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Welcome to our home! This is where we write about what we love, share what we love, and promote what we love. Our editors are anonymous, after all this Magazine isn't about us, it's about U. The 13th Sign is the forgotten one, the overlooked one, the one which cares about the Earth and its creatures. It's about U, reminding U that there is a huge sense of satisfaction when U grow your own food, create, and spend your evenings lost in a novel with a plot that has U wrapped around its spine. The little things in life make up the majority of our existence and 13th Sign Magazine is a gentle reminder to put U first, because if you don't look after U, U can't look after anyone else. U matter, spending time doing nurturing activities like baking, crafting, reading and gardening centres U, it keeps U in balance. When U are in balance, you start to care about the planet's balance. 13th Sign is a quarterly magazine available online for free. 13th Sign Publishing is an author collective, working towards a common goal within a nurturing community, promoting health and happiness, and the books and authors we love. We hope that U enjoy our first issue. All copyright is held by the authors and 13th Sign Magazine, and may not be reprinted unless authorised through 13th Sign Magazine.

13th Sign Magazine All email enquiries: Advertising Enquiries: Pinterest Facebook Twitter

Mission Statement: 13th Sign Magazine is for readers and the health conscious. It aims to inform by using accurate information and statistics available. At all times we endeavour to verify all information in articles which is why all references are cited. We believe that life should be simple, this includes crafts and cooking. The simpler our lives are, the more time we shall have to enjoy them. Simplicity starts at home, at grass roots level.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, sponsors, advertisers or publisher. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that article content is accurate and truthful, we cannot accept responsibility for inaccurate or misleading information herein. We do not necessarily endorse the products advertised in this magazine. All copyright is held by the authors and 13th Sign Magazine, and may not be reprinted unless authorised through 13th Sign Magazine. Cover image: Š Sandralise Recipes and Crafts supplied by Gratitude & Happy Thoughts

CONTENTS Spicy Beans


Apple Flapjacks


Celebrity Exclusive: Rod Glenn Interview 13

Sweet Pumpkin Loaf


The Language of Flowers

Spicy Bean Tomato Soup


Sweet Potato Compost


Beetroot Compost


The Horrors of Dating Over 30

7 2

Health & Nutrition

Apple & Pumpkin What Type of Yogi Are You? Combatting Bacteria




Pumpkins and Why They’re Good For You 35 Nutrition

Cinnamon Rolls

Halloween Crafts


The Magic of 528 Hz


Jar Candle Holders


Probiotics and Why We Need Them


Pumpkin Candle


Sack Decorations


Pumpkin Doorstop


Halloween Food Pumpkin Seed Candy


Mini Pumpkin Donuts


Hot & Sticky Ginger-Pumpkin Puddings


Pumpkin Bread


My Autumn


Carrot Soup


The Left Eye


Corn Bread


Midnight Curse


Butternut & Sweet Potato Soup


The Cemetery Gates


Beetroot Soup


Halloween Reading

Xmas Foods


Matcha Chocolates


Audio Books


Matcha & Vanilla Biscuits


Book Reviews


Cauliflower & Broccoli Soup


Chewy Nut Biscuits


Spice Cookies


Cranberry Bread


Ice Cream Surprise


Music for Cats


Mince Pies


Valerian Cat Toy


Gunpowder Biscuits


Dog Biscuits


Turmeric & Vanilla Biscuits


Gifts for Cats


Pink Potato Croquets


Gifts for Dogs


Vegetarian Quiche


Traditional Yule Cake


Xmas Crafts Bath Scrub


Bath Bombs


Incense Chimney


Tree Spice Sacks


Tree Bows


Walnut Decorations


Tree Hearts


Whiskers & Wags


Language of F lowers by T.K Geering


y cottage garden in the cool of the evening is one of the many pleasures in my life. As the sun sinks down giving respite from its 30ºC degree heat, the flowers visibly relax and their heady perfume always seem more intense as they raise their heads to enjoy the spray of a good watering. The swing seat where I do my writing is surrounded by sweet peas, roses, petunias and fuchsias. Whilst sitting there it got me wondering about the Victorian language of flowers, which denoted all kinds of emotions. Let’s then imagine a pair of star crossed Victorian lovers desperate to relate their feelings to one another, but decorum dictating otherwise. The chaperone of course would be sitting in the corner, probably, preoccupied with needlepoint but not missing anything. Are they too close? Did he touch her hand, her mouth? Floriography (the language of flowers) came to their rescue. I believe it was some time in the 1800’s that Victorians started to learn about it. Basically it became a secret code of communication. Lists of the meanings, and books on the subject, began to appear in social circles and became all the rage. However the selection of flowers used had to be done with care. Just imagine 2

our star crossed lover wanting to say You are beautiful, and instead of giving his love a single apple blossom he mixes it with yellow chrysanthemums, which meant I’m in love with someone else! What a faux pas that would be. His best bet in that situation would be to do a lot of grovelling and then give her a snowdrop, “Can we try again?” Fingers crossed she accepted his plea. During my past research I discovered the endless lists of flowers and their meaning. Here are some for you to consider. Anemone – You’re no longer attractive to me Alyssum – I admire your virtuous character Arbutus – You are my true love Bellflower – Meet me in the morning Bluebell – I have always been faithful to you Camellia – I think you are lovely Chrysanthemum (red) – I love you too Dahlia – Don’t come near me again Evening Primrose – I adore you Fuchsia – The one you love is unfaithful Gardenia – Are you pure and untouched? Honeysuckle – I want to marry you Iris – I love you deeply Jasmine – I find you extremely elegant Lavender – I like you but can never love you Mistletoe – A thousand kisses Narcissus – You are too self possessed Passionflower – My heart belongs to someone else Red Rose – I love you with all my heart Snowdrop – Can we try again? Trumpet flower – I want you passionately Wallflower – I will always be true to you From the list I think the biggest surprise to me was the passionflower “my heart belongs to someone else.” I wonder how many mistakes were made with that one. What about that beautiful gardenia, “Are you pure and untouched?” So, when you next receive flowers, whether it’s from a man or a woman, take a long hard look at the blooms and keep in mind some of the meanings above. 3


ou’re interested in Yoga because you’ve heard so many beneficial things about it, but you have no idea what type of Yoga is for you. I’m the Hatha Yoga girl myself, and in our next eZine I will tell you more about this most practiced form of Yoga outside India. In future articles I hope to offer greater insights into the most popular forms of Yoga. To answer your initial question – what type is best suited to me? – I present you with a concise infographic on the most common types of Yoga, from active to devotional. Please do look them up yourself and read more extensively about each form. If you’re lucky enough to live in a big city, you may find most of these forms on offer and can always try a lesson to see if you enjoy it. I’ve been doing Yoga since my early twenties. I took it up when I found out I was too old to become a dancer. Yoga is also called the Inner Dance, that’s why. But when I turned 50 (now ten years ago), I decided to enrol at the oldest Yoga Institute in Europe, Saswitha Instituut voor Yoga en Wijsbegeerte ( - only in Dutch, which is here in my home country in the Netherlands.

The 4-year course was a tough ride because the standards are very high, and the majority of the students were in their early 30s, so much more flexible and stronger than me. But that’s where the Yoga philosophy comes in: Yoga is not – EVER – about competition; it’s about knowing and feeling the limits of your own body, its weaknesses, its incapacities and its strong points. Real Yogi’s easily detect big ego and showing off in the glamorous pics of complicated positions as we know them from magazines and the Internet. That’s NOT Yoga. Yoga is living the posture (asana) from within, breathing into it and making it your – imperfect – own. So don’t be misled by all the extreme stuff! That’s merely the Western approach to competition and perfection. I had to learn not to compare myself with others, too, and it’s been a liberating experience.



a preview into dating and the internet by Jo Sexton Ten years is a long time in the dating world. The internet was invented and people now speed through dates, chat with people on dating sites, or place a personal ad. Basically the chances of being rejected before even meeting someone, or within the first five minutes of meeting, are high. I have come to the conclusion that it takes more than two dates and one night of passion to find out if you should even pursue anything further. Why waste several months on the wrong man? So my mission became; how do I find the right man, and where? Not so suddenly at thirty something, with two small children, I was on the hunt for a man. So it all begins with internet dating sites. Is this like the blind date? In a way, yes, but blind dates are usually set up. People known by people you know. A vague screening process has at least taken place.

This person has been spotted in real life and isn’t being represented by a sexy photo plucked off the internet and a fake profile. Is the offline internet meeting the blind date equivalent of the 10’s? I was about to find out. For the purposes of anonymity I won’t name the actual places I cruised in the name of research. Well, that’s what I’m calling it anyway. I could find out a little bit about the dating world for the purposes of writing and in the meantime I might actually score a date. It would be easy, or so I’d thought. I wasn’t prepared for what I discovered in the online world and very quickly learned that people aren’t always as they pretend to be, or what their profiles claim. (I’ve been on enough internet forums to know this already, but I went naively into this thinking that this was different). If someone seems too good to be true then they probably are. Needless to say the internet dating part of my tour was interesting and has many parts. 7

Mr Shiny and internet dating

Then, after several days of zero communication, I was supposed to hear from him about the time to meet. I heard not a thing. Silence followed after a very long session on the phone. Now in the age of internet and text messages I spend less time talking on the phone. I still like to do it but why call when you can say it in text, so long phone conversations are rare but encouraging. Day and place set then... nothing. I still to this day have no idea what happened. He was probably married and looking for a shag on the side. Who knows, but I should have thought it weird when he was reluctant to exchange details yet happy to take mine... So my first flirtation

When I joined the online dating site all I wanted was a user friendly site that I could cruise around on that wouldn’t cost me my left arm. I’ve made friends on forums and various other places online before, so I knew how easy it would be to talk to people. The interesting part is the initial response. Flirtations flying about, a plethora of men and loads of people to browse through. Pics to look at and evaluate. This is where the first thing can go wrong. As we all may well know, anyone, at any time, can post a fake picture. This is obviously the number one rule.

I wasn’t prepared for what I discovered in the online world, and very quickly learned that people aren’t always as they pretend to be came to a screaming halt. It came to light that Mr Shiny hadn’t fallen into a black hole, or didn’t end up in traction after an unfortunate road accident, but was cruising the site again for his next victim. I never received a word. Not a sorry for the silence, or acknowledgement of my message which read, hey what gives? No explanation. Perhaps he was being nice and didn’t want to hurt my feelings. But his silence and rejection stung. I thought he could’ve at least been a man and say sorry I stood you up, you’re not what I’m looking for. This was still a mystery and I had to accept the fact that I was rejected... for whatever reason.

Add to this a profile that seems great and you want to believe the photo could be real. I used a real avatar. So when you find there on-screen what sounds too wonderful... well he probably is. For the purpose of my first story and to keep what little I know about him a secret, I’m going to call him Mr Shiny, for that is how he appeared. He had the credentials, he ticked all the boxes and our banter was fun and flirtatious... I had an internet crush. Not the first time... wouldn’t be the last? He took my number after prolonged internet dating, and we had several get to know each other calls before arranging to meet. Now I wondered at this point why his voice didn’t seem to match... didn’t quite fit. 8

Thankfully I’m resilient and I bounced back... until the next time... A little disheartened, I decided there was more than one guy on the site. Perhaps I could give it another go... think again.

of my affection is sharing this affection with someone else. The green eyed monster comes out and I become this totally different person, and I don’t like it when she escapes. So basically The Married Man was disregarded before I even started. So this brings me to Mr Hard Up. Now why am I calling him this? Good question. And one I’ll answer in a moment, but first, if I’ve learnt anything from my experiences on the dating site it is this. The men are either: • Married, admitting they are and state quite freely they are after an affair. • Are married and don’t admit it, but are quite freely looking for an affair. • Pretend to be someone they aren’t. • They are single and only looking for a booty call. • They aren’t attractive. Now I realise this sounds very judgemental of me and I know I’m not going to win Miss Universe, or I’m not 25, but there has to be an attraction no matter how nice they are. If I couldn’t kiss them, then I can’t date them. • Then I assume there are some men who are seeking a relationship, are what they portray, aren’t unattractive and are seeking the same as me. But I think these are the ones that are harder to find. I didn’t meet anyone on the site (besides Mr Shiny the con artist) that I could truly say, yes, this could lead to something. I didn’t think I would find my soul mate on the internet. I waited to be surprised.

THE HARD UP & THE MARRIED MAN I continued on with the site even though my first interaction went sour. While I had been communicating with Mr Shiny I came across two other contenders who seemed interested. The first was the married man. At first I didn’t realise this to be the case. I learned quickly after this to check the status before investing any of my time. He attempted to dazzle me with poetry and sweet flattering words. When I learned he was married this only intensified his pursuit and how much he wanted to meet me. Now, before we go on, I must get one thing very straight. I don’t want to be the other woman. There are several reasons for this. The number one being that I couldn’t do that to someone. I couldn’t knowingly conduct a sordid affair with another woman’s husband. I have standards. I have morals. I don’t want to be the cause of someone being hurt. He continued to pursue and boost my ego, and I continued to play hard to get... because in this instance, I was. It was flattering and sometimes sweet, but it wasn’t enough to make me ignore my judgement. The other reason was quite simple. I don’t like to share. I could blame this on being an only child, but I won’t. You see envy is one of the sins I’m guilty of. I don’t like the idea that the object

Anyway, Mr Hard Up, he seemed like the last point. Genuine, nice guy who is searching for love. As it turned out, he was after the booty. I didn’t know this at first. I had lunch 9

with him but there was no spark. I couldn’t imagine kissing him. It wasn’t that he was unattractive... just not my type. I have a single friend who I have been going on all these adventures with. Online dating, speed dating and the like... and I thought perhaps they would hit it off. How wrong could I be? As soon as he found out he wouldn’t get the booty from her, he ran for the hills before deciding to give it one last go with me. Suffice to say I was no longer in contact! This same friend, mentioned above, was also trying internet dating. She organised a date with one of these guys, they seem great but aren’t what they seemed.

you date a number of men, in my case fifteen, for five minutes each. You then have to determine which men you would like to date, be friends with, or never see again. They are then correlated and matched. If you pick a date for someone and they pick friendship, it defaults to friendship. If you say no, then the details aren’t given out. I received one date match, which I thought was pretty good considering I had only marked down a handful of dates myself. The others were all friendship matches, or no match. My date match contacted me. I remembered he worked in television, thus the original name of Mr TV for privacy sake, so I thought he could be interesting and successful.

After three strikes it was time to give up on the online dating. He turned out to be pretending to be something he wasn’t. Thankfully she spotted him before going to meet him. The funniest thing about this was that he actually thought it would be okay. He was at least 20 years older than his profile portrayed. So he turned up knowing he’s lied and didn’t think she would reject him! All very strange. After three strikes it was time to give up on the online dating.

We met for a drink, which turned into dinner, which turned into more drinks followed by hot kisses at my door. It was a great date. One of the best ones I’d had for as long as I could remember. He was witty, charming and mature, with an interesting career. Things looked promising. Leading up to our second date I still wasn’t sure. Yes, we had a great first date, but we are always on our best behaviour. We are flirty, charming, sophisticated and witty. I don’t put too much faith into a first date. Regardless, I thought there could be more to it. I wanted to find out whether I wanted to pursue things, whether I should go with chemistry and see whether we had something of substance once the gloss of a new prospect wore off.

SPEED DATING & MR TV Speed Dating is an interesting idea and I went in with no expectations. For those who don’t know the concept, 10

He also carried a lot of baggage... but I have my fair share so I wasn’t going to let that influence me. The second date he impressed me. Dinner, wine, interesting company, great conversation... You see the reasons men speed date are very similar to the reasons why men online-date. See if you can work out which category Mr TV fell into, and why I didn’t see him again. So my experiences in the dating world were eye opening to say the least. I didn’t end up meeting the man of my dreams through either of these channels.

In closing, I had met a great man before my foray into the dating world but we were just friends to begin with. We went through a lot together as friends and our relationship evolved into a partnership. We are still together six years later. We have a strong relationship based on friendship and companionship. So I discovered it’s possible to find love again in your 30s.

WRITER, PUBLISHER, ACTOR Rod Glenn is an extraordinary man. He’s a founding member of Wild Wolf Publishing, an actor, an author, a father and friend. He’s a man who should be an egotistical creep, instead he’s thoughtful, loyal, and talented. His bestselling Sinema series is an action-thriller series of novels made for the screen, and now the first novel is being turned into a movie. No one knows the characters better than the author, so knowing he’s acting in it too makes his fans giddy with anticipation. We wanted to share his work with you and to let you know him a little bit better. Hello Rod! Thank you so much for being our first featured author interview. Q: How old were you when you decided you wanted to be an author? What was the catalyst to get you putting pen to paper and following this dream? A: I started writing daft short stories from a very young age (I think around 8 or 9) - they were usually based loosely on films I was watching at the time (usually horrors and sci-fis that I shouldn’t have been watching so young!), so they weren’t very original! There wasn’t really a specific catalyst - I just always had a vivid imagination and wanted to share it with others. 13

Q: How did you juggle work, family life, and opening a new publishing house? A: With great difficulty! Long hours.  As luck would have it, I have suffered from insomnia for quite a few years, so I don’t get much sleep anyway - more time to work!  I suppose the other important factor is to be organised and plan your time. Q: Tell us about your books, what inspired you to write gritty action novels? A: As well as being an avid reader of most genres, I am also a huge film fanatic and I just wanted to write exciting stories that would keep readers on the edge of their seats.  The most important element for me though is the characters - they have to be rich, interesting and believable.  I love the grey area between good and evil - all my ‘good’ guys have a dark element and all my ‘bad’ guys have redeeming qualities. Q: Tell us about breaking into the acting scene in the UK? Was it hard? Was it scary? A: Because I always had a vivid imagination coupled with a desire to tell a story I suppose it was natural that I also wanted to act.  I thrived in drama at school and then went on to do a theatre and performing arts course at college.  But it wasn’t until later in life that I rediscovered my love of acting.  I fell into 9-5 jobs while writing in my spare time for years, but a chance opportunity to be in World War Z changed everything.  I played a riot cop and was on screen for maybe 2 seconds, but it was like being hit by freight train.  I immediately started taking on roles in student films and low/no budget projects to help hone my craft and also to start building contacts in the industry and slowly progressed from there. It’s a tough industry 14

like publishing in a lot of ways, but you just have to work hard and be tough-skinned (luckily I was already used to rejection from my writing!). Q: I know we’re stalking your IMBd page, but can you tell us about your acting history, tell us about the work you’ve been in, and which was your favourite character to act? A: Films have included World War Z, Fury, The Monuments Men, Bill, Macbeth, The Fairy Flag, The Hippopotamus and Dolls and television roles include Ripper Street, Wolfblood, The Hollow Crown, Vera and a few others. Some of my favourites have been playing explorer, Captain Scott in Outside, a detective with a dark secret in Dolls and a grieving father and criminal psychologist in The Sceptic. Q: You’ve worked with some very famous people. Did you ever have a fanboy moment? A: I had a huge fanboy moment when I met Bill Murray on the set of The Monuments Men. He’s an absolute legend. Q: Every actor has a bucket list. Who would you most like to act with in the wishful future? A: I would love to act alongside Christopher Walken - bloody love that guy! Oh and maybe Scarlett Johansson, but probably for different reasons!  I would’ve loved to have worked with Alan Rickman too, but alas that time has passed unfortunately.  Sadly missed. Q: You act, write, ran a computer store, opened a publishing house - what else can you do? Draw? Musical? Mega chef? (lol) Are you hiding more big talents we should know about? A: Haha, I love cooking actually - I never go off recipes though - I just throw things together and hope for the best. I’m useless at drawing - got an E for art!  I used to drum in college, but now I just irritate everyone by tapping and banging away on any available surface when the mood strikes. 15

Q: How did your family react to your

only around 6 months to write, but as I

dreams? You kept chasing each one

mentioned above, The King of America

down until you conquered each goal.

took the longest by far. I average around

Did they support your dreams, or did

1 year to complete a novel.

they roll their eyes and think ‘here we Q: What would you like readers to

go again?’ A: They have always been supportive

know about this process? We’re living

- I couldn’t ask for a more supportive

in a digital age, an audiobook age, and

family. They’ve probably had a few eye-

getting titles onto bookshelves is a

rolling moments though and who could

constant struggle. Help our readers

blame them??? I want to write...I want to


run a computer shop...I want to start up a

process is, how much of an endurance

publishing house...OOOO wait! I want to

race it is, and how much work goes on

act too! My wife puts up with a lot!

behind the scenes.




Tell us about how this idea was Q: Which of your books would you

birthed, became a novel, and grew up

advocate the most? And why? (We

to be available on every major book

know that every book is special,

platform, and now even Walmart is

but what makes this one the most

stocking Wild Wolf Publishing books.

treasured to you?)

Is this process a longterm one?

A: My very first novel - The King of

How long does it take for an author

America - will always hold a special

to create a novel and release it, before

place in my heart. It was over 10 years


in the making with countless re-drafts

You’re an Indie Publisher, which

and a love affair that began in school.

means you don’t have the huge budget

After that, Sinema: The Northumberland

for marketing and distribution used by

Massacre has to be a close second. I

the big guns in this industry. Talk us

poured my soul into the likeable serial

through this process. A:

killer, Han Whitman. He is me in many









ways (setting aside the mass murdering

submission there is a long process of

of course...).

editing and formatting the novel while a cover is created and we work on a

Q: How long did it take you to write

marketing strategy. The title, cover and

each novel?

blurb are as important to the success of the book as the actual story itself, so

A: Some of my novels have taken 16

community of readers and writers with the Wild Wolf Facebook group. Q: Your acting work has had you travel a lot. So far, which was your favourite location, and why? A: Norway was my favourite - it was an extremely challenging shoot in extreme weather conditions, but the locations were truly stunning and we were filming

a lot of time goes into making them

in the same location as the Hoth scenes

as attractive to the target audience as

from Empire Strike Back.

possible. Then the hard work really begins - the marketing and promotion. 

Q: Do you have a creed you live by?

We don’t have a big marketing budget,

A mantra or quote which gets you

so we have to use social media and

through the hard days?

bloggers to help spread the word. The

A: It’s all good. I’ve said it for years

key is to get readers talking about the

- everyone who knows me knows I will

book and to get reviews in - the more

say it at least a dozen times a day! It’s

reviews the more exposure the title will

probably tedious for everyone else, but it

get on platforms such as Amazon. We

works for me!

have also worked hard on building up a


Q: Staying in shape is important. Are

by Edgar Allan Poe, IT by Stephen

you a workout junkie, a health bunny,

King, Phantoms by Dean Koontz, The

or do you just carpe diem?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by

A: I get irritated with myself if I haven’t

Douglas Adams, Life of Pi by Yann Martel

worked out for a few days. I love hitting

would all be up there to name just a few!

the gym - I’m a big weights fanatic, but I also love boxing and rock climbing.

Q: What is your favourite movie of all

Having a good workout is extremely


cathartic - makes me feel able to take on

A: Also very difficult!

the world.

The Thing,

Jaws, Alien, The Way Way Back, Almost Famous, Sideways, Key Largo.......

Q: If today was your last day on earth, tell us about it. What are you going to

Q: If you could choose one item to

do today? What will you eat and drink?

place into a time capsule, what would

What would you leave behind so we’d

it be?

never forget you?

A: A sock - that would confuse the

A: I would spend it with my family

future historians!

just hanging out, drinking, reminiscing, laughing. I’d drink rioja and single malt

Q: If you could change one thing about

whiskies with fillet steak. I’d just want

planet Earth, what would it be?

people to think of me from time to time

A: Abolish religion - the cause of

and smile fondly. He was a canny bloke,

virtually all humanity’s troubles since the

that Rod you know.

dawn of time.

Q: If you just won an award, who would

Q: It’s your 100th birthday. What

you thank, and why?

music is playing at your party?

A: I’d thank my wife first - she’s had to

A: An eclectic mix ranging from Nat

put up with all my crap all these years!

King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, David Bowie, The Who, Rolling Stones, Leonard

Q: What is your favourite novel of all

Cohen, Kate Bush, ELO, Eagles to Rage


Against the Machine, Disturbed, AC DC

A: Really really tough!

and everything in between. The carers

At the Mountains of Madness by H P

in the old people’s home would be sick of

Lovecraft, The War of the Worlds by H G

their lives!

Wells, The Raven (not a novel, I know!) 18

“They’ll be on top of us in a couple of

Q: Write an impromptu scene for our


readers. This is the scenario:

“I know.”

It’s the year 2085. A magnetic pulse from a solar flare has knocked the


communication grid down. The planet

“I know!”

is run by solar and wind power, so

Another rumble, closer this time. The

electronics still work. Martial law

basement room trembled. John picked up

has been introduced because the

a pistol from the workbench and nervously

crashing of world trade has everyone

eyed the door. “We’re in,” Jen said, releasing a deep

in a rioting panic. Churches are loaded


with converts, some think it’s the end of days, others are hoping for rapture,

“Upload it then! Quick!”

but the truth of the matter is that the

“Starting the upload. It’s going to take

grid could be brought back up using

a little while on this antiquated fibre link.”

LTE and satellite, - why haven’t they

Footsteps, shouting, gunfire.

done so? Why have the strongest

John rose to his feet and positioned

countries chosen to ‘stay dark’? What

himself between the door and the

is their objective, who gains, and why

terminal. “Too late.” The steel door exploded inwards,

are they using the media blackout to

landing bent and twisted at John’s feet.

wage war?

He opened fire into the void of swirling




A beam of blue light passed through

distant rumble dislodged dust from

his chest, through the holo-screen and

the rafters. The lights flickered.

John glanced up at the ceiling and

fizzled in the far wall. John dropped to

then back to the young woman at the

the ground, dead. The tennis ball-sized

computer. “They’ve found us.”

hole through his chest was cauterised with just a little singing to his shirt around

“I know,” she muttered without taking

the edges.

her eyes off the holo-screen. She was

Jen jumped to her feet, screaming,

furiously typing on the projected image of


a keyboard, beads of sweat standing out

Two armoured soldiers swept left and

on her forehead.

right into the room and then a suited man

“How much longer till you by-pass their

stepped in after them, casually wafting


the smoke and dust away from his face.

