Monday, March 22, 2010


This is another extract from Sylvia's story. Sylvia is a character who haunts me and whose story may be on the way to being a novel!

“Blood Donors Required…… cats and dogs need transfusions too”. Sylvia squinted to make out the rest of the poster pinned to the notice board. The next line answered the question forming in her head. She looked down at Henry’s bulk spilling out of the cat carrier at her feet. He was sure not to miss a pint or two – maybe she should think of volunteering him. But then again, maybe not. Henry would not like that at all. He hated going in the car and he hated the vet. Like her, he lived an ordered and settled life. Unlike her, he seems to still like it. Henry was not troubled by the ripples of discontent that seemed to be heralding an oncoming earthquake in Sylvia’s life.

The door opened ushering in a whoosh of cool air, a scattering of autumn leaves and the scent of patchouli oil. The normally sullen faced receptionist beamed a wide smile.
“Hi Caroline. Oh, Pyewacket is in great form I hear.”
“Oh yes, I have been serenaded all the way in, in the car. She is as vocal as always.”

The sun broke through the grey clouds and the waiting room was filling with a soft buttery light. A large crystal hanging in the window was catching the sunlight and dropping tiny dancing rainbows on the tiled floor. The smile was still stretched across the receptionist’s face and the heady musky aroma of patchouli was making Sylvia feel dizzy and disorientated. The smell had hurtled her back to the hippy heaven of the Dandelion Market in the 70’s. Another life, another Sylvia.

“Sorry about this” announced the receptionist, “but there is going to be a bit of a delay. David is dealing with an emergency RTA. He should be done in about twenty minutes or so.”

“Oh, no problem. All is as it should be.” said Caroline “isn’t that right?” she added looking directly at Sylvia.
“Oh, mmmm yes, right. No problem.”
“Sorry about the racket though. Pyewacket sings like this when she’s nervous, or cross, or hungry, or bored…. In fact she sings most of the time.”

Sylvia smiled back and wondered how a trip to the vet had suddenly become so complicated. She is in uncharted territory here. What on earth was she meant to say to this woman and her singing cat, who was now sitting on the bench beside her, making her feel colourless and dull. Caroline was wearing a battered and torn pair of jeans, soft, tan leather boots with huge heels and a flowing, finely knitted, multicoloured top which seems to be shot through with golden threads. Sylvia is immediately reminded of her favourite poem, by Yeats. Yes, Caroline seemed to be ‘enwrought with golden and silver light’.

“She’s a Siamese, an awful indulgence I know. She’s fussy, only eats chicken which has to be cooked fresh every day. She is highly neurotic. Hates strangers coming to the house, which is not ideal in my line of work. But she has a beautiful spirit and her voice is so true that it clears the air of negative energies very effectively. We’re partners really I suppose, aren’t we Pyewacket?”

Oh God, thought Sylvia, is she talking to me or the bloody cat? How do I answer her when I have no idea what she is talking about? The cat’s spirit? Negative energies?

“She is very exotic.”
“What have you got in your cat carrier? All I can see is a rump of grey fur. Although I have to say whatever it is, it looks very relaxed.”
Sylvia looked down at her carrier, out of which poured her substantial feline.
“This is Henry. He is a moggie. And he is a bit overweight. He doesn’t sing, but he would prefer to be at home in the conservatory, taking the sun on his favourite chair.”

Caroline suddenly moved and placed her left hand over Henry’s carrier. She closed her eyes for a moment. Her nails are the longest Sylvia has ever seen.
“Oh, he’s a calm spirit alright. But he does seem to be a little upset. And not just because he is here. Henry is worried – could it be about you?”

Sylvia looked straight at Caroline trying to establish if this is some kind of joke. But Caroline returned her stare, her slate grey-blue eyes seeming to bore right through to her soul.

Sylvia felt her world spinning out of control. She was suddenly close to tears. Again. Only last week, just seeing that stupid ‘New Age’ book title, ‘Who Will Cry When You Die’ prompted a huge emotional reaction. She had come home and cried noisily and messily all over the conservatory, disturbing Henry form his deep slumbers and causing him to retreat to the calm of the garden.

Trying desperately to regain her composure, she smiled weakly at Caroline and said quietly “Oh I don’t think so. Henry was hit by a car a month ago and so maybe that is what is bothering him?”

