Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wave Energy Video

Orkney Love

The world around me continues to spin and I am learning to stand still.

The course is so fascinating and I am not just learning about the universe but I am loving appreciating the universe. The island has become my world and as the newspapers don’t arrive until 2pm it’s like reading yesterdays news so I have stopped completely. And I have become unaffected by anything else just me my 12 classmates, 3 lecturers, Eileen who I now call mum and a few locals who I wave to while cycling along the sea front on the way to uni. This cycle was enjoyable until I crashed outside the bakery and now I occasionally cycle with the fear of falling it isn’t as fun! Perish the thought I would wear a helmet. On reflection I would need knee pads, teeth guards and a back brace to cushion me in future. Which to be honest is not a way to make more friends so I walk.

The people who I have met have such different perspectives to life and really do have a passion for life but total different values. They are humble and happy and I would dare to say content.

I have just finished the first semester exams which I have to say I enjoyed being a geek and working 10 hours a day. Kevin flat mate and I are like chalk and cheese but I have to say in him I have found a best friend, confidant and a lot of laughter. We put together a documentary on wave energy which meant that we had direct contact with all the developers here and our findings really encouraged me to think about the future potential of wave energy. Subsequently I have decided to do my dissertation on desalination through wave energy and over Christmas will gear up on how to make this possible. There is an ethical and financial benefit to this course which if tentative findings prove possible could mean fresh economically viable water for the world! Soooo I have as ever been pushing boundaries and embracing possibilities with excitement.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Past Present and Future

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that is why it is called THE PRESENT

I am fortunate enough to be sitting on a Friday afternoon in the South of France having a glass of wine relaxing with the sun spraying light through magnificent glass windows feeling yet again blessed.

No my life is not a holiday, but the holiday or rather quarter life crisis I have been living you will be glad to know is coming to an end.

I am moving to another world which will be quite different to the one I have been living for the last year. One of military confinement in a small Island at the top of Scotland only reachable by helicopter, ferry or small flight planes flying from Scotland only! And as a friend said on viewing the website “so you are moving to Alcatraz?”

As I read through my unconditional for a Msc in Renewable Energy I smiled until the final line “Orkney campus” and re-read and googled.......... Upon reflection and various conversations, meeting and introspections I realise it is completely perfect but my initial reaction was fundamentally different.

So as I sit here enjoying the last of the summer wine.........This is not because the bottle is empty........... Nor because the glass has over flowed as I filled it to the brim............ But because I accepted my challenge and know that in order to achieve my objective absolute determination, faith and solitude is the only way of success for the coming year.

And as my sister said on the phone when I explained my offer “so Milly where are you going on holiday until you start” My answer........ “Edinburgh, South of France and Turkey to sail around the Greek Islands..............”

Edinburgh. Or as I call it Toy Town which is slightly un PC, but, that is after all the problem with the UK and upon reflection in France at least they say it how it is!

My grandfather once said to me “if you die with a hand full of friends you are blessed” I am lucky I have 6 siblings so I will always be blessed; But as your friends are your chosen family I do have some great friends who all belong to Scotland, even though they live in other places. Home is where the heart is, and all of our hearts beated at the same time in the same place after a long time away and a long time to come again over the weekend.

It’s funny I finished a lunch meeting, got into my car sat in a beautiful square in the new town and got out of it re-filled the meter and just walked for 2 hours. No phone no ipod no answers just like on Everest I just walked and felt free. Until I returned to the car looked through my missed call, listened to my messages and accepted my offer to university in that moment my world changed.

The cross roads had been crossed, and the door I had left open shut behind me as I ran through it..................... Knowing this was exactly what I wanted to be doing. Remembering all the moments walking down Everest with anxiety envisaging an office, a computer and a clock ticking making someone else money while they counted the time I worked.

Realising during my walk this meant in my mischievous mind I now had a month off and reason to celebrate or rather get so sick of psychologically cant or physically couldn’t in Orkney partying that I would have to calm down and become the now “mature student” that I am! The weekened went far too quickly and suddenly I found myself at 110mph down the M6 reflecting.

Why? Of course drank too much at Beckys engagement and if I hadn’t already taken enough attention bouncing on the childrens trampoline certainly ensured I was not missed!

The Edinburgh festival was in full swing and being a product of ones environment as was I!!!

Until that is my fall from grace into disgrace..............

But it was wonderful to be back in the city which is alive for 24hours a day during festival attracting all sorts of artist, thespians, journalists, foodies street acts, magicians and the locals while many supporting a t-shirt saying “fuck off I am a local” certainly seemed to be enjoying their home town.

Edinburgh is most defiantly the most beautiful city in the world. The architecture screams opulence and even though the country has a tough 5 years ahead it will always retain it’s charm and distinction.

Beckys engagement made me realise how old we are all getting and even worse re-counting stories from 15 years before was quite frightening. The great thing about belonging somewhere and having roots is knowing without a doubt that in 15 years time we will be laughing over the same jokes in similar houses to our parents saying do you remember 30 years ago!

