I have this lovely friend called Jo and if you say things like, “I would like to learn to play the harp. Do you know anyone who knows about harps?” she says things like, “As it happens I know a lovely harpist and she will be at my knitting group on Thursday. Come and meet her.” And if you say things like, “I saw a beautiful scarf the other day that was a sort of beetrooty red”, she says things like, “Why, how odd, I was just about to dye some things beetrooty red. Come over and I will show you how”.
So yesterday, when I had nothing in particular to do, Jo rang me up and said, “I am driving up into the mountains this evening because my friend Mirakye is celebrating the opening of her newly expanded shop. I don’t suppose you would like to come?” (Epoche, the shop, is one of my favourite places ever – a little wonderland of felt, wood, beeswax and handmade goodness and magic.) So of course I said, “Yes! Yes, I would!”
Then Jo said, “The only thing is, I am telling a story at a church beforehand. Would you mind listening to me tell a story?” (Jo is a proper storyteller and I’ve heard her tell quite a few times before and I really love her stories.) So of course I said, “No! No, I wouldn’t mind a bit!”
Then Jo said, “Also I might need a bit of time before telling my story to think quietly about it. But there is a twilight market on at the church so maybe you could have a little look around.” (Twilight markets are one of a few of my absolute favourite things.) So I bet you can imagine exactly what I said.
The twilight market was the very best sort – small, with homemade things and plants and knitting and jars of jam and marmalade. I bought lots of things including some beautiful cards and advent calendars
Then there was just time to buy a couple of raffle tickets before Jo began her amazing story and filled everyone’s minds with magical golden basins and lions with manes of snakes and irresistibly delicious lark pies. She had us all eating out of her hand (and slightly wishing there were some lark pies in there…)
Next the raffle was drawn and, well, perhaps you have guessed the lovely thing that happened? I won something! And not just anything…
but a wonderful wooden Ostheimer angel, of just the sort I have wanted ever since I knew Ostheimer was a thing but could never begin to justify actually buying for myself…
and a beautiful Christmas book, The Holy Night, written by Swedish children’s writer Selma Lagerlöf and illustrated by Ilon Wikland. I especially love these wintery little angels on the back.
I think the prize was donated by a lovely shop called Honeybee Toys where, funnily enough, I put in an order for a Christmas gift just a week or two ago! But if there wasn’t a bit of magic involved somewhere on its way into my hands, I will cheerfully eat both my Selma Lagerlöf book AND my wooden Ostheimer angel. And we both know I am not about to do that.
After that we went up to Epoche which, instead of being tucked away like a precious jewel behind the main road in Kallista as it used to be, is now resplendent like a jewelled crown at the top of the street! I think a lot more people will get to see its new incarnation and experience what an incredibly special space it is. It was all lit up with candles and full of lots of people, grown and small, who had also come to celebrate the opening. There was wonderful, soulful singing and champagne and at the centre of it all, Mirakye herself, radiant with the happiness of her new creation. And rightly so.
I fear she will wake up today to find nothing left in her shop but a few wisps of wool and a drip or two of beeswax, because everybody wanted everything they saw! I did some more Christmas shopping including this heart-melting little doll…
and some more cards and some snowflakes to put in my windows.
When we were driving home in the drizzle, Jo said to me, “Did we just party together?”
And though I really, really don’t do parties (or anything that even slightly resembles them) I had to say, “Yes, Jo! Yes, I think we did!”