A few weeks had gone by and I was still unpacking as well receiving items for the house. As Sentry, Henri watched for the post as well as inspecting deliveries of my online purchases. Although Henri was adept at using the computer, he appeared to be very interested in receiving snail mail.
He usually hid behind the curtain when the mail was delivered and waited for me to retrieve it. One day he uncharacteristically raced outside and grabbed the mail. All bills for me but he was ecstatic as he had received an envelope as well.
“J’ai finalement reçu une lettre de mon cousin Bertrand!”
(I have finally received a letter from my cousin Bertrand!) he exclaimed, waving the letter in the air.
Henri shouted again, “Le ciel tombe!” My less than superior interpretation skills translated this announcement as ‘the sky is is tumbling.’ What? ¿Que?! Quelle?!! Stumbling over half-unpacked boxes I raced into the bathroom to find Henri pointing at the ceiling. Whereupon I noticed several cracks in the plaster and the first crack in the veneer of my ‘move-in ready’ home. The house had been freshly painted only 4 or 5 months before. How could the paint be peeling already?
[‘Move-in-ready’ is a phrase that often loses in translation. A cave is move-in ready; but that is hardly ideal. Unless you are a bear. Despite first appearances, there is always something that needs changing or fixing when buying a home on a strict budget.]
I had already planned to renovate the bathroom. I had spent more than 15 years with a dreadful-looking bathroom in the rental; no more atrocious bathrooms for me! First was to get rid of the hideous plastic shower surround which was becoming unglued from the wall and have the area tiled. Then replace the ugly plastic sink thing with a proper sink, replace the medicine chest and light fixture, and do something about the awful vinyl floor, preferably tile. Now I added the ceiling to the list.
Luckily I have been watching those home buying/selling/renovating shows on television for quite some time. So I had a good idea of what I wanted, how to get it done properly and how much of it I could do by myself (not much, other than painting). And thankfully, I found a good contractor who was able to begin straight away. I was very happy he found no bugs or mould inside the walls he ripped out.
Henri was ready to begin and donned his construction hat and monocle protector.
I ordered what I needed from the home stores and the deliveries piled up in my front parlour. Henri supervised the organising of supplies. The contractor replaced the ceiling, tiled around the tub, replaced the ugly faucet and shower head in the tub, and installed the new sink, medicine chest and light fixture. If he was surprised to find a gnome living in my house he took it in stride.
As the contractor did his work I removed the ugly 1960s radiator covers and tossed them outside for him to haul away. He thought it was hilarious to see me wrestle with these big ugly things.
In less than a week, my bathroom had been transformed! I really wanted to remove the lower bathroom walls (ridiculous faux wood/made-to-resemble-tile-stuff that was glued to the studs) and replace with white wainscoting. But that and the floor would have to wait as I had made the classic rookie mistake of having too small a budget for all of these changes. Plus I still needed to switch the boiler from oil to natural gas and the range/oven from electric to natural gas in October. I painted the upper walls a tranquil sea green, of which Henri approved. And lived another year with awful vinyl floor, which made both Henri and me shudder every time we looked at it.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? When I turned 29, I decided I would always be 28.I’ve learned so much since then that 35 is probably more accurate 😀
So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house? My trusty umbrella is always in the same place. He lives in the tote bag.
Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone? I’m a perennial loner.
Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend to have in common. I’ve been spouseless for quite some time so this is about my best friend. Honesty, loyalty and good sense of humour.
In the Northern Hemisphere we are celebrating the first day of Spring. On the Vernal Equinox day and night are of equal length. The earth wakes from its long Winter’s nap and signals the renewal of plant life.
Druid Tree Lore – Celtic Lunar Astrology
18th March – 14th April
This is my new design for the 11 inch x 14 inch Zodiac signs! They can be personalised with your name or the recipient’s name. All of the new designs can be seen on my websitemagickmermaid.com
About Druid Tree Lore and Celtic Lunar Astrology
People have been marking the passage of time by the phases of the moon for millennia. Although it is impossible to say for certain because the lore and traditions were not written, many historians believe that both the Celts and Druids used a 13 month lunar calendar. The months and symbols differ from the solar calendar with which most of us are familiar. Druidic horoscopes are often mentioned in legends.
Trees have long been a source of sacred folklore with each chosen to represent the months and having its own magickal properties. The Ogham symbols may have been devised by ancient Druids. As several of the symbols refer to trees, the ogham alphabet is often called the Tree Alphabet. These symbols are included next to the tree names which are shown in both English and Old Irish. The animal symbols are my interpretation based on various sources. The ruling planets of each sign are also noted. The information provided here is an introduction to the wealth of knowledge concerning Druid teachings and Celtic lore.
See the entire collection of zodiac signs at MagickMermaid (Studio tab at the top of the page).
