Monday, 30 November 2009

Soggy Selling

Saturday was a beautiful day. Crisp and bright, a little bit cold, but dry. A perfect day for a Car Boot sale. Shame that the Car Boot was taking place on Sunday.

I arrived home from Shabbat and rang my friend, Hen Lady, who confirmed that she would be round later in the evening to load my boxes in to the car. I completed the preparations - counting out the float, creating a box with useful stationary: sellotape, pens, labels, scissors. I even laminated some little price lists for CDs, DVDs, books... and waited for her arrival at 8:30pm.

At 7:30pm it started to rain. Not a light drizzle, but cats and dogs. Just a shower I thought It will stop. It didn't. When Hen Lady parked her car outside the house, it was still belting down with rain. We packed the car with damp boxes, then drove to her house to squeeze whatever she had to sell in to the gaps that were left. The car was packed.

"Can you believe this frickin' rain?" she said.
"It will stop" I said. "I can see it now. We will wake up tomorrow and it will be bright and beautiful"
We checked the weather report for Sunday: light rain and sunny spells, followed by a little bit of heavy rain in the afternoon.
"It will be fine. The rain will pass us by" I said.

We left the house at 6:30 am - the ground was wet but the skies were clear. Perfect.

I would so love to tell the story of how the sun shone and everything sold - my dream car boot day - but ten minutes outside of our destination it started to rain again. And again, not drizzle, but more belting rain. How lucky we were that the sale took place in the covered market, but still we had to get the boxes from the car to the table, in the driving rain. Oh, did I say rain? No it wasn't all rain - at one point the skies started throwing down hail.

And then there were the other traders, hands in the boxes before we had a chance to unpack them, asking prices, trying to get bargains to sell on their own stalls. I had so many boxes that there was not enough room to fit everything on the table and not enough space to think with the other traders hanging around. I did my best to keep my patience, I really did, but found my temper getting shorter and shorter, until my politeness disappeared completely. I stopped asking for people to move out of the way and barged through with my elbows out instead. 'Excuse me' swiftly turned in to "Get out of the fucking waaayyyy" muttered through clenched teeth.

And then everything went quiet, except for the rain. By the time that the table was in some kind of order, the traders had disappeared.

It didn't rain all day. And when the sun made a feeble attempt to shine, it brought the regular market visitors out for a browse.

There were plenty of time wasters - interested in an item, but not interested in paying anything for it, no matter how low the price went. One girl haggled down two items to £1.50 and then grabbed something else to be included 'as part of the set'. Whatever. Take it if you are that desperate. Hen Lady very nearly lost her temper with a woman interested in two beautiful silk pashminas. After 10 minutes of hard sell and haggling, where the price came down from £3.50 for the pair, to £2, the woman shook her head and walked away.

Halfway through the day I spoke to a couple of regular car booters on the stall opposite - a wily fifty something and her 70+ year old friend - a sweet little old lady perched on her stool drinking soup.
"I just can't understand some of these people" I said "They just don't want to pay anything for anything"
"You get to know the time-wasters" Fifty-something said "They are here every week. Have you told anyone to fuck off yet?"
I laughed "No, not yet"
"She has" she said, pointing to the dear sweet old lady to her left.
"I did!" confirmed the kind granny "Not this week - yet - but sometimes they need to be told!"

Well, I'll be.

The rain stayed away until it was time to rebox what was left and pack it in to the car, at which point the soggy boxes were given another lashing, ready to be sitting in damp piles on my living room carpet. I started out with 15 boxes, I finished with 10.

Despite only clearing a third of my stock, I still managed to make £165. Not bad for under 5 hours work. I learned what will sell, and what people want to pay. I learned that some things are hard to drop in price when they have 20 years of emotional value, but that their real price is what people are prepared to pay on the day.

But most importantly, I've learned that once something is gone, it isn't missed, no matter how much or how little was paid for it. I think I'm learning to let go.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Short sighted misgivings

A couple of weeks ago I went for my six month contact lens check up and discovered (via the green circles being clearer than the red ones) that the lenses I had were slightly too strong.

I left the opticians with a new prescription and less eye strain.

Yesterday I continued with the task of pricing up my items for Sunday's car boot sale and happened across a box of jewellery. Hmm... I wonder what the gold clown pendant is worth?

Searching on eBay, I found similar items selling for a minimum of £40, put the necklace to one side and decided to do a quick check to see what other gold items I had that I didn't want. I found two potential candidates: a small round pendant with a Capricorn zodiac sign on it (curious why my Dad ever bought this for me, considering I am a Gemini and have never expressed a preference for goats) and a gold sweetheart necklace set with an emerald. These have got to be worth something, surely?

I could see a hallmark on the clown and the goat, but nothing on the heart although there was a small tab attached to the chain with writing on it. Perhaps this was the hallmark. It's a pretty little pendant and it looks 9ct gold.

