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All posts for the month July, 2013

Anyone for Camping? Check!

Published July 28, 2013 by Laura Crean Author

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Hello my lovely fellow WordPressers.  I thought since it is the Summer holidays and camping is on my mind and probably on plenty of yours, that I would share my new camping experiences with you.  So today’s blog is basically a checklist.  I thought it might be useful to some of you to share my own camping checklists with you – maybe there is something on my list that you have forgotten or you can see something urgently that I may have forgotten.  So here we go…

CAMPING CHECKLIST

            TENT

  • Main tent
  • ground sheet
  • fly sheet
  • pegs and lines
  • poles
  • peg mallet

            SLEEPING

  • sleeping bags
  • floor mats
  • blow up bed matresses or campbeds and sheets
  • foot pump or battery operated pump
  • pillows or blow up pillows
  • toiletries and towels

                                          OTHER ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

  • camera and batteries
  • selection of lamps, torches and batteries for them or some wind up lamps might be handy.
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  • picnic table and chairs
  • folding chairs for relaxing in
  • umbrella for shade and or awning or separate shade
  • windbreaker
  • compass and maps if hiking
  • water proofs and suitable walking shoes

                                          FIRST AID KIT

  • selection of plasters including a couple for larger wounds
  • blister plasters if hiking
  • bandage
  • antiseptic wound spray
  • paracetamol or asprin / calpol for the kids
  • travel pills
  • ice packs for bumps
  • antihistamine for bites / stings / hey-fever / allergies
  • scissors / tweezers
  • insect repelent / mosquito spray
  • sun cream / after sun lotion / sun hats and sun glasses
  • any other essential personal medication

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                                                         EATING

  • cool box and ice-packs (don’t forget spare packs, most campsites will freeze these overnight for a small fee)
  • water carrier (you can even get flat packed ones) / sports bottles for individuals
  • camping stove and or disposable barbeques and spare gas cylinders
  • matches
  • something to cook on i.e a stand or table or portable barbeque
  • kettle / pan / frying pan
  • large fork / sharp knife / spatula for cooking and cooking oil or butter
  • cutlery / plates / bowls / mugs (you can get some nice picnic bags that include all of this and come with a picnic blanket)
  • large plastic bowl for salads etc
  • bucket and tea towels for washing up (or you could just do it under the running water at the campsite)
  • baby wipes
  • tin opener and scissors

                                    BE CREATIVE WITH FOOD

Obviously the amount of food you take is going to depend on your cooking arrangements, space for packing etc.  Here are just a few ideas with space saving and convenience in mind.

  • packet soups and freeze dried meals like dried rice and pasta
  • why not bring a pot noodle and some packet noodles to use in the pot again
  • dilutable drinks rather than trying to take lots of bottles and cans – or be healthy and drink lots of water
  • breakfast bars and trail mixes with nuts and dried fruits (obviously not suitable if you have nut allergies like my daughter – thankfully she’s going away as part of the  National Citizen Service  so I can eat all the nuts I want for the week hehehe!)
  • small individual breakfast box selections for the kids
  • freeze dried oatmeal
  • barbeque selections for the cool box
  • small individual sauces and condiments
  • sugar / salt sachets
  • hot drink sachets eg. hot chocolate / malt drinks / cappachino

ENTERTAINMENT

  • swim gear / snorkling gear (don’t forget the swim aides and goggles for the kiddies) and any other specialist eqipment if you are on an activity holiday
  • reading materials / puzzle books
  • games / cards (pennies and sweets if you are going to gamble or perhaps indulge in some strip poker – naturalists need not apply LOL)
  • battery operated…wait for it…or wind up – radio
  • money for pub / trips
  • some ideas for the kids :- colouring books and magazines / frizbies / bats and balls or a swing ball / bucket and spade / blow up boat / skipping rope / fold up scooter / bubbles / water pistols / kite / paddling pool / pocket money for sweets

So there you go – hope it helps someone LOL I find it useful to have a checklist but I’m bound to have forgotten something really important so if you spot anything please let me know.

Now this list isn’t exclusive and it of course depends on space.  If you are going on a family camping trip and you have a big old family car and trailer, then you can probably take everything including the kitchen sink, however if you are going on a low key cycling or back backing trip then you are going to have to be even more creative with your packing.  Did you notice that’s without the clothes!  And no I am not going all naturale  🙂

HAPPY CAMPING!

Take a dragon down to the beach and you’re sure for a big surprise!

Published July 26, 2013 by Laura Crean Author

Take a dragon down to the beach and you’re sure for a big surprise!

I would just LOVE to think of lots of kids AND grown ups too taking The Realm of the Purple Dragon down to the beach this summer or having it on the bedside table in your hotel.  Just imagine- you are already on holiday having an adventure and then you open up this book and you are transported to another dimension!  Two holidays for the price of one!  And if you are off camping, like me this summer and you have no electicity to plug in the games console – well that’s not a problem – you can just follow Ellenor as she discovers a whole new world inside the game she’s been playing and where there are purple dragons – there are always adventures waiting to happen.  You never know – a dragon could be kinda handy if the barbeque doesn’t want to fire up!

