Kathryn Flaherty

Writer, Reader, Truck Driver and Fairy Floss Maker


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Procrastinating

100_0776I am a procrastinator. Okay I’ve admitted it, I should feel better right but I don’t. I’m not just a procrastinator with a little p. No for me the whole word is in capitals.

I started this blog with every intention of regular updates regardless of anyone reading it or not. You can see how that turned out. I just kept putting it off until I reached the point. You know the one, the point you reach when you’ve already put something off for a week so what difference will another week make. Then you change the word week to a month. Then the excuses, real life, family, work, ill-health, exhaustion, I could pull any of them out of a hat to give myself a reason for my procrastination.

The first draft of this post had excuses in it. But there are no excuses for procrastination. I could have made the time but I didn’t, I own that, it’s on me. My writing isn’t the greatest. I have only a limited knowledge of the rules of Grammar and I let that get into my head. Look excuses, they found their way in even though I wanted them out.

I downloaded a to-do app which has helped me get things done and by doing this post I get to check off an item that has been on there for far too long.

If procrastination was a sport I’d probably be a world champion. But I want to change. I want to come last in the procrastination race. So Blog I’m back and if I want to lose this race I have to update regularly. I’m not going to make promises but I am going to try. Lets see how I go.

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The Ghost in the Rock

I use to love bush walking or hiking if you prefer. I would pick a hill and then enjoy the effort it took to walk to the top of it. One day I had enough of everything around me so I took off and walked for 6 hours just to clear my head. I kept going until I couldn’t think or walk any more, then I realised I had to walk back to the worksite. That was a lesson you only need to learn once. At least it was quicker walking back down. I had a backpack always prepared with 3 litres of water, a snake kit and my camera. It’s an old beast that was the top of the line years ago. Now days I can’t get memory cards that fit it but I don’t want to give it up. I’ve never been great at taking photos but I love looking at the blurry images and remembering the blisters and sweat that got me to that place. This photo is special. I was walking up Cunninghams Gap and spotted a little face peering out of a rock. I think of him as a ghost looking out for the hikers who walk the trail. His hands ready to clap when you get to the top.

The Ghost

The Ghost

This is the view you get to see and I think it’s breathtaking but that’s my opinion and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.100_0827 100_0828 I drive past the entrance to the walking trail every year. I smile a secret smile and remember when I could walk up a mountain on a whim and love every minute. Now if I can just convince my knees and hips how much fun it was and if they’d agree to stopped hurting we could do it again.

The Day the Sky turned Red

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The world is an unreal place, earthquakes, floods, droughts, volcanoes and cyclones. No matter where you live you can always experience something you’d never expect but you don’t always remember.

I decided to clean out my photo files this week. I found a few photos that I had forgotten about. I was in a little town in Outback New South Wales and I never expected this storm to happen.

I had been driving for two days to get to this town. It had been windy the whole way with the dust at times as thick as a pea-souper fog. But it was white.

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Then it started to change colour on the second day.

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Until finally it turned into this.

Dust Storm

I imagine this is what it would look like on Mars. The dirt burnt as it hit my skin, it was horrible and the photo doesn’t do justice to the scene I was looking at. I’m amazed that I forgot about this, it was only eleven years ago in 2004. The photo’s were taken within ten minutes of each other at around three in the afternoon. I’m glad I took them because I know for certain if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have remembered it, and that afternoon was something that should never be forgotten.


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Cinderella’s Father was a Douche-Bag aka Thanks Mum for Aschenputtel

I realised this afternoon that my Mother had no idea what was in the books I read as a child. Mum is severely dyslexic, she doesn’t read unless she has to, but she realised how much I loved reading as a child and filled my room with books included an edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The version I have has a lot of the original German names so my Cinderella was the lovely Aschenputtel.

