Go Right to the Rose; Go Right to the White Rose (for me)

This is another photo contest entry blog, but I will have some amazing things to talk about soon!

This year, I’m going to be blogging for Hair Fair for the first time, and I am over the moon about it! In honour of finding that out just yesterday, here’s my first entry into this year’s Hair Fair Photo Contest.

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Go Right to the Rose

I was working on a much more complicated photo when I decided I had to do this one instead. It suddenly struck me that I needed a smaller posing area so it was apparent that my avatar was posing there with all those animals because the place provided shelter from the rain. I moved the avatar into one of the smaller arches and realised she was Under The Ivy. 

Some of my roleplaying friends know what a huge KaTe Bush fan I am, and that I can talk your ear off about her and what a genius she is, but I promise not to do that right now! The video is short, only two minutes and change, and the one I’m linking here has the lyrics.

Under The Ivy

If you’d rather just read the lyrics, here they are:

Under The Ivy

It wouldn’t take me long
To tell you how to find it,
To tell you where we’ll meet.
This little girl inside me
Is retreating to her favourite place.

Go into the garden,
Go under the ivy,
Under the leaves,
Away from the party.
Go right to the rose.
Go right to the white rose
(for me)

I sit here in the thunder,
The green on the grey,
I feel it all around me.
And it’s not easy for me
To give away a secret—
It’s not safe,

But go into the garden,
Go under the ivy.
Under the leaves,
Away from the party.
Go right to the rose.
Go right to the white rose
(for me)

It wouldn’t take me long
To tell you how to find it.

So, yes. Totally chuffed to be blogging for the 2016 Hair Fair! And totally chuffed to tell you all about the competition you’ve just seen my entry for, as well.

Here is a link to the rules for this year’s Hair Fair Photo Contest! This year’s theme is “Whatever The Weather”, so despite the KaTe song, my initial desire was to successfully do a shot where it was raining, the rain was visible and obvious, the hair looked good, and there was an underlying line and theme that I could get into. That said, I also figured that everybody and her blogging sister would do a rain photo, probably with Argrace hair, since they do a great job with windblown hairstyles. I haven’t delved into the Flickr Pool for the Hair Fair Contest yet, I’m sure that when I do I’ll see a lot of rainy photographs. Still, this was the photo that wanted to be taken, and I enjoyed taking it and working with it until it looked the way I wanted it to look. 🙂 You can enter up to five photographs, so maybe I’ll choose a less popular kind of weather for the next one. 😉

Style Card:
Hair: Agrace, Mayu (Mirror)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Amy
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Wings: Muse, Miss TWA 2015 Wings
Skin: The Plastik, Draziele, Ahriman (New at The Plastik!)
Lipstick: Studio Exposure, Catwa Limited Edition Pretty Girl Lip Gloss (Available at the Cosmetic Fair!)
Dress: Moon Amore, Papillon Dreams with Butterflies
Shoes: Empire, Statice (Available at this month’s Uber!)
Background Structure: Botanical, Forest Ruins Tower
Climbing White Rose Bush: Mesh Plants
Pose: Bauhaus Movement, Dislocucion

Hair Fair starts on the 16th of July and runs through the 31st. It’s always a blast, full of amazing styles and fun things to see and experience, not to mention loads of gifts from great hair designers!

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never enter photo contests without it!

I do promise to get back to story-blogging soon! I know, I know. I just keep saying that, don’t I?

Only in Otherworld?

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I said, “I want to visit a bright land next, a simple land.” Well, we don’t always get what we want, in the FaireLands, but we do receive the blessings that come to us.

And so, the next morning found me in Otherworld. I found myself on a beach, sand in my toes, but dressed so darkly, I wondered where my beloved FaireLands would lead me today.

The light was like a pink gloss over the landscape, and it reminded me, a little unnervingly, of the candy-floss tree in Tinkers Hollow….

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Perhaps what I should have been afraid of were the glowing plants.

Perhaps what I should have been afraid of were the glowing plants: were the carnivorous? Fae-nivorous? (Sorry: couldn’t be helped.)

