Thursday, 14 October 2010

Welsh dragons are working for charity

Last weekend Eldritch talked me into taking him and the lads (and his Unclclel Kevin) to Wales to see a fantastic parade of Superdragons.

They've been in and around the town of Newport since July, parlty because of the Ryder Cup golf and partly because Newport is a bit of an arty place.

There were more than 50 of them in various sites and we managed to track down about 30 or so. Each one was decorated by an artist or a local group and they all had their own theme.

We learned a lot about the place and met a lot of lovely dragons along the way.  This one was in the old Roman town of Caerleon and was very Welsh. He was called Celtic Dragon and Eldritch loved him because he was red!

The dragons have all been collected now and are having a party in a local shopping centre before being put up for auction on Wednesday, October 27. Proceeds will be shared between wildlife charity The Born Free Foundation and a cancer patients support group called Tenovus.

If you'd like to know more about the Superdragons you can find out about them here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Pasty's baked!

pasty dragon

We had a day out somewhere with a paint-a-pot studio and I fell in love with this gorgeous guy. He's called Pasty, even though he's not from Cornwall. But that's because I had one for lunch while I was working on him.He had to be left behind to be put through the kiln. 

Isn't he cute?

 (For anyone who needs a pronunciation guide: that's Pass-tea not Paste-tea) We had to wait until he'd been through the kiln before we could bring him home.  I've never done ceramic painting before so I'm really pleased with how he's turned out. Eldritch loves him!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


In the far north lands of the Vikings stories are told of fights and feuds and foul deeds. The books of tales are called the Sagas and in one of them is featured Fáfnir (or Frænir) the son of the King of the Dwarfs, Hreidmar.

Fafnir was fair of face and brave and fearless and strong. He and his brothers Regin and Ótr guarded their father's house, which contained a fantastic hoard of gold. One day Ótr was killed by Loki, the trickster god, and Hreidmar was given blood money in return. But the gold was cursed and made the surviving brothers plot to kill their father. But Fáfnir wanted the gold all for himself.

As a mark of his greed Fáfnir was turned into a dragon (for the Vikings believed that dragons were greedy because they kept hoards of gold and jewels in their nests. Regin sent his foster-son Sigurd to kill the dragon and they feasted on the dragon's flesh.

Regin was still cursed by the gold and planned to kill Sigurd, but Sigurd had eaten the dragon's heart and so could understand the language of the birds. They warned him of Regin's approach and so he was ready for the attack. Regin fell in the ensuing fight and the curse was broken. Sigurd kept the gold for himself.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

E is for Eldritch

Eldritch portrait

Eldritch is now four and a bit years old. Like all English dragons his official birthday is Midsummer's Day, June 21.
He shares that with his little brother Bamburgh and they are the same official age even though Bamburgh arrived a few months after Eldritch did.

My first sight of Eldritch was unusual to say the least. He was elbows-up in a pile of plush animals at a local garden emporium so all I saw was his bottom, a red tail with a golden tip and the edges of a pair of gold wings. Of course I had to pick him up and take a closer look and once I did I was enamoured!

So he came home to live with me and his Unclclcecle Kevin and cousin Moo and the rest, as they say, is history.

According to the Penguin English Dictionary the word eldritch is Scottish and means weird or uncanny. He is naturally a magic creature and so I think it suits him exactly.

Normally he is a cute, kind and lovely dragon but beware - do not excite him or make him cross. For you are crunchy and taste good with mustard!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Diamonds and Deities

Oriental dragons, unlike their Western counterparts, go through many stages of development before they are considered fully grown. In the very early stage (the first 500 years) they are called lung, which translates as deaf. During the next 500 years the lung grows a set of horns that enable it to hear. After that it is known as kioh-lung.

It takes another 1,000 years before the dragon grows wings and becomes a ying-lung. At this stage it can develop into a god-like dragon deity.
The tien-lung is the sky dragon, protector of the gods' heavenly home. His cousin is the shen-lung, bringer of dark skies and storms.

Another is the fu-ts'ang lung or treasure dragon. He is master of the deeps and dark mines, where diamonds and other jewels are discovered.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Dragons of Wayward Crescent

There are many different kinds of dragon and there are myths and stories about them dating back many thousands of years. But some of the best new stories are by Chris D'Lacey. He writes about a family of dragons who live in Wayward Crescent.

