Two for joy

Handfasting by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Handfasting, a photo by me on Flickr.

I woke yesterday morning to find Jay’s place beside me cold and empty once again and rose with a sigh to draw the curtains. The day I had dreamed of and looked forward to for so long – my Summer Solstice handfasting – had arrived, yet my beloved had disappeared and was still missing. I turned to go and wake Minet, determined that she should have a wonderful day, even if I should not, but a small commotion in the garden took me back to the window in time to see two magpies jumping up and down on the fence squawking raucously. Two for joy! My heart lifted immediately, Spiritual Insight returned and I knew that all would be well and all would be well and all manner of things would be well.

But Minet’s room was empty. I stood for a moment wondering where she could be. It was only as I was preparing a celebratory breakfast of homemade museli and goat’s milk that I heard singing becoming gradually louder, and went to the kitchen door to watch her cross the wet grass. She had been to pick redcurrants and wild raspberries in the orchard, and had some wondrous news – Jay had returned! He had asked Minet to tell me that he would greet me at the ceremony, as it would be unlucky to see me any earlier. I asked her where he’d been, but she said it was a surprise and I would have to wait to find out.

Minet had been busy while I’d spent those days walking in the rain, and everything was ready. Jay’s old friends who were to officiate as priest and priestess were parked in the lane in their ancient kombi – Minet had invited them to stay, but apparently Crow was allergic to cats, and Azriel, his lady and their seven little ones would be sure to bring on an attack. Minet said it was just as well though, as otherwise there’d have been no room for Henna and her young Vic. ‘What!’ I shrieked. ‘Henna’s here, now, this very minute?’ ‘Of course,’ replied Minet. ‘We couldn’t not invite our own mother!’ I had to admit there was some logic in this statement, and felt relieved that the Grand Ovum was not accompanying her, as I knew he would detect the presence of his book as soon as he set foot in the house.

Breakfast over, all that remained was to prepare ourselves for the ceremony. We met Henna and the young Vic (whose name by an odd coincidence just happened to be Victor), coming out of the spare room. It was strange seeing her again after all the drama about the Druid’s book, but she had returned to her multicoloured gear and looked more like her old self than when she’d left the last time. She greeted me as usual with a simple Hiya Aisse – today’s the day then girlie! the diagonally broken tooth adding to her slightly comic look. I think she must have been bouncing on the bed again as we’d heard her while eating breakfast, and she did look very flushed. Mind you, so did the young Vic. He looks about nineteen and has the face of an angel.

It was time to get ready. Minet had made me a combination tinfoil hat and willow crown to set off my new blue gingham dress, white blouse and red sequined shoes. She looked beautiful in a long gown of green satin with a hooded patchwork cloak of many colours and patterns and the contents of Henna’s jewellery box.

And so, after a fortifying glass of elderflower champagne, Minet and yours truly, Aisselle AT Gabegie, made their way across the wet grass of the orchard followed by Boötes and Baaaarbara and all the goats and alpacas, with dear little Leon dashing here and there among them, doing his best to be a proper sheepdog but failing happily. Henna and the young Vic had left earlier. And there in the orchard, under a bower of baby apples, just as the Lovers Tarot had predicted, splendiferous in his robes and antlers, stood dearest Jay with the priest and priestess. As we approached two figures stepped out from behind the trees. I recognized the aged crone from the battered caravan immediately – she was still wearing the long red velvet dressing gown and the huge pink carpet slippers. They must have been rather damp, for although the sky was cloudy and  there had been no rain so far that day, the long grass was still wet from the night rain. The crone didn’t seem at all bothered, and waited silently (as was her wont), wrinkled hands buried in the deep pockets of the gown. I wondered if she were to be a guardian or witness, and how she would manage without speech, but she must have read my mind because she removed one hand from a pocket and flashed the flash cards she’d used the last time I’d seen her. Dear Copwatcher, dressed in her long purplish pink robe, the trusty binocks at rest on her bosom, completed the picture. All our friends were here!

George stepped out from the opposite side. I have to confess that he gave me a slight turn as he was dressed in his policeman’s uniform, but a sideways glance at a radiant Minet told me that this was exactly what she wanted.