I forged ahead, and found that day changed to night and back again so quickly in this place it might give one whiplash. Or, you know. Eye-lash. (Sorry, sorry!)

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Speaking of glowing plants….

Speaking of glowing plants…. this tree gave me quite a turn, but that might have been only because I’d finally got used to the glowing grasses and mushrooms at my feet. I think it was some sort of fern? I never was much of a gardener, to tell you the truth, though I’m sure there is someone in this Realm whose job it is to catalogue every single species. Goddess preserve him!

But there were many more things to see in Otherworld. I stumbled across temples that would make anyone long to be reunited with the gods. I found conversation spaces, stone circles, things that might have been buildings or might have been grown from the landscape itself, caves.

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In fact, there was so much to see I found myself overwhelmed by it all. Where to go next?

In fact, there was so much to see, I found myself overwhelmed by it all. Where to go next? Someplace dark, for a little while, to keep my thoughts together. It may be that I’m still reeling from the changes in our Wylds, but I’m finding the sensual delights of the Faire somewhat of an assault this year. So much, so much, so much, so little. You know the saying. Time eats away at everything, doesn’t it?

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And so I found myself in a cave, nice and dark, surrounded by the sound of the waterfall so reminiscent of our lost scrying pools.

And so I found myself in a cave, nice and dark, surrounded by the sound of a waterfall so reminiscent of our lost scrying pools. Here, I took a few deep breaths, thought for a moment, thought of why the Faire led me here today, thought of the winding paths, the crystal buildings, the enormous mushrooms that reminded me of a triumphant time in the Faire, was it a year ago? Two? Three? I cannot remember. A time when I slept in a trumpet mushroom, and then found a gardener to grow them for me in a bower now lost to space and time and dimension.

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The universe holds such wonders. I suppose if one isn’t careful, one can miss things.

The universe holds such wonders. I suppose if one isn’t careful, one can miss things. Something could be right in front of you, or right behind you, and you, going through your little day, walking through your little dream, you miss it. You miss it because you didn’t turn, at exactly the right moment, to see the perfect sunset, for example.

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But sometimes. But sometimes.

But sometimes, you turn your head at the perfect time, and you may see a wonder. You may see a cavern of glowing mushrooms and a pedestal to enjoy them from. You may see creatures who make their own light.

I like that. Creatures who make their own light.

I shall find some creatures who make their own light. Or, perhaps, if I am very fortunate and the years bring me wisdom, I may become one.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae Fantasy, Nightwish
Eyebrows: SimplyScha, Bushy Brows
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Epsilon (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Circlet: Bliensen & Maitai, Farfalla Tiara (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Crown: Bliensen & Maitai, Soleil Crown
Dress: Tayren’s Fantasy Fashions, Dark Velvet Fairy in Purple (One of a kind auction item for the Fantasy Faire Silent Auction)
Shoes: Bliensen & Maitai, Dreki Anklet (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Otherworld

Yes, the Second Life Fantasy Faire officially closed last night! But the sims are still up and will be for a few days! If you haven’t been already, go check them out now!

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!

A Dream of Spring

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So far, it has been a hard Spring. On the Equinox, Maric left our world, leaving me as the sole ruler of Faerie, me and the doubtless growing number of Fae who would like to “advise” me.

And though many of my subjects and friends might not realise or understand, I grieved for him, and I grieve for him.

I know that throughout history we have many examples of Fae Kings and Queens hating one another and yet still having to rule together. Hating one another and yet still being passionately in love.

That was not mine and Maric’s relationship. And yet, with his absence, I feel a yawning chasm in the Land and in my life.

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I had a dream, and although it was Spring everywhere, I was still a Winter Queen.

I had a dream, and although it was Spring everywhere, I was still a Winter Queen. Alabaster skin covered me, my hair silver snow, and although I was dressed for the coming of Summer, I felt ice in my veins. The now-smaller Bower’s park seemed a place to go, and there I discovered a statue of two swans. How like Maric and me they were: him with his unrelenting passion for me and for all things Fae, and me with my aloof exterior and seeming indifference.