The only problem was, with my new perfect long-vision lenses, I couldn't focus on the hallmarks. I strained, I moved the objects closer and further away, looked from different angles, moved in to the light, blinked, looked at them sideways, held them up to the sun... I even resorted to attempting a close up photo that could be enlarged on the computer. Unfortunately the camera couldn't focus that close up either. I tried to figure out the writing on the tab of the heart pendant - is that a 3? and a 7? and maybe a 5? *blink blink* Can't tell.

There was nothing left to do except take my lenses out and study the hallmarks without them.

The clown pendant was 9 carat gold, with a chunky chain also 9ct gold.
The goat pendant had a hallmark of 333, which after a quick Internet investigation turns out to be German 8 carat gold (never heard of it). This is the lowest quality gold, but better than a poke in the eye with a plastic carrot.

And the writing on the tab of the heart pendant? Avon. Priceless.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Better Hair Day.....

..... bad nose day ("I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too....")

I'm now thinking of going with e's suggestion of wearing a hat - except that I am about as good with hats as I am with hair and am not sure I can get away with this one day to day - the net gets in the way of my nose.

Today I had a few pleasant surprises. I've been trying to price up my items for the car boot sale on Sunday and decided to search eBay to find the prices and popularity of items online.
Socket sets do not appear to sell very well, although when they do, they appear to go for a reasonable price. Not that this helps, because I am not sure that the 'reasonable price' on eBay is one that will be paid by someone browsing at a car boot sale. If I am going to price my 'quality second-hand merchandise' (a.k.a. "tat") beforehand, then it needs to be a price which will not scare away the potential buyers who are too shy to haggle. But then I don't want to drop too low either. Perhaps if I get more than one interested party, I can ask them to write their best bid on a scrap of paper, with their email address and drop it in a tin.

So, what else can I search for...? Roller-blades - plenty of them on eBay, none of them selling. Mark them up at a token price.

Next! Heavy duty 4-socket extension cable reel. Cheapest price on eBay for exactly the same product = £15. Mark up for £10.

Next! See whether any of my Queen Vinyl albums are worth more than the proposed 75p car boot sale market price. Oo, hello. Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe Barcelona Album, selling a couple of times in the last week or so for £20. Rare, apparently. Queen 'Hammer To Fall' 12" single - lots of them listed, but with a red cover, whereas mine has a photo cover. Curious. Oo, hello again. Here we go - rare limited edition with photo cover, one copy still in auction with two bidders, current bid £21.

I appear to have at least £100 worth of Queen vinyl which I was about to sell for £6. Plus £80 worth of Queen music score books, and the Complete Works box set worth around £80 (depending on the online competition). Well, who knew?

For years I have put up with the screwed up faces of friends, accompanying the words "Eurgh, you don't like Queen do you?"

What's the saying? Oh, yes. She who laughs last, laughs longest. Magic.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Bad Hair Day

Oh, what to do with my hair. It has gone past the point of looking respectable, being manageable or needing a cut. I can't even say that it is in an 'in-between' stage. It's just a flippy-floppy mop.

Throughout my life, my hair has been one of two styles - cropped short or a mid-length boring, untextured bob (with and without fringe). It is fine, relatively straight except for an annoying curl at the ends (one side curls in, the other flicks out). It falls forwards over my face all of the time. It is too slippery to tie back unless I use more clips than hair. There is so much of it that any form of volume is not an option without copious amounts of 'product' and half an hour of hanging upside down to counteract the forces of gravity.

Hairdressers frequently sigh 45 minutes in to a cut and comment "you do have a lot of hair, don't you?"
Yes. I do. That is what I said when I booked the appointment, but oh no, you thought you knew better and booked me in to a 30 minute time slot. But don't worry, you're not the first and you won't be the last to make that mistake. Now shut up and keep cutting - you've got a long way to go yet before you're done.

So now I am on my fourth attempt to grow it long in a futile attempt to become less of a tomboy and I have reached the stage where it isn't long enough to tie back and my fringe is neither long nor short. I ask the hairdressers to cut texture in to my hair every time, and it makes no difference - it remains boringly plain. Whether or not I am more feminine, my hair is helping me to feel far from attractive.

Yesterday I decided to clip it back from my face whilst still wet because I could not be bothered to attempt to style it. It looked bloody awful but I consoled myself with the fact that I was not planning to leave the house and therefore did not need to look presentable. Two hours later (when half of the clips had started to slide out) I nipped outside to fill the recycling bin, and ended up having a 15 minute conversation with my neighbour who just happened to be leaving the house. The fact that I was wearing no make-up, baggy jogging bottoms and fleecy top did not help to boost my self confidence.

