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Adventure: The Metropolitan City of Wroclaw, Poland

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Thinking, TravelNo Comments

I recently visited Wroclaw in Poland with my brother and his friends for his stag do and his birthday. It was the first time I had met many of my brother’s friends and they are a great bunch of lads. In this post I’ll be discussing my experience of being in Wroclaw.

The first thing to write is that the architecture is aesthetically pleasing. There are many buildings with a Georgian style and many churches that are exquisitely designed. Here is an example of one such church:

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A Church in Wroclaw, Poland.

Here are two photos of fountains I took:

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Fountain (1).

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Fountain (2).

Wroclaw is vibrant, youthful and has an upbeat feel. It is a clean city, only being let down by graffiti that is everywhere. There are plenty of places to eat and drink, with some even having English menus upon request. The cost of living is cheap with roughly 10 slotty (about £2) buying a double vodka and diet coke. I did have difficulties getting zero sugar drinks in a number of places, which was a bit of an issue with me being diabetic.

The only Polish word I managed to learn was Kawa, which means coffee. The main square is huge and has flower market stalls that appear to be open 24/7. I found myself listening to Polish conversations as I walked around and appreciating the beautiful sound of the language. Some Polish spoke English exceptionally well whereas others didn’t speak any English at all. I found the Google Translate App really useful.

Without doubt it is people that make a city. All appeared happy, content and liberal. Polish people had less inhibitions when it came to dancing than we English have. Polish people will quite happily bump into anyone in their way in pubs and clubs. This is normal to the Polish, but being British I found it a little rude.

As Poland is known for being Roman Catholic and as such conservative when it comes to gay people and their rights. I decided to test the waters with a Polish man who I had been talking to and getting on with whilst smoking a cigarette. I came out and asked his views on gay people. He said:

“I don’t care, I don’t give a fuck. That’s your choice. We’re all just friends here.”

He described himself as not being religious, male, heterosexual and was in his mid twenties.

Overall Wroclaw is a beautiful city, with wonderful people and a place that I will be visiting again.

Take care,

Antony

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What are some of the most difficult questions in life?

By Life, ThinkingNo Comments

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Here are some of the most difficult questions in life, along with my current partial answers to them. None of these complex questions have simple answers. If you have a better answer than the one I have, or would like to share your answer to these questions, please leave a comment below.

Who am I?

Who I am is fluid rather than fixed and changes constantly. It encompasses my thoughts, feelings, intentions, actions, omissions, behaviours and my soul. Who I am changes as quickly as each encompassed element can change.

What is consciousness?

Consciousness is a result of billions of neurons in the brain firing electrical signals to other neurons. Our body allows us to sense the world (through taste, sight, touch, smell, sound and psychic intuition) and then create thoughts and feelings based on the now, memory and past experiences, dreams and hopes for the future.

What’s the meaning of life?

I have no idea what the meaning of life is. But I’ve got a feeling that it’s different for every life. I do know that you should decide on the purpose or ideally purposes of your life.

Purposes may include: dedication to family/friends, goals/achievements of your own, contribution to the wellbeing of others, learning/studying/growth, to create or destroy, to consume and enjoy, to travel, to adventure and experience, to improve humanity, to love, the list goes on and on.

Where does creativity come from?

Perhaps the question should read: what inspires creativity? A large number of things can inspire creativity, including: nature, research, other people’s creative works (art, music, literature, sculpture, etc.), curiosity, questions, past experiences, daily life, failures, logic/illogic, other people’s ideas, emotions, procrastination, through play, again the list goes on and on.

Does God exist?

Pagans are polytheistic, meaning that they worship many Gods and Goddesses. I personally believe that these Gods and Goddesses represent humanistic aspects of a Divine Energy.

This Divine Energy is infinitely complex and incomprehensible by the limited human mind. This Divine Energy is within everything that ever was, is and will ever be. It is timeless, interconnects everything and keeps the universe in balance through constant creation, change and destruction.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

We all have a sense of fair play. When we see bad things happen to good people, we notice it as it feels unfair. We notice it more because the person is a good person. But life events are simply what they are.

Sometimes bad things appear at random and sometimes they are methodological. They can be difficult to accept and it is normal to feel a sense of injustice and unfairness.

Reframing your thoughts to acknowledge that bad things happen regardless of whether a person is good or not is a way to balance your thinking. It is also useful in breaking the association between behaviours (being a good person) and negative life events (the bad things).

What happens after we die?

The cells, tissues and organs in your body die (necrosis). Your body decays until the point that only your skeleton is left (skeletonisation).

But when most people ask this question, they are referring to what happens to the soul after death. Well most believe in heaven or an afterlife of some sort. Others believe in reincarnation (being reborn as another person, animal or plant).

I personally believe in both an afterlife and reincarnation. I think that your soul is energy and is released from your body on your death. It travels to another plane of existence (the astral plane).

