Jul 29, 2007

For Pete

This year my involvement with the Second Life Relay For Life has been dedicated privately to the memory of my real life father-in-law, Pete, who died in 1999 after an extended battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a true joy and light in the lives of all he touched.

More openly I have described my work with cancer patients in the acute hospital setting. Those patients and their families are also on my mind. So too are the scientists and physicians with whom I work daily as they search for the cure.

Thank you Miss Lapin Paris for all your hard work as the Captain of Caledon's Relay For Life team. Thank you to all who volunteered and donated time, effort, and hard-earned Lindens.
What a success!! Over 32 Million Lindens raised overall this year, and over 1.3 Million Lindens by the Caledon RFL Team!
Vivat Caledon!!

Slide Show of my laps this weekend during the final event:

Jul 28, 2007

Renaissance Island

A couple of evenings ago I found myself walking in Caledon over near the Royal Society Offices in Tamrannoch. Suddenly I heard some laughter coming from the general direction of the Anvil. That being one of my favorite gathering places in all of Caledon, it was not a difficult decision to change the course of my evening walk in order to discover what friends might be assembled there.
As I approached, I heard the familiar voices of Colonel Exrex Somme, and Mr Aldo Stern, the proprietor. Also there were a Miss Beaumont and a Mr. Merlin, both of whom were friends of Mr Stern from Renaissance Island. Mr. Merlin, though, is now the newest resident of Tamrannoch as well.
The conversation, whisky, and ale were superb. As I learned more of what was being done at Renaissance Island, though, I realized that I was anxious to be on my way...to have a little exploration of the place. Mr. Stern and Miss Betty Doyle have been hard at work there (with several others) for some time now. And I was hearing that the results were quite dramatic...most impressive.
Since Mr. Merlin had been so kind as to give me several landmarks for the place, I soon excused myself to take a tour. Dear Colonel Somme asked whether he might accompany me. I was happy for the company, and so we two friends set off for the waterfront in Renaissance Island.

We arrived and went straight to the docks to see the ship about which Mr. Stern was so pleased.

Colonel Somme informed me that the galleon had been retrofitted with many improvements by Mr. Stern. She is a most impressive ship.

I wonder how she would sail in the Loch....

After touring the ship, I followed Colonel Somme to the Globe Theatre. The build is exceptional! See for yourself.

Approach from the waterfront.

Interior of the Globe Theatre - view from near the stage.

Colonel Somme practices his lines:
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

As one might imagine....I nearly swooned.

Standing on the stage balcony, Colonel Somme coached me on my lines...and we enjoyed the view.
Duchess Loch Avie:
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

We agreed that we would truly enjoy seeing a production in this space. I wondered whether I might be able to use the space for some of my poetry readings or other artistic productions. Colonel Somme was kind enough to make some inquiries on my behalf.
As we walked on to the Village Square,

we saw cute little brood of piglets in a kitchen yard.

Market Square

The builders of the island have incorporated many helpful notecards throughout. Here is an excerpt from the general information notecard.

...is one of the many Elizabethan communities with a growing merchant and tradesman class. Many of these people live and carry on business along the Lane of Tradesmen...a closely packed street of overhanging half-timbered mixed commercial/residential structures and some smaller workshops. As in many English towns of the period, a major part of local trade here involves cloth--many of these shops will offer something related to that business. On the back side of this is an open area fronted by workshops of craftsmen such as metal workers and smiths.

The dense placement of structures reflects the growing value of land. Many of the buildings incorporate walls and other elements of earlier structures (or sometimes the wall of a building next door). This is a reflection both of the practical, frugal nature of the tradesmen and merchants, and the fact that people have been occupying this site for centuries.

Further into the town is the market, a central paved public square, with the ancient market cross as its focal point (a monument at the foot of which monks once came to preach to the common people on market days). Around the square are arranged buildings that house businesses and homes of merchants, as well as a tavern, and a livestock pen and platform for calling auctions...

I look forward to further exploration as the sim continues to evolve. Thank you Colonel Somme for your safe escort and your wonderful company. And thanks to Mr. Stern and Mr Merlin for their hard work on the sim and for reminding me that I needed to make a visit.

Jul 27, 2007

Jul 25, 2007

Quiet Contemplation and a Rather Dull Couple of Days

Silly Duchess!!

