Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I close my eyes for what seems like a few minutes only to open them and discover I am once again staring a new year in the face, having little to no time to say goodbye to the year that was. I suppose I should fill in all that has happened during my adventures down under, all sorts of rumours have been flying as I haven't had the time, nay, the strength, to put the rumours to bed. But lying here in the sweltering morning sun on the last day of the year I feel I ought to give an explanation of sorts.

My last post, short though it was, dabbled in poetry and riddles, though it wasn't particularly clever nor rhythmic. It hopefully would have made you think of the land down under, a vast continent of reds and yellows, not too dissimilar from my childhood in Africa. My Mother has resided in the Antipodes for quite some time now, and it was about time I paid her a visit. All was going well until, on Christmas Day, my knee and leg seemed entirely out of sorts. I cannot begin to describe the pain, and though I am now on the mend, I had to go under the butcher's knife which rendered me somewhat incapacitated. The country has many wonderful views and creatures to ogle at, but it did rather dampen my spirits as I was confined to my bed chambers for the festive period.

Now that my spirits soar, of course it is time for my bags to be packed as I ready myself for my return journey to the Orient. I am looking forward to giving home; though it is certainly the strangest place I have ever lived, I feel comfortable and happy and of course it helps that it is mine. So as I prepare for another journey, the sands of time continue to pour, beckoning the start of a new year ever closer.

Resolutions should be at the forefront of my mind, but in all honesty, other than chasing my creative dreams, there is nothing more I wish to change. Maybe I'll just continue with those I conjured up last year...

It's amazing how much can change in a single year. I daren't begin to imagine what this next year has to offer.

D. S.
Have a guess as to where I am in the world...? I have allowed myself to let go of my many responsibilities and travel even further away from my home and the Far East in order to frolic in the waves of respite and relaxation. It has been months since I last had a prolonged period of time to myself, experiencing the world through my unadulterated eyes, and discovering a new land.

Though Christmas is only a few days away, I am once again on the Southern Hemisphere and couldn't feel further away from the scorching fires, roasted marshmallows and goblets of mulled wine that I gave become so accustomed to. Instead I lie under the baking sun, dashing in and out of the tumbling waves, cooing in awe and wonder at the flora and fauna this vast country has to offer.

Have you worked out where I am yet?

It reminds me of my homeland: a yellow grass, 
Baked by an unrelenting sun, warms the morning 
To an almost unbearable heat, so that the midday has
An eerie silence of bodies hiding in the shade, waiting
For a distraction, to think of anything other than the heat.
Though similar, it has a more cultured heritage, a pride,
An arrogance, judging all those who dare appear uninvited.
Compared to my homeland, where I am now makes me thankful,
For all that I have and the future I am offered. No fear, I can speak.

Travel if you can darlings - at worst you'll have fond memories. At best you'll have your mind opened.

D. S. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Normally if I take a hiatus from my writing it is because I have found a new love interest or an old flame is disintegrating before my very eyes. On this occasion however, there are so many love interests that I haven't been able to keep up and it is I, who has imploded. The downward spiral of self-destruction is not a new phase in my life, nor one that I intend to give much weight, but rather it has reminded me to take some time for myself.

I need some reflection time instead of constantly chasing after every social occasion and allow myself the opportunity to breathe.

I have managed to take the time to travel - the Orient is the gateway to much of Indochina that I have never before experienced, and I have been ever so fortunate to spend this time with natives who are more than willing to show me the culture they are so proud of. But even the travelling has not been enough, only fleeting moments shared under an almost familiar bright sun.

I suppose I should also mention the man who helped open my eyes to what I am capable of  - I still don't quite believe in myself like I ought to, but I am learning, and in all honesty that is the reason why I have traversed to the other side of the world for the second time. I need to get to know myself and decide whether or not I like what I find.

At the moment... I'm not so sure.

D. S.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

If there were any more interesting news to report then I would have written all the sooner, but it seems I have become very focused on my work ~ concentrating on building up those around me, imparting knowledge to young children and perfecting my pencil drawing. Spending time with people is exhausting, especially young children who ted to unintentionally drain one of their own energy. I cannot remember the last time I sat by myself, with my thoughts being completely my own... No interruptions, no whispers of discontent, nothing to distract me from just being.

I suppose the last time I wrote would be the correct assumption, but even then I was caught in the juxtaposition of wanting to be on my own and wanting to be with my lover. How can my needs and desires be so conflicting?

Regardless, I am on my own at this very moment in time, reveling in my oneness and concentrating on what it is I love to do the most. 

The Far East has truly opened my eyes to a world beyond what I could imagine. I was not completely ignorant to the foreign ways that I would inevitably encounter, but to live here where there are few similarities to anything I have experienced before, takes a little getting used to. Recently there was The Double Ninth Festival, also known as Chung Yeung Festival, where we were encouraged to travel to the mountain peaks as is tradition, to avoid the Ruhe River monster. 

As the story goes, a man called Huanjing was determined to destroy the river monster after it killed his parents, so he ended up training to become a great and powerful warrior underneath the watchful eye of the celestial being Fei Changfang. Huanjing trains for a whole year until the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, and evacuates his entire village to the mountains, where he gives them cornel leaves and chrysanthemum wine. 

