cream tea, secret grottoes and folded notes

We always visit Waddeston Manor on rainy days or in winter when very few people are there. In winter the stone sculptures are wrapped in white shrouds – I like to think they come to life in the spring. They’re just resting and gathering strength for all the nude posing they’ll have to do in warm weather. It’s a great place to get muddy and swing on great old tree branches and listen to bird song and hide in grottoes and kiss.

I love the sound of the rain on the umbrella…and the pattern of the beads…makes me think of Richard Feynman’s description of why water drops hold their shape – the molecules on the outside are lonely because they’re only bonded on one side – so they’re desperate to get inside the droplet, to the center, where they can bond in all directions and feel 100% secure. I saw the day through the rain’s desperation –  to be in the center of things, to love and be loved, to fill all of the empty places.

 I pinched this from Sean’s blog…we’re huddling beneath his umbrella…(note, no raindrops…) 
We only just found out – after two years of coming here and thinking the Manor was ours exclusively, that many films and TV shows have been filmed here: Sherlock Holmes (with Jude Law!), James Bond’s Never Say Never Again, and scenes from Downton Abbey (most recently a film was shot with Bad Pitt, too). I bet they’re all writing in their super famous actor blogs right now about how Jalina and Sean hang out at that Manor where they filmed their movies. : )

 Chilly hands twined with the silk skirt/blanket he sewed…there’s a statue of a woman here with the same exact blanket wrapped around her naked body, hewn in stone. I always think she has stolen it – but she’s nude so she needs it more than we do. And if my house ever burns down I’ll always know the silk blanket is safe in her care.*

Here I am running through the woods, getting muddy and blurry. It took forever to get the mud and blur out of my skirt. Sean cleans me up after our adventures…and puts the heated bed liner on…and brings me hot tea…did you notice my skirt changed from white (two pictures ago) to black? That’s how muddy I got.

Sean took this – a broken/ healed wing. I love the thought of it. May we all aspire to use ours. 

Over cream tea, Sean wrote me a little folded note (you’ll see him at it in the video below)- each triangle of it is a different paragraph, front and back, so it needs puzzling out…I love it…it’s in my Very Special Things cabinet now…on the front of the note he drew a map of Waddeston Manor’s grounds, with the Secret Grotto marked at the apex. You can see that X marks the spot – in England X is always symbolizes a kiss. So I found the grotto, and a kiss. Every grotto should have a kiss hidden in it.
‘Statues shrouded in mystery’ are just south of the grotto, according to this map, in case you’d like to visit them. To the east you’ll find a small archipelago of scone crumbs. 

Here I am after giving up the umbrella and skipping around in the rain (including the Small Incident Involving a Mud Slide While Trying to Take a Photograph) – I was much, much happier than I look, though…especially because I made it to our grotto...
Our grotto – note the ownership. There’s a little path leading around to the other side of the gardens  – to the Victorian aviary and circular rose garden. 
Can you see our lovely woven willow kissing bench? Our grotto smells of earth, moss and melting snow. This is where I read my folded note, turning and turning the triangles…

And here’s a little video I took….I have such a bad memory, I need to preserve everything…I even record the sounds my loved ones make puttering around my house or my apartment (laughter between Phil and my girls in the living room, Sean doing dishes or sewing)…all the reassuring symphonies that let me know I’m surrounded by my loved ones. 


* A nod to Harold & Maude: Maude throws her bracelet into the lake so that she’ll always know where it is.
(attribution: the first two photos are thanks to the BBC and Waddeston Manor websites)

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