Thursday, February 16, 2006

fancy a cuppa? (that's English for cup of tea!!)

(Sorry if this reads a bit like a history lesson at first!)

If you look really closely at this picture you will see that it is not an ordinary wall. This is a picture of the upper gallery in a place called A La Ronde here in the UK. A La Ronde was built in 1796 as a home by two sisters, Jane and Mary Parminter.

When their father died, the two sisters left rural Devon for a 'Grand Tour.' A Grand Tour took travellers all over Europe and to further-flung, more exotic places like Greece, Egypt and the rest of Africa. In the 18th century it was pretty normal for wealthy young men to do this, but almost unheard of for women to do it on their own. Jane and Mary were gone for ten years. While they were away they bought many trunkloads of souvenirs, finally shipping and bringing their treasures home to England. When they got back they decided to build themselves a home. Let's remember here that this was the late 1700s. What they built was not a normal English manor home. Instead they built a '16 sided' house!

Mary and Jane decorated their house with all of their souvenirs. In one room they used feathers to create a beautiful border, in another, cupboards bulge with strange and wonderful treasures. And what's special about the walls in the picture? They have been completely decorated with shells. Except the ceiling and the floor, there isn't a single centimeter that isn't covered by a shell of some sort. It sparkles, it enchants, and it completely inspires.

So what does this have to do with anything? While walking through this incredible place, I spent the entire time asking the room stewards questions about the sisters. I wanted to know where they had been, what they had seen, who else had been with them. I felt drawn to them through time - these creative, feisty and unusual women. I wanted to sit down and have a cup of tea with them. I felt such a connection.

There have been times in my life that I have been blessed with a close group of women. When I was younger I worked at a summer camp. There I met some of the most sassy and fantastic girls. I still know some of these women as close, close friends. I have friends who I've lived with, friends who I have been pioneers with, and friends that I have grown up with. But lately, living where I do and making the choices that I have has isolated me from kindred spirits.

During the last few weeks I have felt that connection again. From my first blog entry I have been met and challenged and supported and enchanted by some incredible women. Every morning I get up and turn on my computer, excited to get to know them better. Every day someone says something that makes me smile, and someone else makes me think. Every day someone leaves a comment for me that makes my heart jump in gratitude. Every day I want to call at least one of them up to come over for a cup of tea. I am excited to get to know them better. I have found kindred spirits again, and it feels amazing.

Thank you everyone. It is a real privilege to know you.


Cate said...

It's a privilege to know you! I feel grateful every day for this community of like-minded souls. Supportive, inspirational, motivational, muppetational (haha!) people creating art-filled lives. I'm so grateful that we "happened" upon one another--your writing is lovely!

tara dawn said...

It is a true privilege to know you, Megg. I love this story of these two brave and spirited women. It reminds me that we all have endless capacities within us to dream large and live abundantly. And oh, how I wish I was closer...I would love to sit and have tea with you.

Laini Taylor said...

Ditto, Meg! Now, why do you have to live so far away? It would be great to sit down to a cup of tea! I feel the same way, and I have been spending WAY TOO MUCH TIME online lately! It's so fun, and so rewarding. I am completely hooked on all of you ladies and your lives. Thanks, all!

Jamie said...

(Pouring a cup of tea)

Okay, who's got some biscuits?


Frankie said...

Oh likewise sweet Meg!! I completely feel the same way. I went to an all girls school for thirteen years of my life and learned quickly how important it is to have true kindred "girlfriends" in my life. I'm so honored to know you through this blog world, to read your thoughts and your sweet, inspiring comments to me. I absolutely LOVE this house you're speaking of and I've never even been there. I wish I could live in a place just like that, all my walls covered in tiny treasures I've collected from all over the world. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention, and thank you even more for being YOU. You are simply and utterly wonderful. xoxo

chest of drawers said...

Privilege to know you too! Couldn´t imagine anything more wonderful than a tea party with all of you! I´ll bring the cake - and biscuits for Jamie too!

Alexandra S said...

May I just say that I feel EXACTLY the same way about you and every single one of those lovely amazing women who have just commented before me tonight? In fact, I feel frustrated because I work FT and it cuts way into my time I now want to spend reading everyone's blogs.! ! !
I feel truly blessed to have the privilege of getting to be inspired by you and your heart each and every day.

la vie en rose said...

amen! i feel the same way. this community is so amazing. and i too would love to have tea with so many of my fellow bloggers...and these adventuring sisters too. go ladies go! you make me proud to belong to the sisterhood!

Living Part Deux said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. The sisters sound like women of enormous spirit and individuality. It would have been wonderful to sit with them and talk of their travels and dreams and fantasies. And that's what we get to do with our blogs (albeit mind has been so sparse of late). It is a fantastic community. And all we have to do is sense a kinship and reach out. There is the most overwhelming response. It's amazing!

HoBess said...

Thank you ... For me you're one of those folks who brings a smile or makes me think or makes me glad I'm blogging rather than researching whatever article I should be writing. (I really need to do that!)

The story of these sisters is fascinating, another place to add to my long list of places I want to visit in the Isles ... Ten years roaming and discovering ... fascinating!

Happy Weekend!

lottie said...

isn't a la ronde wonderful - the shells! I came across your blog through a spider web of links and comments and couldn't track how I got here if I tried, but I'm glad I found it.