Enough said onto The South of France! My father is as frustrated as I am about the UK the politics, the tax, the rules, the people, the culture; Or rather lack of it and the costs. Therefore we have been looking at relocated “Le Chateaux de ma famille” to France. A dear friend mine offer us their house in St Martin which some of you may remember as The Twelfth Quest “blog” So as in order as Sanitiago realised to realise what you have in your life you need to do a 360 degree turn on it. But also to appreciate something, somewhere or someone we need to want to be there. Like love can not truly love another until you love yourself. Now I know where I am going, and what I am doing, I feel I can appreciate life and chance a lot more than when I was an iceberg not knowing where I was going.

Dad and I have had a hilarious time infact mostly I just laugh at him. Yesterday we had a roadtrip and I have to say I don’t know if I get in more trouble driving or navigating....... We have a sat nav and 3 maps and still I get it wrong! Then when I manage to prize the steering wheel from Dad driving at speed down the motorway while he navigates......... I am still either driving in the wrong direction, to quickly or dangerously......... I have made the assumption that the only way for us to get along in a car is when I am the designated driver and he is drunk and we are going home......

We went to Lourdes which I have to say was also different this time. I reflected on my precious views of “holy blackpool” and thought actually how brilliant that people are given hope and strength through religion. And, thank God 6 million people each year from all different races, classes and nationalities can come here in peace and pray together and make homage. That is a miracle in itself.

Following this we drove to Biarritz and Biarritz it iz amazing! It is like 1920s sheik with 21st century class the sun, the sea, the beach, the people actually everything about the place oozed sophistication, style and intelligence. Even fat people (I like fat and happy) looked in their element. Needless to say we realised this is where The Staunton Family future home would be and headed back to St Martin for food, wine, and Elton John.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Middle East to Middle England

Middle-Eastern tour. Gave me a chance to reflect further into the future throwing evermore questions in the air about where I want to be, and what I want to be doing with the next chapter of my life. And, I guess having got this far wandering why I should stop dreaming and start conforming. I met a delightful Frenchman in the airport in Dubai who said to me “many people could be good in business if you choose to go into renewable energy but few people could tell the stories you can.” And it made me think am I crazy to want to go back to society instead of continuing to travel the world and challenging my existence?
They say: Don’t make dreams your masters, master your dreams.
But when you start mastering so many dreams, that you forget to dream or wander how you could even imagine topping the experiences you have had, until you find yourself 2 days ago in a speed boat crossing the border to Iran. Seeing dolphins and swimming in now shark infested waters!

You wander how life actually became a dream.

Until you wake up in Heathrow on Qatar airways in first class as a self confessed VIPSY and it hits you like a nightmare.
The dreams if you stay asleep too long become nightmares. Like gravity what goes up must come down and as you touch down numb silence and I watch through the window and I feel nothing! A holographic transparent empty nothing. Every other flight for the last 8 months has been excitement and anticipation. Flying into Geneva or Vienna or Linz from sleezyjet to private jets from cattle class to first class, Doha or Dubai or driving across the border into Oman a roar dessert of unexplainable depth to here LONDON.

 I almost feel afraid.

And then frustration somehow between touch down and now a mere 6 hours later, still trying to make my way home I have spent 100 pounds. I am still not home having taken 2 buses missed one and the only thing that stops me from racing back to Heathrow is my little brother Maya and Father who I know I will laugh the evening away with.

An extract which I wrote in my diary regarding Oman says:

Where the sands mountains have no shadows, and the sea does not meet the sky, they intertwine as one horizon as the waters edge meets the dusty worlds mirror that forms the seas awesome reflection.
If the world you see is the mirror image of your mind, then the reflection I see before me as I look into my soul is one of enchanted excitement and awesome wander a baron emptiness of peaceful barbaric beauty and never-ending questions without answers.

 An image which if viewed for too long would change as the sun would set and show the horizon and prepare to wake up the land that I belong to, and will return to finding it hard to explain such awesome sites.

In contrast:

The view can see out of the window at my half way house in Bristol as I journey home. Is one of polar opposites not even challenged by the opposite of Everest to Oman.
London to Bristol:

The concrete jungle where city dwellers roam. The locals become refugees as they marvel how the city has grown. A city of culture it says on the wall, next to the for sale and to let signs desperate to take this white elephant from one hand to another. Buses trafficking innocent bystanders who have no arena and therefore become the audience in the by stands of a small game in a small life where they do not dare to dream of any other existence than what they have been shown on their television soap operas and their Hollywood sub-standard values.

Coming from the middle east where I found it almost amusing to watch women in their burkhas shopping in Carrefour until I realised how amusing they must find our outfits. I have to say the view I see now makes me sad. Dyed hair, obese bodies, mixed races, yes greenery but cultivated and planned by well paid architect and council bodies. Earrings and tattoos, unattractive flesh shown bodies, disability and our own cast system not dissimilar to that of Hindu religion but one cast and class. A lower class.
Difference becoming their only similarity! and yet all being the same. A culture so confused where it came from with mixed generations and cultures all amounting as one disgraceful mess. I have to say I wander what I have come “home” to?