This morning I made slightly more effort to style it, but it still looked hideous. No matter - no plans for a public appearance. And then I was visited by a rather dishy man from British Gas coming to read the meter. Great. Do come in. Pick your way through the piles of boxes and junk. Don't look at my hair.

The other thing I love about the whole hair saga is opinions from other people. When I have it cut short everyone tells me how much it suits me short. Oh how I must keep it short - it really suits my face. When I grow it out, people tell me that I look better with it long - and I usually receive these comments on the same day that I look in the mirror and make a decision to have it cut.

I've started asking people for suggestions. One conclusion that I reached a couple of weeks ago was that maybe I hated my hair looking so boring was because of my previous life as a Nun. Perhaps this was the style I had back then. I mentioned this to a couple of the women I mentor, explaining that I wanted something 'funky' and 'textured' and 'quick to deal with'. Oh no, they said, Nuns have their hair very short, therefore I needed to break that association with my previous life and grow my hair even longer. One of them suggested that I should get really long hair extensions. Whaaaat?!?

So what else might I be bringing forwards in to this life that I could change? Well, for one thing, I have never been interested in fashion. Shopping for clothes bores me. I find the process of choosing what to wear an utter bore. I choose the easy option every day. Jeans and jumpers are my new version of the 'Habit' - something to sling on without thinking about it. The difference between this and my hair is that I feel much better about myself when I do make an effort with what I wear.

I think that in life there are some things we pull forwards from past lives that we don't need to change in this one. What matters is that we find happiness and fulfilment in this life - that we develop our image according to what makes us feel most comfortable and confident. Forcing myself to be happy with a hair style which takes forever to style and that I still don't feel is 'me' isn't going to cut it. Pardon the pun.

Short(er) funky hair and fab clothes it is, then.

Friday, 20 November 2009


The last week has been a tad tricky. But surprisingly now I am starting to see the wood from the trees.

Let's be honest here, how many people do you know who set up a business with really big ideas and then act on none of them? My business plan was simple - first sort out the contract for creating the trainers manuals, which will bring in a bit of income and keep me busy for a few weeks, then train up to be a trainer with the company (easy-peasy, because I would have immersed myself in the material whilst developing the trainers' manuals), then run training courses whilst building my own materials.

And then all of this 'clearing' stuff got in the way and whilst dragging up old memories and feeling physically sick at the thought of throwing so many things away, I lost any focus that I had on work (which I have to admit, wasn't that much to start off with).

I mean, how hard can it be to sling a few bits on eBay and arrange a car boot sale? At my Astrology reading, I was told that as soon as I got rid of all of the baggage and started taking action, everything was going to start opening up and big things were going to come to me - work, love - everything I could possibly dream of was all there for the taking. And yet still I sat on my arse incapable of taking any action. And the less action I took, the lower I felt.

On Wednesday night, after spending the whole day in an ever deepening mire, I spoke to a friend at the Kabbalah centre. Rather than providing any sympathy, she suggested that instead of being disappointed with myself, that I should approach my feelings with the attitude of "Okay, NEXT!" and move on. She also told me to increase my use of the tools - prayers, meditations, scanning the Aramaic text of the Zohar - doing whatever I could to break the cycle.

I stayed at my friends house that night and decided to grab a volume of the Zohar when I arrived and scan for 10 minutes. I selected a volume and randomly opened the book - and stopped in my tracks. There, on the page was my (real) name - Deborah (you didn't really think that my parents would christen me Kabbalah, did you?)

Well, maybe a coincidence. Blatantly this portion would be littered with the name. I searched the previous pages, and the following pages, and this was the only reference to my name. In fact, I have not found my name listed in the Zohar before. So I skipped back a few paragraphs and started to read the translation. On the previous page, I found a reference to the receiving of the Torah. The Torah was received by Moses on Mount Sinai on the sixth day of Gemini - Shavuot - which was the day I was born. Curious.

Not being able to make head nor tail of the meaning of the translation, I decided to discover who Deborah was. It turns out that Deborah was probably one of the most powerful women in Israel. According to the information I found online, she was the only female high court judge, a prophetess, a poet and a general. She persuaded General Barak to raise an army of 10,000 men to defeat the Canaanites, and attended the battle. She was not a proponent of war, however, preferring to provide counsel to those who required her wisdom, coming from a place of love and peace. The document stated that everyone listened to her. Oh God, that sounds so much like me...

Reading this information gave me the courage to finally make a phone call to sort out the trainers' manual contracts, and I had been advised to speak to a different business partner - B. As it turns out, B had no idea of any agreements in place, had never seen the value in the creation of these manuals, did not want to invest, did not think that the manuals were needed or were any level of priority and thought that the length of time to create them was a complete fallacy. He made it sound as though I was really trying to stitch them up. Great.

