We are human beings; I know that you wouldn't have guessed if I hadn't told you but I do have a very valid reason why I raise this point. Why BEINGS? What are we BEING?
The dictionary definition of 'being' is
a) existence - living, life, aliveness, actuality, essential nature, lifeblood, vital force
b) the nature or essence of a person - soul, spirit, psyche, inner-self, quiddity (inherent nature, peculiarity)
and this is exactly what we are BEING, we are being our true selves; our actuality, our vital force, our essence, our quiddity (I like that word because we are all a peculiarity, a curiosity, a mystery; something rare, unique and precious).
There is a problem though, we are missing something, we have forgotten that we are beings - we know that we are missing something and in our quest to discover what is missing we have turned ourselves into 'Human Seekings'; constantly striving to find that meaning in our lives. We no longer believe the hype of mainstream society; that the latest gadget will bring us happiness, satisfaction and fulfilment, so we run around trying one thing after another, constantly seeking and searching for that missing factor.
One of the latest 'fashionable things' to grab hold of in this search is 'Paganism' and here we find a whole host of bigger problems (as if we needed any more!); Paganism, as it stands today, is confused. It is confused by so many things; from some of the concepts of modern Wicca and Witchcraft (including the brigade who MUST have the ACTUAL 'Book of Shadows' from Charmed - because Charmed is real you know), especially where those concepts espouse that 'theirs is an age-old system' not realising that Wicca, for instance, was introduced in 1954 by Gerald Gardner (nothing wrong with following Wicca, just don't get confused) - to elements of 'New-Age', smile benignly at someone whilst patting them on the arm and explaining 'that you only work with love and light, you couldn't possibly work with anything negative' (highly unbalanced).
This is just highlighting two of the areas of modern Paganism that are causing problems both leading to the same tendencies, turning us into 'Human DOINGS' - as long as we are 'doing' rituals, waving sharp pointy things (wands) or bright sparkly things (crystals) then we are 'Pagan' and we have it cracked. Do we?
The Oxford Dictionary defines 'Pagan' as being "A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions, especially nature worship" - no sharp pointy or bright sparkly things (in the past the term was used in a derogatory sense to denote anyone who wasn't a Christian), it also traces the word back to its origins in 'Late Middle English' from the Latin word 'Paganus' - a villager or rustic, and the word 'Pagus' - a country district. This takes us back to the Old Ways of our ancestors who were country dwellers living in close relationship to and harmony with the land and nature; this relationship and the knowledge of 'how everything worked' (both in this world and the Other-world, both mundane and magical) infiltrated every aspect of life and has been passed down to us (especially in rural areas) by both word of mouth and by being hidden in plain sight in such things as our customs, folk-lore and practices.
This also brings us back to the beginning of this blog; BEING. Our ancestors knew the art of 'Being'; the art of knowing exactly who you are, your relationship with the natural world around you and how the whole thing 'hangs together', we need to rediscover it. It isn't about 'bells' or 'whistles', it isn't about a right way or a wrong way, we are all unique and we understand things and make sense of things in our own way (so long as you have the fundamental 'relationship with nature'), it doesn't matter if you understand deity as being 'Polytheistic' (many gods) or 'Panthesitic' (everything in the universe is the same energy, so the whole is deity). How you make sense of things is up to you - Quiddity, always remember QUIDDITY (knew that I would get to use that word again lol).
Go on - give it a go - try BEING, don't let anyone else tell you that they are right and you are wrong, that theirs is the 'right way'; because of Quiddity, if they are right it makes every single other person wrong.
Go on then - what are you waiting for? Try BEING, you will be surprised at what comes to you.
(For more information on terminology of deity see our discussion: - www.celticearthspirit.co.uk/deity--the-sacred.html
Following a 'discussion' on social media which turned into a one-sided tirade of abuse against me for expressing an opinion, I made a mental note to observe the frequency of this type of happen-stance.
What crime had I committed to attract such a tirade? I had expressed an opinion that we should recognise that we all have emotions such as anger and aggressiveness (females as well as males) and that they were not as had been expressed 'negative' emotions. My point was that it is not the existence of the emotion that is negative or positive; it is how we react to said emotion that is the negative or positive action.
So what has this to do with Pagan and what happen-stance did I intend to observe the frequency of?
