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.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Brooms and Ballgowns

"Oh well.  What's a royal ball?  After all I suppose it would be frightfully dull and.......boring and.......and.......completely, completely wonderful!"

Tonight all of our rooms are occupied by former students attending the The Merton College 750th Anniversary Ball.  It made me feel a little bit like Cinderella today as I carried laundry up and down the stairs, but I didn't mind at all.  They excitedly checked in this afternoon and I helped carry up the long dress bags that were carefully protecting the ball gowns. The dress code for the ladies is floor length ball gowns, and I oohed and ahhed over the gowns as I hung them in the wardrobes. For men it's formal white tie and tails, so the men were off immediately to secure their white ties for the evening.

The Trinity College Commerative Ball was last night, and the Exeter 700th Anniversay Ball is tonight, along with the Merton Ball. Tonight the streets will be filled with students who are normally a little bit on the scruffy side, dressed elegantly and from another era.  Last night as I was out in full Cinderella mode sweeping the front walk, girls in beautiful velvet gowns and fur capelets, and guys in tails, canes, scarves, top hats streamed down Holywell Street on their way to Trinity.  It was as though they had just stepped out of Brideshead Revisited.

Ball revellers and fireworks
over Christ Church College
The balls start with a formal dinner and move on to DJ's and dancing, and marquee tents transformed into elegant cocktail lounges.  Around 10pm the fireworks begin, just like last night when Holywell Street was lit up from Trinity's fireworks. Tonight I imagine it will be duelling explosions of color between Exeter and Merton.

The dancing and merrymaking lasts all night until around 4 or 5pm, when breakfast is served to everyone who survived the night.  They'll ring in the dawn with a bacon sandwich and a 'survivors photograph'.

Around 6am, just about the time Stuart and I will be getting up, I'll start to see those same people walk back down Holywell from the other direction.  The girls will now be in bare feet, shoes or glass slippers in hand. The white ties will be undone and the men's jackets now around the girls' shoulders.  From years past, I know they'll be a groggy but happy crowd, and sometimes they might be arm in arm singing 'Jerusalem'--again like they just stepped off the set of Brideshead.  Sometimes I have to shake my head and look again to make sure I'm not actually watching a movie, but it's real and it's very, very Oxford.

Cinderella just finished setting the
breakfast table for our ball revellers.

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