Cartomancy’s Sneak Peek at the EU Repeal Bill

 

KTLN 2

Late on Monday evening Il Matrimonio reminded me that the vote for the EU Repeal Bill was due to take place that night, and I reached for my playing cards.  It was already 10.00 PM, just hours to go as I drew the cards illustrated below, asking, would the Bill be passed? I left the cards out on the table, made my initial assessment which was that it was a yes answer, then went to bed and tried to forget about it till morning.

These were the cards left out overnight. The top line contained the yes answer, but on what basis did I arrive at that interpretation?

Repeal bill

To get at a yes/no answer, you lay out a row of cards using an odd number, 3, 5 or 7.

It’s a question of preference. On such a weighty and hugely multi-factorial question, 3 might seem too few, and by now I’ve trained myself to read in fives. That’s what this stuff is about. You learn your chosen system of divination, whether that’s playing cards, Tarot, runes or whatever. You study it. You learn and you practise, practise, practise until you internalise the code, the programme, or whatever you like to call it, until, if you persist, it feels like second nature.

You activate your internal oracular programme on request. The most psychic psychic in the world – whoever that is, and it isn’t me, doesn’t go round being psychic all the time. Do they heck. They wouldn’t be able to function. Prescience isn’t omniscience, with tools, you learn to manage, instruct and direct that innate human capability. So, how do you direct it?

If it’s cards you’re reading, you do it simply by stating your question aloud as you shuffle. Not for the purpose of enlisting any rogue, random spirits in the room (or, wait… no, are they…are they… aaaggghhh…imps of Satan come to steal your soul?)

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No. It is just so that you will hear yourself say it. Then stop shuffling when you feel ready. That’s it. You just stop shuffling when you feel ready, then you take off the top five cards and lay them out from left to right, creating a story-board moving forward in time.

The red card suits are Hearts and Diamonds, simplistically read as supportive or positive.

The black card suits are Clubs and Spades, simplistically read as challenging or negative.

5 red suit cards represents a definite yes

4 red suit cards represents a probable yes

3 red cards represent a likely yes

2 red cards represent a likely no

1 red card represents a probable no

0 red cards says forget it. The answer is no.

So what did we have here?  3 red cards and 2 black cards, suggesting that it was more likely than not, that yes, the Repeal Bill would pass. But we had those 2 black suit cards. What else could be gleaned?

The first card out, the 10 of Clubs, is a card of business and far-flung travel and clearly represents the bottom line. Additionally, the 10 Clubs also represents the idea of a body of water. It might be a sink or a bathtub, or it might be a sea or a channel. For the first card out to say ‘The Channel! La Manche!’ provides quite a benchmark.

The second card out, the 8 of Hearts, speaks of a gathering, a convocation. It looks surprisingly cheerful here, there would appear to be more goodwill than so much other evidence suggests. It is strongly suggestive of togetherness (huh? eh? really?) It is suggestive of total sincerity at least, on both sides, whichever side of the argument you personally happen to support.

The third and central card, the pivot or hinge card here, is the 3 of Clubs: a card of confrontation but also collaboration. Three way deals. My goodness, there have been some mighty interesting conversations behind the scenes both sides of the House.

The fourth card here represents a male figure, highly significant in this debate. It might be David Davis, Jeremy Corbyn, or both. Any one card may have multiple meanings. My initial impression was that while David Davis was, despite everything, within his personal comfort zone, while Jeremy Corbyn was faced with a perplexity; needing not to alienate Labour voters who voted to leave, whilst needing to reconcile opposing elements within his party.

The final outcome card, the 4 of Hearts, is traditionally a card of a settled home, indicative of a solid, foursquare outcome. Because this card falls in the final position, this swung the cards more strongly towards a yes answer, denoting a solid but hardly sweeping result, and we now know there was a majority of 36 votes, with 126 challenges and amendments already tabled.

And if you got this far, you might be wondering about those other cards. What were they about?

When a question is so heavily loaded, supra-personal and complex, I cross- reference, coming at the question from different directions, looking for repetition, pattern and breaks in pattern.

The second row is talking about Theresa May herself. I had asked, would she achieve the result she was looking for? Again, we had 3 red suit cards and 2 black translating as, yes, more likely than not. The 2 black suit cards here however, were spades, which are to do with intellect, focus, strategy, loss – and stress, suggesting that while Theresa May will hold her nerve going forward, she is acutely aware of past mistakes and errors of calculation (the jack of spades is bad news, tricky in the extreme.)

