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?
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.