Straining to keep a calm disposition, I asked about training to become a trainer, at which point he suggested that I call back in two weeks when things had settled down a bit at their end.

So much for being listened to.

After five minutes wailing messily on a friend's shoulder, my analytical brain started to do the math. The reason why I had held back on confirming this contract was partly because I didn't want to face the financial reality of them turning me down, and partly because I didn't want to create the bloody manuals in the first place. The more I thought of the actual process of creating them, the more I saw the task as a trauma rather than a joy. It was more something to get out of the way so that I could start to do what I really wanted to do - training.

Now that I know that the contract is not going ahead - despite my financial situation - I feel slightly relieved. In fact, so relieved that even if the first partner begged me to create the manuals, I think I would walk away. I may not have handled the situation perfectly, but who needs that kind of hassle?

Then I thought back to the Astrology prediction and my belief that everything happens for a reason. I have little idea of where I go from here - who to approach, where the next penny is coming from - but as long as I start to push and make progress, things will start to show up. I still trust that - even though I don't get it just yet - the Universe is unfolding as it should.

In which case: "NEXT!!"

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

First Impressions

Last night I caught the train to London to attend Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon of Sagittarius. The lecture, as always, was very enlightening. There are two major planets squared this month - Saturn and Pluto.

Saturn (apparently) is known as the Big Devil. When Saturn blunders through your chart, you are likely to lose things. If you are in a relationship that isn't working out, it ends. If you have a wrong attachment to material possessions, they are taken away. If you do not appreciate something good in your life, that goes too (hence leading to a new appreciation).

I can't remember what Pluto does. But he's a good guy. I think I was so busy trying to retrospectively appreciate everything that I have, I missed that bit.

Anyhow, Scorpio, being a challenging month, may have led us in to a bit of a dark hole (check). As usual, with Kabbalah, anything that we perceive as bad is explained as being good for us! How does that work? The explanation was that the further you 'fell' in during the month of Scorpio, the greater the rise you can experience in Sagittarius - as long as you don't run away from your challenges.

But I digress, because that isn't what this post was meant to be about at all.

Whilst waiting for the train, I stood outside the waiting room on the platform. Just when I was considering the option of sheltering from a rather bitter wind, a man came along and tried one of the doors to the waiting room and found that it was locked. He then wandered round to the other side of the waiting room and glanced briefly at the knob on the other door, which was sticking out like a crab's eye on a stalk, and shaking his head in dismay at the general lack of upkeep at the station, he carried on walking and found shelter round the corner.

Two minutes later a smartly dressed woman approached the waiting room, grabbed hold of the knob and wrestled the door open. Once inside, she stood at the window and proceeded to stare in my general direction. I wandered back and forth across the platform and she seemed to follow me wherever I went. When she turned and faced a different direction I could see her looking at me in the reflection of the glass.

I started to feel paranoid. Who are you? Jeez, you're giving the creeps - stop staring! Whilst building up a drama in my head that she was out to get me, and that any minute her eyes would glow red and vapourise me on the spot, I noticed that the door knob on the inside of the waiting room had fallen off. Which meant that with the other door locked, she couldn't get out.

This then led to the conclusion that this woman must be totally stupid. Stupid as well as being alien and evil and out to get me. But at least she can't get out.

Five minutes later the train arrived and because she had been staring in my direction, she didn't see it until it was at a standstill. It was only at this point that she tried the door, saw that the knob was missing, panicked and started hammering on the window for help.

So what should I do? Let the evil stalker out? Or notify the police that there is an alien trapped in the waiting room of platform 2..? As I got on the train, noticing that nobody else had heard her cries, I saw that her hands were leaving green slime on the windows. I'd had a lucky escape.

Oh okay, I made that bit up. When I opened the door for her, she was so thankful and relieved. She simply hadn't noticed on her way in that the door knob was missing. Far from the somber, staring, stalker who gave me the creeps earlier, she was actually really lovely and exuded warmth. She was also European, and probably used to standing in waiting rooms which weren't falling apart at the seams.

Funny what an over-active mind can create as a first impression.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Just for my Sister

Pity my poor lovely sister, stranded in the U.S. of A... unable to enjoy coarse Laaahn-dan accents on a daily basis, too far away for her loving sister to drop by at a moment's notice to help out with some serious Lego construction, but more importantly unable to watch some funny clips on YouTube.

I've been watching the Impressions Show with Jon Culshaw and Debra Stevenson on Saturday nights and some of the clips are hysterical. I emailed a clip today with a You just have to watch this message, and the response came back "Typical. Can't access it"

This might be a long shot... but here goes...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Need to be Right

Memory is a funny thing. I am in the process of trying to remember many events from my childhood and in the process of doing so, have a lack of certainty that my memory is correct.

