Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cinderella's Castle

As a tiny tot I was well and truly indoctrinated by the Cinderella story. I still live with the influences of the millions of times that I asked to hear that fantastical story over and over again. Those magical notions were compounded by the hundreds of times I read any version that I could get my hands on. The more elaborate the book’s illustrations the deeper I feel under the story’s unrealistic grip. My imagination has no problem conjuring a miserable three legged stool set in the ashes of an enormous fireplace, tiny green tendrils climbing over a pumpkin carriage, beautiful lace ribbons and silk bows adorning ball gowns, the glint of magic shinning in the glass slippers, the chiseled good looks of Prince Charming, and best of all, a castle magically hovering over The Realm. Because once you’ve meet Prince Charming you will soon be moving into your own Cinderella Castle.

How I thrilled to the last illustration at the end of the story when Cinderella passed through elegant gates thrown wide open for her triumphant entry. She had arrived. She was now the mistress of the castle and everyone would live happily ever after.

And so to this day I dream of entering the grand gate leading into my very own castle realm. Just ahead there will be a turreted castle floating a bit above the mundane earthling world. Passing through the enormous front doors there will be room after room to waltz in and out of, tiny wood paneled boudoirs followed by silk draped bedrooms, into an enormous
mirrored ballroom followed by a silver laden dinning room with seating for a hundred.

My mind runs run through this imaginative dream each time I drive past a castle. And here’s the problem, here in France the dream of owning a castle could actually come true. Well it could if one had enough money, enough energy, and If one was really and truly crazy. I’m pretty dang crazy, but some serious reality has kept me from falling off the cliff. But, like I said that reality doesn’t keep me from dreaming about all of the folly I could get myself into.
Like the other day as I turned the pages of the local paper and found a beautiful “home” for sale. Well not a home, a castle. Not being very discriminating I wasn’t bothered that it’s not all that old or that it’s architecture is all wrong for this region of stone and more stone. Three photos of Cinderella’s castle leapt off the page and I could picture myself right there opening the front door to welcome you in.
I immediately went to the real-estate web-site. Oh my it was beautiful. Gates entering onto a long treelined driveway, passing manicured gardens. The graveled courtyard stopping at the sweeping steps leading to the grand front door. So good so far, but maybe it was ugly inside….. but it continued to be the perfect dream. Just the right scale, just the right details, just the right light. Oh how wonderful it would be to be the one in charge of all of this.
Just then I could hear Tom coming into the house and I was embarrassed that I was going to be caught lost in internet real-estate world - looking at a castle no less. So I clicked off the page and scurried back to what I was supposed to be doing in the first place. Painting the back hallway. See, we have always done all of our remodeling, maintenance, gardening and housekeeping. 

I grumbled along painting the bottom half of the wall dreading the moment when I had to get up on a chair to paint the top half. I’m not getting any younger and my muscles were going to be sore and  I might even loose my balance and fall. Then there were the tiny paint splashes that I was going to have to scrub on my hands and knees. I’d never get my knees unfolded after that job. On top of all this moaning It was getting late in the afternoon and a gang was meeting at the bar. But no, I had to stay here like Cinderella scrubbing the floor so I could move the furniture back to the hall, so I could find my bedroom. I was certain that everyone else was having a ball.

Oh dang my dreams of Cinderella were coming true just not the right end of the story.

In the end the hallway only took an hour to paint and clean. I got everything back in place and stood back to look at my job well done. Thank goodness for small spaces and tiny furniture. That left me with just enough time to trim up my two window boxes and pop something on the stove for dinner. It would be just the two of us at our table for four. All this before the clock struck 5:30 and I could still make it up to the bar.

What had I been thinking when I looked at that castle with 50 rooms and 40 hectares of gardens. I couldn’t even bear to count the number of windows where I might want to put window boxes or have to clean, Surely at some point most of those windows would stick and someone would have to unstick them. Wonder who that would be……? Tom…….
I guess we missed our time for being the owners of a castle. We’ve had lots of fairy godmothers, but they had the good sense to always keep us humble and living within our means. Tom’s so sweet he’ll say we already have our castle anyway. All 1200 sq ft of it. Just enough for a starving artist and his bonne vivante side kick. At least we have big gates to enter into even if they are a bit rusty and off kilter - they do lead into a most smallish, elegant, garden and there is our realm.

just in case you want a little dream time -- just don’t get caught when you should be working........

thank you to Sharon Santoni for her beautiful blog where you can find a real fairy tale castle where you can stay

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