Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I am writing from the freezing temperatures of Bavaria with the Duke of Albany resting his head on my stomach as we warm ourselves after a day in the snow. We have visited distant relations in various palaces in between dodging the heavy snowfall that has yet to relent. 

It is so wonderful to have the Duke to myself again, truly we have the time to appreciate each other when on the Continent and for the next few days there is nothing to distract us from our more hedonistic lifestyle. It's lovely to be somewhere new again and I've made my gratitude to the Duke well known; I still can't believe he kept this a secret from me for all those weeks! 

Bavaria reminds me of the City of A Hundred Spires where I spent much of my early romance with the Duke. It too is a stunning city with buildings to inspire my writing, with a rich history that one couldn't have imagined, but more than anything it reminds me of why I love to travel and to live abroad. 

The Duke and I have given it much thought and though we are not sure whether or not we shall stay in the Northern counties for another year or so, there is talk of moving abroad again, which gives me much hope. I know there was a time when I wanted to call one country my home, but it seems I have a nomadic heart and as long as I have my Duke with me, I feel that I could take on the world. 

And why shouldn't I?

I plan on fulfilling these resolutions for next year... I'm not as perfect as I often claim, and what is life if not striving for a more fantastical year ahead. 

1. To travel to cities with friends and make memories. 

2. To save some money for the future... I cannot keep living this hedonistic lifestyle without recompense, for indeed I have fear of the debt collectors keeping me from my first resolution! 

3. To be happier and more patient. Though they are not one and the same I do believe that counting to ten before reacting will give me a little more peace of mind and essentially more happiness. 

4.  To work a little harder in everything I start. Whether that be writing, teaching, studying, research, I fully intend to give it my utmost. 

These are my new resolutions, and if you know me at all, I believe they are completely justified. 

Are yours? 

D. S. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas and a happy new year! 

I've had a wonderful time with my family and friends over the last few days and now I'm relaxing in the strong arms of my beloved Duke as we relive the memories we've made over the past year. 

He's opened up about my surprise and I'm delighted to announce we're off to Bavaria tomorrow! I'm utterly overjoyed with his choice and am frantically packing. I've heard there is an abundance of snow and I can't wait to travel to somewhere new!! 

I am very lucky to have the Duke of Albany in my life. 

In other news... I've had the privilege of one of my short stories being published with the help of an esteemed writer. It is only a small stepping stone but it is the greatest encouragement to my craft and I look forward to more writing while staring over the Bavarian mountains. 

D. S. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Another evening swiftly passes and with it a day closer to the surprise that the Duke of Albany is keeping hidden closely to his chest. We return to the Shire the day after next to spend the Christmas festivities with my Father and Brother, for my Mother still dwells on the Antipodean shores and his family reside in the mountains of Bohemia. 

It is our second Christmas together and I can only hope it is as magical as last winter. Though it feels like not much has changed over the past year, we have traveled many miles to be where we are today. There have been a few difficulties as the Duke and I have taken the time to get used to the northern counties; I do sometimes forget how lucky I am to have the Duke in the same country as me. We went so many months without each other last year that it seems strange to think after only four months I already take him for granted. My love for him has not diminished, in fact we are most inclined to spend our evenings cuddled up together in bed, but this surprise might be just what we both desire to reignite our passions. 

It's difficult to explain... I suppose love happens this way; the passions which burn bright at the start of the relationship tend to wane under the comfortable blanket of time. I sincerely hope that this surprise will be enough to reignite the fires of our love.

I had the pleasure of the Marquessa yesterday. We dined and drank and made pleasant conversation about our lives. It amazes me how time waits for no man, nor woman,  and we reminisced about how our lives have changed. The Winter Solstice is always a time for remembering, and I take back what I said, I do love my life, but it, nor I, are by any means perfect. 

I shall being to ponder upon my new years resolutions... And wonder where in the world I shall drink that first glass of champagne.

D. S.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A mere ten days keep me from the Lord's day of birth, and a celebration of Christmas festivities. The Duke of Albany and I have spent a wonderful weekend together making sure we have all our gifts for our families and friends, as well as rekindling our love. 

He has kept me in suspense regarding our New Years rendez vous, and I am more than happy to keep it that way. All I have been told is to be prepared for a journey and to pack accordingly. The Duke knows how I adore to travel so wherever he choose I know I will  fall in love with, adding to my already great fondness for certain countries.

