other stuff

An Introduction ** Angel's Garden ** Halloween 2004 Report ** Thanks ** Previous Splash Art

An Introduction

For anyone who has stumbled onto this site by accident, possibly whilst looking for some obscure Angelic Codex or another, here is a brief explanation of what you are reading, so that you won’t feel left out.

It’s all about ‘Angel’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, those two TV shows that slayed, sorry slew, the world. Or perhaps it was ‘saved the world’. But mainly it’s about Angel and his one true love, Buffy. Oh, and his dark half. Angelus.

Writing this introduction, with the first 7 stories under my belt, I don’t yet know exactly how my muse will take me in the future. Perhaps the texts here will relate to those gaps between episodes that left us wanting to comfort poor, suffering Angel and those gaps between seasons that left us with bated breath; those episodes that left us gnashing our teeth and those story arcs that left us weeping and wailing. These texts might show what really happened. Really. Honest. Word of an author.

At the moment, however, they’re could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, and maybe even did. In some reality or another. Probably not the reality that belongs to the men in suits, though.

The following cast of characters belongs to the shows, their creators, the studios, and any one else with a lawyer in a suit, particularly if they come from Wolfram and Hart. They don’t belong to me, because there is no justice in the world. The ones that aren’t listed here are either mine, or so much in the public domain that I can’t be sued for using them. I hope.

This very brief description is to enable those who’ve come here by accident to at least tell one character from another…

Dramatis Personae

Angel
A guilt-tortured vampire cursed by gypsies, who gave him back his soul after he had perpetrated unthinkable evil for 150 years. Used to be an Irish human from Galway, called Liam (1727-1753 not managing to RIP). Offered a chance by the Powers That Be to become one of the good guys after a century of suffering with the soul. A Good Thing, rather like a large pet tiger. With teeth and claws. Buffy is the only person he has ever loved. Sigh. Lost his soul when he and Buffy got fleshy with each other. The curse was broken “by a moment of perfect happiness”, and he once more became:
Angelus
His dark half, the 250 year old demon. His eyes “glittered like the sins of angels and his smile was the downfall of saints. Female ones, anyway…Just looking at him was enough to set dark wings fluttering in the crimson night*.” OK, sorry, the downfall of any saints. A thoroughly Bad Thing, like, oh, say, chocolate. He’s obsessed with Buffy. And looks extremely moreish in leather. Oh dear. *Thank you Terry Pratchett for this description of Greebo during his temporary change from cat to man (‘Witches Abroad’), but I’m positive you’d been watching Angelus when you wrote it.
Buffy
The Vampire Slayer. There’s one in every generation, despite later scriptwriters. Tiny, blonde, still at High School when we first meet her, packs a hell of a punch. Stationed on the Hellmouth so that she can save the world a lot. Definitely A Good Thing. Loves Angel forever (don’t believe any other ugly rumours), duty-bound to kill Angelus. Oh dear, oh dear.
Rupert Giles
Buffy’s Watcher (all vampire slayers have a Watcher, who helps them train and who provides bookish information). Currently hiding in plain sight as the High School’s Librarian. English. Think books, tweed suits, tea and a past where he got the nickname ‘Ripper’. Another Good Thing. Loves Jenny, a fellow teacher who we find was from the gypsy clan that cursed Angelus. Angelus kills her and leaves her in Giles’ bed. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
Spike
Aka William the Bloody. A Very Bad Vampire. Sired by Angelus, although scriptwriters speak with forked tongue on this. A Very Bad Thing with a short attention span, but a lot of people think he’s really hot. Called Spike because of some footling game with railroad spikes and impaling people. Loves Drusilla when we first meet them.
Drusilla
A Very Mad Vampire. Sired by Angelus. She has the gift of sight (yes, she’s got eyes like the rest of us, but this means premonitions and stuff). Angelus drove her insane before turning her. A Very Bad Thing with very long fingernails, all the better for slashing your throat with. Loves Spike, maybe, but is besotted by her Daddy (Angelus).
Darla
A femme fatale vampire. Well, she was pretty fatal for Liam. Angel’s sire. Tiny, blonde and packs a hell of a punch. Cast Angelus off in 1898 when the Rom restored his soul. Killed by Angel when she tried to kill Buffy. In this show, though, dead is not always the end of it.
Nest
Aka The Master. An old vampire, Darla’s sire, not a pretty sight. Trapped inside the Hellmouth when he tried to open it and let the demons out to play, but things went wrong. Still intent on opening it, until killed by Buffy with Angel in support. Not a great loss.
Willow
A shy high-achieving high school friend of Buffy, who discovers she’s good with witchcraft. Well, not always good. We’ve seen her go bad on a couple of occasions - Vamp-Willow and Evil-Witch-Willow - and believe me, you do not want to get on the wrong side of this girl.
Oz
An extremely laconic character, another high-achiever in school - or would be if he could be bothered, and didn’t spend time playing with a band. Gets turned into a were-wolf. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
Cordelia
Queen C, Miss Valley-girl rich bitch. We find that she has more backbone than we first imagined as she gets drawn into the vampire and demon slaying business. But is she a Good Thing? Time will tell.
Xander
Another high school friend of Buffy and Willow, and accidental entrant into the vampire slaying support business. Mr No-special-skills but a lot of heart. When we first meet him, has a crush on Buffy, and loathes Angel. No sympathy for him, then.
Joyce
Buffy’s Mom. Completely oblivious to the fact that her daughter’s clothes only come clean on a wash cycle labelled ‘removal of demon goo and vampire dust’.
Faith
Another slayer. When she was good she was very, very good but when she was bad…
Dawn
A sister for Buffy acquired during the course of events. Actually a key to the dimensions made flesh by monks. And a really annoying teenager.
Lindsey
A lawyer at Wolfram and Hart, an even more fiendish law firm than most. A lot of people think he’s hot, too, especially when he’s singing and playing a guitar.
There. That gives you a start. So, read and enjoy. And catch up on tape or DVD.
And for the lawyers - Errors and Omissions Excepted…