The 9 of Spades together with the Queen of Diamonds, speaks of stress and strain, loss, attack and grief,  concerning a reserved, pragmatic woman of quick instincts and warmth. It also seems, interestingly, to have foreshadowed the challenge of the 9 Conservative MP’s now tabling amendments

There is no doubt the Prime Minister has felt the sad and terrible events of 2017 no less profoundly on the personal, human level than the rest of the general population, and if anything, more intensely because some of her responses were criticised, and, wherever the culpability lay, because these things happened on her watch.

See it here below. The black dog.

Below: the Nine of Swords(Spades) from The Golden Tarot by Kat Black, by kind permission of US Games Systems 

9 Swords Golden

The third row of cards was looking at those opposed to the passing of the Repeal Bill. Would they be happy with the outcome?  We see here 4 black suit cards and only 1 is red. The King of Spades here is Jeremy Corbyn again, or Keir Starmer, but those who were disappointed can be assured that some concessions will be negotiated or obtained, especially and broadly pertaining to business affairs, as suggested by the outcome card on this line; the lively, mercantile Jack of Diamonds.

In laying out the final row, I had no specific question but was looking for a general sense of how things seem set to progress. The indications here are that the UK will leave the EU more or less according to the scheduled deadline. If there had been a spades card at the end of this row, it would have suggested delays, perhaps even significant delays, and if it had been the Ace of Spades, may even have detected an aborted exit process.  The only spade card here however, is at the commencement of this row and it is the 6 of Spades; a positive if solemn card, denoting a departure; charting a new course. It represents progress, though of course, not without effort, cost or struggle.

Below: The Six of Swords (Spades) from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti

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The outcome card, the 2 of Hearts, suggests a 2 year time-frame, possibly accelerated by whatever is being flagged up here by the 9 of Diamonds sitting just in front of it. It looks as though, because of the electricity of the diamonds suit, that certain significant dealings in respect of transport or travel, and possibly also power stations, may be settled somewhat more advantageously to the UK than many fear. Let’s all hope so.

This is not about politics, promoting any political viewpoint. This is about learning how to read the cards in respect of public affairs, reading cold,  developing skill of interpretation via benefit of hindsight.

The lessons of hindsight facilitate wider, deeper future foresight. Reading practitioners develop intuitive muscle by tackling questions. All kinds of questions. Exposition builds the reader’s vocabulary, and with it, the capacity for more in-depth precision of card interpretation, and context is king.

Until next time 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Well of Wyrd

My readings include forecasts not predictions. What’s the difference? Mainly presentation. Otherwise, very little. Forecasts are associated with technically based weather and economic predicting, nowadays largely based upon the interpretation of masses of computerised data, plus educated guesswork. A prediction is based on knowledge, experience, intuition or guesswork, and may be made in any context but is generally understood as being presented as almost a done deal, whereas a forecast deals in estimations of probabilities. I deal in probabilities.

Polls and other forecasts not infrequently get it wrong of course, as do fortune-tellers, no doubt.

When I talk to you about your present and past, as sensed and expressed through my Tarot or playing cards, you are in a position to evaluate what I am saying, and to validate it. When I address your question to do with likely future developments, no validation is possible; only time will tell; the future both exists and does not exist. You will die and so will I, the only things in life that are certain, so the saying goes, are death and taxes, and the taxes were only included as a joke.

But in-between, there are things within your direct personal control and things that are not, and a prediction may interfere, distract, block or stymie you, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy, while a forecast allows for the possibility of alternative outcomes depending on whether you do this next, or that next. This job or that job? This house or that house? This person or that person?

This freedom of choice may also be an illusion of course, just as ‘true’ objectivity is an impossibility, because we are always likely to do, and default to what is in our nature to do, regardless of advice, even when that advice is directly solicited. It is a wise and also essentially confident person who can, without instantly dismissing it, no knee-jerks, coolly pay out enough rope to listen to advice that is contrary to what they want or expect, or that challenges their own preferred version of events and vision of themselves and their past choices.

“What is bred in the bone will not come out of the flesh”, first recorded in England (in Latin) circa 1290, widespread in various versions since the 15th cent.

The version I am used to says that what is bred in the bone will come out in the flesh…meaning, it will unavoidably manifest itself.

