At Home With Rowena

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Blog Name

Have decided to change blog name from Gramarye to Bitchin' Witch! The reason for this is that I don't always feel all goody two shoes, airy fairy and mystical! I would love to be one of those wonderful, otherworldy, interesting looking people who sail calmly through life with a beautific smile on my face parting words of spiritual wisdom. My reality however, is quite a different matter! I have a volcanic temper, and am not adverse to using extremely bad language when someone pisses me off - usually so that anyone with me is covering their mouth to stop themselves from laughing, and thinking I can't believe she said that!

I'm so into the look of the thing - a cross between gothic witch Nancy, from the movie The Craft

and the more traditional hedgewitch, brewing her potions in a cauldron on her kitchen stove!


When we moved in to our house in rural Essex (obviously I named her - Gramarye - meaning 'magic and enchantment') I hoped to transform into the latter. Unfortunately for me, like the late, great John Lennon said, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans! Hence my reversion to the 'me' I can't seem to erase! What that is exactly, I can't quite put into words. Although, a  few years ago, I got sent one of these text things on my phone, and you had to forward it to your friends, asking them to describe you in one word. A friend I made at university texted back wild, while another wrote fey. They seem rather contradictory- just like me - obviously the Libran thing going on here! Anyway, John Lennon was a Libran (9 Oct) and he was into mystical stuff as well as being a bit of a rebel; leading peace rallies and so forth - even that in itself is a contradiction - so I feel I'm in good company!

Anyway, so that's where I'm at with my blog. I want it to be a forum for anyone who reads it to pop in and say what's going on in their own life - the good, the bad, and the downright ugly - don't hold back - let it all out!

With that,
Welcome to the Bitchin' Witch!    

Well, there's no time like the present, and it's now less than a week to Christmas Day. Are you ready? Have you bought all your prezzies and wrapped them up? Well if you have - good on you. Have I? Have I f***!
After finally wrapping the last of the presents on Christmas Eve every year, I promise myself to start shopping early for next time. And do I? What do you think? I mean, my promise is made with the best of intentions, but then all the bloody bills get in the way, don't they? And just when you  think  you're going to go and pick up some nice things for Christmas, what do you think happens? The poxy tumble dryer packs up, that's what happens. In this house anyway. And, then,  oh, yes, it gets better - you phone up the number on your insurance policy, only to find that because the bastards' forgot to remind you it was up for renewal only the month before, you're no longer insured,

but you can call someone out for £100 - and that's just to take a look at the thing and tell you what's wrong with it! So, clutching my bit of extra money close to my heart, we kindly refuted the offer, and called out a lovely bloke from the local repair shop for £35. Luckily it turned out all that had happened was that water had got onto the element and caused a short (that had been enough to wack out all our electric every time we tried to start up the dryer). It was easily rectified with  a blast of hot air from my hairdryer, and voila! we were up and running again! The total cost was £43 - the call-out plus vat. So it's 'up yours' to Domestic and General!

Back to the prezzie question - luckily we managed to get about half of them for our two bambini - I say luckily, because my mom (who lives in the West Midlands)  posted a cheque which took a week to arrive! Anyone would think it was posted from the other side of the world! Mind you, the British postal service - or should that be none-service? - leaves a lot (of mislaid post) to be desired. To add insult to injury, when the cheque was banked, we were told it may not clear until Christmas Eve. What bloody good is that to me???? I'll be running around like a headless f****** chicken and still not get it done, because all the bloody shops'll close early! The best I can offer the bambini is a possible two grand openings of prezzies, but they're not looking very impressed, so fingers crossed that the cheque clears in time for me to hit the shops!
Well, I think that's enough ranting for now,

A happy and stress-free Christmas to you all,

lotsa luv,


Monday, October 05, 2009

Making a Pentacle from Nature

Many years ago when I lived in Morecambe I frequented a shop called Magenta. It was a typical 'witchy' shop selling crystals, incense, tarot cards, and all other magical effects. Elaine, whose shop it was, was very gifted at crafting her own goods, each with her unique designs. Just before we moved back down south, Elaine had shown me some leaves that she had preserved in a glycerine solution - mainly as an experiment to see how they turned out. I saw the finished results, and decided that my first project of that nature would be a pentacle. As you can see from the photo, I managed ok, and my pentacle has adorned my homes over the past ten years, and showed no sign of deterioration!
The 'recipe' below is for anyone who wishes to try it out for themselves.

Willow branch -  long enough for circle
Willow branches for fixing inside in a pentacle shape
Copper wire - thin - to hold willow circle together and to attach ivy at various points
Ivy from hedgerows - as long as you can get - discard any 'dodgy' leaves!
Solution: 1 part glycerin to 2 parts water

Mix the solution and put in a large deep container - an empty kitchen swing bin minus the lid is a good idea, and one I wish I'd thought of at the time! Use own judgement on how much you need - but you can always top it up - the ivy is quite thirsty and will soak up the mixture, hence preserving the leaves! I think I left the ivy in for about 2/3 days - you can tell when it's done as the leaves take on a waxy appearance.