They have all been made from special clay by a lady called Liz and, for the right people, they are clearly alive. When the wrong people are around they behave just like ornaments.

A young man called David moves into the house as a lodger and Liz gives him his own dragon called Gadzooks. He soon realises that Gadzooks is more than a ceramic figure. Gadzooks helps David to realise his dream of being an author and together they have lots of adventures.

Start with The Fire Within and enjoy some great Dragon stories.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

C is for Claws

How many claws should a dragon have? Well it depends on where it comes from. In China there were traditionally two kinds of dragon - the three clawed and the five clawed. Only Imperial dragons had five claws and any commoner who was found in possession of a five-clawed dragon would have his head chopped off with great ceremony.

Another Chinese legend tells that all dragons begin with five claws but, as they get further from China, they lose their toes. Consequently Korean dragons have four claws and Japanese only three.

English dragons have completely different feet from Oriental dragons. They are more like cats' feet. Most of Eldritch's plush friends have just three claws. And Eldritch doesn't have any at all! He's too gentle for anything so cruel.

Friday, 30 July 2010

B is for Basilisk

A belated entry to ABC Wednesday: a weekly challenge to create a blog entry based on the next letter of the alphabet. It's hosted by Mrs Nesbitt. Eldritch told me to join in.

For a very long time dragons have had a bad press, in spite of the fact that they are actually quite harmless beasts. Eldritch is one of the kindest, sweetest plushies that you could ever want to meet. He is good to his brother Bamburgh and looks after his young bovine cousins. You can find out more about them on Eldritch's own blog here.

Dragons have a lot of relatives. One of them is the Australian bunyip but a better-known one is the basilisk. Basilisks are fearsome creatures with bodies like snakes. But they hold their top halves off the ground as they slither along. All parts of the basilisk are toxic, but the worst is its breath which can wither trees and poison streams and rivers.

Even harsher, though, is the basilisk's stare. That can kill an animal with one glance. Only three things can withstand it: the weasel is immune to all forms of basilisk poison;a crowing cockerel will drive a basilisk away; and the plant rue, which the weasel uses to heal itself if it is hurt in a basilisk battle.

The photo isn't a basilisk of course. Otherwise we'd all be dead! It's a Naga serpent goddess on a Nepalese temple lamp used in Hindu ceremonies. It's in the museum at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Flight of Dragons

This is a wonderful book full of loads of dragon tales. It's a natural history that explains lots about how dragons work and how many of the myths and legends that surround them have come about.

It's by Peter Dickinson and in it he details the chemistry and physics of dragon flight. With the aid of a "flying brick" he explains that dragons cannot use normal flight systems because of their size. The maths is a bit complicated, but basically if you double the size of a dragon you have to quadruple the size of its wings in order to gain lift. If you take that to its logical conclusion the wings become impossibly large.

So he concludes that historical dragons (Eldritch is a modern dragon, of course, and doesn't follow these rules) must have been almost weightless and gained lift by producing hydrogen inside their bodies. He gives the complex chemistry involved in the interaction between bones and digestive juices that could make that happen. This also explains the firey breath thing because they need to burn off excess gas in order to land.

The book gave rise to a wonderful film by the same name (loosely based on it to say the least) that featured the magnificent voice of James Earl Jones as the baddie.

I've just found out that second-hand, paperback copies of this book are changing hands for £75 each. I wouldn't part with my hardback copy for the world!

Friday, 7 May 2010

My secret love

To be honest it isn't that much of a secret. Anyone who's been to my house knows it. Anyone who has seen me at the gym knows it. And anyone who really knows me has met my own personal example.

I'm a dragon lover.

I have pictures and models and an animatronic and jewellery and, most importantly, a small, red, plush one. He's called Eldritch. Some people call him my alter-ego but he really is a separate character all on his own. He has his own blog as well as lots of followers on Twitter. He's smart and funny and gets away with things that I would never dream of saying or doing.

This will be a proper blog eventally. Please bear with us while it's developed. Play with Harry. He'll enjoy that.