When the Ruhe River monster appears he finds the village abandoned and deserted, though he eventually discovers the people hiding atop the mounting. Scrambling towards them, the monster is determined to maim and kill, but the smell of the cornel leaves and chrysanthemum wine weakens hi, changing the colour of his skin and making him easier to kill. 

Of course, this is when Huanjing comes down the mountain, wielding two swords. The monster and the warrior do battle, and eventually Huanjing decapitates the monster. 

Here in the Orient, there are more stories that I will be able to remember, but I love how these legends still shape their culture and traditions. Coming from a country that has a little traditional culture, it is exciting to see that there are other ways of life that have been handed down from generation to generation

D. S.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Spending days languishing in self-pity and wallowing in gloom because of a sniffle or three, does not a happy Duchess make. I have battled with my body and am in the process of forcing myself to enjoy the autumnal air, despite the cough. 

The Scottish Marquessa and I have turned the Far East into our very own playground. We dally in all sorts of circles, though of late we have frequented the music scene ~ a cello concerto that I heard just last night moved me to tears. My only wish was that I'd had the opportunity to share that moment with the gentleman I mentioned in my last musings. However, it seems that the dreaded influenza has spread, affecting his health ~ though I may or may not have had something to do with it.

Regardless, the music of late has been phenomenal and truly inspiring. I have somehow managed to find my voice again, allowing the words to flow through me, all the while cultivating an additional art form as I endeavour to perfect my pencil work. (I cannot admit that my muse has been discovered in the man who has helped me to open my eyes and look at myself... That would be far too saccharine for me).

I am happiest when I am creating. That may be a solitary past time, but my inspiration comes from the exciting moments that I share with both friends and lovers. For example, I would not be where I am, writing in the comfort of my own bed, if it hadn't been for the longest week where I have been pulled in every direction, suffering with maladies (none of which are self-inflicted!).

The ramblings have begun so I ought to stop writing round about now... But my fingers continue to tap away, my hand unable to control itself as the words continue to pour out of me. Nonsense, it seems, shall be the theme of the day.

I suppose I should mention that the Duke of Albany is swimming in dangerously close circles... It is of very little interest to me, but I have no doubt our paths will unintentionally cross at some point. 

D. S. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Another week has passed and I feel even more at home in this foreign country. The sun is low as I write and the moon has a strange glow to it, almost as if I am seeing it for the first time. 

I feel I can at last write about what it is in my heart, and I'm not going to be blase about my previous relationships - for they were meaningful - nor am I going to witter on about a new found love.

I am content with myself, because I am seeing myself for the first time. I have always been aware of my actions and I know how I look to most people, but to the new man in my life, he has opened my eyes, pointing out my effervescent facade within an instant and pulling and eking out the parts of me that I tend to hide. 

We joke that we knew each other in a past life, kindred spirits who were meant to find one another again. It is not such a love that will blossom and bloom, but rather it is a passion that inspires and listens, to help one another grow in ourselves, that will inevitably fall apart. He has experienced so much more of the world that only decades of life can teach, and I am still so young, so naive, despite my worldly claims.

He panders to my moods and whimsies, not out of politeness, but because he sees me hiding behind my brash exterior. He isn't afraid to call me out on my ever so slightly spoilt nature, and we are both confident enough to discuss our foibles. It's a little unnerving, only having known him for a little over a month that I am so transparent. I long to find out more about him, but he is still a little wary of me. Again, this was an insightful comment, as I never considered myself to be untrustworthy...

He is my looking glass, helping me to see what it is in me that he so loves. 

D. S.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Just a few hours shy of a month have I spent in the Orient, and though the first few days were a struggle as I acclimatised to the weather, the food, and the culture, I now feel incredibly comfortable here, despite being so far away from home. 

Where even is home?

If home is supposed to be where your heart is, then I suppose I am always at home, because I love my life and am constantly overwhelmed by the gratitude that fills my heart as I realise how fortunate I am to have these experiences and to share them with the most wonderful of friends. 

My days have been inundated with new learning as I listen to the wisdom of children. My evenings I spend soaking up the atmosphere of a city that has so much to offer in spite of its newness. Such a young city leads to many mistakes and misdemeanors of its own... And it's sometimes difficult to keep your head above water when you are the newest addition to a new city. 

Being tall and blonde may have its advantages, but it does mean that it is rather difficult to be inconspicuous, and my personality too, seems to have its drawbacks here in the Far East; this is a place where it is more favourable to be discrete and distinguished instead of ostentatious and gregarious. And as my past has shown, I do rather enjoy being the centre of attention. 

I still have much to learn, and with every day my confidence grows. 

There have been rumours that the Duke of Albany has also travelled East, and though we are on pleasant terms, I do not know if I am quite ready to see him on this side of the world. Especially when there are the most delectable men and women on this side of the world who think nothing of my caresses and knowing looks, but rather encourage my more licentious behaviour.

It's another country that I am letting crawl its way into my heart and I willingly call it home. 

