13 June 2010

The Little Hut

little hut uncropped When I was a callow youth of 17 summers,  my Father predicted I would never settle down. “You’ll always wander” he said, with an echo of regret in his voice.

I was their only child and the closeness we shared was warm  and loving.                

“Then you went away” said my Mother, in her own last days,  as she kissed each memory goodbye, before dissolving into the stars.

                                                                                                                                          I knew the sun would shine less brightly in their lives, when I became a ‘gypsy’ and embarked on a voyage that has taken me nearly 49 years away from my childhood home by the river banks, with the light dancing across the water.

but I went anyway.

I’ve just returned from Aberdeen, a town notorious for it’s hotel prices, thanks to the discovery some years ago of North Sea Oil. From the moment the oil was discovered, the price of accommodation soared. A look at Laterooms.com and other internet sites made sober reading: some hotel rooms in the ‘Granite City’ reached around £600 per night, with even a modest guest house touching £60 to £70.                                                                 

I know I could have found a threadbare room – the sort that has a plywood wardrobe and a stained sink, musty carpeting and…at the end of the corridor, a threatening lavatory that you must never actually sit on – but I wanted ‘more’ – and I don’t mean a lavatory brush.

Woe betide the unobservant guest who needs to enter one of those morbid little cubicles and fails to notice the absence of that symbol of care, together with the sad paperless tube hanging on the back of the door.                                                         

Misery and angst is guaranteed.

After a multitude of fruitless calls, the Scottish burr on the other end of my mobile told me that he indeed had vacant accommodation for the two weeks I needed - a small converted wash-house near the quay in “an exclusive area”…

little-hut interior….My impressions on arrival however, were rather mixed. Yes, it was a wash-house, but it  was very small and umm…’Spartan’ and I wondered if I really needed something ‘more’. After half an hour of pacing around the hut (three paces to one wall, three paces to the next ), I sat down outside the front door to think things over.

‘Should I take it, or should I go?’

I was deep in thought when a small black and white cat gently padded up to me and plonked itself down,resting against my foot.
I was pleased to receive the attention the little creature gave me, and regarded it as a welcoming omen…so I decided to stay in the little hut….

….After all, it was only for two weeks and ‘Wee Beastie’ did look very much like ‘Noone’, the cat who occasionally visits me at home and who always seems to turn up when needed…noone-eyes
I arrived home the other week, to find all the parking spaces taken. I stopped the car and considered my options. Should I park in the next street and face six trips, lugging a pile of archive boxes down the narrow ‘drug alley’ that linked the two roads - or leave them in the car until the next day and risk my windows being smashed in by the feral youths who patrol the area on Saturday nights? I was sitting in dismal thought, when Noone appeared in my car headlights and after staring at me with emerald eyes, turned and walked up the road. I put the car in first gear and slowly followed Noone, who stopped after around 50yds, by the rear wheels of a van that had obscured the only free space available. Noone stalked around the car as I manoeuvred it into the space and then watched as I unloaded the boxes. I was walking to the car to collect the last one, when Noone suddenly ran up the road at high speed. My reaction was instinctive – I grabbed the box from the rear seat, locked the car and made it to the front door, just as a yob approached with trouble in his eyes…

After a while, Wee Beastie got up, stretched and stalked off, sadly never to return during the two weeks of my stay – but the welcome had been good and I was starting to enjoy the hut. So I celebrated my arrival with a meal and a bottle of merlot at a local restaurant -weaving my way back to the quay, just in time to see a ship pass by, it’s lights glowing amber against the darkening sky….

ship …Bergen is a beautiful old Norwegian port, with a fish-market on the quay. I would buy some fresh prawns – and sit and eat them for breakfast, as I watched the ships leaving the harbour, bound for the oil rigs that lay between Bergen and Aberdeen, or the open sea.

Each night I would lie awake in the darkness and listen to rough voices I didn’t quite understand, laughing and shouting in the street below my window - and each day I would search for flowers, as the seven, snow-capped mountains of Bergen looked down on me, unsmiling. As the days and months passed, the lump in my throat grew larger, until even the delicious prawns were impossible to swallow - and I knew I had to go home.