The week started on a rather quiet note after the Compliment Contest was completed on the Loch. I had certain expectations: quiet reflection on the compliments that were handed out, a little time spent riding Bucephalus across Loch Avie, spending some time in the distillery placing the new Uisge Beatha into the casks for their 15 year

After the RFL Compliment Contest was completed, I rested for a bit, and then went down to the sight of the event to ensure that the clean-up was going as planned. The additional staff that had been hired for the set-up and take down of all the seating was doing a remarkable job. I helped myself to a glass of Reserve and stood enjoying the evening, watching Nellie swim in her cove. Once the staff took their leave, I decided to have a quick swim with Nellie. The water was so clear and warm in the fading summer sun, the temptation was too great to be resisted. Stripping down to my….well…stripping down to what I normally wear when I swim with Nellie, I slid into the water enjoying the silky warmth enveloping my body. Nellie is a most gracious host, permitting me to swim with her and even allowing me to ride on her back for a time as she patrolled the Loch. Late in the evening, she looked back at me as if asking permission for something. Oddly enough I seemed to understand her meaning, and taking a very deep breath, I nodded to her. We dove down and down to the bottom of the cove and her nest. She was ready for her rest. Giving her a pat, I released her and swam back to the surface where I took in great amounts of the cooling air. I felt renewed, but also ready for my own bed. Rolling over, I floated on my back for a time, looking into the clear starry sky. Then I easily stroked over to the shore. Gathering up my discarded clothing, I strolled to the tower, and climbed the steps to my private quarters. Happily I discovered that my lady’s maid had laid my burgundy silk gown on the bed when she turned it down. All I needed to do was to slip it over my head, brush my hair, and crawl between the covers. It was delicious.

The next day was filled with the usual responsibilities. I sat on the porch sipping my cappuccino, eating fresh peaches and cream, and reading the post and any messages that had been dropped by the house. After dressing, I went down to the distillery to ensure that things were going well with the casking. Seeing that all was well underway, I took care of some visitation that was necessary. That was a very pleasant diversion. The majority of the day was spent in this occupation as I needed to return some calls made while I was overseas.

Many of my companions were no where to be found on Monday evening; therefore, I dined alone. That being the case, I gave the staff the evening off, and made my own meal. You know, I really do enjoy preparing meals (some might be shocked to hear of a Duchess working in her own kitchen – but then some would be shocked at *anything*). It was a simple meal: Bawd Bree (hare soup), a fine cut of Aberdeen Angus beef (imported, of course), potatoes, and kale. Thankfully cook had left a fine apple dumpling in the pie hutch for me. It was so delicious that I am suspicious that she may have purchased it from Lady Primbroke’s fine bakery. Christine really is a remarkable baker.

The sun was still up by the time my dinner was completed. Wondering what Professor Krogstad might be doing these days, since I had not seen him in what seems like weeks, I decided to travel to his last known location….an archeological sight. Alas I did not find him there. Odd. I do hope he is quite alright.

Looks as though he is making remarkable progress on the dig. I will look forward to his full report. I wonder if he is going to need any work from me on this one….may need to speak to my favorite librarian and begin some research, if so.

Still a bit restless, I went to Inbhir Abigh to look for The Honourable Kate Nicholas. She must still be out of town. I found several wonderful projects in her workshop. The new projector and screen that I am so anxious to have her finish. I really cannot wait to share that with you! I also found evidence of some lighting experiments she has been working on. Those look very promising. I found some notes on animations that she is working on as well, for two of Loch Avie’s Own: Colonel O’Toole, and Colonel Somme’s good lady.
I decided that I would go back to the manse and rehearse some music that I have been learning. Playing the piano and singing has always been a joy and release for me.

As I sat there enjoying the moment, a messenger dropped by with a message from some friends who were wondering whether I might join them for some silliness. Hurray! Just what I needed.

Here is where the quiet and dull ended…..

O'Toole? Is that you over in yon fog bank?

Well frankly, Colonel Somme, one of my favorite compliments of the day was:
Exrex Somme: Indeed Sir, the world is full of inneumerable possibilities
Exrex Somme: (for example, who could have thought that we would have had such lovely and elegant judges, or such a well read and appreciative audience)
Exrex Somme: But I can tell you sir, that I am but a humble lancer, and I regard my mission, and my study of war, for one purpose only, And that is to protect our civilization, the greatest the world has ever known, and that civilization is but the sum total of its knowledge. I agree that the doers and builders are the key, and you sir are one of our finest does and builders, as the multitude of libraries about our fair land will attest. I lay my arms at your feet in tribute, and I am glad that my humble contribution is recognized by your Indexness.
[14:49] Eva Bellambi applauds enthusiastically
[14:49] Moriarty Warburton claps
[14:49] Diamanda Gustafson: very nice! :D
[14:49] Hotspur Otoole: WOW!
[14:49] Soliel Snook laughs
[14:49] EllisDee Welinder: chuckles
[14:49] Hotspur Otoole: Excellent!
[14:49] Bettina Tizzy notes the use of the word "indexness"
[14:49] Eva Bellambi: Colonel Somme you are in rare form today.
[14:49] Soliel Snook: Touche
[14:49] Callipygian Christensen cheers
[14:49] Soliel Snook: Bravo
[14:49] Straitfox Ihnen applauds
[14:49] Alexx McLaglen nods
[14:49] lisamarie Asano: applauds
[14:49] Hotspur Otoole claps enthusiastically
[14:49] EllisDee Welinder: (thinks he sees a hanging chad somewhere on Mister Drinkwater's body)
[14:49] Callipygian Christensen: (and suspects those laid down arms wil be an excuse not to do the dishes)

