Sunday, May 03, 2009

On dreaming, gardens, new friends and bluestockings...

We've just come back from Shropshire. my favourite county, full of little lanes, and rolling hills, and woods. My husband and I played our favourite game of 'what would it be like to live here', but this time we took it further and actually took a detour to drive past a house we'd spotted in the estate agents window.

So, what would it be like to live there?


Oh dear. And then on the way back, we started talking about what we wanted in our dream house - a river at the bottom of the garden where I can canoe, a shed to work in, being able to look out of the window and see no other sign of habitation, one of those inglenook fireplaces, and a wood nearby that we can gather kindling etc from and spot primroses. A walled vegetable garden. Lambs nearby to watch. And so it went on, especially when we hit the traffic going south with us along the M25. By the time we hit our first traffic jam, I was feeling furious. It was completely and utterly unfair that I shouldn't have it all. Hrmph. Grumpiness is the side-effect you're not warned about on the daydreaming packet.

But then something wonderful happened. As we drove into our road, I started to feel excited about the seeds I planted last week on my windowsill. Would they have grown? I walked into our tiny little square of back yard and the blackbird darted into the bush where it doesn't think I know about its nest. I remembered how much I love the red wall in my kitchen. And I do have that disco ball in my tiny little writing room upstairs...

Here are three other things that make me happy to be exactly where I am...

1. One of my blog goddesses, Susannah at Ink On My Fingers has featured me on her site and I know some of her readers have been coming over here to visit. Welcome! Please leave a comment and a link so I can come and read you too... It's like finding new friends.

2. My tickets for various talks on different aspects of garden history at possibly one of the best and most hidden gems in London, The Wallace Collection, have arrived. Three Thursdays in May and June at 2.30 in the afternoon. It already feels decadent, like going to the cinema in the middle of the afternoon and coming out blinking into the sunlight after!

The latest copy of Selvedge Magazine was waiting for me, and hidden amongst the inspiring interviews and luscious photography, is an article about Bluestockings. Originally, the term was an insult for the 'homely dress' of Cromwell's 1653 parliament apparently, but then it was appropriated by three women of society in the mid 18th century - Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Vesey and Frances Boscowen - to name the literary salon they founded so they could talk as equals with men. The article claims that by doing so they created the conditions for the seeds of feminism to germinate and ultimately bloom. As Nicola Donovan also says in the article, 'It is easy to forget the legacy of these women and take for granted our rights to education, expression and the pleasure of words. But once we remember and celebrate it, then to be called a 'Bluestocking' becomes the greatest compliment imaginable'.

I agree, let's take it back as a term of fabulousness. The Blues Sisters Joan Smith called them last year in The New Statesmen, saying they were
"the missing link in an unbroken chain of female creativity. The struggle for the right to be clever, sexy and feminine is still going on.

Here are the original three bluestockings, definitely clever, sexy and feminine, and inspiringly creative. So, ladies and gentlemen and blog readers, let me present my role models for May...


Douglas Bruton said...

No place like home... remember that, and forget the grass always greener over in Shropshire!!

I am wearing blue socks at the moment... but as to me seeing these three clever and creative women as my role models for May, I am afraid that is as far as it goes... the blue socks, I mean.

Oh, and I have always held the term 'blue-stocking' to be a term of praise... like 'swot' or 'clever'... or 'dux'.

Love that your blackbird doesn't know you know about the nest... but really... a glitterball where you work? We might just call you 'Saturday Night Sarah' from now on.



Sarah Salway said...

Exactly, D, I'm wearing my red shoes as I write. Actually I am - I have TWO pairs of red summer shoes! I've heard from other people who have always considered bluestocking a term of praise too, so it's obviously part of my unconscious make-up that it's could be a criticism. One I'm going to change though. Go girls (and bluestockinged men too)! Oh and Saturday Night Sarah is just fine with me. In fact I rather like it!

Becca said...

Here by way of Susannah's, and loved reading your blog and your 50 word stories.

I visited Shropshire a few years ago, and was simply entraced with those rolling hills dotted with little sheep. I dream of living there still :)