Miraculously, the sun appeared from behind the scudding clouds to bless us, and the lovely ceremony began. Ancient traditions were revived and leapt into life, pledges were made and poems spoken. And then, telling us to wait, George and Minet disappeared into the depths of the wild orchard only to reappear moments later as… Joel and Georgina! Joel was wearing his red shirt with the frills around the cuffs, but strangely, Baphomet took no exception to it this time. And Georgina looked exactly like the Queen of Swords in the Golden Tarot of Klimt, except that she’d added a satin blouse to the ensemble and had replaced the high heels with pink spotted wellies just in case it rained again. Minet (or rather Joel as s/he now appeared) said that s/he’d made Georgina’s outfit her/himself after I’d posted my reading for them on the blog! They intend to spend half the year as Joel and Georgina, and half as Minet and George. So Mollie Promp was right, and Joel did return – even if only temporarily.

Gateway by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Gateway, a photo by Aisselle  on Flickr.

The whole ceremony was performed again for Joel and Georgina before we all wandered in procession to the magic wood to pass ritually through the hollow tree from one part of our lives to the next. The sun had not left us – it seemed we were touched by some magic. And so onwards through the trees to receive the blessing of The Woodman before completing the circle by returning to the orchard for the handfasting feast, where Jay’s disappearance was explained by his gift to me. He had journeyed far to collect a special carving, which I could see standing beneath our handfasting bower as we approached. Carved from a trunk of pine stood the Green Man in all his natural glory. He will remain there to remind us of this day, and though he may weather and darken, and cracks will appear in his body, he will endure, just as we will.

Green Man by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Green Man, a photo by me on Flickr.

As the sun went down and the longest day drew to a close, we lit the solstice fire and gathered round with a good supply of elderflower champagne, nourishing goat’s milk quiche, nettle and carrot cake and fresh raspberries and redcurrants. Be glad for me, dear friends. I have never been so happy.

Till when, Aisselle

Doubts and fears

Clarence by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Clarence, a photo  on Flickr.

I left Minet engrossed in preparations for our double handfasting and spent yesterday and most of today walking in the rain again, hoping to prolong Saturday’s calming effect. It is cool and too windy for June, and such strange weather is unsettling, although perhaps the approaching celebrations have something to do with my mood. But Jay is much on my mind too. I usually wake at first light and wander into the orchard to be with the animals for a while, leaving Jay to dream of cake until breakfast. But yesterday morning our cock Clarence woke me at the usual time to find that Jay’s place by my side was cold and empty. At first I wasn’t worried, as I thought he might have heard an animal in distress and gone to check, but when he didn’t appear for breakfast I began to wonder. Minet knew no more than I, but she is so involved in her preparations that I doubt if she’d have registered anything he might have told her anyway.

I know so little of Jay’s life before we met, and there is a side of him that remains mysterious in spite of our closeness and the years we’ve spent together. I know of his need to melt into the woods and fields and to become one with the natural world from time to time, and have always known that he’ll return when he’s ready, renewed and refreshed. He in turn, knows it has never been necessary to tell me when nature calls, yet there are times – like when the police came – that my Spiritual Insight has told me that this time is different, that it wasn’t nature’s call that he answered but something quite else. But just now I don’t know what to feel. It’s as if both Hermaphroditey herself and my Spiritual Insight have deserted me. She has been strangely silent both yesterday and today, in spite of the sense that she was following me through the wood, although I suppose it could have been that damned Mollie Promp again. The woman is haunting me.

I came home an hour ago and descended to the basement to throw a few cards, yet had no heart even for my beloved tarot, and leaving the cards untouched, turned instead to the computer, and this, my very own blog, knowing that my devoted followers will send me energy to carry on to and through tomorrow, come what may. Jay holds my trust in his hands and I have faith that he will take good care not to break it. He is probably just renewing his connection to the Earth and will be back in time. But whatever happens, I will smile for Minet and George, and I suppose I could always ask Baphomet to act as a stand in if Jay forgets to turn up. Wish me luck…

Till soon, Aisselle

Goodness me…!

Reading4Minet by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Reading for Minet, a photo on Flickr.

