Well I did receive some interesting questions from you so here (at last) are my replies answered in a kind of 'relevant' order because surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, the answers are all connected in some way ...
Dubgirl wanted to know "a bit more about your pagan beliefs and green issues". As this is a part of me which underpins every decision I make in life, then it's the first answer. Yes, I am Pagan and have been for all of my adult life, and perhaps some time before that, depending on how old a person is when they become an adult! In my early 20's I discovered that there was a 'name' for what I believed to be true about Life, The Universe and Everything. By my late 20's I had found myself a teacher, and committed the next 10 years to intensive study in the Druid tradition. My personal definition of Druidry is this:
"At the centre of Druidry is the quest for inspiration. This is sought in the beauty of nature, music, poetry, art, dreams, mediation and the wisdom of our ancestors and the ancestors of the land. Druidry helps its practitioners to find deep personal healing and growth, and through this, connection to spirit, to the earth, to nature and to life. Druids usually live within the boundaries of a strict personal code of ethics, and for most this will include being vegetarian or vegan, and living as lightly as possible upon the land in order to cause as little impact on both their immediate environment and therefore the wider environment, as possible."
You can read other people's definitions (including mine) HERE.
Paddymade, wanted to know about my tattoos....
I have 6 tattoos. The first was done when I was 22 or 23, and at the time when I defined my spiritual path as pagan. It's a simple celtic knot at the top of my right arm. It symbolises infinity and the never ending cycle of life, death, rebirth.
The second was part of a profound earth initiation rite which I did after the first 5 years of my aforementioned study. Each 'module' (for lack of a better word), took the student through each element - Earth, Air, Fire, Water - in that order. This tattoo on my spine is an Adder, - a snake native to this land, Britain's only venomous snake, and symbol of earth magic, fertility, regeneration, darkness and healing amongst other things. This is my favourite tattoo and it was done by a lovely lady who understood perfectly the reason for it's being, and how to flow the energy correctly. I have two tattoos on my lower back which symbolise air (freedom, thought, inspiration, truth) and water (emotions). I have not yet had fire done - not for any particular reason, I just haven't got round to it. I also have a feather tattooed behind my left ear - this is part of the 'air' tattoo and symbolises the ability to listen - an important feature of air. I also have a tattoo on my left foot - it is a fun tattoo, a swallow resting on a branch done in the "old style" which ofcourse is quite new! I had it done in Italy with Italian Connection, it's a tradition of ours to be pierced or tattooed at the same time, so in someways, that foot tattoo symbolises a great friendship.
BillieJane wanted to know who my role model is ... hmmm... Well, I'm not like other girls! Ofcourse I have my 'idols' (in the loosest sense of the word), Audrey Hepburn being one, Sophia Loren another, and Vivien Westwood too .. but I don't consider these women to be role models really. The only role model I would say I had was a real woman, my aforementioned teacher. I met her 13 years ago, she was the Druid Preistess at our wedding, and it was after this that I asked her to teach me. At the time, she exuded an air of peace, tranquility and a solid, grounded confidence which, as an extremely angry and unhappy young woman, attracted me. She was a good teacher. I learned more than I could ever have dreamed possible, and I am deeply grateful for that.
One of the things which didn't go down brilliantly in my 'training', came out when I went through the 'fire' stage. This was all about exploring the fire in one's belly, the motivation behind all intention, and ofcourse passion. A passion which came through was sewing - I know, you would never have guessed! And sewing corsets at that. I was told that this was a little "superficial", so I put it off for a while. But it wont go away! So i'm going with it, and Twiggy asks "If you could make a corset for anyone in the public eye, who would it be and what would it look like?" ... Hmmm.... I think Helena Bonham Carter with the help of her husband has already done that look for me in Sweeny Todd, so I would say that there is no celebrity I would make a corset for. The people who I want to make corsets for are real women who say "I could never fit into one of those" or "I wish I had the figure for one of those" ... ALL women have the figure for a corset, trust me!
MummyBooBear asked what my 'top five soundtrack' is. VERY difficult question as I have always loved all kinds of music but in chronological (ish) order:
1. "I Want to be Free by Toyah" - caused much torment to my parents and defined my 'teenage attitude' and also later, was one of the 'anthems' enjoyed in drunken moments (of which there were many) with the queen of all Toyah fans, Italian Connection.
2. "Hong Kong Garden" by Siouxsie and the Banshees - the pop idol who defined my 'look' at age 14, she's the reason my hair is (still) black - it hasn't really changed all that much!
3. "Vagabonds" by New Model Army, when Mr Marmalade and I got together this was the band which was ..
4. "Death or Glory" by The Clash - reminds me of Jimmy and his skateboard -it was featured in the brilliant skateboarding film "Lords of Dogtown"
5. "Venus in Furs" by The Velvet Underground.
Fancy Elastic wants to know what my party trick is ... I would say 'shoes'.
And last but most definitely not least, Ginny asked "If your house was on fire and your family/animals were all safe, which one thing would you want to save from the fire?". The answer to that would be my trusty Mac as it has the rest of my life in it's memory banks! Really, the most important thing would be the photos. Everything else can be replaced one way or another.
Phew! I think I need a lie down now!