I have heard from the delightful Lady of Corcaigh who has written in the hope of making arrangements for next Spring. I have acquiesced, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because I would very much like to see her and reminisce about our time in Bohemia. Never shall I forget that time she made me drink more than is sensible... I can only imagine our reunion to be just as eventful.

Christmas is always such an interesting time, new beginnings should be forming as I look to my resolutions, but my life is rather wonderful and there is nothing that I would change. I hope not to instigate any hubris for my feelings of content, but rather off up my happiness and to give thanks for my life. 

Truly, I am most grateful to be where I am.

D. S.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Weeks go by and nothing changes in my life but one weekend is enough to make quite the difference. 

I returned to the Shire to celebrate my Father's birthday and to reunite with my wonderful brunette and a gentleman or two from home. We sang and we danced and we made light of some very deep conversations and topics, but I wouldn't expect anything less (or more) from my darlings in the Shire. From Christmas half a decade past, though we have all gone our separate ways, it seems that not enough changes when we are all reunited! But it is somewhat reassuring to think that our friendships have spanned and survived through the passing of time.

I left the Duke of Albany behind, not because of any quarrel but because he sought some time alone to organise our Christmas and winter festivities. I had wanted to take charge myself but was refused that privilege, being told to enjoy the unknown. 

Africa is completely off the cards as Father has discovered that he has other commitments which means he cannot take the time off. My brother has also claimed to be too busy and though I am somewhat disappointed, I'm excited to think of what the Duke may be planning. Most people know how much I do enjoy a surprise, and I've never before allowed a man to take this much control. 

We've talked about the Duke's family coming to the Shire but it seems there is fear of an abundance of snow and to be trapped worlds apart from your home is not something I wish to inflict on any family or friends of mine. So Christmas itself will be spent with my family and friends but the New Year is his to create an everlasting memory.

Anyway, I have returned to the Northern counties for a fortnight of winter festivities (though I have been unfortunate enough to lose my voice!) and to keep the masses entertained. I look forward to what the future has to hold!

D. S.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My first week in a brand new location as a brand new educator, making the most of my new role (which I can say no more about) has been fabulous. I wish I could divulge more but it is not my place to say, other than I am enjoying my Royal charge duties as a Lady-in-Waiting.

The northern counties have always been good to me, but this time round I definitely feel as if I am in more control than ever before. I've always been somewhat demanding and stubborn (you may feel a twinge of pity for the Duke of Albany and his unlimited patience) but I don't think I'd have got to where I am without those personality traits. 

I do miss the northern ladies who I graced the city with last month for we have all gone our separate ways, and though we are all on similar journeys we have to do this part all on our own. I wish them the very best and I hope to hear from them soon, though Christmas will no doubt be an even bigger distraction.

Ahh, Christmas... It seems that Africa is off the cards and I have to admit that I am more than a little disappointed not to return to the land of my heart. But it means the Duke and I can plan our jaunt across the Continent to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and wander through the historic streets of our ancestors. Actually... I can't wait!

D. S.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How the wind howls in the parapets as I write my notes and diarise my life. It always surprises me how quickly time passes, especially when I think back to the first ever entry I wrote.

I was a different person then.

I never would have thought I would find a man of stature to claim my heart - I fantasized about the musician and various highly lauded men, but since I found my very own Duke of Albany in the depths of Bohemia, whose charms beguile me so, I care not for the suitors of ages past. 

Happy to while away the hours in his company and discuss our penchant for disguise, the Duke and I have a relationship that has transgressed space and time. We have survived long distance and made commitments to each other as we have built a home together. 

Of course there are tense moments, but just because the lioness will not always bow down to her lion does not impede the love we have for each other. Though sometimes it amazes me that I have followed this domestic life at all after the travelling I have done, the places I have seen and the people I have met. 

But, I couldn't be happier.


I just blushed as I reread this morning's entry - what a soft heart I do have when watching the Duke at work. 

In other news Africa is still on the cards but more tentatively so. I doubt we will make it there for the end of the year, so I am once again looking at travelling across the Continent to enjoy the snows of Austro-Hungary. 

Though my writing has taken a slight rallentando in my life, I am pleased to announce that the esteemed publisher is still interested and hasn't given up on me, for which I am eternally grateful. My writing is still something that gives me great pleasure and I don't spend a day without thinking of a new way for words to marry, but my actual writing time has decreased dramatically from this time last year. 