Bend the willow into a circle and secure with the fine copper wire. Willow is ideal because it bends but doesn't break.

It's a bit of a pain getting the other willow branches into the pentacle shape and securing them, and to be honest I can't remember how I did it - suffice to say though, that if I managed it, anyone can do it!

Once you have your 'frame' in place it's just a matter of wrapping the ivy around and securing again with the copper wire, and voila!

My pentacle is the only project I ever undertook, but now I have more time on my hands (children at school, self finished university course!) I intend to try out some more designs. There's something very satisfying about making your own decorations, especially from nature's gifts. I'm not particularly gifted when it comes to crafts, but when it works it's great! At the moment I'm knitting a pair of socks! The pattern is on 2 needles, so is quite easy! Have finished the first one, and made a start on it's mate. Will post the evidence when complete!

Till next time,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last of the Plums!

Summer is definately on the wane, and the plum season is also coming to an end. There was an article in our local paper, the Brentwood Gazette, the other week, about how the supermarket chains were buying foreign plums because they were so much cheaper. Meanwhile, all the English plums were literally going to waste.

One of my neighbours has 2 Victoria Plum trees in her garden. Last year, she got 2 plums - this year, there have been so many, she has been unable to use them all, and kindly requested that I help myself to as many as I wanted. Over the following fortnight I harvested these lovely fruits, until last week, when it became obvious that this years plentiful supply had finally run it's course.

I froze the best of them - laid out on a baking tray in the freezer (so they wouldn't stick together!) before transfering to a freezer bag, with the aim of enjoying them during the winter months ahead.

The few that were unsuitable for freezing I made into a Plum Crumble. I have to say, it was absolutely delicious with custard! As a thank you to Pam, I took a bowl of crumble round to her house, which she assured me later she had really enjoyed.

Pam now lives on her own, and said that since her husband passed over last year, she doesn't do any baking for herself, as there's always too much and it inevitably gets wasted. I decided there and then, that when I make my next pie/pudding, etc; that I will take some to Pam. I love baking, but despite having four of us in the house, there's only me that likes such puddings (notice, I don't say 'desserts'! - that sounds so wishy-washy - nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned pudding!!!!) - and I always end up with more than I can eat. This way, both of us can benefit - I enjoy baking them, and we can both share pleasure in the eating!

More than anything, I realized how little effort it takes to share some of our natural wealth with those who are living alone, either unable or uninterested to prepare home-made delights for themselves. To put a portion of a baking enterprise to one side for someone else can be a lovely heartfelt gift - share the love!

On that note, I'll sign off now -

Sharing my love -

Till next time -



Sunday, August 23, 2009

Prosperity Pumpkin Spell

This is from Halloween Spells, Customs, and Recipes by Silver Ravenwolf, 2000, Llewellyn Publications, St.Paul, MN, USA.

1 small (not miniature) pumkin
The amount of money you need, written on a piece of plain white paper in green ink (try not to request large amounts - what we want is not necessarily what we need!)
1 bag of fresh soil
7 silver coins
7 pumpkin seeds from this pumpkin
7 ounces rain water or water from a stream or the sea (no tap or bottled)

Cut the top off the pumpkin in a scallop design (to aid in the flow of money.) Clean out the pumpkin. Keep 7 seeds. Place pumpkin in the fridge until Halloween Eve.

One-half hour before Halloween Eve (not after), bring out the pumpkin, the piece of paper with the amount you need written on it, the soil, coins, seeds, and the water. Place the paper in the bottom of the pumkin. Add the soil. With the end of the pencil, make seven holes in the soil in a circular pattern, about an inch apart. Hold the first coin in your hand and think about the amount of money you need. Visualize this need entering the coin. With the pencil, push the first coin in the hole that coincides with 12 o'clock. Follow the same procedure, clockwise, with the other six coins.

Starting at 12 o'clock and going clockwise, pour 1 ounce of water into each hole. Think of your prosperity as you pour the water into each hole. When you are ready, hold your hands over the pumpkin and say:

One coin for beginnings
One coin for drawing
One coin for growth
One coin for stability
One coin for banishing negativity
One coin for luck
One coin to seal the spell
So mote it be!

Bury the pumkin outside on your property the following night one-half hour before midnight (no later).

Well there you go! I have done money spells before - and yes, they DO work - but have never tried this one. Now I know what I'll be getting up to this Halloween! If you try this and get a result, let me know!




Saturday, August 22, 2009

Same blog - different name!

Decided to change blog name to Gramarye. After all, that is what I have named our house, and the main focus of my blogging is to do with what it says under the title: Magic, Nature, and Spirituality!

