I need to start by explaining the play on words in the title. To the manor born means aristocratic or of high birth ranking in British society. There was a program that ran from 1979-1981 entitled “To the Manor Born” that was a kind of meshed up romance/comedy that was incredibly British and had characters called posh names like Penelope and Daphne. I don’t think I have ever watched more than five minutes of any episode, but I’d know it if I saw it.
British class system and manners are things that don’t sit too well with a peasant such as myself. I’ve got crazy notions about life, society, and equality that lean far more to meritocracy than aristocracy.
I am also incredibly crass and swear a lot and would fail almost any etiquette guidelines that might be thrown at me. I Love that about me. A heart the size of a planet and I still drop the C bomb with reckless abandon. I’m not Eliza Doolittle, I am more like Estelle, salt of the earth and completely comfortable with the fact.
So I have arrived in London with the kids and my mother and we are staying at a charming manor house that backs onto the grounds of Windsor Castle. What is interesting about this, is that I get to stay in comfortable suites in places like this all the time. These are the kind of places, that as a child, my mother would take my brother and I for a cup of tea and a sandwich and we’d be urged to lie about our age so we could be spared the entrance fee to sit in such grandeur for a moment or two.
Now, I frequently stay at castles, mansions, manor houses, and even old monasteries. The staff are always nice, and I rarely mingle with other guests at these places. And there’s always a part of me that knows I am an interloper.
The place we are staying right now is quite lovely. It backs onto the Thames river and has its own resident ghost stories. Today is crisp and beautiful. The spring air on the banks of the Thames smells just like I remember it smelling when I lived in the UK when I was a child of 5. Today is basically the opposite of yesterday on the hectic scale, and I feel at peace with the world, and utterly out of place.
Everyone in New Zealand is asleep so I am waiting for the evening here so I can ping home and see how the kids are and how far back down the island my husband has made it after being at the Northern-most tip of Cape Reinga yesterday.
So I’ll wrap it with some pictures of my day so far.
And I will sit back and watch the breeze kiss the branches of a weeping willow on the banks of the Thames, and I will know the whole time I sit in this opulence that the world is not yet fair or just or safe for far too many, perhaps most, people. The water and the air are not clean enough to sustain us into the future, and the people sat on the terrace with their beer and their cellphones may or may not give a fuck about any of it.
Life is a sequence of moments and choices and boils down into memories that we carry with us in good and bad times as we carry on to our inevitable end.
I’ll just breath in this sequence of moments, and hope that somehow the peace of this moment will sustain me when I am faced with all the things that break my heart and force me into battles of one sort or another.
Thank you for Reading.