“Thirty seconds.” 19

survival of the race.”

Seeing the man, Jen spat, “Bastard.” The man smiled and said, “And then

“Traitor,” Jen snarled. Glancing back

some.” Glancing around the room, he

at the holo-screen, she added, “Well,

added, “You’ve led us on quite the wild

your secret’s out now.” The man shrugged. “It might be a

goose chase, Jennifer.”

longer fight, but the outcome will be just

“The world needs to know what’s

the same.”


“I’d rather die fighting than betray my

“Jennifer, Jennifer, it’s too late for all


that. This was the only way for the human

“That’s because you don’t see the

race to survive.”

bigger picture. It’s for the greater good.”

“For the select few!” “The invasion is inevitable, as is the

Jen glanced down at John’s dead body

destruction of Earth. By assisting them

and to the pistol still in his hand. “Fuck

we have ensured that some of us will

you!” She dropped and rolled, catching

survive and that’s all that matters now.”

the two soldiers off guard, a beam cutting harmlessly through the air above her

“We could’ve fought them if everyone


had known the truth!” “This isn’t a movie, Jennifer - the

She grabbed the pistol and fired

disparate nations of the world were not

as a second beam sliced through her

going to set aside their petty differences

abdomen. The man dropped to his knees,

to fight a common enemy and win the day.

clutching his throat as blood pumped out,

When ‘they’ targeted Earth it signalled

splashing onto the concrete.

our death warrant. Nothing was going

Jen stared at him as the darkness

to stop them, so we had to make a deal.

closed in around her and uttered, “That’s

We made it a little easier and quicker for

your fucking reward.”

them, that’s all. And our reward is the


Q: What’s your dream interview question? A: I think you did a damn fine job with these questions already! :) Thank you for having me!

Thank you so much for letting 13th Sign interrogate you. We’re super excited for the filming of Sinema. We’re proud to know you and look forward to your next novel!

Amazon Author Page IMDb Page Rod Glenn Showreel 1 Rod Glenn Showreel 2 Wild Wolf Publishing Rod Glenn Facebook Wild Wolf Publishing Facebook Rod Glenn Twitter





by Heather (from Gratitude & Happy Thoughts)

Bacterial infections create a host of human ailments, and the go to solution is usually antibiotics. The problem with antibiotics is they deplete the beneficial bacteria too, leaving your body vulnerable to imbalance and defenceless against harmful bacteria.

antimicrobials which utterly annihilate harmful bacteria in the body while leaving the beneficial bacteria unaffected. I also prefer cures which have zero side effects, because I’m of the opinion that if it has side effects then it’s not the solution. Olive Leaf Extract (OLE), and propolis, are the two things you can take instead of antibiotics. This article is focused on olive leaf extract, but if you’d like to know more about propolis then you can read our next issue to learn all about it.

We’re exposed to bacteria on a daily basis, from the seats we sit on to the things we touch, to the sneezes and handshakes from other people. At the end of this magazine is an article on probiotics and why we need them, if you read that you’ll get a basic overview of how many illnesses have been linked to bacteria. Autoimmune diseases also have been linked to bacteria. Endometriosis, candida, diarrhoea, IBS, SIBO, and fibromyalgia are just a few mega illnesses linked to bacterial infection. In my years as a health researcher and writer I’ve found two amazing natural


Olive leaf prevents adhesion of bacteria to intestine-epithelial cells, and heals pathogenic yeast infections. It improves vascular function and reduces inflammation - making it good for the heart. It also prevents oxidative stress and genotoxicity - protecting DNA from damage - is a potent antioxidant, and prevents and treats arthritis, and is 100% safe. In case studies involving olive leaf the researchers note that no adverse

effects were noted in humans taking chronic dosage, and their liver function was unaltered. It is quickly absorbed while maintaining renal clearance.1

olive leaf extracts showed combined antibacterial and antifungal action, which suggest their great potential as nutraceuticals.4 OLE (olive leaf extract) is effective for enhancing the healing of cartilaginous injuries, and may also have a beneficial effect of slowing and reducing the pathogenesis of degenerative joint diseases in humans. OLE also repairs skin ulcers and inflammatory wounds.6,15 The phenolic compounds present in olive leaves, especially the oleuropein, are associated to antioxidant, antihypertensive, hypoglycemic, hypocholesterolemic and cardioprotective activity. Studies associate the oleuropein to an anti-

The benefits of Olive Leaf OLE is a potent antimicrobial which wipes out harmful bacteria like H.pylori, S.Aureus, and C.jejuni, and is known for emulate gastric flora.2 A major polyphenol (secoiridoides and oleupein) in olive (oleuporin) inhibits the growth of a broad spectrum of pathogenic bacteria and microfungi, and mycoplasma5, making olive leaf the perfect antimicrobial treatment for intestinal and respiratory tract infections.3 At low concentrations 24

histological gastritis and an increase in fasting gastric pH. Fasting gastric PH increases with a bacterial infection, meaning you will have the most bloating and discomfort AFTER you stop eating and go to bed. You can treat gastric bacteria with antimicrobials like OLE.9

inflammatory effect in trauma of the bone marrow and as a support in the treatment of obesity. Rotaviruses are the single most important cause of severe diarrhoea in young children worldwide, and Olea europaea L. may be useful in the treatment of diarrhoea caused by rotavirus infection.7 Dried olive leaf was also investigated as a treatment for patients suffering with neuroinflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis, olive leaf is a recommended supplement as it’s beneficial in such cases.8

Peptic ulcer is mostly produced due to the over production of gastric acid. Olive leaf extract reduces the volume, free and total acidity of gastric secretion, and the extract has no adverse effects on liver and kidney function.10 Both inflammatory and cancer cell models have shown that olive leaf polyphenols are anti-inflammatory and protect against DNA damage initiated by free radicals.

Bacterial infections can and do increase abdominal bloating. Campylobacter pylordis can cause an acute upper gastrointestinal illness associated with 25

know someone who was treated daily for months while hospitalised - with cortisone, and she now suffers with memory problems. What you don’t know can hurt you, so please read the following section with concentration. Remember this, it could save you when doctors want to pull rank on you while your health is in their hands.

The various bioactive properties of olive leaf polyphenols explain the inhibition of progression and development of cancers.12 It improves vascular function and reduces inflammation - making it good for the heart. It also prevents oxidative stress and genotoxicity - protecting DNA from damage - is a potent antioxidant, anti-hypoglycaemia (anti-diabetic)13, and prevents and treats arthritis.14 It prevents skin disorders, cancer, and arteriosclerosis.14 It decreases blood pressure, increases blood flow to the heart, decreases arrhythmia, and prevents muscle spasms. 14

First you need to know that most of the information doctors use to prescribe cortisone comes from studies on nonhumans (animals).20 Your body has a natural high level cortisol release when you are under acute stress. If this continues you can suffer from depression and Cushing’s disease, altering cognition and emotions. Cortisol permeates the blood brain barrier, having an effect on almost every part of the brain, including impairing working memory and long term memory, and altered gene expression.20 Oral hydrocortisone impaired retrieval of material learned 24 hrs earlier, and this memory deficit was associated with reduced cerebral blood flow in the parahippocampal gyrus. 20

Olive leaf has been used to treat malaria16 Leaky gut is caused by gardinella and giacardia lambellus, which manage to infect your gut and other organs. Probiotics don’t treat this, you need to use an antimicrobial like olive leaf to eradicate them.17 OLE is even useful for HIV infection. Olive Leaf Extract inhibits acute infection and cell to cell transmission, but this is dose dependant so if you’re using it for this please take it daily. 18

Anti Inflammatory

For your benefit I’m quoting directly from a case study here: Corticosteroids have been used since the 50s as antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs for the treatment of several pathologies such as asthma, allergy, rheumatoid arthritis, and dermatological disorders.21

Olive leaf extract is a potent antiinflammatory.19 This is important to know because doctors often prescribe cortisone to treat severe inflammation. I have an issue with this because I’ve read the science and also personally 26

However, they have adverse effects: Growth retardation in children, immunosuppression, hypertension, hyperglycaemia, inhibition of wound repair, osteoporosis, metabolic disturbances, glaucoma, and cataracts.21 Approximately 20% of patients receiving high doses of corticosteroids develop psychiatric disorders including depression, mania, and psychosis, requiring pharmacological treatment.21 Well-known adverse effects include weight gain, osteoporosis, and hyperglycaemia are often observed. Less-reported adverse effects are that involving the central nervous system such as psychiatric and cognitive disturbances.21

Cognitive deficits, difficulty to maintain concentration, and poor memory, especially after prolonged treatment with high doses of corticosteroids, were observed. The cognitive effects of corticosteroids consist of dementia or delirium. The type of deficiency coincides with the dysfunction at hippocampal level, which is rich in glucocorticoid receptors.21 And it shrinks the brain! Neuroimaging studies in patients taking corticosteroids have related a decrease of hippocampal volume and brain atrophy due to a reduced blood flow in areas of the brain responsible for cognitive functions. 21 It’s your body, it’s your call, but personally I’ll never let a doctor give me cortisone because I read scientific journals for fun, I know what you don’t. That’s why I write health articles, so you can know what I know. Use matcha green tea, cinnamon, and olive leaf as antiinflammatory supplements. Whether you have allergies, skin disorders, bloating and bowel issues, internal inflammation resulting in a host of issues which include autoimmune encephalomyelitis, demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, Crohn’s disease et al, you will benefit from taking a chronic dosage of olive leaf extract for seven days, and then take one a day as an ongoing preventative measure from reinfection from bacteria, fungi, microbes and yeasts.

Sleep disorders characterised by restlessness and insomnia were observed in 73% of cases.21 Recently, in a set of psychiatric symptoms attributed to prolonged treatment or high-dose corticosteroids, catatonia was assessed with muscle stiffness, insomnia, and abnormal behaviours such as silence and stillness.21 Literature reports several cases of depression related to the use of corticosteroid therapy with an incidence of 40.5%; mania, psychosis, and delirium are also very frequent. Emotional lability and irritability are common symptoms sometimes accompanied by auditory hallucinations and paranoia.21


As a final note in this eye opening article I’d like to share personal story. I also use olive leaf extract as a tincture (liquid). I add some to bathwater as a natural antibacterial, I also add it to hand washes and to clean surfaces. It doesn’t harm good bacteria but completely wipes out the bad. I had a mole developing under my left eye and although I can’t find where I read it, many years ago I read an article stating that moles and warts are caused by bacteria. So I used the olive leaf drops on the mole, and it was completely gone without any mark remaining on my skin inside of a week! Hubby had a huge wart on his knee (a real big one), and every night at bed time I’d dab olive leaf onto his wart. It took a month, but it fell off on its own. I would call this a successful treatment for warts and moles.

Your health is entirely YOUR responsibility. Take control of it, use knowledge as power, and live a life free of pain and illness. For further reading for Olive leaf extract I recommend the article by health researcher Sue Visser of Nature Fresh supplements. Note: If you elminate bacteria using olive leaf expect to stay close to a toilet for 3 days. They have to leave, that’s how they exit. If you start to get a headache from the gasses caused by their deaths, take a magnesium and calcium supplement to counteract this.

Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract Source: • Destruction of pathological microorganisms of all types- viruses, retroviruses (AIDS), bacteria, spirochetes, rickettsiae, chlamydiae, fungi, yeasts, molds, protozoa, helminthes and other parasites. A lower daily maintenance dose prevented their return. • The relief of arthritic inflammations, especially osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. • The reduction of insulin dosages for better control of diabetes. • The elimination of chronic fatigue and associated symptoms. • The creation or restoration of abundant energy with prolonged stamina. • The normalization of heart beat irregularities (arrhythmia’s) • The improvement of blood flow in cardiovascular and/or peripheral vascular 28

disorders. • The lowering of blood pressure. • An increase in concentration and the alleviation of cold hands and feet. • The lessening of pain from piles or hemorrhoids The attenuation of toothache and gum disease (based on bacterial infections and abscesses) • The obliteration of fungal infections such as mycotic nails, athlete’s foot and genital itching. • The permanent relief of malaria(from a protozoa), dengue fever (from a virus) and other exotic and deadly tropical diseases which produce fever as a primary symptom. • The prevention and effective treatment of all types of viral diseases, including Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalo-virus, herpes virus, retroviruses, colds, flu and HIV. • The reversal of almost all symptoms involving Candida albicans or the yeast syndrome. • The death and excretion of a variety of a variety of parasites, including microscopic protozoa and macroscopic helminth worms: tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm and pinworms. • Improved renal function as it has a significant diuretic effect. • It helps sore throats when olive leaf tea or the green juice is gargled. • No need to restore the gut flora with lactobacillus as these body -friendly micro-organisms are not destroyed. Improved sexual function, due to increased circulation to genital organs, bringing about the reawakening of stimulatory receptors on the penis and the vaginal areas. • The restoration of a natural lubrication function due to a more balanced distribution of water throughout the body in both males and females. A quicker response to sensual stimuli. • An overall tonic effect and a greater sense of well-being both physically and emotionally.


References for Olive Leaf (12) Evidence to Support the Anti-Cancer Effect of Olive Leaf Extract and Future Directions. Boss, Anna; Bishop, Karen S.; Marlow, Gareth; Barnett, Matthew P. G.; Ferguson, Lynnette R. 2016-01-01

(1) Human absorption and metabolism of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol ingested as olive (Olea europaea L.) leaf extract (mol. Nutr. Food Res 2013.) (2) Antimicrobial activity of commercial Olea europaea (olive) leaf extract Aurelia N. Sudjana, Carla D’Orazio1, Vanessa Ryan2, Nooshin Rasool3, Justin Ng3, Nabilah Islam3, Thomas V. Riley, Katherine A. Hammer

(13) Olive Leaf Extracts Are a Natural Source of Advanced Glycation End Product Inhibitors. Charisiadis, Pantelis; Margianni, Evangelia; Lamari, Fotini N.; Gerothanassis, Ioannis P. 2013-01-01. J Med Food. 2013 Sep; 16(9): 817–822.

(3) On the In-vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Oleuropein and Hydroxytyrosol (Journal of Phramacology Vol 51 Issue 8) (4) Phenolic Compounds and Antimicrobial Activity of Olive (Olea europaea L. Cv. Cobrançosa) Leaves (Molecules Volume 12, Issue 5)

(14) Int J Mol Sci. 2012; 13(3): 3291–3340.Valuable Nutrients and Functional Bioactives in Different Parts of Olive (Olea europaea L.)—A Review. Rahele Ghanbari,1 Farooq Anwar,2,* Khalid M. Alkharfy,3 Anwarul-Hassan Gilani,3,4 and Nazamid Saari1,*

(5) Int J Mol Sci. 2012; 13(3): 3291–3340. Valuable Nutrients and Functional Bioactives in Different Parts of Olive (Olea europaea L.)—A Review

(15) Int J Mol Sci. 2012; 13(3): 3291–3340. Valuable Nutrients and Functional Bioactives in Different Parts of Olive (Olea europaea L.)—A Review. Rahele Ghanbari, Farooq Anwar, Khalid M. Alkharfy, Anwarul-Hassan Gilani, and Nazamid Saari

(6) J Med Food. 2011 Jan-Feb;14(1-2):140-6. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0039. Epub 2010 Dec 4. Wound repair potential of Olea europaea L. leaf extracts revealed by in vivo experimental models and comparative evaluation of the extracts’ antioxidant activity. Koca U1, Süntar I, Akkol EK, Yilmazer D, Alper M.

(16) Ciafardini G., Zullo B.A. Microbiological activity in stored olive oil. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 2002;75:111–118. (17) Nature Fresh by Sue Visser

(7) Virol J. 2012 Jul 26;9:137. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X9-137. An evaluation of the inhibitory effects against rotavirus infection of edible plant extracts. Knipping K1, Garssen J, van’t Land B.

(18) Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications Volume 307, Issue 4, 8 August 2003, Pages 1029–1037. Anti-HIV activity of olive leaf extract (OLE) and modulation of host cell gene expression by HIV-1 infection and OLE treatment Sylvia Lee-Huang, Li Zhang,, Philip Lin Huang, Young-Tae Chang, Paul L Huang

(8) Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;28(3):346-50. doi: 10.1016/j. clnu.2009.03.014. Epub 2009 Apr 21. Dry olive leaf extract ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Miljković D1, Dekanski D, Miljković Z, Momcilović M, Mostarica-Stojkovic M.

(19) Olive tree (Olea europaea) leaves: potential beneficial effects on human health, Sedef N El, Sibel Karakaya, Nutrition reviews Volume 67 Issue 11 Pp 632-638

(9) Scand J Gastroenterol. 1985 Sep;20(7):80513. Hydrogen (H2) breath test and gastric bacteria in acid-secreting subjects and in achlorhydric and postgastrectomy patients before and after antimicrobial treatment. Armbrecht U, Bosaeus I, Gillberg R, Seeberg S, Stockbruegger R.

(20) Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Jan; 35(1): 15–20. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.09.010. Acute effects of hydrocortisone on the human brain: An fMRI study William R. Lovallo,a,* Jennifer L. Robinson,b,c David C. Glahn,b and Peter T. Fox


(21) J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2013 Dec; 4(Suppl1): S94–S98. PMCID: PMC3853679 doi: 10.4103/0976500X.120975 Corticosteroid-related central nervous system side effects Miriam Ciriaco, Pasquale Ventrice, Gaetano Russo,1 Maria Scicchitano,1 Giovanni Mazzitello,2 Francesca Scicchitano, and Emilio Russo

( 11 ) h t t p : / / w w w . s c i e n c e . g o v / t o p i c p a g e s / o / olive+leaf+extract.html


MY AUTUMN Hannah Warren Today I dwell on summer as a dream gone by. The day stood still and pushed the night aside. Drunk on the sunlight and the playful touch of time, I felt so young, almost immortal in my soul. But now the dream turns inward to the lamp The darkness of the eve as solemn as a vow. Stilled by the breath of joy I gaze outside Through windows full of gold and red and green. The rustle of a sigh speaks from the weary leaves: It was our summer too, that summer of your dream. Once strong, once careless, we withstood the winds While now a breeze as faint as paper takes us down. In the gilt autumn light I stand in tranquil soil And listen to the silence closing in. We will be alright when winter comes to sleep. We will be alright reaping the fruits of time. Š Hannah Warren


© Olga Altunina

Pumpkin Seed Candy

Mini Pumpkin Donuts


Ingredients: 2 cups 4 cups 1 cup 2 tsp 2 ½ tsp ½ tsp 1 tsp ½ tsp 3

2 cups brown sugar 200ml water zest of 1 an orange 1 tsp vanilla essence 2 cups roasted green pumpkin seeds ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh ginger ½ tsp cinnamon 1 tsp corn syrup Method:

cooked pumpkin cake flour caster sugar baking powder large free range eggs cinnamon dried ground ginger salt powdered turmeric peelings of orange zest


Boil zest and water until boiling rapidly. Add sugar, vanilla, ginger, and syrup. Allow to boil rapidly for 10 minutes (don’t stir). When the bubbles no longer pop quickly, test for setting by dropping a blob onto a cold plate. If it goes hard it’s ready. If it’s still a bit sticky boil for 3 more minutes. When setting at the next blob test, quickly stir in the green pumpkin seeds. Pour onto a silicone pad and let it cool. When cool cut into squares and store in airtight non-plastic containers.

Boil the 5 cups of cubed pumpkin with the orange zest and a teaspoon of salt in a pot. When cooked allow to cool draining inside a sieve to remove excess liquid. Sieve the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and stir them into the mixture. Add the pumpkin and blend until you have a thick sticky batter. Lastly add the orange peel which has been very finely chopped. Drop teaspoons of batter into a deep pot of heated canola oil and deep fry them until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on brown paper or kitchen towel. Immediately roll them in a bowl of caster sugar and powdered cinnamon. Serve in a bowl lined with a paper napkin. Makes 80 golf ball size doughnuts.

Makes 60 squares


Hot & Sticky Ginger-Pumpkin Puddings Ingredients:

Pour into greased silicone molds and bake at 140ºC until well risen and spongey. (± 25 minutes). Every oven is different, so as soon as they’ve risen and start turning brown remove them from the oven. Leave to cool. Remove puddings from molds and store refrigerated until needed. Add syrup before serving.

1/2 cup pumpkin puree 2/3 cup brown sugar 70g butter zest of 1 orange 2 teaspoons treacle 2 eggs 3 teaspoons hot water 4 teaspoons ginger spice 2 teaspoons cinnamon spice 1 teaspoon allspice 2 tablespoons honey 165 mls coconut cream 2 teaspoons baking soda 1/4 teaspoons salt 2 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt

Make Syrup: In a clean saucepan boil 2 cups water with the zest of 1 orange. When it’s boiling add a cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons ginger spice. Stir while boiling for 8-10 minutes. You want this mixture to still be runny. Stab your baked ginger puddings with a toothpick (or skewer). Then pour 4 tablespoons of syrup over each pudding. Leave to soak in the pudding bowl for 8 minutes in a warm oven. Serve hot, with vanilla custard.

Method: In a mixing bowl soften the butter. Add the hot water, honey, and treacle. Stir until watery and mixed. Add the pumpkin puree and stir well. Add the brown sugar, stir, add the spices, stir, add the two eggs, stir, add the orange zest - baking soda, salt and flour, and stir well. The mix is thick and gloopy. Add the tin of coconut cream and mix well.

Makes 10 puddings




and why they’re good for you It also contains vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, C, E, folate, pantothenic acid and K. Not yet impressed? Well it also contains minerals, calcium, copper, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. Still not impressed? It also contains omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids and 18 amino acids. Oh right, of course, I really should try harder to impress you, so here’s the list. Amino acids found in one cup of baked pumpkin are alanine, arginine, aspartate, cystine, glutamate, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine and valine. Oh, how silly of me, you’re worried about calories? Rest easy, there are a total number of 79.95 calories in one cup of cooked pumpkin, and absolutely zero saturated fat. Not enough you say? Well as a last

published with permission from Heather Stiles


y favourite thing about autumn is that pumpkin season begins. I love the fact that autumn not only turns the leaves into hues of reds and oranges, but that my favourite foods come in these colours too. The joy of nature is that she keeps us in harmony with the season we’re in. As we go from summer to winter, it seems that we cannot avoid germs which make us feel awful. In the wisdom of a perfect ecosystem, orange foods give our system’s the ability to fight back against infection. Walk with me through the amazing properties found in such a humble vegetable. The pumpkin. Pumpkins may be cheap, go far and look fabulous, but these simple vegetables are jam packed full of 1 winter goodness. One cup of oven roasted pumpkin contains 7291.85 IU of vitamin A. One cup contains 729.80 RE carotenoid vitamin A, and 4343.95 mcg of beta-carotene vitamin A. 35

ditch to convert you into a pumpkin lover, allow me to add that 205 grams of baked pumpkin only contains 4.31g of sugar, contains soluble fibre, dietary fibre, protein and ash. 2 A study conducted in Japan revealed that consuming pumpkin which is rich in beta-carotene, lycopene, betacryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein helped to protect against hyperglycemia.4 However a different study using

Curcubita ficifolia (also known as Siam pumpkin) drastically reduced blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients. For the purpose of the study, they stopped using any medication.3 Another study in Japan concluded that foods rich in the same carotenoids play a significant role in protecting men from lung cancer. Strangely, women gained no benefit as smokers or non-smokers in this study.

Pumpkin seed oil reduces the size of prostate growth by affecting the protein synthesis of the tumour cells. The androgen receptor controls the growth of the prostate. A compound found in pumpkin has antiandrogenic activity, suggested as a treatment for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer, as well as the prevention of it. Testosterone can increase the size of the prostate, yet pumpkin seed oil inhibits testosterone induced hyperplasia of the prostate. The protective effect of pumpkin seed oil on the prostate is significant. However a number of curcubits (watermelons, squash and pumpkins) are potent virus annihilators. Two proteins found in these curcubits are effective against the HIV-1 virus, other viruses, microbes and even tumours. This study revealed that common vegetables are therapeutic alternatives for anti-viral, antimicrobial and antitumour applications. You have to excuse my enthusiasm, but the more you know about this 5


vegetable, the more impressed you have to be. For example, take the next case study. Macular degeneration is the biggest cause for eyesight loss in the elderly.6 Fruits and vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin protect us against macular degeneration. Once again our trusted pumpkin comes out a winner.7 The beta-carotene in pumpkins drastically reduce the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease and reduced risk of lung cancer. However

This prevents adenine from adhering to sperm DNA (thus having adenine (required for cell respiration) glycosylase (repair) activity). 13 Eight new glycosides

women run a much higher risk of developing lung cancer if they smoke or are exposed to asbestos. But then where would Cinderella be without the mice which pulled her carriage? The mice which draw our pumpkin carriage are found in laboratories around the world, as most tests for humans are first conducted on mice and rats. And they are pulling our carriage quickly into a healthier arena. Here are some of the new facts from test mice and rats: Rats injected with carbon tetrachloride and then treated with pumpkin seed protein revealed that the protein in a pumpkin seed has antiperoxidative properties.9 And why should you care about this? Because in human terms this shows that a diet rich in pumpkin seeds protects and heals a damaged liver. 10 In a similar study the pumpkin seed protein has good antioxidative properties and was effective in alleviating protein malnutrition and acetaminophen intoxication. 11 Pumpkin tested on diabetic rats showed that 300 mg/ kg of orally taken pumpkin extract significantly reduced blood glucose levels, glycosylated haemoglobin and an increase in plasma insulin and total compared to “tolbutamide�. Resulting in pumpkin being beneficial to those with diabetes. 12 Pumpkins also exhibit antifungal and antibacterial properties and were tested for their ribosomeinactivating proteins.

