Happy Year of the Dragon! As I'm sure you know, 2012 is the Chinese Year of the Dragon. The Chinese Zodiac has 12 signs: each year is a different animal. People take on the characteristics of the animal of the year they were born in. I'm a Rat: apparently I'm intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic and sociable. On the downside, Rats can be intolerant and scheming! Hmmm.
The dragon is the only mythical creature of the zodiac's 12 animals - and it is believed to be especially lucky: they are imaginative, charismatic, strong and passionate. Many couples across Asia are making extra efforts to give birth to so-called "dragon babies" in 2012.
I collect dragons. Not real ones, obviously, but china dragons, pottery dragons, flying dragons, cuddly dragons......you get the general idea. I must have around 100 dragons -they are perched all over my flat: on shelves, cupboards and bookcases. For Christmas and birthdays, I usually get given at least one dragon. When I go on holiday I always scour the shops for dragons. This is particularly good when I go to Wales, as there is a dragon on the national flag of Wales and so you can buy lots of dragon souvenirs (some of them are very tacky!)
But why do I collect dragons? Actually I have no idea - maybe there is something in my blood as I am half Welsh. Maybe it's because when I was an impressionable teenager I loved reading JRR Tolkien (his dragon, Smaug, isn't particularly nice though). Later I read all of Anne McCaffrey's books about dragons - her dragons are much nicer!
The strange thing is that I don't actually like flying things: I almost have a phobia about flies and I'm not keen on butterflies or birds! And I definitely don't like reptiles of any kind - although this lizard that I saw in Cornwall is pretty cute:
A couple of years ago I went to a festival in London and was amazed to see a walking dragon! It moved its head, opened its mouth to pick up things, breathed out steam and even blinked! It's called "Lo monstre"and comes from a remote corner of Catalonia and is really amazing to see. It's mechanical, but moves so gracefully that it gives the impression that it's really alive. You can see a film of it here.
It's a bit too big to add to my collection though!
Do you collect anything? And do you have the characteristics of your Chinese sign? Let me know.
downside: the disadvantage; the negative part
to perch: to sit on the edge of something
to scour: to search for
a souvenir: somthing which you buy or keep to remind you of a holiday
tacky: badly made, cheap and with no style!
something in my blood:if a quality or talent is in your blood, it is part of your nature, and other members of your family have it too
Welsh: someone from Wales
impressionable: easy to influence
to be keen on something or someone: to like it/them very much