I decided to use the Golden Tarot of Klimt for Minet and George’s readings as lovers are an important part of this tarot and I knew Minet would love the clothes. I wasn’t sure what George would like as I don’t know him well, having only spent a short time with him over tea, but thought I’d use my Hidden Hopes, Wildest Dreams and Down to Earth spread to find out. (Lay the cards out as an inverted triangle with Down to Earth at the bottom and Hidden Hopes at the top left.)

For Minet. Hidden Hopes: the Queen of Swords. I pondered a long time over this card, which depicts a young and thoughtful woman holding a large sword against a background of flowery patterns. She is wearing rather splendid shoes and some sort of wrap open at the front, and it’s odd, because she could almost be George’s twin sister. Is this what Minet hopes for? It might make some sort of sense in view of Joel’s metamorphosis, yet he embraced girlhood so joyfully. I turned the next card to shed some light on the first.

Wildest Dreams: The Ace of Chalices. Lovers in an embrace. One male and one female as far as I can tell, but who really knows? They do have the same hair – this indicates that they have a strong common bond – they are the same in their difference.

Down to Earth: XIX The Sun. Not at all earthly, but celestial, if not heavenly. Yet more lovers, in a close and naked embrace – again, one male and one female as far as. So it seems that Minet will have her wish however it can be achieved.

Reading4George by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Reading for George, a photo on Flickr.

And now for George. Hidden Hopes: the Knight of Wands…! A young man on a horse carrying a magickal wand. It could be Joel starting out on his spiritual quest, before becoming Minet – he had – and perhaps still has – many faces. This knight’s cloak is very similar to one of Henna’s that Minet is fond of, and his robe rather like a dress she bought – I think she said it came from somewhere beginning with M – the name escapes me for the moment but I remember thinking how wet it must have been there.

Wildest Dreams: The Lovers. Yet another man and woman in a passionate embrace, their bodies concealed in a medley of deliciously patterned clothing, so one can barely see where one ends and the other begins.  A glowing light surrounds their heads: they are blessed – the same, yet somehow different and their wildest dreams are compatible. And so to Georges’s final card.

Down to Earth: The Ten of Pentacles. Ah, this at least is down to earth. A yellow house seen through an avenue of trees. An aura of peace surrounds it.

Two extraordinary readings that indicate love, happiness and a peaceful home life for George and Minet, yet what about the Queen and the Knight? I pulled one more card for clarification.

Reading George&Minet by Aisselle A T Gabegie
George & Minet, on Flickr.

The Two of Pentacles. A young woman kneels to offer a bowl – perhaps of milk – to a small girl and boy. It seems they will both drink from the same cup at the same time. Roses fall around them.

The cards have spoken. There is no need for me to worry about either George or Minet. Their union is not only blessed but perfectly balanced. This, and the fact that all the cards depict male and female couples can mean only one thing. Like Minet, the little policeman is not what he seems. I wonder if Minet knows? I will go now and tell her that the handfasting will be a double event – she will be so happy.

Till when, Aisselle

Minet and the Fool

Noblet Fool by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Noblet Fool, a photo on Flickr.

As you might have guessed from hints in this, my very own blog, I’ve been worried about Minet. I was proud of her the first time she went out and earned some money for new clothes by reading tarot cards in the big town, but she’s been disappearing more and more just lately. She is sometimes gone for hours and hours yet returns with nothing but wild eyes and earth and grass stains on her clothes.

At other times she’ll come back laden with shopping bags and dash to her room to try on all her lovely new things. The fortune teller style seems to be becoming more daring too. She has bought a long curly auburn wig (although her own hair is almost collar length now), so she no longer covers her head with a modest scarf, and her arms are quite naked and her skirts getting shorter. I have to admit she does have nice legs though.

Today I discovered the answer to all (well, most of) my questions. Minet came quietly to me after lunch to confess that she has been meeting George in the magic wood almost daily since he came to tea. Apparently they ‘sit on the feet of The Woodman’ (which explains the grass stains I suppose), and he is guiding them through some strange experiences. This rang a small bell with me, and I heard a distant tinkle of my own experiences with The Woodman, although those were not at his feet but higher up.