But where is home?

I met my idol George Chakiris in 1992, when he came over to the UK, to play Rene Gallimard in “M. Butterfly”. George is ten years older than me and at that time was a mere 59yrs old – whilst I was still a stage-struck youth of 49. (everything is relative).

I first saw George in the film ‘West Side Story’ when it opened over here in 1962 and right from the opening sequence, when I saw him in a red shirt at the centre of a trio of male dancers……I knew he was very special…

‘First the confrontation – then the humiliation, then friends……then down the alleyway like panthers…so slowly at first…step ball-change, step,step ball-change, now faster step ball-change, step ball-change…then turn,,step ball-change turn, step ball-change turn……along the street, up to the dusty building-site plateau and then Wow!…a flying kick, high to the left – crouch right-left,turn-stop…double pirouette’

From that moment on, I knew exactly how I wanted to dance. (that’s the sequence above)

It had been a last-minute booking, with no time to arrange George’s work-permit – so he was released into my care (I had my passport with me) until the necessary paperwork was completed. I stood excitedly at one end of the barren hanger at Heathrow airport, waiting for his arrival and feeling a bit like Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. . What would he look like now? I imagined an expensive-suited version of the Oscar-winning dancer and actor, striding across the ‘no-man’s land’ between myself and the small security door at the far end. After a lifetime of five minutes or so, the door opened and a slight figure in denim and baseball boots approached. I was knocked out – he looked just the same as he did when he played ‘Bernardo’, all those years before

We talked as I drove him to his small hotel in Leicester Square, and after I had blurted out my adoration, I calmed down enough to ask him who were the nicest and most sincere people, amongst all the stars he had ever worked with….

(It was always important to me that my idols were also nice people in real-life)

George surprised me by immediately answering “Marilyn Monroe”. He had been one of the main dancers in the ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ sequence in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and he recalled that she had worked so hard to get the sequence exactly right, and was consequently so nervous and exhausted by the final take, that he could feel her back and arm muscles trembling during each lift.

When the last take was done, and knowing that Howard Hawks the director was rushing to the airport to try to make a flight to New York, Marilyn ran across the set, to catch him up and ask him if it was really good - and had she been good enough? No status grabbing, no starry ego. Just a vulnerable woman who wanted to get it right. George said she ‘knew’ the last take was really good, but she still needed to make sure the director was happy with it.

When we eventually arrived at the hotel, I was irritated that the receptionist didn’t recognise George, or even know his name. My irritation changed to shock when I saw the tiny room allocated to my hero – all he had was a bed and a wash-basin and a shower. As far as I was concerned, the ‘Oscar-Winning George Chakiris’ deserved ‘more’ than a room where a careful entry was required, to avoid falling over the bed.

Later that night I phoned my long-suffering producer and persuaded him to move George into the best room the Hilton could provide. We arrived at the top hotel, to find George wandering around an enormous apartment that could have housed an entire cast and crew, rather than the quiet and slightly forlorn man who stood before us. I explained that I had arranged the move because I thought he deserved ‘more’…                                                    

“I rather liked my little room” he replied softly, but not ungraciously,

“It was like a womb I could curl up in."

My father’s prediction was accurate, I have always wandered and never settled. But like wise George, I now know that my real home lies within me and that it must be protected from the noise and confusion of ambition and status.                                                    

From always looking for ‘more’ and so often finding ‘less’.eating by the hut

The landlord provided the key, and wished me a pleasant stay. Each morning I unlocked the door and emerged into sunlight or showers and each night I watched the ships leaving the harbour, bound for the oil rigs that lie between Aberdeen and Bergen, or for the open sea – before heading for home and drifting off to sleep in the little hut…

There was no television, just a bed, a cooker, a metal table and chairs, a sink, a shower, a toilet,

…and a lavatory brush.




little-hut interior sink little-hut interior bed little-hut interior2





23 June 2009

Morning has Broken ~ Here and There

Although this blog is called "borderLines", it is becoming
increasingly clear to me that 'past' to 'future' is not marked by an exact line of demarcation...