(carbohydrates) were discovered in the pumpkin seed, which is impressive. 14 Medical science thrills me. Pumpkin seeds are even useful for insomniacs. A test using de-oiled pumpkin seeds, with carbohydrates, exposed that ingesting pumpkin seeds and their organic tryptophan resulted in more sleep and less time awake. This is called a protein source tryptophan, and is comparable to pharmaceutical grade tryptophan. 15 In a phytochemistry extract, it is discovered that pumpkin seeds treat tapeworm and are also full of fatty acids. Rich in stearic, oleic, linoleic and palmetic oils, combined with 78% unsaturated fatty acids, makes using the seed oil a valuable asset to health. I love the way pumpkins look, the way that they smell and the way that they taste roasted with olive oil. Butternut roasted with butter is a winter staple in my kitchen. Using oil when eating orange foods is important, because both beta-carotene and lycopene are fat soluble. To get the most out of your food, consume it or cook it with a little oil. But just for good measure here’s a great way to convince the men in your life to eat pumpkin with you. 16 The carotenoids and lycopene 17 present in pumpkins protect the protate 37

against cancer. This response is dose related, thus the more you eat, the more protection you shall receive. And so another fairy tale ends, full of mice and pumpkins, with a very happy, healthy ending. Happy Halloween!

beta-carotene and retinol supplements. Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, Balmes J, Cullen MR, Meyskens FL Jr, Omenn GS, Valanis B, Williams JH Jr. 8. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2007 Feb 17; [Epub ahead of print] In Vitro Antioxidant Properties of Cucurbita Pepo L. Male and Female Flowers Extracts. Tarhan L, Kayali HA, Urek RO. 9. Phytother Res. 2006 Nov;20(11):935-40. Antioxidative effects of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate in CCl4-induced liver injury in low-protein fed rats. Nkosi CZ, Opoku AR, Terblanche SE. 10. 1: Phytother Res. 2006 Sep;20(9):780-3. In Vitro antioxidative activity of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate and its In Vivo effect on alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase in acetaminophen-induced liver injury in low protein fed rats. Nkosi CZ, Opoku AR, Terblanche SE. 11. 1: Fitoterapia. 2006 Dec;77(7-8):530-3. Epub 2006 Jul 6. Antihyperglycemic effect of Cucurbita ficifolia fruit extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Xia T, Wang Q. 12. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 May;1760(5):783-92. Epub 2006 Jan 26. Ribosome-inactivating proteins in edible plants and purification and characterization of a new ribosome-inactivating protein from Cucurbita moschata. Barbieri L, Polito L, Bolognesi A, Ciani M, Pelosi E, Farini V, Jha AK, Sharma N, Vivanco JM, Chambery A, Parente A, Stirpe F. 13. J Nat Prod. 2005 Dec;68(12):1754-7. Cucurbitosides F-M, acylated phenolic glycosides from the seeds of Cucurbita pepo. Li W, Koike K, Tatsuzaki M, Koide A, Nikaido T. 14. Nutr Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):121-7. Links Protein source tryptophan versus pharmaceutical grade tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for chronic insomnia. Hudson C, Hudson SP, Hecht T, MacKenzie J. 15. Phytochemistry. 2000 May;54(1):71-5 African Cucurbita pepo L.: properties of seed and variability in fatty acid composition of seed oil. Younis YM, Ghirmay S, al-Shihry SS. 16. Int J Cancer. 2005 Mar 1;113(6):1010-4. Do dietary lycopene and other carotenoids protect against prostate cancer? Jian L, Du CJ, Lee AH, Binns CW. 17. Journal of Chromatography A, 1073 (2005) 371 375 Extraction and chromatography of carotenoids from pumpkin Jung Sook Seo, Betty Jane Burri, Zhejiu Quan, Terry R. Neidlinger Tsai YS, Tong YC, Cheng JT, Lee CH, Yang FS, Lee HY.: Pumpkin seed oil and phytosterol-F can block testosterone/prazosin-induced prostate growth in rats.: Urol Int. 2006;77(3):269-74

REFERENCES 1. Guang Pu Xue Yu Guang Pu Fen Xi. 2006 Mar;26(3):567-70. Determination of trace elements in pumpkin by FAAS Fan WX, Li XZ, Jing RJ. (1.1.) Food Processor for Windows (version 7.60) by ESHA Research in Salem, Oregon, USA. 2. J Epidemiol. 2002 Sep;12(5):357-66. Relationship between serum carotenoids and hyperglycemia: a population-based crosssectional study. Suzuki K, Ito Y, Nakamura S, Ochiai J, Aoki K. Department of Public Health, Fujita Health University School of Health Sciences, Toyoake, Aichi, Japan. 3. Lung cancer mortality and serum levels of carotenoids, retinol, tocopherols, and folic acid in men and women: a case-control study nested in the JACC Study. Ito Y, Wakai K, Suzuki K, Ozasa K, Watanabe Y, Seki N, Ando M, Nishino Y, Kondo T, Ohno Y, Tamakoshi A; JACC Study Group. Department of Public Health, Fujita Health University School of Health Sciences, Japan. 4. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Sep;77(1):99-101. Hypoglycemic action of Cucurbita ficifolia on Type 2 diabetic patients with moderately high blood glucose levels. Acosta-Patino JL, Jimenez-Balderas E, Juarez-Oropeza MA, Diaz-Zagoya JC. 5. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Mar 29;292(2):441-8 Production of antiviral and antitumor proteins MAP30 and GAP31 in cucurbits using the plant virus vector ZYMV-AGII. Arazi T, Lee Huang P, Huang PL, Zhang L, Moshe Shiboleth Y, Gal-On A, Lee-Huang S. 6. Br J Ophthalmol 1998;82:907-910 ( August ) Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes. Olaf Sommerburg,b Jan E E Keunen,c Alan C Bird,d Frederik J G M van Kuijka 7. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Dec 1;96(23):1729-31. The BetaCarotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial: incidence of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality during 6-year follow-up after stopping


Pumpkin Bread • Once smooth and even in colour, oil a bread tin and pop in the dough. Press down firmly.

Ingredients: 800g cooked pumpkin 1200g cake flour 15g dried yeast 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon ginger spice 1 tablespoon caster sugar 1 tablespoon canola oil

• Leave in the sun to rise, covered with clingfilm (about 10-15 minutes) • Preheat oven to 220ºC. Place a tin filled with water at the bottom of the oven. • When risen remove clingfilm and bake at 220ºC for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190ºC for a further 20 minutes.


When baked leave in tin for 10 minutes. (Bottom shelf of the oven)

• Boil and drain 800g cubed pumpkin. • Pop into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.

• Turn out onto a bread board. Cover with a clean dish towel and leave to cool.

• Mix in 600g cake flour and 15g sachet dried yeast, until well mixed. Then add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tbsp caster sugar, one tbsp honey, one tbsp canola oil (or pumpkin seed oil). Then add another 600g flour.

This bread makes a fantastic toast. It goes incredibly well with mashed avocado.

Once the dough has become too difficult to work inside the bowl, empty it out onto a work surface and knead until soft, pliable, and smooth. 39

Carrot Soup

Corn Bread

2.5 k’gs of carrots (peeled and chopped) 1 butternut (peeled and chopped) ± 2 liters of water some Bovril for stock in the water Bring the water to the boil, then simmer until the carrots are soft. Put through the blender then back into the pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon curry powder Salt Black pepper 1/4 teaspoon ginger 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 2 pinches of dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder Stir really well for ± 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup of cream (or mascarpone cheese) Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and some blue potato compost on top. Freeze extra. Makes 5 litres.

Ingredients: 450g cake flour 2 tsp caster sugar 15g instant yeast 320 ml warm water 50g rolled oats 1 tin creamed corn

1 tsp salt 20ml canola oil 1 tbsp honey 50g polenta 3 tbsp treacle

Method: Preheat oven at 220ºC. Place all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Then add all of the wet ingredients and mix coarsely with a blunt knife until clumping together. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and knead for 10 minutes on a floured kitchen surface. Place back into the mixing bowl and drizzle slightly with oil. Rub top and bottom with the oil and then seal the bowl with clingfilm. Allow to rise until double its size in a sink of hot water. When well risen dump dough back onto the work surface and knead again for a minute. Place the dough into a loaf tin. Spray the loaf with cold water from a pump dispenser until very wet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 190ºC. Allow to bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.


Butternut & Sweet Potato Soup Ingredients: Spread the sweet potato peelings across an oven tray, sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt and a light drizzle of olive oil and put in the oven at 120ºC.

2 kgs butternut 1 kg orange sweet potato 1 liter of water 1 heaped teaspoon Bovril a decent grinding salt a decent grinding black pepper 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric 1 level teaspoon ginger 2 pinches of orange zest 3 squeezes peach chutney (± 2 dessert spoons) 75 g cream cheese 250 mls double thick cream 1 teaspoon mild curry powder

Leave until crisp, then remove them, salt them and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. (You can eat this as a snack or save it to serve as croutons on top of your soup. I call this compost.) Once the butternut and sweet potato is soft, remove from the heat. Add the seasoning, cream cheese, and cream, and blend well until smooth and creamy. Serve with sweet potato compost sprinkled on top, and 2 teaspoons of grated parmesan cheese.

Method: Remove the skin from the butternut and chop into cubes. Put into a deep pot, cover with water and set to boil.

Makes ± 4-5 litres of soup. Freeze excess soup for instant dinners. The compost also freezes well and can keep up to 2 months in the fridge if kept in an airtight bag.

While the butternut is coming up to temperature wash your sweet potatoes. Peel them directly over an oiled oven tray lightly oiled with olive oil. Once peeled chop into huge cubes and add to the butternut in the pot. Cover with a lid and let it come to the boil, turn the temperature down to simmer once it’s bubbling.

A comforting soup for Autumn nights.


Beetroot Soup Ingredients: Cube potato and beetroot. 1 kilogram washed beetroot (peeled and cubed) 1 kilogram purple potatoes (washed, peeled and cubed) 2 litres boiled water 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt Good grinding of black pepper 1 tub of mascarpone cheese 1.5 cups grated white cheddar 1 cup of pomegranate fruit juice 1 heaped dessert spoon of strawberry jam 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Put into a deep soup pot and cover with 2 litres of boiled water. Cook with the lid on until soft. Puree the contents of the pot with a hand blender or in a liquidiser. Then add the mascarpone cheese and blend again. Leave the pot on simmer and stir in the remaining ingredients. Stir until all the cheese and jam have melted and incorporated into the soup.


Serve topped with purple potato compost (crisped skins from peelings)

Wash your potatoes and beets. Peel each over a baking tray lightly oiled with olive oil. Spread the peels out evenly to make skin crisps. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and place in a moderate oven to crisp up.

Makes 5 litres.

Once they’re crisp remove them from the oven and place on kitchen towel to drain. Then salt and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. This keeps in the fridge for months, and longer in the freezer. Use as compost to top your soup when serving as healthy alternative to croutons.

Use Beetroot peels for healthy snacks 42

Spicy Beans

Apple Flapjacks Ingredients:

1 red onion, diced 1 red pepper diced 1 yellow pepper diced 1 orange pepper diced olive oil Put above ingredients in a pot and fry until the onion is caramelising. Add to the pot 1 BIG sprinkle black pepper 1 teaspoon of dried paprika 230 g tomato paste (I use 2 containers which are 115g each) 1 stick of celery sliced thinly 1 drained and rinsed can of white cannelini beans 500 mls water 1/2 teaspoon very spicy dried chill pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme Put lid on and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. Take lid off once the beans are soft and cooked, and add 1 small can of coconut milk (165mls) 1/2 cup diced pineapple Cook on medium, stiring, until the mixture is thick. Serve with sliced lettuce and a shredded chicken breast, inside pita bread

1 ¼ cup cake flour pinch salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons caster sugar 1 extra large free range egg 200 ml milk 1 teaspoon canola oil 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 apples peeled and grated 1 teaspoon lemon juice Method: • Grate the apple into your mixing bowl and sprinkle over the lemon juice. • Mix into this the dry ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients. • Allow the batter to stand for 10 minutes. • Drop spoonfuls of batter into a preheated frying pan (medium heat). The frying pan should be rubbed with a little oil or butter. • Turn crumpets over when the bubbles start to pop. Fry until golden. • Serve them hot, buttered, and drizzled with maple syrup.


Sweet Pumpkin Loaf Ingredients: Juice of 2 oranges zest of 2 oranges 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin 2 cups flour 1/3 cup sugar 1 tsp baking powder 2 tsp baking soda pinch salt 1 large egg 150 ml milk 1 tbsp oil 1 tsp cinnamon Mix all ingredients together well, place in a loaf pan, and bake at 180ยบC for 40 minutes Muffins: Bake for 15-20 minutes at 170ยบC Icing: 1/2 cup of fine sugar 3 tsbp milk 1 tsp orange zest Mix together well and pour over cooled loaf.

Sweet Potato Compost

Beetroot Compost Instead of throwing the peels from your veggies into the garden compost, turn them into nutritious snacks.

Made with sweet potato peels from when I’m using sweet potatoes in a dish, but they can be made as a snack from 1 sweet potato.

Scrub clean 4 large beetroots. Pat them dry. Oil a non stick baking pan with some olive oil. Peel your beets directly onto the pan. Keep the beetroot in cubes in the freezer for soups, or to add to beef stews or oven roasted vegetables.

Sweet potatoes are safe for diabetics. Wash your sweet potato. Peel it directly over an oiled oven tray, lightly oiled with olive oil.

Beetroot balances blood pressure, so it makes a fantastic sweet crisp snack for nibbles.

Spread the sweet potato peelings evenly across the tray, sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt and a light drizzle of olive oil, and put in the oven at 120ºC.

Spread the peelings evenly across the tray, sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt and a light drizzle of olive oil, and put in the oven at 120ºC.

Leave to bake until crisp, giving them a flip every so often with a metal egg flip, then remove them and drain them on paper towel.

Leave to bake until crisp, giving them a flip every so often with a metal egg flip, then remove them and drain them on paper towel.

Pour into a bowl, salt them and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Give them a good toss and place out for healthy Halloween snacks.

Pour into a bowl, salt them and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Apple & Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls 1 cup pumpkin puree 450 g flour 3 tablespoons brown sugar 190 mlx milk 5 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon ginger spice 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon salt 15g dry instant yeast 2 cups cooked apples (these can be microwaved, or simmered in water until soft) honey and butter (warmed and liquid) caster sugar In a mixing bowl put your flour, sugar, and salt. Mix together. Add the pumpkin puree, (a cup of mashed and cooked pumpkin), yeast, and spices. Mix until holding together. Then remove from the bowl and knead well for 10 minutes. Roll your dough into a long sausage and cut 7 even portions. Roll each portion out with a rolling pin until it is flat and only 5 mm’s thick. 46

Paint the strip with honey and butter mixture, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and caster sugar. Fold over to make a thin ribbon, so the cinnamon sugar is inside the fold. Roll with the rolling pin again. Then dollop cooked apple all along the length of the dough. Roll carefully and place in a round oven baking tray. Repeat the process with the remaining balls of dough. To make these extra special add chopped pecans at this stage. Once you have all 7 pumpkin / apple rolls in the baking dish with room around each for rising, sprinkle again with butter, caster sugar and cinnamon spice. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise. Once risen, remove cling film. Place in a preheated oven at 190ºC. On the bottom shelf of the oven put a dish of hot water (it helps the dough to rise). Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the dish. While that’s cooling, make your cream cheese frosting. Use 1/2 a brick of cream cheese 1 cup of icing sugar 2 teaspoons of cinnamon spice 1 teaspoon vanilla essence Cream together well, and slather onto the tops of the cinnamon buns. Serve warmed. Stores well in the fridge, and can be frozen for a quick pudding on a cold night.


Jar Candle Holders

Pumpkin Candle

Upcycle old jars. You’ll need Halloween / Harvest themed paper napkins. a roll of orange cellophane a hairdryer celloptape

1 Block white wax 1 orange crayon 1 empty soft drink bottle Craft knife Bamboo skewer 1 strip candle wick

Wash your jars and dry them well. Cut strips of cellophane as wide as the flat side of the jar, and with an inch extra in length.

Slowly melt your wax in a saucepan (don’t make it hot, just melt it slowly). When clear and runny break in the crayon and stir until melted.

Cut your napkin to fit your jar. Gently cellotape it in place so it’s snug around the jar.

Cut the soft drink bottle just above the base with the craft knife. I used a Coke bottle for this and it comes with the perfect indentations in the base, and a line where it joins the bottle. I cut on this line. Make a hole in the middle of the base of your soda-bottle bottom. Thread wick string through this and secure it with a loose knot. Tie the other end of your wick string to the skewer and balance the skewer over the rim of your plastic soda-bottle base. Cut it so it there is no excess string.

Cover the napkin with your strip of orange cellophane and tape it closed top, bottom, and middle. Then use your hairdryer on its highest setting to shrinkwrap and melt the cellophane to the jar. Turn the jar around and around until the cellophane has shrunk tightly to the jar. The heat should join the cellophane so it becomes a sleeve.

Gently pour in your cooling wax.

Use to line pathways, on tables, and hanging from garden posts.

Leave for 2 days before cutting the plastic bottle base away from your candle. 48

Sack Decorations

Pumpkin Doorstop Ready Mix cement Water Plastic bucket Brown enamel paint Orange enamel paint

Hessian Twine Newspaper Thread Purchase hessian from the garden center.

I use ready mix cement for garden art, and made this with some left over cement. You can make your own by pouring half a bucket of cement powder into your bucket. Pour in a little water at a time and mix it up with a spade until it’s very thick and pasty.

Cut out long rectangle lengths. Fold in half so the long sides meet at the top. Sew an inch inside each side to create a sack. Fill the sack with newspaper and fasten closed with twine.

Pour out onto a sandy patch in the yard (or a plastic trash bag) and using your hands mould it into a pumpkin shape.

Use for fall Halloween decoration.

Leave to dry until pale and hard (about 2 days). Then paint it with enamel paint (this is weatherproof). If using the doorstop inside, cover the bottom with a felt disc so it slides out of your way without scuffing floors.



Nutrition Cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum

A strong antiseptic. Its healing action comes from three types of components in the essential oils found in the bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol. Cinnamon’s ability to lower the release of arachidonic acid from cell membranes also puts it in the category of an anti-inflammatory food that can be helpful in reducing inflammation. Cinnamon’s essential oils qualify it as an anti-microbial food. This has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria and fungi, including the yeast Candida. In laboratory tests, growth of yeasts that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication fluconazole was often (though not always) stopped by cinnamon extracts. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives. In a study, published in the August 2003 issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, the addition of just a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to 100 ml of carrot soup, which was then refrigerated, inhibited the growth of the foodborne pathogenic Bacillus cereus for at least 60 days. When the broth was refrigerated without the addition of cinnamon oil, the pathogenic B. cereus flourished despite the cold temperature. In addition, researchers noted that the addition of cinnamon not only acted as an effective preservative but improved the flavour. This delightful rust brown spice is a santa-send for people afflicted with Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that cinnamon stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits the enzyme which deactivates them, thereby assisting the cell’s use of glucose. In fact less than one teaspoon of cinnamon a day reduces blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Regular consumption of cinnamon also has the effect of enhancing the muscle’s insulin signaling passages, preventing 52

insulin resistance. Cinnamon was revealed to still have this effect regardless of fructose consumption. The aroma which cinnamon exhibits has been scientifically proven to enhance cognitive processing, including visual motor speed, working memory, virtual recognition memory and attentionprocesses. Revealing it as an invaluable christmas spice, so that we can remember the names of people we’ve only just met, and enhancing our social skills through memory recall of names and anecdotes at this years christmas party! A rich source of dietary fibre, iron, manganese and calcium this comforting spice is more than worthy in its inclusion in christmas cakes, mince pies and even our hot-cross buns.

Beetroot Its healing action comes Beet greens (beetroot leaves) are high in copper (40% of your daily requirement), vitamin C (48% of your daily requirement), vitamin A (61% of your daily requirement), and vitamin K (774% of your daily requirement), plus it contains potassium (37%) manganese (37%) vitamin B2 (32%) magnesium (24%) Vitamin E (17%) calcium (16%0 iron (15%) vitamin B1 (14%, B6 (11%), phosphorous, pantothenic acid, protein, zinc, B3 and folate. Foods like this are good for you because they package calcium and magnesium together perfectly for maximum benefit. So why the hype over vitamin K? You need it to bind calcium in your bones. Without vitamin K your body can’t bind calcium. All plant greens contain vitamin K (part of photosynthesis). You need K for blood clotting, bone metabolism, and for healthy veins (vascular biology). Vitamin K is fat soluble, so make sure you have a little butter or olive oil with your beets. The high nitrate content in beetroot substantially lowers high blood pressure, and is now considered an affordable treatment of cardiovascular disease.* * 1 March 2008 Hypertension Volume 51, Issue 3. Acute Blood Pressure Lowering, Vasoprotective, and Antiplatelet Properties of Dietary Nitrate via Bioconversion to Nitrite


Ginger Ginger is a potent herb for relieving motion sickness. One study of ginger said that as a cure for motion sickness, using plain ginger had a better effect than using the prescription drug Dramamine. This humble root reduces all of the symptoms associated with motion sickness from nausea, dizziness, sweating and shivers, and vomiting. This root also contains vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. The anti-inflammatory compounds gingerols are also present in ginger. Clinical studies have said that these gingerols provide 100% relief to patients with muscular discomfort, and 75% relief of swelling and discomfort to arthritis sufferers, providing relief and mobility to people afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A study done in 2003 explains that the gingerol present in ginger inhibits the production of nitric oxide (a highly reactive nitrogen molecule). Nitric oxide converts to peroxynitrate, which is a very damaging free radical. This free radical helps to prevent lessens the depletion Glutathione is an produced by the radicals. The lipids body encompass cholesterol to This reveals that has a highly beneficial

protection from ginger damage to lipids and of glutathione. antioxidant naturally body to fight free present in the everything from cell membranes. consuming ginger effect on the body.

Ginger has an immune boosting action on the body which is also due in part to its ability to promote sweating when you’re affected by a viral infection. A dash of spice makes cooking extra nice, sprinkle it once, sprinkle it twice!


Audio Books The perfect gift. Great to listen to when your hands are busy (ironing, baking, sewing), while you’re driving, and for the sight impaired people you love.

OFFSHORE Nine people are assigned to Falcon Bravo, a decommissioned oil rig 250 miles out in the North Sea, to undertake routine maintenance. Eight men and one woman, until the mystery on the sub-level makes itself known. Salvation comes in the form of an unsuspecting crew member who provides the creature with its first proper meal - himself. When caught in the act of feeding on a crew member Euterich knows the game is up and it is only a matter of time before he is hunted down and killed. Now the demonic shapeshifter has only one desperate objective in mind, to perpetuate his kind while he still can. He needs to get the body count down to one man and one woman, but is that one man human? Offshore, it is isolation, thrilling and visceral tension, and a place where no escape is possible. 55

WILD WILD DEAD Nathaniel Wayland is tough as an old boot and smokin’ fast with his guns. The West has been wild as long as he can remember--not because of outlaws and bandits but because a plague is turning humans into an army of undead walkers. This plague is beautiful, sexy, her skin velvet smooth and her voice even softer. Evil has a way of seducing a fool and charming the wise; this one does both. Wayland grew up an orphan, his first memory being of the attack that left him homeless and alone. Nightmares stalk his dreams, and opium and alcohol numb the pain in daylight. Munroe is the mentor who took him in and taught him right, teaching him to be a ruthless killing machine with one objective: save the West from this horror. Wayland’s inner demons are loud, his lust for willing women and aged whiskey vices he can’t control until a band of outlaws enters his life, forcing him to man up and showdown. There’s a massacre at Hollow Creek. Valiant men fall in a final stand against the queen of the essence, and when Wayland decides to be a martyr, he is delivered from evil in a way no one will expect. Compelling and dramatic, this Western has intelligent zombies, corrupt lawmen, sociopaths, evil, and outlaws, taking you on a gripping listen with black oil, seduction, power, and dark horror. The West has never been this wild, deadly, or sexy. Win a Wild Wild Dead audiobook! Simply send us an email with the title WWD in the subject line. One lucky winner will win this for Christmas! Winner will be announced on our Facebook page on 17 December 2016.




Visited by an angel Theodoros is instructed to make the Gears of Uriel, which is passed from one generation to the next for more than five hundred years. This family are the guardians who protect it from the evil enveloping our world, casting Theodoros’ life into mayhem.

The Second World War is weighted in strife. On the front lines a squad of SS soldiers are sent on a secret mission, to enlist the help of the last vampire, to raise an army which would win the war for Germany.

Following each of his descendants and the danger often accompanying the device, this is a spiritual quest.The spiritual conflict spans centuries, illustrating the nature of religious worship, from ancient times into the modern. No matter how much things change, they remain the same.

Ruthless massacre, mayhem and action fuelled rage ensues. Broken, beaten, and turned on by their superiors, the squad end up fighting side by side with an order of fallen cavalry. Their last two loyal members engage the squad into a fight not for Germany, but to save mankind itself from demonic world domination. On the Winter Solstice of 1944, the world would be at their mercy.

Set in ancient Greece on the island of Antikythera, this is vivid, surreal, and a smorgasbord of antiquated ritual.