As if all this were not enough, now came the bumshell. Minet said that George has asked her to ask me if they can share our handfasting – not as guests but to make it a double event! The implications of this came tumbling down upon my head like a lot of old shoes from an overstuffed shelf in a cupboard. Hadn’t Mollie Promp said that Joel was coming back? But how could that be if he, or rather Minet were fasting their hands to each other? Did George know that Minet was Joel, and WANTED by not just one policeman (George) but a whole lot of policemen? And now another thought sprang up to nip me just like the Fool’s little cat thing on that Tarot de Marseille where we can see all his bits. His bits! Or rather Minet’s bits (which are in fact the same bits). Did George know about these? And did it matter? I know I’m always saying that gender is subjective, but I do believe George should be in possession of all the facts before he fasts his hand.

My head began to swim and I told Minet that I was going to lie down in the basement with The Guardian (although he can’t actually lie down as he has no body). That was three hours ago. Now I am rested somewhat I will do a tarot reading with an appropriate deck. I wonder which I shall chose? Hermaphroditey will know.

Till later, Aisselle

Of magic sheep and other animals

fleece by Aisselle A T Gabegie
fleece, a photo  on Flickr.

June is the time for shearing the sheep and alpacas, and so Jay called on two strong men to perform the task. I was worried that the animals would catch colds without their woolly coats, but although the wind is still cool, the sun has been shining for a day or so, the orchard is sheltered, and of course they have the shed now too, so we decided to go ahead. We thought we’d round them up before the shearers arrived, but Boötes and Baaaarbara sensed that something was afoot and dashed around the orchard playing ‘catch me if you can’ and hiding behind the trees. I’m afraid that little Leon, our border collie puppy, was no help at all, and seemed to think that his job was to scatter the animals as far and wide as possible, but perhaps I was wrong in assuming that herding is an instinct with this breed, and some training is necessary. I will have to learn to whistle. At last the sheep and alpacas were safely ensconced in the shed, Boötes and Baaaarbara looking rather the worse for the game of catch.

When the men arrived they looked puzzled and asked where we’d got the sheep and why we’d brought them in. I told them that they were a present from my mother, and was surprised when the taller of the two laughed and said, ‘She’s not a witch, is she?’ I replied that Henna was many things, and that was most certainly one of them, only to see him look somewhat taken aback. He explained that Boötes and Baaaarbara appeared to be self-shearing sheep, although he’d never seen any of their particular thick-coated breed before, being familiar only with the more sparsely coated self-shearing Exlana and the Wiltshire Horn and its relations.

I explained that the state of Boötes and Baaaarbara was due to the fact that they’d been dashing around the orchard all morning, but he shook his head, and demonstrated how easily the wool came away. So it seems that they will shed their woolly coats all by themselves as the weather becomes warmer, and unless we follow them around and collect the wool, the birds will use it to line their nests.

Boötes and Baaaarbara were only too happy to gain their freedom, and dashed off into the orchard, leaving the shearers to deal with the alpacas, whose wool we’ll spin to make warm cloaks for the winter.

After a delicious lunch of goat’s cheese, fresh basil and Jay’s home-grown tomatoes with Minet’s sesame seed bread and my elderflower and honey cake, I gave our shearers a tarot reading. I thought it best to take them back to the shed for some privacy rather than remain in the orchard or go down to the basement. The memory of the last client to visit is still too fresh in my mind – if I close my eyes down there I can still hear her screams.

Speaking of Otherworldly Things, I have decided to put Mollie Promp and her doings from my mind for the moment. Whether TD stands for The Devil, Tallulah Dervish, or someone quite different will no doubt become clear when the time is right.

Till when, Aisselle

Preparation

Ritual items  by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Ritual items , a photo by Aisselle  on Flickr.

We spent Friday reorganizing the basement. The rabbits have been relocated – Jay made them a cosy hutch and a large run in the garden and they settled in immediately, running about and kicking up their hind legs. Arthur Edward and Pixie excelled themselves with high leaps in the air before snuggling up together by the food bowl.

We performed a ritual cleansing – after an actual cleansing of course – with lots of sprinkling and the tinkling of many bells. The round table where I read for clients remains in its usual place, but Minet erected a special altar using the green chest that contained the Druid’s book, covered it with black felt and set the ritual items ready.

