Tag Archives: lime mortar

The Veil of Secrets

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Upon the road to Samhein, I’m facing my fears. Working on my root chakra, Muladhara, the fears of the past haunt me less.

1655477_912692688801104_1676088900175960390_oI am no longer a child. Little Wendy met her fears in the safe place in the faery wood. They were part of her once, a constant reminder but now, they are abandoned. She leaves the wood a woman. Little Wendy is still there but she is more than that now. I have followed my dream, to live, write and teach in Wales. This bravery is new. This courage is inspiring.

As the Sacred Wheel turns, Samhein beckons, the time when the veil between the worlds is thin and the future, a step away. What secrets lie beyond the veil?

‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you’, written in 2012, I suggest you take time to declare your intent….

“81: Declare your intent
As we draw towards the end of October, the summer is over and
before us, the long months of winter beckon. This is the time for new
ideas and new plans and, in my experience, choices.
Our ancestors used the coming months to preserve and conserve food
for the winter and organise themselves for the coming spring and we
too can follow this example by conserving the ‘seeds’ of ideas and
plans that proved their worth, burning those that didn’t and beginning
a new seed bank of our own.
A few years ago, two aspects of my life were taking off, writing and
dancing, but I didn’t know which to pursue. I sought advice from a
dear friend, a wise and wonderful lady. Her words have stayed with
me and I use them when making all my life choices.
I gave each of my plans an intent. To writing, I gave ‘to write a novel’
and to dancing ‘to share my love of dance.’ Both ideas developed but
at a different pace. Phoenix Bellydance was born and, in the five
years I taught Egyptian Bellydance, I introduced over 300 women
and girls to the dance. I wrote my first novel over three years while
waiting in the car to collect my children from school.
Write down your ideas for your future on coloured cards and place
them where you can see them (March). You could carry a small
version in your wallet or purse. Decide the intention of each idea and
add that to the card. If you plan to do something to make money, that
is your intent. If you want to help people, that is your intent. My
recent novel was published because my intent was to share the story
with as many people as possible.
Take your time. There’s no rush.
Enjoy this time of new ideas and choices and, by the end of the
winter, be ready to declare your intent.”

The secret beyond the veil is your intention for the coming year.

I work on my land, cutting back brambles and clearing away dead leaves and weeds. I work on my home, rebuilding, lime mortaring and white washing. The fear is gone. I allow my mind to realise my intent. On Samhein, I will release it to the universe.

 

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You can find all my books via my Amazon author pages:

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

The BEAUTYof a Book Fair

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Love books but never been to a book fair? Let me tell you how much fun they are…

B is for books…one of my favourite dreams is finding myself in a room surrounded by books.14441101_928492490589252_1450220905486666353_nTables weighed down with glistening covers and colourful banners fill the hall and all you have to do is browse. It’s a wonderful spectacle and an exciting opportunity to find a book that transports you to another world.

E is for education…because you can talk with the authors, you hear the books synopsis but, more importantly, learn why an author wanted to share their story with you. 14492328_10153797841252327_6965602039928982529_n

We don’t just talk about books either…authors are real people. At Carmarthen Book Fair, I shared about lime mortaring and learned great tips on organic gardening as well as talking about magic. Often, there are talks and workshops where authors share their passion for their work and educate with tips on writing or opportunities to delve deeper into a specific genre.

A is for authors…a book fair is a great place for authors to meet, share and unite. Most of us are introverts by design, creating our stories alone in our own world of words, so book fairs are a great place to feel part of the writing community. 14462752_928492613922573_8779798483905616230_n

U is for universal…at a book fair, there is something for everyone, books spanning all the genres. They are inclusive events, often using the opportunity to raise money for charity. 14440912_928494113922423_5699407015268787620_n At Carmarthen, money was raised for Multiple Sclerosis with a raffle. Prizes were donated by authors and the local community.

