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My feet hurt...

For some reason, it's been another unproductive week. It's not that I am doing nothing, just that I am...unfocused. Scattered. I can't seem to concentrate on any one thing craft wise. I am in the middle of something, the only bit that I can show you at the moment is...

Not much I know, but it's part of something bigger. I was trying to finish it today, but underestimated the time it would take for the 3D gloss gel to dry properly. So it'll be next week's post.

I've been flitting between the safari stitch and a new one. Here are the progresses for both this week.

This is the new one - tiger in planets. You can see by the paper that it's only one page not four like the safari, so hopefully it won't take too long to complete.

One thing I love about cross stitching is that one moment it's a random assortment of stitches that seemingly have no connection and the next it's a realistic picture. The elephant is coming along nicely. I managed to finish his ear this week and one of his legs.

One of the reasons I didn't do much this week is that Friday was a long day. Aside from the normal shift of course. After work I did this!

That's right - an overnight visit to Bodmin Jail. This costs £80 per person, which includes a three course meal, a tour of the jail, and some explanation of Reiki energy, as well as the glass table trick. (Look it up) It was a works team bonding exercise, and 13 of us went. (Auspicious number there). We met at quarter to nine, and sat down to a three course meal. I had pate, roast beef and brownie. Well recommended, the food is superb. After we had eaten we were introduced to our two hosts for the evening; now their names escape me (I think it was Mark and Kirsten?) but they were brilliant. Mark specialises in Reiki, Kirsten is more on the medium side of things. We started off being given a talk explaining what was going to happen, and showing us where the break room was. There was a heater near here, as well as plenty of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. There was also CCTV cameras so we could see parts of the jail, and the bats that were flitting around. After the introduction we went for a tour of the grounds with Kirsten. She really knows her stuff. The history of the jail is fascinating and there were a few things that you wouldn't learn by going around yourself, such as the fact that at one point it was a maternity hospital. The walls of the jail were quite low early on; so low that plenty of prisoners escaped, including one who stole a fiver from a prison guard, went into the town of Bodmin to get absolutely bladdered. They only realised he was missing when he was banging on the door to get back in! There were three points for hanging. The ordinary one, which is outside the front of the jail, and was a measured drop. We heard the origin of the phrase toeing the line here - where the prisoner had to stand in exactly the right place on the trapdoor, indicated by having his toes on a line. Death was quick; the shortest taking nine seconds. It was an instant snap of the neck between vertebraes two and three. There's a garden near this one, where at least 55 people are buried. That's how many people were hanged at Bodmin. There are likely far more, as there was a hospital wing, which meant more deaths. We were told of two; one who was at the prison for barely two hours before dying of typhus fever, and one who slit his throat with a knife he had stashed. He died after three days.

As well as the hanging pit, they used to push people off the gap between two roofs, using a very short rope. Strangulation took 20 minutes on average. This is where the phrase pulling your leg comes from; family members would pull on their legs to quicken their deaths. There was one executioner who would also jump on their shoulders. The third is in a part of the prison that is currently out of bounds, and is where Selina Wadge was hanged.

After touring the outside, we toured each floor, before going to the long room with Mark, who showed us how to use Reiki energy. Now, I am a little sceptic about this, even after doing it, but there were people who felt things, and I must admit I did feel a little coldness in my hands when receiving energy. After this, we were split into two groups. Our group went with Mark into the prison, now in the dark (bring a torch). It's not as dark as it could be, thanks to EU regulations on emergency lighting, but it is pretty dark. During this experience (I don't want to go into too much detail in case anyone wants to go and doesn't want the experience to be spoiled) one of the group was touched in the shoulder by something, and screamed. Nobody was near her, and several people said they saw a shadow flit past before. I did catch a whiff of antiseptic, and my eyes felt like they do when I have an ocular migraine coming on. I also saw someone growing in size and changing in shape from a feminine silhouette to a rather imposing male one. On another floor Mark told us that he used to like doing the trance thing, which was ruined by a certain Kreed Kafer. He also told us that the producer of that particular show was called Pebbles by the staff at Bodmin Jail, as he had a pocket full of them and would use them to create sudden noises whenever the attention of people was waning. We swapped over after this, and did the glass table trick. This is basically where you have a wooden table and a wine glass, and you all put your fingers on the glass. Nothing happened for a while, then it started moving quite a bit. This, according to Kirsten, was a playful non-human spirit, kind of like a puppy in the way it behaved. The second was a family member of one of our group. One thing that I cannot explain is the name Kirsten plucked out of the air. It was an unusual one, and was uttered after the glass kept going to this particular person. Note that Kirsten did not touch the glass at any time.

By the time we did this, it was 3am. Now there was an opportunity to explore the jail on your own after this but everybody else was leaving, and we could get a lift home if we left with them, so we did. I would have liked to go through the jail but c'est la vie. Overall I highly recommend the experience; both if you believe in the spiritual side of things, and if you just want to have an entertaining and very unusual night out. It's well worth the money.

wake before the world
trainers donned, coat wrapped around
out before the lark

This week's thing (which isn't half as entertaining as what I did on Friday night) was to wake up at 6 every morning and go for a walk. This was quite easy on some days; I usually wake at 6.20 for work anyway so it was only 20 minutes difference. Some days I separated the getting up early and walking; for example today it was absolutely hammering it down so I waited until it wasn't, and other days I waited until I had to go to work. And of course Saturday morning I was walking around a jail far earlier than 6am. I took a couple of pictures of Monday's walk; a completely empty Porth beach. Something you never think to see on Bank Holiday Monday in August.

As you can see, it was so early the lights were still on outside. Lovely and peaceful too. I did get an odd look from an old guy putting his bins out. I suppose he's not used to people around that time of day. I also saw something from times past. A milk float. I used to get milk delivered years ago, and used to love picking up those little glass bottles with the foil tops early in the morning, and having fresh milk on my cereal.

Porth Beach. There was literally nobody around. I've lived here for over twenty years and this is the quietest I have seen it.

One more picture. When I was feeling low about my writing last week, I took a look up at the sky and saw this.

To me it looks like a feather quill, and it may sound stupid, but it perked me up a little, made me have a little more faith in myself.


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