How it all began.

I promised you a story about how the Princess and her golden dragon met. Today is the day for that story!

When the princess was very young, she lived with her parents in their palace in the capital of the country. Her parents were the rulers of the country and very well respected. As such, they were often invited to neighbouring countries to give advice or support during difficult times.

So it happened that one day, the family was invited to visit a nearby country that had recently entered into a peace treaty with them. Keen to show the newly formed friendship to the people of both countries, the family packed for the journey and set off on the long road to their hosts. What happened next has been debated and investigated many times, but there will probably never be a definitive answer.

What we do know is that the princess and her family never reached their destination and of the travelling party, only the princess was ever seen again.

All that anyone else knew was that several days after the search had been abandoned, a young golden dragon landed on the roof of the palace, holding the princess in his front claws. He held her there for 4 hours until someone that he deemed trustworthy came up to the roof and promised to look after his small charge.

From talking to te princess and the dragon, I have managed to piece together what happened.

It seems that the travelling party was attacked by bandits, neither the princess or dragon know what happened to everyone and they really don’t like to think about it so I didn’t press them. The small princess had been overlooked by the bandits and was able to crawl away undetected. She spent at least two days hiding in a cave and crying, not knowing what to do with herself. The cries of a small child bother almost every species and the golden dragon who was not long out of the nest himself heard her pleas for help. He found her cave and gently investigated the cause of her distress. Once he realised that she was alone and unable to care for herself, the dragon did his best to provide for her. He curled around her for warmth, went hunting for food and really tried to help, however it soon became clear that as much as he cared and tried, a dragon can’t care for a small child.

Reluctantly, he decided to try and take her back to her home. She tried to describe it to him until he was confident that he knew where to take her. The young dragon had little stamina and it took a long while to travel back to the capital and he was constantly worried that he would drop the princess or fail to care for one of her needs on the way but they made it. The princess had come to rely on her golden friend for comfort and protection whereas the dragon had learned more about affection and love than he could have hoped. The juvenile pair knew from the moment he landed on the palace roof that they would never really be separated.

Once the princess had been examined, cleaned and fed, servants put her to bed and were surprised to find a young dragon keen to barge his way into her room and curl up around her in the way they had become accustomed to sleeping. The princess cried out for her dragon when the adults tried to shoo him away and soon they had to acknowledge that the palace now had a dragon in residence.

The next day, the staff began making adjustments to deal with a growing dragon following their beloved princess around.


Doodles First Bedtime Story

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who ruled over a vast kingdom with the help of her best friend, a giant golden dragon. Together they were a frequent sight in the sky over the kingdom as they visited the citizens and checked that all was well in the land.

The dragon was the greatest protector that a princess could ask for and the princess had never felt fear or danger for a moment since she met the dragon. In return, the princess cared for the dragon and gave him the freedom that he would never have had as a wild dragon.

The story of how they met is a tale for another day.

One day, the dragon was flying the princess over the massive forests and enjoying the sight of the fresh, spring green leaves. They were looking for a good place to stop for a picnic lunch when the princess noticed a large plume of smoke on the horizon. Without a word, the dragon changed course and sped towards the smoke so they could investigate.

The fire was fierce and out of control, forcing the dragon to land the princess some way away from the fire and shield her with his enormous heat proof wings. Quickly, they devised a plan to try and stop the spread of the fire. The dragon lowered his head to allow the princess to climb back on before launching upwards with a powerful beat of his wings. He dropped her off at the closest village and took off without her.

The princess found a village full of panicked people trying to gather their possessions and escape from the inferno. Using years of royal experience, she calmed her subjects and explained her plan. Within minutes they were dropping the things they were trying to save and instead grabbing axes, saws, ropes and shovels. The princess led them a little way into the forest and explained how to make a fire gap. Runners were sent to neighbouring villages to pass the plan along as everyone else began chopping down a wide swathe of trees. Smoke was beginning to fill the air but still they worked on creating a corridor in the trees to stop the spread of the fire.

Just as the crackling of the flames could be heard, a great shadow was cast over the workers. The dragon flew low over them, just clearing the treetops with a bulging belly weighing him down. He landed clumsily and proceeded to spray a powerful jet of water over the trees and earth before him. He couldn’t douse the whole fire but he could delay the spread whilst the people worked. The dragon cast a worried eye over the princess who was soot covered and working hard with the villagers, she seemed safe enough if a little worse for wear so he flew off to collect another belly full of lake water.