T is for time…as an author, it’s time to be yourself and time to share the writing you love. The atmosphere buzzes with excitement yet there’s no rush…time to relax and share with our readers. 14449818_10210590035252262_8255655491257185578_n

Y is for you…we wouldn’t be there without you! Book Fairs give authors the opportunity to be there for you, answer your questions and inspire you to immerse yourself in the world of story.14463312_10153797841292327_4601279399998354486_n

Look out for local book fairs in the press and on social media. If you’re in Wales, I look forward to meeting you at Llandeilo in December.

Happy reading!

Welcoming Summer

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We drove through the lanes to the Llandeilo Book Fair on Saturday, in glorious early morning sunshine. Bluebells crammed the verges and every tree shone with new buds.

13112709_1733318316926657_893385158_oIt was an exciting day. Fans arrived with books already purchased that they wanted me to sign and I met face to face, authors who I’ve interacted with online. Though nervous, I relished the opportunity to share my feelings about magical realism and had lovely feedback after my talk. Sharing with others the inspiration behind my writing was a great way to focus on the future months, the summer ahead and as the crowds faded away, ideas flooded my mind.

Beltane marks the beginning of Summer, welcoming her back after the long months since Samhein. It’s time for ideas from the spring to bear fruit and flourish and as the sun shines, we can look forward to warmer days and longer evenings. 13112704_1734030426855446_828396087_o

My partner and I burned nine of the sacred woods on our riverbank while the dusk chorus rang out in the trees above us. Heron flew up from the river, red kite circled overhead and two ducks arrived to canoodle by ‘the island’. We pulled out burning logs and leapt together, renewing our commitment to each other and setting a date to be handfasted, 21st June 2018.

And we’d love to welcome our friends and family that day to the byre. With only a dry afternoon, we worked hard painting soffit board and dobbing out with lime mortar. 13083146_1733798136878675_2778952018034820534_n13100813_1733798213545334_8576026526738222226_n13133115_1733798256878663_1985447357781358626_n

In the months to come as we work on our house and byre, we’ll be inspired, however tired we are, as we work towards completing our home for midsummer 2018.

Bright Beltane blessings for the Summer ahead.

 

Taking our home back

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One more day, and the builders will be gone. I can’t remember when the house and byre were last scaffold free. In two years, the byre has changed from this…Wales 103Wales 2014 044To this…12985581_1725096004415555_5059410862430744539_n And the house from this…m_DSC01452 to this…11150930_1600818576843299_7145038719453612890_n

Having been nursed and tended by the professionals, with a bit of help from us, we finally take charge of our baby. We began making lists…and added them to the fire! Lists longer than your arm are far too daunting so we’ve allocated four priorities we want to achieve by the end of the summer and we’ll see how we go from there…the truth is, our funds are depleted and as we approach three years in Wales, tent, caravan and house, we need to start living here.

So the outdoor stage stays…12998745_1725523984372757_3935931874685187204_nand we’re going to construct one under cover in the byre. Soffit painting, lime mortar ‘dobbing out’ on the walls needs to be finished on the byre and the gable end of the house also needs finishing. My partner is going to build a straw bale building inside his workshop…a soundproof, watertight room, ideal for planing wood and recording music and we’re going to dance and sing our way through the spring and summer.

We love living in Wales and we plan to enjoy it.

 

Welcome New Moon

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Catching up with friends and family in Essex after Christmas was lovely but saying goodbye to my children is never easy, especially as I had no routine to return to.

With firewood stacked in the lounge, my partner set off for a job in Oxford and left me home alone.

I’ve always found the final week of the waning moon a challenge. Though my mind is keen to ‘tie up loose ends’, complete started projects and have something to show for my endeavours, I’ve found it difficult to apply myself.

Edits are going well on the third Standing Stone book, The Gathering and I finished one short story which you can read here https://wendysteele.com/2016/01/06/short-story-scratching-the-surface/ and wrote, edited and polished two more which I’ve submitted for magazines but my energy levels were low and I could feel the tears close to the surface.