The aforementioned tirade eventually resulted in an intended insult being thrown at me of 'You're not Pagan, you have no idea what Pagan means, Pagan is all about peace and balance'! - really? The happen-stance that I then decided to observe was how often these types of arguments and intended slurs occur within the so-called Pagan communities and what I saw made me cringe; the sheer number of nasty, vitriolic, malicious, spiteful, hostile and abusive remarks flying was absolutely unbelievable, as was the attitudes of 'I am a better Pagan than you'!
This blog is not a comment on what beliefs constitute Paganism, that is personal; Paganism is not dogmatic. However; for clarity there is a broad-term definition of what a Pagan or Paganism recognisably is, and for that I turn to the Pagan Federation
Two of the key words within those definitions is 'follower' and 'nature'; to follow something implies movement (dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/follow), it implies that you are actually 'doing' something, so to follow a 'nature-worshipping religion' means that you have to do something to demonstrate that importance of nature within your life.
Not doing anything; not bothering to engage with nature in any shape or form whatsoever, or worse still continuing to go through life with a total disregard for nature and the natural world (continuing to buy products that are harmful to the natural world either in their use or manufacture is just one example) and in addition to this sitting on your rump hiding behind a keyboard/screen to insult and try to belittle others does not constitute Pagan.
Some of the best Pagans that I know wouldn't dream of labelling themselves as such; they are truly in touch with nature, their whole lives revolve around their relationship with the natural world. the level of respect that they demonstrate to all living things is a shining example, they truly revere the Earth and all that exists thereon. PAGAN IS AS PAGAN DOES.
For the record I was brought up in 'The Old Ways' - my grandparents handed down the knowledge to me; a life-wide-encompassing knowledge that most definitely has nature at its very core and all that goes with it. Last time I checked it was definitely very Pagan.
Find out more here: - www.celticearthspirit.co.uk/earth-centric-spiritual-philosophy.html
We live in 'interesting' times; there is the first usage of poetic truth (thank you to Nimue Brown for coining the phrase).
Why use the term 'interesting' instead of using words that actually relate to the times that we are living in (I won't type them for the very reason that we need to use them)? Why do I think that we need to start speaking in 'Poetic Truths'?
You will no doubt have come across at least one version of the poem by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984): -
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Whether you are in the U.S. or the U.K. you could easily re-write this poem today substituting words such as ; Muslim, Benefit Claimants, Disabled, Journalist, and specifically in the U.S. Mexican American, Black and LGBT (although I don't think the U.K. is too far behind on this).
What bearing does this have on those of us who follow 'Earth-centric spiritual paths'?
Well they have already started on us - the new classification of 'Eco-terrorism' targets those of us who stand up and fight for Mother Earth; the water protectors in the U.S., the anti-fracking movement on both sides of the pond. You can guarantee that terms such as Pagan or Druid are somewhere on their target list.
We are laid wide-open in the days when technology rules and social media is one of our main forms of communication; algorithms and other key-word hunting robots hunt and search everything we write, and if we use the 'wrong' terminology they have us marked.
We need to play them at their own game, we need to learn to speak in terms that their machines won't recognise, we need our own version of the 'Orange T's' 'alternative truth' - we need POETIC TRUTH to protect ourselves.
No doubt you will also have come across the quote attributed to Mahatma Ghandi - “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” .
We are at the fight stage and we may well have the fight of our lives on our hands, a fight that if we want to survive it we need to learn to be clever, to protect ourselves from the technology that they use to seek us out, we have to start speaking in 'Poetic Truth's'.
I seriously do believe that in the end we will win, in the meantime I will protect myself. I have probably used far too much terminology in here that the minute I publish will be picked up, I must learn to be more creative.
This sounds like a plot for a suspense thriller novel - I only wish it was. - Tan Harvey
Clarissa Pinkola Estés | Do not lose heart, We were made for these timesin Essays, memoirs
Mis estimados queridos, My Esteemed Ones:
Do not lose heart. We were made for these times.
I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. It is true, one has to have strong cojones and ovarios to withstand much of what passes for “good” in our culture today. Abject disregard of what the soul finds most precious and irreplaceable and the corruption of principled ideals have become, in some large societal arenas, “the new normal,” the grotesquerie of the week.
It is hard to say which one of the current egregious matters has rocked people’s worlds and beliefs more. Ours is a time of almost daily jaw-dropping astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
…You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking.
Yet … I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is – we were made for these times.
Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement. I cannot tell you often enough that we are definitely the leaders we have been waiting for, and that we have been raised, since childhood, for this time precisely.