D. S.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

There are no words to describe the view that lies before me. It is a landscape so foreign to me that I feel an alien in a country I have chosen to adopt me for the foreseeable future. Despite my yearning for adventure, I truly feel out of my depth in a world so vastly different from my own, but I'm learning. 

There are strange sights, smells and sounds every moment of every day; it is a sensory overload and I constantly feel overwhelmed by the newness of it all.

But I love it. 

I cannot explain the love I have for my life, and how grateful I am for this opportunity ~ the Far East is a delicate flower waiting to unfurl, with a hubbub of life at it's centre that is almost impossible to penetrate. 

The words that spring to mind are gaudy, ostentatious, luxurious, unbelievable, eccentric and foreign. Even my time in the City of a Hundred Spires or the Antipodes didn't prepare me for the onslaught of strangeness that the Orient has to offer. It is truly like nowhere else in the world, and I cannot express my love for this experience enough, though I have only been here a fortnight.

To be so far away from home and so joyously uncomfortable is a sensation I would highly recommend ~ travelling and learning to love somewhere new is an incomparable lesson that we should all be so lucky to learn. 

Travel darlings, travel. 

D. S.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When life is overly frenetic to the extent that I cannot find a quiet five minutes to write, please know that change is afoot and my situation is more than likely out of my hands. 

So much time has passed that I am no longer taking residence in Brighthelmstone, but rather am enjoying the comfort of my own bed in the Shire for one night more... The Far East beckoned and tomorrow I shall begin my journey to the Orient. I cannot believe all my hopes and dreams have led me down this path, but it shall be my greatest accomplishment. 

Although I travel alone, the Duke of Albany and I decided to go our separate ways, I am most fortunate to have a delightful companion waiting for me when I arrive. The Scottish Marquessa from months before has also made the plunge into an unknown territory. I've never been one to shy away from adventure, but I am most glad to know that I am not alone this time. There are even greater discrepancies between the East and West than there were between the Antipodes and my Shire. I fear the culture shock may be the most difficult undertaking for me. 

But at any rate, I have committed myself to discovering new lands and learning ways of thinking. I'm so excited I can barely find the words. 

It surprises me to think that I am not pining for Brighthelmstone. As wonderful as it was (and I have to admit it was, perhaps, my favourite summer) I am rather relieved it is over. I suppose that is only because of the intrigue that surrounds my impending future, but even so, I wonder if I have outgrown the Convent and all it has to offer and teach me. 

It's not the same as it once was, and it makes me ponder whether perhaps I have changed or it. 

No matter, for it is now a thing of the past. 

The next time I write (which will be sooner than a month a way!) I shall have news of the Orient and will have begun my new life in the Far East.

I am going on an adventure.

D. S. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Where do I begin? The story of my life has come full circle at a rate of knots that I cannot comprehend; the words are impossible to find and I find myself at a loss for the first time. 

The summer at Brighthelmstone is as wonderful as I imagined ~ though it is rather different without the Duke of Albany at my side. I'm enjoying my prowess and igniting my fearless reputation instead of mincing and mewling around the male courtiers. It certainly makes a change from previous years, and though I cannot deny missing the attention, I am finding a great deal of satisfaction in my new role. 

I feel very fortunate to have the Irish Lady of Corcaigh grace me with her presence, and even the Scottish princess has hardly left my side. We are a force to be reckoned with and it frightens me to think that I am already a fortnight through my six week summer. 

And then I will be calling the Far East my home. So many things have changed in such a short space of time that I find it hard to believe the changes have only just begun! Travel speaks to my heart in a language that no one else understands, and though I long for adventure, I still wish I had someone to share it with. 

D. S.

Monday, June 22, 2015

So much has happened since I last found the time to write something of note, that I do not quite know where to start. To think I am in the midst of my final week in Dearne Valley and it only feels like yesterday that I was making the move this far North. Where does the time go? 

I cannot pretend that it has been an easy fortnight, despite the glorious distractions I have encountered, but change tends to make everyone a little wary and apprehensive, even if I am the instigator of that change. Or is that because I am the instigator of all this change?

Again, I am not going to write a confession to set the tongues wagging. Mistakes have been made and life goes on. 

Instead I am going to reminisce about the delightful weekend I had with my Lords and Ladies of the Shire on our coastal rendez vous last weekend. We feasted, pranced and indulged with a furore that the Viking gods would have been proud of. It made me realise how grateful I am to call them all my friends, and I shall miss each and every one of them while I sojourn in the Far East. 

We were graced with the presence of the Duke's sister, the brunette, Harlequin and many fair Ladies who each have a special place in my heart. We took part in many rural activities, though I cannot claim to have caught any fish (which I was most disappointed about!). It was a weekend to remember and I am still on a high when I think about the fun we had.

With Dearne Valley coming to a close, Brighthelmstone is beckoning ever closer, and this time I am taking a more active role. I have more responsibilities than ever and I have already begun my preparation for the summer! It is something I am most looking forward to, not least because it shall give me the time to come to terms with all that has happened this past year. 

All this talk of what I have to do is making me more aware that I should do less talking and take more action. As always my summers are inundated with activity but that doesn't mean my writing isn't a priority ~ only it becomes ore ethereal as it seeps in and out of my consciousness. 