These are the things Hermaphroditey asked me to collect from the wood: a birdstone for flight and the feathered ones; a fishstone for swimming and the scaled ones; two feathers from a bird of prey for passionless efficiency; the skull of a badger to represent mammals, and so that neither the Grand Ovum or Myrrdin badgers us for the sacred objects; a Hermaphroditey stone (it’s that one top left of the photo – please work it out for yourselves); a piece of magickal wood to represent tree spirits; and a crystalline stone for precious minerals and sharpness of intellect.

Jay has taken a picture of these for my many devoted followers, but the snails and the insects wouldn’t stay still long enough to be in it, so I’m keeping them safe in an old fish tank that Minet converted to a snail/insectarium with earth and greenery. Please do not email me about these creatures – they will be well-looked after and released into the wild after the ritual.

The elements themselves are also to be present, but these will be put in place at the foot of the Guardian. This is obviously a metaphorical foot, as all we have of him is his head, but Minet found a lovely tree stump, so saving Jay the task of making a plinth, busy as he was making the hutch and run for the rabbits at the time.

Saturday was spent resting, fasting and in conversation with Hermaphroditey to hone the ritual to perfection. This morning we have been making cakes and preparing refreshments in readiness for the post-ritual celebration. Elderflower splash, nettle, honey and oat cakes, and an infusion of mugwort – if indeed mugwort was what the crone gave me that had such an interesting effect. One can never be sure, and it’s no good asking her as she seems incapable of either speech or hearing.

At the magickal hour of three o’clock today, Jay, Minet and yours truly, Aisselle Gabegie, will repair to the basement to perform the necessary – more than that I cannot say, as it would be to break the magickal code. SMIB.

Till when, Aisselle

Of doors, crones and guardians

Bohemian Gothic Five of Pentacles by Aisselle A T Gabegie
 Five of Pentacles,  on Flickr.

Jay has spent the morning making a new door for the basement. When he’d finished he realized that he couldn’t lift it, but luckily Minet was able to help and they soon had it secured at the top of the basement steps. When I returned with the man from the Recycling Point I was amazed to find it already in place. It is almost the twin – perhaps the half-brother or sister? – of the door on the Five of Pentacles card of the Bohemian Gothic Tarot, except that the metalwork hinges are not quite so decorative. It lends a lovely aura of Gothic Mystery to the kitchen.

But I had not been idle either. While Jay and Minet were setting in place arrangements for the security of the basement, I had been collecting ritual items for the ceremony to install the two sacred and precious objects – the Book of the Druid Grand Ovum and the Skull of Balaam’s Ass (well most of it, anyway). I had taken my extra large carpet bag and visited the magic wood, where I found all manner of wondrous things (of which I will write more another time).

I had turned towards home when I remembered the crone, and made a detour to the corner of the field that adjoins the wood, where her battered caravan stands, tilted at a slight angle. She appeared as I approached, dressed as before in the red velvet dressing gown, oversized pink carpet slippers and thick wrinkled stockings. She took me by the hand and drew me up the steps and into the van as she usually does, and I sat down at the table while she set the tea things.

I’m not quite sure what sort of tea it was – mugwort perhaps – it had been nettle the last time I visited – but the aromatic oils swirled deliciously up my nose with rather an odd effect, and I felt quite dreamy and lightheaded for some time after I left her, clutching a Cadbury’s chocolate finger and a scrap of paper on which she’d drawn some lines and arrows. I sat down in the field and ate her finger while I examined this scrap, knowing it was an important document. After all, the crone had guided my steps each time I’d visited her door. And thinking of doors, I wondered if perhaps the information she’d given me was relevant to Jay’s work securing the basement.

I puzzled over that scrap of paper for quite some time, until something about the scribbled signs and arrows reminded me of a map, and I stood (somewhat shakily) and tried to get my bearings. I wondered if they pointed further down what seemed on the map (if indeed it was one), to represent the lane that runs along the end of our orchard to a road with many cars. If so, it appeared that across this road was a square marked with a large X and beside it the words: Recycling Point. It was a message.

With a whispered prayer to Hermaphroditey I left the field and set off down the lane.

