Elusive

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Image: photo credit: SilverTorch66 20160924_160604 via photopin (license)

It’s been a while since I heard from The Opener, as Anubis is sometimes known. He can be an elusive entity, frustrating even. The past few months have been challenging, forcing me to look inwards, a necessary process in hindsight. I’ve been clearing out defunct mind-sets, beliefs and behaviours. There’s still more work to be done and doors to be closed. Fortuitous that He’s appeared at this moment, as all manner of obstacles have separated me from my “Mentor” for too long.

I’m trusting myself and the Universe more, which is producing positive results. You could say I’m beginning to see the return of my authentic self, the Jan that I love and believe in. So many people suffer the frustration of not being who they truly are due to life circumstances. This is something one shouldn’t dismiss easily as it’s an issue that strikes at the heart and psyche deeply. It weighs people down and you can see the shadows shrouding the vision of those so afflicted. Almost as if all colour and vitality have left the person and they’re living as copies of their true selves.

His Nibs (Anubis) looks at me without speaking, and then squeezes my hand. It’s taken a while to get to this point but we’re here, thankfully. For too long I’ve neglected myself and felt my energy bleeding out, okay illness has in part taken its toll. Many people around me are in varying states of unhappiness and indulging in unhealthy projections towards others. They’re pressing my buttons and I’m pressing theirs. This continues to create toxic environments, on the inner and outer.

The sluice gates have been opened and all this crap is being “washed out” into the greater Universe to be neutralised and transformed. Visualisation is a fantastic tool dear readers. It can create true magic and open up unbelievable vistas.

“You’ve remained in the darkness of the tomb for too long” He states matter of fact.

“Not willingly! I answer. What else is there to say? I couldn’t see a way out, the seals on the tomb doors looked unbreakable.

His Nibs shakes in laughter, not unkindly it has to be said. The Opener can be unpredictable and should not be underestimated, ever. Saying that, this inscrutable deity can be hugely protective, loving and patient if he befriends you.

“I’ve not left your side at all, but had to stay aloof in order to let you ask for help” He explains in measured tones.

“Ah, the free will thing” I murmur.

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We understand each other but do I understand myself? I gaze into the distance and see a desertscape blasted by strong winds. There’s a long figure walking across the sand, it looks like the Opener. Yes, it’s him in human form. He seems impervious to the grit filled wind swirling around him. The horizon is hidden from gaze, only hinted at when the wind drops. The ancient deity is in his natural element and knows neither fear nor uncertainty in this harsh environment. He is the loneliness of the endless expanse, a mirage created from the yearnings of our Soul. He is the bestower of hidden knowledge, giver of Life and Death, Judge of our Hearts and True Intent.

I ask Him for a blessing for the journey to come, to give my heart courage and resilience. He complies and comments “don’t leave it so late before calling me. We have work to do Jan.”

I nod ruefully. This is a time of Coming into Being. The scent of incense tantalises my nostrils, an offering to The Opener it appears. We part in love and peace, until the next time.

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Image: skyhp009, Pixabay

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Feral – A Random Act Of Poetry

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Image: skeeze, Pixabay

Annette Rochelle Aben posted a timely reminder about the joys of poetry on Random Acts of Poetry Day. It brought back many memories of early scribblings in the back of school exercise books, and freestyle sessions at literary events. Those were the heady days of youthful creativity, exciting and edgy. I devoured the poetry of Baudelaire and Neruda and took their lead in spinning tales surreal and impenetrable. My efforts were badly written but mine to own and proclaim in hushed tones. Such acts nurture the weird and wonderful natures of surrealists in the making. I know, a grand comment to make a worthy goal to aspire to don’t you think?  Anyway, enough of the procrastinating. Here is my very own Random Act of Poetry, a mish mash of parts, much like antipasti in a zombie restaurant. Please enjoy, or not. Do leave a tip for the ghoul at the door but don’t look her in the eyes.

 

“Don’t feed the horses” the sign calls loudly, but do I listen?