I shall always write and create stories even when my life is as hectic as it is now. 

D. S.

Monday, June 08, 2015

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, does it still make a sound?

Therefore, if a sin is committed but there is no one to witness the act, does it really count?

I am as terrible as that sounds, but I am not yet brave enough to utter the words that could send me spiralling into an alcohol-fuelled frenzy. It is better that I close that door and walk away from the damage I have caused without a glance behind me. 

It is not the first time I have made such a mistake, but far from being an entertaining entry, this seems to have potential repercussions that I cannot soften with kind words and hollow promises. I may have even outdone myself this time. 

So, instead of focusing on that misdemeanour I will rather reminisce about the weekend just passed and exclaim proudly my love for my Irish Lady of Corcaigh, the brunette and four minstrels who kept us suitably entertained all the while. 

To think a year has vanished since we last drank in each other's company is absurd, but it felt like no time had passed as we joked about our time in the City of a Hundred Spires, watching intently the delicious quartet who serenaded our reunion. They were clearly a little too young for each of us (words I never thought I'd say), probably no older than the enamoured young Captain from the Antipodes. But they each exuded a confidence that was electrifying. It is not often I can find a man to transfix my gaze for an hour, let alone an entire evening, but those four did more than that...

I am no longer the girl that lusted after a musician for years, but there is something decidedly scrumptious about a man who knows his way around a musical instrument and can sing words that your heart has longed to hear. 

Enough about them... Though they certainly have not left my thoughts. 

The Irish Lady of Corcaigh was an absolute dream. She had so much to tell me, what with making herself known in her home town as she inspires other women to be as headstrong. Similarly, the brunette is making incredible progress in her own personal journey and her stubbornness know no bounds. It was only a fleeting rendez vous as I still have three weeks of hard toil ahead of me, but it was worth the headache I had this morning.

As everyone expected, I am suffering from itchy feet and need to be back on the road, travelling to distant lands. Though that will come, all in good time. I have a summer in Brighthelmstone to look forward to first...

D. S.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

There is so much that I have to tell and I haven't a clue where to start. The last time I wrote I was enjoying my life in abundance with the brunette and making good one of my new year's resolutions. Since then much has happened; words have been said and mistakes have been made, so much so that they could be life-altering.

But does that mean I have the strength to talk about them, to write them down? I have to admit that I am the guilty party, the one more culpable in these latest occurrences, and if I actually put pen to paper and own up to the crime... Then that cannot be undone.

I know that over the years I have flitted in and out of people's hearts, cities, countries without so much as a second thought as to the consequences of my actions. I have always been rather hedonistic, and though I had toned down my behaviour of late, it seems that my so-called maturity was nothing more than a facade. 

Nevertheless, I am back in Dearne Valley for my final month of solitude before I travel to Brighthelmstone for the summer. I am fortunate that the Irish Lay of Corcaigh is gracing me with her presence this weekend, so as to distract me from my ever tumbling thoughts of despair. We have not seen each other since that eventful night in Bohemia and I cannot wait to reminisce and make new memories with her. 

My week in the Shire was more relaxing than I give it credit ~ both my father and brother were in attendance and it was delightful to spend some time with them, feasting and celebrating our successes in life. 

I even managed a short jaunt to the northern counties, catching a glimpse of the Duke of Albany before he disappeared on a rendez vous of his own. I miss the city that I have called home for so many years. Though the Shire runs through my veins, the northern counties will always tug at my heart. Much like the Antipodes and Bohemia will always bring me fond memories. 

I am not yet brave enough to utter the sin I have committed. Instead I sway back and forth between burying my head in the ground and moving on entirely. For truly, the only way is forward.

D. S.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Whenever it takes me too long to write and I take an unintentional hiatus from what I care about its because I'm living my life to the full and enjoying myself a little more than I should be. 

I suppose that's exactly what's happened... Yet again. 

I am back in my darling Shire and have spent the last few evenings whiling away the hours with my brunette Lady, drinking and dancing and cavorting with men who are only as delightful as the night lasts as we soon discovered they had less than wonderful intentions. But being the strong, independent women that we are, it didn't take long to pop their metaphorical bubbles and leave them cold. Girls, sometimes, just want to have fun!

Dearne Valley has been an interesting experiment, and with a few weeks left to go before Brighthelmstone, I fully intend to make the most of the time there. I have to admit I'm not quite as enamoured with the North as I was a few weeks ago, but que sera sera. It isn't forever, and I'm more excited about the prospect of moving to the Far East. 

The Duke too has made his decision... He is to stay on in the northern counties. He has made a life for himself and is not yet ready to uproot his life for me, again. Promises have been made to see each other as often as we can, and I know that distance is difficult, but if we have survived it the once, then I also believe we can survive it again. 

I have much to look forward to which does make it difficult to appreciate what I have now, but I am doing my best. 

D. S.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I have started and redrafted this post so many times I cannot for the life of me remember what it was I first wanted to talk about. 

Nevertheless... Weeks have once again sprinted past, without so much as a second glance, and as usual I have had very little time to myself. I have been so overwhelmed by my busy lifestyle of late that I have sat in silence, doodling and daydreaming on my own all evening, trying to recuperate from the hubbub of the Capital.