I don’t know how I managed to cross the road unscathed – it could only be that Hermaphroditey had heard my prayer and was guiding my steps. But I did, in spite of much bellowing of klaxons and shouts from car windows, and there, on the other side, in the corner of a space surrounded by trees I saw it. No, not the square depicted on the map, or the cross or even the Recycling Point, whatever that may be – although it must have something to do with bicycles – but The Guardian of the Basement.

I recognized him immediately. He looked down from on high, one glance from his eyes sufficient to send even those initiated ones less strong than myself running for the protection of their extra powerful tinfoil hats. I knew he was destined to reside in the basement, but he was so elevated that even I, with all my powers, was helpless to reach him.

It was while I was wondering what to do that a man approached and asked if he could help. I told him that I needed The Powerful Guardian, but was unable to reach that high, and he winked and asked me what it was worth. Puzzled for a few moments, I decided to offer him a tarot reading in my basement if he would climb up and bring The Guardian down to me, and he readily agreed, and went to find a ladder.

The task accomplished, he offered to drive me home, The Guardian being awkward and quite heavy (and I already had the carpet bag to carry). He seemed very keen to have the tarot reading as soon as possible.

And so I found myself with all the items needed for the installation ceremony. Jay and Minet had gone to count the animals, having finished the door. The tarot reading passed pleasantly enough although there was something strange and dreamy about the experience, but the man seemed very happy as he took his leave.

When Jay comes back I will ask him to make a suitable plinth ready for our Guardian of the Basement, but now I must go and lie down as I am having some very odd flashbacks about that reading.

Till when, Aisselle

Pashmina

Pashmina by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Pashmina, a photo  on Flickr.

I think Minet may be going through some mental changes, she went out earlier and was missing for a while.
I was starting to worry as we have become so close recently and she doesn’t usually stray very far, so I prepared myself for a reading to look into this when I saw her trudging down the path, arms filled with large brown paper bags. I must have been so wrapped up in Jay’s trip out that I didn’t notice her slip away.

I don’t know what possessed me but I felt she needed time to herself, so I hid behind the curtain so I could observe her return without intruding. As she passed she was humming a little song to herself which sounded like I’m every woman or something like that. I saw under her arms the bags she was carrying had black lettering scrawled on the sides which read Primmak, I think, I couldn’t see properly. Once she had ascended the stairs I snook up for a peak. Readers, you must understand, I am not a snoop but I feel a new responsibility now I have acquired a half sister.

I watched through the slightly open door as she pulled various clothing, accessories and jewellery from the bags. I hoped that she hadn’t robbed or swindled a gypsy. Where did she get all this wonderful colourful attire? We have enough trouble at this house at the moment, she knows that. I watched as she danced in front of the mirror holding various garish robes up against herself, pouting and pirouetting.
I mused as to whether I should be concerned but felt so happy to see her smile like that, so light hearted, she deserves this after the hard time she’s been through.

I left her to have her moments and considered reading the cards again, when she came down the stairs, looking like a modern gypsy fortune teller, very striking indeed. I asked her where she got her new things and was so relieved to hear that she’d been into town and sat and done some readings in exchange for cash in the local cafe, she then used the cash to get some new clothes to ‘keep up the disguise’ she said. She also brought me back a pashmina as a present, which is a lovely shade of lilac and which I shall cherish forever.

I had nothing to worry about after all.

After all these years, now having a half sister is such a blessing, even with all the troubles it brings.

Keep well dear readers.

Aisselle

Of missions and parcels

Enchanted Chariot by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Enchanted Chariot, on Flickr.

I woke this morning with the Enchanted Chariot hanging over me. A dream had revealed the meaning of the card – Jay and I must go on a mission to rescue Henna from the Warlock/Ovum sandwich. She was now in limbo, as it seemed that the warlock had sent her to obtain some sort of special book from the Ovum, but she had stolen or taken with her the donkey’s skull, either for some purpose of her own or the Grand Ovum’s. To complicate matters further, she had sent the skull to me because she had accidentally left behind the lower jawbone and the skull was now useless, if not dangerous, and the Ovum wouldn’t let her into the house with it.