There is an Alice through the looking glass moment when you have to think............ There is better world spending the same money, living in the same timeframes, having the same relationships, surrounded by the some comforts, BUT living a better life. So as I put I put on my ipod to muffle the sound with the rest of the refugees, living in their own country, but becoming a minority. I question why I would want to be here, not just why I should conform.

Go Beyond
There is a place … called Beyond
Where "but what if?" and "is that wise?" are never heard.
Where the ordinary, becomes extra-ordinary,
And today is never a repeat of yesterday,
Where people wake up to a cloudy sky,
And say, you know what, I don’t think I’ll take my umbrella.
Where caution is thrown to the wind,
And people dance like no one's watching.
In Beyond, the rule book has never been written,
Wealth is measured in time, not money,
Dirty is better than clean,
Now is better than never,
And dare is better than don’t,
And, well … you get the drift.
We can all get to this place,
Just pack some courage,
Some spirit, and some nerve,
Then go,
Go amiss,
Go off the page,
Go Beyond.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I am unsure how 12 days became 4 weeks but finally I have found time to reflect on the most incredible journey of my life, the biggest challenge and adventure I could not have even imagined physically and mentally possible, and the most hilarious WTF moments possible. And just as I unpacked my bags promising myself yet again this would be for the last time for a long time............... I find myself a mere 48 hours, 3 bottles of wine and 3 bottles of champagne and several whiskies later travelling back to Heathrow to fly to Dubai.

So where to start? My father asked me at dinner “what was the highlight of the trip?” I said “I feel I grew up, I had 8 hours a day for 3 weeks walking and thinking time and I realised many aspect of my life that I would like to change. There are the obvious..... Got a job, get a house, get just one responsibility and get a man and hopefully in the future fulfil my feminine maternal duty and perhaps consider the idea of children!

This was discussed one night at Gorak Shep roughly 5200m in altitude slightly lacking oxygen so my brain not fully functioning when a lovely lady who I envisaged a dangerous liaisons esque teacher who had a class of 60 students in a Californian state school. She turned a said “Gee you’re nearly 30 you had better hurry up or you’ll have to wait 10 years for people to be getting divorced as all the good ones will be gone!” That night I lay awake in my sleep. I am unsure if it was altitude sickness (which by the way I call attitude sickness) or what she said but I did feel slightly unwell and sped up my ascent up the mountain somewhat the following day.

With no communication with the outside world bar the Nepalese watchmen who fed us curry tasting porridge for breakfast, rice for lunch and an assortment of choice in the evening which ended up tasting the same. I was starting to feel ready to return home. Exhaustion had started to creep up on me and I started to feel as though if someone said black I would say white. I often hid myself in our dormitory and reflected on myself and my thoughts and constantly had to remind myself I chose this path and there is absolutely no way I was going back. It never actually crossed my mind to give up, but there were many times I wished I would die!!!!

While walking in the extreme ever changing conditions a much less trampled path was ahead of Bernie and I and we were walking completely alone at one of the highest points on Planet Earth. Which was starting to look more like the moon as the climate changed completely and horizon started to come to an end. We feared at one moment that we were perhaps lost and just then as we discussed weather to turn back or carry on above our heads soaring between the mountain was a beautiful eagle with its wind span sweeping the snowy peaks. I turned to Bernie and said “The American Indians believe if you see a bird of prey you know you are going in the right direction.” Needless to say just over the hill we say a small cluster of 3 tea houses and knew we were not far from our final destination.

The incredible and awesome sight coupled with the altitude and sense of achievement when we reached Everest Base Camp silenced me.

The glaciers were majestically soaring up in the sky shards of ice covering the foot of the greatest mountain in the world.

A mountain which has taken so many lives but has made so many people live.

When you are on top of the world nothing can bring you down.

My mind was emptied and for some silent moment I had a euphoric feeling of contentment. It made me think about the meaning of contentment and realise the contentment and happiness are both momentary feelings. Nothing last forever including love as we all die and it does not live on after we are gone. So for that moment I felt a blissful freedom and contentment.

This was until I tried to do my times tables and could not manage so properly I decided after realising neither Bernie or myself were able that we should start our descent back through the ever changing terrain or Everest.

There was a moment while we walked along The Khumbu Glacier which is located in the Khumbu region of northeastern Nepal. The Khumbu Glacier is followed for the final part of the trail to Everest Base Camp. The actual start of the glacier is in the Western Cwm of Everest itself. Khumbu Icefall is on the southern slopes of Mount Everest; the glacier itself is between Mount Everest and Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. At this moment I produced our bandana which for the most part of our journey we referred to. We did have a map incidentally which en route back down we gave to a Chinese explorer who like us looked fairly unprepared for the conditions and path ahead. And as karma would have it we met a Lukla airport as due to the extreme weather conditions the authorities declared a no flight zone for 3 days!