Norse mythology took a subtle view on prediction and the nature of destiny. Their Norns were not as absolutist as the Fates of Ancient Greece.

norns

‘Wyrd’ is the Old English variant of the Norse word, ‘Urd’, referring to the destiny of each living thing, cast for them at birth by the three Norns. The Saxon variant is ‘wurd.’ The Well represents the Norse concept of the past – what we might now term birth memory, ancestral memory or the collective unconscious. The Norse view of destiny was that yes, it is written, but unlike the Fates of ancient Greek mythology, the destinies carved by the Norns can be overwritten…though does this pre-suppose that the hero on his or her life quest is aware of the existence and nature of that destiny and decides to challenge it?

The Well of Wyrd

She scrys alone; she is casting stones,

Disposing glyphs on graven runes,

No even numbers speak the Norns,

Wyrd runs water; she must deal,

In whisperings and Fates unsealed,

Winds of fortune shape and shatter,

Time, disposing of all matters,

Is Serpentine, the ouroboros,

Endless, rolling, still coils sinuous.

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

circe-waterhouse

Circe by Waterhouse: Public Domain

“The Well of Urd corresponds to the past tense. It is the reservoir of completed or ongoing actions that nourish the tree and influence its growth. Yggdrasil, in turn, corresponds to the present tense, that which is being actualised here and now.

What of intention and necessity, then? This is the water that permeates the image, flowing up from the well into the tree, dripping from the leaves of the tree as dew, and returning to the well, where it then seeps back up into the tree.[5]

Here, time is cyclical rather than linear. The present returns to the past, where it retroactively changes the past. The new past, in turn, is reabsorbed into a new present, whose originality is an outgrowth of the give-and-take between the waters of the well and the the waters of the tree.” Source and Further Reading:

One can see the flexibility of the Norns arising in the sphere of genetics.

It is not clear why blue eyes spread among ancient Europeans. One theory is that the gene could have helped to prevent eye disorders due to low light levels found in European  winters, or that the trait spread because it was deemed sexually attractive.

Source The Independent

 

Further Reading:

Reading re: Retrogenes

Was Darwin Wrong? Letter from the author of Lamarck’s Signature

 

Till next time 🙂

Psychic Scratching in the Cartomancy Sandbox

Recently I added to my reading mix,  a deck of ordinary playing cards. These have been in use for cartomancy; divination and fortune telling, for at least 400 years longer than the Tarot, and neither one of them began as fortune telling tools. They were both invented for gaming purposes. In the case of playing cards, it’s thought they first came to Europe from the Middle East, arriving there in turn from the Far East.

Fully illustrated Tarot cards contain pictorial ingredients offering unlimited possibilities of translation via associative thinking, but playing cards, while less interesting pictorially, and somewhat prosaic, will do the job.

I thought I’d try them out in a recent face to face reading for a new client, reserving them for getting at a few yes or no answers if required.

Asking for the Tarot’s insight into my client’s recent significant past I drew The Fool and The Ace of Pentacles from The Gilded Tarot, images by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.

gilded-foolThe Ace of Pentacles, The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The Fool is about opportunity, enthusiasm, a gamble, a birth. The Ace of Pentacles suggests a windfall, a new job or business, a new home, a garden or a new, precious object.

These following The Emperor prompted me to ask the client, had there been a recent major change or opportunity to do with a new job or new kind of work, and also maybe a new home?

And was it possible this new home might be in the countryside or else have a big garden or some land?

He said he had bought a house with land, and was planning to build on that land, and he wanted to know, what were the prospects for successful completion?

Yee-haa! Time to put my ordinary playing cards to the test and I drew these.

playing-cards-spread-showing-building

My first observation was that I had drawn two red cards and one black. Learning to do psychic readings is all about self-programming, and like learning anything, involves rote and repetition. I’ve decided a red card mean yes, whether it’s a diamond or a heart, and a black card means no, whether it’s a spade or a club card. And then I go for best of three, and the numbers might swing my thinking.

You could decide that a black card means yes, if you wanted, and a red card means no, and it might work splendidly reliably if you are consistent, though it might prove counter-intuitive as the most challenging cards in a playing deck – most, not all, are contained within the suits of spades and clubs.

Once decided on your own system, you need to stick to it. There’s no right or wrong with these things. There’s what works subject to proof. This is where there can arise a problem with going to classes ‘to be taught’ how to read. You are your own best teacher. Learning to ‘see’ in this way is solitary. Even lonely. It is not gregarious at source. Study adds skill and there is a vast library here to study, but in the end, while rendered articulate by skill,  the oracular spirit, to be true to itself, remains a cat who walks alone.

