Saturday, 31 March 2012

A: A City or a Temple!

This first post is my declaration for the A-Z Blog Challenge!

Angkor temple was built by King Suryavarman at the beginning of the twelfth century, He built it to illustrate his importance. When later died he dedicated it to the Hindu God Vishnu

Angkor Wat was considered  the most extraordinary architectural and most beautiful of all the temples in Cambodia. The pyramid was built on three levels consisting of the centre mount with its five separate towers which stand 64 metres high, each beautifully crafted. The first level was known as Mount Meru and was the home of the gods. The second level was the wall one mile long which ran around the outside of the mount, this represented the mountains containing the world. Finally a wide moat made up the third level, which hugged outside of the wall and represented the oceans.. Sculptural carvings could be seen along the walls with mythical creatures telling a story.

As you enter Angkor Wat, Mount Meru tower is on your right. Images made of sandstone guard the cross way of the dark damp passages. Most are headless due to looting. Murals made of light sandstone carvings and base-relief friezes cover most of the walls both inside and out. Inside the temple, carvings of dancing apsaras and devatas cover the pillars and the walls. On the outside walls apsaras together with ethereal beings perform before the gods. Apsaras are beautiful mythical young maidens with long hair and exquisitely formed bodies. Illustrations can be seen everywhere within the temple and their carvings in light sandstone along the wall of Mount Meru.

The Sunrises and sets with its rich red, vibrant orange and yellow majestic hues, lightening up the skies behind the Angkor Wat.

My Theme for A-Z Challenge 2012

I have only recently started blogging and when my good friend mentioned the A-Z April 2012 Challenge, I thought she'd gone stark raving bonkers!

I have always been involved with the outdoors working manually. It has been many years since I have sat down with pen and ink and wrote a letter let alone write a blog post. However in my heart I have always yearned to write but due to my shaky hands I have tended to sway away from anything connected with writing. However having realised that my heart is screaming to be heard and so I have taken the plunge and signed up five days ago. So here I am and this is my theme which is based on the history of Angkor Wat. The words Angkor Wat stand for a City or a Temple

City or a Temple

I choose this theme because my niece went out to Cambodia in 1995 with the intention to work out there with the native children. She loved it so much that when she returned to England and studied at Oxford University the Cambodian language. Then she returned to Cambodia to continue her work. In 2005 I went out to visit her in Phnom Pehn, it was a real culture shock for me and an experience I shall never forget.

I am really looking forward to this A-Z Challenge April 2012 now.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Through The Cellar Door!..

What do you think? Was it just a simple case of sleep walking or could there have been some unforeseen forces at work?  Could something  sinister be lurking in those stone walls of the house or down in the cellar?  I'd be interested to know if you have an explanation on these events?  Or perhaps you have had a similar experience? 

As I reached my early teens but still at school, my one passion at that time was my beautiful   horses. Due to lack of finances to support my expensive hobby I decided to scan the paper for jobs.  Two weeks later I came across an advert in the local paper for weekend help working with hunt horses. The position would involve very early starts and staying overnight at weekends. An interview was arrange for the following day,and my father took me along. The interview went well and it was agreed for me to start the following Saturday but I would need to be there on Friday evening.  I was a little anxious when I first arrived  but the other girls were very encouraging and in no time at all I was in full swing.

The stables and coach house were part of a large country residence situated within it's own grounds to the west side of Newcastle. The flat where the girls stayed was above the coach house and stables. Access to the flat was by a side door from the yard with a dark narrow corridor leading to the bottom of the stairs. The staircase itself was old and every step I took creaked beneath my feet. As I climbed the staircase on that Friday evening I passed a large wooden door with a curved top approximately halfway up on my right. I felt shivers run down her spine as she moved past it.  Later when talking with the girls I  learnt - It led down into the cellar, or so they thought!  As the weeks progressed, I was asked to work from the Thursday through to the Sunday as one of the girls had left and they were short staffed. I  loved my work and being with the horses, so I wholeheartedly agreed.