And did I tell you about the caviar in Helsinki? Hmm? You often have caviar with your scrambled eggs in the morning? I'll be over for breakfast in the morning. *smiles*

Sir Amplebeak Tinlegs and Hermoine Pennyfeather dance the night away with us


The next day, after the usual daily ablutions, a breakfast of parritch and black coffee, I read the post and took care of several business matters. Before my knight, Sir Telemachus left on his extended holiday out of Caledon, I happily volunteered to check on Octopus Gardens for him occasionally, so after concluding my business for the day, I had the carriage brought round to the distillery. Determining to drive the horses myself, I was handed up by the groom and off I went. It really was a lovely day for a drive. Upon arrival at Octopus Gardens, I found all was in good order.

My arrival at Octopus Gardens - Sir Telemachus Dean's home

Unlocking the door, there was a terrible stack of correspondence already piled in the floor. I noted that most of it was scented and addressed with differing flowery scripts. Sir Tele is well admired by the ladies of the Cay – and all of Caledon – it seems.

The roses I had sent from my garden were doing remarkably well, but I stopped to give them some fresh water anyway.

Nothing in the house looked amiss, so I went over to the bureau by the window…such a good view…and laid the letters in neat stacks. Lilac scent here. Vanilla over there. Verbena next to the lemon.

Just as I was leaving his house and locking the door, I received a call over the secure channel: “Giants! There are giants here…and little green men! You’ve gotta see this Yer Grace!”

This place has been well documented by several of the local authorities on exploration; however, this was the first time I had traveled there. I found that Sir Hotspur (who sent the message over the MI5 channel) was there, as were Mr. Jess Patton, and Ms Autopilotpatty Poppy. I also met a new friend and artist by the name of Mr. Drumstick Ah.

Good Lord!!

After hiking around this huge space all I really wanted was a cup of tea. *Sigh* I had to organize and expedition with the others in the sim in order pour the water out of the kettle. Thankfully they were a helpful and friendly lot.

My new friend, Mr. Drumstick Ah, joins me *in* a cup of tea.

Journal Entry: Found a young female Greenie in the china hutch - she was sitting on top of a large, long, round object that appeared to vibrate. I noted the smile on her face and the slightly dream-like look in her eyes. I wonder if this is something that should be explored further? I shall need to come back later to investigate, I believe.

Thinking: This may become a chapter in the Naughty Duchess Etiquette Collection

Rosie?? Is that you, my Robot Maid? Where have you been? Mr. Jetson said you would be here much sooner than this.

Oh Good Lord, Man! Ye don't snort this...you make snow angels. See?

Hot. Very hot.

Dammitol. Now that's my kind of medicine. Take with alcohol...first thing in the morning. Will take one of these to chop into pieces and use as needed post-Caledon dramas.

Finally got so tired of schlepping around this enormous space, that I pulled out the airship.

Then I discovered one of the futuristic transport devices of the Greenies. Had to bring one home for future study.


At the end of the exploration, I found myself in quiet conversation with my cousin, The Duchess of Carntaigh, Gabrielle Riel. It was good to be able to talk with her as our times with uninterrupted discussions are few and far between these days –unlike when we were young-er ladies.

Finally, I made my way home, finding a hot bath drawn for me. I soaked for what seemed like ages until my skin turned quite wrinkly, then I pulled my favorite emerald green chemise de nuit over my head and once again slid into bed.

What a turn of events….quiet contemplation and dullness, indeed! Silly Duchess!

Jul 22, 2007


I have been thinking a lot these past few days about beauty and beautiful things. Experiences that I have had in SL (in Caledon and outside of her lovely boundaries) and in RL have been on my mind.