The short answer to the client’s question therefore was yes, but I was struck by the appearance of two diamonds cards, equating to the Tarot’s suit of Pentacles; the suit of earth.

I was additionally struck by the fact that the middle card was twice the number value of the first card. a 4 and an 8. It made me think of foundations, and plumb-lines; four walls, and then four walls, doubled.

It didn’t seem random, it felt as if it might be significant and I said to the client, ‘are there going to be TWO buildings, by any chance? And one is twice the size of the other? But this black card, the 3 of Clubs, suggests there’s a bit of stress already?’

Notice, I was asking him. That’s because I did not know if this was correct. I only knew that’s what I was being shown, and wanted to check.

‘There ARE going to be two buildings’ he said,  nodding surprised, ‘log cabins and one is going to be exactly twice the size of the other one. And yes, it’s fair to say there’s a fair bit of stress…’

And so the discussion moved forward.

Well done, my little £1.99 fortune-telling friends. Although I don’t tell fortunes, you’ve clearly got my number, and I think you and I need to get better acquainted.

Until next time 🙂

 

 

Tarot Guesses The Birthday Pressie

katie ellen feb 2016

Or tries to and almost does, but not quite.

A friend came to stay recently and brought a present for my birthday. We thought it might be fun for me to try and guess what was inside the packaging using my pendulum and cards. It was roughly cylindrical, not too heavy, rolled in bubble wrap and brown paper.

I held my pendulum over it.

‘Are the contents of this package edible?’ The pendulum span anticlockwise. No.(sob)

‘Are the contents of this package paper?’ No. ‘Ceramic?’ No.’ Wood?’ Yes.

I drew the Three of Pentacles, a card signifying progress in business and pride in one’s work, and from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.

‘Is it a craft item? I asked my friend.

‘Yes.’ she said, smiling from ear to ear, as ducks suddenly quacked outside on the pond and Il Matrimonio ran to the balcony to see there if there was a fox. There sometimes is. Then I drew the Six of Swords, a card of personal progress, solemn journeys and quests for learning.

Was it something to do with a river or riverbank, I wondered. Was it a little wooden boat? Or a frog? I like frogs.

three-pentacles gilded6-swordsg

 

‘No’. My friend said, smiling, ‘But you are warm. Now open it!

And inside it was – this! A wooden Indian Runner Duck. What a little character.

🙂

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Well, I never. No wonder she’d been laughing to herself every time we’d fed the ducks, knowing what she had in store to give me.

Now, that is what I call a friend. And psychically, here was that darn  Jungian synchronicity thing at work again.

Good try, Tarot my friend. Not a bull’s eye this time, but a respectable attempt, and this often is how Tarot works in a reading, too, regardless of the classical card meanings, sparking ideas directly off the imagery.

This is how, while Tarot presents a great academic study, anyone can read it, who likes to use associative thinking.

Until next time 🙂

 

Tarot Synchronicity: The Lucky Guess

Katie 3 May 2016

Katie-Ellen, Intuitive Consultant at  TacticalTarot.com

Carl Jung speculated that the Tarot works according to the principle of ‘synchronicity’- that psychic insights are triggered  by apparently random and yet meaningful co-incidence, which he thought might be explained by Quantum Mechanics.

Further Reading HERE

jung synchronicity

In a recent reading, the focus was the clients job, and I drew the King of Pentacles or Coins.

Image below is from The Gilded Tarot  by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.

King Pentacles

This Tarot king represents a man who is patient, kind, industrious. He is the salt of the earth. I said to the client that I thought he was a manager, and the work was practical in nature but also involved communication. It demanded precision or the ‘thing’ wouldn’t work but I didn’t ‘see’ as yet see what his job might actually be.

‘I might get at it though,’ I said, ‘now that my computer is talking directly to your computer.’

What I meant by that was, I felt we were on the same wavelength.

His reply?

‘But that IS my job! I  work for the government. That’s what I do…I make computers talk to other computers.’

Now that is typical  of the Tarot.

Just typical.

Synchronicity.

Until next time 🙂

Tarot Sees Flooding, More Moon Madness

medieval pic larger

Last time here on True Tarot Tales, the Moon card caused me to enquire about whether there had been a recent instance close by, of an upset tummy, possibly food poisoning, and it turned out, just as the Moon card classically depicts two dogs barking at the moon, two of the client’s dogs had been unwell after retrieving a ball from a dirty ditch.

Infection and disease may be flagged up by an appearance by the Moon card.