There were four girls on this particular Thursday evening when I arrived. The head girl who's name was Carol and the other three girls ( Miriam, Sue, Bernice) were full-time grooms and myself in training. We had dinner and everyone  had a glass of wine, except me and I had juice. I was later shown to my sleeping quarters. On this particular evening I slept in the room with the other girls. The flat was one one level and was part of a loft conversion. On leaving  the living room you walked through a doorway into a bedroom, with a large double bed in the centre and a small table with a candle holder placed on top. As you looked straight across the room, there was another door. This led you into a sort of dressing room  with a dark and very solid wooden chaise-lounge which stood against the far wall. To the right of the chaise lounge was a small square sash window which looked out over the courtyard. A small Victorian dressing table with a tall mirror had been placed in front of the window obscuring the view.To the left of the chaise-longue was another door leading into the girls sleeping  quarters.  As the evening progressed the girls told ghost stories and of the Grey Lady who walked the grounds, we all  laughed then disappeared to our beds.. I was shattered and I think we all fell asleep quite quickly..

Now as evening moved slowly into the early hours of the morning, I had no idea what was going to happen next until,  "I noticed that everywhere I looked I saw a grey mist and I had a an unusual cold feeling all around me." I seemed to be in this mist for quite sometime for from a distance I could hear a faint whisper of voice's but couldn't make out what was being said.. Then I heard someone calling my name, "Ann!"  all was silent. Then again "Ann, where are you going?"  then the silences followed by whispering "Ann, can you hear me?" this time the voice seemed much closer and still calling me by name "Ann!"

As though coming out of a trance I turned and standing next to me was Miriam, one of the girls. I was very surprised when I realised  I was not in my bed. Nor was I in the flat at all but on a staircase - on the other side of the cellar door. Looking back towards the ascending staircase and out flat door,  I glanced down to find I was standing in my nightdress but the mist and the cold feeling had gone! 

The girls excuse for my midnight walk (Somnambulism)  was due to me never having been away from home. However, I cannot recall sleep walking before that night nor have I walked in my sleep since!

Four weeks later I was asked to stay over once again from the Saturday to the Monday.  I didn't mind at all as it was half-term so it fitted in well. Bernice was taking time away on holiday, she had stated she didn't want anyone sleeping in her bed. So it was decided that I would sleep on the chaise-longue instead.

It had been a good day both for horses and riders. They returned home tired and extremely dirty. The horses tack was removed and they were allowed to stale and roll in the straw. They were immediately given access to tepid water. Meanwhile  their rider's organised refreshments and change of clothing. We all worked hard checking that the horses legs for cuts and bruises, we cleaned down and removed, sweat marks from their girths, bellies and legs dressing any horses that were injured immediately. Once they were made comfortable they were rugged up  and given a feed of hot bran mash with Epsom salts.They were left to munch their hay whilst we cleaned their tack. Once the tack was clean we all returned to check the horses were content and to make sure non had broken out into a hot sweat again. Once convinced all was well we gave them fresh hay and locked up behind us. It had been a long hard day, we were tired but we all chatted happily about what we'd be having for tea..

It was in the early hours of Sunday morning that I awoke to the sight of the lights flashing off and on and the sound of motor engines with lots of voices and noises. I had the feeling of coldness around me but it was as though I was in limbo. I could hear the sound of furniture moving as though it was being pulled into position. Someone calling my name "Ann"  By the time I was compos-mentis I found myself being helped back through what looked like the bedroom window. I was stunned. I had no recollection of what had happened. Or for that matter - what was I doing out there, I was dumb struck!! 

The dressing table had disappeared to the other side of the dressing room and in it's place was the chaise-longue. I was told later that someone had caught site of me standing on the ledge when they came home earlier that morning with their car lights.. they had phoned the fire brigade. 

The night had turned into a fiasco not to mention sheer panic as Miriam explained later. One of the girls through in the flat had over heard a scraping noise, she said it was like furniture moving and had woken one of the other girls up.. Apparently the chaise-longue was made from solid wood and it had taken four big men to lift it into position against the wall. One of the other head girl's Carol remarked it was there before she first moved in more than eight years prior to the girls working there, that they knew of!!

No explanation was ever found for the happenings that night!  As far as the girls were aware it had never happened before.  I never returned to the country mansion again after my traumatic experience.

This is another true story and the characters names have been changed for their own privacy.  
Please feel free to leave a comment. Thanking you in advance!