The cracked wood invites, beckons me in, and whispers “look”

Heart in mouth I approach, chest gapes wide, blood drips fast

Feral beasts wait, bellow fire from lungs of bronze and voice of dreams

Reality distorts, fazes mind, and whispers “look”

Feral beasts approach and sacrifice is offered

Heartless I stand, bloodied but unbeaten

 

Where am I now? “On the other side of No Return my darlin”

Drawls the lone cowboy, with eyes of smoke and voice of venom

He looks and says nothing, just stands watching

He looks and says nothing, just stands smoking

“Don’t feed the horses” the sign calls loudly, but did you listen?

Object of the Month for October: The Ultimate Zombie Apocalypse Weapon

I recommend the Royal Armouries blog for all the wonderful and informative posts. This one in particular may be useful in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse. 😉
https://blog.royalarmouries.org/2017/10/01/object-of-the-month-for-october-the-ultimate-zombie-apocalypse-weapon/

Existentialist Memes

From time to time humanity is confronted with unaswerable questions about the meaning of existence and the validity of a Universe that appears to be uncaring. What happens under those circumstances? Do we allow ourselves to recede into nothingness? No! We boldly go where no one has gone before…Wait, isn’t that a line from “Star Trek?.” Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to confront your existentialist angst and give it a, er, hug. Or air kiss if that’s acceptable.

These are for days when you spill tea or coffee on yourself before an important meeting. For when you put both legs through one trouser leg and then fall over in an effort to disentangle yourself. For when you drop guacamole on a pristine white shirt and don’t notice it for several hours. I’ve done them all and survived! Be strong.

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Image: snoozepossum.blogspot.co.uk

 

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Image: markstivers.com

 

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Image: Non-existent existentialist memes

 

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Image: snoozepossum.blogspot.co.uk

 

I’ll end on a positive note, something to take away and savour:

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Image: Imgur

 

 

Duty Bound: Odin’s Gift

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photo credit: spratmackrel Auld One Eye via photopin (license)

There’s been much talk lately of Muses going AWOL and I’m duty bound to put in my penny’s worth, why not? Where the Shed is concerned should I be worried? Not really. Their absence gives me a little breathing space. I’ve been looking at my activities and decided that a change is due. This state of affairs may be the result of the number of Seers and Soothsayers congregating under my roof. They’ve been here a while, just peering intensely at the comings, goings and me. Rather disquieting, especially the ones from the far north, the land of fire and ice. They peer into your soul, divining fate and fortune from the bones of former lives. The realm of the One-Eyed One is a place not seen since the veils parted all those years ago, it occurred during a meditation if you have to know. Any more I can’t reveal, otherwise I’d have to hurt you a little. Your feelings that is.

We have a strange relationship, what a surprise…It’s the usual story of woman meets mysterious god, there’s an instant attraction and interests in common, god offers woman a proposal she can’t refuse, involving fringe benefits and travel. She accepts and may live to regret doing so. He offered me the runes, how could I refuse? It felt like a betrayal of my Khemetic roots, what would Anubis say? A ménage a trois wasn’t what I had in mind. Yet, the door he opened revealed aspects of myself not acknowledged.

This post had been languishing in draft form for several days, with little possibility of escape, until now. The One-Eyed one wasn’t going to let me work on anything else until it was completed. Damn you Trickster!

Who and what is he really? Will I ever know? Will I ever want to know? It’s difficult peering into my own soul much less one of something like him.

Who is Odin?

If you’re unfamiliar with Odin, he’s a Norse God who sacrificed himself on the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nine nights in order to gain knowledge, the gifts of divination and prophecy. The ordeal on the Tree included extreme pain and suffering (as he speared himself on the side) in the pursuit of his goal. This whole experience has strong shamanic overtones… There’s usually a price to pay for seeking knowledge hidden from the living; his was the sacrifice of an eye in order to gain access to the well of wisdom beneath Yggdrasil. Such experiences serve to break down notions of Self and perceptions of reality. They shift the boundaries between different states of consciousness (sometimes referred to as non-ordinary and ordinary reality); so enabling the individual to interact with transpersonal beings in the pursuit of a particular goal (i.e. healing, gaining a guardian spirit animal).

