The Wardrobe Mistress and the Monk

Anne and Ron rolled up last night.  I was cooking dinner so Ger went out to do the meet and greet. We often take it in turns.

So who are Anne and Ron? In their email they described themselves as two senior citizens visiting Ron’s homeland. They told me they were very excited about booking a night in our gypsy wagon.

All well and good. A lot of guests pass through the gates of our little glamping site in the Summer. Most of them are young couples, or friends on holiday together.

Ger returned twenty minutes later. ‘They’re lovely,’ he said.

‘Good,’ I said, shaking the sweet potatoes. ‘Do they want tea or coffee.’

‘I don’t know.’

‘OK go and ask,’ I said, putting on the kettle. Lately I’ve found that people have been leaving my chocolate brownies so I baked cookies instead. I was keen for the guests to try them out.

Ten minutes later, Ger returned. ‘Ron will have tea,’ he said. ‘Anne has gone to bed.’

‘That was quick. Is she OK?’

‘Yea, she loves it here. She’s always wanted to stay in a gypsy wagon ever since she ran away with the carnival at the age of seventeen.’

Carnival?? Double take. This sure is a new one to me.

Intrigued, I volunteered to carry the tea-tray down to the orchard, I encountered Ron -deep in conversation with the lovely French couple staying in our caravan.

First impression- he looked like a wizard with a walking stick.

He told me to drop the tea into the wagon. Slightly uncomfortable as I knew Anne had gone to bed, I knocked on the door and introduced myself.

Ann climbed out of bed and took the tea. She was wearing a full length white cotton nightdress. She looked like a teenager who, unaccountably, has become a senior.  I could clearly see the girl she once was. Slight, fair-haired, impish smile. I could imagine her running away with the carnival.

I have a golden rule when it comes to guests. I do not ask personal questions.  If people want to talk about their lives, their families, their jobs, then I’m happy to listen but I will not ask.

This time was different.  I REALLY wanted to know about that carnival.

The night passed. Ger brought their breakfast to the wagon this morning. Ron was wearing a long red tartan nightshirt. Anne had slept well.



Turns out Anne worked for a freak show in the carnival as the ‘Amazing  Elastic Lady’.  (Ger has less qualms asking personal stuff than me!)

Ger and I had an appointment at 10.a.m, so we said our goodbyes and drove off. We felt sad that we didn’t have more time to talk.

As luck would have it, we met them driving along our one track road on our way back home. Ger pulled into the verge to enable them to pass and wound down the window.

They said they were sad to go. They had enjoyed their stay.  We said that we had enjoyed having them. Then Ger asked Ron if he had worked for the carnival too.

No. He had done various things. Mostly followed where the Spirit led. The Spirit led him into a long stint of nursing. He had also also been a Cistercian Monk for twelve years.

After she finished with the freak show, the elastic lady had become a WARDROBE MISTRESS. So cool. I am blown away by this. It ranks as dream job number 7 on my list.

(more about dream job number one another time)

So there we have it. Anne and Ron. The Wardrobe Mistress and the Monk. This amazing couple who drifted briefly through our door and filled us with curiosity about the variousness of life.

The link between any of this and fashion is extremely tenuous.

Yes, there were two long nightdresses, some elastic and a lifetime of costume making. No more.

But, hey, fashion friday is like that.

See you all next week!



























41 thoughts on “The Wardrobe Mistress and the Monk

    1. It’s funny. The longer I do this, the more I am convinced that everyone has a story to tell. Honestly- you do meet the odd guest who is a bit of a pain, but most people are just lovely. Sometimes I think we should be paying them and not the other way round!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Another great story and pic, Marie!

    But you don’t ask your guests personal questions? That probably makes you unique in Kerry. I always assumed being in Kerry meant telling my entire life’s story to at least three complete strangers every day! Not that Kerry people are nosey or anything…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic story! What a truly interesting story!

    By the by, I love that you don’t pry into people’s personal lives. I think that makes you the MAJESTIC UNICORN of hostesses! 🙂
    Happy weekend, Shea!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Words alone can’t convey how much we enjoyed our all-too-short stay at Chez Shea! From the incredibly cool gypsy wagon to the delectable cookies to the Best Breakfast we had whilst in Ireland it was fantastic!

    I was actually 19 when I ran away to join the carnival as, initially, “The Girl With the Yellow Elastic Tissue” (who can actually bend, tie, twist, and contort her body into more knots then 10 sailors can tie in 100 feet of rope) and, shortly thereafter, as the “Electric Lady” (who you will see light torches from the touch of her finger and from the most sensitive part of the human body [pause] the human tongue). My partner that summer was the Fire-Eater and he’d take the torch I’d lit and “eat” the fire. That adventure began precisely 50 years ago and ended when it was time for me to return to college. 42 years toiling in Corporate Amerika didn’t extinguish the spark, as I had the joy of working as a costume mistress for various local theatre groups in my 40s.

    Now approaching the Big 70, all I can say is that life is a trip and every mundane moment can become electric if you open your heart to the Cosmos!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Anne- thanks so much for your comment- and more of your amazing story. Did you ever consider writing your memoirs? I think it would be fascinating. It was an honour to meet you and Ron. You are both inspirational people.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You are an inspiration to us all! Our spark often seems so easily extinguished and opening our hearts to the Cosmos can feel not just impossible but unthinkable, but electrifying mundane moments remains something I strive for and sometimes achieve.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I think of it often, Marie, and people who know me have said for decades that my life would make a great book. I’m concentrating now on doing and going and moving while my body’s still willing. I’m still collecting adventures to prove that life can get better at 70. The camel ride in the Moroccan desert at sunset was another fond memory – one of thousands. Life is SO MUCH FUN!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Marie, Great Books are made from characters such as this – just mix in a little imagination. I love your caravan and maybe someday, Charley and I will plan a trip back to Ireland and have a gypsy adventure at Chez Shea. Just Lovely

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow I’ve never heard of a gypsy caravan bnb before…how awesome is that! I would definitely want to spend the night. You could probably write a book regarding all your guests and all the walks of life they have come from…how cool was it of Ms. Henderson to reply to your post!! Lovely story and I know there will be many more to come! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I adore this chance meeting! Their picture is so striking and they are glowing from enjoying their time spent in your gypsy wagon, I am certain. The stories they have to tell.

    Cheers to fashion in all forms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I was really struck by how youthful Anne and Ron are. It’s lovely to see people out there enjoying life to the full.


  8. What an amazing and wonderful story! They seem like such neat people, and seriously, how neat do you have to be to let people take pics of you in your jammies, let alone post them on the Internet! Wonderfully laid back, lol. 🙂 I will never be that cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wanted to let you know that Ron was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September of 2017. Chemo seemed to be helping, according to test results, but he died very unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve of 2017. One of our favorite memories of Ireland was our one night stay in your marvelous gypsy caravan and we must have shared your blog article with everyone we knew [and several we didn’t know]. It’s so sweet that I can access the page and read the fabulous comments others have left. Peace, love, and light to you and yours!!


  10. Anne- I am so very sorry to hear that Ron has passed away. Thank you so much for getting in touch. Meeting you both was a real inspiration. Apart from anything else, you just radiated such happiness together. I am so pleased my little post gave you both some pleasure and that you have good memories of your stay in Ireland. Lots of love to you. Marie


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