Once the dragon had drenched as much of the forest as he could, he joined the people in ripping up trees with his powerful claws, roots and all. Then, under the direction of the princess, he used the trees to build a temporary dam, enlisting the help of beavers to make it water tight enough. The princess wiped sweat and soot off her face, ignored the ruined mess that her dress had become and inspected the work that the dragon and beavers had carried out. Knowing it was the best they could hope for, she nodded to the dragon to begin digging.

In no time at all he had created a channel from the nearby lake which smashed into the dam protecting the villages and flowed towards the fire. A great hissing and spluttering rose up from the woods as the water met the fire. It took a lot of digging and a lot of water flowing through the makeshift channel but eventually the fire was quenched.

Everyone was exhausted so they made their way back home, every villager wanted to host the princess and the dragon but no one really had room for the dragon to sleep. He was far too tired to fly home and the princess was worried about him. Together, the villagers pulled together their last scraps of energy and washed the soot and mud off the dragon before building a quick tent for him to curl up in. Everyone raided their pantries and together they created an impromptu feast, everyone ate and sat around telling tales until they noticed that the princess had fallen asleep tucked up between the forelegs of the dragon. The villagers crept back to their homes quietly and let their saviours sleep in peace until the morning.


My Amanda Palmer Experience

On Saturday I saw Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra at the Concorde 2 in Brighton and from the moment they left the stage, I knew I was going to have to write something about it. At first I thought a short tweet would suffice, many people claim seeing Amanda Palmer perform is a life changing experience of love and hugs and understanding. I didn’t get that.

Soon, the tweet didn’t feel like enough, a seed of feeling was planted and was growing into something that needed to get out.

I used to be majorly on the fence in my opinion of Amanda Fucking Palmer (AFP). Musically, I’ve liked her work for some time (I accidentally caught a few songs of her set as part of The Dresden Dolls at Download Festival in 2005) but I always read her personality as being a little false, a little too much and maybe trying to hard just to be herself. I backed the Theatre Is Evil kickstarter, I defended the campaign when people said she had no right, I cried the first time I heard The Bed Song and I felt for her as signs of depression crept into her twitter feed. But I never felt like I would like her if we knew each other.

I have seen passionate performances, I have seen enthusiastic performances, I have seen performances which have ripped my heart out and shredded it and I have seen performances which have felt truly personal and intimate.

I have never before seen a performance which has made me feel so included.

I think it really started during ‘Bottomfeeder’ when Ms Palmer crowdsurfed wearing a jacket with a train that covered the entire crowd, turning us into part of the music, part of the art. I knew she’d got to me when she surfed over our heads, just out of reach for me to be part of the support and I felt disappointment, a second later her knee was next to my face and I helped hold her up. Such a little thing but it felt so big at the time.

There were songs I wish I’d heard that night. I wanted to hear The Bed Song and Trout Heart Replica because those resonate most deeply with me. I understand love and depression and hopelessness. Instead we heard a song whose title I can not find, perhaps it is called ‘Bigger on the Inside’ which appears (to me) to be mainly about loss. I am lucky, I haven’t dealt with a lot of loss so I’m less in touch with that part of myself. It’s still a beautiful, heart wrenching song, it’s just not the one that haunts me.

The bonus was hearing Map of Tasmania. God, I love that song.

I wish we’d been able to stay and hang out on the beach afterwards but a 2 hour drive lay ahead of me and I was already tired.

I now know that I like Amanda Palmer as a musician and a person. I feel like I get her now. I should stop projecting my own failings as a person on to other people.

If Amanda Palmer ever comes to the UK again, you can bet that I will be there.



A colleague of mine has a very talented illustrator for a son. Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Lobster Pig Race is a childrens book where a merry band of creatures race through a selection of environments.

As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with the lobster. Lobsters are great and this one looks so happy! So, I did what I always do when I see something amazingly cute. I try to work out how to make a cuddly version.

Here he is.

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I haven’t really done him justice but he’s still turned out pretty cute I think. I wish I could provide a pattern for other people to make their own but I can’t, not really. It’s all trial and error, I just sew until it all looks roughly right. I guess this is how people make patterns though? Try and try until it looks right and then work backwards again to find the pattern? Maybe I’ll work it out one day, until then I’ll have my own adorable, unique lobster friend.