Beauty is defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary in this way:

Pronunciation: 'byü-tE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural beauties
Etymology: Middle English beaute, bealte, from Anglo-French, from bel, beau beautiful, from Latin bellus pretty; akin to Latin bonus good -- more at BOUNTY
1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : LOVELINESS
2 : a beautiful person or thing; especially : a beautiful woman
3 : a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality
4 : a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example

Please allow me now set forward some examples for you.

Sitting in the open air beside a loved one at a summer outdoor concert, enjoying the music, watching the interactions of others around you. As you look up to the setting sun, the colors of the clouds are changing. Orange, peach, pink, purple. The rays of the sun falling through breaks in the clouds. The moon begins to rise. The wind is cool and gentle and you feel the kiss of it on your cheeks. As the sun falls below the horizon, the glow left behind caresses you and your loved one, and all those around you. Things that perhaps were not lovely before, have suddenly be recreated in this glow.


The smile in your lover's eyes as you embrace...as you look at one another unable to fathom how or why this love has come to pass, but oh so thankful that it has.


A Thing of Beauty

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

- By: John Keats


Journeying with a friend and finding new and lovely places to explore.

Somewhere in Metatheria


The grins on the faces of your children as you play Pirate with them. Little do they know how very much you enjoy being "Captain Puffy Pants" or the "Dread Pirate Roberts" as they create the story around you. You enjoy rescuing "Cheerleader Girl" as much as you enjoy capturing her and shooting your cannon at the good guys' ship.



Cygnets in Metatheria


Playing with friends

There is beauty even in being sunk by Miss Virrginia Tombola

Conducting an informal AAR on the iron clad battles with Miss Tombola and Colonel O'Toole



Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O Friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus,
and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.

From: Songs Of Kabir
Translated by Rabindranath Tagore
New York, The Macmillan Company 1915

Sitting on a Lilly Pad in Metatheria


Coming together to fight a terrible disease. A disease which has snuffed out the candles of many beautiful friends, and many more that we cannot know.

The crowd in Loch Avie for the SLRFL Compliments Contest

Sitting and listening to the fine compliments being handed out by Colonel Somme and Mr Drinkwater. Erasmus Margulis, Eva, Shylah Garmes, Zealot Benmergui (and others whom I do not recall - my apologies)


The thrill and beauty of competition

Mr Drinkwater compliments the Colonel's shoes



Colonels Somme and O'Toole, Loch Avie's Own; Mr JJ Drinkwater, and Sir ZenMondo Wormser

Many more friends listen as the turn of phrase leans to the dramatic...but only in a complimentary way


An embrace of a friend

Colonel Somme is declared the winner of the Compliments Contest

Good Sportsmen and good friends


Long-lasting love

My dear friends, (and the humans behind their avatars) celebrate 17 years of marriage. Calli and Exrex


Song of the Mystic - Beauty


And the child spoke unto the Mystic:

"Master speak to me of Beauty, for I have
yet to see the face of Her sacred soul."

And the Mystic answered, saying:

You are wrong my child; many were the
days when She smiled upon you, and you knew
it not.
Many were the nights when She whispered
the song of Life unto your ear, but always were
you asleep.
Be there something of more innocence than
the gentle cooing of a newborn babe?
Be there something of more purity than the
shadow of a woman's alluring smile?
Be there something of more tenderness
than the endearing look held in the eyes of a mother?
And is not the sum of such innocence, purity
and tenderness the essence of all Beauty?
Open the eyes of your soul, and Beauty shall
reveal Herself unto you.
Listen with the ears of your heart, and She
will sing Her silent melody.
And if you see Beauty where all others see
naught but ugliness, then truly do you look through
the loving eyes of God.

Excerpts from “The Prophet’s Candle” by Daniel

Jul 20, 2007

A New Addition to the Caledon Library

I am in receipt of an advanced copy of the newest edition of etiquette references for the Caledon Library. This particular selection will be housed in the Caledon Library Special Collections Branch in Tanglewood. I am sure this will come in handy for all those late night occasions, so please be sure to ask you nearest Reference Librarian to pull this one from the stacks for you.

Following is an excerpt from the contents page as was provided to me by the editor:

Colonel Somme's Caledon Compendium of Correct Behavior for All
Occasions: Chapter 14: What to Say to a Naked Duchess.
Section a: When Raving
1. In Caledon
2. Outside Caledon
Section b: When covered in mud
Section c: Aboard ship or in a dirigible

Happy researching Caledon!

Jul 17, 2007

The Court of Loch Avie

May I present to you the Court of Loch Avie and members of my clan.

