Saturday, 20 April 2013

All will be revealed - Part I: The House

Now no cheating, did you hear me Andrea, have you all got your drawings ready?  Then we'll begin.
The way you've drawn your house gives us instant insight into your domestic situation.  Those of you who've drawn very detailed houses with fancy windows, curtains, door furniture, window boxes, smoke coming from the chimney etc are almost bound to be individuals who love to "nest" and set great store by their homes.  After all home is often where the heart lies and so it's bound to be important and the more detailed the more it reflects your happiness there.

All right, own up, who's drawn a mansion like Anglesey Abbey above, or a chateau perhaps?  These are people who have big dreams, great ambitions or even delusions of grandeur with the exception of you Camilla dear, a stately pile is just the norm in your particular case.
Now to the other extreme, a couldn't care less approach depicting only the bare minimum rather like a child's drawing.  Maybe your career is the most important aspect of your life (we shall see later) or perhaps you're unhappy at home, could be going through a divorce or recently bereaved, or perhaps you're just rubbish at drawing.  A minimalistic house is usually indicative of an unimportant home, your dreams lie elsewhere.
So who couldn't resist adding a garage, a conservatory or parking a car in the drive?  Your home is more of a status symbol than a place of refuge in times of woe and keeping one step ahead of the Jones' is likely to be high on your agenda.
But no matter what size, shape or style your house please remember that this is only a bit of fun dearie and take it all with a generous pinch of salt.  And now I'm off to make sure my new groundsman knows his pergola from his herbaceous border.  Moi pretentious - never.
 Next week - the Sun and it's solar secrets! 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Fancy a bit of fun dearie?

Well you've come to the right place.  Way back in the day when I used to earn my living armed only with a set of rune stones and a pack of Tarot cards this is an ice-breaker par excellence which I often used at workshops to make everyone feel at home.

So let's find out what makes you tick shall we?  Yes I did say tick Alice dear and not thick, but in your case I think the jury is still out.
All you need to join in is, no - not a set of car keys Camilla (goodness knows who she's been mixing with recently), simply something to write on, something to write with and a few minutes of your precious time.  Why not have a cup of tea and make an occasion of it?
Now if you're sitting comfortably we can begin.  I want you to do a drawing which should include the following five components:
- the sun
- a house
- a tree
- a river, and
- a snake!
It can be as simple or as complex as you like - there are no rules as you will later discover.
That's it!  Time's up! Put your picture somewhere safe because over the next few weeks we'll be going on a voyage of discovery.  Trust that silly mare from Essex to think I'm talking about a cruise.  Our destination is not Bermuda, it's somewhere infinitely more interesting (and cheaper too!) - it's to the innermost recesses of your mind!  Such fun .......

Saturday, 6 April 2013

If you want me ..... tough!

I'm in my growlery, my sanctum sanctorum, my quiet place where I go when I feel the need to growl, my retreat in times of ill humour - OK have it your way pedants, the old pigsty!

Even Geordie has been shut out so great is my snit!  If you look carefully you can just see my eyes peeking out through the holes in the bottom of the door.  That's where countless generations of porkers long transformed into bodins and rillettes rubbed the wood away with their snouts.  Bless.
There are bars at the window and a small piece of primitive artwork to lift the spirits of visiting anchorites who come here on retreat each spring and very lucrative it is too.  So what has brought on "the black dog", this misery me which prevails - why frogging of course, rippit, rippit or unpicking as us Brits would say.  There isn't a French word for it, perhaps they don't make any errors.
There I was multi-tasking away as is my wont which is why I didn't spot until too late that my entire morning's work didn't line up with what had gone before.  Damn and blast, where's my ripper?  Sounds a bit piratical that but I don't think I shall morph into Captain Hook just for a laugh as that would make stitching even more of a challenge.
Bet you have no idea what this is going to be and I'm certainly not going to enlighten you for some time to come as I may change my mind in the interim.  I wonder where that is, I didn't know I had one.  Perhaps it's behind that little door next to the growlery.
The slightly rippled effect is not part of the design but simply because I took this photo with it on my knee.  You're still none the wiser are you.   555 - that's ha! ha! ha! in East Asian text speak.
That's better, I can feel the gloom lifting and once I've had a stroll round the estate here at the Chateau it will probably be time for lunch - but certainly not bodins, blanc or noir, I can't help thinking of all those poor pigs.  Not a bad view eh?  And it's all mine.  Oink! oink!

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Feast of St Shrivel d'Huppe

We're all very excited here at the Chateau because this afternoon we celebrate a local feast day which dates back to the dark ages and marks the coming of summer.  No Alice dear, not last week before the clocks had changed.

Local legend has it that there was an old hermit who lived in a tuffeau cave on the estate and every year a hoopoe (or as it's called in France a Huppe fasciee) on its summer migration from Palestine would seek him out to be shriven of its sins of which it has many.  It is mentioned in the Bible, Leviticus 11:19 and Dt 14:18 where its name is included in the Lists of Abomination! whilst in my dictionary it is described as having a large erectile crest.  It does say that - really! See for yourself.

Each year the aged anchorite would listen to the bird's terrible deeds and each year would give the same penance - to fly the bounds of the hamlet of Mouline, where lies Chateau Long Dog, three times without a pause.  So revered was this ancient troglodite that upon his death he was sanctified and given the name St Shrivel d'Huppe in remembrance of his deeds amd his saints day is 1st April around which time the hoopoes return and planting can commence provided it's not too cold still.

As part of our celebrations (you celebrate how you like, I prefer our method) a fit young man is chosen from amongst the estate workers to run the bounds of Mouline naked like a hoopoe.  All my serfs and I will watch him in the distance crossing the back fields until we get our first close glimpse of him as he appears down the lane behind the Chateau.  I do hope we can find someone a bit "fitter" this year.  Last year's candidate was a very poor show.  This archive photo shows tension rising at the finishing line back in the good old days when people celebrated with guns!

This is a very tense moment for one and all because should anyone get carried away with excitement and cry out "Look, it's Shrivel d'Huppe" we will have to wait a further 10 days before planting can commence.  However if everyone remains silent either from rapture (the women) or jealousy (the men) this signifies that it's time to get out our seeds and get sewing.  And now ladies, transvestites and sailors it's time for you all to get back to your sewing because that was as good as it gets for this weeks little bit of French nonesense!

It always seems to end up like this, here we all are last year shortly before we all went off our separate ways to get planting - can you spot me, I'm in there somewhere!  And Camilla's the one in the middle but then she always was easy to find - couldn't stop a pig in a passage as my grandmother quaintly used to say.