I adore the Capital. I know I have mentioned this sentiment whenever I tend to visit, but I love the pace and the anonymity that comes with being just another face... That is until I leave, when I breathe a sigh of relief, anxious to get back to my life where I am known. Infamy certainly has its perks. 

I suppose I should start at the beginning. The Marquessa and Baroness joined me nearly a fortnight ago in Dearne Valley, dragging the Duke in tow for some belated birthday celebrations. We drank and were merry and it took me a few days to recover. But it was wonderful.

Until I realised the week ahead of me would be one that could have had a damning affect on my future. I had to prove my worth as a Lady-in-Waiting, every gesture scrutinised and critiqued, looking for a fault. Thankfully I passed with flying colours and have only the one more visit to contend with. I shall make a note NOT to drink as heavily the weekend before.

Because I was so fraught with nerves I was barely able to write anything coherent, worrying only about the observation that was to come. However, I was rewarded with my visit to the Capital. I socialised with friends and acquaintances whom normally grace me with their presence only during the summer months, so it was wonderful to reminisce about my time at the Convent in both the Shire and Brighthelmstone. It is an odd feeling to have an extended family, as such, that are in some ways closer than my Ladies of the Shire because of the concentrated time we spend together, yet we go more than half a year without much contact. It does not make much sense, but I thoroughly enjoyed the company over the weekend.

There was nothing I could fault. 

If anything... It has awakened my usual yearning for my summer in Brighthelmstone, before my journey to the Orient.

D. S.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

The hours have slipped into days, which have in turn dissolved into weeks, so much so that I cannot for the life of me remember what came to pass since I last wrote...

Let me think...

Oh yes. A birthday. My birthday. How could I forget?

I ventured back to the Shire to visit my family and my friends. It was most delightful to fraternise with those in my closest circle, having the Duke join my side without so much of a whisper. We were all impeccably behaved (which truly makes a change) and we discussed many things, from my impending travels, to betrothals and reminisced about those who have been and gone. 

And I turned another year older. 

I have to admit at being rather laconic in regards to my latest age. It doesn't warrant more than a few words. It has been discovered that reasons are not always necessary when meeting with old friends, and any time I get to spend with the Ladies of the Shire, including the Duke's sister, is time well spent. 
It was a rather short weekend, I never spend long enough in the Shire, but my Duke and I managed to spend some much-deserved time together, even crossing the North/South border hand in hand. We are still debating about our future, and I suppose there is nothing more to say on that matter either. 

Que sera sera. 

I seem to be getting easily disgruntled in my old age!

The folk at Dearne Valley did surprise me on my return with many well wishes and plied me with various bottles of wine and delectables that I have yet to sample because I have been feeling a little under the weather. I was incredibly touched to think that they all thought to remember and take note of something so inconsequential as my birthday, but it made the return somewhat more poignant. Of course, I am as busy as ever, but I am enjoying my time in the North.

There are whispers that the Duke and Marquessa may visit me this weekend, and I shall hold my breath in anticipation.

D. S. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

One would think it'd be possible to safely assume sunshine this late into the year. It seems we were rather heavily seduced by the warm climate only a week ago, but it has dissipated into a rather disappointing drizzle that seems unwilling to abate. 

Just in time for my birthday celebrations. 

However, I refuse to let this English weather dampen my spirits.

I am to return to the Shire tomorrow for a few days of revelry and debauchery. I have even managed to convince Belle, Armiger, the Duke and the Duke's sister to make an appearance. I am more than a little excited, and am wishing away the next twenty-four hours before I can leave for my home. 

That's not even the most thrilling piece of news I have to offer on this chilly evening. 

I have mentioned the Far East countless times this year, and though it may seems a strange longing for some, I on the other hand, have somehow managed to make my dreams come a reality. The Orient beckons its dainty finger, and I have answered with a gusto that cannot be ignored. I have a few months left in Dearne Valley, before I sojourne to Brighthelmstone with my usual retinue, and then I have a mere week to say my farewells and depart for the Far East.

I cannot say what it is I am going to do once I am out there, only that I know it shall be my greatest adventure yet. 

'The Duke of Albany?' I hear you ask... We are still in the process of discussing the terms of our relationship. I cannot ask him to travel to another continent for me, and nor do I want to. Nevertheless, we are determined to make our unconventional relationship flourish, despite the distance. 

It was Armiger, my darling friend, who asked the pertinent question. I think it is because he is recently engaged (congratulations to them both), but he made me realise that my lust for adventure is rather selfish... However, the Duke understands. He loves me for who I am. And that is an impulsive, spontaneous wanderer. You can't ask me to change, for then I should no longer be the person he so admired. 

I do not ask for understanding from anyone else ~ on some days I even question myself ~ but rather I look to rejoice. My life is wonderful, and I am so grateful for all that I have. I cannot wait to share in the jubilations and celebrations with those whom I love. 

D. S.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I did say I was looking forward to the adventures Dearne Valley would surprise on me, and I have to admit that it has been exciting than I thought it would be. 