Are those two swans a representation of us? Or do they indicate something deeper. I sense something about the black swan, something it is trying to tell me.

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In that space, it was impossible not to dance, although I felt out of balance with the season.

In that space, it was impossible not to dance, although I felt out of balance with the season. And as I dance, I felt a warming in my bones and in my body, as if the sun itself entered me like a lover.

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There was a moment of intense dizziness, and then I found myself atop the Tower.

There was a moment of intense dizziness, and then I found myself atop the Tower. This is the Tower that appeared for me when the Land changed upon Maric’s withdrawal (I am still to raw to say “death”), and I know it well, though I do not like it overmuch. But now I was fully a Spring Queen, cheeks blossoming, clad in white with those butterfly wings that always seemed to attach themselves to me when I was new at all this. And I laugh to write “when I was new at all this,” because after all, it has only been a few years since I was a barmaid in Jasper Cove, only a few years since Father took me in, barely three years since I ascended to the Throne of Faerie.

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It gave me pause, thinking about the past and wondering about the future.

It gave me pause, thinking about the past and wondering about the future. I confess I felt a formality around me, a formality I often feel now. I wonder what the right thing to do is, where I should go, how I should rule. And, further, I wonder if I am even the right ruler, or even a very good one. I have been indifferent like that white swan to so many things during my reign. And now I will have to look at both sides of Faerie, far more closely than I ever have done.

I allowed myself to wonder if there were some place I could go, some haven I could find, a place that would help me learn how to balance so many things at once in Maric’s absence. Some school for Fae Queens. Ha! A school for Fae Queens. It would be like Hogwarts on acid.

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And then, Gods, that dizziness again, and a terrible rushing noise like a waterfall crashing down upon me.

And then, Gods, that dizziness again, and a terrible rushing noise like a waterfall crashing down upon me.

Wherever I was now, it was night, and I walked down a foggy high street until I came to a place that I knew I belonged. Café Codex. A simple sign, probably hand-painted, probably by me: I recognised the loops of my “d”s in the writing. The place looked closed, but the door opened to me. Downstairs, books and a tea counter, with cakes and croissants and the sort of espresso machine that would give my Nathaniel flashbacks and possibly PTSD! I giggled to think of him wrestling with it, and I knew someday I would see this happen.

Bookshelves downstairs filled with everything imaginable, the sort of hodgepodge you find in a good used book store.

And upstairs, I found an occult library, a consulting table, a little couch. I wondered.

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But then without warning I found myself whisked into a stunning forest.

But then without warning I found myself whisked into a stunning forest. It seemed to be afternoon now, and it was then I noticed my freckled skin, almost sun-kissed, and my red hair, tucked in to a braid. And despite my mundane clothes, I was not in glamour! For my wings stood out proudly, and my ears peeked out from beneath the brushed-back braid.

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And then, in a fork branch of one of those massive trees (where do such trees grow?), I saw it: a white owl.

“White Owl,” I whispered to myself. “White Owl.”

And I knew my dream was true.

Style Cards:

Alabaster Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Jessica
Hair: Analog Dog, Meredith
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Fantasy, Nimbus (Now available at the Lumae Main Store!). Shown here with Lumiya Rae’s amazing new appliers for the BentBox Sylvan Ears. As with all Lumae skins, dozens of appliers are included!
Dress: !Go!, Flora, Blush (Available at The Fantasy Collective, which closes soon, on April 15!)
Necklace, Yummy, Victorian Garden Key
Headpiece: Bauhaus Movement, Sissy, Spring
Circlet: Fujiwara’s World, Warden Tiara, Pink Gold
Garden: True & Latlos Creations, Enchanted Swans
Swan Statue: MeadowWorks, Swans Embrace

Spring Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Jessica
Hair: No Match, No Exit (Available at this month’s Hairology event!)
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, Melusine, Shell, T3 (Now available at the Lumae Main Store!). Shown here with Lumiya Rae’s amazing new appliers for the BentBox Sylvan Ears. As with all Lumae skins, dozens of appliers are included!
Dress: Junbug, 18th Century Stays, Ivory Floral
Wings: Deviance, Sidhe Wings, Seelie
Garland: Evie’s Closet, Arianwen Wreath
Tower: Poëtica, Willow Tower

