Tuesday 27 May 2008

The excitement of waiting and the beauty of knowing

I bought this peony last year from a plant sale in the local church hall. The old man selling it couldn't remember what colour the flowers would be. He had a feeling it was a red peony. I bought it anyway. I don't really like too much red in the garden but the element of surprise and not wanting to say "no" to the seller was too much for me. So for a year I have waited. Watched the plant grow, eagerly awaiting the first buds and then trying to judge its colour by the tightly wrapped petals. It seemed as if the old man was right, judging by the outer petals on the bud it was going to be a bright, fiery red. As the buds increased I was becoming more and more excited by the prospect of a burst of fiery red blossom in the corner of the garden. The other day when the sun was at it's hottest the bud unfurled and this is what it revealed. Beautifully crisp, pure white , with the added bonus of those first few tantalising raspberry edged petals. A wonderful surprise, that was well worth the wait. I knew deep down it was going to be beautiful.

This weekend after weeks of frenzied emailing I finally got to meet this lovely lady I knew it was going to be a real treat but hadn't anticipated the flurry of mutual nerves and insecurities that this meeting would bring! A real attack of middle age crisis came over me and as the day approached and our emails became more and more hysterical I wondered where all this was coming from. Having swayed daily from wearing a diving suit, balaclava, and finally full bee-keeping suit complete with hood to meet Michele in, the mid week low came at breakfast:
Big Sister: "Mum you should wear your hair in a really tight pony tail on Saturday"
Mrs Ragged (very ragged) Roses: "Why?"
Big Sister: "Well it's meant to be as good as Botox and less painful than a face lift!" (said in all seriousness)
At which point M chokes on his muesli and I lose the will to live!

I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to let my daughters understand just how important it is not to get too hung up on appearances and here was I not exactly leading by example. Just why this was happening I couldn't understand until Saturday morning when order of some sort prevailed, when I put on my normal clothes, brushed my hair as normal, ditched the pony tail (!) and went to meet Mrs Custard - what I was feeling was sheer excitement (mixed with more than a tinge of not wanting to be a disappointment).

After months of reading each other's blogs and emailing and striking up such a warm affinity and friendship I really didn't want to be responsible for tarnishing any of that. Within minutes of meeting, finally meeting, all of those feelings were dispelled. Both Mr and Mrs Custard were just as I imagined - lovely, warm, kind and gentle people and it was I felt just a few minutes before we were able to continue where our emails had left off.

I am so grateful that they both made time in their very busy, and constantly changing, schedule to meet the Ragged Roses on Saturday. It was so good to finally meet up, to walk along chatting and laughing, to take them along to say hello to Emma and her gorgeous little boy (Emma we have fallen in love, big time with your little boy!). When they left for the next stage of their whirlwind tour, it felt like we were saying goodbye to old friends. I have so much to say about Saturday but in a way can't say it, it meant a lot to me ... not the most profound thing to say but perhaps the most honest. I have at times felt overwhelmed by the warmth and kindness of you fellow bloggers, "strangers" who have become friends. Now and again the line between "real life" and blogworld disappears - Ragged Roses becomes Kim and Cowboys & Custard becomes Michele and Sew Recycled becomes Emma - and favourite bloggers on your link bar have faces and voices and you know that, just like my peony, you were going to like them right from the start!


Carol said...

Hi Kim...how exiting...and I fully understand your nerves!
Your Peony is so very beautiful, what a wonderful suprise to get a white one...most of mine were pinks and purples and dark reds.
Have a great week.
Carol xx

Connie said...

Yes, I understand. We've been waiting for our transplanted peony for 2 years now and nothing has bloomed on it yet! Maybe this year. Love your blog and pix and your style of writing, sweet chickee!!

Tracy said...

How lovely...first meetings are so sweet, aren't they? So glad you got to meet Michele--so exciting! But that ponytail trick...I might have to let my hair grow long again now, see if it works ;o) The peony is a dream peony...you were right, it had to beautiful, and it is. I adore white and pink peonies especially. Your has such a haunting grace...Happy Day ((HUGS))

Heidi said...

What a wonderful blog entry! Yes, there are real people at the end of these bloglines. Many of them are warm, caring and loving people who strive for the very things we do. It is such a blessing that you were able to meet two of the bloggers. I have never been to either of their blogs but might have to stop in. Using your peony as a parable to these meetings is so sweet and to me 'so Kim'.

