Dying for a Cuppa

You know how one thing can lead to another, when you’re browsing online…

Well, I’d been Googling dyed yarn for a craft project I was thinking of doing, when I came across a section on natural dyes; you know the kinda thing – beetroot red, green nettles and brown tea and then ha, there in the margin was a link to natural hair dyes. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and lo-and-behold, the wonders of tea hair dye was revealed to me.

TeaallScrolling down I learnt which tea would give me blonde, brunette, black, or even ginger results.  My eyes lit up with the possibilities this information could bring me.

I’d not dyed my hair, with permanent dyes, for sometime, as being of a ‘certain age’ the condition of my hair had not been great lately; in fact it had got quite horribly thin – another joy of the aging process. About a month or two ago I’d seen images of a trendy grey haired female model in one of the popular women’s magazines and I’d decided to stop dying my hair altogether. However, I’ve never exactly been model potential, therefore, I didn’t exactly see the desired fashionably grey image, in the mirror, that I expected – instead the woman looking back at me was becoming increasingly more dull and washed out, every time I looked in the mirror. So, you can see why my eyes lit up at the sight of a natural solution.

I’d been blonde for years, however it seemed I’d need chamomile tea and lemons to reproduce this particular effect and I’d only got Tetleys tea bags in the cupboard! While I’d been, scrolling through this marvelous  information, on my mobile phone, I’d wandered absentmindedly into the kitchen and flicked on the kettle.  Opening the cupboard door, I’d reached up and had taken down the tea caddy, twisted off the lid and pulled out a tea bag before realising what I’d done.  Peering at the round, perforated object I wondered would Tetley be more than a ‘hug in a cup’ to me.

I mulled over the idea for a day or two before clicking onto my Hair bookmark and double clicking the link to the wondrous Tea Hair Dyes page. I reread the comments – all of them good – before returning to the recipe.  In the kitchen I gathered the ingredients and utensils I would need and taking one more look at the instructions I began to fill my cauldron.  Hunching over it I mutter the following incantation written by JK Rowling from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

‘I solemnly swear I am up to no good’

I left the golden elixir bubbling away while I mulled over which applicator would be the most effective.  It came down to either a scoosh spray applicator or an empty hair conditioner squeezy bottle.  The brew may spray well, but I reasoned, it would also run all over the place, so I decided to use the squeezy bottle and soak my hair over the sink.

Going back to the kitchen, I peered into pungent mixture and decided it was ready.  Placing a piece of muslin over a mug I poured the potion into it, squeezing the sachet dry and set the mug on a shelf, to allow the contents to cool.

“Fancy a cuppa?” I called through to mum…

Standing before the mirror I took a final look at the dull grey image, before bending over the sink and squeezed the now cold golden liquid out of the bottle and over my head, carefully massaging it into my hair.  Minutes later, as tea dye dripped down my face and neck, I could be seen rushing from room to room, mirror to mirror, constantly seeking an update on the heady situation. Eventually, the brew began to dry on my head and  I settled down to watch TV with mum and sipped at my now lukewarm cuppa.

Sometime later, when the magic was complete, it was time to reveal the transformation.  I thought it best to shower it off and after adjusting the heat, I stepped under the sparkling spray of water.


Looking down, a startlingly vibrant tan was cascading off of me and disappearing down the plughole.  I was suddenly more bother I’d become a perfect stand in for David Dickinson than whether I had indeed performed a magical result on my hair!  I grabbed a scrunchy and scrubbed vigorously at my skin.

Eventually I emerged from the steaming bathroom and made a dash upstairs to the privacy of my own bedroom mirror to assess the results. A quizzical slightly concerned face peered fleetingly back at me, before it disappeared as I wooped and leaped about the room  – Yeeeess! A slightly less concerned face returned briefly to double check – Woo Hooo… back again to triple check more carefully, lifting sections of hair up and twisting round this way and that… aaand again, this time with a hand mirror. Ha chuffed and delighted.  I took more time than I had recently taken blow drying my hair, then took one more smug look at the rejuvenated woman in the mirror, before skipping off to reveal the wondrous transformation to my family.

NB: Yep yep, I realise you may well have wanted some horrendously traumatic ending, but in truth the reality was rather more comforting – like a mug of hot tea on a cold winters day. The dye works with your hair colour by lifting it a tone or so and by adding sage to the mixture it helps to cover the grey.  I recommend it, if you are up for a brew.