Angel's Garden

When I get around to doing a Bio for this page, you might find out a bit about me. Some of it might even be true. Meantime, I’ll tell you one thing. I garden. Okay, at the moment, it tends to be virtual gardening, with the actual garden having a sort of ‘rainforest’ style to it. And that’s just the thistles and nettles. Some of that is because I’m spending my time writing these stories for you to read. Only a bit of it is down to idleness. Truthfully.

However, in the best traditions of ‘if you aren’t going to do it, teach it’, I spend some of my time teaching gardening. You meet some wonderful people there, too.

So, it seems appropriate that I should produce a list of plants that all Angel watchers might like in their gardens. And since we are talking about a creature of the night here, I’m starting with a list of 13, one for each lunar month in a calendar year. They also give you a bit of a world tour.

I’m serious - this is actual gardening stuff. I wouldn’t want you to think I was a one-dimensional person…

1. Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ AGM
Japanese maple, very slow growing round-headed deciduous tree with deeply cut 5-lobed dark red-purple leaves, turning bright red in autumn. Eventual height and spread 15 feet, but takes a long time to get there. Excellent for a sheltered spot, where cold winds won’t damage the early foliage, and looks very good in a container. A. palmatum comes from China, Korea and Japan. ‘Bloodgood’ is a garden-raised cultivar, and like all Japanese maples, is lovely.
2. Angelica species
Genus of 50 species of herbaceous perennials and biennials, mainly from damp woodland, meadows, fens and streams in the Northern hemisphere. They are large, architectural plants with big, usually diamond-shaped leaves and large umbels of flowers in summer. Excellent for a large border, woodland setting or by a pond or stream. Very imposing plants.
A. archangelica has culinary and medical uses (the candied angelica you use to decorate cakes? - that’s one of them). Height 6 ft, spread 4ft. From Northern Europe
A. gigas has rich, dark purple flowers on dark red stems. Height 3-6 ft, spread 4 ft. From N. China, Korea, Japan
3. Angel’s fishing rod - Dierama species and cultivars
Genus of 44 species of evergreen perennials, growing from corms, in moist, mountainous grassland. Grass-like leaves to 36 inches overtopped in summer by a succession of pendent, bell-shaped flowers, borne in spikes on long, slender, arching stems. Very, very pretty. Frost hardy to half hardy. Colours are mainly in the pinks, reds, purples and whites. Hybrids between D. dracomontanum and D. pulcherrimum are known as Slieve Donard hybrids, bred by the nursery situated near, and named after, the highest of the Mourne Mountains in Co. Down, Ireland. Not quite Galway, but can’t have everything…
Height 12 inches to 5 feet, depending on species or cultivar. Grow tall species at the back of a border, or overlooking a pond or stream, and dwarf species in a rockery or front of border. Mainly from Ethiopia, E. and S. tropical Africa and South Africa.
4. Narcissus triandrus - Angel’s Tears AGM
Small Division 10 daffodil, carrying more than one flower per stem. In mid-spring stems carry 1-6 nodding cream flowers with markedly reflexed perianth segments and rounded cups. 4-10 inches. Extraordinarily pretty. From Portugal and Spain.
5. Angel’s trumpets - Brugmansia species and hybrids
Genus of 5 species of evergreen shrubs found in scrub and along streamsides. Grown for their large, showy, usually highly scented, solitary, pendent and trumpet-shaped flowers, carried from late spring to autumn. Frost hardy to frost tender. All parts are highly poisonous. Flowers are white, golden yellow, soft yellow, pink or orange-yellow, often releasing their scent at night. Height and spread varies, but count on 5 to 10 feet. Good, rapid-growing container plant. From S. USA to S. America
6. Astrantia major ‘Hadspen Blood’
Astrantia is a genus of about 10 species of clump-forming perennials from alpine woods and meadows. Loose basal rosettes of palmate leaves produce umbels of flowers surrounded by ruff-like papery bracts. There are a number of very pretty cultivars, and ‘Hadspen Blood’ is one of the best, with dark red bracts and flowers. Height about 2 feet, spread about 18 inches. A garden cultivar, but A. major, the parent species, comes from C. and E. Europe.
7. Beta ‘Bull’s Blood’
The most common cultivated species of beetroot are grown as vegetables or fodder plants, but some selections of Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla (Swiss Chard) produce attractive ornamental foliage, and ‘Bull’s Blood’ is one. An ornamental biennial with very dark purple-red foliage, it would beautify either the kitchen garden or the ornamental border. Height 18 inches. A cultivar of wild stock from Europe and the Mediterranean.
