Thursday, 15 March 2018

Equinoxing About

Although it is often said that the Equinoxes are a time of 'balance', we often find that there is a lot of messing about and disruption around this time.
    For example:
    We are at the moment preparing our next Mail Shot - this one will be mainly on Tarot packs, incidentally - orders are thinning out, so it is time we reminded our customers that we are here.
     So today I have dealt with five orders, none of which was straight forward, and it is surprising how much time sorting them out can take. We always get order completed before we take the money from Credit/Debit cards, just in case there is something out of stock or unavailable for one reason or another and can therefore amend the total value, so today:
     We had two who were trying to pay by Credit Card and for one reason or another the card machine rejected them. One person has obviously written down the wrong card number - probably just one digit wrong - and that was rejected as an 'invalid card', so they had to have a letter written to explain that we would not be sending their order until we received payment. The second was rejected as out of date, even though the date given to us was September this year, so that needed another letter.
    A third was an order for something we don't stock - this is not unusual - and, you guessed it, needed another letter writing.
    A fourth said they had enclosed a cheque - there was no cheque, so guess what, yes that needed another letter writing.
    The fifth one was all wrapped up and ready to go, when the customer rang and asked if she could add something to her order. I agreed, then found it was not just one item but several, including three oils which needed me to hand make them.
     Happily her credit card did go through the machine (yay!) so that saved me having to write another letter!

    Today is only the 15th of March - still 6 days to go before the Equinox!



Sunday, 4 March 2018

Old News

I am currently working on a couple of new books. These will be compilations of spells which have appeared over the years in the Raven Newsletters. This has meant trying to find as many old editions of the Newsletter as possible.
     Luckily I believe in keeping hard copies of everything I do on the computer - the 'paperless office' is a myth as far as I am concerned. Especially as I use a pc until it becomes:
a) obsolete
or b) gives up the ghost - usually with a puff of smoke.

     But even I am amazed at how far back I have kept copies of Newsletters and Catalogue masters - 1994 was the earliest I found !
     Those were the days when we were using a state of the art Amstrad pcw and dot matrix printer!
     Actually I think the Amstrad was probably on its last legs by then, the dot matrix printer certainly was! The quality of printing was bloody awful, especially as we printed on green (yes bright green) re-cycled paper, which was not the same quality as these days.
    These days our Raven Newsletters are a proper, mini magazine booklet with a sort of set format, with an editorial/newsy bit on the front pages and dates for your diary on the back, with poems, spells and articles laid out inside.
    Back in 1994 it was a single A4 sheet but with mini versions of all the parts we now have proper space for, just as an introduction to a mail shot, which were all stapled together in one corner.
     Those were the days when I couldn't put any pictures in, so I would draw illustrations around the edges, and occasionally managed to create illustrations using the regular typewriter keys - this was before you could even have multiple fonts (and maybe explains my fondness for Times New Roman).
     It is nice looking back to see what I have written about over the years.
     And it is also giving me ideas about other stuff I want to write about now!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Chocolate ... ahem Valentine's Day

Sometimes you just fancy a chocolate.
     We actually didn't have any at christmas. Usually we buy some for ourselves, and get a box as a gift too. This year we ended up not buying ourselves any, and sod's law says 'In that case, you won't get any as gifts either!'
     So I was sitting fancying a chocolate when I suddenly realised that the ideal opportunity for giving and receiving of chocolate was rapidly approaching: Valentine's Day!
     Now to be honest, I am not too happy about the very commercial nature of the modern celebration: you WILL buy chocolates, you WILL buy flowers and they must be roses, red roses! you Will buy a card (how much?!)
     So Graham and I usually make each other a card.
     But when you just fancy a chocolate and a traditional chocolate buying date is handy, why not take advantage of the fact?
     However, I have another problem: Graham is not good at taking hints. I may have mentioned this before. So my saying 'It will be Valentine's day on Wednesday.' would simply elicit an agreement, this would not lead male brain to creak into any kind of action along the lines of : Valentine's Day mention = buy wife something, maybe chocolates?
     So a bit more drastic and direct action was called for and today's shopping list went:
Black Pepper
Chilli Sauce
Milk etc

     However I may now have a slightly different problem: because I have emphasised 'chocolates' today's shopping may well be distinctly chocolate heavy.
     But as a friend of mind said when I mentioned my concerns:
     'And where's the problem?'

