Archive for November, 2014


As the winter evenings draw in, our little family long to sit by the fire and watch something wonderful on the TV after a hard day, but it’s not possible. Why? First of all it isn’t cold enough to light a fire, second of all there isn’t anything good on the TV. So we decided to look for a video, and out came last year’s Christmas present, a boxed set of all the Harry Potter films. And so we sat down to watch ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and were completely charmed all over again, not least of all by all the bewitching storyline and enchantments, including the invisibility cloak, in all its glory.

UnknownAfterwards, tucked up in bed, I thought, “hang on a sec, you don’t need an invisibility cloak to be invisible… all you need is to be female, over 60, shortish grey haired and instantly – abracadabra – you too can be invisible!” And it can be quite an adventure being invisible, as Harry Potter discovered. Here is a very recent and exciting example. A great friend and I went to the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square a few days ago to see the re-hung Laughing Cavalier and his cronies in the Great Hall … We decided to splash out and go to the restaurant that belongs to the Wallace Collection, which is housed in one of the most beautiful spaces in London.
It’s in the courtyard of Hertford House (which houses the collection) with a glass roof  and some lovely greenhouse-like trees thrown in – a thing of beauty. Quite honestly, if you stuck the most disgusting stinky chip bar in there it would still seem sophisticated, because this is one of the most elegant spaces in London. As it is, this place is a Peyton and Byrne restaurant, and I know these of old. This double act has already screwed up in the Brighton Pavilion, and having eaten in the Wallace Restaurant before, I already had an idea of what was to come, but decided to do what was easy at the time…  the unexpected arrival of the invisibility cloak, however, added an extra dimension to the proceedings. Mary and I arrived for lunch and stood in front of the desk, and a young man asked us if we had a reservation and all that stuff, and the maître d’, a smart middle aged person with lots of makeup said ‘Good Morning’ and the waiter waited (as he was supposed to do) for the maître d’ to show us to our table… But she didn’t, because she was talking to some geezer in an Armani suit and a signed scarf, for we (Mary and I that is) had suddenly disappeared from the maître d’s line of vision, masked by our invisibility cloak. The waiting waiter was aghast. This was because he could see us, but the maître d’ could not. Clearly the spell had not worked so well on him, and muttering confused words of untranslatable drivel he guided us to our table, completely fazed by what he had just witnessed. For Mary and I this was not something new.

The food was completely unmemorable, apart from the bill, but the service seemed OK, and the company was perfect, and the conversation enlightening. At the end of the meal we paid and went, having removed the invisibility cloak. It was the removal of the invisibility cloak that did it. The maître d’, who had never seen us before, spotted two people on their way out of the restaurant, and looming towards us, in full war paint and very high stiletto heels (with just a touch of the Cruella Deville) made the cardinal mistake of asking us if we had enjoyed our meal, whereupon the fabulously demure Rev Mary Gavin fired back with both barrels. I wish I could remember what she said but it was along the lines of ‘the meal was all about style over substance, and one shouldn’t serve up mediocre food in a restaurant with such pretensions, food that could be produced by any half-competent cook, also that the Scottish pheasant was tough, and the price did not reflect what was actually served which was pretty run-of-the mill’, and I think she may have also pointed out that if it ‘wasn’t for convenience of the place we wouldn’t be there at all’. The maître d’ stepped back aghast. After all… she had never seen us before, and in horror and surprise she spluttered something about telling the new chef and how these observations would be acted on. As we departed Mary said, “I bet she regretted asking us that one!


Has the Laughing Cavalier tried the restaurant at the Wallace Collection ?

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Dween – the 1,028,110th word in the English Language

The English language is abundant, but not always perfect. It absorbs lots of words from other languages, and as long as people arrive from other countries and settle here, we’ll continue to have a massively expressive and colourful language that grows and develops and continues to be increasingly rich. UnknownThere are words that cannot be translated into English, and in the English language there are words that don’t translate either. The word ‘coy’ doesn’t have an equivalent either in Italian or French, whilst the English language, with a vocabulary of 1,028,109 words still doesn’t have a decent word for the Italian ‘simpatico’ or the French ‘sympathique’ – the translation says ‘nice’ but it’s nothing to do with nice. While I was learning Reiki it was my practise to wake every morning and say these words – ‘Just for today, I will not anger, I will not worry, I will be grateful, I will be diligent and I will be kind to others.’ It’s a lovely spiritual affirmation isn’t it? But as a hypnotherapist and meditator these words also concerned me. There is a concept about putting ideas into the subconscious, which reckons that if you say “don’t think about pink elephants!” the first thing one does is visualise galloping pink elephants charging down the London Road. imagesSo when one thinks about not being angry, one has to think about anger, and this annoyed me and made me angry and what annoyed me even more was that there’s no word in English that is the opposite of anger, and because of that it’s really tricky to imagine the non-angry state. So I started to think about the opposite of anger… and… it’s kind of… kind of… calm and serene, sweet and patient and poised, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised there is an opposite state to being angry, and the only thing we are missing was the word itself. So I lay in bed, wondering what the word was, and I emailed a request to my subconscious to supply a word for the non-angry person or state, and it came back with the word ‘dween’.dween-1 Dween? I thought… are you having me on? It sounds far too much like ‘dweeb’ but as I mulled over it, I liked it more and more… dween has an element of the dream about it; to be dween is to be calmed beyond the point of being soothed. It’s definitely a non-aggressive word, and as I gave it more thought, phrases came to mind, such as “she’s just so utterly dween, nothing annoys her,” and ‘it’s a genuinely dween dog’ meaning it was peaceful and loveable and would never bite you. So the more I thought about the glory of the word dween, the more pleasant and happy I felt about it. Having taken this on board it seemed that the Reiki mantra should really go like this: “Just for today, I shall be dween, I shall not worry…’ hang on a sec… do I need a word for not worrying? Well that’s something I can’t possibly be worried about.

Anyway, here’s my question to you…are you dween by nature? Will anger-management make you more dween? Do you feel better for knowing that you are dween? Of course you do. Being dween is so loveable, it means that you just can’t be angry, however hard you try. If you’re dween you can’t be mean.

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