I will light a fire later and today I am going to tidy & clean my kitchen.. and hope to harvest some more lavender to hang to dry.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Full Moon in Woodford

I don't know where to start to tell about my trip to Vietnam, I think the best thing is to do it bit by bit.. along with my daily life.....

today is the full moon.. according to my MOONTIME diary: a magnetic & magickal time; be careful what you ask for & gracefully accept what you receive. An emphasis on water and light opens doors for healing & transformation. Best day in the year for planting and harvesting potent herbs. And in my notes it says that this is the Dingo Moon, but yesterday I noticed the little finches on my grass... chittering away to each other in the brisk morning sun and my apple tree is almost bare so I have decided to call this May Full Moon "the crisp bare apple tree finch Moon" - something very picturesque about that I think....

vietnam is a beautiful country, full of contrasts. I didn't see the night sky once, I am not sure if it was pollution or cloud cover from the nearby cyclone in Burma... but I sure missed our Australian stars. The weather was hot & very humid and it rained almost every afternoon. The people are mostly delightful.. trying so hard to understand our english and wanting to help all the time. I just found it very hard when girls with babies on their hips came up to me asking for money all the time.. I just felt so helpless as I knew I could not help them all.

lining the streets are street vendors. Selling all manner of wares and junk. The aroma from the cooking was quite delicious and we did buy some small cakes from a little old lady.

Joe & I did a few tours - City sights- where we visited the Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum, where there we saw planes and helicopters from the Vitenam War along with photos and other war bits n pieces. I could not continue through the tour as it became too emotional for me to see photos that were on display.. so I went and sat outside watching the busy world go by.

Then onto a Pagoda where I bought some incense to bring home and also lit a spiral of it to hang in the Pagoda. The theory is that as the incense burns down, your prayers are taken off to 'God'.... excellent theory I think.

Saigon by night, where we went to a traditional Vietnamese restaurant and tried various foods and beer.. then shopping.. where I bought some gorgeous silk lanterns. The buildings in the city were gorgeous, run down, but gorgeous. The French influence could be seen in the colours and architecture...

I was amazed at the beautiful timber shutters that adorned most buildings. I would love to get my hands on some of them.... I am sure oneday, some antique dealer will discover these treasures and will offer a pittance to unsuspecting Vietnamese families... take them back to France and make a fortune......*sigh* the way of the world.

each day we would take a walk around the streets and I never tired of looking at the homes. All very narrow but about 3 stories high and painted the most vibrant colours and most of them had statues on the top balcony, whether they were of Kwan Yin or Mary. The streets were quite clean.. ladies used large straw brooms to sweep. I just loved the sights.. the coolie hats, the straw brooms and the street vendors.. a little busier than I expected but it is a developing country and I am guess I am glad that I could visit when I could.. I am sure it will be spoilt in a few years time.

that's it for today... enjoy your Full Moon & remember be careful what you wish for... I am going to do some drumming... something Ruth and I are working on across the globe!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM.....!!! hello again Australia

Hey there, I am back! Have been since Friday morning, when we arrived in Sydney at 6am, with our body clocks thinking it was 3am... we arrived in Woodford around 10am, had a shower, a cup of tea and went to bed.. waking at around 1pm... my head is still fuzzy from jetlag, so give me a couple of days and I will tell all about my trip...

what did I learn while I was away? lots... but the one that comes to mind first is how lucky I am to live here. where the air is clean, we have wonderful medical services and we are free. Where we can afford to buy food and don't have to beg. Each day, I thanked the Goddess for all my blessings.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Vietnam... and a wander through my garden for you, while I am away

tomorrow, I am off to Vietnam. Many of you have asked why?.... I know that this country has dreadful memories for many...and I cannot change that. But this land is supposed to be beautiful, the spiritual part of it interests me as does the culture.. I cannot wait!
my garden is settling down into autumn in readiness for winter...

the lemon tree is bountiful once again.. lemons throughout winter to help keep chills away!

I have bedded my vegie garden down. There are still potatoes to dig and comfrey to harvest but until spring time.. my vegie garden will rest..... and my dear sweet Pixie will watch over my garden while I am away....

so until I come home.. stay safe and well .. see you in a week xoxo

Saturday, 3 May 2008


this weekend, I celebrate Samhain. The doorway of dark for me and for my friends in the northern part of our world, who celebrate Beltane, the door of light... perfect yin - yang... perfectly balanced. the goddess is wise!

if we could all be more in tune with the coming and going of the seasons, I am sure we would all feel more in balance. But we surround ourselves with 'creature comforts' such as central heating, wood fires, enveloped in insulated homes and sometimes, the seasons can come and go without us really experiencing them...

there is a wealth of information on the internet about Samhain... and I have gathered quite abit over the past few years, to make my own Book of Shadows or my soul journal as I call it.
I like to celebrate these days to help my soul and her thirst for ancient times... so I create little rituals, cook and make magick in my home to suit the season...

