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Showing posts from August, 2010

Chivalry...Modern manners, or not?

I was asked last week during a radio interview if I believed the "days of chivalry"are dead.  And in answering, I questioned how many of us these days actually know what chivalry is?   The Macquarie Dictionary advises that chivalry is first and foremost "the ideal qualifications of a knight, such as courtesy, generosity, valour, dexterity in arms"and that to be chivalrous a man would be "having good and polished manners, and a consideration of others".

But given that knighthoods and dexterity in arms have little to do with life in the 21st century, how relevant are the good and polished manners and consideration of others?

And how manners have changed.  In the early to mid 20th century it was considered polite for a gentleman when walking in the street with a lady to always walk on the outside of her, that is closer to the road.  This was to ensure that if there were splashes from horses or cars, the mud would not dirty her clothes.  These days the man i…

Brugge. Beauty, Elegance...and abundantly good manners

Brugge July 2010
I am in the very fortunate position of being able to travel regularly and usually once a year to Europe. And while I have, like everyone I’m sure, expectations, I must say that on my recent trip my expectations were surpassed in the beautiful city of Brugge.
I had been told by my companion, Damien, who despite living in Switzerland knew the city well from his childhood,  that it’s romantic nature rivalled that of Paris, and I was incredulous. But…for me, it certainly did. The beautiful canals, hidden gardens, tiny laneways, cobblestoned streets, discrete street lights, all combined to absolutely take my breath away.
And not only as a tourist. Somehow the spirit of Brugge touched my soul. I found the people to be absolutely charming, whether they were assisting us at our lovely hotel, the Martin’s Relais Oud Huis Amsterdam, or advising me with my choice of lace and tapestry, or kindly greeting us in the morning with our coffee and pastries.
And to wander in the late evenin…

Strawberries, an English Wedding and Manners...

( Dog &  Bear Hotel )
It’s some years since I have been able to enjoy the English countryside but a few days in Lenham, Kent reminded me of just how special it is to enjoy the hedgerows, quaint villages and lovely people...and at this time of year, strawberries, raspberries and cherries. I was there to attend a family wedding on a huge estate, complete with its own stunning little chapel and beautiful manor house. Truly a dream setting.

Many of the wedding guests were booked into the historic Dog and Bear hotel. After a couple of hectic days in London, and with the jetlag banished, the Aussie contingent settled into the hotel’s courtyard and commenced an impressive reduction of the bar’s champagne stocks.

The couple of days before the wedding were spent exploring the region by foot, car and train. The weather was Aussie hot and we were all surprised by the lack of rain. The morning of the wedding broke with a brilliant, blue sky and knowing that it was going to be a long day I to…