The division of the damned is an enemy no one anticipated, their trail of merciless and cunning carnage makes this a noir thriller. Compelling and tense it will flay your soul.


published with permission from Ravenous Roadkill Books

Chapter 1


here was something to be said about having a granddad who owned a thriving pub. A considerable amount of admiration was to be gained by the fact the senior member of your family was also a local celebrity, and Granddad Owen really lived up to his reputation. Six foot tall and built like a bull, in his youth Philip Owen toured the boxing booths of north Wales for pocket-money, and was renowned for his fierce right hook and anvillike chin. A veteran of Flanders and ex-army heavyweight champion, the sturdy sixtytwo year old still held a lot of sway in the town, and it was this very influence which brought everyone to his pub. The Moon Inn was smaller than its direct competitor over the road, The White Lion, but packed to the gills every weekend with Owen’s cronies - as his daughter Maud used to call them. The ‘cronies’ were the friends from his youth; men who’d shared the wild times with Owen and still lived in the town of Penarfon. Now in their late fifties, early sixties, they were a loud, boozy bunch, who had ruled the town since they could work. They’d earned their wages, and made their muscle in the quarry providing the main source of income for the town, besides tourists. So the Moon was their domain, and woe betide any callow youth who tried being the big man in Owen’s pub. Of course, this prominence within the community rubbed itself off on the youngest member of the family, and Dafydd Davies, grandson to Owen Davies, found his family name carried a lot of weight among his peers at the Penarfon Secondary Modern. With his eldest brother still in the army, and his father lost on the beaches of Dunkirk, Dafydd was the second man of the house at the giddy age of fifteen; an impressive status symbol when the family head was Owen Davies, and especially enviable when Owen felt you were a worthy heir to the crown. “This’ll be your pub one day, Dav,” he’d told him one smoky Saturday afternoon. “But 59

you can’t just trade off my name to keep it going. Keep your friends close, protect them, and they’ll come when they’re thirsty after working the stone all day, I guarantee it. Friends are nearly as important as family, treat them so and your pub will never go dry.” And so to Dafydd, with his life laid out before him and the laurels of his Granddad’s patronage upon his head, life was good until the fateful summer of 1949.

They viewed the procession from the school wall as it wound itself through the town towards the playing fields. The five of them, The Infamous Five as they called themselves, watched impassively as the ragtag collection of horse drawn wagons, painted caravans, and carts passed them by. “Gypsies!” John Rhys spat. “Come to rob our money and eat our cats.” “They don’t eat cats.” Dafydd laughed. “But hedgehogs are on the menu, apparently.” Gasps met his statement. “You’re joking!” William Smith, the smallest of them, exclaimed. “No, seriously, they gut ’em, roll them up into a ball, then cover ’em with mud. Then they just throw them into the fire and eat them when the fire’s dead. It’s true, granddad told me.” “Dirty Gypos, eating poor hedgehogs,” said Bob Mervin, the tallest of them, absently throwing a stone in their general direction. “My Gran says they steal children too, and sell them in Scotland to the farmers.” “Why would Scottish farmers want to buy stolen kids?” Dafydd asked, his eyes fixed on the silent parade of pipe smoking women in shawls, and flat capped men walking beside their horses. “That makes no sense at all!” “To work on their farms, we all know the Jocks are tight fisted.” Dafydd shook his head in dismay; were his mates really so stupid? How could anyone believe such rubbish? Granddad had never said anything bad about the gypsies, well not to him anyway. Okay, he wouldn’t serve them in his pub, but otherwise he was of the opinion they were people as well, “… and have every right to live their lives just like the rest of us.” Dafydd had taken this information as gospel, until one day Owen caught one of the traveller’s pinching lead from the roofs and beat him so severely the lad was put in a coma. It was big news in the town. The local copper, Sergeant Harding, came down the pub to have a talk about what happened. Dafydd had listened from the stairs as the beleaguered sergeant, unwilling to make an enemy of granddad, and yet duty bound to say something, mumbled through a small speech about how they were also protected under the law and that Owen had no right to put the lad in hospital. 60

“I caught the bugger red-handed, man. What did he expect, a bouquet and a pint to go home with?” “Owen,” the policeman had stammered. “These people have a different culture to us, and though I don’t approve of their lifestyle, and they may be bloody foreigners, we’re not like those bloody Nazis. We’re British, and in Britain we respect the law and the law says they’ve as much right to a trial as any man. We don’t put our foreigners in concentration camps and kill them, we leave them be, to their own devices, because we’re better than them Germans. Now Owen, I don’t want to have to come here again. You run a good pub, you’re a good man, but that was too much. A clip is fine, but the poor lad can’t speak still, his father and brothers are fuming and I’ve had to tell them you’ve been dealt with.” As he spoke his voice grew stronger in conviction, and Dafydd, who had never witnessed anyone speaking to granddad like that, watched Owen’s face slide from obstinate anger to thoughtful acceptance. “Aye, you’re right Ted, we’re not like those bloody Germans. I’ll hold back next time.” Satisfied his duty was now done the Sergeant left the pub, and no more was said about the hospitalised Gypsy lad who would never speak or walk properly again. In an ugly flash of insight Dafydd learned the lesson about the fine between them and us. Owen, Dafydd realised, accepted them because it was the British way. He’d be polite, say to everyone he had nothing against them Gypos, but he wouldn’t serve them in his bar, and despite all the promises he’d made to Sergeant Harding everyone knew if one of them crossed Owen Davies again there’d be another casualty for the infirmary. Bob Mervin threw another stone in their direction, a high lob which landed on the other side of the road, drawing scowls from an old woman riding a cart piled high with belongings. Craggy faced and whiskered, she pulled out the pipe she was smoking and spat a huge gobbet of black phlegm in their direction. A wave of revulsion swept through Dafydd when he realised the crone only had one eye, her right one, and he pulled a face when he saw how badly stitched and weepy the empty socket was. Her husband, a rangy elderly man whose gait was bolder than his years implied, turned to give the boys a stern frown and then carried on leading the horse. “My Dad says they come from Egypt, that’s why it’s okay to call them Gypos, cos it’s short for ’Gyptians,” Bob continued, unaware of the consternation his last lob had caused. “Look, she’s got a crow!” Simon Hughes, the butcher’s boy, exclaimed. Dafydd’s gaze moved past the old woman and her angry stare to the black shadow fidgeting beside her. Looking huge next to the old woman, the crow was also looking in 61

their direction, and it looked to Dafydd like … “It’s only got one eye as well!” Hughes shouted excitedly, making the procession in front of them look in their direction. “And it’s her right one too, they’ve both only got their right eye!” “Shush, will you. They’ll think we’re talking about them,” John Rhys admonished. “Well, we are, filthy gypsies,” Bob laughed, tossing another stone in a high arc towards them. Dafydd pondered on the spectacle of a one eyed crow sitting next to a one eyed crone as he watched the stone and followed its descent. To his and his friend’s horror, it dropped lazily to hit the hindquarters of the horse drawing the old woman’s cart. The animal skittered under the impact, and the old crone hissed in surprise as the bird next to her took off in flight. Ignoring the panicked horse, she turned and shouted something angry and foreign in their direction. Whinnying in shock, the horse broke away from the old man holding its bit. Rearing up on its hind legs it kicked out blindly and hit his head, knocking the man senseless to the ground. The scene froze in Dafydd’s mind with the black silhouette of the crow crowning the horse’s massive head as it danced upright in panic, the old man beneath the hovering hooves, a small pool of blood flowing from his mouth. The instant was broken by the animal as it whinnied again and then instinctively bolted, running straight into the caravan in front. Knocking its head against the back of the wagon, it reared up once more, and as it brought its legs back down one of them slipped between the steps attached to the door at the back. A sickening crack sounded as its full weight came down and snapped the bone above the fetlock clean in two. Pandemonium erupted as Dafydd’s friends broke and ran, leaving him, stunned and stationary, to stare at what had just unfolded in the space of a few seconds. There was a rush of action as the gypsies brought the screaming horse under control and gathered around the old man, who was now sitting up holding an obviously broken jaw. The old woman, who hadn’t moved from her place on the cart, stared across at Dafydd with her one good eye. The withering rage that assailed him from her gaze held him like hypnotized prey to a snake, and only the rough hands of the headmaster woke him from his trance.


Chapter 2 The bar was full, and the men, ale-fuelled and happy, were in fine voice. Owen sang along while serving and taking money. A strong baritone, his party pieces were ‘Men of Harlech’ and ‘Myfanwy’, and he did a very good, ‘Four and Twenty Virgins’ when the ladies weren’t about too. Dafydd liked to sit on the stairs behind the bar that led up to the living area, and listen to the banter and jokes the men good naturedly roared at each other. Their rowdy, bawdy dialogue gave him a warm feeling of belonging, and when they sang he’d join in. He felt truly at home amid the pungent miasma of cigarette smoke and the sweet odour of ale stained wood, and he liked to imagine himself running the bar, surrounded by his admiring friends and customers. In his place on the stairs, with his half pint glass of beer, (“He’ll have to get used to it if he’s going to take over when I’m gone,” Owen had told Dafydd’s mother, winking theatrically when she turned away in disgust), Dafydd was in full voice when the old lady walked into the pub and cut the singing dead. Standing up, he peeked around the corner to see what had caused the sudden silence, and gasped in horror at the sight of the gnarled, ancient hag, scowling at everyone with her one good eye. “Who’s Mr Owen?” she asked loudly. Dafydd jumped when she spoke and the force of her heavily accented voice shook him. “That’ll be me,” Owen said from around the corner. “Now you know I won’t serve you people, so tell me what you want and then leave please.” The last word dripped with menace and Dafydd could imagine the grim set of granddad’s face when he spoke. “Mr Owen, I’ve come about the horse,” she stated, matter of factly. “What horse?” Owen answered, though he knew full well what she meant. Sergeant Harding had brought Dafydd home and tried to prise the name of the lad who threw the stone out of him. “Look Dav,” Owen had said sternly. “I understand you’re only protecting your mates, but there’s a time and a place for that, and not here.” “Tell us, lad, or it’ll come down heavy on you,” Ted Harding put in from the side, drawing an annoyed scowl from his granddad. The thing was, Dafydd was sure that his granddad approved of him covering for his 63

friend, as the usual clenched jaw and angry vein in his forehead when he was about to explode simply weren’t there. So Dafydd decided to play it out, see where it led to. “Come on now Dav, don’t be stubborn, Sergeant Harding’s only doing his job,” Owen cajoled lightly. After a couple more minutes of the same tact, Owen stood up, and blowing his cheeks out, said, “Well Sergeant, he isn’t going to say anything, I know the lad and he’s a stubborn tyke when he wants to be. Anyway, it’s their own fault, don’t they have insurance for that sort of thing?” Harding took his helmet off and scratched his head. He knew Owen wasn’t going to press it, and therefore he knew there’d be no answers today, so he decided to let it go for now. “Insurance? Those gypsies don’t have insurance; they probably don’t even own a permit for the horse.” “Well, if he says anything, I’ll let you know,” Owen said, escorting the policeman out of the bar. “And don’t forget, there’s a raffle on Saturday, tell Mrs Harding to come down with her sister and I’ll see if I can find the winning ticket for her again, there’s a hamper in it this week.” Knowing he was being dismissed, Ted Harding nodded and said he’d remind his wife, and that had been the last of it. “The horse your son killed,” she answered defiantly, looking around as if revealing a mystery. “He did no such thing, now if you don’t mind, you’re spoiling my customer’s evening ...” But the old lady wasn’t to be rode roughshod over and walked up to the bar to bang her walking stick on it. “And not only did he kill my horse, Mr Owen, my husband is now walking around with a broken jawbone and I want a settlement, for the horse and the pain my man is going through.” “A settlement?” Owen stammered, unable to believe his ears. “The only settlement you’ll get if you speak to me in that tone is the bum’s rush out of here.” The locals laughed at this, and Owen grinned, looking to his friends for encouragement. “And besides,” he continued. “Don’t you have insurance for that sort of thing?” This last broke the dam, and the old lady stood grim faced and patient as the men around her laughed at the idea of gypsies having insurance. Dafydd peeked from around the corner to enjoy the crone’s discomfort at being laughed at, his earlier terror at the sight of her now banished by his granddad’s bearing and the mirth of his cronies. Poking his head forward, his gaze was met by the old woman’s raging eye, freezing him and almost stopping his heart. Lifting her left hand, she pointed swiftly at him and muttered something under her breath, then turned to 64

leave. “Hey,” said Owen, who saw the action. “What was that, where do you think you’re going?” The woman turned back to speak, ending the drinker’s amusement in the space of a heartbeat. “T’is true Mr Owen sir, we don’t have insurance like you folks do. We’re of a different ilk, your people and mine.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” Owen puzzled, pulling a comically confused face, yet nobody laughed. “It means, Mr Owen sir, that we have our own ways of claiming insurance, our own ways of collecting on a debt. Your lad knew who threw that stone and yet won’t tell, so I’ll hold him, and your family, accountable for the crime. I only need a name, and now I have yours. Goodnight Mr Owen, sir.” She turned back and marched towards the door, with Owen shouting from his place behind the bar. “Hey, come back here now and tell me what that’s supposed to mean?” At the entrance, she paused and said loud enough for all to hear, “Enjoy your beer, gentlemen,” and then laughed as she closed the door. “Bloody Gypos!” Owen declared, and the spell was broken. Amid the relieved laughter at what happened, a few of the men took drafts from their beer, and then promptly spat them out. “What the hell are you lot doing?” Owen shouted. Confused, one of the men looked at his glass and said, “Ere, Owen, my beer’s gone off!” “Mine too,” said another. “And mine,” a third said. Taking a swig of his own glass, Owen spat it out. “What the hell ...?” But Dafydd knew what had happened, the old woman was a witch, he was sure, and she’d done something. Trembling, he inspected his own glass before putting it down and running upstairs to his room. He slammed the door shut and marched over to close the curtains, the mental picture of the old woman’s undamaged eye staring at him balefully foremost in his thoughts. A scuffling at the window stopped him in his tracks. His hand went involuntarily to his mouth as he gasped in shock at what was on the other side of the window pane. Standing on the windowsill, staring at him intently with only one eye, was the crow.


That night Dafydd dreamt he was stood at the door to his granddad’s room, looking at the bird. The crow, who seemed a lot larger than normal, was perched on the headboard of the bed, looking out of the window at the old woman, who seemed to be hovering as her head and shoulders were framed in the window. “Yes,” she said, cackling. “Him, he’s the one.” Dafydd had an inkling that something bad was going to happen, but he was still shocked when the crow jumped down onto his granddad’s face and started pecking at his left eye. He shouted and rushed forward to push it off, then suddenly woke up in the yard outside. Looking down, he saw he was holding a shovel, which he instantly dropped as if it were a snake. Confusion swamped him as he took in his surroundings. He was outside, dressed in his pyjamas, in the backyard that led off to the garden at the back of the pub. His bare feet were dirty and cold, and the chilly damp of the dawn sent a shiver up his back. He picked the shovel back up and leant it against the wall, before going back inside. A scream stopped him in his tracks. It was his mother, and she was in granddad’s room. “I went in because he’s normally up at six to buy the papers, and he was just lying there, his eyes all open, like he was dead,” Maud said, before taking a trembling sip of her tea. “It was just the shock of seeing him there; what with all the commotion with the gypsy woman last night, I thought he’d had a heart attack or something?” “Well, Miss Davies, it seems that your father is in some kind of catatonic shock, or waking coma,” Doctor Teal, the local practitioner said in his kindest tone. “I haven’t seen anything like this for a long time, not since just after the Great War actually. We had quite a lot of young men come back, showing the same symptoms; very tragic of course. Sometimes they’d snap out of it themselves, well most of the time actually; but sometimes, well ...” Ted Harding, who had come as soon as Dafydd had sprinted to his house, put his helmet back on and said, “Well Doctor, what would you have Miss Davies do then? Should she have him taken to the hospital?” “I think it’s up to Miss Davies, to be fair. You have some medical experience, I believe?” Maud Davies, a mousy woman who hadn’t been the same since her husband’s death, and had only ever really found her voice when her mother died, nodded. “I trained as a nurse, but Colin, my husband, didn’t want me to work when we got married, so I stopped. I can look after him, I’ve worked with shell shock victims, Doctor Teal. If I have any problems, I’ll let you know.” 66

Satisfied that all was in order, the doctor smiled and said, “Well, if there’s nothing more, I’ll be on my way. You have my telephone number; call me if you have any questions, Miss Davies.” “Sergeant Harding?” Dafydd’s mother said, reaching for his arm. “Would you help carry Owen downstairs please, it’ll be easier to look after him if he’s in the living room. I’ll make a bed and he can stay there, well until he gets better anyway.” Smiling sympathetically, the policeman nodded and looked over to Dafydd, who was staring intently at his granddad’s face. “I can’t manage him on my own, Dafydd; you’re going to have to help.” “Yes, yes of course, Sergeant.” Dafydd stammered, the picture of the crow pecking at his granddad’s eye still ever present in his psyche. “I’ll be right there.” Sergeant Harding and his mother left the room, leaving Dafydd alone with his granddad. He approached the bed and looked intently at Owen’s face. The eyes were open, but there was no response, and definitely no damage to his left eye. Picking up his granddad’s hand, he let it drop on the bed and shook his head sadly. “Wake up Granddad,” he said. “Mam needs you, she’s getting better but she needs you to be here for us, she won’t be able to take on the old gypsy witch.” However, Owen didn’t answer, and Dafydd left the room, his shoulders weighed down by the burden of impending doom.

The next day, Dafydd woke up outside again. As he came to, he looked down to see that his pyjamas were filthy and he was sweating with excursion. Then he noticed the hole; a hole that he’d obviously dug in his sleep. He vaguely recalled an image of the old woman watching him while he worked, laughing while her left eye oozed blood and pus that rolled down her cheek like septic tears, and then it vanished again into the nether regions of his psyche. The sickly sweat of dread washed over him as an obvious thought occurred, was this the witch’s doing? Had she made him, for whatever malevolent reason, dig this hole in his sleep? Or was he going through some kind of shell shock brought on by his fear of the gypsy woman? The cockerel who lived at the back of Hughes the Butcher’s sang out that it was still early, and he shivered in the morning chill as he surveyed his handiwork. The hole was behind some trees and bushes, out of the way, next to the compost heap. It was oblong, about six feet long, three wide and roughly two deep. How had he managed to dig so much in his sleep, he asked himself? It was impossible. Stepping out of the hole, he looked back down, and then to the neat pile of earth next to it. It made no sense, 67

and it shook him that the last he could properly remember was turning the light off after reading his book. He contemplated filling the hole back in, but decided against it. It was out of the way, nobody would see it, never mind fall into it, so he’d fill it in later, when it was warmer and he wasn’t so tired. Lifting his head back to the house he caught sight of a crow, looking down at him from the telephone line that ran off from the roof. Another joined it, followed by another, and suddenly the cable was full with the large black raptors, all silently watching him. An obscure tingling at the back of his mind, like a primeval sixth sense, convinced him the birds were about to attack, the feeling so intense he picked up the shovel he dropped when he stepped out of the hole. Hefting it to gauge its weight, it dawned on him that he was contemplating defending himself against a flock of birds. What would happen if he tried to tell anyone he felt the local crow population wanted to attack him? They’d pack him off to the men in white coats, that’s what! Shaking his head in amazement at the situation, he edged forward under their steady glare, fear mounting with every new arrival to the packed and sagging telephone line. Suddenly a harsh “Caw” sounded from the roof, and without looking, Dafydd knew it was the gypsy’s one eyed familiar. He chanced a glance before dropping the shovel and dashing inside, just in time to hear the rush and flutter of the birds taking off to attack him. He could hear their bodies thudding and pattering against the heavy wooden door as they dive bombed in apparent suicidal fury. His heart hammered in his chest as the panic induced nausea that assailed him weakened his knees and bowels. It was Sunday and his mother always asked him if he’d like to accompany her to church, though he never did. However, today he decided he’d give it a go.

They didn’t go to church that day, and his mother was annoyed when he asked what time they’d be going. “And who’s going to look after granddad?” she asked. Dafydd guiltily nodded, ashamed that he’d forgotten about how ill the head of the family was. “Sorry, I didn’t think,” he mumbled. Maud’s eyes softened, and she asked, “Did you want to pray for granddad, Dav?” He nodded silently, then said, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll pray for him in school prayers.” He didn’t let on that he really wanted God to help him, and at this moment in time, Granddad was just a side show. His mother hadn’t mentioned the mess of feathers and guano she’d found in the back yard, and he was glad of it. He didn’t know quite what he 68

would have said, and would probably have ended up telling the whole story and being carted off to the loony bin. He spent the rest of the day fishing with Bob Mervin, the lad who had started the whole thing with his stone throwing. “You aren’t gonna tell, are you, Dav?” he’d asked, scared witless at the idea his father would find out. Bob’s father was a notorious drunken bully, barred from Owen’s pub for many years now for picking a fight with an injured war veteran with only one arm. Owen, sick of his loud mouthed discrimination, had given him a taste of his own medicine and sent him sprawling with a warning never to enter the bar again. When sober, he was upright, polite, and a church regular. However, the devil took him when he’d drunk his fill and Bob’s mother had long since left him to his father’s tender care after one beating too many. Dafydd could never do that to Bob, who was as loud and overbearing as his father among the lads, but as timid as a lamb when they were alone. “No, Bob, don’t worry, Granddad sorted that out, the police won’t come for you. It’s the gypsies I’m worried about.” Bob sighed, relieved that his dad won’t be hearing about what happened. “What about the Gypos then? They’ll be gone next week.” Gone by next week, Dafydd realised; does that mean granddad would stay like that, or will he snap out of it when the old woman is gone? He made up his mind he’d have to go and ask the old woman what was going to happen. Strangely, the incongruity of the situation hadn’t occurred to him, because for Dafydd all bets had been called off the minute he’d woken up to find himself in a hole, and his granddad in a coma.

The next day, to his utmost horror, Dafydd woke up standing in a hole up to his shoulders, looking at row upon row of stationary crows. He was sweating, and his bare feet and pyjamas were once again covered in mud, but the proximity of the shiny, staring creatures shelved all thought of his filthy appearance, immobilizing him in fear as he took in their numbers. He shook himself into action, and slowly backed up to the side of the hole away from the birds. Silently they watched him, their heads following his every movement as if attached to a string. Now standing on the other side of the hole, he calculated their numbers, and realised there must have been at least a hundred of them, their black glossy heads a sea of immobile soulless eyes. He’d never realised how big crows actually were until now, or 69

how cruel and dangerous their beaks looked. He glanced again at the hole he’d dug in his sleep, its edges uneven, the corners rounded and irregular, and wondered why he had made it? A movement in the corner of his eye drew his attention back to the crows, which were now slowly advancing towards him, their slow, stalking pace odd and hypnotic, and their sleek bobbing heads like a shallow black stream running over stones. Dafydd had to tear his gaze away as they circled around both sides of the trench, moving towards him. Dropping the shovel, he sprinted for the back door, expecting at any minute to hear the beat of a hundred wings taking off to attack him, yet nothing happened. He reached the door, pulled it open and slammed it shut behind him. “Dafydd, stop slamming the doors!” his mother called from upstairs. “It’s not even six, now get back to bed!” Exhaling slowly, he leant against the wood of the door and closed his eyes in relief, when a flashback of a dream hit him. He was digging the hole, up to his waist, while the old woman spoke to the murder of crows that had greeted him when he woke up. “You’re to leave him be, just watch to make sure he does the job,” she said, and then turned to look at him, her mouth perverted into a ghastly toothless grin, and her eye seeping blood. “He’ll be doing the work, but it’s Mr Owen who’ll be paying the price.” What did that mean? How would he pay the price? Trembling like a beaten dog, he looked over to Granddad, lying on the makeshift bed in the living room. The scream was out before he knew it, his hands covering his mouth to stop it. Appalled and terrified, he watched a slow trickle of blood running from his granddad’s left eye.

Doctor Teal was completely at a loss for what was wrong with the eye. “Well, the bleeding seems to have stopped, but without proper tests I can’t tell you, and they can only be made in the hospital in St. Asaph. Is there any way you can get there, or shall I organise an ambulance?” Stifling her tears, Dafydd’s mother shook her head, “No, we don’t have a car and I don’t have a license.” Teal nodded. “Fine, I shouldn’t worry, like I said, the bleeding seems to have stopped and I can’t see anything else wrong. I’ll have the ambulance pick him up in the next couple of days. Is that okay with you, Maud?” She nodded and pulled Dafydd towards her, stroking his head as if he was the one needing comfort. “Yes, thank you. If you say it isn’t to worry about then that’s fine. I’m sorry Doctor Teal, it’s just that this has all come so suddenly, I’m not normally one to 70

cry.” “Don’t you worry about that Miss Davies,” he said, snapping his doctor’s bag shut. “We’ll have Owen in the hospital by the day after tomorrow, at least. Then they’ll be able to tell us what’s going on in there.” Dafydd watched silently as his mother showed the doctor to the door and then closed it. “Stay at home today, Dav. I’ll write the school a note, they’ll understand.” Nodding, Dafydd said gratefully, “Okay Mam, thanks.” He then went upstairs to spend the day in his bed, his mind a tumbling storm of fear and worries.

He woke up in the hole again the next day, but this time he was looking up at the birds looking down at him. Dropping the shovel as if it were too hot, he was staggered to see how deep the hole was. A vision of the old crone laughing at him while he dug furiously passed through his head. Would this nightmare ever end? Why hadn’t he filled the hole in again the day before? A trickle of pee dribbled out before he could control himself, and suddenly his fear turned to anger against the watching crows. Picking up the shovel again, he swatted at the rim of the hole, shouting loudly so the birds jumped away, or took to the air. After clambering out, he looked down and wondered why she had him digging? There was no doubt in his mind it was the old woman doing this, but to what ends? Was this some Gypsy joke, or droll curse that made him dig at night to be tired all day? The Chinese had some obscure forms of torture; were the Gypsies like that as well? Instead of the steady drip, drip, drip of water to his forehead, would his torture be never ending fatigue? He knew he had to do something to stop it, he couldn’t go on like this, he had school, a future, and would he be digging every night for the rest of his life? Looking around at the gathering crows on the trees and grass around him, he decided that he’d fill the hole in today and have done with it. If he was going to be digging tonight, then at least he wouldn’t be climbing out of a hole that went over his head again. Turning towards the house, he ignored the crows and walked steadily towards it. His mother gasped when he walked into the kitchen. “What on earth have you been doing?” “I don’t know, Mam. I’ve been waking up outside these last couple of mornings,” he said, alarmed to feel the prickle of tears forming at the corners of his eyes. Her face sagged and then crumpled into a grimace of weeping sadness. “Oh my poor boy,” she wailed, gathering him in her arms. “I’m so busy thinking about me and you’re suffering just as bad, I didn’t know you’d been sleepwalking.” He endured the hugs impassively, saying nothing while his mother shuddered deeply 71

in her sorrow. Finally she was still, and she sighed profoundly as she let him go. “Go and get changed, then come down for some breakfast. I know you probably don’t want to talk about it, but if you do, I’m here. I’ll go and see the headmaster when I go shopping later, and tell him you won’t be in this week, all right, love?” She smiled at him bravely, then turned to boil water for some tea. Dafydd had already decided he wasn’t going to go to school today though; he had more important things to sort out.