The astral plane is like an afterlife but not like a traditional version of heaven. You are reunited with other souls that you have known (possibly over several lifetimes and the times in-between). You have the choice of if and when (although there is no concept of time in this place) you want to be reincarnated.

The purpose of being reincarnated is so that you can grow as a soul, but also so you can do some of the things that only physical entities can do (such as enjoy food, music, dance, sex).

What is love?

Poets, Writers, Musicians and Artists have all been exploring what love is and how it is expressed since humans were first able to feel and think. I think any type of love starts with vulnerability, connection and intimacy. From there it grows into trust, warmth and attachment.

For me there are different types of love:

  • Love shared with friends. Familiarity, shared interests, shared values and loyalty.
  • Love shared with family. Familiarity, growing together, mutual respect and unconditional acceptance.
  • Love shared with a lover. Romance, possibility, comfort, sensuality and sex. (I should note here that I am single.)
  • Unexpressed love. Fantasy, a crush, desire and longing.

Have I met Mr/Mrs Right?

How the heck should I know? But I would ask yourself: Does he/she make you laugh? Can you tell them anything? Does he/she build you up and support you? Does he/she add something to your life? Does he/she have their own life, with their own friends, dreams and ambitions? What do your friends and family honestly think about them and you as a couple?

Hopefully answering these questions will give you more insight.

Can love last a lifetime?

Yes. As long as both partners continue to grow independently as well as growing together. And as long as they continue to love one another. I believe love can last, not just a lifetime, but into the afterlife and beyond.

Write soon,

Antony

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A Visit to York and Knaresborough

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Happiness & JoyNo Comments

Yesterday my good friend Simon and I visited York and Knaresborough.

York is a brilliant place to visit. It is architecturally splendid and has more push bikes than I have ever seen in my life. The great thing about York is that it has both indoor and outdoor things to do.

The weather was great, considering the time of year. High temperatures and dry. So Simon and I saw York’s Abbey, York’s Museum Gardens and the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. We walked along York’s wall, went shopping (York has a wide range of shops, selling a wide range of things) and generally explored York.

Here are some photos from our visit to York:

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Simon and I visited York for the day.

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York Abbey (from a distance).

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York Abbey (close up).

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A York Church with an interesting bell tower.

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York’s Museum Gardens. There were loads of squirrels in these beautiful gardens.

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The ruins of St Mary’s Abbey in York (from a distance). You can read more about St Mary’s Abbey here.

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The ruins of St Mary’s Abbey in York (close up). You can read more about St Mary’s Abbey here.

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Simon and I walked along York’s wall.

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Simon with a funky statue we discovered.

Then Simon and I travelled on to Knaresborough. Knaresborough is a small town with ruins of a castle. We walked around the ruins of the castle, took in the spectacular view and then went shopping. The shops in Knaresborough were mildly disappointing, however there was a pagan/witchcraft shop and spirituality shop.

Here are some photos from our visit to Knaresborough:

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We drove on to Knaresborough.

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Ruin of Knaresborough Castle wall.

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Ruin of Knaresborough Castle (1).

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Ruin of Knaresborough Castle (2).

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Stunning view from the Knaresborough Castle ruin.

Here are some other fun photos of me that we took:

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Me racing on a wooden sheep.

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My arrival at Knaresborough Castle.

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Quite a nice photo of me sat on the wooden sheep.

Write soon,

Antony



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15 Non-Essential Items in my Home

By Amazon, Friends & Family, Home, ThinkingNo Comments

We all have non-essential items at home that hold great sentimental value to us. Here are 15 of mine:

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15. Crystals

15. Crystals
I love crystals. This bowl of crystals (my friend Jayne bought me the bowl as a Yule/Christmas present) is just the tip of the iceberg.

My home is filled with various types of crystals (clear quartz, smoky quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, citrine, turquoise, loadstone and many others), in various forms (tumbled, natural, points, beds & raw).

Each crystal is unique, with its own energy and feel, which is what I love about them and why they hold such sentimental value.

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14. Amethyst Tree

14. Amethyst Tree
This Amethyst Tree was one of the first ‘pagan’ things I bought, when I was sixteen years old. I had to save up for it for weeks. It’s only small and wasn’t expensive. But it holds great sentimental value.

It reminds me of my past. How much I’ve grown and continue to grow. In every aspect of my life.

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13. Sun God Wall Plaque

13. Sun God Wall Plaque
I love this sun God wall plaque that I bought myself on my recent adventure to India. It celebrates the sun, which I worship in all senses of the word.

You can read more about my India adventure in my eight part series of blog posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 & Part 8.

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12. My Fabulous Gay Mirror.

12. My Fabulous Gay Mirror
Two years ago, before Simon and I went away to Wales (see Mid-Wales Part 2: Aberdovey Beach & King Arthur’s Labyrinth) I bought a lottery ticket. Then we went away. While away I bought this fabulous gay mirror. I was reluctant to buy it because I didn’t have much money. But the lottery ticket turned out to be a winner and covered most of the cost of the mirror.