I have a memory of a particular place in my old home town which I associated with my step-father. In 1990 a friend of mine was working as a sales rep and was visiting a client in this town. She invited me to come along for the ride and I took my camera. After her meeting we went on a little sight-seeing trip - both of the houses I lived in, the river walk, the secondary school opposite where we lived, the sweet shop I used to visit for my weekly dose of ten-penny mix, the church, the little piece of rough ground opposite our house where I used to play - which used to be a hangout for punks when it got dark and on one occasion where my friend Simon next door was caught short and did a poo in the bushes. And the taxi rank I remember visiting more than once with my Mum, long before she left my Dad, to meet a man who I have always been certain was my step-father.

My sister makes the same association with the taxi rank, but after speaking to her, her description of the office does not match with the same location, which is making me question the associations I have made and the strength of my memory. Why else did I take a picture of this building? If I am wrong about this, what else did I imagine? There are gaps that I very much want to fill. Like most people - for reasons of sanity - I have a need to be right.

My memory has been called in to question on a number of occasions. It is possible to experience exactly the same event with someone and have completely different recollections.

Fourteen years ago I was travelling in India with my boyfriend at the time. We wanted to get to the Bangkok Airline office in Mumbai and took a cab. The driver took us in a loop to the other end of the street from which we started - a long way from where we needed to be - and then pointed out the price on his sheet. I spotted that the price he was pointing to was the Night Rate, pointed this out to my boyfriend, who then raised this with the taxi driver.

When we returned home we were relaying our travel stories with friends and much to my surprise, my boyfriend took the credit for spotting that we were being charged the Night Rate. He insisted that it was him, I insisted that it was me. We agreed to disagree. It was as clear as day in his head as it was in mine.

Another occasion was the story told by my step-mum of my little brother's first day at big school at the age of seven. He had been very nervous when she dropped him off and she spent the entire day worrying on his behalf and wondering whether he was okay. When she went to pick him up and arrived at the meeting point, there was no sign of my little brother. So she waited. And then she spotted him walking down the corridor with a friend at which point he walked straight past her. Thinking that perhaps he hadn't seen her, she waited for him to return. Again, he walked straight past and this time it was evident that he knew that she was there and was ignoring her. Feeling rather frustrated at being blanked twice after an entire day of fretting, she grabbed him on his third pass and hustled him in to the car.
"When we get home, I want you to go straight to your room, and I want you to think about what you have done. I want you to give me an explanation as to exactly what I have done to deserve this kind of treatment"
My little brother went to his room for ten minutes, then appeared in the kitchen with a piece of paper which read "How far back do you want me to go?"

This is probably one of the most hysterical stories I have ever heard, picturing the complete shock on my step-mum's face when she read what her son had written. We howled with laughter at the dinner table when the story was told and I have recounted the tale on several occasions to friends.

Six months ago we were sitting round the dinner table again, reminiscing.
"The funniest story I ever heard," I said "was the one where you picked T up from his first day at school and he wrote that note"
Blank faces.
"You know - the time when he blanked you and you sent him to his room and he came down with that note saying 'how far back do you want me to go?'
"What are you talking about?" my step-mum asked.
None of them had any recollection of this event at all. They looked at me as though I was barking mad. But I remember her telling the story. I didn't make this up...

The need to be right is probably the central cause for war. We all want to be right. We all have a need for our views to count, for our opinions and experiences to matter. Very few people are happy with other people taking the credit for something impressive that we know we have done. If we are not able to be right then there is a fear that perhaps we don't count - that in some respect our existence is being overlooked.

What we need to understand is that there is a system in the Universe. Everything happens for a reason - everything is part of a bigger picture. This leads back to my favourite line in the Desiderata - "Even though it may not be clear to you now, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should" Often we do not see the reason for things no matter how hard we try to understand. Sometimes it is just not ours to see - it is not in our hands.

Luckily for me, there are other people who will be able to fill in the gaps on the taxi rank. And I definitely remember Simon having a poo in the woods.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Clearing the Tardis

I rang my friend, the eBay Queen today and asked for help with setting up my sales posts. It's all very complicated.

She used to use a posting site called Auctiva which earned their money through advertising, allowed you to set up posts with unlimited photos, and schedule the start date of the auction for free. But now they charge for the privilege - only $3 a month for a maximum of 15 items, or something like $9 a month for unlimited items. Well, no big cheese, I guess.

Alternatively I could pay 6p to schedule a post directly on eBay, choose from a variety of prices for a single post (depending on whether I choose 'Buy It Now', 'Best Offer' or stick it in the 99p price range), then I would have to pay commission to eBay and a percentage to PayPal if used. Is it really worth the effort?

She asked me how much I had to sell. I said "about seven for eBay".
"Seven items? Oh, that's easy".
"No", I replied, "Seven boxes".
There was a moments silence followed by a deep sigh "I told you that you should have started this months ago".