And as a result of an avalanche there were NO PHONE LINES which meant. No bank machines, which meant no food in fact in meant NO NOTHING! Until the Chinese explorer literally bumped into us….. he gave us back our map, paid our tax money and gave us some sweets and a much needed cigarette.

I sat in the mist and cloud on the side of the runway in the airport literally on the side of a mountainous cliff and for the first time in years cried. I am not sure if they were tears of frustration, anxiety, ore of the challenge, excitement or extreme gratitude but they rolled down my face and I asked God for help. I thought as I was still so high far above the clouds I was effectively whispering in his ear and asking to get me off the mountain. This is not because I feel closer to God or because the next thing I knew there was a commotion in the airport and before my watering eyes the clouds started to lift but within 2 hours we were on a mountain plane not quite smiling but thanking God for taking us home.

Through out my journey I read 2 books The first and because “when in Rome” I read The Wisdom Teachings of The Dalai Lama and The second Eat, Pray, Love. A much anticipated and hugely recommended book. While reading the book Eat Pray Love I thought wait a second I could give this book a run for it’s money! Try Everest, Safari, Meditation Retreat.!!!! So I will now start a new section as they both deserve pages of their own and explain how I broke out of the yoga retreat and found myself riding an elephant in alligator infested waters in Chitwan rainforest. Yet another “my insurance certainly wouldn’t cover this moment!”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From the lowest point to the highest peak!

They say:

“if you look at a mountain and think I will never climb that! Now you have a reason to climb that mountain.”

But I was corrected

“If you look at that mountain and climb it to see what is on the other side then your quest is eternal.”

 I am in Namche now in an outrageously expensive Everest Cyber Café having caught a glimpse of the awesome mountain range of the Himalayas. Traveling from the lowest point to the highest peak on earth both physically and mentally. We have spent the last 8 days scaling mountains and learning about the magical Nepalise culture. We have visited educational facilities and health post gauging with locals who have never seen Westerners before. An adventure which has already been hugely eye watering. Often I feel as though I am on the set of a cross between Avatar and Braveheart. The children look inquisitively at us with mixed emotions, I have stopped taking offence to the ones who run away screaming with their hands in the air!

We have traveled from Phaplu to Lukla by foot as there are no roads or cars and the mountains are so steep that I am unsure there will be for a long time. I have often imagined zip wires which could cross valley to valley but for now we have huge suspension bridges crossing the gushing river coming directly from Everest aids our travels.

The accents and descents have been a fantastic training ground for the ultimate challenge which lies ahead of us. The Solo Sisters!  Also the conditions which we have lived in over the last week living with local families often without electricity or any form of communication has really taught us to appreciate everything we have.  I wept when I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet has become my mantra and while it has been an absolute privilege and honour to be welcomed into their homes I have had many moments of desperate disbelief and disgust at some of the things I have disregarded in my past. From running water, To an Education, To shoes for my feet!

So now the tea houses we are staying in feel like 5 star hotels! We have slept in barns with chickens and cockerels at the end of our bed! This is one of many examples of how primitive some of the villages we have visited really are.

But they are proud and honest people with an integrity I have not found anywhere else I have traveled in the world. There are already so many stories to tell about the people we are meeting and the sites we have seen. It is interesting too along the trail we have met a few other westerners. Each with their own interesting stories, there is a great truth in like minds attract. While we are all from different walks of life and culture. Those who are attracted by such a challenge as the one we have embarked on have a similar attitude to life and it has been refreshing to learn about other people travels and back grounds and dreams.

I wrote a small poem on my accent up towards Everest which I would like to share:

Prayer flags fly in the mountains breeze,
My mind feels rested and body at ease,
The waterfall cascades the mountains edge,
My body feels ready for the challenge ahead,
The Tea House’ energy is soft and light,
My soul feels rested I will sleep well tonight.
Our clothes dry in the blistering sun,
My skin is glowing our quest has begun,
The trail set before us at times in steep,
My knees are strong and no longer feels weak,
From the lowest point to the highest peak.
My faith will be tested in the coming weeks,
So as my monjos cook on an open fire,
My spirit is awakened to fulfill my ultimate desire.

I will be off-line again for the next 12 days. I would write more and have already completed a journal full of day to day encounters. But I have monasteries to visit and a mountain to climb so for no Namaste!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The letter that changed my world

Dear Paulo

Published on February 18, 2010 in News.

I trust you and your family are well. Currently I am sitting in the hostel in Monserrat looking out over the church having just heard the choir sing. We are travelling on your quest for the sword we knew before we left that the financial prize had been won but I have to tell you this expedition has already ment more to me than 100.000 USD

I feel blessed to be travelling these amazing sites, meeting these brilliant people, learning these amazing facts, and learning to love and listen to myself on a journey that I needed to be on right now.