The god is known by many names that reflect different aspects of his personality, one that encapsulates the might and power of nature:

  • The name is said to have its roots in the Old Norse word “od”, meaning wind or spirit (Óðinn).
  • In Old English he’s referred to as “Grim”, meaning “hooded or masked”.
  • Another name is Hrafnáss (“raven-god”), rather apt as he’s attended by two raven familiars called Hugin and Munin (“thought” and “memory”).
  • In Old High German his name was Wōtan.
  • He’s also known Allvíss (“all-wise”).

Odin’s reputation can be a little sinister, varying from duplicity to cruelty. He’s said to be able to change shape, practice necromancy, divination and prophecy. Battle, death and the gallows are other associations. Two wolves named Geri and Freki accompany the god on his travels and may hint at a wolf cult associated with him. As for his appearance, usual depictions are of a tall, thin, one-eyed man with shoulder length grey hair, usually wearing a long cloak and a wide-brimmed hat. The staff he carries is made of blackthorn. His steed is an eight legged horse called Sleipnir.

As you can see he’s excellent at multi-tasking. Okay, I’m trying to avoid the real issue here, having to fulfil my end of the bargain. Those often favoured by the gods are also subject to their (cruel) whims.

“You’ve seen sense now apprentice”, a voice mutters from the side-lines.

It’s all in the, er, eye, it stares at me with unsettling intensity.

“Unsettling intensity?” he stutters in shock.

“Please don’t pretend shock, you know what you’re doing”, I manage to get out, sighing loudly.

“Jan, Jan, how long have we known each other? Where’s the trust gone to?”, he responds in a pleading tone.

No wonder he was feared and approached with trepidation. Words were his weapon of choice, weaving hypnotic spells. You were tied up tightly without even being aware of his actions. He wasn’t one to be either spurned or ignored. Devious and manipulative so and so…

I eventually mutter, “how may I serve you High One?”

He answers, “accept what has been offered to you. Anubis and I have been waiting twenty years for your answer. Time for you to get moving sweetie,”

This is news to me, the fact that he and Anubis have been plotting together. Pantheons don’t always mingle but in this case they appear more than willing.

“Okay! Yes, yes. The finger will be pulled out and I’ll take it seriously”, my voice breaks in exasperation. He isn’t going to let go. I sob into my hands, well, pretend to.

“I can still see you Padawan, no point in trying to disappear. Can YOU see me though?” he whispers.

I peer at him through a gap in my fingers, one eye looks at the One-Eyed One. My attention flows towards the point of interaction, it swirls around him. The disguise falls away to reveal a strong and battle hardened face, an empty socket where an eye once was. He hasn’t been diminished by its loss at all. Such things he’s seen in the quest for knowledge of truths neither the living nor the dead can ever hope to learn. Odin has peered into the depths of the Void beyond existence, much like Anubis, and returned a different being. Perhaps this is what’s feared by our egos, change and letting go of old patterns. Also the deception of unworthiness, not being able to be up to the task and challenge. There’s safety in the familiar and known, that’s what we tell ourselves.

 

Road Trip to Hades

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Image: Pixabay

It’s been rather difficult thinking of suitable subjects to write about lately, then it hit me, I need an adventure to get my teeth into. The Shed’s rather quiet at the moment as most of the lodgers are on their holidays. Anubis has been absent for a while, probably engaged in guiding duties. Not in the Egyptian Underworld but in Bloomsbury, central London. I think he’s got a pretty good gig going on there. The place is crawling with denizens of the underworld. I had my suspicions for years but could never prove it. Odin and Sekhmet are on a walking holiday in Crete. Apparently Odin has distant relatives living there. Who knew? As for the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter, I prefer not to think about those two at the moment, they’ve caused enough havoc. Azrael, the Angel of Death and Cerberus are coming back from their respective road trips soon.

Reflecting on past encounters with the above archetypal figures, it seems evident that these individuals appear as “heralds” in our life. Joseph Campbell comments in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” that the appearance of such beings acts as “the call to adventure”[1], precipitating the Hero into life changing experiences. Of course there have been many occasions when I’ve refused “the call to adventure”, only to face inertia and negative situations.  The gods will only take so many refusals before making an offer that can’t be refused.