And she did. But way back when she told me, I didn't really have that much to sell. I thought that, somehow, most of my crap would squeeze in to a single room in a shared house. Now, looking at the number of boxes (and counting) I wonder how on earth I made that estimation. In fact, I am wondering where on earth it lived before I started filling up the boxes. The house is such a Tardis that it wouldn't surprise me to find David Tennant hiding in the cupboard under the stairs (oh shit - I haven't even tackled under the stairs yet - but if he's hiding there he can help me lift some boxes. Or transport me back through time so that I can undo all of my purchases).

It's a daunting task, and I have a plan. Well, kind of a plan. You see, I've left it so late and want to get rid of so many items that the temptation to hire a skip (sorry, dumpster) is almost overwhelming. So, I'm going to have one car boot sale, post selected items on eBay, and post other items on the 'Trading Post' database at the eBay Queen's place of work.

If there is anything of value left over, I will try to post again. The rest will be split between the Charity Shop, the Tip (Dump?) and some unlucky friends and close relatives who will be receiving seconds for Christmas. High quality seconds, I might add.

Sonic Screwdriver, anyone?

Monday, 9 November 2009

A Titanic number of coincidences

I feel as though I am going slightly mad. Anyone fancy an experiment?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post relating to the number of times that the Titanic appears to be cropping up in my every day life. In brief, here they are:
  1. Being recommended to visit the Titanic exhibition in New York by a couple of strangers;
  2. Taking part in a Kabbalah workshop to understand our Greatness, by giving a pitch on why we deserved to take the last seat in the last lifeboat on the Titanic;
  3. Visiting a shop with my friend to buy a postcard and noticing the board outside covered with fridge magnets for the Titanic;
  4. Reading some old love letters on the same day as above and finding two references to watching the film Titanic;
  5. Catching a documentary on TV which was talking about the White Star line (and which had mentioned the Titanic, although I missed that bit).
Following this post, I then read a few more letters and came across another reference to the film Titanic (an entire paragraph written by another friend who had just watched the film for the second time, years after its release).

At the end of my astrology reading last Wednesday, the reader asked me whether I had any more questions.

"Yes, just one really silly one" I said "Since Rosh Hashannah I keep seeing references to the Titanic all of the time. What does this mean?"
She looked back at the chart. "Well, it's possible. Possible that this was a past life for you. Are you afraid of water?"
I explained 'not really' although I have always felt uncomfortable swimming or sailing over deep water where you cannot see what is beneath. Although perhaps some of that trauma came from watching the film 'Jaws'. (The film scared me so much when I watched it aged eleven. In fact, I was so terrified that I lost an entire night's worth of sleep waiting for the shark to burst up through my bedroom floor. Seriously)

She looked back at the chart. "It's not showing up clearly, you understand? It is possible. Maybe this is a sign for you that a new life is beginning - the old life is sinking and you need to get your head above water and swim for the shore, you know?"

And so I dropped it. Or thought that I had.

Two days later someone mentioned the Titanic out of the blue on TV.
I then received an invite to the Thrillionaires Club - the founder of which has visited the resting place of the Titanic.
Dermot O'Leary introduced the X Factor this week, saying that it was going to be a Titanic show.

And this morning I was halfway through an article by the wonderful Deepak Chopra, discussing how the brain responds to events, and stopped short at this statement:
"One person who gets bad news becomes devastatingly depressed while another quickly bounces back. One person becomes manic with good news and starts acting with irrational exuberance (think of the famous line from the movie Titanic: "I'm king of the world!") while another person takes good news in stride.

I think perhaps there is a message in this article that I needed to read. I know from my astrology reading that there are things and people I need to respond to differently, and recent events are providing me with that challenge all over again.

All the same, I would like to set a challenge for anyone willing to take part. For the next week, think of the Titanic for five minutes every day... and then count how many references to the Titanic start to pop up in your life.

Or is it just me?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hire a Skip! Quick!

The recording of my astrology reading is ready to be collected. I am looking forward to listening to it for the second time, but not looking forward to hearing my dulcet tones in the background. What is it about the taped voice that we dislike so much?!

The character reading was very interesting and I can identify with it all. After several years of introspection and working on self-awareness, it was easy to hear all of my flaws and tendencies without becoming defensive, depressed or offended.

The secret to finding fulfilment often lies in transforming your nature and for that you need to understand who you are and very often take action that you do not want to take.