The reason for this post is from a conversation I had with Mum this afternoon. For some reason she thought all fairies were Tinkerbell clones with sparkly wings doing good. I had to set her right and explain about the courts then tell her a few of my favourite stories. She asked me where I had read them and was shocked when I told her it was in a book for 7 year olds that I still have. It horrified her that she had bought me books with stories about kidnappings and child abductions (changelings). Okay it probably didn’t horrify her but she was a bit shocked. So I had to go a bit further and ask if she knew what was in the Grimm’s Fairy Tales book. She smiled and listed Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel. Yeah, those stories are in it but not the sanitised versions from Disney. I got the full blood thirsty, vicious, messed up close to original versions. I told her about Aschenputtel, and by the time I finished she was shaking her head and laughing. One of my many versions of Aschenputtel has a verse near the end, ‘coo coo there is blood in her shoe, this girl is not the bride for you’. I walked away singing that to let my mum know she might be responsible for my, strange to her, reading habits.

In case you haven’t guessed from the title of this post Aschenputtel is the name of an early version of Cinderella. This version has no Fairy Godmothers and magic pumpkin carriages. This version has a tree that grew on her mother’s grave and really nice birds who were very helpful if you knew how to ask for help in a rhyme.

We all basically know the story, the Mother dies then the Father marries the wicked stepmother with the two ugly daughters then he dies leaving his daughter to slave away for the ungrateful steppies. Thank you Disney for spreading the word but you changed it a little too much for my liking. First off the Father doesn’t die he just turns into a Douche-Bag and the two stepsisters where ‘beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart’. From the minute they stepped into the house poor little Aschenputtel was pushed into the role of kitchen maid – and her Father let it happen.

Now one day good old let’s turn a blind eye Dad was going to the fair, he asked the girls what he should bring them back. The stepdaughters asked for beautiful dresses and jewels, his own daughter asked for the first branch that knocks against his hat on the way home. He was okay with that, luckily that branch when planted on Mum’s grave and watered twice a day with Aschenputtel’s tears became a tree that a magic little white bird liked to sit on.

Dad felt nothing when his wife made a bad bargain with his daughter to make her miss the Ball and when it was all over and the two stepsisters has cut off part of their feet to fit into the ‘golden slipper’ only to be caught out, he fell even further by saying he had no other daughter. He admitted that there was another female in the house but she was a ‘little stunted kitchen wench that his first wife had left behind’. Nice.

We know how it ends, our girl gets the prince and they live happily ever after. In Aschenputtel the two stepsisters get their eyes plucked out by the very helpful birds and live out their days in blindness as a punishment. But nothing happened to the Father or the stepmother which as a child I thought was totally unfair. But it didn’t stop me from loving the story. I’m glad my Mum didn’t know that I had the non-Disney fairy tales and I’ll thank her for it forever. Now how to let her know that the romance books she bought me as a teenager featured kidnapping, rape and the Stockholm Syndrome.

 

update on The New Way, I’ve been told Mr Nasty is about to voted off the committee due to way he treated the horse competitors and cancelled some major horse events. I feel like dancing a little jig, maybe the New Way can become the Lets Not Do It This Way.


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The New Way

This week I have realised that I am old fashioned. I believe that a handshake is a good as a contract and that when you have supported something for 3 generations it means something.

I am onsite at a Agricultural and Horticultural Show in NSW (county fair), my family has worked at this show for 65 of it’s 101 year history. When we arrived here on Monday everything was fine, Tuesday morning was another story. The site for my food van was gone. That’s fine, it does happen occasionally. I didn’t cause waves and was willing to move until I was told my site was gone forever. When I mentioned how long we have supported the show I was told this is year 1. It doesn’t matter that I watched my Nan when she worked here, or that I helped my mum when it was her turn. It doesn’t matter how many years the show has been washed out and we didn’t earn enough to cover our site rent which we still paid. All the history I thought was here is gone in one spiteful sentence by someone who I don’t believe has even attended the show as a patron.

This person is new to the committee with radical new ideas, one of which is cutting off the access from the stables to the show ring/arena. I guess he doesn’t want to watch the show jumping. The demolition derby cars have no access either so it is going to be a boring derby.

This one man is only one man out of a committee of people, they rest of the committee are horrified by the way he is acting. The Office Ladies have been in tears when Dad has gone in to see them but no one is stopping Mr Nasty. It’s his way or get lost. But for me his way was a direct order to get lost, I’m was stuffed either way.

I have my site, I was part of a group that was told to continue on like nothing has happened and Mr Nasty doesn’t exist. He is probably a nice person at home when he isn’t trying to channel the Dark Side.