As I've said many times before... How time flies!

D. S.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I definitely spoke too soon! Minutes after I wrote my last post I ventured outside and was stunned by the freezing nature of the wind. The sun was certainly much more deceptive than I'd anticipated, and I have yet to leave my premises without my furs ever since!

It has been a tumultuous ten days; my workload is bearable if continuous, and there are not often times enough to relax in between. Despite being in close quarter with the Duke of Albany, it has been far too long since last had the opportunity to do nothing but lie in each others' arms. This weekend, we shall savour the time we have together and make the most of the cold winter mornings  before Monday looms again.

I'm hoping to hear from Belle today, we have once again managed to go a month without seeing each other, and I miss her optimism and her opinions ~ I must confess she is a master manipulator with the Duke, whereas he can see straight through me, and more often than not ignores me! It is not out of spite, but out of over-familiarity, or at least I assume as much.

The question of Africa still has no answer; my brother is not to fond of the idea of the expedition and quite rightly my Father doesn't want to go without both his children... Indeed, even Mother (though she is 12, 000 miles away) has given her tuppence worth and doesn't think such a massive jaunt is a good idea.

If it were up to me I'd have made the arrangements weeks ago when the invitation had first been opened, but then I am a little more spontaneous (and it hadn't ever occurred to me that the Duke may not want to leave his family for Christmas). So now I wait in Limbo, though travels are a must for the fortnight of escape I have to look forward to. Whether the Duke and I journey over to the Continent or further afield doesn't dampen my spirits, as long as I am not holed up in the South Wing watching the snow fall.

It is far too cold to not have something to look forward to!

D. S.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

To think we are on the cusp of winter and it is still warm enough not to wear fur in the day time! It is a stark contrast to the Bohemian winter I endured last year, when the snows were already threatening and the days themselves were grey and dark.

It is a time for seeing old friends as the end of the year creeps upon us, and I had the wonderful pleasure of the Duchess of Tuthershire this past weekend. It is always a pleasure to see her, we laugh and chatter like no time has passed, and it is a delightful feeling to know that some friendships are forever.

She kept me up to date with her life in the Capital, and we gossiped about our last night out together where we made a secret cellar our home for the evening. She talks about her need to travel, with which I can completely sympathise, though she doesn't have the responsibilities that I do to tie her down ~I must admit I am a little envious, for there was a time when the world was my oyster...

Do not think I am discouraged in my own endeavours! I still adore my position as Lady-in-Waiting and the home that the Duke and I have built together. I don't think I will ever 'grow out' of my need to explore, my wanderlust.

Speaking of journeys, Christmas is still the talk of the household. Of course the servants want to know if they have to prepare for the Duke's family to come here from Bohemia, or if the Duke and I are to return to the Shire, or indeed if we are to go further afield to the Sub-Saharan plains.

I'm afraid I still cannot answer this question for there are too many variables to take into account, but no doubt all will be decided at the last minute. Thankfully it is not I (for a change) who is holding up the decision-making-process, for I have cast my vote for Africa. I want to go back after all these years. I want to feel the red soil and yellow grass beneath my feet and listen to the vastness.

It has been long enough.

D. S.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Of course a decision regarding the Christmas tidings has not yet been made. There is not enough time to squeeze everything in, and I have never been any good at prioritising. My two main concerns are making sure I get to spend some of the fortnight with the Duke and my family. With his family still travelling to the Shire from Bohemia I don't have to worry about seeing them on the Continent for when I see the Duke I shall see them, but it may be fleeting if the Duke and I decide to continue on to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

I don't want to have to choose between my family and the Duke of Albany's family, or even between my Father and my lover. I couldn't think of anything worse! Nevertheless, I feel without a very strict schedule, this Christmas may be a lot more trouble than last year's.

The Duke has actually left me to my own devices (no, not for good, only for a few days!) because he's seen how much work I have to do. He's making the most of his jaunt to see a few friends in the Shire, and though I wish I could have joined him, I'm enjoying the solitude. 

I say solitude... This weekend past I had the immense pleasure of throwing a Ladies Only Ball. I invited those who are in the same position as I and made them promise to dress up to the nines, even if it was only for ourselves. We also made a pact not to talk about the position of authority we shall eventually be undertaking, and just revel in being alive in a time of greatness.