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camping and kids – looks like I’m moving house!!!

Published July 26, 2013 by Laura Crean Author

I know this is the first ever camping trip I have planned with the kids but when you are a single parent and don’t drive, it isn’t the easiest thing to try and do! LOL  Luckily I have great parents who do drive, so for this first attempt at camping, my Dad is going to drive us and all the equipment to my chosen camp site (just down the road for the first try), help me set up the tent – hopefully!  and then leave us to it – Gulp!  Having said that, by the looks of my hallway, you would think I am moving house rather than just going camping for a week.

I would never have thought this sort of holiday option would require so much planning, but my goodnes, I can’t help but wonder how nomadic tribes people have managed in the past to live constantly ready to pick up and leave with all their belongings hitched to a horse and be able to pitch up in a new area and live comfortably with everything they need!  How am I going to be able to manage without electricity for a week?  How are the kids for that matter?  Not to mention planning meals with just a camping burner and a couple of throw away barbeques!  I feel like I am off on an expedition to Mount Everest or something!  There’s only so much one can pack in a cool box too – and with just ice packs to keep it all fresh, I think I am going to have to be super creative with the meals.

The children have their own ideas about how they are going to entertain themselves while they are away, so first of all we have an extra body coming along as my middle daughter is bringing her friend!  I know she doesn’t want to be bored but – really?  LOL Two giggly teenage girls in one tent with just a flimsy screen between us and I’m sharing my bedroom (if you can call it that) with my 9 year old daughter who has just got a Ferbie for her birthday (rolling eyes) – God help me!

Right – I’m off to go and check my list again, see if I have missed anything, plan another pre-camping shopping trip and make sure the house is in order, the washing is up-to-date and the packing is under way.  Think I will need another holiday to get over this one when I’m done!

Rainbow Rune series Competition reminder

Published July 23, 2013 by Laura Crean Author

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Hi everyone,

Don’t forget our Children’s Summer Competition – send your children’s Fantasy poems, short stories or pictures to laura.crean@yahoo.co.uk along with their name and age and they could be winning some Rainbow Rune goodies. So if you know a child who loves to draw dragons or paint fairies or tells a cool fairy tale – please encourage them over the summer holidays to enter and help them submit their entries. Xx Laura xX

http://lauracrean-artist-writer-poet.webs.com/competitions.htm

Me Time Memories

Published July 20, 2013 by Laura Crean Author

Poetry in motion, a little video diary of a day out when I was feeling low. It turned out to be a lovely day out, time to just be quiet and calm, commune with nature, have a chat with God and make peace with myself.

Some of the photos from my day can be found in a book of poetry I have published entitled ‘Picture Perfect – Poetic Reflections by Laura Crean’ available to buy on Lulu.com so if you feel you would like to support me and you like poetry and photography, you can hop over there and buy a copy – enjoy!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/laura-crean/picture-perfect/paperback/product-20320938.html …

NaNoWriMo – Excerpt from ‘Atlantis and the Dolphin of Knowledge’

Published July 20, 2013 by Laura Crean Author

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A lovely sound to accompany you whilst reading…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ivRTkntVFg

Once the chapel was full, the song priests were joined by Coral and the other apprentice song priests of her rank in the balcony and songs of lamentation were sung, and then after the main ceremony was over and Reef’s teachers and family had given their eulogies and speeches, Pearl was ushered up to the lectern.  The whole chapel was quietly observant of this tradition and all of a sudden Pearl was overwhelmed with grief.  She tried to calm herself as she knew it was her responsibility as the elected leader of her Chosen group to address her people and speak the required words of her group’s loyalty to Reef.  She started to say what was written in front of her and be the strong, calm leader that she was expected to be but the words seemed cold and had no meaning in Pearl’s eyes – they were not sufficient enough to express how they were all feeling.

Pearl looked up from the scroll and caught Triston’s eye.  For a moment she struggled with the lump in her throat as his eyes held such a deep sadness that Pearl, for a moment, felt overwhelmed.  She closed the scroll and looked up at the congregation. She paused and there was a slight ripple of questioning murmurs that ran through the gathering at her unusual behaviour, like a wave upon a beach, rolling to a frothy crescendo.  But then the hall grew once again silent as they were all curious to hear what she was going to say, as the first ever human companion to their ceremonial figure head in the Dolphin of Knowledge.

She cleared her throat, took a deep breath and firstly sung a song of love in the sea song way, this was unheard of as funerals were generally only conducted in Atlantean speech.  Her chosen group picked the song up and continued with her and then by the end, the whole congregation was singing an old traditional Atlantean song that had phrases in the language of the dolphins (sea song) and in Atlantean.  The song ended and then she started to say what was in her heart,

“I know most of you knew Reef and had seen him in one way or another, going about his duties amongst the temples, but there was so much more to him than just a Chosen initiate!  As a Chosen one his funeral is steeped in traditional words written centuries ago.  I wanted to say what Reef the person was like, not what was expected of him as a Chosen Priest.”

She stopped for a moment expecting to be reprimanded for her outburst, any deviation from ceremony was strictly forbidden, but she was surprised to see all listening intently, including the Lord High Priest, so she continued feeling less nervous and slightly more empowered.