Living with four elder members of the opposite gender is surely not everyone's cup of tea, but it seems to suit me quite nicely. They are each of high esteem, reputable (though not necessarily in a genteel way) and complete gentlemen. I am honoured to have them treat me with such reverence and respect that I have not seen since my younger days when I was considered a damsel in distress. I have not lost any of my independence, but there is a courteousness that borders on chivalry in these Northern parts that I believe has long since disappeared down South. 

The Duke and I have been in regular correspondence though I have little time to myself what with my communal living arrangements and the role that has taken over my life. I am looking forward to next weekend when I shall return to the Shire for a Spring music festival. It has been two years since I last showed my face with everyone around me, so the prospect of music and dancing with my closest friends brings a smile to my face. 

In other news, the Far East is calling my name with a stubbornness I haven't been able to shake off. Who knows, maybe I shall answer it with three little letters... Y. E. S. 

D. S..

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A few hours short of a week have I inhabited Dearne Valley and I have to admit that I have never felt more at home and more comfortable in such a short space of time. I do have a tendency to adapt quickly to new surroundings, as is in my nomadic nature, but no more than a few minutes in my temporary dwelling, did it already begin to feel like home. 

I can imagine it would be a rather acquired taste: it is a far cry from the Shire where I am within walking distance of many friends and family; much more sedate than the busy lifestyle the Duke and I became accustomed to in the northern counties; it is a paradoxical comparison of rural and cosmopolitan next to the Antipodes; but I would say it were most like Bohemia ~ firm family values, with a few traditions I have never before experienced

This life that has been thrust upon me is currently being shared with four older gentlemen, each of whom who has made me most welcome. They vary in age from only a decade more than myself, to half a century older, and their stories are of the utmost compelling romances, trials and tribulations. I consider myself rather lucky (though I know that my situation is considered by many to be rather improper).

The Duke of Albany and I have continued our discussions about the future. He has joined me for the weekend, but still resides in the northern counties. His responsibilities keep him from travelling to Dearne Valley with me, but it is not so far to travel for a few short months. The future is looking rather exciting, the Far East is still calling my name and I eagerly await the moment it is all confirmed. Until then, I intend to keep silent about our future plans.

There isn't much more that I can say other than I am thoroughly enjoying myself. It was wonderful to have a few weeks in the Shire and Brighthelmstone. I don't get to spend enough time with the Ladies of the Shire and knowing that I am to add Brighthelmstone to my mantle during the Summer, means I will have even less time before I can no longer ignore the beckoning of the Far East. 

I look forward to the next few months here and the adventures to come.

D. S.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weeks can go by and the monotony of life drags by without so much as a whisper of change, but I write diligently about my life because I intend not to disappoint those who read about my antics. Then more than a fortnight flashes past, and my life forces me to take a hiatus from my writing and then when I can finally sit down and have a moment to reflect, I do not know where to start.

I have travelled many hundreds of miles in the last few weeks, returning to the Shire, to Brighthelmstone, the northern counties and even further north to the aforementioned Dearne Valley.

Who knew that this small country had so much to offer in such a short space of time? I've confirmed my role for the summer at Brighthelmstone, and despite knowing that I have taken on a huge responsibility, I'm looking forward to the challenge. There is nothing like feeling ready for a new lease of life. 

Past the summer however, is still rather blurred. I'm lacking clarity and cannot truthfully say what it is I want to do. Yes, I want to travel, but my options are rather permanent, or fleeting. Nothing in between. The Duke of Albany of course, is having an influence, and though I am exceedingly grateful he has few expectations for me, I sometimes wish he'd try and convince me to stay. I don't want him to ask me, but I'd rather he made the choice more difficult. Though maybe he knows me better than I think... Nothing and no one will stop me from seeing what else the world has to offer.  

So I have left the northern counties for a few months and found solitary refuge in Dearne Valley. It is positively rural in comparison to the more cosmopolitan places I have lived, but there is a primordial sense of belonging here, even though I am considered an outsider.

I am looking forward to the next few months... Who knows what shall occur.

D. S.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Where to begin?

Over a week has passed, or rather vanished, and I'm now at home, looking out of my South Wing bedroom window at the Shire in all of its springtime glory. 

The last time I wrote, everything was rather up in the air about my future... The Duke and I had no plans past the summer and I didn't' even know if I'd be in the northern counties for the weeks to come. 

Again, I do not have all the answers, but as the future has arrived, as it were, I can describe what has happened and what I believe may happen in the next few days. After that, it's still as murky as ever. 

I had the the delight of the Gameskeeper over the weekend, we were celebrating another year of his life and considering we hadn't seen each other in over two years(!) it was wonderful to see his face... Right before he passed out. But the chances are that I'll have the opportunity to see him a little more often now that I am being moved... 

Yes. I wanted to travel and it seems that my prayers have been answered. As far North as I am, there is still more countryside that I haven't yet laid eyes on, and I am being sent to Dearne Valley to learn their ways. Truly, this year has been very educational!