Walking through the gypsy camp, he felt like a vanquished soldier with a white flag coming to talk peace terms. Dogs barked at him, children watched him silently, and adults scowled as he nervously passed their caravans and wagons. He was stopped by a boy about his age. “What’re you doin’ here?” he challenged. “I need to see the old woman,” Dafydd answered, his voice sounding like it belonged to someone else in his fear. The lad looked him up and down, smiling slyly, “So you’re the one who threw the stone?” “I didn’t throw anything. I need to see her, where is she?” His answer came out in a rush and the lad laughed at his nerves. “Well, I hope you’ve come ready to pay, because it’s a big bill waiting for yer.” The lad turned and pointed to one of the older caravans at the edge of the camp. “Knock before you enter, she’s been waiting for you,” he said, and then watched as Dafydd made his stumbling way towards it. “What’re yer wantin’?” she called from inside when Dafydd knocked. Clearing his throat, he said in a trembling voice, “It’s Dafydd Owen, I need to talk to you, about my granddad.” Something banged inside and he jumped at the sound, and then listened as he heard her approach the door. With a loud, wooden creak, she opened it and looked down at him, grinning as she’d done in his dream the night before. “Well now, Mister Owen’s second in line has come to visit. And what will yer be wanting with an old woman like myself now?” Dafydd swallowed hard. He’d thought about what he was going to say but the words dried on his tongue as he focused on her left eye. “Cat got yer tongue has it, lad?” she cackled. “Of course it has, yer didn’t think an old woman like meself would be a threat, did yer? And now you’ll be wantin’ me to lift the curse I put on yer old Grandah?” Dafydd nodded dumbly, the lump in his throat so large he could hardly speak, but he 72

forced the words out anyway. “It wasn’t me who threw the stone, it was another lad, I don’t know his name, he was just there and, well, Granddad wasn’t even there, so why is he cursed?” The story, that had seemed so plausible on his way to the camp now felt childishly flimsy and laughable, he knew she didn’t believe him. “It doesn’t matter none anyway, lad. There’s nothing I can do. The Gods I pray to don’t forgive like your Christian one does, they’re older than ’im and a lot meaner. If you want to lift the curse, you’ll have to pay, and I mean really pay.” “How much?” Dav asked quickly. “Not how much, but what?” Shaking his head in confusion, Dafydd asked again how much she wanted. “They don’t want your paper money, lad. Gold doesn’t mean a thing to them. They want you to suffer, to really pay.” “So what does that mean? If they don’t want money, then what do they want?” “To make a deal with them, I’ll need your eye, lad. You’ll have to give up your left eye,” she crowed. He’d stayed awake for as long as possible, but sleep mercilessly claimed him in the wee hours. Now, as he looked down at the prone body of his granddad at the side of the hole, he knew why she’d made him dig so deep. In his sleep he’d dragged granddad from his bed, out into the garden, across the grass, to the hole; that very same hole he wanted to fill in the day before, but for some unknown reason hadn’t. Hazy memories of the old woman laughing while she watched him, holding one hand over her left eye and saying, “Just the one, lad, only the one,” flitted briefly through his conscience, and he knew why. She’d had him dig the hole as a grave for Granddad. No doubt the next day he would have woken up to find he’d buried him alive. The horror that swept through him at the thought turned his heart to stone, and he realized he had no choice. If he wanted his granddad alive, if he wanted it all to be as it was before the gypsies came to town, then he’d either have to kill the old crone or give his eye; and his eyes were too dear to him to be simply given. He dragged his granddad back to the house as quietly and as tenderly as he could. He was a big man, and there was no way Dafydd could carry him, but in the end he made it into the house with him, and onto the sofa. Covering him up with a blanket, he ran upstairs to wash and change. The clock on the mantelpiece said twenty past four. His mother was still asleep, as was the rest of the village except Jones the Milk, and he knew that now was the time to act. Rummaging in the shed he found what he was looking for, the large machete his 73

brother had brought back from his time in Burma. It wasn’t sharp anymore, but it was weighty and the very feel of it in his hands told him he could easily kill someone with it. He steeled himself for what he was about to do. There was no going back now, it was either his family or the old woman, and that was the end of it. If he went to prison for it, then so be it, but he was damned anyway. If he did bury his granddad alive, he’d be condemned by all, but what was an old gypsy woman; and that was only IF he was caught. No, it had to be this way and he knew it. This time he circled the camp and went straight to the caravan where the old woman slept. The first dog he came to was hers and he killed it on the spot. Before it could even raise its head he’d buried the machete into its skull and he lost valuable time as he stared fascinated at the gaping wound he’d inflicted. He left its carcass next to a huge thighbone it had obviously been chewing on the night before. Perhaps from the horse, he idly pondered as he coldly surveyed the rest of the camp to make sure no one had heard. Creeping as quietly as he could, he climbed the few steps to the back door and opened it slowly. She was asleep in bed, amid an extraordinary jumble sale of pots and rags, dead animals, dried herbs and trinkets that hung from pieces of string from the ceiling. At the other end of the room he saw the crow, its good eye closed in sleep. Swallowing heavily, a primitive coil of fear unravelled through him. This was murder, he told himself, this is forever, and then cast the thought aside. Suddenly the crow’s eye opened and in one insane second Dafydd felt all the hatred he’d sensed over the last couple of nights in that one, malicious eye. It cawed loudly, and as if it had blown a trumpet, the sound was echoed by what seemed like a hundred other birds, dogs, and finally people. Dafydd hefted the machete, and contemplated attacking the bird first, but it was too late. From behind him the door opened again and two burly arms pulled him backwards and threw him to the ground. The wind left him as he landed heavily on his back and the world greyed out for a second, until he could half catch his breath. Standing above him, at the door to her caravan, was the old woman. He was also surrounded by what seemed like the entire gypsy encampment; muscular, angry looking men and boys, and in between them curious women and girls, come to laugh at the pain they were going to inflict on him, he thought. Dafydd let his head fall back, he knew it was over, knew he was a goner. They seated him on the steps, and surrounded by the old woman’s people, they held court. “Murder,” the crone said dryly. “You were going to murder me, and why?” 74

“Because you wanted me to murder my grandfather,” he answered sullenly, aware of how ridiculous that sounded. “I wanted payment for what was owed. You owed me, laughed at me when I came to collect. So I took my revenge and asked my Gods for their help.” Dafydd’s fear had started to drain slowly away. The gypsies around him were obviously in the thrall of the old crone, and willingly did her bidding, but as yet none of them had uttered a word against him. Were they her slaves, perhaps because they knew how cruel she was? “Yes, they fear me, boy. And they have every right to. The Gods I follow are now forgotten and unknown, but they’re there, and they still have their power,” she answered his unspoken question. Her crow cawed from the roof of the wagon, and the old woman raised her hand to quieten it. “You can read my mind?” “I can read your fear,” she answered. “But I’m not angry with you, lad, you were desperate and you didn’t know with who you were dealing.” Dafydd felt a glimmer of hope at her words. The harsh tone of her voice had softened, and a thoughtful expression took residence on her face. The crow called out again and she nodded sagely before saying, “The Gods I follow are old and used to getting what they want. Even if I could let you off, they might not. But my friend and companion, Alashimi, thinks they may be merciful with a boy who doesn’t know our ways.” Dafydd’s eyes roamed back up to the bird on the roof, who impassively stared down at him. The witch continued, “I gave myself to them a long time ago, and they’ve treated me fairly and helped me when I asked them to. But there’s a price, boy, there’s always a price. You say you want to do a deal with them for your grandah’s life, then so be it. But you’ll have to give me your eye, or there’ll be no deal.” Dafydd gulped. “My eye, my left eye? Are you going to stab it out?” “No, there’ll be no stabbing, it’ll be gouged and there’ll be pain, boy, a lot of pain,” Shaking his head, he looked to the ground and was amazed to find himself unafraid. Granddad meant everything to him, and if he had to lose an eye to save him, and end this horrible curse that looked set to ruin his life, then so be it. “Alright, I’ll do it,” he said. Her smile dried up on her lips as she turned to the two men who stood either side of him, “Grab him, don’t let him move.” Dafydd, panicked by her brusque, business-like manner, looked to the two men as they roughly held him in a vice-like grip. 75

Another grabbed his legs and then the crowd moved in to hold him down. The last thing Dafydd saw before he mercifully passed out was the intensely determined expression on the old woman and the pitiless blade as it slowly loomed towards his eye to blank everything else out. x “Ah, he’s awake, thank God for that!” Dafydd opened his one good eye to see his mother at the end of his bed, with Doctor Teal, Sergeant Harding and his granddad looking down at him. “Granddad!” he exclaimed, and then cried out in pain at the pool of agony where his left eye should have been. “Now calm down, lad, you’ve had a nasty accident,” Owen said. “Doctor Teal’s had a look to make sure everything’s clean, now you just need some rest and recuperation.” Dafydd couldn’t believe his eyes, his granddad looked as fit as ever, nobody would have guessed he’d just spent the last couple of days in a coma. Holding his hand over the empty socket, Dafydd asked, “When did you get better?” Doctor Teal sat next to him on the bed and solemnly said, “Dafydd, I know you want to know all about your granddad, but I have something I have to tell you. I’m sorry to say you had an accident this morning and you’ve lost one of your eyes.” Dafydd nodded, he didn’t know how he was meant to react so he kept a straight face and hoped that would suffice. They stood silently watching, waiting for a response, so he nodded and said solemnly, “I know, it hurts. Will I get it back?” “I’m afraid not, it was poked out.” Try as he might, the tears he wanted to give them wouldn’t come, so he nodded again and said, “I don’t care about my eye, I’m just glad you’re up, Granddad.” At that, Doctor Teal smiled and said, “And as for Owen, well, I’ve never seen anything like it.” “When did you wake up, Granddad?” “This morning, Dav,” his mother answered, smiling sadly. “I walked into the living room and the first words he said were, “Where’s Dav? Then Sergeant Harding came and told us you’d had an accident t...” She stopped talking to wipe her eyes with her pinafore. “Do you remember anything, lad?” Harding asked him urgently. “Anything at all? Mrs Pickering found you by the old gypsy encampment, she’s still in shock.” The last thing he remembered was the warm spread between his legs as his bladder emptied, then blackness. He decided to lie and the untruth leapt from his tongue as if it’d been put there. “I was climbing a tree, then I fell and something poked my eye ...” 76

“Aye, you were under a tree and there was a branch next to yer,” Harding said quickly. “What were you doing up a tree, in the morning?” Maud asked, clearly upset and finding it hard to control her emotions, despite her best stoical efforts. “Spying on the gypsies,” he answered, innocently. “We didn’t find the eye though,” Harding said to Doctor Teal, causing Maud to rush over and hug her son in a howl of emotion. The three men looked uncomfortably on as she held Dafydd and sobbed violently. After a while Owen went to her and slowly prized her off of him, “Come on now, love, it won’t do for the lad to have his mam crying over him. He’s a Davies, he’ll tough it out.” Dafydd smiled gratefully at his Granddad as he led her out. Sergeant Harding took over, “Well, lad, the gypsies left while you were out cold; they must have missed you. I daresay the fact you were knocked out must have been a small mercy.” “I think so too. Sergeant. They’re gone now? The gypsies, I mean?” “Aye lad, no sign of them, can’t say I’m sorry.” He smiled when he said the last. “Well, anyway, I’ll leave you all to it. Goodbye Dafydd, Doctor.” Then he left the room to talk with Owen. Doctor Teal took another quick look at the dressing and then left as well, leaving Dafydd to gather his thoughts and wonder at the painful itch in the delicate space of his left eye socket. “I know what happened, Dav, and you weren’t spying, were you?” It was Owen, and though his tone was sombre, an understanding smile coloured his words. “She was there, the whole time I was in a coma. I could see her, I could see you. I knew everything that was going on. When you dragged me to the hole, I thought my time was up.” Dafydd gasped in amazement. “You saw the old woman? So you knew what was happening the whole time?” “Yes, I did, and sometimes she’d turn up to tell me what was going on. I don’t know what happened at the gypo camp, and I wish to God it had been me that lost an eye, not you, but I do know that you struck a deal with the old woman, a deal that saved me. She told me, stood in front of me in the living room, as clear as day, and told me.” A single tear ran down his granddad’s cheek, and Dafydd, unused to such shows of emotion by the older man, suddenly found his breath caught in his chest, and then the dam that had held his fear, anger, and sadness all this time finally burst. Owen moved forward and held him as he now wept. “There now, lad, don’t cry, it’s over. They’re gone now, and we’re still here, and that’s all that matters.” 77

The sobbing subsided, and sniffing loudly, Dafydd let go and sat back to wipe his eye. “But Dav, we can’t tell anyone what happened. We’d be the laughing stock of the village, and that’d cause a lot of fights and a lot of trouble. Don’t tell a soul, it’s our secret, alright?” Owen said, the good natured smile now gone, replaced by the worried mien of a man who knew the cost of losing a reputation. “Nobody laughs at the Davies family, and we’ll not give them a reason to.” “Yes, granddad, I understand.” And he did understand, for what would he say to a mate who told him a gypsy woman, who worshipped evil Gods, had put his granddad in a coma and taken his eye? He’d laugh at him, and then tell all their mates because the idea was ridiculous. No, no one would ever know, and that was that. “Now try and get some rest, lad,” Owen said, roughing Dafydd’s hair up. “And let’s put this all behind us.” Nodding tiredly, he smiled and lay back down, pulling the sheets up.

He woke up to the sound of cawing crows and a cold, clammy feeling at the back of his neck. Opening his eyes, he saw the pale heavens of the dawn, framed by a ragged, unbroken line of bird’s heads looking down at him. Suddenly a clod of dirt landed on him, and he recognized he was in the hole he’d dug for his granddad. Like a looming ghost, the old woman came into view and as Dafydd tried to sit up he found he couldn’t. His body was frozen, paralysed, although he could feel the cold earth beneath him, and the weight of the mud landing on him in a steady rhythm. “Well, you made your deal and Mr Owen is safe now, lad,” the crone cackled, a hint of madness ghosting the words that echoed around his head. “Well, was it worth your eye, lad, to save your grandah?” “We made a deal,” he tried to answer but his mouth wouldn’t move, and yet somehow she heard him. “Yes, we made a deal with my Gods, for your grandah.” “But I gave them my eye, you took my eye.” Dafydd screamed in his head, his confusion turning to frantic terror as he struggled with the paralysis that held him down. “The eye was for me to talk to them,” she hooted, and then nodding at Owen, who was shovelling earth furiously over his grandson in a trance, an insane grin split her face and she cackled once more before saying, “The deal we struck was your life for his, boy! I told you they were mean, lad, I told you they were mean.” The End 78

written by Poppet for The Vodun Haunts Published with permission from Poppet

Chapter 1


ain is scratching at the windows and the bitter wind is crawling down the chimney. I want to stay here. I don’t want to go outside where it’s cold and wet. “No mommy. Pleeeease! Mommeee!” I beg, almost ready to pee my pants at the look of hate on mommy’s face. “Get out!” she shouts at me, getting the paddle out from behind the door. “But it’s cold outside,” I cry, wishing mommy would stop it. “I. Don’t. Care! I won’t tell you again, Mindi. Out!” Shooing me like she chases Zeus when he’s been farting in the lounge, she holds the bat up, making swipes, like she’s playing tennis, chasing me all the way out the front door with smacks on my bottom, making it sting enough to make me cry, slamming the door in my face. I knock on it, begging, “Please mommy? It’s freezing mommy! I want to come inside. Please, I want to sleep in my own bed ... please?” My answer is mommy switching the light at the front door off, leaving me pressed tight against mildewed wood. It’s sticky, and it stinks. Trees smash branches together, clapping a cackle of evil glee. The gale force wind bites into my face, freezing my ear, flattening my hair to the side of my head. The sound it makes is so eerie that I spin to face the dark night, trying to see through the splats of rain, the sound hollow and lonely – like me. The clouds are so low, bumping across the road between me and the forest, blurring the wickedness hiding in there, sneaking up on me because I’m crying, because I’m scared, because I reek of fear. “Miiiiiiiiiindeeeee,” it seems to call; long aching whispers floating on the cold. Shivering, I sit on the step at the door, hiding my face in my elbow, curled over my 80

knees, huddling in my pink jacket, sobbing. Mommy doesn’t love me. Mommy hates me. x

Daddy: “Is she still out there?” Doreen nods, “Yes. Get your gun, Brian. March her out to those woods and make her stay there.” “Why can’t we just get a cage for her? We’ll lock her in her bedroom over full moon.” Doreen rounds on me, a long manicured finger jabbing at my face, “Then we’ll have child services on our doorstep, accusing us of child abuse. They’re going door to door! This way if anyone asks, we can say she ran away.” Turning back to spy out the window from behind the curtain, she hisses, “We aren’t the only ones, Brian. The plague has stolen our children. Three nights a month they belong to the devil.” “They’ll make an inoculation against it. There has to be a cure,” I grumble. This is a load of bull. I hate doing this to her. She’s still my little girl. She keeps knocking, calling to us, her little voice thin and reedy with anguish. She’s five years old for chrissake; she should be in here where we can keep her safe. “Please daddy? Daddy pleeeease? It’s cold daddy! Please mommy? I promise I’ll be good. I promise!” calls under the front door, breaking my heart. Sagging into the chair opposite the coffee table, I stare at the bold headline plastered across the front page of the Argus newspaper.

New epidemic hits Cape Town’s southern suburbs. After six weeks of frantic research by the best professors at UCT working in conjunction with Grooteschuur hospital, the unprecedented outbreak of glowing rabies in school children under the age of eight has been blamed on a radical ‘oil’-spill which occurred beyond Table Bay in July. The mustard sludge washed up on Cape shores around the peninsula, exposing the mother city to a toxic substance yet to be identified. Some cite this as a terrorist attack conducted from the safety of international waters. Conspiracy theorists are calling it a chemical weapons attack, targeting the new generation, culling the human population by infecting the young. The Minister of Defence has yet to comment on who is taking credit for this heinous assault. Researchers are calling it the Luminoctem virus, while locals 81

have already named it the Midnight Curse. This is a public warning to lock all of your animals inside over the next three days. This lunar madness makes the affected feral over the period of full moon, and the SPCA is now bringing animal abuse charges against any household where animals are left outside as prey. They are going door to door with vets records, accounting for animals. The maximum fine is R20 000 or a five year prison sentence for anyone failing to comply with the curfew. Do not go outdoors or travel anywhere near the Newlands forest at the moon’s zenith, if the public do not adhere to the mayor’s warnings a state of emergency will be declared and the army brought in. All affected children will be shot on sight to prevent the plague from spreading if researchers cannot find an antidote before the next full moon. For those affected by the plague, please call our 24 hour helpline...

They’re going to shoot her. They’re going to mow her down because she shines like an angel. When the moon is full she looks like Moses did as a child. This isn’t a plague, or a curse, this is a sign of the second coming. Reaching out, I order Doreen, “Come pray with me.” She looks at my hand, scowling sea-green eyes at me, “Get a grip, Brian! If prayer worked, we’d have won the lottery by now.” Making a decision, I go striding to the front door. Doreen goes into bipolar-banshee overdrive, reaching it before me and flattening herself against it, “Don’t you dare!” “She’s my little girl. What kind of mother locks her baby outside in the middle of winter?” Staring at her, looking at the woman I married with new eyes, I find it hard to believe I fell in love with a heartless bitch who turns her back on her own baby at the first sign of hardship. We’re a family, and we’ll get through this as a family. Gripping Doreen’s arm, I shove her aside, “Get out of my way. If you don’t like it, pack your bags and get out.” Opening the door, I crouch onto my haunches, beckoning Mindi to run into my arms. Her pale face is already luminescent, glowing with the power of the divine, glistening with rain and tears. Scooping my shivering baby up, I carry her to the kitchen, putting her down on the tiles, holding her precious face in my hands, “It’s okay baby, Daddy’s got you. Would you like some Milo to warm up?” Sucking her bottom lip in, she shakes her head, “I’m hungry, Daddy.” Moving to the fridge, I open it, staring at the leftovers. “Cold lamb okay?” 82

She nods, giving me her cute smile. I’d die for this kid. She’s my world. Moving around, getting a plate while she sits at the kitchen table, I pull a beer out for me, my blood running cold when the front door slams. Stuff Doreen. I need a woman who’s a good mother, not just a good lay. She’s made her choice, and she’d better to be willing to live with it. Abandonment should be given the death sentence. Sitting with Mindi, stroking her wet hair away from her cherubic face, I take a swig of my beer when she dives into her lamb like a deprived dog. Examining my baby, I wonder if Doreen’s been starving her to keep her thin. Women are so superficial. I’d rather my girl is healthy than be acceptable to society’s warped perception of beautiful. x I bathed her, put her in her pj’s, and tucked her in bed, parking myself in front of the TV, hoping it and the bottle of JD would numb my mind; desperately trying to disable the ache in my heart. I must’ve fallen asleep, because I wake with her climbing onto my lap, snuggling up close on my chest, hugging me like a teddy. Rocking her, singing random lullabies, I promised I wouldn’t let anything bad happen. I drifted off again, waking up with her hurting my wrist, whining, “I’m hungry, Daddy.” I drank too much, I’m fighting to consciousness, a soul-deep sensation of alarm rapping at the edges of my mind The next pinch is so sharp I yank my arm away, instantly wide awake, my head throbbing with a migraine, looking at my blonde princess staring at me with her glowing blue eyes, her mouth covered in blood. “Christ!” Recoiling, I blink rapidly, trying to figure out how the hell that happened. My arm’s aching like a motherfucker, and I hold it, yowling when I hit severed nerves, my ulna bone exposed. Glancing from my gnawed wrist to my little girl, the first frisson of fear sinks teeth into my soul. “I’m hungry, daddy!” she shouts, being the brat kid ready to throw a tantrum, reaching for my face, baring sharp milk teeth coated with crimson. Wriggling to get away, I’m fighting with her supernatural strength, trying to hold her off me, when she attaches to my ear, biting right through it. Shrieking, I stand, forcing her off me, retreating with my hands out, goalie style. 83

“Calm down, sweetheart. Daddy will make you a juicy steak. Okay?” “No!” she screeches, charging me like a devil, free of hell and bloodthirsty. Where did I put my gun? Fuck! This isn’t happening! The bite into my calf breaks my pride and I haul ass, hobble-hopping to the kitchen, slamming the door closed on her, locking it, going into shock, tremors wracking my body. Shit! Shit! “Daddeee...” croons on the other side of the door, in the most innocent voice ever worn by evil. “You said you’d die for me, Daddy. And I’m hungry!” It takes a mammoth effort, but I find the meat cleaver, holding it up as a ward when my legs give, and I slide my back down the kitchen cupboard. Blood is pumping from my wounds, pooling around my ass, the throb in my arm almost unbearable. “I can smell you...” singsongs to me from the other side of the door, the scratching of her nails turning my sanity inside out. She’s too short to reach the door handle, thank God. Cold sweat runs down the bunched muscles of my spine, tension making my teeth chatter. All goes silent, and I slump, hanging my head, reduced to a few tears at this diabolical fever claiming my baby, ruining my life. Sure, I’ll have scars, but the docs will find a cure. We just need to hang on for two more days. The smashing of the window behind me guns me out of position, and I’m sliding in my blood when tiny arms clamp my neck, her sharp teeth hooking in. The kitchen spins, her glass cut legs tight around my middle, hanging onto my back like a rabid monkey. “Mindi! Stop it this second!” The room is pirouetting, just a carousal of appliances and white cupboards spinning around and around, blood loss giving me vertigo. The crack of my forehead on the tiles jars me back to my senses and I look up at my baby girl, holding the meat cleaver, licking her lips, her eyes alight with anticipation, laughing at my dilemma. She’s stronger than she looks. She looks so delicate that I just want to hold her, and rock her, and tell her this is just a bad dream, it’ll be gone soon. It’s over, there are no monsters under the bed. 84

They’re wearing pink pyjamas, and they’re in the kitchen. The cleaver hits me dead on, the bolt of agony incinerating my nervous system, every neuron I own is instantly on fire, blazing through the network of nerves; holding my head up is impossible. Collapsing, I reach for those five perfect toes, whispering, “Daddy loves you.” Her gleaming visage blots when blood runs into my eye, the brightly lit kitchen dimming to black, the hungry slurps of my angel sucking on my neck my last lucid moment.