”Reef and I were not the best of friends and I barely knew him, in fact, we were not well acquainted  in the First Temple.  I knew him to look at, but only really met him when we were Chosen, so I am not even sure I am really the person for this most honourable of tasks.  You see at first I didn’t even like Reef.  I found him to be outspoken, spoilt and arrogant…”

As she said those words she looked at Reef’s parents who had their mouths open in astonishment at what she was saying but she didn’t stop, she continued confidently with her off the cuff speech.  “…I was so wrong!  It wasn’t because he spoke his mind that I disliked him (or rather misunderstood him), it was because he spoke the truth.  I think now I understand that I was in fact jealous of Reef.”

She paused and took a deep breath.  She sighed, “I was jealous of the loving relationship he had with his parents and friends and the freedom of spirit he seemed to have.”  There was a sound of shock from the congregation.  Love was an emotion not spoken of during traditional ceremonies.  Love was a strange emotion that wasn’t easily defined by Atlanteans, being a people not used to sharing intimacy.  Duty, honour and commitment to the Temple ways were a socially solemn affair not usually given space for such personal emotions as love and grief.  She looked once more to Reef’s parents.  His father was supporting his mother who made shy eye contact with Pearl and smiled weakly.  She glimpsed her own parents out of the corner of her eye and turned to see that they were both crying.  This social display of emotion from them shocked Pearl and she tried to smile at her mother, hoping she hadn’t upset her too much by what she had said.  The lump in her throat returned and she couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.

“Reef had so many loving friends and family around him.  I think that is why he was Chosen – because he really knew what love was.  The dolphins sensed this in his character and the gods themselves wanted to share his love of life and all those around him.  That is why he drowned.  Not because he was wrongly Chosen but because he was needed for a higher love – the love of the very gods.  His fate was sealed within the Tablet of Destinies from the beginning of time and this is his lesson to us.  That we should put aside stuffy ancient traditions that push love to one side and ignore it over duty.  Duty should come from love and through love and in love – and we should be honourable to each other and ourselves and in everything we do by putting Love at the highest point of our traditions and ceremonies.  Not as a half-hearted attempt at emulating the dolphins’ love bonds.  They love unconditionally.  The dolphins do not follow ritual – we do!  Put Love first I beg you Atlantis – as Reef did.”

She stopped crying and wiped her eyes.  “I would like to introduce you to two of Reef’s closest friends, they were as family in the First Temple and I know they have so much to tell you about Reef; I give you -Triston and Angel.”  She beckoned for the two to come forward.  They explained what Reef had meant to them personally, prompting more crying from the assemblage.  Then Pearl returned to the stand and continued with the ceremonial speech that was ‘written’ and must be read by reef’s Chosen group leader.

“ ‘Geshtu-e (the intelligent god) was slaughtered to make Man.  Nintu (the womb goddess) mixed clay with his flesh and blood.  Womb goddesses, seven and seven, seven created males, seven created females, for the womb goddess is ‘creator of fate.’  Likewise so we are Chosen, from male and female – ‘chosen by the fate of the gods’ through their messengers the dolphins.  It was Reef’s fate to perish in the great ceremony so it must have been written in the tablet of destiniesNow it is Reef’s turn to return to the Kingdom of Erishkigal where eventually all souls must return so that Geshtu-e can be reborn.  So it is written – so it is read – so it must be!”

When she stepped down to let Bel Enu take his place at the lectern, the elderly priest held her in such a tight embrace for a minute that Pearl began to feel suffocated.  He released her and waited for the people to settle before committing Reef’s body to the sea.  Pearl still felt suffocated and as she looked around at the priests and officials at the ceremony she could feel the walls pressing in on her from every side.  ‘I need some space’ she thought to herself.  ‘I need to breathe my own air.  I need to run free from these temple walls, not just swim within the boundary of Atlantis and this confined city of temples!  If only I had more space!’

She turned her attention back to the High Priest who had begun to speak,

“May your journey to the depths of the Apsu be pleasant and may the spirits of the gods and the seven sages greet you in their kingdom of glory.”

The body was sent off with a multitude of spontaneous song.  The Song Priests were positioned as usual, where the acoustics had been studied and maintained to complement their voices and lend their aesthetic waves to direct the bodies down into the deep dark waters.  The effect was truly spectacular as the body was lifted as if by magic and levitated up before diving into the water where The dolphin of Knowledge swam off after it to see Reef safely on his way to the after life.

More Caterpillar Kate…

Published July 20, 2013 by Laura Crean Author

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LOL I’m still messing around with these toddler pics – do you think a 1 or 2 year old would like to be read a story about this character and learn about ‘space’?  Not space as in outer space but space as in dimensions of – like –  in – out – on – under – round – through – over etc. and moving around – so – caterpillars crawl and bees fly – but then caterpillars change into butterflies and then they fly – it’s learning about the space that they live in – i.e. the world around them and different ways of moving around the ‘space’ 😉  Also it is about ‘minibeasts’ – I think they are minibeasts or are they insects?  I always confuse the 2!

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