The word itself has its origin in medieval English, where the word 'grammar' was often used instead of 'latin'. Thus, a grammar school was a place you went to learn Latin. Seeing as the priests of the time, who were obviously well-learned, undertook their rituals in Latin, ordinary folk, unable to read or write, linked the rituals and the language with unearthly power. Therefore, 'gramarye' meant both 'grammar' as in the formation of sentences and learning, while also carrying the idea of occult knowledge.

As I've said before, I came across the name in James Herbert's book 'The Magic Cottage', and it was from that moment that I yearned for a magic cottage of my own! I never expected to get my wish, but when the wish became a reality I knew that for the first time ever, my home would have it's own name - Gramarye.

There's nothing wrong with having dreams, however unrealistic they may seem to others. Our dreams are the power behind every action we take to attempt to fill our ideals. And if we hold on tight to those dreams, no matter how difficult the terrain, sometimes, just sometimes, they come true!

Love and blessings,



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Into the Wilderness

We have a front and a back garden - the front was okay, but the back, well, it looked more like a tip than a garden!
The former tenants son used to plough it - yes, you read that right! - there's lots of ooo aar farming people round here! - but failed to tidy up before he moved out!
It was full of deep holes, so the bambini couldn't play in it, in case they broke an ankle, and the ground also housed annoying slabs of concrete, house bricks, and tractor parts!
We did our best, but after the fourth lawnmower, and second strimmer died a death, we gave up and told the council to come and sort it out! Everyone we knew said we'd never get the council to deal with the garden, but we eventually did. The council tried to say that we took it on as seen when we accepted the tenancy, but we argued that because it was so overgrown, the extent of the horrors lurking beneath had remained unseen until the first mowing! I also pointed out that the average council tenant is not expected to be in possession of the agricultural equipment to rectify a garden in such need! Our then 14 yr old daughter wrote a letter to them, begging them to do something so that her and her younger brother would have somewhere to play. And the rest is history - they came, they rotivated, they levelled, they seeded, they went away!
All this just goes to prove that sometimes, if you stand your (rocky!) ground, refuse to take any crap from any 'authority', and fight your corner - that you can indeed emerge victorious!
Well, that's all for now,
Keep on keeping on!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

So, the list of work that was carried out on our little house:-

a LOT of replastering of walls!
Total redecoration
Bathroom converted in to a 'wet' room (shower room in other words!)

The tiny kitchen - with one cupboard (remember, there were 4 of us!) extended into what had previously been the tiniest dining room I have ever seen! All the kitchens had been extended in these houses a couple of years before, except this one as the elderly lady who lived here could not have coped with the mess and upheaval, bless her - but did the council do the job when the house was empty? NO! That would have been too easy! So we suffered it for 18 months! Our first Christmas was a disaster! There was absolutely no room to move and no work surfaces on which to serve up the dinner! Also, Gramarye is exposed to the elements on 3 sides, and in winter is absolutely freezing! Our energy bills are astronomical! Anyway on this first Christmas Day, to add insult to injury, the thermostat was in the kitchen! So, because the kitchen was so hot with the oven being on, the thermostat turned the heating off! I WAS NOT A HAPPY BUNNY!!! And I vowed I would NEVER go through that again! (Although I did - once more, in 2007)! So, when everyone got new boilers, we had the thermostat relocated to on the stairs, and as mentioned, we eventually got our kitchen!

The other work we had to fight for, was for the garden at the back to be rotivated. When we moved in, it was very overgrown, and the true nature of what lay beneath was not visible ...

more to follow, as my darling son wants to use the computer!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Leo in his Egyptian pose!

Oh deer!!!!

View of field from back garden.
One of our cats - Pickle - posing as usual!

Life in t'country!

After years of dreaming of having a little house in the country, surrounded by nature, with a couple of cat 'familiars' for company, I finally got my wish in August 2006, when we needed to move from our 2 bed maisonette to a 3 bed house. Unbelievably the council offered us this farmers cottage, which we promptly snapped up! Where we were was convenient for the town centre, transport, schools, etc; but when you have chavs smoking their dope in the sheds next to your place, and the fragrant aroma is wafting up into your children's bedroom, and one of said chavs takes a piss outside the shed area, so that a hot stream of wee coasts down the ramp and past your front door - we were glad to leave it all behind!

We named our little cottage Gramarye. I always loved that name after reading it in James Herbert's novel The Magic Cottage - in fact, I think that's probably what initiated my dream.
Gramarye had not had any work done on it for years, and as the lady who showed us round on that swelteringly hot day in early August said, it needed a lot of TLC. Well, it certainly got plenty of that! It took an awful lot of badgering the council to do major work that should have been undertaken before we moved in.

Anyway, it's Friday night, I've just poured my glass of red wine, and am going to veg out in front of the telly!

To be continued...