I have a fortnight before I have to travel into the unknown, so have chosen to reside in my Shire for a few days before heading South to Brighthelmstone. The entire length of this great nation is at my disposal, but I do feel it may exhaust me. I suppose I could utter the fateful words 'be careful what you wish for', but that would sound as if I am ungrateful for these opportunities, and that wouldn't be true. I love that I get to see new places, meet new friends and discover more about a country I do take for granted. I'm also enjoying being home and seeing my Father and my Ladies of the Shire. In actual fact, I suppose I have much to be thankful for. 

It does mean that the Duke and I have a few months of separation ahead of us, but it is not the same great distance that we have overcome before, and I believe that absence does make the heart grow fonder. He has been more than supportive, and I look forward to him joining me in a few days...

Until then, I shall make myself useful before another journey even further South tomorrow. 

D. S.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm scared to write down what I believe may happen in the future in case I am cursed and the path I hope to walk down is blocked to me because I have uttered it aloud. It wouldn't be the first time that has happened, though I do not want to sound superstitious. To give voice to my future seems futile; as I have previously stated, only one thing is certain ~ change

So instead of speculating and umming and ahhing about what may or may not happen, I shall describe purely the facts.

What do I know?

The sun has made an appearance only to be blocked by the moon, an event I never though to witness in my lifetime. It was stunningly exquisite and made me want to weep with love for the world. It also however encouraged my wanderlust... I can only imagine what else is out there that could bring tears to my eyes from sheer beauty, especially that which I have not seen. 

All else I can state as fact is my return to Brighthelmstone in a few weeks. I am looking forward to the opportunity to ingratiate myself back in the genteel lifestyle, and hopefully it will make my future plans a little clearer. 

Indeed, even more so than Brighthelmstone, I am longing for the Shire. 

It doesn't happen often but when it does, the need for my countryside is powerful. I need to see the hills I call home and have a moment to reflect on what I truly want for the future because I'm sure that's one of the reasons why I'm unwilling to commit. Something about the Shire just makes sense, and I feel the need to make it my own, so that I may gain some clarity. 

What do I want? 

If only I could find the words. 

D. S.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Even now I know less than I did before. In an ever-changing world only one thing is certain; change. 

Conversations have flitted around the topic of the Summer between the Duke of Albany and I, and I don't think it is possible for me to show my gratitude as he has been more than understanding and undoubtedly supportive. I do not deserve the love of the Duke, nor to have him pandering to the oscillating whims of the universe. 

Brighthelmstone or the Shire. I believe that my predilection for Brighthelmstone has been noted by all, but whether or not that pleases the world enough to allow me to return there TWICE this year? Would I be so fortunate?

My wanderlust is far from sated at the thought of traversing the length of England, I still need to go further afield. Somewhere as different as the Antipodes where I could meet more people who think and feel the way I do. As delightful as England is, this island seems to breed a sense of superiority and lust for material things. I fall too easily into those types of longings when I am here, not rejoicing in everything else the world has to offer. 

I need to travel. It makes me a better person. 

I forgot to mention what it was like seeing my Mother again after so many months apart. It has been a whirlwind few weeks and it doesn't look to me slowing down any time soon.

She was far happier than I can remember seeing her of late, yet she seemed relatively unchanged. It was wonderful to catch up, surely no one has the pleasure of knowing you like your own Mother? I suppose she didn't help change my mind about travelling as she has called many other places her home since I last saw her. If anything she encouraged me to take the leap...

We shall see. It's the unknown that is most frustrating.

D. S.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Alack and alas, if only I could say what it was that my future holds, but I am just as in the dark as I was last time I wrote

All I can confirm is that I shall spend my Easter break in the Shire, enjoying the Spring festivities with my darling Ladies of the Shire... Before spending a fortnight at Brighthelmstone, discovering for myself whether I am up to the challenge of the role that has been designed for me, and giving myself a little more time to make a decision before the Summer is upon us.

The Duke shall accompany me to the Shire, but while I figure out what it is I need to do in Brighthelmstone, he is going to cross the Continent to visit his own family and friends. I think it is best that we have some time apart, only so that we can appreciate each other all the more upon his return. 

I have very little time to get my head around the idea of moving back down South for a few weeks, but it is only temporary... The Shire is always a delight to visit and I cannot wait to frolic with my childhood friends. No doubt there are many scandals and tales afoot that I have mislaid because I am not in close proximity to hear the gossip (nor to create it, thankfully!) so I am most looking forward to catching up with all that I have missed. 

Until that time arises I fully intend to keep my head low and continue with this personal struggle to learn what it is I need to learn to become a Lady-in-Waiting

D. S.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Again. A decision was made only to have it blown in the wind by a gentle breeze, scuppering any chances of stability in my life. 

It had been decided by the gods that I was to return to the Shire for the Summer. I had delighted in the fact that I would be able to return home for a good few months and enjoy a countryside lifestyle that I have missed before having to commit to another year as the perfect role model. But it seems the gods are more fickle than I gave them credit for, and now I have another decision to make. 

Brighthelmstone or...

The Shire.

They are both within my grasp and the opportunities are equally astounding, and I am more than delighted to be considered. However, I shall have to go through the pros and cons of each before I ultimately make my decision. 

Brighthelmstone is closer to my heart as I spent the last two summers there, frolicking on the beaches and making friendships, however I may not necessarily have the Duke with me and there will no doubt be fewer returners than last year and it is an enormous responsibility. 