I hope this isn’t reading as a whinge or gripe, I’m just worn out by a hideous week full of nastiness. I thought that the world was different and people appreciated a shared history and supported each other. I know that not everyone is like this man but right now he seems to be everywhere and last week my cousin had to dealt with his spiritual twin sister. Fun!

I don’t think I like this new way of doing business and I can only hope that these people realise the damage they are doing to their communities by refusing to listen to anyone else.


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Mermaids May Be Related To Harpies

While looking up mermaids for a story I’m working on I found a strange legend. I love a good mermaid story, the original ending of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid is one of my all time favourites. For a possible start to the legend I like the idea of a bunch of horny sailors seeing a Dugong. But that has nothing to do with what I just read. I felt like reading something totally over the top crazy so I cracked open a book on Greek Mythology. The Greeks probably didn’t invent the idea of mermaids but they gave them an awesome origin story.

You can choose which one to start with.

A-They were Persephone’s handmaids who allowed their mistress to be kidnapped by Pluto/Hades.

B- They were the Daughters of the river Achelous and the Muses.

C- They were born from the blood which spurted out when Hercules ripped the Horn of Plenty from Achelous’s head.

D- They were Daughter’s of Aphrodite.

After their birth they didn’t have tails or fins or serpentine coils. They had legs and were fair of face until they royally pissed off one of the gods or goddesses. Then they got cursed with claws as strong as a lions and wings. Yep, mermaids had wings which they used to swoop down on people and carry them away. That sounds a bit like harpies to me.

Now some of these winged beings got into a singing contest with the Muses and being a bit dumb they won. You would think being cursed would be enough of a stay away warning. But not for our future mermaids, nope they sang, they won and had their wings torn from their backs by the Muses. Their feathers ended up in a good home, the Muses used them to make themselves new crowns. A nice way to say we’re the best and see what happens if you think otherwise.

Without their wings these women sought refuge in the waves of the ocean, some died by throwing themselves from their rocks and turning to stone in the water. The others after they finished turning the ocean to salt with their tears grew into the mermaids we know.

I don’t know if this is true to one of the original myths or legends or just a made up story that someone used to fill up the mermaid section in their book. Either way I like the idea of early mermaids have a harpy like appearance and possibly being a bit vindictive as well as kind of stupid.

This post is a few weeks late. I didn’t do very well with trying to post every week. In my defence I have been in the middle of a lot of rain for the past few weeks. The work site I was at was flooded twice so sitting in front of the computer was the last thing on my to do list.


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Faeries, Fairies or Fae

It’s been a busy week but I’m here again and it’s still Thursday for a few more hours. I was planning on starting a series of posts on the Legends of Camelot but I didn’t leave myself enough time. I guess my trashing of Lancelot can wait a bit longer. Instead I grabbed a random book and flicked through a few pages. The book is ‘Dragons, Little People, Fairies, Trolls and Elves by Edouard Brasey. It’s a beautiful book even if I have lost the dust cover and a lot of the pages are dog eared.

While flicking through my eyes caught one heading that read ‘The origin of faeries’. Now I thought that looks interesting. When I’m reading a book I tend to get a feel for it whith how they refer to the faeries. If I see fairy I expect it to be a little winged being flitting about maybe causing mischief. For faery or faerie I want to see the courts. Both winter and summer fighting for power. But when it comes to the fae I looking for massive power plays, life and death struggles between the light and the dark with the fate of the world at stake.

Now according to this book the word faery comes from the Latin word Fata which means the Fates. Now the Fates were the most powerful of the gods. Sure they didn’t have awesome adventures or fought in any battles, but everyone, mortal or god was bound by the threads they wove or spun depending on the pantheon. I can’t see little winged creatures being named after the Fates but I can see the fae being their distant child. The power they revel in, and the way they toy with mortal lives as if part of a game. Yeah, I can see them as a child of the Fates.

Fata the book also says means fairy in Italian. I’m not sure about that as I don’t speak Italian and I’m too lazy to google a translation.

Fairies could just be a modern take on the nature spirits, nymphs and dryads that fill the pages of mythology. Maybe the reason the legends have them playing tricks on humans or stealing them away is because they were sick and tired of the gods using them as play things in their previous incarnations.

As a final thought you have spring, summer , autumn/fall and winter faeries so why only a winter and summer court?