…I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able crafts in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
I would like to take your hands for a moment and assure you that you are built well for these times. Despite your stints of doubt, your frustrations in arighting all that needs change right now, or even feeling you have lost the map entirely, you are not without resource, you are not alone.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. In your deepest bones, you have always known this is so.
Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a forest greater. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
… We have been in training for a dark time such as this, since the day we assented to come to Earth. For many decades, worldwide, souls just like us have been felled and left for dead in so many ways over and over — brought down by naiveté, by lack of love, by suddenly realizing one deadly thing or another, by not realizing something else soon enough, by being ambushed and assaulted by various cultural and personal shocks in the extreme.
We all have a heritage and history of being gutted, and yet remember this especially … we have also, of necessity, perfected the knack of resurrection.
Over and over again we have been the living proof that that which has been exiled, lost, or foundered – can be restored to life again. This is as true and sturdy a prognosis for the destroyed worlds around us as it was for our own once mortally wounded selves.
…Though we are not invulnerable, our risibility supports us to laugh in the face of cynics who say “fat chance,” and “management before mercy,” and other evidences of complete absence of soul sense. This, and our having been ‘to Hell and back’ on at least one momentous occasion, makes us seasoned vessels for certain. Even if you do not feel that you are, you are.
Even if your puny little ego wants to contest the enormity of your soul, the smaller self can never for long subordinate the larger Self. In matters of death and rebirth, you have surpassed the benchmarks many times. Believe the evidence of any one of your past testings and trials. Here it is: Are you still standing? The answer is, Yes! (And no adverbs like “barely” are allowed here). If you are still standing, ragged flags or no, you are able. Thus, you have passed the bar. And even raised it. You are seaworthy.
…In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. Do not make yourself ill with overwhelm. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by perseverating on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the Voice greater? You have all the resource you need to ride any wave, to surface from any trough.
…In the language of aviators and sailors, ours is to sail forward now, all balls out. Understand the paradox: If you study the physics of a waterspout, you will see that the outer vortex whirls far more rapidly than the inner one. To calm the storm means to quiet the outer layer, to cause it, by whatever countervailing means, to swirl much less, to more evenly match the velocity of the inner, far less volatile core – till whatever has been lifted into such a vicious funnel falls back to Earth, lays down, is peaceable again.
One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or despair – thereby accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl. Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.
Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.
It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts – adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
…One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times.
The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires … causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both — are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
…There will always be times in the midst of “success right around the corner, but as yet still unseen” when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here.
In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But … that is not what great ships are built for.
…This comes with much love and prayer that you remember Who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.
The original title is Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times: with the subtitle, Do Not Lose Heart, We were Made for These Times. This is the original letter in full as written, unabridged.
Do Not Lose Heart, We Were Made for These Times ©2001, 2016,
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with the kind permission of author and publishers. The letter may be copied for non-commercial purposes only, provided it is not added to nor taken from, but run in full as above. Additional permissions: email@example.com
Everywhere you look you find masses, droves, gangs of unelected, unaccountable, profit-oriented individuals, corporations and new institutions surfacing everywhere, making official policy in areas ranging from public health to food and agriculture; from taxes to finance and trade....... the entities they have created have become quasi-governmental bodies co-operating across national frontiers.
Their role is overtly political and they exercise illegitimate power. They work through lobbies but also directly through governments - not just by convincing elected officials to pass this law or that one, but also through obscure 'expert committees' or ad-hoc bodies whose quiet 'mission creep' may gain them official standing.
Sometimes they form their own powerful international organizations with large budgets devoted to intervention in world affairs. They have become expert in the careful preparation of strategic trade treaties to be negotiated in secret but under the constant surveillance of corporate delegates.
They've got ordinary citizens under their broad thumb, an appendage also used to thumb their noses at the public interest and the common good ..... government in the usual sense, carried out by clearly identifiable, democratically elected officials, is gradually being eroded, sometimes even supplanted by shadow 'governments' to which these officials have made huge concessions. This may happen by choice, because officialdom is scared of the giants or admires and wants to pander to them. To be more generous, the bureaucrats and leadership may simply be blind to the long-term implications of their choices. In any case, they have handed over substantial power to these behemoths that now make decisions in innumerable areas that affect our lives.
