Thursday, March 18, 2010


Doors are curious creatures. A puzzle. An invitation. A Prison. Protection. Art. Functional. Hand crafted and if hung well,  last centuries.

A friend and I spent 5 weeks in the UK, April 2000. I'm grateful for the experience, thankful Loverby let me have this adventure with two young daughters left to care for at home.

A photo album stuffed with cut out shapes and pictures of doors freezes the memory for me. Why doors? Were rolls and rolls of film wasted?

We allowed ourselves one castle, Blenheim Palace. And one cathedral, Yorkminster. We had no pre- arranged reservations, only a Rick Steve's book. We landed in London then looped up through Oxford, the Cotswolds, Bath, Stratford upon Avon, north to York and across the border to Pitlochery. Edinburough, Inverness, and Cromarty. South again to Glencoe, Oban, Stirling and Glasgow. Ferry to Belfast looping north to the Giant's Causeway and the land of Finn McCoul and whisky barrels full of what tasted to us like paint thinner. South to Donnegal then back to Belfast for the ferry, before meandering towards our last week in London. 

It was this time of year. Volunteer daffodils were chirping spring, leading us on to the next patch of doors.

Every door we opened was a new one; a deli, a chocolate shop, a tea house, gift shop, museum, thrift store, bed and breakfast, church, information booth, gallery, palace, cathedral or gate to a grave yard.

We went through countless doors, yet even towards the last part of the trip, it hadn't become easier. Never knowing what was beyond the door on the other side became a bit wearing. Or maybe it was driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the street that was tiring?
Curiosity trumped fear and fatigue. When I felt too tired to be enchanted once more, the other side of the next door beckoned. There would be a fantastic person, experience or bit of history to be introduced to. Something to be amazed with. Sometimes it was a simple thing that caused our jaws to drop. At times it was a staggering piece of history encapsulated.

The offering of a warm cuppa, a biscuit, a smile ~ meeting us at the end of the weary worn day ~ these doors are what I remember most. Easy to knock on with a warm, sincere welcome from a kind host with a generous heart. The small amount of money we left them for our room could not have covered the clean sheets and huge breakfast the next morning. We never felt like an inconvenience or trouble.

Only pure hospitality makes the guest forget to feel beholden.

Those were the loveliest doors. Plain and lovely.

I have a few unknown doors to walk through. It's still intimidating. I'm trusting there will be a friendly face on the other side, offering warmth to fend off the cold loneliness of being a traveler.


Maureen said...

In the U.K., especially the castles, you cannot count all the doors. There's history behind them all.

I'm a sucker for doors, for what they open into when you collect enough of yourself to step over the threshold. I'm facing a big one on November 2, 2012. I plan to spend it somewhere like Tuscany with a bunch of other women (want to come?) who like opening doors, too.

S. Etole said...

"Only pure hospitality makes the guest forget to feel beholden." There's so much gift in this statement. And your doors just beckon to be opened.

lau.mett said...

I am in love with this. Doors=invitation. Let us hope for welcome! "And the loftiest hope is the surest of being fulfilled." -George MacDonald

Anonymous said...

I love you!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous = Amber

Anonymous said...

oooh this is good.
good good good.

Susan Deborah said...

Doors fascinate me as well. I have written about them in my blog some time ago.

Loved your description.

Joy always,

Anonymous said...


Cheryl Smith said...

Beautiful photos and an insightful perspective. Like S. Etole, I loved the phrase, "Only pure hospitality makes the guest forget to feel beholden."

So happy to find you through High Calling Blogs!

Kathleen said...

Thanks ladies. Maureen, this was profound, "I'm a sucker for doors, for what they open into when you collect enough of yourself to step over the threshold."

Laura said...

Girl, I'm salivating with envy! What a lovely gift to yourself. Memories increase in value over time, you know!

Love these doors. I have that affinity too. Way too many pics, but I love every one!

Joy said...

What a lovely collection. I have an old journal somewhere with a bunch of doors cut out of magazines--I was entranced with them a few years back.

I think it is, as you said, "for what they open into"...loved imagining what could be behind them. Your blog is, always, just such a door!