The Shire is my home. I know the paths like the palm of my hand and I haven't spent more than a few weeks there since the Antipodes. Nevertheless, there are some memories of the Convent that I would rather keep under wraps and I would hate for history to repeat itself...

I have already made a decision in my head, but I sometimes worry that I plunge into new situations without spending the necessary time to consider the consequences (twenty year old me, I'm looking at you!).

Fortunately, I have the luxury of time before giving my answer. 

In other news, I have been joined by my Mother. She has been regaling me with tales of her travels yonder and I have to admit I am more than a little jealous. It doesn't seem so long ago that I was calling another country my home and discovering what it meant to live for myself. It is wonderful to see her, of course, but it is only a fleeting visit as she is soon to return to the Continent to visit her own father. 

It's amazing what we put ourselves through for our family.

I have much to ponder, and value the various opinions flying my way; it is interesting to note that the Duke and my Mother are on the same page for this...

D. S. 

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A weekend alone is not quite what I had in mind, however it is a blessing to have a little solitude to get everything in perspective. Why does life have a habit of pulling the rug from under you, without giving so much as a whiff of explanation?

I am well versed in the art of hyperbole, but that doesn't mean the smaller changes don't have a large impact. 

The Summer has been decided and I am to return to the Shire instead of Brighthelmstone, to take a more responsible role as governess, patron? I'm not sure what to call myself other than Duchess. I may be rather unconventional, with my choices of travel and governing and teaching and learning but I wouldn't change my life for anything.

Though the Summer has been put in my diary, the months that succeed it are more than questionable. The Duke and I have continued our conversation and have come the conclusion of 'Que Sera Sera.' Normally I thrive at the unknown, I enjoy spontaneity and recklessness (for want of a better word!) however, I cannot help but feel that I shall miss out on some opportunities if I don't go out and get them!

I'm not even sure what opportunities I am referring to, only that this perpetual state of indecision doesn't agree with me. 

If it were up to me, after my Summer in the Shire, I would call another country my home. Giving my heart to an unfamiliar landscape, discover a culture that I am currently unaware of and learn another language that is foreign to my ear. It is what I have done since leaving the Northern counties the first time round and it seems that old habits die hard.

But not if I have to choose between travelling and the Duke... That is a decision I hope never have to make.

D. S. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another few days have passed and my routine has changed dramatically; fewer early morning and late nights, which is always a bonus! The writing and studying is no less relentless, but at least I now have the time to do it!

I can't believe that my year as a Lady-in-Waiting is more than half way through! Where on earth has all the time gone? It is only February, so I'm sure that there is every possibility that I could be counting my chickens before they're hatched, but it does seem like before I know it and the Summer will be upon us. 

The Duke of Albany, poor thing, is suffering with an unfortunate condition at the moment, so we have strayed away from intelligent conversation nor discussed our future. Rather I have spent the time looking after my love, trying my hand at the 'domestic goddess' role I know so any other women manage without gloating or complaining. 

I, on the other hand, seem to find the role rather difficult... Who wants to spend all their time at home tidying, sorting, cooking, organising and other drudgeries? I praise those who find comfort in the repetition of their role, and who excel at the simplest of tasks, because I can somehow manage to fail at boiling water ~ it never quite works out according to plan!

Don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate anyone who glides through life with the utmost elegance, but I fear I am more apt to stomping and stumbling, which makes me rather inadequate as domestic goddess. In fact, the Duke may have even made a comment or two about my cooking, but I shall keep those to myself, and try again... Perseverance and stubbornness are my greater strengths (much to his disappointment no doubt!).

In other news, my Mother is returning from the Antipodes and it has been just shy of a year since we have laid eyes on each other. I'm very much looking forward to seeing her, catching up with all we have done since we last saw each other, and hearing all about the other side of the world that I fell in love with all those years ago. Additionally, I'm also rather proud of my home here in the Northern counties and I can't wait to show it off!

I only hope the Duke recovers before my Mother arrives!

D. S.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I'm not going to discuss my non-existent plans for the future because I fear I may bore my wonderful readers, and indeed frustrate myself. So instead I shall talk about the fun I've had in the northern cities... So much fun say, that I could almost compare it to my younger more hedonistic days ~ but of course these days I stay on the correct side of propriety.

I travelled a short distance to visit a dear friend who too has made the journey up North and is happy to call it her home. The blonde and I have had many adventures while we resided in the Shire together a few years ago, and it was an absolute delight to to reminisce about the times we have shared and to make new memories.

We drank delightful cocktails and danced and intrigued the men around us with our raucous laughter. It renewed my love of the North and inspired me to look forward to whatever the future holds ~ regardless of where in the world I shall be. 

The next few weeks will undoubtedly be more difficult than the previous few months and though I fully expected this year as Lady-in-Waiting to have its trials and tribulations, I fear that if I do not concentrate I may slip and fall and it could all be for nothing. Writing as always is where I find my refuge, but the studies sometimes take priority, which is why there are often too many days between posts.

I want it all, if only there were more hours in the day. 

D. S.