I will stack my wood near my door in readiness for my winter season and I will collect kindling, just as my ancestors might have done. I will clean out my chicken coop and give them new straw in their nest boxes. I will start to feed them hot porridge each morning to help them stay warm during the winter months. I will burn the Samhain incense that Daisy sent me last year.
And for Samhain, I am going to cook a chicken dish with apple, thyme and prunes... served with green beans & carrots that I bought from the organic co-op. Next year, I hope to use my own beans & thyme - and maybe even my own apples if I can store some.

Autumn Thyme Apple Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
cooking spray
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 medium tart green apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, minced
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (herb vinegar is okay too)
fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer in the baking dish. Arrange apple slices over and around chicken breasts. Sprinkle with the onion and the thyme leaves; pour on the balsamic vinegar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is done and no longer pink. Place the chicken on a platter and spoon apples and cooking juices on top. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Samhain is a time for coming to terms with death, honouring/remembering of those who have passed to the Summerland, and wrapping up/finalizing projects from the year. This is a "dark" time where the darker and more wise parts of the self are brought out into the open and examined. It is a time for looking forward and backward, of seeing time as cyclical, of releasing the energy that has built up over the year. Samhain is the time to remember, to study, to meditate, and to release. . It is also a time to honour our Ancestors ~ (source unknown)

I think it might be time to take Daisy's name from my yahoo chat list, to take her name from my email address book.... it is something that I will struggle to do, I know... I have kept her there, as seeing her name each day, made her death seem not so final... I may even re-read her blog in honour of the friendship that we had...
Samhain is a time of transformation and inner work. Divination is very common during this festival, particularly scrying, whether into the fire, glass or a dark bowl. Past-life regression on this night is often successful. (source unknown)
after dinner, I went into my sacred space and sat, quietly. I closed my eyes and I felt the presence of my ancestors... I felt the presence of Daisy, my dear friend in spirit, I felt the presence of the Marys - Magdalene and Mother.... I chose some cards from my animal deck and my tree oracle deck - I chose Hazel:"seek wisdom in the depths" and I chose Crow:"seek wisdom in inner silence.". a sure message to me that I must take time to be silent and to ponder my inner wisdom that I know I have.

all these little things that I do, really do help me to feel as if I am the wise woman... they help me to feel as if I am connected to my ancestors and they truly, truly, quench my dreadful thirst for times past.
so to each of you - a sacred Samhain or blessed Beltane wherever you may be

blessed be!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

the magick of May

It is also said in these parts (in central Cornwall nears the great moors) that one can improve the complexion by washing the face with the early dew from the fields gathered May first and that a child weak in the back may be cured by drawing him over grass wet with morning dew on each of the mornings of May first, second, and third.
(Robert Hunt, Popular Romances of the West of England)

ahh May came in cold.... with Sahmain coming up for me soon, this is perfect weather! and even more perfect for Samhain is that I am being drawn strongly to runes. I am on the hunt to buy myself a 'set'...

I have been harvesting lavender the past few days... and created a little magick in my bathroom by hanging a bunch from the tap over the bath... the perfume is divine as the steam rises through the branches...

I want to harvest more this weekend and hang it in my kitchen window... lavender is one of my favourite herbs... but come to think of it.. there is not a herb that i don't love!

Lavender: To make a nice vinegar based cleansing lotion to sweeten up bathwater and use as a hair rinse after shampooing, soak 1/2 cup of freshly cut flowers in 1 quart of cider vinegar. For an even more potent mixture, place the receptacle near a sunlit window for 1 to 2 weeks. (source unknown)

the leaves on my persimmon have nearly all fallen... and now the fruit comes into its own. The vivid orange against the bare branches and the ravens that are visiting the tree at the moment, creates a picture that takes my breath away... I keep seeing it in my minds eye and I know I must go and sketch sometime today.

the luculia has lots of buds and some are just opening now, once they are all open, my whole front yard is a perfumed heaven. I cannot describe the perfume of luculia... there are no words for it.

things come into my life in odd ways sometimes, I was searching for some herbal lore and came across Susun Weed's website... and 'discovered' a Green Witch correspondence course... so I am thinking of doing this.. I can't find one here that suits and correspondence will suit me quite well... I am really a solitary anyway.

My Vietnam holiday is almost here... we fly out on May 8th for a week to Ho Chi Minh City... .. we are going on the Mekong River to the markets.. that is somethign that I am definately looking forward to !!

and I guess you all want to see my boy.... he is 5 weeks old now!!

isn't he gorgeous?

I have decided to stop posting on my goddess & green blogs and just post everything here... it is like calling back in my soul fragments... I felt so scattered having bits all over the place....