You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends

And how rare and strange it is, to find

In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends…

To find a friend who has these qualities,

Who has, and gives

Those qualities, upon which friendship lives.

T.S. Eliot


I joined two friends for tea yesterday, at Oatlands, in beautiful Leesburg, in Loudoun County,Va. Mrs. Eustis’ former home is a photographer’s dream, flora (and fauna) abound. An easel would not be out of place anywhere on the property- a pleine aire artist would find endless inspiration here.

A photographer would be in heaven here- as long as that photographer remembers extra batteries for her camera!! An amateur’s little camera with 700 picture capacity is not much good, when you get to picture # 40 and the camera goes to sleep on that perfect shot!!!

We three girls met for 1:00 tea, in my old stomping ground. As I drove down the long gravelled drive, memories flooded my brain- the Point to Point Races were last week – and the Loudoun Hunt pickup truck was on the grounds.  Hoof prints could still be seen in the gravel, harkening back to an era when horseshoe prints were the norm up this drive.

We met  at the entrance and were preceded by an entourage of vibrantly hued Red Hat ladies, gathering for their 1:00 tea. That group gave the outdoor blossoms some competiton, the bleeding hearts and wild violets had nothing on these ladies’ vivid attire!

We were led to our table, with delicate bone china tea cups, and teapots protectively enveloped in tea cozies made by a woman of my acquaintance. A 3 tier silver dessert tray followed immediately, with tiny cucumber sandwiches, bite sized smoked salmon, scones with clotted cream and jam, and many other goodies flavored with my favorite – chocolate! The teapot was never empty, and the waitress was happy to take each of our cameras and take group photos! She was very knowledgeable about the different cameras (I even learned something new!), but, not once, not twice, but 3 times, the theme song from The Andy Griffith Show emanated from her apron pocket! The familiar tune broke the soothing rhythm of the soft classical notes floating thru the tea room. Red faced, the waitress apologised- even tho she was an expert at serving tea and working the different cameras – it seems she could not remember to silence her cell phone and put it on vibrate!! We all had a good laugh about that, the waitress included!

The food was delicious, the ambience superb, we exchanged gifts and  zentangles, then put our goodies in the car and took a walk around the grounds.

It was a beautiful, warm day- almost summer. We strolled around to the giant ginko tree, and thru the Potting Shed where we all purchased garden stakes with orbs that promised to glow in the dark. Well, as of last night, after being in the sun, when darkness fell, the only orb glowing, was the full moon in the night sky, not any of the garden stakes we bought!!! They are awfully cute in the daytime garden tho – and when we look upon them, we three will think of the fun time we had.

It came time to go our separate ways- and me with the 2 hour drive home!

It is hard to get me out of the house, when I get out, I have a great time and am glad I went. But, when it is time to go home, it is like there is a giant magnet drawing me back. The ride home always seems quicker!

Somebody once said, (it might have been Thoreau, but don’t quote me-) that they were so afraid they might miss something, if they stayed away too long. That is exactly how I feel, here in the country.

Loudoun has my heart, but now, Rockingham has my soul…………………

And, all is well at Mountain Meadows still………………………..