Friday, 2 February 2018

Welcoming the Goddess

'Twas the Eve of Imbolc and the night after the Full Blue Blood Super Moon.
     I opened the front door to welcome the Goddess in, and there was the beautiful Moon, full and clear in the starry sky. I called Graham to come and have a look, as the previous night although we could see the Moon, it was through a gauzy veil of thin cloud.
     And as I called Graham, Bridie shot past me through the door, down the path and out through the open garden gate.
     'Oh no!' I thought, hoping we weren't in for a repeat of the previous day's slow motion chase (which really should have the theme to 'Dick Barton - secret agent.' dubbed over it)* But luckily Bridie hadn't gone far and was merely on the path outside the garden and kept peeping back though the gate at us to see if she was in trouble.
     I casually went down the garden path calling, 'Here Bridie! Come on, Bridie!' as I went and as she danced back into the garden again, I quickly shut the gate.
     I went back to the door to continue our welcome to the Goddess, so this year the call was:
     'Bride is come! Bridie, come on!
     Bride is welcome! Come on, Bridie, come on!'

     And happily our Bridie and the Goddess both came in.

* I looked up the theme tune to this classic radio show on Google, and found that the tune is actually called 'Devil's Gallop' which is appropriate - do have a look for yourself

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Case of the Disappearing Dog

Lo the Photocopier cometh!
     Our old photocopier had reached the end of its life. It had had to have major surgery last year and was making a strange clicking sound when it copied. Not to mention its tendency to fade out copies, jam regularly and become strangely incontinent.
     So when George came to see us and persuade us that it was time to swap machines, to be honest we did not put up much of a fight. (Plus the new machine is actually going to cost us less per quarter than the old one) So brand new machine, less cost - win win!
     Today we were told we had the 10am delivery slot, and the engineer would be along in the afternoon to install the new photocopier on my PC.
      At 11am the engineer arrived.
     'Have you brought the copier?' I asked
     'Isn't it here yet?' he replied
    He retired to his car to deal with emails and try and find out where our photocopier was.
     At 1pm two burly gentlemen arrived with the new photocopier.
     As they had to take the old copier away, then position the new one at the top of the stairs, the front door had to be left open.
     At 1.05 a neighbour popped round to tell us he had seen one of our dogs legging it down the street. So I was left to see to delivery men and the engineer while Graham set off in hot pursuit.
     As both our dogs are blue merle rough collies, it was no good asking the neighbour which dog it was, so we both assumed the escapee was Bridie who has a tendency to bolt, and is fast ....
     Happily when I went up to talk to the engineer, I saw that Bridie was being as good as gold, sitting quietly in her special place under the spare bed, so I knew it was our elderly China who had gone walk-about.
     When Graham got home he told me he had been involved in a slow motion chase, which would have graced Spike Milligan. Neither he nor China is in the first flush of youth, and despite being a sprinter when he was young (or maybe because of it) Graham's knees will not allow him to run.
     China had apparently got bored with the comings and goings and had decided to take herself on their normal morning walk route. So she was wandering along in a stately fashion (her leggs don't allow her to run very far either) but she is also going both blind and deaf, so Graham shouting after her was being ignored, or not heard.
     Graham was gaining gradually, but not quickly, until they entered the underpass, where Graham's shout magnified and echoed off the walls and China stopped and looked behind her. This allowed Graham to stride manfully up to her and get her on a lead to bring home again.
    So all is well.
     We have a new photocopier, installed by a very nice young man, and China and Graham have had an invigorating walk.


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Candle Novena

Because today (17th January) is sacred to the goddess Felicitas, goddess of Good Luck and today is also New Moon, I suggested on Facebook that today would be a good day to start a candle Novena to Felicitas for Good Luck in the coming year.
     One of our readers sent me a message asking how to do this, so here is how you do it:

     A Novena means a series of prayers, spells or magical workings, done over a certain period and as Novena comes from the Latin word meaning 'nine', then the traditional number of repetitions would be nine.
    This is a very simple but effective way of doing a spell, because each repetition builds up the energy in the spell. Also nine is three times three, or a triple triple, which is a special magical number, especially to Witches as we call our Moon Goddess, the Triple Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Crone.
    So all you have to do is light a candle each evening for nine consecutive evenings. Each time you light the candle say something like:
     I light this candle for Felicitas,
     To bring me good luck in the coming year.