Freckled Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Jessica
Hair: EMO-tions, Kristen (Available at this month’s Hairology event!)
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, T4, Fawn, freckled (Now available at the Lumae Main Store!). Shown here with Lumiya Rae’s amazing new appliers for the BentBox Sylvan Ears. As with all Lumae skins, dozens of appliers are included!
Lipstick: The Skinnery, Matte Lip Potion v2 (Catwa)
Clothes: Mikrunch, Hand Me Down of Mom (flower) (Available at The Chapter 4!)
Shoes: CandyDoll, Flower Flats, White
Wings: Faeline, Sayuri (flame)
Jewellery: May’s Soul, Elven Necklace and Headpiece, gold

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never fly through dreams without it!

Thanks to the creative and talented and all around nice Lumiya Rae, who’s letting me blog her beautiful skins.

Thanks also to all my sponsors and the creators for whom I blog; you’ve all been incredibly patient and understanding with me as I go through the grieving process. I’m grateful for your belief and support.

And PS… Fantasy Faire is just around the corner. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!


Like something almost being said

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The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

—Phillip Larkin
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In the afternoon, it was overcast.

In the afternoon, it was overcast. It seemed only fitting, after the rain, after the Land’s upheaval, once again. How many of these have we seen now? The land remaking itself in Spring, yet somehow remaining old.

And I remake myself too, every spring, though this spring it is different. Different and the same all over again.

Maric is gone forever. Our protector, our overseer, My King, and, let’s face it, the most creeptastic creeper who ever creeped, with the possible exception of The Former Unseelie King Who Shall Not Be Named But Whose Initials Are Gwythyr Gwynn.

And the bower changes too. Smaller now, and floating alongside a brilliantly new Ardan, tall and white and towering above us all, above all our floating fragments of land. We are like an asteroid belt now, going in the manner of Donne to our scattered bodies.

Nathaniel will know that poem. I’ll mention it to him tonight when he’s done with the day’s administration.

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The round earth’s imagined corners

I don’t think any angels have blown their trumpets here.

Instead, I ended Maric’s life with a kiss. And as much as I have never been a Christian, I am, resolutely and innately, English, and so the story that haunts me now is the Christian spring story.

Judas, must you betray me with a kiss?

I am a spring queen.

I am a child.

I am Her Widowed Majesty.

I am a friend to those who loved Maric. Well. A friend to one who loved him, and an uneasy companion of another, whose insanity seems to be her only anchor. Aoibh, Aoibheann, you and I have grown apart as far as two souls out of that numberless infinity could grow. And Dyisi. Of course she has fled, I hope back to a place where she can heal. Dy, my darling, my best friend, rest and return. Please return, because I don’t know how I’ll manage without you. And Nathaniel. Nathaniel, I know, loved Maric. Loves Maric. I won’t ever understand their relationship. I don’t think I ever could have. But I’ll have to be here for Nathaniel, because we are anchors to one another. He showed me our house by the sea the other night. It’s a nice house. And I shall do my best to honour him and honour Maric’s memory, and be a good little Queen. A good little Queen. Good Old Queen Gwyneth. How ironic is it that I seem to be the constant here? Flighty me with my gossamer wings.

I did not love Maric. Most of the time, I didn’t even like him. But I respected him and what he tried to do, and for the Land’s sake I gave him my spirit and my passion, my magic and my blood, and in the end I think it was responsibility, the weight of all of it, that tore him apart.

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That, and a kiss.

That, and a kiss.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Hands and Feet: SLink
Hair: Damselfly, Cedar (Available at Hairology! — Hairology closes on the 29th of March!)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, T1 Bare (all appliers included!) (Available at Skin Fair! — Skin Fair Closes on the 27th of March, so hurry over there and pick up this skin, plus a beautiful fantasy tone for Eirtae, as well!)
Lipstick: The Skinnery, Matte Lip Potion
Dress: Zenith, Vintage Picnic Dress, All Colours (RARE) (Available at Shiny Shabby!)
Shoes: Zenith, Vintage Bow Heels With Socks, All Colours (RARE) (Available at Shiny Shabby!)
Wings: Atomic Faery, Gossamer Wings
Tower: Poëtica, Willow Tower
Table, Chair, Remains of Dinner: IDEZA furnitures, Mon Petit Bistro

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never stay home without it! 

