"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Christmas Rose

A Rose in Winter

It's 9pm on Christmas Eve and the weather has turned suddenly chilly, almost as if the sky deities know that people are dreaming of a white and frosty Christmas.  I'm curled up by the fire, with the lights of the tree twinkling and sparkling around me. A cinnamon chai WoodWick candle crackles as it burns, filling the room with a warm spicy fragrance.

I feel content and a bit dreamy tonight.  Although it is only the beginning of Christmas my mind has already turned towards the goals I want to set myself for next year.  2015 is drawing to a quiet close and I am happy to leave it behind. It hasn't been a bad year; but I have been in a state of anger, grief and sadness for much of it.  Now that a new year is waiting in the wings and I am in a much calmer state of mind, I feel ready to welcome new adventures.

I have greatly missed Scotland this year, but having a break from it was the right thing to do, for several reasons.  I'll be continuing the break through 2016 too. Friends there have my number and can call me if they miss me meantime, and the motorway runs both ways - they can always come to Yorkshire. 

But for now my college course has to take priority, and pass or fail, I have only 18 months of studying left to go and then I'll be free of night school.  So I plan to return to Scotland after completing the course; perhaps to Dornoch for the autumnal equinox in 2017. That is something I can look forward to and it will be a nice treat after four years of studying, essay writing and exams.

This time away from the Highlands has served to help me reassess how I feel about what I've experienced there, because it isn't all romance and pipe-dreams. There is a harsh side to Scotland; the cold weather takes its toll on me because of my thyroid illness; some of the local women there can be hostile at times; and my straight-taking Yorkshire ways simply cannot fathom the two faces of the Scots. Do they know they can seem false to those who might be unfamiliar with their ways? Why can't they just say what they mean? Why talk in riddles and in the 3rd person when I'm standing right there?  I needed a break from it.

I needed time to get back to my honest Yorkshire roots; to good old fashioned English values.  An Austrian called Sven told me "You are an English rose"...I've been thinking about this in recent months.  What does it mean to be an English rose and have I allowed the Bruce to be too dominant a side of my personality?  I am the rose and the thistle combined, English and Scots by birth and blood, yet I've never thought of myself as an English rose before - it took an Austrian tourist to point it out to me.

An English rose is pale skinned, with rosy lips and cheeks..so in that respect I fit the description.  The White Rose is the emblem of Yorkshire, so that fits too.  Yet I always imagined an English rose to be passive, easily charmed and that's where I falter.  I'm too bolshie to be passive - yet roses have thorns, so maybe I am one after all. It has certainly given me food for thought.

To me an English rose is peaceful, gentle, charming and joyful; while the Scots Thistle is prickly, defensive, vigilant and wild. 'None shall irritate me unscathed' and I have certainly exhibited thistle behavior this past year, so perhaps it is time to cultivate my inner rose instead and see where she takes me. Perhaps she will help me to remain calm and serene under pressure; receptive and open to bright new prospects; blossoming towards a new adventure.  

Maybe 2016 will be my English Rose year; a year to soften the edges and come to full bloom once more.  Perhaps it is only by embracing my English side that the rose and the thistle can co-exist peacefully together within my personality. And its not like I'm turning away from my Scots side because the white rose was also the symbol of the Jacobites...so I guess whichever way you look at it rebellion is in my blood! 

And so tonight, a Christmas rose is born...and a Merry Christmas to all the other roses out there x

Wednesday, 16 December 2015


Lay me down on a bed of roses...

Send me away with the words of a love song...

The ballad of a dove, go in peace and love.

Friday, 4 December 2015

ONCE UPON A DREAM; My Mercurial Mind

Preparing to dive into a new essay assignment...

Tonight is writing weather...by that I mean it's dark, stormy, wet and windy...the perfect weather for hiding away in my little study and putting together this blog post. It's been a while since I posted anything on here and that is because I've been concentrating on my night school classes, course work, my columns and freelance writing.  Oh and I had my birthday last month too! So I've been quite busy.

This past week we were given one of our assignments for the course; an essay to be completed in the next four weeks. I have been gathering together my counselling books to assist me as we have to include references throughout the work. This doesn't really sit well with me to be honest - I'm used to writing all my own words, not relying on other authors for back-up! It's one of the differences between commercial and academic writing. 

I am still finding the whole academic side of things to be very pretentious.  Basically, academics like to take a very simple thing and dress it up in as much pomposity as they can manage in order to try and pass it off as something extremely complex that only they and their ilk can understand.  But I just can't buy into that kind of bullshit. I find it totally ridiculous.  The other day for example, our tutor must have spent at least an hour defining the word 'evaluate' - an hour!! I mean, it's not rocket science is it? It's just a word.  I find it difficult not to roll my eyes. 

Some of the course content is quite interesting. I enjoy the self-awareness side of counsellor training and when I can relate to something I find it keeps hold of my attention for longer. But the rest is just too far up it's own rear end for my tastes. It brings out my moody side.  

I have always had a very mercurial mind and I do experience swift and sudden changes in temperament; it is easy to make me laugh, but it is also easy to make me furious!  This is magnified whenever I get stressed and it triggers my forgetfulness too, so for the past few years, what with juggling the course and my writing and coming to terms with five deaths in three years, I have been a mood-swinging enigma!  

People never know what kind of response they will get from me - good or ill-tempered.  Recent bereavements have only added fuel to the temperamental fire, as it would with anyone. But I'm starting to move into a much calmer place now.  I'm still sad at the passing of three of my friends in the Highlands, but there is a quiet serenity to my sorrow these days.

That's not to say I'll never display another ill-tempered backlash to a time wasting cold-caller, because I probably will. But I am remembering to try and breathe through the stress before I respond to anyone.  To slow down. To think before I feel.  And true friends make allowances anyway.

The silver lining is that, just like me, some of the strongest women in history have also been of a very mercurial mindset - Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria - so maybe it's not such a bad thing after all. Maybe it is  a mark of my strength. 
Could it be a sign of your strength too?