Excerpt taken from the introduction to 'Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations are Seizing Power' By Susan George, Polity Books
;Here in the UK we are witnessing the effects of this trend 'big style' - no prizes for guessing that our own 'government' has been incrementally subscribing since the 1980's. IS the country run by the political party currently in power? - technically it should be - however, you cannot put the 'latest pet bozo' (ministers) with no experience at the head of a department and expect them to know what they are doing - they are 'advised' by the senior members of the civil service (these do not change whatever party is in power) - it is THEY, and whoever they get into bed with, that hold the key to power - if the current 'minister' is stupid/thick enough to not understand the implications of; or worse still in league with; what is being proposed then WE are in trouble. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations#departments
SCARY STUFF - who is running our country? - if you wanted to destroy society as we know it, take away any power that the people have whatsoever, turn a country into the perfect replica of George Orwell's '1984 (some buggers read it and thought 'what a good idea') - how would you do it? LIKE THIS -
Starting with 'Margaret Thatcher's role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealed.' Guardian, 28th December 2012. (accessed 29th May 2013) the DWP - This move is just part of the long-term plan to replace the welfare state with a system funded by private insurance. The DWP are now 'very firmly in bed with the American healthcare insurance giant Unum Provident Insurance they are the consultants for our welfare reforms - who are they, well in 2005 the California Department of Insurance Commissioner, John Garamendi, stated: “Unum Provident is an outlaw company. It is a company that has operated in an illegal fashion for years - this whole system is 'self-referential' - it appeals for validation to itself and disregards any 'outside' information. The intentions? there will be NO Welfare State Get the full information here:-
The Dash for Gas - something is wrong, something is VERY wrong
In a little over 7 months any progress that had been made, step by step, toward moving toward a 'greener, cleaner' energy future seems to have been undeniably and deliberately undone -
Please click through on the links to get the full information
Since the 7th May 2015 David Cameron & George Osborne have:-
They have a hidden agenda, going against everything that is in favour of the populace, industry, economics and flying in the face of democracy - their actions are totally illegal.
This is just the very small tip of the iceberg - two examples to illustrate what is happening - everything is under attack from the same strategies - all of our public services - Health, Education, Police, Fire and our precious environment and Mother Earth.
If these strategies succeed we will PAY for everything - not good if you need a fire-engine in a hurry.
Watch out for the next Earthblog post 'The fightback is ON' - use the RSS feed to make sure that you don't miss it.
The RSPB has warned that almost 300 of England’s most important wildlife sites are at risk from fracking after completing a full analysis of the areas of land that Government have offered to energy companies to explore for oil and gas.
In 2013 the film 'Promised Land' starring Matt Damon & John Krasinski was released about a 'natural gas' drilling company arriving in a small rural Pennsylvania town - it also starred Dead Cows & Flammable Water.
Both people and animals are dropping like flies in areas contaminated by fracking -
We really must have been totally asleep to have not heard at least one of the reports of 'tap-water that ignites' - so how does fracking poison our water?
Post in the Earthblog have been a little lacking in number - I think that this is because I knew that its focus wasn't quite what it should be - it was a little 'off tilt' - it needed its focus to shift a little.
Through the Facebook group - www.facebook.com/groups/celticearthspirit/ - and also the page www.facebook.com/Celticearthspiritpage/ and our twitter presence Celtic Earth Spirit @celtearthspirit, not to mention the number of people who access us through the website www.celticearthspirit.co.uk - we have a membership of well over 2K around the world.
Very often, when we share information on events happening around the world we get members coming back to us saying 'that isn't really what is happening' or 'why are they not reporting on ????' - quite often our members will talk about things that are just NOT covered by the media at all.
We also know that there are 'media blackouts' - when demonstrators hit the streets of London in their thousands following the general election the media was barred from reporting on the full scale of events - demonstrations and protests are only allowed to be covered by 'local media' not national. The corporations and the 'powers that be' have the media in their pockets - we will never find out about the true scale of events, if at all because this is a form of population control - we cannot get mad about things that we don't know about and we cannot 'gain strength' from knowing the sheer number of people who are standing with us.
This is where the blogs 'focus' and 'tilt' has shifted to - it has become a method of reporting on the 'true state of affairs' that affect the Earth. We will recruit a team of writers & reporters the world over, who can tell us what is REALLY happening in the world out there. If you can write for us or provide copy let me know.
What do we want? - Any relevant news on what is affecting the Earth and her inhabitants:-
Climate Change and the effects of it
Fracking or other damaging processes afflicted on the Earth
Social injustices or humanitarian issues
Illegal actions conducted by powers that be
Globalisation cover ups and their effects on Mother Earth
Anything that causes damage to the Earth, Her systems (water, air, soil, forests etc), Nature and the vulnerable.