A Passing

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From the player:

Here is the note I posted in email to our friends and family and also on Facebook on Friday morning. My Second Life family is every bit as important to me as my real life family, and I thank all of you for your support and understanding during this difficult time. I hope to get back to a regular blogging schedule within a month or two, but I cannot make any promises right now.

Dear Everyone,

I’m afraid I have some very sad news for you all. After our wonderful Christmas and trip to Sligo, Joe swiftly became very, very ill. While Gavin was still here in London, we had a great family dinner and took the photo that some of you have seen on our Facebook timelines. I’ll include it in this message so you can see us all together as a family. 

The next day, Friday, 22 January, Joe was scheduled to go to Kings College Hospital for a second round of palliative Vinblastin chemotherapy. He’d already had one treatment and the lymph node lump on his left shoulder had shrunk considerably; we believed this treatment was easing his symptoms and helping him out quite a lot. However, the chemotherapy team couldn’t find a usable vein and sent him home to hydrate over the weekend. We made another appointment for Monday.

If Joe hadn’t been in palliative care and if we hadn’t already been informed he was in the final stages of Hodgkins Lymphoma, the hospital probably would have admitted him and given him IV fluids, but as we were adamant about taking care of him in his final weeks as non-invasively as possible, we went home.

Over the weekend, Joe got more and more sick. What began as periods where he would zone out briefly and then come back to us became more and more frequent episodes of what I now know to be called end of life delirium, a condition that results from the confusing messages the brain gets set by the body as systems are shutting down. Joe knew what was happening to him, and when he would come out of these episodes, he enjoyed hearing about what he’d said and we would laugh about it later. He experienced hallucinations about everything from imagining he was on a pirate ship and seeing someone’s plans to take over the world in a mark on a yoghurt pot to explaining to me and Mary Mulholland one morning that his life’s ambition was “to engineer tiny horses, for the children”.

The sad part of the weekend was that he began to require more and more assistance just to get around. His legs were weak to the point where he didn’t feel confident walking from our bedroom to the bathroom; he often had to rest halfway down the four-step staircase between the two rooms. We began to realise that he was going to need a lot more care than we could give at home.

On Monday, I rang the community palliative care team we’d contacted a few days before we left for Sligo and asked for community nursing assistance. Kat from the palliative care team was really helpful and we made plans for her to come round to ours on Tuesday and talk to me about the particulars of Joe’s care.

Then, Joe and I prepared to get him to the hospital for his second chemotherapy treatment after we worked hard to keep him hydrated over the weekend, the haematology doctor on call and the nurse admin for the haematology department, Orla, spoke with both of us and told us they felt more chemotherapy would not benefit him, as his condition was continuing to deteriorate and they felt he should be admitted to hospital.

Joe and I discussed this while he was still lucid, and we decided together that I could not handle his care alone at home and we needed more support than community nursing, a wonderful service but not 24-hour, could provide. We agreed together that we’d admit him to hospital and then have them refer him straight to hospice from hospital. At this time, we also went over his end of life preferences with the haematology registrar and made his wishes for no heroic measures to save his life and no intensive care treatment clear. They agreed to limit the number observations he would have and confine his treatments only to paracetamol to keep his high fevers under control and such drugs as would make him comfortable if he was in pain or needed calming from the agitation they explained he would experience as his systems began to shut down.

On Tuesday, the Kings palliative care nurse, Connie, spoke to me and told me she felt he would be too fragile to move to hospice. While it wasn’t our original wish, we decided together that instead of hospice we would let the hospital find us a side room and we’d have the family around him as much as possible.