When the call is accepted supernatural aid appears at the right time. Enter stage left Azrael, Anubis and Cerberus. Two chthonic deities and the angel of Death assigned as planetary angel of Pluto in Qabalistic and medieval magical tradition. The power of Three consolidated. Containing within themselves the beginning, middle and end, past present and future, body, soul and spirit.

“Quite a lot to think about, isn’t it?” A voice mutters from stage left.

I turn to face three figures grinning at me from the shadows. Azrael gives a thumbs up and the canine terrors wink like mad. Not what you expect from these entities, beings traditionally associated with death, initiation, and dissolution. They also embody secrets and wisdom hidden deep within the Self. That’s been my experience, I can’t speak for anyone else.

“You want adventure and here we are, ready to offer you an experience of a life time as the cliché goes” Azrael comments quietly.

He watches carefully, eyes sliding to the fire escape. An eyebrow lifts in question. What are they up to? Cerberus pulls back a curtain to reveal a rather sweet looking VW van. It screams road trip. He then flourishes a sign with something scrawled on it. It’s written in beautiful copperplate script. HADES. Be still my beating heart! Is this the offer that can’t be refused?

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Image: Pixabay

The Road Beckons

The van is packed and this strange band of travellers gets underway. I’m not sure where they got the vehicle from, it’s like a Tardis inside. Anubis puts a toy Dalek on the dashboard and mutters something about the three of them being Dr Who fans. Azrael is outside checking his motorbike. The Angel of Death is a biker, well, well. We finally depart after a few minutes. The green landscape of North Wales flash by and then the road towards Ruthin and Llangollen is taken. The landscape changes soon after as a detour is made towards the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran in Llangollen. A portal opens near the ruins and the van whizzes through. We face an endless road in a desert landscape. The sky is bright and cloudless, the air is still, almost filled with expectation. Feet up, I’m busily scribbling my impressions in a notebook. How’s the journey so far?

It feels like we’ve been travelling for hours but it’s only been half an hour. Time moves in strange ways in this place, wherever this ‘place’ is. There are a variety of figures walking on either side of the road, one is holding a large clock, and its hands appear to be moving in an anti-clockwise direction. They smile at us and carry on walking. Each figure that passes bows their head in deference. Our exalted companions are the focus of their attention. The bleak but beautiful landscape is soon interrupted by a building that suddenly appears on the horizon. It’s an American style diner. Quelle surprise!

We disembark and find a booth to sit. The clientele are an odd assortment, consisting of shades of the dead and what appears to be the cast of “Frozen” ( I loathe that cartoon). Azrael greets a striking looking woman adorned with beautiful tattoos. She hugs him enthusiastically and kisses my other companions with as much energy. Finally she approaches me, her stare being quite intense. I stare back, kindred souls it appears. Hail mighty Ishtar!

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Image: Pixabay

The image of the figure holding the clock appears once again and the great river of time washes over us. The Goddess retells the story of her descent into the Underworld over a cup of coffee. Her hands and eyes convey the passion of her experiences, poignant and illuminating by turns. Her story is the story of our Soul, mirroring its many losses, regret, sorrow and moments of understanding. Her descent into Darkness, dissolution and eventual ascent into the Light show the way to new beginnings. She pauses and winks. A small box is pushed across the table, it’s a gift for us. Nestled in blue velvet is an eight-pointed star. An important gift, we must take note of its symbolism. She advises me not to eat or drink anything that’s offered in this place. Although this prohibition doesn’t apply to the Psycho-pomps offering me anything though. “Remember” her voice whispers in our head. She blows a dramatic kiss and then disappears. The other diners are still entranced by the tale of the Goddess, emboldened even by her resilience, also saddened at the prospect of no return. They eye Cerberus and his companions nervously.

At this point I’m thinking “if Cerberus is here, who’s guarding the gates of the Underworld?”

Cerberus pipes up “my cousin Cyril’s doing me a favour. I haven’t had a holiday for, oh, five thousand years. Sorry, I lied. There was that time when Anpu and I went on a bender at New Year several years ago.”