Moonii says farewell to The Old Van

Moon in blue sky

Suddenly it’s real, it’s the final night in my old van. I’m sitting on the sofa, staring at the place my tv used to inhabit, letting memories flood through my mind.  Memories such as running up and down the seafront, countless times, at sunset – inspiring. Sitting in my ‘bit of garden’ reading or sketching – blissful. Taking endless bad photos of the moon – joyous. Talking of The Moon, as I’m not very good at goodbyes, I’m going to let moonii do it for me.  It seems fitting at this moment in time to let moonii have her say on the matter – it’s the end of an era…

I’ve been very happy here by the sea, but all things must come to an end, so I will look back fondly and try hard not to stare. The weather is giving me a final farewell show.  Today we’ve had sunshine, rain and now thunder and lightning.  I’ve lost count how many nights, over the years, I’ve turned off the lights and pulled back the curtains, to watch the lightning dance over the sea – I’ve even been caught out running in a storm this year.

It’s difficult to sum up my time here and I find myself looking round the near empty shell of my van, at the few bits lying around, (that didn’t fit in the removal van) for clues to help describe it.  Sitting on the sofa beside me the square, glass vase, with the flowers I dried last season still in it.  On the floor opposite, the huge mirror that hung above the fire, which I did my exercises in front of – this will be my ‘memento’ of my time in my van.  Above it, in the cabinet, sits a little stick of Dublin rock – I’m leaving it behind. On a kitchen unit is my wok – an awkward thing to pack! There in the corner is the shelf where my wooden buddha sat. The red light on the electric fire is still glowing and coming full circle next to me, hangs the big pink thermal door curtain… note to self I still need to pack this.

From my old van I have had some great family times – sister visits a plenty.  Including many a walk on the South Downs, along the pier and the odd peer in a charity shop! All helped along with great food, wine and a good disaster film.  I’ve also had the most fantastic Robbie adventure, which I have written about before. Beginning as a virtual world experience, it crept into my real world and whilst riding that time, on a crest of a wave, I made some good friends along the way, some very good friends.  I hope to continue this adventure (while I still have chips to do so), but I just want to pause here to acknowledge it’s beginning.

I (moonii) have had a lot of fun and laughter – thanks, to this place and to all who shared it with me.  So it’s a fond farewell to my old van, one last long look at the sea and onwards to life by the river, surrounded by mountains.

It’s been a blast for me, I hope it’s been a blast for you, My Old Van. 

I Sit and Notice


Blood red octagons, or are they hexagons? As soon as the thought springs to mind ‘they’ become squares – lots of them, countless squares!  I give up.  Let it go.  The image returns to pulsating hues of red, orange and mauve – doubling multiplying like cells.

My mind flicks to other senses.  I become intensely aware of the sounds around me.  Waves are gently breaking on the pebble beach, every now and then the Big Wave crashes in.  I find myself waiting, trying to predict the moment the Big Wave hits the beach, but the time between them is irregular and eventually I relax back to just acknowledging it’s arrival.  The sound of the sea is always present; day or night I can always hear it.  It’s the background track to my life here and I love it – it reminds me constantly that the world is not man made.

The rhythmic surge of the sea is now distrupted by the buzzing of a bee.  Weaving it’s drunken way from one Osteospermum to another.  Sometimes settling for more than a second on one flower to strip it of it’s pollen before lumbering on to another.  Buzzing grumpily as it goes.  Make way, make way for me, I’m a busy bumblebee!

The creaking of metal interrupts my thoughts – the temperature of the huge vans is beginning to lower.  To me these sounds are a form of communication from the vans to us, the humans that inhabit them.  A warning to come inside, a warning the day is drawing to a close.  I ignore the warning – for now.

It is 5:35pm and now I hear the faint, but constant drone of rush hour traffic, as it winds it way along the coastal road.  Seagulls are also making themselves heard, over and above the drone, as they move to their evening roosting spots – stopping off to snatch a snack.  Most of the day they are quiet, just occasionally ‘gulling’ a warning to other seagulls in the area that food is about.  Sitting here, eyes closed, I may catch the sound of one gliding by, if it swoops low enough for me to hear the air cutting through it’s wing-feathers or if it elegantly flaps it’s wings to effortlessly climb up and over a caravan roof.  Of course, when I’m inside and a seagull lands on my van roof with a thud, all elegance is gone.  On go the hobnail boots and the rolling stomping gate thunders up and down the length of the van.  I do like them though.  I know many people don’t – considering them a noisy, messy nuisance – but I think they are both regal and comical in equal measures.

A different bird calls out incessantly, but this is interrupted by the harsh sound of plastic coming into contact with plastic – an ugly sound – next-door are back.  I open my eyes and look down, waiting for my eyesight to adjust.  Dull black and white images become infused with colour once again.  All around me I now hear human voices, human movement, cutlery and crockery chinking and wafting over me the faint whiff of food cooking.