“Ah – didn’t you know that cats are here to protect the feminine. Taking that hit was his way of trying to protect you from something. He is also signalling that there is something in your life that you need to attend to. Otherwise there will be more accidents. He is minding you – but you need to learn to mind yourself.”

As lone tear slipped from Sylvia’s eye and began its slide down her cheek, David poked his head through from the surgery, “sorry for the delay ladies. Henry’s next.”

Muttering thanks at Caroline and covered in confusion and swirling emotions, Sylvia stood up and bent down to pick up Henry. It is at that moment that her back went. She gasped in pain, dropping the carrier back to the floor.


  1. I really love the Sylvia stories! Both this and the last one have left me wanting more. Caroline is a great character too. If it were part of a book - it would be one I would want to read. :-)

  2. Well done Barbara,

    Keep it going and love the way you are using all your knowledge and material from all your healing work.

  3. Lovely, Barbara, really lovely style, you should keep going on it, Gosh, I even remember the Dandelion market, used to go with my sisters, really enjoyed your extract, looking forward to more.

  4. I used to hang out in the Dandelion market on the weekends I didn't go home. Still have one or two of the purchases from there.

    That was really great Barbara. Is Caroline a witch. Pyewacket conjures up images from the Kim Novak/Jimmy Stewart movie,"Bell, Book and Candle" Love those old movies!

    Anxious to read more! Soon please.

  5. Thanks Susannah and Maureen for comments and being so encouraging. Sylvia is work in occasional progress... but I love her! So will keep at it!

    Ann and Brigid... wasnt the Dandelion Market just amazing... it was like Aladdin's Cave crossed with Woodstock... total hippy heaven. The smell of joss sticks and muslin cheesecloth shirts and patchouli... very exotic in 70's Dublin. I remember there was a great shop in Gaeity Green where these 2 women used to make great skirts from the top of jeans (leg removed) and strips of old material... I think it was a 'gyspy' skirt. I loved them.

    Anyway - thanks also for the nice comments and Ann u r on the right track with Caroline.. she is more of a healer/wise woman - well yeah - probably Witch! And cats name deliberately chosen.. as far as I know the movie cat was also Siamese

  6. Hey Barbara, Has Sylvia developed any further since? I'd love to read more but perhaps something has been released already and I've missed it? Love the blogs! :)


    Calvinists often make the statement we are saved by grace alone and by faith alone. This is in and of its self a conflicting proclamation. You can believe one or the other, but cannot believe both.

    Definition of alone: separate, apart, to the exclusion of all else.

    It take unbridled self deception to say "I believe I was saved by grace alone and saved by faith alone."

    To be save by grace alone means that God does everything for you. Grace alone suggests that men have no free-will. Grace alone means that God forces men to have faith so that they might believe and be saved. Grace alone implies that men repent only because God makes it impossible to resist. Grace alone means that men are baptized against their free-will. Grace alone means that men only confess Jesus as the Son of God because God gives them no other choice.

    Faith alone, taken at face value means men are saved by faith alone. If you are saved by faith alone, then you do not need grace. If you are saved by faith alone then you do not need to be baptized in water.

    You cannot on one hand say I was saved by grace alone and then say I was saved by faith alone.

    There is no verse Scripture that says, "Men are saved by grace alone."
    There is no verse on Scripture that says, "Men are saved by faith alone."

    The Bible says men are saved by grace. (Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.) It does not say men are saved by grace alone.

    Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (It says men are justified by grace, however, it does not say grace alone.)

    Acts 13:38-39 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.(Men receive forgiveness from sin because they believe in Jesus, however, it does not say men receive forgiveness by faith alone.)

    Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;(It says men need to repent so their sins may be wiped away, but it does not say repent only.)

    Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;(It says if you confess Jesus as Lord you will be saved, however, it does not say confess Jesus only.)

    Acts 2:38 Perter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (It says if you are baptized your sins will be forgiven, but it does not say baptism only.)

    The Bible teaches we are saved by grace, but not by grace alone.

    The Bible teaches we are saved by faith, but not by faith alone.

    The Bible teaches that we are saved by confession, but not by confession alone.

    The Bible teaches are sin are forgive because we repent, but not by repentance alone.

    The Bible teaches that are sins are forgiven because of water baptism, but not by baptism alone.

    GRACE: Romans 3:24
    FAITH: JOHN 3:16
    REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38
    CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10
    BAPTISM: 1 Peter 3:21