The delightful ladies not only dolled themselves up so much so that they were almost unrecognisable for their beauty, but we drank and danced like it was our last night in this world. I had a delicious night and certainly felt a closer bond with those fabulous ladies as we twirled and frolicked to our hearts' content. My head may have been pounding the following day (and even now, two days later I don't feel one hundred percent) but it was completely worth it.

I just can't wait to do it all again, though we may have to wait a few months to recover!

D. S.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The weeks are flying by and there is more and more talk of the Christmas festivities. Father has even introduced the idea of travelling South for the winter and meeting up with friends and family in the Southern Hemisphere. Not the Antipodes however, Mother will stay with her new found 'friends' on the side of the ever-expanding world. Father is talking about his beloved Africa. His home. And what was once my home, my childhood home. 

At first I was very excited to return; imagine going back somewhere you haven't set foot in fifteen years! But now I have a few trepidations ~ what if I fall back in love with Africa? What if it is not as wonderful as I remember? What if I want to stay?

I know myself well enough (now!) to fear my spontaneity. Only sometimes. But this could be one of those times. 

The Duke of Albany and I had talked about spending the new year in a castle amongst the Austro-Hungarian Empire and he's already expressed his disappointment if we do not go. There isn't enough time to do everything! The two of us only have a fortnight to include as much of his family, what's left of my family and our friends. Let alone trying to fit in three countries and two continents! 

The traveller in me instantly jumped at the chance to go to Africa again, but would a week suffice? If I have this longing should I not explore it further and stay for longer when the time is more convenient? Also the Duke would not follow me to Africa - one continent is more than enough, and it is unfair to ask him to abandon his own family at such a time as this. But do I want to spend my Christmas without him?

There are too many questions and the clock is forever ticking...

D. S. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I had started a rather lamentable post about how I had nothing to look forward to this weekend and that the months ahead of me are looking rather bleak as I begin to buckle down and concentrate on my new position as its true, the work has piled up. 

However, Belle to the rescue. 

Out of the blue she appeared yesterday with several snippets of gossip about the new man in her life AND she had the foresight to bring with her two invitations to a local dance! She fanned them at me and teased my relentlessly before she allowed me to read the inscription. We giggled like adolescents and beautified ourselves, trying on clothes and laughing as we reminisced about the times we used to spend doing exactly that

She is an absolute wonder and I cannot thank her enough for brightening my somewhat dampened spirits just when I needed her to. And without having to ask her! I suppose that's what friends are for, even after all these years! The Duke of Albany, the dear thing, didn't bat an eyelid as I frolicked around in various states of undress with Belle before we went out. In fact I slightly think he would have enjoyed accompanying us, but he was far too courteous to ask, and though I do adore his company, sometimes there is nothing better than a night out with your best friend.

The dance was a very relaxed affair; nothing like the Balls and Fêtes I have attended in the past, but it reminded me of the days I used to spend in disguise, wanting to make the most of my youth and spend it with people from all walks of life. The aristocracy and nobility may seem to have it all but really we're all restrained from showing our feelings and our bound by duty and obligation. Despite all our fancies, I know I cannot be the only one who would willingly share some of my wealth in order to gain some freedom. 

I'm speaking like a liberal! Whatever would my Father say? I loved my night with Belle and it truly pulled me out of the doldrums, so I shall write her a thank you note.

It is the right, dutiful and courteous thing to do next. 

D. S.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The nights are drawing longer and the mornings seem somewhat darker than they were only a week ago. Winter is most certainly on its way, and the furs are being beaten in preparation for the first frosts. It is never my favourite time of year because I always prefer the glory of summer days, but Autumn and Winter do bring about a certain 'je ne sais quoi'.

We had a trial run of the supposed Christmas festivities that the Duke had organised as he invited his parents to travel over from Bohemia for a few days. It was rather sprung upon me, but he had organised everything magnificently so there was very little for me to do other than be myself and entertain (which does just come naturally to me, of course). It does mean, however, that I have neglected my duties somewhat to my Royal charge and fully intend to make the most of this spare time to catch up on things I ought to have done. 

It is not particularly taxing work, however it does take up rather a lot of time, and I've been so exhausted recently I've needed more and more sleep. Indeed I rather out did myself lat night and slept for a full twelve hours. I haven't had a chance to do that since before I left for the Antipodes!

I do have to admit, it was lovely having the Duke's family here, they were very kind and brought messages from Bohemia. It seems that Christmas will most certainly be full-steam ahead now that we've had such a success here in the north... And now I do not have a leg to stand upon (though I may berate the Duke, just for a few giggles).