8. Bleeding Heart - Dicentra
Genus of 20 or more species of annuals and perennials from moist habitats including woodland. Very pretty leaves are fern-like and much divided. Carries arched stems of pendent heart-shaped flowers in red, pink, white, purple or yellow. The term ‘Bleeding Heart’ is usually applied to varieties and cultivars of D. eximia, D.formosa (height and spread 2 feet) and D. spectabilis (height 4 feet, spread 18 inches).
D. eximia is from E. USA, D. formosa from W. USA and D. spectabilis from Siberia, N. China and Korea.
9. Blood-drop-emlets - Mimulus luteus
Vigorous perennial which can make good ground cover where conditions suit it. Upright or decumbent stems carry 2 flowers per leaf axil from late spring to summer; flowers are yellow with dark red spots on the petal lobes and throats. Height 12 inches, spread 2 feet. From Chile.
10. Sanguinaria - Bloodroot
Genus of one species of perennial from E. North America. White or pink tinted flowers in spring. The rhizomes exude red sap if cut, hence the name. S. canadensis is ideal for a rock garden in a damp, shaded site. Height 6 inches, spread 12 inches. There is a very pretty double cultivar, ‘Plena’ AGM.
11. Bloody campion - Lychnis coronaria
Erect, woolly silver grey biennial or short-lived perennial. In late summer has long-stalked saucer-shaped purple-red flowers (eye-aching magenta, if you prefer) in long succession. Very, very eyecatching. There is a white cultivar, ‘Alba’ AGM. And sometimes you can get a very lovely cultivar which is white, with the hint of a stain of pink radiating out from the centre. It’s called ‘Angel’s Blush’. What more could you want? Height 30 inches, spread 18 inches. From S.E. Europe.
12. Love lies bleeding - Amaranthus caudatus
Bushy, erect annual or short-lived perennial. Some cultivars have red or red-purple leaves and stems. Tassel-like, pendent panicles of crimson-purple flowers, like enormous catkins, are carried freely from summer to early autumn. Very eye-catching if well grown. Half hardy. Height 3-5 feet, spread 18-30 inches. There’s a variety called ‘Viridis’ which has bright green flowers fading to cream, which might remind people of a certain green-skinned demon. From Africa, India and Peru.
13. Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’ AGM
It really wouldn’t be complete without Buffy, now, would it?
Shrub rose with dense, dark green leaves. Freely bears large clusters of cupped, fully double, lightly fragrant flowers in summer, a few later in autumn, apricot, fading to buff. Height and spread 4 feet.
AGM - The Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

With thanks to The Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants’, from where some of this information has been extracted. Any mistakes are mine, not theirs. That’s my initial selection. If anyone knows of any plants to add to this list of delights for Angel connoisseurs, let me know!

Thanks

I have to confess to being a technical incompetent, and a complete babe-in-the-wood in all matters concerning this new-fangled Internet thingy. When I started writing these tales, in August 2003, I didn’t really know what I was going to do with them, but managed to find the courage to put the first, ‘The Nature of the Beast’ up on the Angel Elders Board, expecting it to sink without a trace.

Since then, I have met a world full of wonderful, patient people. I thank each and every one of you who has written to me to tell me what you thought of my stories as well as all those who enjoyed the fiction, but were too shy to say so - I’ve been there! And I thank every one of you who have asked to put my stories on your sites - you’ve no idea what a warm glow that gives me. And I do come and visit.

Although it’s generally wrong to single out people for recognition when so many people have been so kind, some particular thanks are due, because this website simply would not exist in any way, shape or form without its donor and creator. I have no understanding of website creation or maintenance (although I am prescient enough to see a steep learning curve in front of me!), and when people asked to link to my site, I had to confess that this would never exist.

Chrislee, however, refused to accept that, and in an act of enormous generosity (or foolhardiness, who knows!) offered me a corner of her site. What does one say to such an offer from a total stranger? Chrislee’s vocabulary apparently only includes three suitable words. Yes, thank you.

So, especial thanks to Chrislee, who’s no longer a stranger. And thanks to Karla for the new graphics.

And, if you are hiding under your stone, wanting to do some writing, but afraid to put a toe in the water, I can only say one thing. Come on in, the water’s lovely.