And so can flooding. I first saw this manifesting in my own cards during a Skype reading of 2010 for a client whose father lives in Pakistan, and her father had had to move house after flooding.

Gilded Moon

Image from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.

November 13, reading for someone in respect of a property in Hawick and the prospects for sale, I felt it might sell in August/September 2016, but, having drawn the Moon card, I asked the client, was there a river close to the property, and if there was, did it flood? Because I sensed flooding as a barrier to sale.

I was told the property is a top floor apartment, and is close to The Teviot but it had not flooded during the time the client had lived there (not many years) Nor had the client been aware or deterred by the proximity of the river when buying.

But, and very unfortunately for all affected, and by no means for the first time in its history Hawick flooded badly in early December.

Read here: BBC News Article: Hawick Floods

I still sense my client may move home in 2016, I draw the Six of Swords which indicates progress and very often a domestic relocation, and certainly within the next two years, but the pathway may be more complex than anticipated when the property went on the market, and may, suggests the strategic Seven of Swords, involve the unwanted complication of a letting arrangement.

And, let us hope this is unduly doomful, no reader is infallible; I see signs we may well not be done with this Moon business yet.  I draw the Moon card again, when asking about UK weather into February. Greater accuracy would demand a regional or even more break down, but there seems to be more ‘warm air’ coming where we don’t want it; the King of Wands Reversed.

A skeptical friend, who lives in Cumbria joked recently, that of all the religions he doesn’t believe in, the one he could perhaps go for is the Norse gods, and he may perhaps, even ask Freyr for help. Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea, and this morning, there is snow lying here on the Lancashire coast. But whatever you do, ask politely.

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Until next time 🙂

 

My Service Website  HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarot Talks To The Police…Highly Suspicious :)

ktln at home june 2015 1

Katie-Ellen’s Tarot service website is HERE

I recommend inquirers to visit my website before booking. This is for their benefit, to make sure I’m the right kind of reader for them. Not every reader offers the same kind of service, and I would far rather lose a booking than disappoint a client’s expectation.

I once took an enquiry over the telephone from an unusually cagey enquirer. He had heard a colleague talking about a recent reading with me, and he wanted a reading, too. I later realized, putting two and two together, this new enquirer had been a police officer. I recommended that he also check out my website, and he did not book at that point, but called again some weeks later, and was startled that I remembered him, greeting him by the first name he had given (which was not, I sensed, his real name)

The client arrived and was polite but continued cagey to the point where it threatened to become counter-productive. I drew The Emperor card confirming what I had already suspected, and asked if he worked for the Government, was he is the civil service, Armed Forces or Police? He replied with some reluctance that he was in the Police, while a further card, the Seven of Swords, elicited that he worked in Fraud investigating.

I’ve read for a few police officers (purely off-duty) and had no problems. This was like pulling teeth, except I’ve never pulled a tooth. It was like pulling up a dandelion, or getting Il Matrimonio to tidy his clothes away.

tarot-the-emperor gilded

The Emperor from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti

I asked if he had visited the website, as I had suggested, to know how I conducted readings. He had not had time, he said, and I reminded him of what I had said on the phone, that I start readings cold, and expect to deliver ‘psychic’ insights but thereafter, a reading works as a dialogue, and this is how I am able to deliver a useful reading, drilling down on precise particulars.

‘You’re doing OK. Carry on,’ he said smiling, then stonewalled me, leaning back on his chair with his arms folded,  letting me know he was alert to my ‘techniques.’

Please do not do this to your reader. Of course any reader with half a brain will tap into social cues when doing readings.  Why ever is this considered the sign of a charlatan? A reader with poor observation skills is a social munchkin and unlikely to deliver a meaningful psychic reading either.

I sensed he was hoping for a bit of help, but would not value whatever was not delivered cold. I had already sensed disquiet attached to his marital situation, and said so, but he had so far declined to verify this.

Now I drew the Page of Swords Reversed and said, ‘I sense a legal issue. An unwelcome communication. A letter, an email. Have you received it or are you sending it?

He smiled. ‘Suppose you tell me?’

There was a pause while I drew more cards. I was not at ease. Stonewalling is socially hostile and I needed to make sure my own discomfort did not skew my impressions about the card.