Wish he wouldn’t read my mind! I remember that incident, it was rather embarrassing trying to break the news to Hades. The canine terrors had to perform community service in a dance studio in Buenos Aires, teaching tango.

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Image: Pixabay

As soon as we leave the diner it vanishes into thin air. A memory of things dreamt of by a younger world. Such phantasms litter the highways of the inner landscape, being stopping points for weary travellers. Dylan, our VW van carries on down the road. Azrael now leads, a magnificent presence enshrouded in divine light, all-powerful, all compassionate. Such beings rarely show their true appearance. It would mean certain annihilation for our spiritual and material forms, such is the magnitude of their power. Cerberus is chatting away with his adoptive brother, they laugh briefly. A few minutes later we hear cursing from outside. Cerberus has his bottom stuck in the window, it seems he was mooning at a passer-by. Well, Herakles had it coming, fancy kidnapping Cerberus from the Underworld as part of his Twelfth Labour. I think they’re even now. Dylan kicks into life and zooms down the road. We hold our collective breath, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions after all…

From a distance we spy a lone figure pushing a huge rock uphill only to see it roll back down again. Sisyphus, king of Ephyra (Corinth) was condemned for all eternity to carry out a futile task for his hubris, deceit and egotistical nature. We decide not to stop and make our way past Sisyphus. The fields surrounding the king are filled with Datura plants, a bad omen indeed. A warning is issued by our companions not to be deceived by this individual. The crimes he was condemned for in life are still valid in the afterlife, such as it is. He cheated death at least twice but was eventually dragged back to the underworld by Hermes.

Rituals, Blessings and Farewells

Dusk is falling and the night sky is now filled with gleaming points of light. We stop to camp by the roadside, no sense in travelling any further as it’s the dark of the moon tonight. There are rituals to be performed for the dead, one of many before we enter the Underworld proper. We sense them gathering around us, so many that are known and unknown. Prayers are said, offerings made, and respect given. Many have passed through the transition alone and unmourned, even unloved. For them these rituals are a balm and blessing. A release more importantly.

Azrael censes me with incense, for this night is significant for me as well. I must finally relinquish my old self, make the descent and lay her to rest. The Universe peers at me from his eyes, which are like stars blazing in a lapis lazuli sky. Azrael is considered the Angel of Death in Jewish and Islamic angeology, but there is no reference of him named as such in the Christian Bible. Additionally some scholars have disputed the name Azrail being used in the Qu’ran, the angel of death is simply called Malak Al-Mawt. He transcends religion and dogma, the sense is that he WAS before time began. It’s not the biker that stands before me now but something profoundly powerful, infinitely compassionate and gentle. Not to be feared at all. As for my Muse, His Nibs (Anubis) approaches next and rests his forehead on mine. We haven’t had much time to chat, which I don’t mind. He and Cerberus rarely meet and this is a special time for them. He chuckles. Damn! This mind reading trick does annoy me at times.

No sleep for the wicked tonight. We sit around the camp fire and eat dinner, except for Azrael. His nourishment is, well, not sure what he eats and drinks. He looks at me with a wicked gleam in his eyes and mouths “smoothies”. How can I respond to that? This is a moment I’ll treasure, for the companionship, laughter, and silences.

The Sun rises and our merry band of explorers continues on the last leg of the journey to Mordor, sorry, I mean Hades. The landscape becomes even drier and the skies are bathed in a peculiar orange light.  A huge cavern appears in the distance, this is it folks. I glance over at Cerberus, his three pairs of eyes mist up at the scene. Homesickness. I wonder what his cousin Cyril looks like? The van is parked near the cavern mouth and we make our way slowly into the depths. The tunnel is wide enough to avoid being claustrophobic thankfully. There is illumination provided by torches lining the tunnel, which is a little strange. My companions don’t question this, so I take their lead. The presence of dread is absent, for our journey is one where there is a return, an ascent into Light again. I mutter a prayer silently, for myself and she who bids farewell to this life. She shall face Persephone and Hades beyond the waters of Lethe, but I won’t be sipping its waters.