...I couldn't get to the Summer Solstice this year - last year saw me at Stonehenge, plastered with mud, and in a fine misty rain that gradually soaked through my jacket and trousers. I was too far north this year, especially as the show finished at 10pm on Saturday night. The thought of a six hour, 300 mile journey to Salisbury Plain was daunting to say the least; I would have been exhausted by the Monday first-night show (yesterday) when we opened in Buxton. I simply could not face the 600 mile round-trip, together with little sleep.

I was disappointed to miss the Solstice, but I'm not one for repeating things (on-stage or off) in exactly the same way each time. So this year found me pottering around Liz's garden, going off on gentle summer walks and compiling the video below.

The dawn crept up and surprised me, just before 4am on Sunday morning. I took a coffee-break from all the photo-editing and compiling I was doing on my overnight video stint...and opened the back door to the surprise of the dawn chorus...

...The change from night to day was imperceptible. I could see a blackbird on the cut down apple tree - and managed to get the one shot that was missing from the video. I had thought of looking for one on the net, but as all the other pic's are taken by Liz and I, it would have spoilt things somehow...

It was the best spiritual buzz since the last solstice and the link between my feelings of the present with those of a year ago, gave me the odd sensation of approaching myself from behind and placing my hand on my shoulder.

And feeling it

In fact I made two video's - I used the Cat Stevens version of the hymn/song for the first video, simply because it was, in my opinion - the best. (It's not available in some locations, so you may only see a blank screen below.) In order to reach a wider audience, I set off on a search to find another version with the same magic I hear in the Cat Stevens rendition.
I had almost given up when I heard Hayley Westenra.

01 April 2009

a tale of two plants

(My first video. Unless you've got really fast broadband, click on 'play' then on 'pause'  - and let it load while you read the post)

220309_0365 I have two plants on the draining board in my kitchen. One plant - a Begonia - has had a rough time over the last five or six years. I bought it in a garage on the way home from the theatre. After flowering once, it went into a steep decline and broke off from it's roots.

220309_0362  My first reaction was to put it in the bin, but I just couldn't, not while there was life in it. I stuck the rootless stem back into the soil and for the next five years it did little other than just hang on in there. Then last Christmas, my other plant, an anonymous specimen, decided to flower.

                             220309_0354                                                                    One night, after watering the mystery plant, I left it  with the feeble begonia. I don't know if it was love or envy, or  copycat behaviour, but within days, the begonia had started to grow rapidly.

220309_0368I was (and still am) unsure if the stem has re-rooted and so I built a scaffolding comprised of a clothes-peg, a chopstick, a pencil and some wire. Every evening, when I was home, I would tell the re-energised little plant, just how clever it was and how beautiful it looked...


...Then one night around mid January, I noticed a tiny red bud. The buds multiplied and started to flower - It took two months for the buds to fully bloom - and now I see there are three new buds preparing for their slow-motion debut. 220309_0355-1

Give out good vibrations. What works for your pot-plant could work for humanity. 

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11 March 2009

EIleven 11:11 Eleven

A friend of mine lost his mother around six weeks ago. I hadn't seen him for a while and he mentioned how he kept on seeing the combination of '11:11' everywhere - on his phone, his clock etc.

11:11 is of great 'New Age' interest. It involves 1,111 angels whose mission it is to spiritually guide and teach, certain individuals on this plane, toward a higher spiritual level ("Level" is a very three-dimensional concept of a multi-dimensional reality)

"The appearance of 11:11 is also a powerful confirmation that we are on the right track, aligned with our highest Truth."

The Meaning of the Time Prompts


http://1111angels.com/ (amazing)

It is linked to major word events and leads us toward a new age of spiritual resonance.

My friend had taken this to be a signal or a sign of a spiritual contact; a sign that he recognised, but one that he could not understand.

The video below shows a widespread belief that our spirit guides use 11:11 as a way to contact us...