And then Tribal Unity Wales came to my rescue! A suggestion of an evening get together gave me something to look forward to and catching up was just what I needed. Inspired by my ladies, I set myself the challenge of completing the lime mortaring/rebuilding of the wall up the stairs.

The tiny window was a later, hasty addition and needed my attention. I mixed one bucket at a time (3:1 sand and lime), pretending to be a cement mixer for ten minutes until the consistency was right. The old earth mortar needs to be scraped out and loose stones removed ready to be reset. All the resident earth mortar needs to be wetted to give something for the new mortar to adhere to. DSC_0195DSC_0197After half an hour, I use a damp paintbrush to remove excess mortar and to give a slightly smoother finish. DSC_0198This side needed a lot more rebuilding, finding suitable stones to fill the gaps rather than just mortar. DSC_0199Two hours on Friday and four on Saturday got me this far…and then I fell off the planet.

I was so pleased with my achievements but with rain pounding the windows, seeping up through the hall floor and leaking through the roof, I despaired that my efforts were worthless and my plans to commune with the new moon seemed hopeless…so I lit candles around the lounge and danced.  I danced hard. Breathless and exhausted I sat in the middle of my circle with Rosie Rabbit and the goddess Isis spoke to me. I scribbled on my pad, tearful but excited and once I was calmer, I turned to my Tarot cards and the future looked brighter. DSC_0160

Taking small steps works for me. Yesterday I set myself lots of small challenges and completed them all, starting this new moon phase with a clean tidy room, notes and plans for the new term of dance and lots of story ideas.

Everyone is different but if you are looking for ways to live with depression or you want to bring happiness to your life every day, my non-fiction book may help. Love, light and new moon blessings xx

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354202865&sr=1-3

Welcoming the light

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After eight weeks of rain in Wales and the end of term approaching, I set myself a challenge….to brighten up our fireplace for the winter solstice and welcome in the light.

Work on our house this year has focussed on practical rather than cosmetic. With the thatch on, work turned to mending the chimneys and building up the clom to try to make our home weatherproof. We had almost repointed the end wall of the house before the rain started.11150930_1600818576843299_7145038719453612890_nWhile my partner worked upstairs, boarding and insulating, I worked on the fireplace. DSC_0128First all the old mortar had to be scraped out and the mantel shelf and beam rubbed down. DSC_0129With my first bucket of lime mortar, I repaired the fireplace, rebuilding where necessary. DSC_0130

Part of the left hand wall had been mortared so I finished it DSC_0132

While the mantelpiece dried, I moved into the hall, prepped and repaired a small length of stonework. DSC_0133I limewashed around the lounge window…I had repaired it last year but never got any further. DSC_0135….and used three buckets of mortar to continue repairing up the stairs. DSC_0136 

Lime mortar in quantity is best made in an adapted cement mixer but for small amounts we make by hand and it’s hard work imitating a mixer! In two days, the fireplace was transforming and the lounge and hallway too but on Saturday morning, my partner added his expertise to the project, filling in the holes in the wood and glossing.DSC_0138Between adding thin coats of lime wash around the window, I attacked the other wall in the hall. DSC_0140Mike rubbed down the window and glossed it, as well as the kitchen door frame and a second coat on the beams. DSC_0142

More whitewash was applied around the fireplace. DSC_0143By the end of Sunday, the hall was repaired DSC_0145and the window and fireplace repaired and whitened. DSC_0144

It isn’t easy living in a house while working on it. For five days, washing hung cold and damp in the bathroom and fitting in meals required planning. My hands are bruised and sore and each night my shoulders and back ached from the physical effort but if you want something done, challenge yourself.

On the morning of the 21st December, we cleared the mess from the lounge and began to transform the space. My broomstick finally has a home. DSC_0148With the greenery we cut from the riverbank and white fairy lights, we watched the room change as the light faded. Jibby loved the new look fireplace and the window looked stunning DSC_0149DSC_0147

We lit lanterns and placed one in each window, calling into the darkness and welcoming in the light. Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, I wish you bright winter solstice blessings and may you be warm, loved and peaceful in the coming months to spring.

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