The three heads of Cerberus rise eagerly and give out an ear-splitting cry, but I’ve come forewarned and already inserted the earplugs. There’s an answering howl and a large Blue Roan Spaniel rushes out of the gloom and greets Cerberus. This is cousin Cyril. A Spaniel guarding the gates of the Underworld, why not? Cerberus and Cyril remain at the gates, to prevent the “inmates” from escaping they say. What jokers they are…

Our obols are ready for Charon the Ferryman, all we’re waiting for now are the priests of Hermes to accompany the deceased as we can’t go any further. She’s anointed with perfumed oils and dressed in a linen shroud. Obols are placed on her eyelids. I kiss her forehead and offer a blessing for the journey ahead. A blue lotus and heart scarab are placed on her chest, a remembrance of the homeland. She’s entitled to that at least. Our priests arrive with a bier and place her on it. We hand the obols to the priests as Charon approaches in his boat. So the journey begins and ends here. How prosaic it sounds!

The living have no reason to linger in these dread halls, so it’s time for me to leave. The smell of decay and forgetfulness linger in our minds. How I yearn for fresh air and sunlight to banish the stench of death! My wish is granted as we soon pass the two canine guardians and emerge into a changed landscape. The ominous light has disappeared to be replaced by bright, sunny skies. The desert is blooming and the road is rather busy. Dylan starts up immediately and we speed off towards the horizon. Home is a welcome sight as we emerge through the portal into Llangollen. By now a huge number of crows have massed in the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran, witness to our emergence. I’m looking forward to having a relaxing holiday, my companions are in agreement and we head down south to get the ferry from Dover to the continent. A holiday in Greece beckons! Suitably disguised we sit out on the hotel terrace watching the sun set into the ocean. Bliss.

[1] Campbell, J. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Princeton University Press, 2004), “Part One, The Adventure of the Hero, Departure: Call to Adventure”, Chapter I, 46-47.

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Image: photo credit: DCphotography_ Tracy Chan-137 via photopin (license)

Damn Spam: It Rhymes!

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Image: Pixabay

Firstly, apologies to everyone who commented on my posts and didn’t receive a response. Your comments were sent automatically to my Spam folder for some odd reason. Grrr! I’ll have to get the spanner out and tinker with my settings,

Anyway, all your comments, likes and reblogs are very much appreciated. I occasionally disappear from the Shed to pursue important and not so important tasks, sometimes in pursuit of my Muses. They have a habit of wandering off, the gods only know the reason. For a sensitive Soul such as I, this pains me to the core and I have to resort to endless cups of tea but no cake. definitely no cake as I have to lose weight…

Thought for the Day

Image: SayingImages.com

Ah, if only life was so black and white. I am referring to the cutting remark and thoughtless quip indulged in by many, including ourselves. 

Beware, Beware, the cutting edge of the blade that wounds but does not kill. Its poison goes deep, lacerating the spirit. The spear and sword are symbols associated with Elemental Air, as is the Pen. Rather telling wouldn’t you say?

Should we resist the urge to “stick ’em with the pointy end“? 

Most certainly. Yet, the need to engage in a duel of words with those who appear as foe and detractor can become a siren call at times. 

What about just nicking them a bit. One little bit?

The Poker’s Not Hot Enough

Image: DailyLolPics

It had to happen one day…Would it help if I said sorry, pretty please with sugar lumps? Sigh. No one else can fathom the anguished soul of an artiste such as me like wot you can. See how upset I am, the spelling and grammyrrh have gone to put, I meen pot.

Not easy being an apprentice angel, the distractions are many and hours long. Having a twisted sense of humour doesn’t help. I didn’t mean to kick that minor demon into the Abyss, he was asking for it. Kept saying I looked like a duckling with my fuzzy wings. They’ve lowered their standards by letting in riff raff like him.

Do you know what they’re having me do now? Cleaning out Pegasus’s stable, with a toothbrush and child’s spade! As for the smell, oh Divine Consciousness. Would it be inappropriate to say I was being exploited? Yes. Okaaaaaaay. I get where you’re coming from. The Union had a different viewpoint on this issue though.

This isn’t going well is it? Any more wine left?