I have kept a blog of our entries which you may be interested in looking

– —->>> HERE<<<---------

Truthfully I just wanted to thank you personally and hopefully one day I will. You have given me the courage and strength to review my own personal situation and realise the most important things in life. I have worked in Real Estate for 7 years I made and lost a considerable ammount of money at 27 working in Istanbul and from the outside living the dream. The reality was very different and this trip has really made me change the course of the rest of my life.

I wanted to share with you a poem I wrote here that I think is very apt to the situation and journey I am on this very second.

If I made a commandment it would be be free,

To think and laugh for as far as your eyes can see,

To remember your health and forget all else.

Bad memories make the good ones great.

To forget your human and just escape.

To make the winter mean the summer is near,

And the storms to bring the clear.

To be thankful of life to up at the stars,

But while on earth to pretend on mars.

To know not everything you face can change,

But be changed when face,

Your biggest fears which bring you to tears,

To become the reason you out do your piers.

To know the zen you find on a mountain is the zen you take,

And to teach is to make a mind skate,

To remember if your looking down on someone your helping them up,

And giving them your tender touch.

To know unfinished can also be complete,

To walk tall and not look at your feet.

To live for the moment and forget the past,

To know you ll have the last laugh,

Not to share my riches but to show their own,

And know you have the key to create the unknown.

To fulfil life’s prophecies in your own special way,

At the beginning of night or the end of the day,

To be free as a butterfly preparing for flight,

Leaving the world and all out of sight.

To take off and fly wherever you go,

To be free as a bird looking down below,

Freedom gives you the space to move whether full or empty with nothing to loose

Swimming in an ocean of discontent is like drowning with your consent,

Dive into the pool and swim to the end and get out and start again ………………

Your stories will live on long after you are gone. That is a blessing few men will ever be given.

With all my Love,


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lifes Rules

You make your own rules to life as the ones that are set are not helping anyone to win.

There is a house of playing cards that in my view is falling down. A society that has gone so wrong even the politicians and public don’t know who can pick up the poisoned chalice and continue drinking from it. A society that are slaves. Slaves for the banks they borrow money from, the mortgage providers and land lords, the mobile phone operators and even the restaurants where the few lucky ones can afford to eat in. We have become slaves of our society and rules that we so readily accepted as good ways to live our lives we are starting to realise that perhaps we have made mistakes. So as countless young people now with debts from university apply for jobs that are not there, and failing companies who can not afford to hire them we all wonder where the next steps are. As we pay tax money to benefit families and refugees there is a moment that one can actually stop and say no.

I am not saying I have the answers but actually I have no questions either. All I do know is that I thought out of the box instead of getting back into it and as a result I feel enriched, enlightened and energised knowing that just as a good friend of mine said: “ When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

So I asked for freedom. Instead of paying rent I paid for airfares and I am now cashing in on airline miles for further adventures. Managing to talk my way around the globe seizing opportunities rather than dismissing them. I would like to re-continue writing my adventures and introspections. And, for all those people who have been following my blog I am sorry I disappeared.

The lesson I have learnt is that one can not change what people will say and think about you. And one should not judge other peoples actions by their own standards or values as they will always be let down. There are human vampires who suck lifes energy out of you by negativity and now through experience I have realised the only way to deal with these people is to give them no ammunition and none of your energy just carry on in your direction. Haters are confused admirers who can't understand why everybody loves you

So I because looking back into the past has not helped me to date I will take you with me into the future…………… NEPAL!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


And there she was this woman and girl, child and grandmother, virgin and slut, believer and needer, pilgrim and analyst, leader and loser, a heterosexual lesbian so confused about where she was going or what she was doing, forgetting her own name while she flicked through the society magazines of celebrities, which usually she would have bought but now she was too old to steal and having just turned down a job to the only company she send her CV to and wanted to work for could not justify buying. Not actually realizing that a bigger celebrity than all the ones in the magazines was waiting for her in the airport at the other end of the plane, she nearly missed forgetting who she was until her name was being announced on the tannoy for final call in Heathrow. And, as she ran to the plane she did not quite realize that this departure was about to change her life and the person she believed she was forever. So as she smiled realizing her seat was 2B and most of the plane wouldn’t know it was her who had held it up she buckled up and prepared for take-off and flew far away from everyone she knew, everything she thought she knew and into the unknown


They say a broken clock tells the right time twice a day, actually if we think about it, it tells the right time in around about way several times a day all over the world.

Time is the only commodity with any real value, we spend time, we waste time and we invest time.

More precious than any monetary value our time in timeless and our time is timed.

The cause of death is birth and from the moment we are born our time is counted. Why then if we have a lot of time on our hands are we not considered rich?

I read a Chinese proverb once which said: If we are wasting time and enjoying ourselves we are not wasting time.

Therefore right now at this very moment I would say I am the richest person I know as I have all the time in the world.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010



In one of the seven valleys there is a village on the top of a mountain where Pilar and her companion sat at the spring and chatted. Later on, Pilar will go down to the river Piedra and weep in sadness, but that is another story.

The important thing is that in this village lives a witch of the Cathar tradition whose house caught on fire and she came out unscathed.