Belle and I did promenade the Docks, asking questions about our respective love lives. Her and the Gameskeeper have been parted long enough that she has acquired a new man friend, though she made me promise not to mention him here... I shall have to keep to that promise as it is only a fledgling relationship and not yet fair for me to comment upon ~ not that it is ever fair for me to cast judgement!

In fact the Duke and I have now celebrated our first anniversary together! None were more shocked than we to think we'd still be together after our unconventional meeting and even more perverse courtship, but dare I say we are happier than ever? The darling governess from the Convent even commented this weekend, that she's safe in the knowledge that despite our bickering, the Duke and I love each other. It made me blush to hear another's opinion of my relationship (which is why I need to stop being so judgemental) but I smiled radiantly beneath the blush at the truth of it all.

I've had relationships where the passion quickly fades to indifference and routine. It is far from that with the Duke of Albany. We argue and berate each other, tease and torment, only to forgive and forget... eventually. I wouldn't want our relationship any other way.

D. S.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another week has passed and to think I have made the northern county my home for a month beggars belief. Where has the time gone? I adore being back in the city where my writing first began, though this second time round is a far cry to the debauchery that used to be a familiar occurrence

It is only a few days from the celebration of our first anniversary; the Duke of Albany and I have beaten the odds and survived a long-distance relationship, crossed continents and now live within a stones throw from each other. It is an ideal world I have somehow stumbled upon, and I have to pause and thank the gods for my fortunes, so as not to incite any bad luck.

The sun is shining, but there is a chill in the air as autumn creeps and bustles around the scurrying of the city I have grown to love with a renewed zest. My brand new role, which I witter on about it probably more than I should, is completely delightful. It has opened my eyes to the hardships that some people endure from such a young age, and it makes me want to know more. I can barely put my books down for want of needing to find out more.

I am off tonight with my dearest Belle at long last. She has recovered from her sickness and we are to celebrate our youth and delight in the world around us (though not quite like we used to...) despite having caught a sniffle myself.

October draws nearer and my Father has hinted that he shall spend the Autumn on the Continent, which has made me rather jealous, though there is nowhere else I'd rather be right now. Mother as it so happens, is enjoying her time in the Antipodes, when and if she shall ever return are hazy answered questions, impossible to pin down.

Just in case you ever wondered where my wanderlust came from...

D. S.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tomorrow shall be something completely different to what I am used to, but unfortunately it is not something I can write about. Discretion, as I mentioned at the beginning of the month, is paramount, and I enjoy my position far too much to want to give anything away at the moment. Just know this, it shall pave the way for many, greater opportunities and I hope to learn a lot. 

Another weekend is drawing to a close and I am grateful to note the Duke and myself have barely spent any time apart. He hasn't made any comments about the whereabouts of the new embassy directly, but he has hinted at many different locations within the city. It is ever so intriguing to be somewhat a part of political change. 

True, we have to still discuss our plans of the ever looming Christmas festivities (I personally think it is too early to even think of the occasion as we have not yet had the (dis)pleasure of All Hallow's Eve) but the Duke is determined to invite his family over from Bohemia. 

It isn't that I am not fond of his family, quite the opposite really! Nevertheless I would much rather return to Bohemia and make the most of what little time I have to travel now that I have committed myself to a vocation. I'm sure there is at least the one ulterior motive that I am unaware of, and honestly I don't need to have a reason, I would just like to understand the logistics.

Poor Belle has been feeling under the weather and warned me away from her, so I haven't had a chance to see her, nor was I able to send anything to make her feel better. I hope she recovers soon enough because there are days and nights aplenty for when her presence would be sorely desired. 

I am looking forward to the coming of the new week. New challenges shall arise and as always I intend to meet them head on. 

D. S.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What a difference a few days can make. I have had the time to myself to gather and collect my thoughts so that I can prioritise what is most important to me (the Duke and my writing) as well as the responsibilities I now carry as a Lady-in-Waiting

There is nothing so wonderful as having an organised mind and knowing exactly what it is and where it is you want to go next. I have to admit, the novelty of this feeling hasn't yet worn off ~ which is something that is prone to happening ~ and for the first time I can remember I am enjoying the calm that comes with order. 