So let's look at the list:
  1. I think constantly, when I am awake, when I am asleep, 25 hours of the day [check]
  2. I am very critical and set high standards - not just for other people but specifically for myself. [check]
  3. I have big ideas and love to be involved in too many things at once. I end up with too much on my plate, and when I don't get results from all of these unrealistic targets, I give up with the thought that either a) it wasn't for me or b) I'm not good enough to achieve it or c) it wasn't meant to happen. [check]
  4. I keep my feelings hidden and only reveal to other people what I want them to see [check]
  5. I have an attachment to material things as a form of security. It is fine for me to have these things, but I need to change my consciousness [check]
  6. I love to be centre stage but at the same time am very insecure [check]
When I explained that I was in the process of clearing out my clutter, but had come to a complete standstill, the advice was very clear:
"With some people I would say that it is good to keep hold of their possessions. With you, it is not. You need to cut the ties with your past and let it go. That is the secret for you moving on in this life. Throw out all of your old letters. Choose 10 or 15 of your possessions as keepsakes and get rid of the rest. It doesn't matter whether you sell the rest, throw them away or donate them, but you need to get rid of them. It needn't take long to do. Don't even read the letters, just get a black bag and put them in"


What I have come to learn from Kabbalah is that whenever someone gives advice that you feel a strong resistance to and do not want to hear, then you know that what they are saying is true.

My living room floor is scattered with photos, diaries, letters, keepsakes. I started out with the good intention of not hanging on to things I no longer needed, but made the mistake of looking at each thing a little too closely.

Three days ago I made a decision to keep my old diaries. Surely I cannot throw away hours of writing? This is my history, my life, my feelings, my expression. And they don't take up much space.

But the reading has helped me to look at them in a new light.
How did I feel when I read through the diaries? Really sad and depressed.
Could I be bothered to read through all of the diaries? No - the writing might be good, but the content is either boring or painful.
Will reading these diaries in the future ever be a joyful experience? No
So why do that to myself? Good point, well made.

In addition to clearing out my possessions, I also have other tools to use - meditations on clearing up issues with people from past lives (tough to do with a head that won't stop thinking), regular Mikveh (bobbing up and down in a swimming pool whilst following a meditation sheet - leads to physical cleansing and 'rebirth') and once all of the trash is gone, cleansing the house with white sage.

Once I have achieved all of this, it will be like cutting the string on a helium balloon - my life is simply going to take off. And this year, for me, is all about action, action, action. Best buy some bin bags, then.

All I can say is, hang on to your hats and watch this space.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A Bad Habit

Picture the scene. It's the summer holidays, I'm seventeen, and two of my girlfriends have arranged to meet three boys for a night out at the cinema. I know that the only way I will be allowed to go is if there is no mention of the boys. So I lie.

Rather excitedly, I write a letter to my sister, who left home a few months before and tell her all about my planned night out. I remember writing something to the effect of "Mum thinks I am just meeting up with the girls, but what she doesn't know won't hurt her."

Rather stupidly, in the practice of writing my 'A' level essays in draft before writing up neatly, I do the same thing with the letter to my sister, screw up the draft copy and put it in the bin.

My Mum just 'happened to find' the letter and hit the roof, and that was the end of my trip to the cinema. And the boy lost interest too.

At the end of the argument I remember screaming "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO BE, A NUN?!"
To which my Mum screamed back an emphatic "YES!!!!!"

Today was my first ever Kabbalistic Astrology reading. I had been tempted to ask what the connection was with my mother in a past life, but at the last minute decided against it. The Universe had other ideas.

The woman giving my reading has not been based in London for long and as such we have not had any conversations. In other words, she doesn't know me from Adam and hence the only source of information that she has for me is my date, time and place of birth. We covered my character traits first, which were totally spot on, and my life to date - also very accurate.

She then went on to talk about my past lives and explained in two recent lives, my Mum was actually my sister. Not only that, but one of these times we were twins - but polar opposites. My Mum/Sister/Twin fell in to a life of fast men, money, sex and alcohol. And me?

I was a Nun. No wonder she was so emphatic.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Upside Down

This may be the strangest post I have ever made. Something potentially so big has just happened in my life and for the first time I am choosing to stay quiet. There is so much that I want to say - specifically because I have spent a large chunk of my life staying quiet and I no longer want to be in that situation, but now is not the time to share - not until I have more information anyway. To vent my frustration, all I can post is this:

In addition to the last 18 hours being nothing other than surreal, my living room floor is covered with boxes. As part of the clearing out, I am churning through old photos and keepsakes, chucking out the duplicates and images which are not attached to memories that I feel a need to keep, and repacking them.

And I have a man from the Office of National Statistics coming round at 5pm to do a survey on living conditions in the UK. Boy, is he ever in for a surprise.

I suppose I could try and clear a path between the sofa and the front door...

Monday, 2 November 2009

A miserable old witch

I am in a bit of a strange head-space today, and hence writing as a means of finding some answers.

I decided to ditch the cape from my witches outfit on Saturday and bought a wig instead - a long black and white Morticia wig. The results (with the spider-adorned lacy hat) fooled both of my friends at the party, plus anyone else I had ever previously met.