Your image next to the first fountain and your image with the witch is the eleventh test.

Continue walking toward the mountains. In a village Chantal met the devil, and to remember this feat there is a second fountain, where a frog drinks the water of the sun.

Don’t ask too much about the origin of this fountain – the inhabitants of the city will say that the writer create a story that does not exist.

Your image in front of the second fountain is also part of the eleventh test.

We thought perhaps that the monument where Bertha was nearly crucified in “The Devil and Miss Prym” could be correct.

So we stopped at St Savin following our visit to the grotto in Lourdes. When we arrived we went to Hotel Viscos and not knowing in French what a witch is I preceded to draw a broomstick with a witch on it.

To our absolute amazement we were pointed to a shop one of only 3 in the village although being Sunday it was closed! Although there was a telephone number on the door. Like Poirot Tom called the number and said we had arrived in St Savin and were hoping to speak with her. She told us to look around the church as it was beautiful and wait for her there. It was beautiful the doors banged themselves open and closed in the wind inviting us in and inside was the madonna which is spoken about in “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept.'

We sat in their stunning hotel lounge with maps out asking all the questions we had about her miraculous escape form the fire and our thoughts on Lourdes. I had taken her some holy water from the fountain which we had collected that morning during the Italian church service.

It is funny we have ourselves spoken with several tongues during this trip and from speaking Spanish for 2 weeks to speaking French now every time I open my mouth Turkish comes out!!! As I have had a language over load so now I just draw pictures now to communicate and go into my own world smiling when people start speaking quickly in their designated language.

We spoke with Jacqueline (the witch) about the 9th test and she confirmed that the road as we thought was the roman road travelling from TAURBES to PAU and on the road was a restaurant called CUISINE DE FEMMES. AKA Where women cook! We took our photos and drove their immediately! There half way up the straight road which could only be roman! Was a small turning onto a dirt track. We travelled 4km down it and there in the middle of the cornfield was our dolem! The toughest task of them all!

We did handstand and cart wheels and just as we started to take our clothes off an old couple walked over the hill in the middle of nowehere a perfect moment to get our Kodak capture! We felt exhilarated and liberated. Until the silence realising that the only task left was the 12th which from childhood I had known the story of the General St Martin and we have a children’s book at home with him on the cover re counting his generosity as a warrior in a battle himself himself.

Before leaving the Jacqueline we were going to stay in Hotel Viscos she called her friend and he had some rooms for us to stay in so she had given us his number and the village name which is very close to St Martin so we drove there arriving in the late afternoon at the most magnificent Chateau in Montgaillard!

A roaring fire ignited the room. Our dirty clothes were made clean, our energy restored by rocks in the garden outside and our hunger and thirst quenched.

We had arrived exactly where we wanted to be to reflect on our quest.

Knowing that we had completed all of our tasks and the last was to find the guardian.

Knowing that even where we were, we at that moment had once again found our guardians. This final part of the quest we knew would be accomplished very soon……………………




A young girl sees another girl dressed in white. The girl in white asks her to dig a hole, eat the earth and drink the water. A spring is born there.

Drink this water, and wash your face with it.

Your image in front of the place where the spring was born is the tenth test.

We knew that the 10th clue was Lourdes so we traveled there to take go to the grotto.

We stayed the night in Lourdes which to be honest is like a Holy Blackpool. Or Amsterdam with the focus of religion instead of sex.

It is possibly better in the summer but my feelings were negative from the moment I arrived everything had changed. The peoples skin colour was even faded and their attitudes totally different to everything we had experienced over the last 2 weeks. The final blow for me which is very trivial was asking for hot water for our flask and a mint tea bag (Tom banned flasks of coffee on the trip!) and she charged us 4 EUROS!

We went to Catholic Mecca and we saw the grotto just as we were about to get our photo we were shewed off the parapet as a service was about to take place and the priests arrived. I will not write my feelings here on what I saw or felt in Lourdes but I did leave feeling depleted of energy and slightly confused about the dogmatic approach that religion can take.

We washed our faces in the holy water and drank the liquid of life and left.


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Continue toward an old Roman camp that was baptized with the name of a Phoenician princess.

Ask there for an old Celtic monument in the middle of a corn field. If no-one knows the answer,

Take the old road that leads to the city where a king lived who decided to put food on the table of all the residents of his kingdom. Walk three to five kilometers, and just before you reach a place where women cook, turn right and go straight ahead. You will find the monument.

Your image in front of the monument is the ninth test.

Well we looked and looked traveling from Montsegur to Rennes Le Chateau to meet Henry Lincoln. Lincoln co-wrote the pseudohistorical book Holy Blood Holy Grail, which became the inspiration for Dan Brown's bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Which is why we thought he could help with the dolmen we were looking for although alas he did not have the answers!

So we went to a small village were we asked a team of runners who were going to conquer Montsegur if they knew of the dolmen. Its funny everyone everyone in France says with such conviction that they know exactly what you are looking for that Tom and I have stopped getting over excited now. The runner RAN us to his friends house where he and his wife made us coffee sat us down and started phoning around their friends and family for help. Soon the whole village was helping and everyone knew the answer!