The Page of Swords Reversed may indicate a minor stress as well as a legal document, potentially. (It can also mean a minor surgical procedure, a minor injury with acute pain, a spy or a young person born under an Air sign: Aquarius Gemini or Libra)

Page Swords RW

From the Universal Waite, by kind permission of US Games

I pulled The Hierophant reversed (marriage problem) and the Seven of Swords Reversed (a card of plain speaking or alternatively; surveillance and covert research)

I had a ‘ping’ moment, took a deep breath and said, ‘Yes or No? Have you, or have you not, recently visited a solicitor with a view to asking about a divorce, but without telling your wife?’

‘Yes,’ he said, and the Tarot proceeded to share its insights surrounding this event and its ramifications past, present and possible future.

That might seem a reasonably specific psychic hit for someone who does not advertise as a clairvoyant (though I am sometimes, and sometimes clairaudient) but he remained unresponsive, politely thanking me for my time when we finished.

It is your time and money, and the reader’s time and energy. Research their service.

Till next time 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Joe’s Ark

Lancashire Writer & Tarot Practitioner, Katie-Ellen Hazeldine
Lancashire Writer, Business Intuitive & Tarot Practitioner, Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

The rain beat down on the garage roof, washing August away, just as it had washed July away and most of June before that. The British Isles, like most of northern Europe, was losing its summer. It was coming soon, Joe thought, and fear gripped his belly.

He held Suzette, stroking her to calm himself while he considered the situation. Deciding when to put to sea was tricky. Too late would be…too late, but if he embarked too soon, he’d be eating into provisions unnecessarily. Noah had provisioned for a voyage lasting ten months, but then, he’d had the benefit of inside information.

‘We’ll be all right, Suzy, hinny,’ he told his pet, ‘I’ll make sure of that. But what am I going to do about the wife?’

Suzette cocked her head as if considering, her beady gaze held his, unblinking. Joe had tried to explain to Linda about the bird’s intelligence, but Linda detested Suzette, and said pigeons were thick, and they were vermin, and good for nothing but a pie. Joe knew better, and that that was just Linda’s jealousy talking. Suzette’s plumage was the colour of heather on the moors, or the hills at twilight, and with the little bird’s plump warmth in his hand, he always felt better, somehow.

He tidied away and she followed, pecking at wood shavings, picking them up and dropping them again until he was done and scooped her up, dropping a kiss on the top of the small head, hard as a nut, placing her in the cage he had built for her.

‘Sweet dreams, little hen. See you in the morning.’ The cage had everything he could think of; a nest box, a perch, toys, even a mirror. She had everything but the company of her own kind and the open sky, but Joe didn’t think she minded. He had reared her from a chick, hatching the egg in his beanie; she had never known anything else.

It was after five. Time to get the tea on before Linda came home from work. Joe went through into the house, there was a connecting door – straight into the hallway and no need to get wet.

Joe was an unemployed shipwright, nearly twenty years at Swan Hunter until the day came when they all got the chop and  he had come home, stumbling with shock, his leaving cards in his hands, and walked in to find Linda, his wife, on the sofa on top of one of his friends. He’d never forget the look on her face as she ground her hips, looking down avid at the man on the sofa. Then she turned and saw him, and the look changed. Joe’s love for his wife died on the spot, snuffed out by the shock, though later when he calmed down, he understood why she’d done it.

They were childless. Joe was sad about it, but for Linda it was a sporadic madness, a devouring need she could not leave alone. I want more tests, she’d said. I want IVF. But Joe wouldn’t agree, and it wasn’t the money, though they had little enough of that to spare. No, it wasn’t that. But forcing gates just broke things in his experience, starting with the gate itself and now, he decided that Linda’s betrayal was not only a desperate attempt at a solution, but revenge.

Resisting his first terrible, desperate desire to punch her into the middle of next week – though he caught his friend later in an alley and gave him a kicking that left the other man retching on hands and knees, Joe mulled it over and decided he’d accept whatever blameless little cuckoo came as a result of this betrayal. He was even, secretly and not without a sense of shame, a little excited at the prospect and caught himself waiting, counting, watching for signs. But Linda’s plan, if that’s what it had been, came to nothing. Joe realised with the dullness of grief, there was not going to be any nestling. Not even a cuckoo. They talked about divorce but neither made the first move, and so they carried on, together but apart.

It was one night soon after this, that Joe had had The Dream. Had not God told Noah, hadn’t He solemnly promised, he would never do it again? But look what He was up to now! Flooding was never out of the news, rescue boats plying high streets the length and breadth of Britain and the price of everything going up. Lying as if paralysed in his solitary bed, staring sightless at the wall, Joe saw a land drowned by rain and river, sea and sky, and a wave that came as if from nowhere, the water cycle violently seeking new stasis as the ice caps melted.