Episode 1-My Momentous Meeting with Henri, the Gnome
This story begins in 2010 when I created a drawing of a Gnome Home. I’ve always liked gnomes. I had a smiling and waving acquaintance with the three who resided in the landlord’s garden.
Little did I know when posting this picture on my website, a gnome several hours away was perusing the internet in search of a home. (Yes, some gnomes are rather tech-savvy.)
Fast forward to Summer 2014: At last I was able to leave the land of ramshackle rentals and I went in search of my new abode. Being half-mermaid the logical location was a home on the coast. I knew my first choice, a castle by the sea (dragon included), was completely out of the question.
So I looked for a house by the sea; preferably Victorian in style. No, definitely not affordable.
Cottage by the sea? Still out of my price range.
Hovel descending into the sea?! Not even that was in my budget!
It quickly dawned on me I was going about it all wrong by searching only in my preferred area. So I sought homes within my price range, none of which were located by the sea. (Sigh, mermaid tears) So inland I went. I found a cottage in a small town I never heard of; three hours as the gull flies from the sea. Not a mermaid’s dream location although it was home to a curious flock of gulls who frequented a large carpark on the main road. The cottage appeared to be in decent shape. As the real estate agent pointed out the supposed positive attributes, I investigated for negative energies. I detected none, so I took a leap of faith and purchased it; after paying for an inspection, of course.
[Rule 1-Have the property inspected! The house I liked the best had too many expensive flaws so I kept looking. Rule 2-Negotiate! If the inspection isn’t 100% calculate the costs to fix and offer less than the asking price. The seller flatly declined my offer but 20 minutes later saw reason and accepted. Rule 3-Expect the unexpected!]
Two weeks after I had moved in, still trying to make order from chaos, I heard a tapping on the front door. I waded through the sea of boxes (no mermaid pun intended) and found myself knee to face with a gnome. My gknowledge of Gnomish is gnegligible and he didn’t appear to know many English words. He produced a print of the aforementioned gnome home. I deduced he had come in search of the home depicted in my drawing. I tried to explain the illustration was merely a figment of my imagination. His hopeful countenance was now downcast.
I invited him in and he looked about the disarray in dismay. He pointed to a scrap of packing paper and a produced a pencil from his knapsack. He wrote a series of words; some Gnomish, others in French and English, ending with a question mark.
I deciphered his question thus: ‘Are you the Queen of this castle?’ I thought for a moment, then nodded my head in the affirmative. As a descendant of Melusina, I am half-mermaid. According to town records the official name of my little property is Sandringham Place. As Hyacinth Bucket was often heard to proclaim, “If not for an accident of birth, I could have been someone important.” (A lack of one letter, and small it may be; this property is ruled by me!) Indeed, I was the Queen of this castle.
The gnome bowed with a flourish and introduced himself. “Madame, je suis Henri.” He bowed again and offered me a bar of chocolate. He apparently could understand English but preferred to speak French as it was obvious I could not properly converse in Gnomish. I don’t speak French either but he overlooked that failing.
I could tell by his dejected expression, he realised the gnome home he hoped to find here did not exist. I could not turn him away so I stated if he intended to remain, he could serve as my butler. (I was rather enjoying the role of Queen.) His look of annoyance was profound.
An idea! I retrieved a chopstick from the kitchen, tapped him lightly on both shoulders and bestowed upon him the title of Queen’s Guard. He smiled, bowed again and immediately assumed sentry position at the front door. Frankly, I had little use for a guard; I needed help with unpacking. But he stood his ground and refused to do any manual labour.
Henri accepted and/or ignored my idiosyncrasies as he should; I am Queen. As the days went by I became acquainted with his. Henri dislikes Chinese take-away; he prefers chocolate above all other foods. He often filches my chocolate despite having a large supply of his own. (How he acquires it is anyone’s guess.) He will have his little pranks and enjoys hiding my shells and crystals, smiling innocently as I search the house to find them. Laundry and house-cleaning he avoids at all costs. Although he had not mentioned it, I think he must have served in the Gnomish Gnavy as he is quite fond of dancing the hornpipe to all music.
Henri regards his position of Queen’s Guard with decorum and protocol.
“La Garde de la Reine ne s’implique pas dans le tri des articles pour le recyclage!”
(“The Queen’s Guard does not involve himself in sorting items for recycling!”) he stated unequivocally; sounding very much like the marvellous David Suchet in his role of Hercule Poirot.
Every now and then Henri would leave his post at the front door and march about, inspecting each room and taking notes. “Reconnaissance!” he explained in answer to my raised eyebrow. (I think he was looking for new places to hide my chocolate!)
The first time he saw the bathroom he roared with laughter. I found him upside down, shouting with glee, “Les années 1980 téléphonèrent. Ils veulent que leur luminaire retour!” (“The 1980s called; they want their light fixture back!”)
One day during his weekly inspections, he cried out from the bathroom with alarm, “Le ciel tombe!”