They were completely adamant that the king who put food on the table of his kingdom was Henry IV! Who was born and reigned in PAU.

Henry was nicknamed Henry the Great (Henri le Grand), and in France is also called le bon roi Henri ("the good king Henry") or le Vert galant ("the Green gallant"), a reference to both his dashing character and his attractiveness to women. He also gave his name to the Henry IV style of architecture, which he patronised. He is the eponymous subject of the royal anthem of France, Marche Henri IV.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

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There was always risk, a single risk: that one person might meet with more than one Soulmate in the same incarnation, as had happened millennia before.”

This is the story of Brida, a young Irish girl, and her quest for knowledge. She has long been interested in various aspects of magic, but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom, who begin to teach her about the world. Her teacher senses that Brida has gift, but cannot tell what that is. Meanwhile, Brida pursues her course ever deeper into the mysteries of life, seeking to answer questions about who she is. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, and teaches her about overcoming her fears and trusting the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world, and how to pray to the moon. She seeks her destiny, as she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch.

Quotes I think you will Love!:

“Because anyone who comes into contact with sex knows that they’re dealing with something which only happens in all its intensity when they lose control. When we’re in bed with someone, we’re giving permission to that person not only to commune with our body, but with our whole being. The pure forces of life are in communication with each other, independently of us, and then we cannot hide who we are.”

“Choosing one path means abandoning others - if you try to follow every possible path you will end up following none.”

“Face your path with courage, don't be scared of people's criticism. And, above all, don't let yourself get paralyzed by your own criticism.”

“When you find your way you cannot be scared. You need to be brave enough to take wrong steps. The deceptions, failures, lack of enthusiasm, are tools that God places in our way to reveal the path.”

“The path to wisdom is not being afraid to make mistakes.”

“Whenever you have to find about something, Plunge right in!”



Montségur is a commune in the Ariège department in south-western France.

It is famous for its fort and was one of the last strongholds of the Cathars. The present fortress on the site, though described as one of the "Cathar castles," is actually of a later period. It has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1862.


The ruins of Montségur are perched at a precarious 3000-foot (1207 m) altitude in the south of France near the Pyrenees Mountains. Located in the heart of France's Languedoc-Midi-Pyrénées regions, 80 km (50 mi) southwest of Carcassonne, Montségur dominates a rock formation known as a pog — a term derived from the local Occitan dialect — pueg, or puog, meaning "peak," "hill," "mountain."


The earliest signs of human settlement in the area date back to the stone age, around 80,000 years ago. Evidence of Roman occupation such as Roman currency and tools have also been found in and around the site. In the Middle Ages the Montsegur region was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse, the Viscounts of Carcassone and finally the Counts of Foix. In 1243–44, the Cathars (a religious sect considered heretical by the Catholic Church) were besieged at Montségur by 10,000 troops at the end of the Albigensian Crusade. In March 1244, the Cathars finally surrendered and approximately 220 were burned en masse in a bonfire at the foot of the pog when they refused to renounce their faith. Some 25 actually took the ultimate Cathar vow of consolamentum perfecti in the two weeks before the final surrender.

In the days prior to the fall of the fortress, several Cathars allegedly slipped through the besiegers' lines carrying away a mysterious "treasure" with them. While the nature and fate of this treasure has never been identified, there has been much speculation as to what it might have consisted of — from the treasury of the Cathar Church to esoteric books or even the actual Holy Grail.

Montségur is often named as a candidate for the Holy Grail castle — and indeed there are linguistic similarities in the Grail romance Parzival (circa 1200–1210) written by Wolfram von Eschenbach. In Parzival, the grail castle is called Monsalvat, similar to Montségur and with the same meaning: "safe mountain, secure mountain." The name of Raymond de Péreille, the actual historic seigneur of Montségur, has a slight similarity to the protagonist of Eschenbach's epic, the knight Parzival. In Jüngerer Titurel (1272) by Albrecht von Scharfenberg, another Grail epic, the first king of the Holy Grail is named Perilla.

Myths and legends apart, the history of Montségur actually is both dramatic and mysterious. The siege was an epic event of heroism and zealotry: a veritable Masada of the Cathar faith whose demise is symbolized by the fall of the mountain-top fortress (although isolated Cathar cells persisted into the 1320s in southern France and northern Italy).

The present fortress ruin at Montségur is not from the Cathar era. The original Cathar fortress of Montségur was entirely pulled down by the victorious royal forces after its capture in 1244. It was gradually rebuilt and upgraded over the next three centuries by royal forces. The current ruin so dramatically occupying the site, and featured in illustrations, is referred to by French archeologists as "Montsegur III" and is typical of post-medieval royal French defensive architecture of the 1600s. It is not "Montsegur II," the structure in which the Cathars lived and were besieged and of which no trace remains today.