Chapter 2 Mike: Staring at the clouds ghosting through the trees, the world looks spectral, the soundtrack nefarious with the keening wind, creaking branches, and the solemn dripping of moisture falling off pine needles. Huddled in my den opposite Bishops Court, I stare across Rhodes Drive, wishing there was traffic, something to light up the wet road and let me know I’m not alone out here. The cloud cover is thick, cloaking the mountain, roiling out across the suburbs, muting evidence of civilisation. It obscures my view, the nimbus thick enough to be fog, creating haloes around the street-lights along the main road. Readjusting my newspapers, covering myself in an attempt at warmth, I don’t dare light a fire. I wasn’t always homeless and can read just fine. The headlines are enough to give me nightmares. I need to find a new place to hole up if I’m going to survive this viral outbreak. Childish giggling echoes between the trunks, wisping in spooky misdirection. The forest is expansive, hiding the evil spawn who run riot while the moon is full. I hear them, but I haven’t seen them yet. And I’m hoping I don’t, because from what I’ve heard they’re like grasshoppers in plague. They eat anything in their path, just as long as it has a beating heart. I’ve heard the screams. They come from across the road, where families hide behind doors and walls. I’ve got no such luxury. I’m exposed out here, to the elements, to a stomach eating its own lining with emaciation, to the cold, and now to the midget murderers. It’s comforting sitting back on my thick nest of dried pine needles, the earthy scents invigorating, crisp, marine and evergreen. The fog is pungent with the unique 85

salty damp from the ocean, permeating the earth, the aroma pure rustic incense. Pulling foliage over my head, I hide in my thicket, daring to doze. The sound of a little girl frantically calling for her dog pulls me back into the here and now. Wary, worried, I watch the phantom blond skip closer through the mist, slapping her legs, cooing coyly, “Zeus. Here boy.” A massive black Rottweiler whimpers, his head low, baring his teeth. Glancing from her to the dog, her face is lit from within, her skin ethereal, like the fey sidhe of my ancestors highlands. It’s beautiful, enchanting, captivating, mesmerising, until she bares her own sharp teeth and shrieks such an unholy squeal of savagery it chills the primordial reptilian brain, shrinking me deeper into the camouflage of my den. A god-awful yelp permeates my haven, the reality of this plague hitting home, hard. Breathing shallow, counting my blessings that I’m downwind, I watch the gloom with growing neurosis, amazed to see a boy with wild curly hair jump down from a rock, gangly and loping as he hunts closer to the little girl. His head is dipped, prowling the youngling, his stance aggressive yet oddly graceful. She snaps around, sneering bloodstained teeth, her nose twitching at the stranger. “Brett?” she calls, soft and eerie. “Haha! Got you!” he reaches out and pinches her arm, hard, and her reflexes are so quick it’s hard to keep track of her movement. When she stops blurring, ‘Brett’ has a deep gash on his lustrous cheek. Giggling hysterically, he holds his hand out to her, and again she turns temptress on him, coquettishly tilting her head, looking up at him through long eyelashes, her mouth a perfect rosebud pout. They’re vibrant in the dark, two little beacons of crazy. Seeing her hand in his, she holds them up together singsonging a lullaby, “We’re becoming fairies – we’re becoming fairies.” Her childish voice is downright creepy, their eyes aglow, their teeth sharp and feral, looking so innocent and clearly downright deadly. “We’re gods!” he argues, dropping her hand, challenging her with an antagonistic stance. “We’re becoming angels, we’re becoming angels,” she sings, skipping along the hiking trail, vanishing into the night with her beastly buddy. My shoulders are cramping with tension and exposure to the frigid temperature. It’s a deep relief to curl under the overhanging rock, behind my shrubs and deadwood, closing my eyes against the walking nightmares crawling the woods like maggots on a corpse. So white, so pale, so gorgeous. 86

Chapter 3 Suzy and Paul Samson: Staring at Paul, I know I’m becoming hysterical. I can’t take it! We’re just damn lucky the burglar bars are those fold up ones, the gaps too small for their heads and torsos, but their little arms and baby hands reach in. Jenna calls to me, pressing her face hard against the steel bars, begging, “Mommy, let me in mommy. Mommy we’re wet, we’re hungreeee...” They’ve smashed every window, scarred the doors with their tools and claws, the shrieks and screams of the neighbours and their fallen brethren worse than war. We have no sirens, no bombs, no anti-aircraft tracers to light up the sky and warn of incoming attack. This assault is stealthy, calculating, evil! It’s the second night and I can’t take it another second! Their little faces are like bog-lights wandering through the forest across the road, their shrieks sometimes so marrow chilling they force tears out of my eyes. It haemorrhages sanity. Crawling under the table, my back against the wall, the sound of roof tiles lifting and pitter-patter feet running across the ceiling seal our fates. Lifting Paul’s Glock, I already have the safety off, my hand shaking violently, pleading for god to forgive me. Shoving the barrel in my mouth, metal and oil coats my taste-buds, the muzzle hard and cold. A phosphorescent face peeks at us under the table, and I scream, simultaneously pulling the trigger. x

Mike: Hands over head, shrinking, shaking, I watch the nest gnaw on the limbs of their kin, of their neighbours, of the pedophiles and priests, the aged and teen; their bloodlust has no prejudice. I’m outnumbered, they’ve multiplied nightly, their posse growing in ranks, the 87

scary-fairy gang ranging from three to I’d guess seven years of age, their innocence incongruous with their savagery, with the speed at which they dismember, sucking on intestines, playing ball with a heart, screeching when they bite into smoker’s lungs. That infuriates the little vandals and they wrestle and fight amongst themselves until a distraction stops them. One lone car, two bright headlights, human beacons on the deserted road of the damned pickles along the left side of the road, music pumping out of open windows. The rain ceased its deluge this morning, and now as midnight settles, the clouds scud across the moon, dappling the forest with intermittent illumination. Like possessed puppets their activities silence, the crowd of children with the Midnight Curse staring at the road, at the car, at the men laughing within the interior, the light from a cell phone highlighting them like a spotlight on a convict. The child named Mindi careens down the incline, leaping onto the tar, her hunger driving her actions, planting her in front of a grill and bumper before the driver even realises there’s an obstruction in his lane. The thump of impact burns bile up my gullet, the expression of concern registering on the occupants in the car. “What the hell was that?” reaches clearly through the creepy silence of the witching hour. “I don’t know, Shaun!” the driver snaps, limping their vehicle to the shoulder and shutting the engine off, five men getting out, except... oh god! What is this? What the hell are they? They have faces the shade of chalk, ashen and dead, meat hanging off a chin, eye sockets so black they look empty, one of them carrying bass, disinterested, staring up at the full moon, idly plucking the instrument while he waits for the assumed wheel change, singing under the wind. A curly-haired gentleman joins him, loafing back to back, singing about the Midnight Curse. “Shit! We hit a kid!” yells from the other side of the car, in front of the lights. “That’s what happens when you don’t let me drive!” yells from the dude with a full goatee and a plump waistline. “Shut up, Russell! This is serious dude. Fuck!” “Le Riche, she ran in front of you. It was an accident!” He’s holding her; a zombie holding a crazy kid who ate her dog right in front of me, keeping me holding my breath and drowning in vomit. Shit! They’re fucking zombies! When did that apocalypse happen? Was it the bath salts? Do they eat humans too? 88

Jesus! The devil is amongst us, and he feels remorse. The dude with the massive bass, just stalls his plucking, staring at the calamity. The second he stops strumming the crew of crazies bolt, charging down to the road, streaming out of the forest like living jack-o-lanterns, ready to assault the zombies for killing one of the Cursed. Four dudes shrink against the vehicle, the music from the car the only normalcy in the cacophony of maniacal screams of rage. The miniature minions surround them, closing in, and the man with the musical instrument plucks a note accidentally when he stands, watching the kids corral them. The second he did that, they all halted, as if paralysed. Seeing the affect his music has on them, I break cover, yelling at them, trying to save them, even though they’re zombies. I’ve had enough of the stench of decaying corpses, of slipping on discarded stomachs, of these satanic spawn fouling up my home. “Pick it up! Play! Play like your life depends on it because it does!” I shout, boosting off the boulder and landing behind the demented children running wild like an infestation of hate. “Now Lance! Do it now!” yells ‘Le Riche’. I’m stuck, twelve pairs of baby hands already claiming my limbs, pulling me down to the asphalt, skinning my cheek on the hard surface of the road which cuts a scar between forest and suburb, like a biopsy cauterised out of the mountain I love. Zombie boy sits down, singing as he nimbly plucks the strings, “Infected with the midnight curse, infected with the midnight curse. We’re psycho!” For the first time since the plague I witness the children seize up, spellbound by music, chanting with him, “We’re psycho!” Released while they obey the strains of minstrel vibrations, I bolt, running to a safe distance, watching the men charm the damaged. One by one they reach into the interior of their vehicle, popping the boot open, extracting guitars and instruments, one of them singing strong and true into the biting claws of the winter wind, and the children sway, singing along, their lullaby the sound that will steal my sleep for the rest of my days. “Greg, get your gear man,” snaps the ‘lead’ zombie. The thin dude reaches into the boot, exposing tattoos, quickly snatching out his ‘gear’ sitting on the pavement, nimbly spinning sticks. A drum starts tapping out a voodoo beat, paralysing the children when the clouds separate, sparse and scarce, the full moon finally shines down on the little terrors. Their faces are so bright they’re a mass of brilliance, the moonlight blistering flawless skin, stripping and scalding it away from precocious faces, the mass writhing and 89

screaming. It’s instinct, the musicians stop playing, releasing the children to run back for cover, to hide under the canopy of the trees, and I run back, yelling frantically, “Keep playing! You’re ending them! You’re saving us!” It takes a few moments before they gather their wits, bashing out a tune that reminds me of the days when mohawks were in fashion and we proudly wore an anarchy symbol. Music possesses the children again, infected with the Midnight Curse they’re slaves to the moon’s cycle, they’re truly lunatics. Weak, I collapse, watching as the music and lyrics keep them singing, crumpling, cowering against the moon’s rays, singing ‘Infected – with the midnight curse... whooooa...” in dying lullabies. It’s chilling, haunting, beautiful, and disgusting. One by one they succumb, lying dead across the filthy tarmac of the M63, the silence a womb of rebirth, a reprieve, a mercy. I survived! I made it! The zombies stop playing, looking around, when one of them laughs, yelling into the silent night, “We’re psycho!” “Fuck this shit, I’m going home,” says the tall one. “What if, what if the music didn’t work? Hell’s bells, we could have been chewed up for dinner.” I watch with tears of joy when they clamber back inside their vehicle, a holy sigil carved on their door, boldly saying words that make no sense. The Vodun Haunts. They’re running amok, haunting the night, singing their pyscho songs, and they are the antidote to the Midnight Curse. We have a cure! Watching them drive away, urgency grips me. I must phone someone! Tell someone! They should be national heroes, zombies or not. But no, then they’d be hunted next, cut into pieces and forced to be experiments. I’ve had enough of that shit to last ten lifetimes. Shivering with delayed shock, I crawl back into my den, hiding under my rock, grateful that maybe tomorrow I dare venture out of the woods, exposing my location in search of food. I subsist on mushrooms I forage in the forest, and suck vitamin C from the pine needles. I drink and wash in the stream. It’s been too many days that I’ve had no drink or food just to survive the contagious children infected with luminoctem. It means to glow at night; in the full moon’s light. Shutting my eyes, dozing, exhausted from the eternal vigilance while the scourge ran 90

rampant through the woods, one tiny voice singsongs behind me... “Infected with the midnight curse, la la laaaa la laaah la. Infected with the midnight curse, laaaaah la laah la laaaah la.” The bite is sharp, the pain relentless, the agony incinerating my calm, and I scream, fighting to get away, but I’m trapped by the rock, by my position. She’s so cute, smiling sweetly at me, giggling, “I’m psycho.” Yes you are, and the heat of my blood is wet, my loins loosening as my heart fights to pump blood to my brain, but she’s severed my neck and it coats thick and wet, hot and aromatic. She’s tiny, crawling onto my chest, resting her head in the crook of my shoulder, sucking on my skin as if suckling her mother, pulling the last of my life out of my veins.... sucking away the pain. The End


published with permission from T.K. Geering


trangling Road. Aimee ran the title over her tongue, enjoying the distinctive name change. It sounded better than Copse Road, which in her opinion could have done with an R in it. She grinned at her own joke. The two strangled girls probably had it coming, walking through the woods late at night to shave time off their journey. Probably not the brightest move. You’d think the second girl would have learnt but clearly she had mush for brains; and those unaccounted for marks… Aimee smiled. It conjured up all sorts of ideas in her psychotic brain. She had taken ownership of the word psychotic since her doctors diagnosed her and used it at every given opportunity. She looked around the familiar surroundings. The woods on one side didn’t bother her at all. She loved the thicket of trees which comforted her at low times, and there had been several lately. No one took her seriously anymore, so she had taken herself off to the cinema. The Hallow was everything she had expected, and more. Aimee looked across to the woods reliving the story in her mind. So she was a little bit different from the run of the mill girls, so what? It didn’t bother her. In fact she quite liked being different. x Aimee made her way towards the bus stop knowing full well that the last bus would not have any empty seats. It would be another strap hanging session then, until the bus terminated at the Cemetery gates. As usual she was at the back of the queue. Clearly everyone had made a run for the bus queue as the credits rolled. She began to pass the time with a young fella in front of her. “Late again as usual, and it’s started to rain!” The man didn’t seem to want to talk, pulling up the collar of his bomber jacket to stop the fine drizzle cascading down his neck. His dark hooded eyes were hidden under his black baseball cap. Pushing his hands into the jacket pockets he looked gloomily into the distance for the bus. 93

Aimee was a bit slighted. She was quite a looker and dressed well. What wasn’t to like about a fashionable jacket, high heels and miniskirt, albeit just this side of decent? Rarely did she have to force men to talk to her. She tried again … “Any idea what time the bus is due, sweetie?” “Nope!” “Got a light for my smoke?” She removed one from the squashed packet in her jacket. Silently he took out his lighter and flicked it into action. Aimee bent down to light up, inhaling deeply. Looking straight into his eyes she said, “Talkative ain’tcha.”

He didn’t want to talk; his latest girl had just given him the elbow in favour of his best mate. Inherited money had allowed him to shell out on a flash sport’s car. Aggression stifled him. Why were women like that? He worked hard to earn a crust and didn’t squander his money. Okay, he had the odd beer or two down the pub with his mates and rolled home on occasions. Fags were his weakness and he got through quite a few, but he didn’t gamble or buy sex like some of his mates, who then bragged about it. He hated women who pissed him off, but he could talk the talk if that was what she wanted, no problem. In his current mood he would scare her shitless. He’d seen her several times before, waiting for the bus. Flaunting it and putting herself on offer to any takers… “So, you go all the way then?” he asked suggestively. Whoa, that’s a turn around! “As far as it takes us.” She smiled up at him with big, brown, saucer eyes. Leaning in closer he put his arm loosely around her shoulders to gauge her reaction. She responded by putting her arm around his waist, and looking up into his dark eyes she closed the gap between them. He softened his tone to suit his purpose. “How about we walk to the cemetery gates instead of catching the bus? It’s bound to be full and it should only take us about ten minutes if we take a shortcut I know down the back of Strangling Road.” Aimee thought about it for a moment. It had stopped drizzling now but the bus still wasn’t in sight. “Okay, why not? What’s your name by the way?” “Raymond, but most of my friends at work call me Ray. “Is it okay if I call you Ray? I’m Aimee by the way. What d’ya do for work then Ray?” she asked, making conversation. “I’m a trainee butcher and these last few weeks I’ve been learning how to cut meat. Some of those knives are so sharp I sliced through a side of beef in one cut,” he said, 94

looking for respect. She gave it to him. “Wow, that’s awesome Ray.” For extra incentive she squeezed his waist, which seem to please him. They had left Strangling Road and in front of them were two routes, one of which was the shortcut. “This is the shortcut I was telling you about, Aimee. It’s just past these bushes here.” Aimee walked in front of him for a bit over the uneven ground, and then turned to catch hold of his hand. The trees now shielded the path, and as they approached a rough bit of scrubland he stopped and roughly kissed her. Aimee closed her eyes and responded with just a hint of passion. Ray refrained from closing his, enabling him to check things out. With no one around he then pushed her to the ground, at the same time palming his butcher’s knife. Quick as a flash she was straddled on top of him. Drawing back her lips Aimee exposed a pair of fangs and sank her teeth into his neck. As she drank greedily he let out screams of horror and then passed into oblivion. Taking the dropped knife she stabbed him viciously. “Let’s see how you like being stabbed through the heart,” she said venomously through bloody fangs. Aimee stood up with no concern for her victim. Whether it was male or female, strangled or knifed, it made no difference to her; she just needed to quench her thirst on the warm human blood. Raising her arms up she waited for her transformation as her black wings gradually materialised. Taking flight into the midnight sky she slowly glided towards the cemetery gates. She needed to rest up and where better than here where she felt at home. Satiated for the moment she rested against a gravestone and tucked her head deep into her wings. Maybe later she would do a couple of circles of the night sky before returning at dawn to her coffin. Tomorrow at nightfall though, she would be back at Strangling Road, just chilling. The End © T K Geering 2012



Chocolates 1. In a double boiler melt 300g white chocolate. (Use sugar free for diabetics) 2. Once melted add 2 heaped teaspoons of matcha green tea powder. Stir with until well blended and smooth. 3. Chop up 50g of shelled pistachios. Add to the melted chocolate and stir well. Add 3/4 teaspoon of finely ground pink Himayalan rock salt 4. Spoon into chocolate moulds and allow to set in the fridge for an hour. I did a half batch plain like this (the hearts). Then I stirred in 2 drops of lemongrass essential oil. Stir well and use a different shape mold for that flavour. • If you don’t have molds, use a silicone or plastic dish (slightly flexible) given a light spray of non stick cooking spray. Pour your chocolate into the container, spread it evenly, then lift and drop the container a few times to help remove air bubbles and to level it out. Cut into squares when hardened. •• In my next batch I added powdered olive leaf tablets. This is a natural antimicrobial which destroys viral, fungal, bacterial, and yeast infections. This is the perfect treat to use as medicine. 101



Vanilla Biscuits


1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 egg 1 1/2 cups flour Method:

1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt 2 teaspoons matcha 4 drops lemongrass essential oil

Swap middles. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Split the mixture in half. Put the plain vanilla to one side. Add the matcha to the remaining half of the biscuit dough with 4 drops of lemongrass essential oil. Mix the matcha and lemongrass throughly into the dough until it’s smooth and evenly green.

Place on a lined baking sheet, flatten slightly, and bake in a moderate oven until crisp. Continue re-rolling your dough until all of it is used for middle swaps (I used hearts but you can also use stars, or rounds with a xmas tree centre.) For stripes: Remove the refrigerated doughs from the fridge. Bump them into oblong squares, then slice evenly. Restack one green layer and one white layer one after the other, then slice through the whole lot to get striped biscuits. Bake until crisp.

Roll out half the green dough, and half the white dough (separately). Put the other halves in the fridge. Using one large cookie cutter cut out shapes. Then cut the middles of the shapes out with a small cookie cutter.

Makes Âą 50 biscuits 102

• Green tea acts as an antidepressant. • Matcha contains the amino acids glycine, serine, tryptophan, citrulline, glutamine, proline, and valine. • The polyphenols in matcha offer neurological protection against all neurodegenerative diseases. • Matcha green tea protects against age related iron accumulation in the brain (which is linked to Alzheimer’s). • Green tea polyphenols are effective antioxidants which trap free radicals, lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels. • Matcha prevents the build up of dental plaque • Drinking green tea prevents the accumulation of arterial plaque (arteriosclerosis) • Green tea promotes weight loss and prevents fat tissue accumulation, lowering absorption of fats (lipids) in the intestine. • Some studies claim that green tea has a thermogenic affect, leading to greater calorie expenditure • The L-theanine content in green tea promotes relaxation and lowers stress cortisol levels • Green tea provides relief from hay fever due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its increasing of antigen stimulation • The catechins found in green tea are 100 times stronger than Vitamin C and 25 times stronger than Vitamin E • Some epidemiologic studies have linked drinking tea to reducing the risk of breast, colon, ovary, prostate, and lung cancer 104

Cauliflower & Broccoli Soup the pot, put your potato peelings onto a metal baking tray, drizzle lightly with olive oil and a little salt, and pop them in a 190ºC oven until they’re dried out and crispy. I use sweet potato and normal potato peels to make compost (and I make a bunch of them when I’m making mash, all those peels last for weeks in the fridge all crispy and ready to add to salads and soups for crunch). • Once they’re cooked take them out of the oven and drain them on kitchen towel.

Ingredients 1 cauliflower & 1 broccoli water to cover both 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon paprika 1 medium potato, or 2 small potatoes, or 1 medium sweet potato 120g white cheddar cheese grated Parmesan cheese 1 large knob of butter (1-2 tablespoons) 1/2 cup milk

As soon as your veggies are soft, take the broccoli and cauliflower off the heat. Ladle into a liquidiser / blender and blend until very smooth. If you have an immersible blender you’re lucky, grab that and blend all ingredients in the pot until smooth. Put the pot back on the heat, so it simmers softly. Add to this your cheddar cheese (sliced thinly so it melts fast), 30 mls parmesan cheese, the black pepper, more salt, and paprika. Lastly add the milk and butter. Stir until the cheese has completely melted. Taste it, add more salt / pepper if needed. Ladle into soup mugs and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and compost.

This is such an easy recipe, and it cooks so fast that it’s an utter joy to make. This is comfort food on a budget and in a hurry. Rinse the cauliflower and the broccoli. Put them in a pot that just fits both (you may have to cut one in half), leafs and everything, no need to remove the leafs, cover with water, add some salt, and put on the boil. While that gets going wash and peel your potato/s. Use sweet potato for diabetics or if you’re watching your weight, or use normal potato. Finely dice the potato and add to the pot. Put the lid back on and leave to cook on mediumhigh until all the veggies are soft. (± 35 minutes)

* for meat eaters add one slice of crispy bacon, finely crumbled to each mug before putting in the soup. Add some crumbed bacon to the top when serving too. This recipe makes enough for 7 adults. I freeze excess for quick dinners when I have NO time to cook.

While the veggies cook and soften in 105

Chewy Nut Biscuits

Makes 50 biscuits. Preheat oven to 110ºC Cooking time per batch ± 7 minutes ** My oven bakes HOT, if yours doesn’t increase the temperature to 170ºC Combine 1 tbsp honey 3 tsp molasses 165g butter 1 xl free range egg 1 cup caster sugar 2 tsp vanilla essence 1 tsp instant coffee Mix well, then add the dry ingredients 2 and 2/3 cups flour 1 tsp bicarb of soda (baking soda) 1 tsp baking powder 1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecan, macadamia and almond roughly chopped so they’re still chunky, as these grow in my yard) 65g chopped dates 1/2 cup roughly chopped chocolate (I used 3 types of chocolate. 90% Lindt, regular Cadburys, and Bourneville) 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together well, let sit for 10 minutes, then roll into balls, flatten with your palm, and bake until bronze-golden (depending on the oven, 7-12 minutes). Makes large cookies, about 1.5 - 2 inches wide. Allow to cool and store in an airtight tin. * Tins prevent biscuits from going soft These are divine! Very chewy, but healthy because the chew comes from dates and nuts, and good for you chocolate.

Spice Cookies This is Heather’s recipe for immune boosting, germ killing, throat and sinus soothing cookies. Winter is the time for spiced biscuits. If you feel under the weather, treat yourself to these. You don’t taste the mustard or pepper or paprika, but you get all the benefit. It tastes just like a normal spiced biscuit but with the added benefit of kamikaze spices (murdering infection causing bacteria ). Preheat oven to 160ºC


Ingredients: *** for this recipe all teaspoons are heaped, not level

Melt butter in a mixing bowl until very soft (I use the microwave for 40 seconds). Add all of the spices/seasonings to the butter and mix well with a spatula. Then add the molasses, honey, and syrup and mix well again. Crack your egg into the mix, stir well, then add the cup of sugar and stir with the spatula until thickening.

125g butter 2 cups flour 1 cup brown sugar (or caster sugar) 1 large free range egg 1 tsp molasses 1 tsp honey hefty pinch Hawaiian black salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 3 heaped tsp powdered ginger 2 heaped tsp powdered allspice / mixed spice 2 heaped tsp powdered cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon powdered paprika 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pimento spice 1/2 teaspoon fresh Italian coffee grinds 1/4 tsp powdered turmeric 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder 1 tbsp golden syrup 1 tsp baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda

Add one cup of flour, and mix it into the wet ingredients in the bowl. Then add the final cup of flour with 1 teaspoon of bicarb of soda and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Mix with the spatula until all is mixed together well. Optional extra: chop up very dark chocolate to add to the biscuit mix. Lindt’s 99% chocolate is best, but any dark and bitter chocolate will work.


Roll your dough out onto a floured surface until 5mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Line 2 nonstick baking sheets with baking paper (parchment). Place uncooked biscuits onto the baking sheet without crowding

them. I place only 8-10 cookies on a sheet and bake, (but I have a small oven). Bake each batch of biscuits for 6-8 minutes at 110ºC, or until the edges are going dark brown. My oven bakes very hot, so I use 110ºC, turn yours up if need be. Most biscuits like to bake at 170ºC, but mine come out fine (crispy) at 7-8 minutes at 110ºC. But I do leave my biscuits on the tray until they cool (which continues the baking process). Move biscuits to a drying rack and put in a tin or cookie jar when completely cool.

This dough can be rolled out and worked again and again without becoming dry and crumbly. ** If you use a small sized cookie cutter reduce baking time or lower the temperature of the oven. My gingerbread men only took 5-6 minutes at 110ºC. These are very spicy biscuits. I came up with them because I wanted a spicy biscuit for cold winter days, one which will kill germs, boost my immune system, and clear my sinuses.

Pimento / Allspice Contains eugenol (see cloves), is anti-inflammatory and a carminative (reduces flatulence and bloating). It reduces nausea, promotes digestion, eases diarrhea - stomach cramps, and vomiting. The eugenol acts as an anesthetic and antiseptic, providing pain relief, and works against bacterial infections. Contains Vitamin A, C, B6, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, iron, copper, selenium and magnesium. Paprika Paprika spice contains vitamin A, E, B6, iron, and capsaicin. Capsaicin lowers high blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. Mustard Mustard contains selenium, omega 3, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, B1 and copper. It’s an anti-inflammatory food full of phytonutrients. Molasses Molasses contains iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, cobalt, and selenium. It strengthens the immune system and aids in the new formation of blood cells. This syrup is dense in B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and B6. Helping in recovery and to ward off fatigue. Black Pepper Contains Vitamin K, manganese, calcium, chromium, copper, and iron. It improves digestion, promotes sweating, is an antibacterial and antioxidant, and promote the breakdown of fat cells. 108

Cranberry Bread Ingredients for dough:

Drizzle a little extra olive oil on the top and smooth it over the dough ball. Turn the ball over and coat the other side too. This prevents the dough from sticking to the bowl or the clingfilm. Squash the dough down into the base of the bowl and cover the top of the bowl tightly with clingfilm or a lid (but the lid will keep popping off as the dough rises).

