Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Hare, Chang-O and Mooncake

Bitten by desire for eternity, on earth it can not be
Spirits will cajole, delight in teasing
Blow you away, far from material pleasure
Ask for sacrifice, devour your soul

For it is only alone that you can be Chang-O
With your Hare for company, and a palace on the moon
Sleep sweetly in the cold air, the Hare will take care of you
He has granted your wish to let the world last forever
But you can not be there, you can only be with the Hare and the moon

We thank you Chang-O

It's not what's inside the cake, it's what the cake symbolises - this we have forgotten.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Liquid Filled Creatures

The Spanish teacher, who was brought in especially to teach Spanish has gone away now.

She would give her class of two intermediate Spanish learners sweets at every lesson. Yes, every single lesson. For the first few weeks, they were sweets from Spain.

The school bag would rattle with lollipops. Squashed chocolate bars would stick to folders and bags of squidgy jelly sweets would flow in abundance as she handed out at least two packs per lesson.

Over the two years of learning Spanish, I lost count of the sweets that came home. Often they wold end up in the bottom right- hand cupboard in a bowl, eventually becoming a solid sticky uneaten mass before being thrown away.

Well, the sweets grew en masse during revision and were consumed along with fizzy drink and cake. The Spanish teacher kept her class fuelled on gloop and sugar. I let it pass.

She was very much loved, not for her generosity in sweets, but in her attentiveness to teaching Spanish. Her pupils were 'A' standard, not surprisingly.

Today I have been nuking the kitchen and found 2 lollipops and a packet of liquid filled creatures. Yes, curiosity got the better of me. I opened the packet and found a dozen good-sized transparent frogs, beetles, mice and spiders. I cringed, but of course had to try one.

Hmm, quite nice. One chomp and straight in to the liquid centre. They are of course, the type of sweets that could probably be melted down and fix the gutters with. I tried another one. Yuk! Almond-flavour centre....wrong!

We'll miss the influx of sweets and the wonderful Spanish teacher. She was the only teacher who would call to talk about progress, and was a lady of true character. Good luck to her next pupils - they will have a lot of fun.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Beautiful black eyes

Imagine being a seal. I think it must be a soft, smooth feeling, a wonderful experience swimming in water. Playful, perhaps. 

There are a good few versions of the tales of the Selkie folk from the North Atlantic rim. Often believed to be seals who have lost their skin and become human, or just simply shape-shifters with powers to create storms, break up ships and cast spells. They are also seen as loving and loyal towards humans too, perhaps in the trusting way that seals can be as well. 

Some confuse them with mermaids - but mermaids are different creatures altogether of course. A fish tail is just that after all. 

They are magical creatures, seals that is. WIth beautiful black eyes and an amazing gracefulness in water. But they are also wild and deserve to be left alone. There have been stories about seals attacking people on the coast of Florida - any animal will do that to fight over food or defend itself. Some of these attacks have been blamed on chemicals in the environment, affecting seals' brains.

Would I go swimming with seals and dolphins - not too sure. I've always believed that the wilderness should be left alone, but I do like playful communicative creatures. Ever since Marine Boy, I've been fond of our sea critters, even studying Life In The Oceans. Sometimes it helps to know some facts when writing stories -not everything can be imagined.

The Mermaid Bride and Other Orkney Folktales by Tom Muir, Kirkwall, 1998, contains 63 short tales