There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie


Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.
~Rumi


May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett


Saturday, 18 June 2011

June Brides

Doorway roses in full bloom
in Burford, Oxfordshire, taken just
this past week.
Marry when the June roses grow, over the sea and land you will go.

There are so many English phrases we use every day, never thinking what their origins might be.  A "June Bride" is a perfect example and it most likely originates from the 14th or 15th century.  It would be nice to that the phrase came into being because young girls chose to marry when roses were in bloom throughout England, but it's for a far less auspicious reason.  People often married in June because their yearly bath (yes, once a year) was usually in May or early June, as the weather warmed.

Fresh from their baths, people would then marry, hopefully still smelling sweet and pure. Since the yearly bath often didn't quite get rid of the smell, brides began to carry a posy of flowers to mask any remaining lack of freshness. The custom of a bride walking down the aisle with a bouquet grew out of this and now no bride is without her lovely bouquet.


A cottage doorway still looking much as it did
centuries ago, framed by hollyhocks and roses.
Burford, Oxfordshire ~ June15, 2011
The groom would then take his bride home and carry her over the 'threshold' of the front door of their cottage.  The threshold literally held in the thresh or straw that lay on the cottage floor.  This custom also has a less than auspicious beginning, linking back to a time when the bride was often kidnapped and forcibly taken into the groom's household.  It was also considered bad luck if the bride tripped on the threshold, so the groom apparently immune to this superstition, carried his bride over so she wouldn't trip and bring years of bad luck into their home.

A June bride entering
Harris Manchester College
A June Bride now just conjures up roses in bloom and the scents of summer filling the air around the bride and her maids, with superstitions about brides tripping on thresholds long since vanished.  On any given Saturday afternoon it's hard to walk by any Oxford college and not see a beautiful and well-bathed bride emerging with her equally clean groom.  College chapel bells peel good wishes to the young couple--in fact, sitting in my kitchen, I hear them right now, blessing a couple on their way.

Victorian wedding party
Worcester College, Oxford.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Thursday, 2 June 2011

June Roses


June is for strawberries and roses in England.  We pass this house every day when we take Max for a walk after breakfast.  Today the roses in front of the house were in their glory.  The Oxford Blue of the front door looked so beautiful as a backdrop for the creamy roses.

If you take a walk to Holywell Cemetery, you'll pass this house on St. Cross Rd.