450g cake flour 2 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt 190ml warm water 15g instant dry yeast (1 sachet) 15ml (tbsp) olive oil 1 tsp sugar 250g dried cranberries


Fill the kitchen sink with REALLY hot water and leave the dough to rise for 30 minutes in the bowl floating in the water. It should be touching the clingfilm after 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220ºC. Put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix together with a normal cutlery knife. Add the oil and the water, and swish around the bowl until it gets too clumpy to use the knife any longer.

Spray the loaf with cold water from a pump dispenser until very wet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 190ºC. Allow to bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

Use your hands to work into a dough. When holding together, take out of the bowl and knead for 10 minutes exactly (I don’t add extra flour for kneading, it gets easier to work the more you knead it. Oil your hands if it’s sticking to you). Roll into a ball and place back into the bowl.


Ice Cream Surprise We’re always told that you can’t have pudding unless you eat your vegetables, well this is called Ice-Cream Surprise because this pudding is a vegetable. It’s made using beetroot, which is a great way to get the whole family to eat their vegetables. Don’t tell them though, because they won’t taste it. It’s our little secret. We had this recipe tested by a chef, children, the aged, and us regular folks, and everyone loved it. It tastes more like a palate cleansing sorbet than an ice-cream, and an Italian lady fresh from Italy said, ‘The Italians know how to make ice-cream, but this is the best ice-cream I’ve ever tasted.’ We’re so honoured to get such high praise for this dessert. This recipe contains no sugar, so it’s safe for diabetics, no milk, so it’s vegan and lactose intolerant friendly, and is the perfect colour for a yuletide pudding. Peel and cube 1 kg beetroot.

Freeze for 8 hours.

Put it in a pot and cover with water. Boil until the beets are soft.

Remove from freezer and stir up with a fork. Then blend in the container with a hand whisk.

Drain off the water. Put back in the freezer and freeze for another 8 hours.

Put the cooked beetroot into a blender. Blitz it with 2 cans of coconut cream (400 mls each). I sachet of diabetic friendly raspberry jelly (jello), 1 sachet of diabetic cherry jelly (jello), and 1/2 cup of diabetic blueberry syrup. I did this in two batches Pour the pureed beetroot concoction into a 2 litre ice cream container.

Whisk it up again. Stir in 1 jar of sugar free blackcurrant jam (jelly) 300g. Freeze until set.


Mince Pies Ingredients: Make your pastry by cutting the soft butter into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar and mix well. Cut the flour into the butter. In a separate bowl beat the egg with 1/2 the juice of the lemon and the essences. Mix this well into the dough. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface until 5mm thick. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut circles out of the dough. Also cut out stars for the top. Preheat the oven now at 200ยบC / 400ยบ F. Place rounds into a baking tin for cupcakes. Line with wax paper. Fill hollows with beans and bake for 6 minutes.

4 Green Apples (peeled & cored) 1/2 cup Dried currants 1/2 cup Dried sultanas 1/2 cup raisins 6 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 pimento berries and one 1 clove 6 Pecan nuts (shelled) Pastry: 1 cup soft butter 1 extra large egg 2 1/2 cups flour 1 cup castor sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 1/2 teaspoon almond essence 1 lemon Method: Dice the apple into cubes and stew until soft on a medium heat covered with water with the currants, sultanas, raisins, sugar, vanilla, clove and pimento berries. Once soft strain the apples and allow to cool whilst making your pastry. 111

Mix the juice of the other half of the lemon with the stewed fruit. Mix in a good sprinkling of cinnamon powder, allspice and nutmeg. Add in 6 pecan nuts well chopped, and use to fill the hollows of pastry after covering each pastry shell with a beaten egg wash. Top with a star brushed underneath with egg. After filling the pastry shells and topping with stars, dust stars with icing sugar or caster sugar, and then with food glitter. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Allow to cool in the baking tin before removing to a cooling rack. Give as gifts in foil cases inside cellophane bags.

Gunpowder Biscuits 4 teaspoons Gunpowder Green Tea (finely powdered in the coffee grinder) 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla 2 teaspoons matcha

1 egg 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt 4 drops lemongrass essential oil

Method: Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour and gunpowder, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Mix the matcha and lemongrass throughly into the dough until it’s smooth and evenly green. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until thin (about 3mm thick). Using a cookie cutter cut out shapes. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven until crisp. Remove from baking tray and onto a wire rack to cool. When cool, melt some of your matcha chocolates (made previously in the chocolate recipe) in a small microwave dish in the microwave. Spoon onto the middle of the back of a biscuit, let set a little, then press a matching cookie on top to create a sandwich. Once sandwiched together spread your biscuits out over the wire rack (or on baking parchment), and drizzle chocolate off the end of your spoon to make stripes. Place in the fridge to set for 5 minutes. Store in airtight containers (preferably tin). These make very healthy gifts. Makes ¹ 40 biscuits


Turmeric & Vanilla Biscuits 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 egg 1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt 2 teaspoons turmeric powder 4 drops lemongrass essential oil

Method: Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Split the mixture in half. Put the plain vanilla to one side. Add the turmeric to the remaining half of the biscuit dough with 4 drops of lemongrass essential oil. Mix the turmeric and lemongrass throughly into the dough until it’s smooth and evenly yellow. Wrap each dough in clingfilm and refridgerate until firm. Remove the refrigerated doughs from the fridge. Bump them into oblong squares, then slice evenly. Stack one yellow layer and one white layer one after the other, then slice through the whole lot to get striped biscuits Place on a lined baking sheet, flatten slightly, and bake in a moderate oven until crisp. * Make turmeric chocolate by copying the matcha recipe and using turmeric instead Makes ¹ 50 biscuits Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory due to its curcumin content (on a par with cortisone). It reduces NK kappa-B, inhibiting inflammation across the body spectrum for everything from IBS, cystic fibrosis, to rheumatoid arthritis, reducing swelling and stiffness. It protects colon cells from free radical damage, and protects the DNA and chromosomes from damage. Promoted for its activity for Alzheimer sufferers and reducing cardiovascular disease, we take turmeric because it clears the sinuses, stops post nasal drip, and helps to prevent infection. It contains manganese, iron, copper, vitamin B6, and potassium. 113

Pink Potato Croquets Makes 21 croquets

You can play with coatings. Adding a bit of powdered chicken soup, or brown onion soup to the mix, might make for some very tasty crispy coatings.

Step 1: Wash and dice 2.5 cups of potato. Step 2: Drain off 90% of the water from the boiled potatoes. Mash them immediately with a tablespoon of cream, the same of butter, and a heaped cup of grated white cheddar cheese. Once roughly mashed stir in a dessert spoon of powdered parmesan. Place your pot into the fridge to cool and harden up your mash.

Step 4: Take the mash out of the fridge. Using a normal dessert spoon, scoop out a golf-ball-ish size portion of mash, roll into a ball like you do with meatballs, and place on a baking sheet until you’ve rolled up all of your mash into balls. Step 5: Roll each potato ball through the egg wash, and then through the polenta mix – and put back on your baking tray. Make sure they are all well coated.

Step 3: Prepare the coating. In a bowl put 1 cup flour / or / southern chicken coating powder, add 1/2 cup polenta for crunch, add seasoning (I used chicken spice, grated parmesan, and salt). Mix up well. Break an egg into another bowl and whisk with a fork. In this first picture you can see my pink Himalayan salt and tub of parmesan. These are the only ingredients for the coating.

Step 6: I use the same pan I fried the sausage in. While preparing my mash mix etc I fry up sausages to go with this meal. Take the sausages out of your frying pan and leave them to keep warm in the oven. Simply add an extra centimeter of canola oil to your frying pan (canola is a mono-saturate and the oil you want to be using!), give it a minute to come up to temperature, and then place your potato balls into the pan. As they fry they flatten, after 114

a minute or two use tongs to simply pick each ball up and turn around to fry the other side. They cook very quickly on a medium-high heat, so don’t walk away or get distracted at this stage. Step 7: Turn over to brown the other side. Step 8: Then brown the sides Step 9: Take out cooked croquets, and leave on a plate next to your frying pan while you fry the rest of your crumbed potato balls. The don’t hold any grease or oil, so draining them

For people who can’t eat regular potatoes, use sweet potatoes

isn’t necessary. The dark spots are from the sausage previously cooked in the pan. Step 10: Once they’re all fried, dust them with parmesan, and serve with your sausage (and veggies if you’re making veggies). Because of the cheese content they are quite soft in the middle and will squash when you cut into them, but this is what makes them so nice, they’re melt in your mouth delicious!

Vegetarian Quiche

1/ cup Spinach 2 2 red noodle beans 2 green yardlong beans chili peppers (as many as you can handle) 1/ cup oriental mustard greens 2 1/ cup cauliflower leaves 2 1/ cup sweet potato leaves 2 1/ cup onion chives 2 1/ cup garlic chives 2 3 sliced radishes 1/ cup sliced kale 2 1/ cup sliced sweet peppers 2

1/ sliced broccoli stalks 2 1/ cup sweetcorn 2 2 cups cubes of white cheddar cheese 6.5 large free range eggs (the other .5 is used in the pastry) 200 mls whole milk a teaspoon Himalayan salt a teaspoon ground black pepper 3 teaspoons powdered paprika 1/ cup grated parmesan cheese 2 Shortcrust pastry for shell

Make the shortcrust pastry (or buy it), and refrigerate while you prepare the veggies and eggs.

Crack open 7 eggs and mix well with a fork or whisk. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Line your baking pan with the dough (we used a 12 inch silicone mold).

Rinse and clean all vegetables in salt water. Dry off. Chop up and put in a big mixing bowl. 116

Use 1/2 an egg of the egg mix to paint the base of your pastry to seal it.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Dust with parmesan cheese and serve.

Now with the remaining egg mix, add in the spices and milk. Mix well. Pour over the vegetables in the bowl and mix well with cubes of cheese and three heaped tablespoons of parmesan cheese.

***Other ingredients that go magically in here are precooked butternut squash, asparagus, pepperdew peppers, and broccoli florets

Decant the egg-veggie mixture into the pastry shell, and bake supported by a baking tray for 35 minutes at 190ºC, or until well risen and golden.

• This is not vegan friendly. Vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products.

Make your own shortcrust pastry

a tablespoon of chilled water to the dough at a time until it holds together in a smooth ball (usually only takes 2 tablespoons of chilled water). Refrigerate until you’re ready to roll it out and line your pastry case.

1/2 an egg 1 cup flour (250 mls) 3 tablespoons butter pinch of salt 25 mls sugar (1 tablespoon) 4 tablespoons of iced water with a squeeze of lemon juice

To precook the pastry shell, bake at 200ºC until golden (I didn’t precook the one for this quiche)

In a mixing bowl mix the sugar and flour together, then crumble the butter with the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the half an egg (from the eggy mixture for the quiche), and mix well with your hands, squeezing until it forms a ball. Add


Traditional Yule Cake Ingredients and method: 3 slices crystallised oranges, 1 crystallised pear, 2 crystallised melon squares, 4 crystallised figs, 1 ½ squares crystallised ginger, and 100g walnuts finely chopped. 200g dried currants, 50g dried dates chopped, 50g rolled oats, 100g candied fruit christmas cake mix in a huge mixing bowl. Soak another 100g of xmas fruit cake mix in brandy diluted with water. 12 pecan nuts, 3 brazil nuts, and 4 hazelnuts finely chopped. • Place all ingredients into the bowl with 200g morello cherries. • Place 2 cinnamon sticks, 7 cloves, 1 star anise, 12 pimento berries, and 2 cardamom pods into a pestle and mortar. Grind well and add to bowl. Then add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, one and a half tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground allspice, 2 heaped teaspoons blueberry jam, 2 heaped teaspoons quince jam (or orange marmalade), and lastly 3 teaspoons of black treacle. • In another bowl cream together 250g dark brown sugar and 250g salted butter. Then mix in 4 extra-large free range eggs. • Slowly add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to this bowl. Which are: 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda (bicarb of soda), 350g cake flour. Then fold the rest in by hand with a spatula. • Add ‘dough’ to fruit mix and mix well. • Preheat oven to 150ºC. Prepare a 20cm square baking tin by lining it with wax 118

wrap or baking parchment, with waxy side up not down. Trim the paper so that it sticks above the tin by 5cm. • Pour in the cake mixture and level with a spoon or a knife. Then cap the cake with a square of aluminium foil to prevent the top from scorching in the oven. Shiny side facing into the cake, dull side facing up. • Bake in the oven for 3 and ½ hours or until a toothpick comes out perfectly clean. • Leave to cool in the tin. Empty out onto a board and remove all baking paper. Serve hot or cold. If serving hot, it’s best served with custard.

Bath Scrub These are so easy to make and everyone has the ingredients in the pantry. If you can’t get hold of coconut oil, use olive oil instead. You need: 1 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup coconut oil 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or 4 drops essential oil (peppermint for cooling and invigorating / Marjoram if you’re going for that Radox smell)

Variations I make on this are: Anti-cellulite Scrub For this you use fresh coffee grounds instead of sugar. Caffeine is well known for its ability to combat cellulite and this scrub is a lot less expensive than cellulite creams.

Mix together well in a bowl, and store in a glass jar which seals well. The scrub must be very pasty, so if need be add more sugar. The coconut oil simply holds it together and acts as a moisturiser. For more information on coconut simply read our page on it. You can colour your body scrubs by adding a few drops of food colouring.

Vanilla: Using scooped vanilla pods instead of vanilla essence Chocolate: Add some cocoa to the scrub and mix well.


Bath Bombs

To make your own you will need silicone chocolate molds (or any silicone mold you have at hand). Alternatively you can use chocolate molds - or ice cube trays. In the photos above I used a chocolate mold (hearts) and a silicone muffin pan (the big bath bomb. Water spray bottle.

Keep doing this until the mixture holds together when you clamp it in a fist (or between two spoons). Once it sticks together it’s ready to press into your molds. Don’t worry of the mixture fizzes when you spray it, that always happens, just stir the water in as fast as you can. Using a teaspoon fill your molds and compress the ‘powder’ down as hard as you can. Fill all your molds and leave to dry at room temperature out in the open for 3 days. We just left ours on the kitchen counter until they were dry. Gently press out of your molds and store in an airtight container. (We used glass jars).

Ingredients: 2 cups bicarb of soda (baking soda) 1/2 cup cornstarch Essential oil added 1 drop at a time Food colouring Water Put the bicarb of soda in a big mixing bowl. Add the food colouring now, just 3 drops at first, to get the baking soda coated with colour. Add to this the cornstarch, and mix well. Then stir in 10 drops essential oil to match the colour you’ve chosen. ie yellow if you’re going for citrus, green if you’re going for tea tree etc. Mix these ingredients together well. The baking soda fizzes when it gets wet, so to bind the ingredients together you have to apply the water bit by tiny bit. This step: spritz the mixture in your bowl with a spray of water and immediately mix together well.

To make a ball (of you’re using a call shape mold), simply spray one side of the sphere with a little water and immediately pres the other side to it. Hold for a minute, then leave to dry again for another day. (We did this with the muffin mold - as you can see in the photo above).


Again: Colour it to match the scent you’ve chosen. Using essential oils is easiest and best for this craft project.

Incense Chimney

Tree Spice Sacks

1 Toilet roll 2 Coins that fit snugly inside the toilet roll / or a tealight shell 1 6 cm round piece of cardboard / or an old scratched CD Handful of small stones and pebbles (found at nurseries) Plaster of Paris or tile grout (mortar)

Velvet rags Cotton balls Whole cloves Whole Pimento Allspice Nylon ribbon Green Pipe Cleaners cut in half Cut velvet material into rectangles. Fold so the velvet is on the inside. Sew down each side to create a pocket.

For a dry wall chimney, simply glue the stones all over the cardboard toilet roll holder, leave to dry. In the center of the CD disc, glue the coins one on top of the other. Leave to dry. When the two pieces are dry, place an incense cone onto the coins and place the stone chimney over the coins. Looks just like a smoking chimney.

Turn inside out so the velvet it on the outside. Sew by hand a pipe cleaner to the seam on the inside. Place 3 teaspoons of cloves, and 1 teaspoon of pimento into the bottom of the sack. Fill with cotton balls. Tie shut tightly with nylon ribbon. Hang these on the tree by folding the top of the pipe cleaner over. These fill the whole whole house with the scent of xmas.

For a stone and mortar chimney. Cover the cardboard tube with plaster of paris (or tile grout) and push the stones into the plaster of paris. Leave to dry. Follow the steps afore mentioned for the base. Variation: You can color the “mortar� with acrylic paint, or with powdered oxide (oxide is available in a number of colors from most hardware stores. Green, red, black and mustard). 121

Tree Bows

Walnut Decorations

1 Roll green wired velvet ribbon 1 Roll red wired ribbon Green pipe cleaners

Bag of whole walnuts Clear lacquer Green pipe cleaners

Cut lengths of ribbon. Fold the ends so they overlap at the back. Pinch in the middle so they bunch into a bow shape. Secure by wrapping a pipe cleaner around the middle. Use the pipe cleaner to hang it on the tree.

Purchase a bag of walnuts in the shell. Carefully pry them open along the seam by using a paring knife. Split them in half and remove the nuts for eating (or baking). Using wood glue, glue them back together. Every nut has a tine indent gap at the top. Once the nuts are dry and glued together, push a pipe cleaner into that gap. Then glut it in place with wood glue. Leave to dry for a day. To give them a rich colour hang the pipe cleaners and nuts onto a clothes hanger outside and spray the nuts with clear lacquer. Leave to dry outdoors for a few hours. Once the lacquer is dry you can hang them on the tree, or put them in the xmas box for December.


Tree Hearts Velvet material Heart cookie cutter Microfiber filling Green pipe cleaners

To make bath salts all you need is a box of epsom salts, food colouring, and essential oil. To make it: 2 cups Epsom Salts. 5 drops essential oil. 5 drops food colouring

On the back side of your material trace the heart cookie cutter using a Sharpie pen. Cut out pairs in the same material. Sew the sides together inside out, leaving a gap at the top where the curves of the heart meet. Turn the right way around so the velvet is on the outside, then fill with microfiber filling. Place a green pipe cleaner in the center and sew closed by hand. Hang on the tree by bending the pipe cleaner over at the top so it hooks on. You can also use ribbon to make a loop for hanging if you don’t have pipe cleaners.

Using a plastic bowl, put the 2 cups of epsom salts into the bowl. Add to this the essential oil and food colouring. Mix well. Darken the colour if you like by adding one drop of food colouring at a time and mixing well (a little goes a long way) Store in a glass jar next to the tub, or reuse a bottle (for easy pouring) Epsom Salts are magnesium sulphate. Our bodies need magnesium for a myriad of health reasons. Using this ingredient in your bath relieves tired and aching muscles. The skin is the biggest organ of the body so always be discerning about what you’re going to put on it.

* If you purchase squeak balls from a teddy bear supply shop, these can also be made into toddler toys. Simply sew the plastic squeak ball into the heart, it then squeaks when it’s squeezed.

With all of these recipes you can get creative. You can add instant coffee to it for a coffee scented bath, or vanilla essence for a vanilla bath, whatever you have on hand in the kitchen. 123

by Heather (from Gratitude & Happy Thoughts)

The best finds for cats! I adopted an abused cat in March. The poor baby was terrified of humans, and came home to me covered in ear mites and with a broken tail. My first priority after taking him to the vet for all his needs, was to calm him and help him relax in his new home. I discovered Music for Cats by David Teie. I played him the free sample on David’s website and the difference in him was immediate. But David’s CD is still pre-order only, so I went onto Youtube to see if I could find music to soothe him. Calming music for cats is easily available for hours of listening on Youtube, and my house was full of classical music for weeks while my baby adjusted. I have other cats too, and the music played throughout the house had everyone stretching, and in deep relaxation for weeks. It was a fabulous way to adjust my traumatised baby to a new home, and a great way to stop stress in the other cats too. If you’re looking for a gift for your cat, grab this CD by David Teie. The result is 124

immediate. Also to help my new baby adjust, I got a calming pillow for him. This is a stuffed toy which contains valerian root. But every time I let the other cats in to socialise with my new kitty, they all went for his pillow - and stole it a number of times. The amazing result of this was a house full of happy and very calm cats. Unfortunately it really does pong, but the smell was worth it for a family of stress free kitties. Between the music and the valerian pillow, my new kitty adjusted in record time. Because of it I now make my cats valerian toys. They go nuts for these, rubbing them, licking them, and trying their best to shred them. Unlike catnip it doesn’t excite them, but they go just as wild for a fresh valerian toy.

Valerian Toy For Cats


To make it:

If you’re not into making shapes, or sewing, simply purchase strong socks. I used old socks once and my cats shredded them open within hours, so worn socks won’t work. Fold the sock inside out halfway. Put two teaspoons of valerian root into the toe area. Then add 4 cotton balls. Tie a strong knot just above this cotton bulge. Then fold the rest of the sock back over the bulge of cotton encased sock. Keep tying it back and forth like this until you run out of sock to tie over the ball. Make extra and keep them in a sealed container or plastic zip-tie bag. Your kitties will love this for xmas! If you don’t sew, just stoe some of their toys with valerian.

Sew shapes, or a disc, from a non-fluffy and natural material. (Cotton, old jeans, or tracksuit material works). Cats tend to eat what they shred open, so only use natural materials and stuffing. I got a bag of rags from the Motoring supply store (or the DIY centre may have them). This is a budget friendly way to get lots of material in different patterns and materials for craft projects. I chose tracksuit material which I sewed with the inside on the oustide (rough side out, smooth side in). Simply cut out shapes and sew them together, leaving a gap for filling. Purchase a box of dried valerian root from your pharmacy or health food store. Place 2 teaspoons of valerian root into the material cavity, then puff the pillow up with cotton balls. Sew the open gap

Keep extra shapes from cutting material to make toddler toys and tree decorations. 125

Place a bird bath under downpipes for fresh water for birds and animals.

Take toys away from cats as soon as they’ve broken open. Never let them ingest the insides of a toy.

The Magic

of 528 Hz by Heather (from Gratitude & Happy Thoughts)

528 Hz is an organic frequency credited with healing the body, relaxing the mind, and promoting wellbeing. I play this for my cats when they’re overexcited and it calms them right down. During the change in the seasons my kitties often get antsy and act out, and I’ve found that playing them 528 Hz music soothes them into a zen state of sedate relaxation. It’s not just good for cats, it’s also great for humans and other furry friends. During the festive season we go out, we have people over, and these changes in routine can stress our pets (and ourselves). This festive season try playing 528 Hz music for your pets while you’re out, during fireworks season, and while you’re driving in the traffic. It will heal and soothe you, and them. This is a quote from Wikipedia for you on 528 Hz. “The advantages of the Scientific Pitch have also been discovered and used in the field of energy healing, among others by former NASA scientist and energy healing pioneer Dr Barbara Brennan. Dr. Brennan, founder of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, researched the Bioenergetics field, a field in science that concerns energy flow through living systems, and especially what she calls the “Human Energy Field”. In her body of work Dr. Brennan studied the effect of light, sound and electromagnetic radiation on the human body and discovered 7 sound frequencies she refers to as “Chakra Tones”. Dr. Brennan argues that these 7 tones have an energising effect on the human energy field and that they promote physical health and wellbeing. Though the 7 tones were gathered individually by Dr. Brennan with no relation to a specific pitch, it was later noted that they could only be played on an instrument tuned to the Scientific Pitch, thus reaffirming the beliefs of its unique proponents.” 127

We experience physiological benefits

Following her work, some music therapists






from heart frequencies mediated on our

professional the

DNA, as DNA emits quantum coherent

Brennan 7 tones in music and therapy

photons and the DNA spontaneously

sessions, as well as fully adopting the

vibrates (oscillates). In this paper they

Scientific Pitch. Believed by many to

demonstrate the intentional winding and

be the precise sound frequencies that

unwinding of DNA through thought and

resonate with the body, the Brennan

intention alone, using the heart frequency

7 tones as well as the whole Scientific

of love and gratitude. These results

Pitch, are often referred to as “Organic

support the idea that the heart radiates


coherent frequencies throughout the



body which promote health and vitality. It

528 Hz is the frequency for transformation, DNA repair, and miracles.





saying of




important in DNA replication and repair, regulating a wide variety of basic cell functions, and the heart’s energy field

As a health researcher I went to find what

directly modulates these cell functions

I can on 528 Hz in the field of science.

and DNA. They have termed this

528 Hz is labelled a Solfeggio Frequency,

cardioneuroimmunology. The unusual

and is credited with healing broken DNA

ability of heart energy to carry three

strands (Horowitz and Puleo 1999). In the

different frequency patterns suggests

scientific paper Local and Non-Local

it’s not electromagnetic in nature, as

effects of Coherent heart frequencies

previously thought.

on conformational changes of DNA, by Glen Rein PhD and Rollin McCraty

528 Hz is the sound vibration for heart

PhD, they say that recent studies have

energy, and is also found in Buddhist

demonstrated the presence of quantum




(International Journal of Science and

and has demonstrated that quantum

Research, Volume 5 Issue 4, April 2016)

fields can influence neurological and

Frequencies of the Buddhist Meditative

immunological functions at cellular level.

Chant, Om Mani Padme Hum by Contzen

The HeartMath institute claim the

Periera, resonant based experiences

heart has a frequency (energy) which

are not imaginary, it has an effect on the

affects electrical activity in the brain.

oscillation of the cells of the body, creating








a standing wave within the body which

research is this, the entire four hours it

enhances the natural vibration frequency

took me to research and write this article

of the body. Some cells demonstrate

I’ve been playing 528Hz music, and my

a 12% increase in growth rate when

cats who were going bananas and wanting

exposed to sound frequencies. (Aggioet al

to face off this morning have curled up

2012). Breast cancer cells were effected

around me and slept for the full 4 hours.

by resonant vibrations (Lestardet al 2013).