All the immediate family and I, including Filomena, Anna, Emily, Andrew January, and Andrew Hogg, spent the next three days almost constantly with Joe. I left the hospital only to sleep on Tuesday night and the rest of the time I stayed in the hospital with him constantly. At this point, Joe was conscious and lucid only intermittently; much of the time he was sleepy and drifting in and out of lucidity. We had a wonderful few hours on Tuesday evening where he was lucid and speaking with all the family. He told us all that he loved us and asked us to let the hospital staff know how much he appreciated the amazing work they were doing to make him comfortable and everything they’d done so far.

We didn’t publicise what was going on to anyone except our very close family—his siblings and a few close friends—because we felt strongly that we needed these few days to say goodbye to him as a family and we didn’t want to be inundated with well-meaning visits and good wishes.

Last night, everyone left around 11.00 pm, and the hospital staff arranged for a cot to be brought in so I could sleep next to his bed. I finally went to sleep about 2.30 this morning. Joe’s breathing at this time was quite laboured and rasping, and hospital staff provided him with morphine to ease the breathing and help with some pain he seemed to be experiencing.

I awoke suddenly around 4.00 am to find that he had passed while I was sleeping.

Joe died peacefully while sleeping comfortably. The immediate family came as soon as I notified them, and we took time to say our goodbyes and discuss the immediate next steps we’d take.

Now, we’re resting at Joe’s and my home, just sort of letting it all sink in.

Of course we will let everyone know when we’ve decided about arrangements for a wake. Joe elected to leave his body to medical science, so there will be no formal funeral, although we may decide on a memorial service at some point in the near future.

I want to thank you all for your constant support, your words of encouragement, your prayers, thoughts, candles, careful applications of holy water, and your love. We are all so grateful for your support. Right now, we’re confining visitors at home to family and very close friends. Please contact us personally via text messages or Facebook messages if you’d like to come round or get in touch, and we’ll let you know if it’s a good time or a good day. I know some of you want to speak to us and hear our voices, but we are grieving and very overwhelmed right now. We’ll let you know when we’re ready for phone calls, or we’ll reach out to you.

To our filk family, we do intend to attend the convention next weekend, and we hope to sing many songs in memory of Joe and come together in the spirit of love and friendship we know he treasured about the filk community.

In sadness and love,
Gwen, Filomena, Anna, Emily, Andrew, and Andrew.

Update from the Blogger / Player

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From the player:

In my last update, I said I’d hope to make at least one story post a week. That hasn’t happened.

Since Joe returned from the aborted drug trial in December, we had a lovely Christmas with the family, followed by a horrific week in the hospital during which he ran scarily high fevers and was pumped full of antibiotics in an attempt to flush his system from all possible infection before beginning a course of palliative chemotherapy meant to ease his symptoms.

At the end of the hospital stay, we had a meeting with the Haemotology nurse/admin who’s assigned to Joe and one of the doctors on the team.

Basically, we were told that Joe needs to get his affairs in order, pronto. When we told Orla (the nurse/admin) that the top of his bucket list was a trip to Sligo, she shuddered visibly and told us this would be a risky trip for him, that he should arrange it within the next two weeks.

So that we did. We made plans to leave for Sligo on the 15th of January, a Friday. On Thursday, he went in for routine blood tests running a high fever and they decided to give him a blood transfusion. All day his temperature had been dropping, but it suddenly spiked during the transfusion, and hospital policy when this happens is to stop the transfusion and test for an allergic reaction.

Orla and the palliative care team fought to keep him out of hospital, but we had to delay the trip for a day as they wanted him the next day to finish the blood transfusion.

I’d like to say the trip to Sligo was magical, and on many levels it was. It was great to see many wonderful cousins and two of Joe’s siblings and some of their children. Staying with cousins Noel and Margaret is always a treat, and Sligo Town and environs are so beautiful even in a bare, windy January. I made pilgrimage to Drumcliffe and saw Yeats’ grave again, found a beautiful harp shawl pin, and we made a couple of trips to Strandhill, which is such a lovely place to walk.