This is a discrepancy that the French tourist authority underplays and one that Cathar enthusiasts often overlook, especially when discussing Montségur's alleged solar alignment characteristics said to be visible on the morning of the summer solstice. This often mentioned solar phenomenon, allegedly occurring in an alignment of two windows in the fortress wall, has not been scientifically surveyed, measured, recorded, or confirmed.

The Groupe de Récherches Archéologiques de Montségur et Environs (GRAME) (Archeological Research Group of Montsegur and Vicinity), which conducted a definitive 13-year archeological excavation of Montségur in 1964–76, concluded in its final report that:

"There remains no trace within the current ruin of the first fortress which was abandoned before the 13th century (Montsegur I), nor of the one which was built by Raymond de Péreille around 1210 (Montsegur II)..." (Il ne reste aucune trace dans les ruines actuelles ni du premier château qui était à l'abandon au début du XIIIe siècle (Montségur I), ni de celui que construisit Raimon de Pereilles vers 1210 (Montségur II)...)[1]

The small ruins of the terraced dwellings, immediately outside the perimeter of the current fortress walls on the north-eastern flank are, however, confirmed to be traces of authentic former Cathar habitations.

The Nazis at Montségur?

The Nazis learned of the myths surrounding Montségur from a man named Otto Rahn in 1929, one year after the probable formation of the Ahnenerbe, an institution for research into German racial and cultural ancestry. Rahn wrote two bestseller Grail novels linking Montségur and Cathars with the Holy Grail: Kreuzzug gegen den Gral ("Crusade Against the Grail") in 1933 and Luzifers Hofgesind ("Lucifer's Court") in 1937. Rahn joined the SS "Totenkopf" unit as a junior NCO in 1936, the same year that Heinrich Himmler took overall control of the Ahnenerbe, proclaiming himself chairman of the Kuratorium. Rahn was then seconded on detached duty to the South of France in search of the Grail. Himmler's wish was to try and rediscover and reinvigorate Germanic culture. On 13 March 1939 as reported in the National Socialist newspaper Völkischer Beobachter — three days before the anniversary of the fall of Montségur — Otto Rahn mysteriously froze to death on a Tyrolean mountain top. His death is believed to be likely a suicide.

Local sources reported that on the 700th anniversary of the fall of Montségur, 16 March 1944, German aircraft overflew Montségur in strange formations, either Celtic crosses or swastikas, depending on the source of the reports.[2] Some claim that Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi Germany's ideologue and author of The Myth of the Twentieth Century, was aboard one of the aircraft. It is alleged that the purpose of the aerial demonstration was to mark the fulfilment of the prophecy of a 13th century troubadour that at the end of 700 years following the demise of the Cathars, "the laurel will be green once more".



Cross the mountains following in the direction of the east, then walk NW. At the top of one these mountains rises a fortress where Brida discovers her past incarnation.

Your image at this fortress is the eighth test.

This was another fairly easy test as the only experience Brida has outside Ireland is in Montsegur. We travelled from Montserrat around lunch time and arrived around 4.45 as the sun was starting to dip behind the Pyrenees. So we climbed up knowing we would be slightly late to arrive at a house 70km away with direction somewhere screwed up in the bottom of the car!! Still we walked up the mountain telling each other it would take 10 minutes up and 10 minutes down and we would be on our way knowing it was more like an hour!

It took us 10 minute just to catch our breathes and the catch the view!


Montsegur has almost a cult following, attracting Cathar history enthusiasts, hikers and lovers of charming small French villages. While its magical allure has been relatively undiscovered by Americans, this tiny Midi-Pyrenees village is simply oozing with atmosphere. It is located in France's Midi-Pyrenees region (and the lovely Ariège Pyrenees department) on the edge of Cathar Country. Montsegur Chateau is arguably the most significant monument to the Cathar religious sect. The Cathars believed in a natural, humble lifestyle and criticized the Catholic church relentlessly. It is in the Montsegur castle ruins that hundreds of Cathars held off Crusaders for months. When they were finally conquered, they were given the choice to renounce their religion or walk into the flames. Most chose a fiery death.

As you approach Montsegur, Mount Pog will appear between mountain peaks. Topped by the Chateau Montsegur, Mount Pog is a popular hiking spot for Europeans. While it doesn't take long to climb, it is challenging. It takes about 20-30 minutes each way, but they are a long 20-30 minutes. The aspects that make the climb difficult are precisely the secrets to the Cathar success in holding off Crusaders for so long. Today, there are wood planks to make the climb easier. Legend has it that local villagers snuck food and supplies up to the Cathars by climbing the mazelike pathways, as the Crusaders remained frustrated at the mountain's base.


We made it! Will update you tomorrow in Lourdes just now having met lots of people to find the 9th test which is tough going back to the text books! Thank you to everyone for all your love and support watch this space...................................... Good night x


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010


[22:32:01] India Staunton says: Seriously Mill- try and get some good shots of you on this exped - black and White would be a good look with a blurred background - get Tom Boy to do them


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