...Then I found the following quote from Solara which I think is so simple and yet so powerful:

"There is a merger between the vastness of spirit and the solidity of physical matter."

11:11 is thought of as two gateways into and out of the spiritual dimensions. I think my friend is being shown a glimmer of an infinite continuation with the joy of reunion.

But there's more...

I'm writing this on the 11th, and when I was reprogramming my animated character on the home page, the computer programme glitched and the thumbnail of the character moved to number 11.


And I'm posting it at eleven minutes past eleven o' clock, on the  eleventh of March; I say that because I can't get the date-stamp to work in this blog. You'll have to trust that I'm an honest and sage old Druid and not a wily old illusionist.

PA110040Oh Yes - and to cap it all, there are two "ll's" in illusionist and I've just noticed the mispelling in the first word of the title of this missive - after I had published it.

ps: I finally worked out the date stamp thing

pps: I'm the one on the right. :)

07 March 2009

The Jealous Spirit

I used to think that people became 'all-knowing' and somehow 'saintly' after they had moved on into the none-physical world. Now I think that some stay earthbound - and some choose to re-visit.


Liara Covert of Dreambuilders left the following comment on my post about 'The Creeping Mist' - in which I describe an ectoplasmic mist that formed in the garden of a house I was staying in earlier this year and which advanced up the garden path towards me. I was rather un-nerved and retreated indoors with some rapidity.


"Fear is ephemeral. Humans create it in the mind and can dissolve it when ready. To feel as connected to the spirit world as you do invites you to ask the next spirit you sense how you could help them. This shift in focus may be just what you need to distract your mind from the illusions of fear and uncertainty. You already know the truth. Simply remove the veil. Consciousness is expanding." - Liara Covert


Sometimes a comment can spark a connection and promote a simple realisation. Dr. Covert was spot-on about my fear; in many ways, I was just not up to it that night. I had finished a very tiring rehearsal day and an aggressive mist approaching up the garden path was the last thing I needed, as I tried to wind-down and get to bed for a much needed slumber before another stressful day.


Sometimes I'm up to meeting and interacting with a demanding person (or spirit) - at other times, I would prefer to duck back down the proverbial alley in order to avoid them.  This particular spirit was demanding and aggressive and so I 'ducked back down the alley'  by closing the kitchen door, just before the mist reached me.


The following evening, I described the event to Phillipa, the young actress I was staying with. Phillipa confirmed that there was a spirit and that she always felt safe and protected, but that the spirit was often rather aggressive towards men (including her ex-husband). Her son had also sensed the male spirit, which had accepted him - but not the other male visitors, including myself.


Perhaps that's why the spirit was lurking (sulking) in the garden.


I guess I should have explained that I was no threat and that he could come indoors.


The trouble was - I did find Phillipa rather attractive....


...In contrast, a couple of years ago I was staying with a lady in Southampton when I found myself enveloped in an ectoplasmic mist that filled and covered the entrance hall behind her front door.  You can read the full account by clicking the following link:("Bathing in Ectoplasm")

On that occasion, I sensed that the mist-spirit was very friendly and  ended up literally bathing in the vapour by smoothing it onto my face and body.


It turned out that the spirit was that of an old lady who used to live there and who had passed away at the exact spot where the mist was thickest. I tried to press the landlady for more information, but she became uneasy and reluctant to explain further. So I left the subject alone.


After all, she had to live there, after I had moved on.


Talking about 'moving on' - I try not to call upon my departed loved-ones too much nowadays. I think it can keep them earthbound and interrupt their own pathways.


But when I really do need help, they are there.




I was fascinated to see that Liara had commented on no less than three of the posts on this blog, at the same time as I was writing this post. 


Another co-incidence - or extra-sensory perception?


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14 February 2009

Meeting your Guardian Spirit


A lot of people have had experiences when they were aware of a disembodied spirit or entity that helped them. I have been aware of such an influence many times and each instance has affected me profoundly.