LET'S MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW THE TRUTH, THAT THEY CAN FIND OUT WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING
Following the 'incident' of the dog, his toe-nail and the blood (see Welcome to the Earthblog) and the resulting need to get down on my hands and knees, scrub the floors, scrub the rug, scrub the sofa's, I was feeling particularly grubby, so took myself off for a shower. Now the sound of the shower running was not making its usual sweet burbling noise - the washer had gone and water was peeing down the pipe, across the back of the bath and cascading onto the floor - humph - a temporary fix (not having a washer to hand) later and I reached for the shampoo, the pump-action squirty device had locked solid and I had to break into the bottle to quickly wash my hair and vacate before I totally flooded the bathroom - grrrr.
The point of me telling you all this is, is that after relaying this sorry tale to a friend I was met with the response of 'well, at least that was your three' - what? - 'everything happens in three's' she said. That got me thinking, we all have that same common belief 'that everything happens in three's' - why? - where does it come from? - what are its origins?
Google is your friend, I thought - so I did. Lots and lots of sites reiterating the fact that we believe it and giving examples of how we believe it, but no inkling of why or how we came to that conclusion. Then I spotted - "HubPages»Education and Science»Psychology and Psychiatry»Social Psychology" and a 'report' on the subject, now 'Social Psychology' as a discipline should be able to throw some light on it - shouldn't it?
After reading a slightly more intellectual version reiterating the fact and a discussion on 'human psychology and the clustering illusion', I get to the nitty gritty - 'WHY THREES?' and the disclosure "Why we have an affinity for the number three is a mystery" - not really helpful, but the author does go on to say, "This is more than just a societal trait, it is wired into the cognitive processes of our brains" and to discuss the fact that the number three is also at the root of our narrative structure (now we might be getting somewhere) with literature following a three act structure - introduce the characters and concepts (Act 1) - develop the plot (Act 2) - resolve the conflict (Act 3).
Also discussed in this report is 'THE RULE OF THREE', as a rhetorical device (sorry Wiccans & Witchy people), used in children's literature, comedy and public speaking - fairy tales, the 'three little pigs', the 'three billy goats, gruff' and the 'three bears' (SPOILER ALERT), the wolf fails to blow the third house down, the troll gets beaten up by the third goat and goldilocks eats the third bears porridge - it is also the format for many jokes and public speakers also use it - three points make an argument, three adjectives emphasize something. In the end the author decides that the reason why we have such an affinity for the number three is due to how deeply ingrained it is in our literature.
Let us take this one step further - our literary tradition has only been around for a mere 1,000 to 1,500 years (give or take), when Christian monks started to record the previously 'oral tradition' mythologies in writing. For the number 3 to be ingrained into the literary tradition from the very early stages (see the Irish and Welsh mythologies) it must have already been in existence in the pre-existing oral tradition. The number three was vastly important in the Celtic mind-set, three realms Earth - Sea - Sky, they thought in three's - ternary thinking, they recorded their history & morals in three's - the Welsh Triads. Is our fixation with 'Everything Happens in Three's the last vestiges that we have of our ancestors mind-set - so deeply ingrained within our psyche's that it is ingrained in our souls? - Is it?
I have never written a blog before, I am sure that it will get better as time progresses.
So why have I decided to add a blog to the web site? - I wanted a way in which I could communicate directly with the folks who visit the site - yes, in a way the copy that I create or share on the web site does that - I know that people read it (my stats tell me how many of you each day) but it feels very distant, very disconnected. I want a way where I can communicate with you, where you can come back and comment - share your thoughts and feelings on the subject too, you can't do that on the main section of the site.
So here it is the Celtic Earth Spirit 'EarthBlog', where I can warble away with all my thoughts and feelings on all things 'Earthy' (you may live to regret it lol) and you can come back and comment. If it is 'of' the Earth, 'about' the Earth, 'affects' the Earth or any of its inhabitants it is fair game for this blog.
If there is a subject that you would like us to cover, if you have questions or just want to say 'Hi', your comments are most welcome - do join in and let us know that intelligent life still exists.
This was not the way that I intended to end the first post, but I really do have to go - one of the dogs has just ripped his toe-nail out and is leaving a trail of blood around the house - need to mop up the dog first and then the house.