Otter Spotter

Half past ten on a cold night, I heard screeching and thrashing about in the canal outside my boat.  I grabbed my torch expecting to see a muntjac maybe, a dog or even a person in trouble.

I shone the torch onto the water and two heads popped up right outside the galley window.  My first thought was, ‘seals!’  Well they looked like seals with their rounded wet heads.

Of course they weren’t seals, but two male otters having a punch up outside my boat.  They were fiercely biting, clawing and screaming at each other, quite oblivious to me or my torchlight.  Until, that is I called Mr. O to come and look, when they suddenly realised I was there and dived off in different directions.


Otters are a rare sight, especially on the canal and I have only seen one before during the summer, lazily swimming and rolling in the water without a care in the world.  These adult males were probably fighting over territory.  Maybe there’s a lady otter in the area and they might have babies.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Otter Folklore

In popular Korean mythology, it is told that people who see an otter  will attract ‘rain clouds’ for the rest of their lives. Hmmm..

The mischievous god Loki killed the dwarf Otr while the latter was in the form of an otter. The dwarves were furious, and demanded compensation from the gods who gave them the otter skin filled with gold.

In ancient Persia the otter  (known as the ‘water dog’), was esteemed above all other animals, and a severe penalty was imposed on anyone who killed one.


Sea otters hold hands while they’re sleeping so that they don’t float away.



Falling in.

A poo based story.

I have been in the canal 5 times now, twice accidentally, thrice by design.

I wouldn’t recommend it, it’s not cool and fresh like a free flowing river. It’s tepid and stagnant in most places and it’s full of poo, swan poo, duck poo, moorhen poo, dog poo….you get the idea.  By far the worst dip was by design.

We were moored near Wolverton which has lots of railway bridges above the towpath.  They’re old, and dank and usually inhabited by pigeons.  There is one particular bridge which is disgusting.  Pigeon poo all over the bridge, the towpath and in the water.  It stinks.  We always scurry underneath as quickly as possible when walking the Henry the dog.

We were tiptoeing under said bridge when Henry ran towards the pigeons and a baby one landed in the water.  It was too young to fly and just bobbed about looking at us.  Mr. O’Sophical said, “That’s going to die now.”
Bloody hell.  I can’t just walk away after he’d said that, so I took off my jeans, sat on the poo covered towpath and gently got down into the pooey water.   It was deeper than I thought and came up to my waist.  The bottom felt very soft, squishy (and pooey) between my toes, I still shudder when thinking about it.  I reached out and picked up Stupid Pigeon and gently put him back onto the towpath.  Then, I had to haul myself out which involved jumping up and down a few times so that I could climb out.  This just mixed the yukky water up even more.  Nice.

Pigeon Poo Bridge
Pigeon Poo Bridge

I stood on the towpath in just my t-shirt and knickers, dripping with canal water and pigeon poo and gently shooed Stupid Pigeon into a safe place.  Then I swore, a lot, while Mr. O’Sophical and Henry looked at me, Henry with a bemused expression and Mr. O with a grin.  A hot shower and a nice cup of tea helped me to regain my usual placid demeanour.

The next day.

Of course we had to go back to check on Stupid Pigeon and there he was, sitting next to his mummy, looking as if he hadn’t a care in the world.

Blessings to all our wildlife, stupid or not.

The Biggest Secret

I have been keeping a secret since 9th November 2015, the biggest secret I have ever had to keep.  I have laughed, cried and stared into space with a huge grin on my face.  I had to tell someone; so I told the lady in the Body Shop and the lady in Marks and Spencers too. (They’re good at keeping secrets.) Now, before I burst;

My daughter is having a baby.

Happy Couple
Mummy and Daddy to be.

I wanted to climb onto the boat roof and shout, ‘I’m going to be a Granny!’ but it was early days and scans were booked and relatives had to be told before I could let myself loose with the news.

As a Granny and a witch, I will be taking my new responsibilities very seriously.  As well as the babysitting I will be teaching my grandchild all about the changing seasons, the plants and flowers, and the wonders of nature.

We’ll be chasing rainbows, hugging trees, stuffing our pockets with magical stones and feathers as well as jumping in puddles, dragging sticks along railings and singing good old fashioned rhymes about dogs, moons, and spoons.

It’s too early to tell the gender, fairy or pixie, so for the moment it’s a baby pirate.

Baby at 13 weeks.
Baby Pirate

As a practising witch, I already have Baby Pirate’s first magic spell prepared. To cast it I will light a candle and then place nine bay leaves into a little bag one by one whilst reciting an ancient rhyme.

 “One to shine upon your face, Two to keep you in good grace,

Three to make your heart to sing, Four good fortune so to bring,

Five for strength in any danger, Six for kindness from a stranger,

Seven for good wisdom’s crown, Eight for gathering high renown,

Nine by which this spell is bound.”

Then I’ll tie it to baby’s crib.

Bay Leaf Magic Spell
Bay Leaf Cradle Charm

There are also lots of family sayings to pass on;

‘It’s black over Will’s Mother’s.’

‘If the wind changes you’ll stay like that.’ I might add, ‘That’s what happened to your Grandad.’

‘Eat your crusts, it will make your hair curl.’

‘Don’t tell lies, you’ll get ulcers.’

‘Your eyes are bigger than your belly.’

‘Put that down, you don’t know where it’s been.’

and so on.

And then, of course, there are hundreds and hundreds of fairy stories to be read.

Once Upon a Time
‘Are you a Gog? Listen carefully then.’

So, what does Mr. O’Sophical have to say on the matter…..?

“I don’t really do babies but it can come to me when it’s had enough of you lot.”

If you would like to know more about my magic spells please visit my website.

Virgin Blogger

Yes please!   I would very much like to publish my first post.

I have spent most of the day looking at themes and colours, scratching my head and have found that everything I wanted to say has completely disappeared from my thoughts.

It would have been hilarious, interesting and inspiring had I remembered.

So, what do you think of it so far?

I’m tempted to add pictures. Yes, pictures. This is where I live.

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The Outside
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The Inside

This is the first of many blogs. The rest will be full of witchcraft, wildlife and water gypsies (they’re an eclectic bunch.)

There will also be infinite wisdom from Mr. Phil O’Sophical;

‘Bubblewrap is being phased out because it stores too much air and we might run out.’