He watched helpless, as a torrent came down the Tyne, bent bridges like hair grips and shoved them out to sea. People were swept away or crushed as they ran with their screeching children for the high places, and were overtaken. The Angel of the North looked on as buildings, bridges, roads were pulled apart like Lego, chewed and spat out. Afterwards came a hush, and the smell of rot, and the thriving of flies as the terrible silence and the empty days stretched on.

A full frontal view of the Angel of the North,...
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Everyone had nightmares and usually it was little more than a case of cheese at bedtime, Joe understood that perfectly well. But he also knew it could be something altogether different, something so much more. He’d foreseen his mother’s death in a dream and ignored it…it was only a dream, wasn’t it, and then, three days later they’d found her, dead on her bed, arm outstretched for the pills she’d been trying to reach, just as he’d seen in his dream.

There was indigestion, and there was prophecy, it wasn’t easy deciding which was which. Joe hadn’t forgiven himself for not going to his mother, he could not, and now, waking with a headache and needing to be sick, he decided this time, he would not turn away, to betray his vision. He would trust himself and carry out his own shipbuilding project. He did not tell anyone. Who would have believed him, and there was no-one he cared to confide in. But if a shipwright wasn’t up to the challenge, who was?

His decision made, Joe now had a plan, and was in oddly high spirits, negotiating the purchase of a little boat and two dinghies, spending every penny of his redundancy money. Linda spat fury. She even threw things, but Joe did not explain, didn’t  make any attempt at trying to enlighten her, just stayed out of her way in the garage, customizing the boat, a seventeen-foot Arran, adding an outboard motor, a petrol tank and an automatic pump. He extended the tiny day cabin, and carpentered drop-down stabilizers, enabling the boat to function as a trimaran.

He applied himself, learning to use a compass and maps, he followed the shipping news. He took to hanging around the trawlers at Tynemouth until a skipper agreed to take him out as an unpaid pair of hands and he threw up all the way out and back again. Meteorology classes came next, and geography field trips with the Workers Education Institute.

Joe became a man of singular education, and though he had few certificates to show for it, he knew he was going to be put to the ultimate test, and he didn’t know when, but it would be soon. Meanwhile, he stopped seeing the few friends he’d kept in touch with after the thing with Linda, and kept his own counsel – the thing was too big, anyway, he wouldn’t have known how to set about telling people. He avoided Linda and he made the evening meal without fail every evening, his tribute for the uneasy peace between them, and was mixing a vinaigrette for  a salad when the slam of the front door said Linda was home, and not in a good humour.

Linda Steel had one of those upside-down mouths that said she rarely smiled, and she was almost entirely sure she hated her husband with a passion. She would look at his lean, rangy body, and then his soft eyes, his soft mouth, almost flower-like in its softness, and think how deceptive were appearances. Joe was hard and cold, merciless and unyielding. He’d never touched her since that day. He barely ever even looked at her, never mind talked to her but he’d driven her to it, not listening to her about the baby. They ate in silence, rain oozing down the window panes, thick as dog slobber.

‘You do know it’s the Great Flood again, Linda?’ Joe said suddenly, over a forkful of tomato. She goggled at him, ‘You what?’

‘The Great Flood,’ he said, and took another mouthful.  He had debated whether to say anything and had decided not to, but it seemed something within him had a different idea, some vestige of a love long dead, or just pity, ‘coming soon to a town near you. Want to ride it out with me, come with me on the boat? I’ll be taking it down to Tynemouth day after tomorrow.’

Linda spluttered and began to choke. Joe watched impassively. Her eyes were like gooseberries and he didn’t like gooseberries. Why did he used to think she was so pretty? It wasn’t until Linda’s face began to go purple that he scraped back his chair and slapped her back for her. Slap, slap, SLAP.

‘Water,’ she croaked, flapping her hand. He fetched it and sat down again. ‘You know,’ he went on as if nothing had happened, ‘we’ll need to be well out to sea when that wave comes in, not to get caught between it and the river. Then if we make it, if we can get clear, we’ll sail up to Hexham. Or mebbes the Cheviots. Whatever – Noah used the dove, Suzette’ll help us find the best place.’

‘I’d laugh,’ she said, still wheezing, ‘Except I’m not sure you’re joking? What have you been up to, Joe? Been at the wacky baccy, have we, out there in the garage? This isn’t Bangladesh or Japan. We don’t get tsunamis here.’

