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


Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Small Act of Kindness

No act of kindness, no matter how small,
is ever wasted.    ~Aesop

Holywell Bed and Breakfast is a traditional English b&b.  We're different than a guest house or an inn, because Stuart and I live in our b&b, it's our home.  Welcoming perfect strangers into your home could be fraught with peril, but I can happily say that 99.9999% of our guests are lovely, honest, and a pleasure to host.  Which of course leaves that 0.0001%.


Last week one of the 0.0001% showed up and when that happens, it can shake your faith in humanity.  I won't go into the gory details of how they tried to sneak a second occupant into what was booked as a single room, or the condition they left the room and bathroom.  Let's just say I was ready to get on the next plane home.

BUT the morning they checked out, I received this email, which shored up my flagging spirits and stopped me from getting on a plane back to the U.S.:

Good Day
I was recently in Oxford on holiday and came across your B and B place while I was busy exploring the city.  Just wanted to send you an email and say I was quite impressed with the look of your place.  If it's as well kept inside as it is on the outside then it must be quite a good place to stay.

I've attached a photo I took of your front entrance as I was walking past.  
This is probably one of my favourite photos from my trip.
Best regards,



So thank you kind stranger, you made my day!

Constant kindness can accomplish much.  As the sun makes the ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
~Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Magical Books

"Oxford, where the real and the unreal jostle in the streets....."
~ Philip Pullman

23 May ~ 27 October 2013, Bodleian Library, Oxford

At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise — a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had broken a giant’s plate…. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
“Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice from behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad….
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”  ~L.W.&W, C.S. Lewis
"Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most
inexhaustible source of magic.  Capable of both
inflicting injury, and remedying it."
~ Prof. Albus Dumbledore


“Symbols and emblems were everywhere. Buildings and pictures were designed to be read like books. 
~Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass


"Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found.  I found that it is the small, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the 
darkness at bay.  Small acts of kindness and love."
~Gandolf, JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

“On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,
Must the youngest open the oldest hills
Through the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.
There fire shall fly from the raven boy,
And the silver eyes that see the wind,
And the light shall have the harp of gold.

By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,
On Cadfan’s Way where the kestrels call;
Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall,
Yet singing the golden harp shall guide
To break their sleep and bid them ride.
When light from the lost land shall return,
Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,
And where the midsummer tree grows tall
By Pendragon’s sword the Dark shall fall."

Y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu,
ac y mae’r arglwyddes yn dod.” 
~ Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising Sequence