Jay and I discussed the matter over a breakfast of goat’s milk yogurt and muesli and some lovely elderflower splash with lemon and honey. Jay said that if anyone should go at all, he must go alone, as the world outside our domain is not a welcoming place for such as myself, but I replied that the cards had spoken, and that we must travel together, but that I would dress more appropriately than the card indicated, although Jay must wear his antlers. Then of course the question of Minet arose (she was still in bed). Clearly we couldn’t leave her alone just yet, even though there had been no enquiries about Joel from the police, and George had told us that they had only made their enquiries because of the wandering alpaca.

We were still discussing how, when and if we should travel, when there was a loud crash and Azriel dashed across the kitchen floor. That cat seems to have special powers and no need of a cat flap, as when I went to shut the kitchen door I found it not only shut, but locked from last night. This is the second time this has happened, the first being when George turned up holding the parcel from Henna.

Puzzled, I unlocked and opened the door. On the step outside stood another parcel. It was wrapped in brown paper, and looked large and heavy. I called Jay, and he pulled it inside. It took us some moments to decide to open it, but at last, with a prayer to Hermaphroditey, we removed the paper and packing to find a green wooden chest, painted with odd patterns. We raised the lid only to find more brown paper, and had almost decided that the box was all there was when I noticed a scrap of paper sticking out. It was a page torn from an old school exercise book, with a few words in Henna’s spidery scrawl. Stay where you are. Here it is. Keep it safe and things will be OK.

Druid's book by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Druid’s book, a photo by Aisselle  on Flickr.

It took some time to remove all the packing, but at last, in the bottom of the box, we found it. The spine curved slightly, and the pages seemed in danger of falling off. But the bones were clean and dry, and very old and the pages were scattered with strange signs and sigils. It could only be the Book of the Druid Grand Ovum.

Till when, Aisselle

Copwatcher and George come to tea

It was while I was making the apple and nettle cake that I realized what I’d done. I’d invited both a cop and a cop watcher to tea. Would George be uncomfortable with Copwatcher peering at him through her binocks over the teapot and goat’s milk? Would Copwatcher get a crick in her neck and prickly feelings of discomfort from the close proximity of one of the clan from which she’d always kept her distance? And why indeed was she engaged in this activity? I would just have to wait and find out.

She was the first to arrive, the goats standing at a respectful distance, watching quietly, as she strode across the orchard in her long pinkish robe with the famed binocks bumping on her chest.
When I mentioned that they were larger than I remembered she told me that she has a collection of the things, which she keeps in an old wheeled shepherd’s hut on the hill. We decided to visit the Guardians before George arrived, and Jay and Minet promised to keep him happy till we returned.

As the sun flickered through the leafy canopy in the magic wood, creating shifting patterns at out feet, I asked Copwatcher why she was engaged in what seemed to me a Herculean labour.

She told me that long ago her beloved had been a policeman so beautiful that she couldn’t take her eyes off him. Unfortunately he had the same effect on other women too, and had taken advantage of this on a number of occasions, but she’d solved the problem by watching him constantly, usually from a distance and in any one of a number of interesting disguises. Knowing this had had an inhibiting effect on his behavior, and he had finally become unable to interact with women at all and had left her for a Detective Inspector. Unfortunately, by this time cop watching had become an incurable habit and she now looked upon it as her life’s work, following up cases that looked interesting or unusual.

After introducing her to the Guardians we made our way homewards to find the kitchen table laid for tea and the kettle already on. George, Jay and Minet had already started on the cake, but there were two slices left for us as well as goat’s cheese quiche with garlic mustard salad, goat’s cheese dip with violet leaves, goat’s cheese and linden sandwiches, and goat’s yogurt with some early wild strawberries Minet had found in the orchard. I was relieved that the binocks remained untouched on Copwatcher’s bosom, although being rather cumbersome they tended to swing about when she moved, and actually knocked her tea over at one point. But our teapots are large, and the cup was soon refilled.

George is by nature shy and somewhat retiring, but he and Minet seemed to take to one another immediately, and after tea went for a long walk in the magic wood. By the time they returned the light was failing and Copwatcher had returned to her shepherd’s hut. It was too late for the basement reading he’d requested, so we will leave that for another day.

And Jay and I still have the problem of Henna, the warlock and the Grand Ovum to deal with.

Till when, Aisselle