The Duchess of Loch Avie; Lady Chief of Clan Bellambi: Her Grace, Eva Bellambi (Granddaughter of Duke of Carntaigh; Daughter of Duke of Loch Avie, James Fraser Bellambi)

The Countess of Inbhir Abigh; Officer of Clan Bellambi: Lady Kate Nicholas. (Distant relative of Her Grace, Claire Randall Bellambi; also a very distant relative of St. Nicholas hence her preferential use of the Slavic title, Графиня or Grafinya)

The Duchess of Carntaigh: Her Grace, Gabrielle Riel (Granddaughter of Duke of Carntaigh)

The Baron of Bardhaven: Lord Zealot Benmergui

The Baroness of Bardhaven: Lady Kirawill Collingwood

Knights of the Order of the Red Rose:
Sir Telemachus Dean
Sir Adso Krogstad
Sir ZenMondo Wormser

Caledon Lancers - Loch Avie's Own:
Hotspur O'Toole
Exrex Somme

A little poetry from Finland and Russia

Some discoveries are too good to keep to oneself. Here is a selection of poetry found during and just after my wonderful holiday in Helsinki. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.

If you love, love madly
If you threaten, threaten seriously
If you hurt, hurt in anger only
If you hit, hit with all your force
If you argue, argue bravely
If you punish, you should have a reason

When you forgive, forgive with all your heart
When you celebrate, celebrate till dawn

Aleksei K. Tolstoi

Niin kuin aalto uittaa aallon
yli valtameren,
niin selviydymme mekin
toinen toisiamme tukien.

Just as one wave carries another wave
Across the ocean,
So we, too, survive
One supporting the other.

Risto Rasa

Sano heti jos minä häiritsen,
hän sanoi astuessaan ovesta sisään,
niin minä lähden saman tien pois.

Sinä et ainoastaan häiritse,
minä vastasin,
sinä järkytät koko minun olemustani.

Tell me immediately if I'm disturbing you,
He said, coming in the door,
And I will leave right away.

You not only disturb,
I answered,
You shake my whole being.

Eeva Kilpi

Nukkumaan käydessä ajattelen:
Huomenna minä lämmitän saunan,
pidän itseäni hyvänä,
kävelytän, uitan, pesen,
kutsun itseni iltateelle,
puhuttelen ystävällisesti ja ihaillen, kehun:
Sinä pieni urhea nainen,
minä luotan sinuun.

Going to sleep, I think:
Tomorrow I will heat up the sauna,
Pamper myself,
Walk, swim, wash,
Invite myself to evening tea,

Speak to myself in a friendly and admiring way, praising:
You brave little woman,
I believe in you.

Eeva Kilpi

Sinun jäljiltäsi katson itseäni;
silmieni ympärillä onnelliset poimut.

After you, I look at myself;
Around my eyes, happy wrinkles.

Eeva Kilpi


This was too interesting and, well, cool for me NOT to post on my sight. Please find other information here. I also understand that Miss Fussbudget has started a thread on the Caledon Forums to allow for comparison and discussion.

So what do you think of my Dæmon?

Jul 15, 2007

A wonderful adventure

The trip home on the steamer took much longer than my travel to Finland via airships, but the rest and relaxation to be found aboard more than made up for the additional travel time.

To say that I enjoyed Helsinki and Finland would be an understatement. I found this Grand Duchy of Russia to be wonderfully full of culture and art; of music and dancing; of romance and literature. Her people were most gracious and kind.

Below are just some of the many things that I was able to do and see while traveling there.

The gentles with whom I came in contact during my holiday celebrated a proper tea each day. Here is one example of a Russian Tea/Coffee service from the 1850s. Simply wonderful!

This lovely table and chairs was found in the drawing room of one of the officers on Suomenlinna. I am told this piece was also brought from Russian at mid-century.

The Helsinki Cathedral and some wonderful examples of Russian/French architecture

Uspenski Cathedral. I attended vespers services with my Orthodox hosts at this magnificent church. I shall not soon forget the solemnity with which worship was conducted....a truly moving experience.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the opera in Helsinki and the ball which followed. The hall was so intricately designed and beautifully decorated that is nearly took my breath away. The opera presentation was of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden. As a guest of the Suomenlinna Commander and his family an escort for the evening was chosen for me. The gentleman proved to be a most delightful soul and was excellent company. His name was Alexai Kirillovich Vronsky, a very dark and dashing military officer.

Breath-taking view from the boxes at the Opera House.

Waiting for Vronsky to join us.

Enjoying the view at intermission with Vronsky

The ballroom

The last dance of the evening - and my trip to Finland.


Oh - and by the way.....shopping was no issue as the monetary exchange was nearby.

And now it is good to be home.

I shall be remarking on the Courts and titles issues soon. Unfortunately one of my court was left off the lists. Fortunately my court continues to grow.