The trip was a real eye-opener for me, however. Joe was really sick the whole time with a few high points where he was able to interact with people. He was not really able to get around much without the wheelchair we rented in advance of Kings Occupational Therapy bringing round a permanent one (that was meant to happen today but didn’t).

Since we’ve been home, his level of sickness has been about the same as it was in Sligo. We have a rescheduled appointment for another round of palliative chemotherapy on Monday and we are hoping it will do a bit to relieve some of his symptoms.

But the truth is, for the first time I’m learning what it’s like to live day to day with a dying person. He’s frustrated, I’m frustrated, we’re both on edge, and there is very little he can do, even little normal things, without my help. We are getting to the point where he’ll need much more care than I can give him, so from next week, the palliative care team have arranged to have someone from the regional nursing team come round as often as three times a day to help with things like assessing his condition, getting food in him and keeping it down, and controlling his increasingly high fevers.

At this point, my pie-in-the-sky dream will be for him to be able to come to Germany with me and celebrate my 50th birthday with the rest of the wonderful DFDF community, but weeks like the past couple make that seem like a longshot. I’m even a little worried about the upcoming UK filk convention, but I have too much invested in that event to miss it at this late date.

So, remember how I said I couldn’t promise anything? I guess I meant it.

Faerie Queen Gwyneth’s life continues, I’m sure of it, I just can’t reach it right now. It’s something I can watch through a window, not something I can connect with.

So I’ll do something I don’t think I’ve ever done here. Some of you know I write songs from time to time.

Here are the lyrics to my latest one. It’s called “Fade Away”.

Fade Away

Fade away fade away fade away fade away fade away.

In London, the ghosts creep through cobblestone alleys
The rooftops are soft with intangible soot
They slip down the Thames through the fields and the valleys
Then out to the sea, where the shadows they lose
Fade away…..

Fade away fade away fade away fade away fade away.

The roses you sent on our last anniversary
Ghosts of themselves, I imagine them still
Whether from wishfulness, something or sorcery
Petals drift down and their colour will soon
Fade away….

Fade away fade away fade away fade away fade away.

And far from the noise of the street
Up so high that the city recedes
No ghosts here, just the lights and the blinds and the staff
And me
Feeling you
Fade away

Fade away fade away fade away fade away fade away.

And all of the ghosts tugging now at our sleeves
Well, they’re just the trace of the lifetimes they leave
The crowd of them following calling you calling me
Fades to one voice, but it’s you on the wind
Fade away

Fade away fade away fade away fade away fade away.

Just your touch
Just your voice
Just your breath
Just your soul
Fade away

Rumours of My Death?

Fourth Wall Break - 1

From the player:

Many of you know that my husband is a cancer patient. Over the last two months, Joe’s been very ill, in the hospital more than out, and my SL time has been sporadic and erratic.

Up until yesterday, he was involved in a drug trial for a new treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma, as no other treatments have worked for him. Yesterday, in the hospital in Oxford, we found out that his disease has not arrested or retreated since he’s been on the experimental drug: he’s actually had disease progression. This means he’s off the trial and we will have to go back to his regular doctors for palliative care.

Today, he was released from hospital in Oxford, and we are finally back home in London.

I do not know what my time will be like over the next few months, and I’m sorry for that. I’ll be sending notes to all the great creators who sponsor me to let them know that my life is still in chaos and limbo and my time on SL will continue to be sporadic and erratic.

I will do my best to create one story blog per week here, because Gwyneth’s life continues even if mine seems to be in a strange holding pattern of treatment, care, hospitals, and, finally, widowhood.

Please be patient with me. I may not get posts in ahead of events. I may not blog everything I would like to. I will not compromise my commitment to great photography and consistent storytelling, which means I will continue to take the time necessarily to create a great shot, a great story, an inspiring use of the beautiful clothes, accessories, buildings, and arts and crafts all the wonderful creators I work with create.

Thank you so much for understanding that my real life is going to have to take precedence over my Second Life for a while. All my SL friends and family continue to make the life I’m living lighter and more full of fun, beauty, and laughter. Your bright spirits make my loads lighter.

Gwen (Knighton, not Enchanted)