I like the mirror just as much as I did on the day that I bought it. I love the bright colours, the shape and it’s weight. It is hung on the wall in my bedroom. The mirror also reminds me of the good memories Simon and I created on our trip to Wales.

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11. Pentacle/Pentagram Wall Plaques

11. Pentacle/Pentagram Wall Plaques
Pentacles and Pentagrams are symbols of protection. I bought the bronze pentacle for myself, as a moving in present, when I bought and moved into my apartment 7 years ago (see The Move). It is hung above the door to my master bedroom.

The wooden pentagram was bought for me by the Watts family, at a gay pride stall of all places. The Watts family and I have mutually adopted one another. It is my priviliage to be considered part of the Watts family. The pentagram is hung above my front door in my hallway.

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10. This Handmade Box

10. This Handmade Box
My friend Simon bought me this handmade and unique box for my 21st birthday. It is beautiful. I keep an array of essential and magical oils in it.

Simon and I have a close relationship and share a wide range of interests. He always buys tremendous gifts and presents, many of which could have made it on to this list. Each gift or present is chosen or made with great care.

Like this box, my friendship with Simon is handmade, unique and beautiful.

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9. This Glass Tealight Candle Holder.

9. This Tealight Candle Holder
This handmade glass tealight candle holder was bought for me as a Christmas present by younger brother Alex, prior to his death. So for obvious reasons it holds huge sentimental value.
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8. Apollo Statue.

8. Apollo Statue
Every time my friend Kay goes on holiday, she brings me back a wonderful souvenir. I love the god Apollo, so one year when she was going to Italy, I asked her to bring me back a statue of Apollo. She brought me this statue back. It is among my prized possessions.

Kay has brought me many lovely things back over the years. Each of them has found a place in my home. Each makes me smile and think of Kay every time I see them.

Kay is a amazing friend and one that I am very lucky to have.

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7. My Altar – here is a photo of my Altar, which has a various items for various reasons.

7. My Altar
My altar is ever-changing. It changes with the passing of the seasons and according to pagan festivals. I’ve had altars on and off over the years, usually depending on physical space.

Although having an altar isn’t essential, it reminds me that I am a Witch and to practice meditation, spells and other spiritual endeavours.

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6. An Illustration of Me – drawn by my good friend Sye Watts.

6. An Illustration of Me
For Christmas in 2011, my friend Sye, who is a superb Illustrator, drew this illustration of me. It is framed and hangs on the wall in my hallway.

It makes me smile every time I see it. It always reminds me of what a wonderful friend I have in Sye.

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5. My Childhood Teddy Monkey.

5. My Childhood Teddy Monkey
This is Monkey, my childhood teddy, bought for me by my Auntie Sue. Monkey has velcro hands and as a child he came everywhere with me. Once my mum even had to rescue Monkey from under a bus.

These days Monkey lives quite happily on my bookshelf.

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4. This Willow Tree Brothers Figurine – given to me by my long lost brother.

4. This Willow Tree Brothers Figurine
My brother Shaun bought me this Willow Tree Brothers Figurine for Christmas one year. Shaun is my Long Lost Brother. He’s my older brother and despite not growing up together, we’re really close. Shaun is supportive, loyal, makes me laugh and always has a story to tell. I’m so glad that we met.

I just wish we had met sooner, so that my younger brother Alex and Shaun could have had more time together.

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3. This Photograph – a rare photo of two of my brothers and myself.

3. Photograph
This photograph. It’s a photo of two of my brothers and myself. It was a photo taken on a family meal for my 21st birthday. Alex, my younger brother (on the very left of the photo), died a few years after this photo was taken (see My Darling Baby Brother). It’s been 5 years since Alex died and I am so glad I have this photo of us brothers together.
February Photo Challenge 10th

2. iMac – my writing tool.

2. iMac
I bought my iMac in January 2012 (see iMac Part 1 & iMac Part 2). It is so many things to me: a tool for writing and for sharing my writing through my blog & creative writing page; a visual collection of memories via my photos; an entertainment station playing music, films, DVDs, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube; a tool to communicate through Facebook, Twitter, email, forums, Skype, FaceTime; and a tool to learn through the Internet.

It is one of the best things that I’ve ever bought myself.

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1. Books (image is part of my top shelf where all my favourite books are kept).

1. Books
The photo (left) is a photo of some of my favourite books. Books that I have read again and again. For me books inspire creativity, educate and inform, but mostly: ignite my imagination.

Books in this photo: Wannabe a Writer?, Sane New World, The Graveyard Book, The Humans, The Time of My Life, The Magician’s Assistant, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Born This Way, Split, Best Gay Romance 2014, OMG Queer, Franky Gets Real, In His Secret Life, Above, The Gay Man’s Kama Sutra, Elements of Witchcraft, Advanced Witchcraft, Utterly Wicked, Witchcraft: Theory and Practice & Everyday Magic.

What sentimental items do you have at home? Leave a comment below.

Blog soon,

Antony

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I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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