I’m a big fan of dragons. I have been all my life. I like books and films involving friendly dragons and I don’t like it when dragons are the bad guys.

This could be partly why I have a problem really getting into The Hobbit.

Smaug, the dragon from The Hobbit, is presented as a big, nasty dragon who is described as “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm.” and the entirety of the story revolves around getting rid of him so the dwarves can get their mountain back.

But why is Smaug in the mountain in the first place?

Smaug appears to be from the classical tradition of dragons who covet gold and live on their hoards. In The Hobbit, the dwarves of Erebor have spent many years amassing great wealth, stockpiling gold and gems within the mountain. Does that seem like a smart move in a world with gold-loving dragons? I don’t think so.

Traditional dragons are fairly simple creatures, driven by a desire for gold. They are the magpies of fantasy. So it seems only natural that a big, powerful dragon would be drawn to the gold stockpile. He was only doing what dragons do. The dwarves had no real need for the gold they had and should have realised that dragons would be attracted to it.

The dwarves made a perfect dragon lair and then got all pissy when a dragon came to live in it.

Smaug is a victim of his nature, not a villain.


Bullies and bullying


I decided to write this post a couple of days ago so I was quite amused to see the offering from XKCD this morning!

A frequent topic of conversation on the internet is something along the lines of ‘What do you wish you knew as a kid’. I wish I knew that all the bullshit you put up with at school never really ends.

I remember when I was a kid, sitting in the nurse’s office and holding an ice pack to a black eye, thinking ‘One day I’ll be an adult and all of this will be in the past’. I thought that no-one would call me names or push me down any more, I thought that adults were nice to each other because bullying was childish and immature. I wish someone had told me then that some people never grow out of it.

Throughout school, college and university there was always someone who had a need to belittle me or other people. I thought that maybe these people just hadn’t matured past it yet and I grew a thicker skin. Then I entered the professional world and encountered my first bullying grandmother.

It seems there is no cut off age for bullies. Some people will just be cruel and cutting for their entire lives. Sure, the physical violence stops but, as the comic above shows, words are just as harmful.

When you look at the stories of people like Amanda Todd or the high suicide rate among LGBT youth you have to think that words often are much more harmful than physical violence.

So, in my case, why do I seem to attract harsh words and belittling rumours?

I think it’s impossible to put up with any level of personal attack without looking for fault in yourself. I know I’m not perfect, I know I have flaws and haven’t always been the best person I can be. I hope I’ve never made anyone feel as bad as people have made me feel but I do know that, in the past, I’ve been cruel to people who didn’t deserve it.

I say ‘I don’t deserve this’ or ‘I deserve better’ but now, deep down, I’m not so sure. Maybe this is what I deserve, this is my lot in life. If things haven’t got better by now, I guess they probably never will.


Rights and Equality

Time for another rambling, stream of consciousness post!

Everyone’s favourite!

So, I’ve never considered myself a feminist. In my life and my experience I’ve found that for every inequality suffered by women, there is another suffered by men. I am in favour of equal rights for all people so I don’t pick one group to champion over any others.

Recently, I’ve been educating myself on men’s rights issues. I read about a man asked to move seats on a flight so he wasn’t sitting next to a child. This man was automatically assumed to be a paedophile just because he is a man. I read about a man who helped a lesbian couple conceive a child, only to later be sued for child support when the mothers fell upon hard times. I read countless stories of men who had been raped only to be laughed at when they went for help or to press charges.

Spurred on by these stories I sought out information on men’s rights, to see what people were doing and how the inequalities were being fought.

I was surprised by what I found.

Instead of focusing on spreading their message to receptive minds and engaging in peaceful activism, men’s rights activists seem to just want to hate feminists. When questioned they say that the masses are too brainwashed by the idea of the ‘patriarchy’ to be won over. Instead of being ‘Pro-men’ they’ve become ‘anti-woman’. But hasn’t feminism done the same?

Treating all men like potential rapists, abusers and paedophiles isn’t furthering any cause. Treating all women as gold diggers looking to trap men be filling their wombs isn’t helping anyone.

Almost every issue of gender equality could be addressed and amended if the two groups recognised their mutual interests and worked together but too many feminists have hated men for too long to believe that men can be raped and abused and too many men’s rights activists have been treated like rapists and paedophiles to trust them.

It makes me sad that people can’t talk to each other, in most situations communication would fix a lot.

Food for thought, why does a woman have the right to terminate a pregnancy that the father wants to keep?