She drained the tumbler of water. ‘Aye, well,’ he said, clearing the plates. ‘We do actually. Ever heard of the Bristol tsunami, 1607? Ever heard there was a time once, you could walk from here to Denmark, till a tsunami drowned the land bridge? But never mind. Cassandra couldn’t tell them either.”

‘Eh?’

‘The wooden horse,’ Joe explained. ’She knew it was bad news, but you can’t tell people, can you? But I had to try. You’re still my wife, for what it’s worth.’

‘Oh, I see,’ she said, not seeing at all. ‘Well, thank you, kind sir, you bloody loony. I’m very grateful, I’m sure.’’

The Dream came to Joe again that night. Linda heard his whimpers through the wall, and thought, serves him right, turning over and pulling the duvet past her ears.  Many a night she had cried herself to sleep.

Next day the boat was ready. One of the dinghies held provisions, while the other was for Linda, kitted with a week’s iron rations. Suzette perched on the rim preening, while Joe checked the inventories.  Next evening he led Linda into the garage for instructions. She listened, arms folded, tapping her foot. ‘And how long may we expect this little jaunt to last?’ she said bitingly, ‘may one venture to ask when your lordship will be coming home?’

He sighed. ‘You don’t get it, do you, Linda?’

It was sausages and mash for tea, and Linda found sausages a lot easier to swallow than Joe’s prophecy, but watching the evening news, she was bound to agree things were getting alarming.  ‘But it was as bad as this, almost, last year,’ she fretted, sitting alone with her coffee. ‘Nothing but rain and everyone ranting and raving about global warming. But August wasn’t too bad, and September, well, it was pretty good.’

Next morning they exchanged the barest of farewells. Linda spent the day at work dodging dripping ceilings and strategically positioned buckets, and came home to find he’d gone, the crackpot, just as he’d said, and so had the boat and that bloody useless bird. The silence boomed as she peeled off her sopping tights, and looked in the fridge. She couldn’t be bothered to cook. She made a cup of tea and cheese sandwiches instead, eating on the prowl, uneasy and unexpectedly lonely without her old enemy in range.

‘Well, pardon me for pointing this out’, she said to the empty room and the invisible Joe. ‘I’d hate to contradict you, Joe, but the world still appears to be here.’

But then in the small hours, something woke her. Strange noises in the street. She dashed to the window and looked out but the street was dark, the street lights were all out. A power cut again! She flung up the window and shrieked. Her car – everybody’s car – was heading down the street, borne on a rising tide. Other heads came poking out of windows, voices ascended, shrill with alarm. The street was a river. The river was growing. The rain was stabbing the earth to death.

Linda flew down the stairs and was met by water. She dragged the garage door open; a cold rill flowed round her thighs. Wading to the dinghy, her effort was impeded by the dark, and the ballooning of her pyjama bottoms. Linda sobbed, teeth chattering, as she flopped in bottom first, and fumbled to untie the mooring rope. Thank God she’d left the outer garage doors open as per Joe’s instructions. You’ll be trapped like a rat otherwise, he had warned her, and despite herself, despite everything, she had listened. Thank God.

‘Oh, Joe,’ she whimpered, and remembered all the ways she’d ever loved him, and he had loved her. And Joe had wanted her to make it, he had, sincerely, but she did not, all the same.

His vision was both correct and not. It was a point of technicality. Not the dam. The monstrous wave that came racing across the North Sea from Norway, the fatal collapse of a fjord wall, would have scuppered Linda’s frail chances for sure, but Joe’s pet had already secured the ultimate negative outcome. Rubber might not be tasty, but shredding it was a small amusement for a little bird in a moment of boredom, and now the idle activity of Suzette’s tiny beak slowly but surely laid waste Joe’s careful planning for his wife’s separate survival. Linda’s dead body went spinning down Church Street to St Peters, where her ankle got hooked in railings, and she was trapped there, a dancer graceful in eternal pilgrimage.

Joe came sailing in over her head some days later, coming in from the sea, following Suzette as they headed west under clear and sunny skies. The sea was blue again after the months of grey, and sparkling in the sun, but there were things in the water that did not bear looking at and Joe was careful not to look. What good would it do? The past was dead and gone. His new life started now.

great flood

First Published in ‘More Tonto Short Stories,’ by Tonto Press, 2007 . Performed at The Durham Book Fair, 2008 and & later, revised and published on-line with ‘Litro’ Magazine, 2014