Glancing to my right I catch sight of the small Buddha figure that’s become almost hidden in my little ‘bit of garden’, which is in front of my van.   I like my secret companion.  I like the fact that it is a secret.  Of course should anyone walk right up to my ‘bit of garden’ all would be revealed, but hardly anyone does.

Why the secret?  Hmmm, a good question.  I like the private reminder to stay peaceful and calm.  It’s a link to a period of my life, when I was reading a lot, searching for answers – something to make sense of what had gone on before.  I also like to have something to sit with, although I love the peace of being alone.

Shifting uncomfortably to relieve the numbness, I realise it is indeed time to move, to answer the creaking call of the vans.  I pack away my journal, sketchpad and pencil case into my small rucksack I keep just for sitting in my little ‘bit of garden’.  Then rearranging the sarong – I use either to protect myself from the rays of the sun or (folded) to lean on while I write – I turn and pick up my half drunk mug of latte.  A daily treat – my guilty pleasure.  I stand up and I’m no longer noticing my world.

How strange we call all of this Peace and Quiet.  How strange to feel isolated but to actually be a part of this swirling soup of senses.

moonii goes to the Robbie William’s Dublin gig 2012 (part 1)

No, the other end (oh LOWER O’Connell Street) by the statue of the Angels.
No, the other end (oh LOWER O’Connell Street) by the statue of the Angels.

I wasn’t lucky in the ticket ballot, such a huge disappointment.  To begin with very few friendlies were lucky and we all began to wonder who exactly were getting those tickets.  Then one by one someone else got lucky.  It was so hard not getting a ticket.  It had happened before, I hadn’t got tickets for his RAH concert, but for some reason this had got to me – at one point I shutdown my laptap, took myself for a walk on the beach to clear my head and to take a break from it all.  It helped and I was fine.

So, I was back to chatting with friendlies in the fans facebook group and at the tables, on Robbie Williams Fun Poker.  I’m one of the night owls (NO) who are up late and so when a fellow NO popped up in a chat box I didn’t think anything of it.  Then she offered me a Golden Willy Wonky Ticket to the Dublin gig!  OMFG!   And what did I do… I said no.  NO.  I couldn’t possibly go to DUBLIN.  Too far – would cost too much money. Nope.  Think about it and let me know by tomorrow.

I texted my mum.  Take the ticket – GO!  came the reply.  So, I went!

Mum and I spent the next afternoon booking the flight to Dublin, giggling away like a couple of teenagers.  There was a moments panic when I discovered my passport was out, but I was able to travel on my driving license.  Suddenly, there I was going, one of the lucky ones.  I couldn’t believe it – this kind of thing doesn’t happen to me, but it had and I was a +1.

My sister phoned:

So, which part of Dublin are you going to… er, I don’t know.

What’s the name of the hotel you’re staying at… er, I don’t know that either.

Ticket?  Nope.

So, just to be clear, I had a return flight to somewhere I’d never been to, to meet someone I’d never met and didn’t even know where I was supposed to meet her anyway – cos she hadn’t been there either.  Fine, no worries then.  The strange thing was I wasn’t worried at all!

On Thursday (the day before the gig) I set off for Gatwick airport.  The whole journey went like clockwork.  All the way I bobbed along in a bubble, with a constant grin on my face and Rob’s set-list playing, on a loop, in my ears.  Before I knew it I was standing at a bus stop, waiting for a bus to Dublin town centre.


Take the 747 bus and get off at the top O’Connell Street – we’re outside the burger bar there.

Okay, for a start it was either upper or lower and there are many MANY burger bars on O’Connell Street.  Found the cinema, passed 3 burger bars, no friendlies.


I’m at Upper O’Connell street by the cinema…

No, the other end (oh LOWER O’Connell Street) by the statue of the Angels.

Haha, Angels, yep, yep, where else would Robbie fans be standing!

So, I dragged my (thankfully) little case down to lower O’Connell Street and there I spotted Scosha.

Cue much shrieking, hugging and OMFGing!

Hello land of blog!

I should probably address the reason for choosing my name – maybe sometime I will…

I’ve kept a journal for many years now and have enjoyed filling it with the different events in my life.  However it occurred to me that I could share some these events in my life via a blog.

I enjoy live music and so expect some accounts of small gigs, concerts and festivals to be included on a fairly regular basis.  However, be warned I am a big TT and Robbie Williams fan and I’ll make no apology for that.

My other love is my artwork.  My medium is coloured pencils and I’ll be sharing some of my work here as well.