It's not easy being a single witch at a kid's party. There were so many children around the table for the party tea, with mothers in attendance and fathers trying to 'keep out of the way' that I kind of floated around for a bit, feeling of little use. I had been so excited at the thought of dressing up that I forgot that a) there would be a lot of people there that I barely knew and b) that they all knew each other very well and would be busy catching up or otherwise involved with the kids.

Not that I sulked, you understand. I find it easy to talk to people but conversely am not a big fan of small talk. Plus I was asked on several occasions "So which one is yours then?" (referring to the children) and as usual I laughed as though I didn't care and said "None of them!" whilst feeling a sadness rise within and pondering whether this would always be the case.

Once the kids were fed, it was time for the adults to feast. A local woman had been hired to come round and deliver an enormous curry, with dahl, rice, roti (freshly made on the Aga plate), salad and sweet pudding rice for desert. Parent's started to take their children home, and a few more adults made their appearance. I took off my hat and wig to eat, thinking that I would no longer have to introduce myself. My friend's boys, who were now high as kites on a sugar rush induced by eating fistfuls of icing from their monster birthday cake, looked at me quizzically, wondering why I had turned up to their party so late, and why the friendly witch with the red hat had gone home without saying goodbye.

When I started chatting to the people who had just arrived (and who I had met several times before) I was disappointed to discover that they didn't remember me anyway. How nice to be so memorable. I consoled myself with the notion that maybe it was because my hair had grown, or maybe even my energy was so completely different that I projected myself as a different person altogether.

At this point something else happened which always seems to happen to me, and me alone. I was pushed in to drinking. If everything that happens is a message, I can't figure out what the Universe is trying to tell me with this one.

For several years now, I have been what is commonly classed as a 'Lightweight'. I freely admit to it and am not ashamed of it either. I am a cheap date. Half a glass of wine or a sniff of vodka, and I am pissed. The high lasts for about an hour, during which I laugh myself stupid, and then I start to feel dehydrated and drained. None of my social activities have involved drinking and I don't feel tempted to drink when I am on my own (which accounts for most of the time). My tolerance for alcohol used to be fairly high but then so was my tolerance for hangovers. Now I only need to get mildly drunk to feel totally bloody awful the next day. So for me, it just isn't worth it.

What I don't understand is that nobody else seems to get this, but not only that, they spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to persuade me that actually, drinking is quite big and quite clever and that despite multiple experiences of god-awful hangovers, I can and should actually enjoy it. It's as though they not only want me to feel ill the next day, but as though I should enjoy feeling ill because that is all part of the fun.

Well whoop-de-doo.

I can be in a group of four people out drinking where two of us in the group don't really drink, but I am the only one getting it in the neck. "Try this. Oh don't tell me that you're going to drink Coke - that's not a proper drink! Have a real drink! God, you are such a lightweight!" And if I have one drink (which is fine) then I am either persuaded to drink up quicker than I want, or am seemingly not allowed to order a soft drink on the next round. Whereas the other non-drinker orders an orange juice and lemonade without them batting an eyelid.

I have tried to use different tactics, from getting all defensive - I don't have to drink if I don't bloody want to drink, okay? Don't f**king tell me what I should or shouldn't be doing - to being totally calm and rational - no look, I'm fine, honest. Drink just doesn't agree with me. But none of these seem to work. Entire evenings have been ruined not because I have stayed sober, but because entire conversations revolve around what my next order will be. I'm tired of it.

So at the party I decided to have one vodka, which I poured myself and drank with coke. One of the guys thought I was only drinking coke, at which point I was teased for not having enough vodka in my glass. Then I was offered some home-made raspberry vodka, followed by home-made sloe gin, whisky, Japanese fruit liqueur and port. And all the time when I tried to decline I was chastised for being a killjoy.

The result was that I went to bed rather drunk despite drinking plenty of water. And then the curry started to kick in. I hadn't realised at the time that the chicken curry was made with a base of onions and for some reason onions don't really agree with me.

Yesterday I opted out of dinner and asked to be driven home early, then curled up on the couch like a poisoned slug and slept through everything on the TV.

Today I still don't feel quite right. I'm not sure whether it was feeling as though I was on the outskirts of the action with a group of people I didn't really know, the chastising or the alcohol/onion poisoning that has made me so blue. Or returning to a house which is such a tip and not wanting to go through the process of packing only to move in with a bunch of strangers who could potentially spend 95% of their energy telling me that I am no fun to be around because I don't drink enough.

I guess I ought to get something done today to make me feel better - perhaps put on some loud music and pack a couple of boxes just to start shifting some energy and move out of this paralysis.

Or maybe I will wait until dark, don my wig, false nose and witches hat and stand in the shadows by the graveyard to take a few drunks by surprise as they make their way home. Ha, my pretties, bet you wish you were sober now.....