How is your weather over there? It is okay enough that you have this lovely flower to show for it. I love the little wisp of red in it.

Hugs ~

Garden Girl said...

What an exciting day it must have been for both you and the lovely Michele- I could tell from reading both your blogs religiously that you would both get on particularly well. I was saying to the lovely husband over lunch that I have been so incredibly touched by the kindness and best wishes from 'strangers who have become friends'. How did we ever survive without blogging?!
Beautiful peony as well- the flecks of red are the finishing touch.xxx

Cape Cod Washashore said...

How exciting to meet fellow bloggers! A ponytail, eh? I must try that one! =) I remember well my first meeting with a fellow blogger... I was so nervous (and I had just had my 4th baby, with all the weight associated with it still clinging to my thighs)! Despite living over 100 miles from one another, we discovered when we chatted at our first get-together that we grew up in neighboring towns! We may have even crossed paths as children at the local shopping malls! =)

Now that PEONY is gorgeous! Peonies were my late maternal grandmother's favorite flower, and I do have a sentimental fondness for them!

Unknown said...

:-) very smiley post

carolyn said...

Wow what a beautiful peony! Now I want a white one. So pleased that you and Mrs Custard got on well in real life, oh and by the way did you wear the pony tail?

Ali said...

How very true your words are.
I thought peonies took years from planting to blooming.

Unknown said...

Oh thank you for sharing with us your lovely meeting, I really enjoyed reading about your meeting with Michele.
Love the peony too, so nice to get something so unexpected.

Rosie x

Elizabethd said...

Your paeony is exquisite. Isnt it exciting waiting for them to bloom. We had the first flowers on a huge pink one this year, just like a mass of tissue paper.

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

How exciting to bring an online connection full circle like that.......that has yet to happen for me and any of my blog buddies, but it's nice to think about sometimes :)

Sal said...

So well written,Kim!
I've also managed to meet two fellow bloggers who happen to live in the same town as me... and it is just as you say...such lovely,caring people there are in blog world.
Your Peony is so perfect.

Cowboys and Custard Mercantile said...

Well dear Kim..
You have taken the words from me and all I can say is ditto ditto ditto...not nearly as eloquent as your beautifully written post.
I have a saying that always comes true and never more so.. ' All good things come to those who wait' .
It was a magical weekend and my only regret is that I couldn't stop the clock and spend more time with you and the charming Ragged Roses family.


pinkgreen said...

What a lovely, positive entry - it left me with a warm glow! I am glad you had such a lovely time meeting up with fellow bloggers - it must be a bit weird putting faces to names. Your peony is just beautiful.
Cathy X

Twiggy said...

Beautiful peony. Lovely description of your meet up too. It's funny isn't it when you feel you know someone and have never met them in person. You meet up and you're great friends. Magic :)
Twiggy x

Rosezilla (Tracie Walker) said...

That was a wonderful piece of writing, especially tying it in with the unexpected perfection of the peony. Isn't it a blessing discovering just how kind people can be?

Thimbleanna said...

Well, it's a good thing I hadn't just taken a swig of my favorite drink when I read your daughter's botox comment or my computer would be really wet. That's hysterical! And a comment that I must keep in mind. What fun to have a meet and so glad it went well. Oh, and beautiful peony -- one of my favorites!

Britt- Sparkled Vintage Charm said...

pretty pics!! love peonies! xo Britt :-)

meggie said...

How lovely to meet another couple of Blogging friends.
I just adore that Peony!!

jo said...

Lovely post, so glad you enjoyed your meeting. After 14 years I have buds on a peony in our garden. Will let you know what colour it is.

Louise said...

Kim, this is a great post. To compare the beautiful white peony to meeting Michele and Emma is a perfect comparison. Your nerves were understandable, I would be just the same. I would hate to disappoint too, so far I have relied on the anonymity that the blog gives me! I don't know Emma but I know Michele through her amusing posts, friendly correspondence and thoughtful gestures. What a fun person she is and surely a joy to meet. x

Rowan said...

The paeony is beautiful and the Botox remark just priceless - I laughed out loud at that:) Glad you enjoyed meeting Mrs Custard, I followed the link and found a lovely new-to-me blog - thank you.

Suzanne said...

Your white peony is beautiful. I was Jackie Kennedy's favorite flower.

My best friend in the whole world is someone I met online at a gardening forum. That was maybe 10 years ago. We have been through everything together and I'm forever grateful to the magic of the internet.