I have written about the Angel of Inverness, an entity or force that saved me from a savage beating some years ago and also about the Phantom Hotel, in which the Universe or an unseen force provided a hotel and probably rescued me from freezing to death on a winter night. I remember the telephone call from my mother's cellphone the day after she died and the spirits of Nikolei and his Victorian companion who showed my wife and I the safe way down from a blizzard on a mountain-top (and who then promptly disappeared)

I could go on listing the many many occurrences and events that have helped and protected me throughout my life - some I have not yet written about - but the purpose of this new side-blog (you can find it on the sidebars of the Almanack and Flowers) is for me to chat freely about my experiences, without applying the more stringent criteria I use in my other blogs.

So today's chat is about a way to meet and see and perhaps even learn the name of your guardian spirit.

I admit that most times, I am content to approach spirit intervention in a "New Age" way and refer to the unseen help as an assistance from "The Universe" - but that is rather like praying to God - God is so vast as to be really beyond personification. People often prefer to pray to Jesus, or to one of the Saints...or to their past loved ones: Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Sons and Daughters and even pets.

One of the most exciting moments for me, was the remark by Chris, a London clairvoyant and astrologer, who stated "Your Mother is now your Spirit Guide." The fact that the astrological chart he was working from, showed the influence as coming from Capricorn was thrilling, as my Mother was born under the sign of the Goat and especially thrilling, as Chris didn't know that fact.

Chris went on to explain that my mother was now the filter through which other spiritual entities could contact me. He also indicated that my mother was accelerating my spiritual learning by allowing more of their power and influence to reach me.

Does that sound far-fetched?

Well it does to me sometimes - yet I cannot deny that the four years since her passing have been full of spiritual encounters and instances which would have freaked me out some years ago.

Including a vision of the most beautiful and loving face I have ever seen in my life.

I was lying in bed, just drifting off to sleep. I had reached that wonderful moment between dreams and reality when it happened.

Looking down at me, as if from a balcony, was a woman. She had dark hair and seemed to be in her middle thirties. But it was her face and her smile. I have never seen such radiance and beauty. By beauty, I don't mean the conventional looks of a film-star; in fact she would best be described as 'a handsome woman' - indeed there was a certain androgynous quality about her - she was both man and woman, but with an over-riding femininity that allowed me to choose to regard her spirit as female - indeed as "Mother Universe"

Did I see the Universe, that expanding womb of 'reality' as being personified as the most wonderful, strong and nurturing woman I have ever seen in my life - I do believe I did.

I will never, never forget her smile and the feeling of absolute love that radiated from her. Sometimes I try to recall her face and I can...almost... but not quite. If dying is to meet her again, then I have no fear of death, only of the process of dying, which seems in the main to be rather uncomfortable - but if 'sh-he' is waiting for me, then I guess I can put up with it.

Ask your Spirit Guide to show themselves. Ask with respect and allow yourself time to lie open and accepting. It may take weeks or months, but if it is right for you, your Guardian may appear.

I promise you that you will never forget it.

Happy Valentines Day

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09 February 2009

A Phone Call


It had happened in an instant. A sudden loss of balance - it could have been the spotlights. Then another slight stumble, together with a sweat of concern that it might continue.

And it did.

The vultures of his insecurity began circling his weakness and fear.

"No I can still do that...Not yet".

It was time to stop, before the fear became reality.

(He was near the stage-right wing and so he stepped quickly into the darkness of submission)

A time to accept.


"I didn't want to phone you, but I wanted to talk and I haven't talked to you for a week and you're the person I've known the longest"

She was the young girl who had laughed at him and made him laugh. So many years ago.

"Are you ok?" he said - "I'm sorry I laid all this on you."

"I'm ok."

He felt guilty and lost.

"I couldn't think of anyone else to talk to - I'll phone you tomorrow"

"Yes" she replied

And then he ate his meal; aware of the tears that balanced on his eyelids and glad of the spectacles that hid them from the attentive waiters.

She rang back an hour later.

"Oh yes, I'll ring you in the morning, when I wake up" he said.

"Goodnight - till the morning" she replied.

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