Science supports this sound frequency

Several frequencies create patterns in

as healing DNA, promoting a tranquil

the brain which enhance neuroplasticity

emotional state, and repairing our bodies

and brain function. These frequencies

(through the repairing of DNA). In my

are found in the Tibetan chant Om Mani

home this is my go to music when any of

Padme Hum, affecting cognition (Periera

us is stressing. But don’t take my word for

2015). Depending on the instrument used,

it, please do try it for yourself.

528 Hz is found with the chant sounds Pad, Me, and Ni. Lee Lorenzon discovered that six sided water clusters form at the 528 Hz vibrations, and may be responsible for the healing effect on the body at cellular level. (Lorenzon 1989). According to this paper 528 Hz is the sound frequency of love, and our link to the environment. It enhances mental clarity and deep inner peace. (Linsteadt 2013, Paddon 2012) In the study Alternative Medicine Approach




Therapy (Dr Hol. Med. Erica Flavia Alio-Warr, Phd. Mut), it also confirms that 528 Hz is responsible for DNA repair and transformation. This is a case study where sound and colour was used to help heal a child with cervical disconnection from a traffic accident. What I can tell you after all this

Dog Biscuits Ingredients:


½ cup cornflour ½ cup cake flour ½ cup rolled oats ½ cup barley flour ½ cup rice flour 1 cup biltong (beef jerky) ½ mutton stock cube ¾ cup omega 3 flax oil ½ cup sugar 2 XL eggs 80g butter 3 crushed B complex vitamin tablets pinch salt

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Work all ingredients together well until the dough is soft and smooth. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface until 3mm thick. Cut out bone shapes with a cookie cutter. Place baking parchment on a baking tray and place the bones out in neat lines to bake. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180ºC, or until golden brown. Allow to cool before storing in a tin. Makes ± 80 biscuits (with a small cookie cutter).


References used for 528 Hz Horowitz & Puleo: Healing Codes for the Biological apocalypse, Idaho 1999, p 741. Popp, F. A. Coherent photon storage in biological systems. In: F. A. Popp, et al., eds., Electromagnetic Bioinformation. Munich: Urban & Schwarzenberg (1989). Rein, G. Modulation of neurotransmitter function by quantum fields. In K. H. Pribram, ed., Behavioral Neurodynamics. Washington, D.C.: Internat. Neural Network Society (1993). Rein, G. Utilization of a cell culture bioassay for measuring quantum fields generated from a modified caduceus coil. Boston: Proc. 26th Intersoc. Energy Convers. Engineer. Conf. (1991). McCraty, R., M. Atkinson and G. Rein. ECG Spectra: The measurement of coherent and incoherent frequencies and their relationship to mental and emotional states. Proc. 3rd Annual Conf. of the Internat. Soc. Study Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, Monterey, CA. (1993). McCraty, R. and M. Atkinson. Correlations between ECG and EEG recordings from individuals in a loving state of consciousness. (In preparation).

Cambray J. Synchronicity: Nature and Psyche in an interconnected universe. Carolyn and Ernest Fay series in analytical psychology; no. 15.2009. ISBN-13: 978-1-60344-143-8. http://www.jung. orgSynchronicity20Cambray.pdf Davidson RJ and Lutz A. Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation. IEEE Signal Process Mag. 2008; 25(1): 176 – 174. Ghaligi S, Nagendra HR, Bhatt R. Effect of Vedic chanting on memory and sustained attention. Indian J.Trad. Know.2006; 5 (2): 177 –180. Gurjar AA, Ladhake SA, Thakare AP. Analysis Of Acoustic of “OM” Chant To Study Its Effect on Nervous System. Int. J Comp. Sci Network Security, 2009; 9 (1): 363–367. Lazar SW, Kerr CE, Wasserman RH, Gray JR, Greve DN, Treadway MT, McGarvey M, Quinn BT, Dusek JA, Benson H, Rauch SL, Moore CI and Fischl B. Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport.2005; 16(17): 1893 –1897. Lorenzen, L. “ROD Water Information.” Up-to-Date Food Processing (Japan) 1989; 24 (7)

Childre, D. L. Self Empowerment: The Heart Approach to Stress Management. Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publications (1992).

Thoma MV, La Marca R, Bronnimann R, Finkel L, Ehlert U, Nater UM, 2013. The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response.PLoS One. 2013; 8(8): e70156

Paddison, S. The Hidden Power of the Heart. Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publications (1992).

Puzi NSM, Jailani R, Norhazman H, Zaini NM. Alpha and Beta brainwave characteristics to binaural beat treatment. Signal Processing and its Applications (CSPA), IEEE 9th International Colloquium. 2013;344– 348.DOI: 10.1109/CSPA.2013.6530069.

Rattemeyer, M., F. A. Popp and W. Nagl. Evidence of photon emission from DNA in living systems. Naturwissenschaften 68 (1981): 572. Garyaev, P. P., K. V. Grigoriev and V. P. Poponin. DNA solutions studied by Laser Correlation Spectroscopy: Experimental evidence for spontaneous temporal selforganization. Bull. Lebedev Physics Instit. 12 (1992): In press. Rein, G. and R. McCraty. Modulation of DNA by coherent heart frequencies. Proc. 3rd Annual Conf. of the Internat. Soc. Study Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, Monterey, CA. (1993). Proceedings of the Joint USPA/IAPR Psychotronics Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1993. Aggio RBM, Obolonkin V and Villas-Boas SG.Sonic vibration affects the metabolism of yeast cells growing in liquid culture: a metabolomic study. Metabolomics 2012; 8:670 – 678. DOI 10.1007/s11306-011-0360-x Brandt A, Gebrian H, Slevic LR. Music and Early Language Acquisition. Front. Psychol. 2012; 3:327. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00327. Bond-Garrett C. Sacred Soffeggio Vibrational Raindrop Technique: Raindrop Harmonics. Published by AromaSounds, 2013. ISBN 0985420936,9780985420932

Lestard Nd, Valente RC, Lopes AG, Capella MA.Direct effects of music in non-auditory cells in culture. NoiseHealth.2013; 15:307-14.

Valerian Root


FAVOURITES The Editors tried and tested favourites

Free Range Mohair Socks Winter is coming. These socks are so warm and cosy, with mohair’s thermal properties, keeping feet warm without bulkiness. Loved these socks by Cape Mohair!

Himalayan Salt Lamp Himayalan salt lamps are a natural ioniser, neutralising the electrical frequencies in your home. We used them as bedroom lamps and found the glow so warm that they act as a soporific. These would also do well next to your computer and TV.

Dye your hair with herbs. Herbatint contains NO AMMONIA and is very, very low in peroxide with a very natural result. The color is derived from the actual source that is natural herbs.


FAVOURITES Organic Probiotic Skin Spray Prevent dryness and itchy skin the natural way. This is nature’s natural ‘anti-bacterial’ solution. Using probiotics topically prevent bad bacteria on your skin. Also good for eczema and psoriasis.

Bearberry Cream Bearberry is a natural solution for freckles and age spots. It lightens the pigmentation in the skin. We love this organic version from the supplier Faithful to Nature.

Dental Probiotics K12 oral probiotics were formulated as an all naural approach to Ears,Nose, Throat health in children. These amazing probiotics keep your mouth plaque free for hours on end. Safe for the whole family, we ditched the mouthwash and use nature’s solution to gram negative bacteria (which cause dental caries and bad breath) instead.

Probiotic Cleaners We used these to unblock the drain, clean away stinky smells in kitchen pipes, and to clean the floors, sinks, and windows. Probiotic cleaners work like a dream and are safe and non-toxic for children, pets, and the environment.

PROBIOTICS and why we need them by Heather (from Gratitude & Happy Thoughts)

We’ve all heard of bacteria. Most of us associate bacteria as being a bad thing. This isn’t wholly true. We get good bacteria (beneficial for the body and environment) known as gram positive bacteria, and then we get gram negative bacteria, which is what we blame for illness and those terrible smells coming from the drain. I’d like you to think of a balance-scale. If you put something heavy on one side the scale dips, to get the scale to balance you have to put a weight of equal mass on the other side. If you put them together they become neutral, that is our goal for our body and health. I say health because this article is about more than just your body, it’s about understanding how our entire environment is part of the ongoing problem of being out of balance, and so to have healthy homes and bodies we need to use gram positive bacteria in all applications of our organic life.

The perfect example here for you is bad breath (halitosis). 99% of bad breath cases are caused by ‘bad bacteria’ attacking your mouth. Bacteria is responsible for halitosis, feeding on your tooth enamel, and for causing dental caries.1 One thing you may have noticed is that babies don’t have bad breath. They don’t brush their teeth or use mouthwash, and yet they don’t have stinky breath despite living on milk. Anyone who’s ever been around a burping baby knows how sour the smell of baby vomit is, and yet their breath isn’t affected by this regurgitation. The reason for this is probiotic content in their mouths. Some of us have naturally occurring streptococcus salivarius (K12), Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and lactobacillus salvarius probiotics in the mouth cavity. This immediately overpowers bad bacteria strains, keeping the mouth healthy, and also the small intestine. 140

from infecting the body.6 Streptococcus salivarius has emerged as an important source of safe probiotics, capable of fostering health-associated oral microbiota. Strain K12, the prototype S. salivarius probiotic, originally introduced to counter

Most infections and illnesses begin in the mouth, by keeping the mouth healthy with a rich supply of oral probiotics (streptococcus salvarius, lactobacillus salavarius, lactobacillus rhamnosus) we prevent a number of human illnesses

Most infections and illnesses begin in the mouth We can purchase dental (oral) probiotics for mouth health. They are labelled BLIS (bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances). The probiotic strain S. salivarius K12 produces several megaplasmid-encoded BLIS including the lantibiotics salivaricin A and salivaricin B. Strain K12 and other BLIS-producing S. salivarius are currently in use for application to control a variety of common maladies and infections of the human oral cavity.9 Oral probiotics are credited with curing peridontal disease, oral candida, halitosis, and immunity to illness.16

Streptococcus pyogenes infections, now has an expanded repertoire of healthpromoting applications.7 Probiotics can be defined as living microbes, or as food ingredients containing living microbes, that beneficially influence the health of the host when used in adequate numbers.16 The human body developed a holistic defence system which is naturally occurring probiotics to fight against disease and infection, immediately destroying aggressive invaders. Through the daily routines we go through (brushing teeth, mouthwash, antibacterial soaps, and constantly scrubbing everything off until we’re squeaky clean) we have systematically undermined our own wellbeing. Another good reason to breastfeed babies is because human breast milk contains probiotics which colonise the newborn’s body with strains of Streptococcus, Micrococcus, Lactobacillus, Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium and Bifidobacterium.10


Alcohol destroys bacteria, the good and the bad, so if you drink alcohol or use alcohol based mouthwashes, you are constantly destroying the natural balance in your mouth and must supplement with oral probiotics as you’re creating an environment where gram negative bacteria has no natural counterbalance. K12 and several more recently proposed S. salivarius

probiotics are now being used to control diverse bacterial infections, including otitis media, halitosis, and dental caries. Other potential applications include upregulation of immunological defences

against respiratory viral infections and treatment of oral candidosis. 2 The streptococcus salivarius K12 probiotic has successfully treated children with persistent fluid in the middle ear.3 It is completely safe and without side effects.8 Most pharyngeal infections are caused by the bacterial strains salvaricin A2 and salvaricin B. The probiotic K12 (streptococcus salvarius) showed an 80% decrease of viral infections – with no side effects, successfully treating tonsillitis, with a 90% success rate on pharyngeal infections.5 Group B streptococcus strains (gram negative) are responsible for a number of neonatal infections transmitted to the newborn baby. The probiotic Streptococcus Salvarius K12 (human oral microbiota) had an antibacterial activity on these infections, inhibiting all infection from colonizing in the vaginal tract and the baby, and is safe therapy to use during pregnancy to eliminate infection.4 I went looking for oral probiotics in my country and found a few formulated for babies. I bought the drops and used them after brushing my teeth every night. The result was I woke up without any morning breath, and no plaque formed on my teeth or tongue for 20 hours after just 3 drops put on my tongue. I am 142

amazed. Unfortunately, locally all I could find were Lactobacillus Salivarius and Rhamnosa drops, but they worked so well even though I couldn’t procure K12 (streptococcus salvarius).

the progression of an h.pylori infection through her body. It started with inflammation of her oesophagus. Then her gastric valve got inflamed and infected and she started experiencing acid reflux. Then she got stomach ulcers, and her digestive tract got so inflamed with polyps that she called the process of food through her colon ‘like eating glass’. Finally her uterus got so infected and inflamed with polyps, that her doctor suggested a hysterectomy. I’m of the opinion that surgery is a last resort and so went researching for her, where I found h.pylori as a major reason for internal inflammation and causing a host of problems. When prescribed antibiotics the good and the bad is wiped out, and because she had no good bacteria and the bad wasn’t completely wiped out, over the course of 20 years her health problems grew progressively more extreme. Instead we put her on nature’s best antimicrobial (olive leaf – see our article on combating bacteria), and she was restored to perfect health within a month, within 7 days of olive leaf at chronic dosage she could eat without any discomfort at all, and when she went back to her doctor he said he’d never seen her healthier and she no longer required surgery. This is why we need to continuously prevent the eradication of healthy probiotics in the body by using oral probiotics, helping the body maintain

In my research for friends and their ailments, I found that bad bacteria is responsible for an entire dictionary of health issues. E.Coli is a bacteria responsible for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.17 CD patients have lower overall bacterial loads at inflamed regions, noting a relationship between fungi and IBD including an overall increase of fungal diversity in UC and CD. Escherichia coli, particularly adherentinvasive E. coli (AIEC) strains, have been isolated from CD and UC patients.13 E.coli is also detected in women with endometriosis.19 H.pylori is another bad bacteria which is linked to the cause of polyps (growths).18 For this I’d like to explain the human body briefly. When we’re infected the body does its best to isolate that region to prevent further infection. The body creates a barrier around the alien invader which we’d call a cyst or growth, which if left untreated can become cancerous. One case study I read linked h.pylori to cancerous tumours21. The result of infection - is inflammation. The body has inflammation to show its under attack. A healthy body does not have inflammation. When talking through an illness with a friend I followed 143

perfect health by using natural and safe antimicrobials (without any side effects), and by changing our routines so we’re not systematically destroying the natural bacteria the body needs to maintain skin health, gut health, and oral health.20 One of the symptoms of her h.pylori infection was a sudden increase in body weight, without a cause (like overeating) – and an iron deficiency.20

Some women with anaemia also have duodenal ulcers caused by h.pylori, and gastric malformations (caused by h.pylori).20 The cure for all of these health issues starts with maintaining probiotic count within the body by taking oral probiotics (which then effect the health of the small intestine too), and by regularly taking a natural antimicrobial which eliminates bad bacteria while leaving the good bacteria unaffected (olive leaf, or propolis). Antimicrobials are known to have marked and long-term effects on bowel flora.

Probiotics (Lactobacillus johnsonii MH68 and L. salivarius ssp. salicinius AP-32) eradicate helicobacter pylori infections and reduce inflammation.11 Using the oral strain of probiotic (lactobacillus salivarius) showed the highest eradication action against antibiotic resistant strains of h.pylori.12

Recent studies have shown that antibiotic use is actually associated with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) onset and functional bowel symptoms, due to alterations in bowel flora. 14 144

‘bad’ bacteria. The solution to this is to start using probiotic cleaning products. In most countries you can now purchase probiotic drain cleaner, floor cleaner, pet bed spray, gels, body washes, hand washes, shampoos, you name it. Do a search in your area for probiotic products and you’ll be amazed by how many products are now available.

SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) can cause everything from IBS symptoms; bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and constipation, to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM).15 Excess bacteria can successfully compete for nutrients, produce toxic metabolites, and cause direct injury to enterocytes in the small intestine.15 Strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobactrium have been used to successfully treat SIBO and IBS. The importance of restoring normal intestinal flora cannot be overemphasized.15 Beneficial microbial flora are recommended for patients with autoimmune diseases.13

Use these to clean and wash your

Because antimicrobials are linked as cures for neurological disorders, multiple sclerosis, skin inflammation, ulcers, obesity, bone marrow trauma, diarrhoea, bloating, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, it stands to reason that when something goes wrong in the body it’s caused by bacterial infection, and by increasing our natural defence (probiotics) we eradicate these bacterial issues before they can cause infection. Most illness is caused by bacteria left unchecked to attack the host (your body), and it is indeed germ warfare.

laundry rather than soaps and detergents which eradicate the good along with the bad. I now add my probiotic cleaner to all my handwashes, to the softener cycle of my laundry, I clean the floors and windows and counters with probiotic products, and use a child friendly oral probiotic and skin spray. If you are suffering any type of allergy, start using probiotics! An allergy is an inflammatory response, probiotics help to combat that. I add probiotic liquid to the water in flowers and it stops it going milky and stinky. If it stinks that’s caused by bacetria, the solution isn’t a wipe out, but the balance of probiotics to prevent bad bacteria from taking hold. It’s also a good idea to wash fresh produce in probiotic water. This is a pet friendly, child friendly, environmentally friendly, non toxic way to clean you and your home.

Using products which destroy all bacteria is self-sabotaging. Bad smells like blocked drains, smelly feet and armpits, clothes which don’t dry fast enough and begin to stink, these are all caused by

I know this article is long, and to be honest I have so much research I could fill a book with ongoing information on how bacterial infections from h.pylori and e.coli are the cause for so many of our 145

health issues, and that the solution is probiotics used in your daily environment and in your body. Both h.pylori and e.coli are transmitted because people don’t wash their hands after using the loo. If you push a shopping cart you could be infected.


The answer to great health is to start winning the bacterial war waged against you on a daily basis. This is the first line of defence against seasonal allergies, colds, and deeper issues like stomach ulcers, autoimmune diseases, internal inflammation, and IBS.

3. • Int J Gen Med. 2015 Sep 15;8:303-8. doi: 10.2147/ IJGM.S92488. eCollection 2015. • Oral use of Streptococcus salivarius K12 in children with secretory otitis media: preliminary results of a pilot, uncontrolled study. Di Pierro F1, Di Pasquale D2, Di Cicco M2.

1. Eur J Oral Sci. 2007 Aug;115(4):308-14. Lactobacillus-mediated interference of mutans streptococci in caries-free vs. caries-active subjects. Simark-Mattsson C1, Emilson CG, Håkansson EG, Jacobsson C, Roos K, Holm S. 2. Future Microbiol. 2012 Dec;7(12):1355-71. doi: 10.2217/fmb.12.113. Developing oral probiotics from Streptococcus salivarius. Wescombe PA1, Hale JD, Heng NC, Tagg JR. (2)

4. Infect Immun. 2015 Sep;83(9):3438-44. doi: 10.1128/ IAI.00409-15. Epub 2015 Jun 15. Streptococcus salivarius K12 Limits Group B Streptococcus Vaginal Colonization. Patras KA1, Wescombe PA2, Rösler B1, Hale JD2, Tagg JR2, Doran KS3.

Stay healthy. Knowledge is power.

5. Drug Healthc Patient Saf. 2014 Feb 13;6:15-20. doi: 10.2147/DHPS.S59665. ECollection 2014. Use of Streptococcus salivarius K12 in the prevention of streptococcal and viral pharyngotonsillitis in children. Di Pierro F1, Colombo M2, Zanvit A3, Risso P4, Rottoli AS5. 6. Future Microbiol. 2012 Dec;7(12):1355-71. doi: 10.2217/fmb.12.113. Developing oral probiotics from Streptococcus salivarius. Wescombe PA1, Hale JD, Heng NC, Tagg JR. 7. Future Microbiol. 2012 Dec;7(12):1355-71. doi: 10.2217/fmb.12.113. Developing oral probiotics from Streptococcus salivarius. Wescombe PA1, Hale JD, Heng NC, Tagg JR. 8. Evaluation of safety and human tolerance of the oral probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Burton JP1, Cowley S, Simon RR, McKinney J, Wescombe PA, Tagg JR. • Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2010 Oct;2(3):13544. doi: 10.1007/s12602-010-9045-4. Extended Safety Data for the Oral Cavity Probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12. Burton JP1, Chilcott CN2, Wescombe PA2, Tagg JR3. 9. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2009 Jun;1(1):60-6. doi: 10.1007/s12602-008-9002-7. Epub 2009 Feb 21.


Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy. Hirasaki S1, Matsubara M, Ikeda F, Taniguchi H, Suzuki S.

Streptococcal Bacteriocin-Like Inhibitory Substances: Some Personal Insights into the Bacteriocin-Like Activities Produced by Streptococci Good and Bad.

19. • Hum Reprod. 2014 Nov;29(11):2446-56. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu222. Epub 2014 Sep 8. Intrauterine microbial colonization and occurrence of endometritis in women with endometriosis Khan KN1, Fujishita A2, Kitajima M3, Hiraki K3, Nakashima M4, Masuzaki H3. • Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2016 Apr;199:6975. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2016.01.040. Epub 2016 Feb 6. Molecular detection of intrauterine microbial colonization in women with endometriosis. Khan KN1, Fujishita A2, Masumoto H3, Muto H3, Kitajima M4, Masuzaki H4, Kitawaki J5.

10. Anaerobe. 2011 Dec;17(6):369-74. doi: 10.1016/j. anaerobe.2011.03.010. Epub 2011 Apr 16. Immunology and probiotic impact of the newborn and young children intestinal microflora. Bezirtzoglou E1, Stavropoulou E. 11. Helicobacter. 2012 Dec;17(6):466-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-5378.2012.00992.x. Epub 2012 Aug 28. Eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection by the probiotic strains Lactobacillus johnsonii MH-68 and L. salivarius ssp. salicinius AP-32. Hsieh PS1, Tsai YC, Chen YC, Teh SF, Ou CM, King VA.

20. •Gastric inflammatory fibroid polyp treated with Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy. Hirasaki S1, Matsubara M, Ikeda F, Taniguchi H, Suzuki S. •Ann Intern Med. 1998 Nov 1;129(9):712-5. Disappearance of hyperplastic polyps in the stomach after eradication of Helicobacter pylori. A randomized, clinical trial. •J Gastroenterol. 2006 Oct;41(10):954-61. Epub 2006 Nov 9. Changes in plasma ghrelin levels, gastric ghrelin production, and body weight after Helicobacter pylori cure. Osawa H1, Kita H, Ohnishi H, Nakazato M, Date Y, Bowlus CL, Ishino Y, Watanabe E, Shiiya T, Ueno H, Hoshino H, Satoh K, Sugano K. • American Journal of Gastroenterology (1999) 94, 109–115; doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.1999.00780.x A prospective, multidisciplinary evaluation of premenopausal women with iron-deficiency anemia. The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private ones of the authors and are not to be construed as official policy or reflecting the views of the Department of Defense. This study was presented in part at the America College of Gastroenterology Post Graduate Course, Chicago, Illinois, Oct., 1997.

12. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2008 Apr;61(4):831-4. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkn040. Epub 2008 Feb 8. Strainspecific inhibition of Helicobacter pylori by Lactobacillus salivarius and other lactobacilli. Ryan KA1, Daly P, Li Y, Hooton C, O’Toole PW. 13. The microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease: current status and the future ahead. Gastroenterology. 2014 May;146(6):1489-99. doi: 10.1053/j. gastro.2014.02.009. Epub 2014 Feb 19 14. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 Feb; 110(2): 278– 287. Published online 2015 Jan 27. doi: 10.1038/ ajg.2014.427 PMCID: PMC4317767 Intestinal Microbiota And Diet in IBS: Causes, Consequences, or Epiphenomena? Mirjana Rajili-Stojanovi, PhD,1 Daisy M Jonkers, PhD,2 Anne Salonen, PhD,3 Kurt Hanevik, MD, PhD,4 Jeroen Raes, PhD,5 Jonna Jalanka, PhD,6 Willem M de Vos, PhD,3,6,7 Chaysavanh Manichanh, PhD,8 Natasa Golic, PhD,9 Paul Enck, PhD,10 Elena Philippou, PhD,11 Fuad A Iraqi, PhD,12 Gerard Clarke, PhD,13 Robin C Spiller, MD, PhD,14 and John Penders, PhD15,*

21 Gastric inflammatory fibroid polyp treated with Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy. Hirasaki S1, Matsubara M, Ikeda F, Taniguchi H, Suzuki S. Endoscopic examination revealed a submucosal tumor, 35 mm in diameter, with an ulcerated apex at the antrum. H. pylori were positive by both histology and tissue culture, and eradication.

15. Treatment of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth With Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil: A Case Report. Alan C. Logan, ND, FRSH, and Tracey M. Beaulne, ND. pdf 16. Eur J Dent. 2010 Jul; 4(3): 348–355. PMCID: PMC2897872 Probiotics and Oral Health Anna Haukiojaa,b 17. Microbiota as Therapeutic Targets. (Dig Dis 2016 Jun 22) 18.

Gastric inflammatory fibroid polyp treated with


Book Reviews reviews on our latest reads

Digital Children by Jacob Rayne Forget Child’s Play...Here Comes Digital Children!!! Just when you thought it was safe to have children!!!!! GOOD GODS!!! I’m not a big reader of this genre but damn if I couldn’t stop reading it!!! Though it wasn’t overly long in text, it was huge in content! From start to finish, I was captivated but the way this author delivered this story. It had all the elements of a fine scary story. Not in a around-the-campfire kind of way but in a lightsout-with-a-torch-under-your-chin kind of way. I personally think small children are terrifying but now that Jacob Rayne has shown us the way of Digital Children, I KNOW they are demons. Thank you Sir for your masterpiece! You are my new Poe!!!! *Review by Kelli

Caged by D.H. Sidebottom I didn’t want this read to end. The twist is exceptional! It’s the spear dart impaling your emotions, hauling you through murky depths, needing to reach light, air, resolution, and hopefully a HEA, but anyone who opens these pages will be just as stuck and at the author’s mercy. We all need to be loved, to feel safe, and Sidebottom taps into this essential human requirement, throws it overboard, and helps you drown in the chasm of her words. My lordy I loved this novel. LOVED IT! * Review by Poppet 150

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13th sign magazine issue 1  

The little things in life make up the majority of our existence and 13th Sign Magazine is a gentle reminder to put U first, because if you d...

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