     Each night let the candle burn down completely and light a new one the next day.
    Alternately you can divide your candle into nine sections, and burn a section each night (much like the Advent candles you can buy, which you burn a section for each day of Advent).
     You can use white candles for any purpose, or you could use green for good luck, or orange which is sacred to Mercury who is also the God of Good Luck.
     If you are feeling up to it you could use a different coloured candle each night to symbolise Good Luck in a special area of your life.
For example, White for the Moon and Good Luck in divination, Yellow for the Sun Good Luck in your career, Red for good luck in sexual matters or to increase your energy and vitality, Purple for Jupiter and Good Luck in finance, Brown for Saturn and Good Luck in your home and family.
     Always include a sentence when you light the candle to emphasise what kind of luck you are wanting. So you might say:
     I light this Red candle for Felicitas,
     And ask for Good Luck with my physical training.

    I light this Purple candle for Felicitas
    And ask for Good Luck with my investments

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Dog Flapping

Last year, you might remember, we gained a new member of the family.
     Of course I am referring to Bridie, who came, as usual, from our friend Angela at Wicani Collies.
     All of the dogs we have had, all have their own personalities, and Bridie is no exception. She is a large and energetic dog who likes to keep on the move, but can be surprisingly nervous about the oddest of things.She will turn over in her sleep, knock against something waking herself up and vanishes in a crash of flailing limbs. She appears to be able to go from a standing start to light speed in less than a second, so you have to be ready for her to bolt if there is an unknown squeak, creak or snap. Having an open fire, this leads to some energetic evenings, with Bridie in and out of the room sometimes every few seconds.
     She is both intelligent and stubborn. If she has decided she will not do something, or doesn't like something, she is difficult to persuade otherwise.
      And now we come to the dog flap.
      Many years ago we had a cat and a Yorkshire Terrier. They both learnt to use the cat flap and popped in and out happily.
     Then we gained out first rough collie puppy, who also quickly learnt to use the cat flap. As we realised she was going to end up a lot larger than both the cat and the Yorkie and could possibly end up stuck in the cat flap, we bought and installed a larger dog flap.
     The dog flap has proved popular with every dog we have had since.
     Except Bridie.
     Bridie prefers to have the door opened for her and is quite prepared to wait hours until one of us gives in and does it.
    We have shown her the dog flap. She has seen China trundling happily in and out through the dog flap. She has even been 'helped' through the dog flap. But she really does not want to use it.
     Through the summer this hasn't been a problem, as we usually have the back door wide open most of the day. But as it has got colder, the door is only opened when necessary, and one of us (usually me) has ended up standing by the open back door, freezing, shivering and waiting for Bridie to decide she has finished inspecting the garden and is ready to come in again.
    Until the other day.
     Graham was out in the shed doing his exercises, and Bridie wanted to go out. I stood by the back door as usual, waiting for Bridie, who was doing a major inspection of the back garden, here, there and everywhere, trotting beautifully from place to place, and galloping past the door.
     I called her a couple of times, she looked at me, then headed off to the far reaches of the garden again. I thought 'Well sod you then.' and shut the back door, knowing that Graham was outside, and if all else failed he would let Bridie in when he came in.
     I stomped upstairs feeling annoyed with Bridie and got on with my computer work - well I say 'work', WoW may have been involved.
    All of a sudden I heard a crash as the dog flap bust open and the unmistakable sounds of Bridie thundering upstairs. 'Have you come in on your own?' I wondered aloud, 'Or has Graham 'helped' you?' I listened to try and hear if Graham was downstairs but there was nothing.
     Then a couple of minutes later Graham did come in and asked 'Has Bridie come in?'
     For the first time, Bridie had used the dog flap, on her own, with no help.

     Now we only have to get her used to the idea that she can use it to go out as well.