I'm glad you got to meet your friend and yes, I think everyone feels those butterflies.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Niki Fretwell said...

Hi Kim,
What a beautifully written post. How lovely for you to have met Mrs. Custard - I know how you must have felt (I too have met the lovely Michele) - I was sooo nervous, but she's such a calm, quiet, welcoming lady, isn't she?

Love the white Peony - they look magical in the moonlight.

Pondside said...

What a perfect peony! We don't see many white ones here - maninly pink or the deep red. Last night I transplanted one that didn't want to bloom where it was - I hope it will bloom in its new spot!
You certainly siad it 'just right' re meeting fellow bloggers. I've only met one, in Peru in January, and it was such a treat - that feeling of knowing, and ease with someone whose face says 'new friend' but who is otherwise quite intimately known!

Simone said...

Beautiful white peony. How lovely to meet fellow bloggers who have become friends.

Anonymous said...

What a beautifully written, warm post Kim, I loved reading that. Gorgeous peony too. Jackie Mx

Rubyred said...

Hi Kim,how lovely to meet Mrs Custard.So glad you got on well,some things are meant to be!What a lovely post!
Rachel x

April said...

Hi Kim,

Just wanted to let you know that I have tagged you on my blog, please have a look

April xx

Country Cottage Chic said...

What fun! I too have met the lovely Michele & she is just as you'd imagine...as are you too, I'm sure! Lucky girls getting to meet up.... I think we need a blogger's convention!

silverpebble said...

Such a lovely post. I've had a peony for three years and it's never got further than a few dried, sad-looking buds that have never opened. What a beautiful flower. Your meeting on Saturday sounds magical too.


Attic Clutter said...

Oh what a lovely written blog your meeting the fellow bloggers and the peony story ..OH I love it.. WHITE is so perfect(:) The kids suggesting the tight hair for a facelift(:) hehe KIDS~~
Glad you stopped in and I was reading your bio again an the carboot sales.. Oh how fun I remember my son's girlfriend in Scotland, Karen talked about the car boot sales (:) fun fun ..brought back some good memories~~
well enjoyed your blod and
hugs for now Patty

Berber said...

What a lovely post... I'm glad you had such a good time!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful peony :o) That must have been a really special surprise. Nurturing it and just waiting for its colors to show. Take care! xox, Linnea

Linda said...

Hi Kim,
What a lovely post, I love the peony just beautiful, I had to laugh at the ponytail story LOL, thank you for sharing with us your feelings on meeting a fellow blogger, I know for a fact that I would be nervious too in the same situation.
Hope you have a wonderful week.
Cheers Linda

Emma Herian said...

Oh My Kim! You have a wonderful way with words. It was so lovely to see you all again and to be honoured enough to be presented to Mrs Custard!
My little one would be in love with your two if he was a few years older, actually, he is now I think!
What a lovely peony surprise, would look great with a bunch of lavander! ;-)

Still up for that coffee on Tuesday?
Em x

Mrs.Kwitty said...

What a beautiful post--I'm a little misty-eyed right now.

Your peony is absolutely lovely--yeah!!

Smiles, Karen

dottycookie said...

It is so lovely to hear of people meeting fellow bloggers - it is quite a leap of faith but you're right, it has so far been nothing but joy to carry on conversations begun in email as if it's all quite normal!

Your peony is gorgeous.

Diane at Crafty Passions said...

I too have white peony's aren't they beautiful, they were my mother's favorite flower in my garden and I always brought her some blooms to enjoy.
Your blog is sweet,and yes I can understand the nervousness at the first meeting, but isin't that always the way, then you discover it was all for not.
Have a nice weekend.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous peony...i love the way they're over the top blowsy.
And the support form fellow bloggers is a wonderful, heartwarming thing, isn't it?
Margaret and Noreen

Anonymous said...

How lovely that you all got to meet. I've met Michele before, and know how lovely she is.

Its so great meeting like minded people in the flesh!

Ally Jay said...

It's good that names become faces and a bigger part of our lives. After all we are all connecting here in this space so it's only right to bring it into the real world. The peony is simply stunning.

Jennie said...

aww what a really lovely post!

kari and kijsa said...

The peony is beautiful...we LOVE those houses too!

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

smiles, kari & kijsa

Betty said...

I love this post Kim. I know about the nerves and all of that. I'd love to travel across the pond some day and meet up with you. I know that you are just as sweet in person!