The Duke of Albany is away (again) on one of his ventures about the Embassy. He is talking about having his family travel over for the Christmas festivities from Bohemia. Though they were more kind to me than I ever expected them to be, I can't imagine how my Royal Family would react to my asking for a retinue of hundreds to turn up at their door. I have explained the difficulties in logistics to the Duke, but he is more stubborn than I, and has vowed to find a way.

If he can make it happen, then so be it.

I need to catch up with my correspondences; there is a festival in the park this weekend and I want to invite Belle to promenade the stalls with me. I haven't seen her in over a fortnight, which is abominable considering we live nigh on a few miles from each other. I shall indeed write to her, post haste. 

Other than making the most of all I have to do with my new position and learning to cope with the living arrangements between the Duke and myself (it is more fun than I anticipated for I was a little concerned, and though we argue, they are but a trifle compared to when we were apart) there is not much to report. 

This festival shall hopefully increase any dampened spirits, and I hope to maybe have an invite to a Ball in the near future. Oh, how I long to dance again!

D. S.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Once again I have barely found the time to eat and sleep, let alone to write and be more creative. Only one more week has passed, but the workload has increased tenfold! I am still in my own early days, so my enthusiasm and self-motivation are at an all time high, but I can't explain how wonderful it is to have a morning to myself.

Even the Duke of Albany knows to give me a little bit of freedom because I have been on edge, and he too is tackling his new venture in a foreign land head on. He's disappeared to the city this morning while I try and make head or tail of all the information I have collected over the last fortnight. 

I suppose it doesn't help that the Coxswain, her gentleman Number 5 and myself partook in much merriment last night. The Duke declined his invitation, and I was a little put out by his apparent rudeness, but he was already asleep before I got in last night and away before I woke up. He's certainly keeping himself busy (doing what, I do not know, but he corresponds daily with his family in Bohemia, and there are talks of having an Embassy here in the Northern counties... So we'll see).

But last night was utterly delightful. The Coxswain no longer has to disguise herself for her lover and she's actually taken a back seat from rowing ~ though I doubt that will last long. It's a passion of hers, and I know that nothing could take me away from my writing, even if I do get swept away by the current of life every now and again. 

I did actually have to foray in to Londontown this week to sort out some bureaucratic mess that followed me from Bohemia. The Duke could have sorted it instantly had I asked him, but there's nothing like a little independence and responsibility. Also I made my jaunt to the Capital worthwhile by dining with friends from many years ago. I always adore London when I am there but I cannot deny the sigh of relief that leaves my lips once I have said my goodbyes. It is such a bustling city, there is no time to just 'be'. How I would hate to live there! I much prefer my calmer, more friendly Northern town. 

D. S.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

What a week. I am utterly exhausted from the to-ing and fro-ing I've undertaken. There is nothing like taking upon a new role to keep you busy. Unfortunately, because of the nature of my role as a Lady-in-Waiting to Royalty, I shall have to keep details to a minimum as discretion is key.

Discretion, subtlety and sincerity are all characteristics I have found lacking in my own personality throughout the years... Nevertheless I have survived my first week and shall strive to be more and more consistent in the following months.

It is exceedingly delightful to have the Duke of Albany to hand. We haven't had the time in our relationship to discover all of each other's nuances; what makes him tick, and me purr, but we are certainly making the most of the time we have together. This first week has been relatively relaxed, but everyone I have spoken to in the royal household has warned me that the work will only accumulate.

I wish I could say I was daunted by this challenge ahead of me; but like my time in Bohemia, the Shire or the Antipodes, I welcome the new experiences and fully intend to tackle them head on. (Sometimes I do wish I was a little less headstrong, as I often forget to look before I leap, which as we all know can lead to disastrous results!)

Belle and I have conversed and enjoyed each other's company with a fervour; it is wonderful to be around friends, especially ones who have known me for as long as she has. As always she is full of wisdom and touching advice, and I need her to be a barrier between the Duke and I when we have one of our tumultuous arguments. 

The disputes are not as common as they once were (thankfully) but we both still have a fiery temper, and a stubbornness that is unrelenting. 

Actually I do have some exciting news... My writing has taken a turn for the unexpected. A reputable publisher is interested in one of my stories! We are only in the early days, but it is brilliant to even have my work read, let alone considered for publishing! How I love the life I am living!

D. S.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Can you believe where I am darlings, after all these years? The place where my story began. Somewhere that holds dear memories and most of my regrets. The place where I made the firmest of friends and learnt heartbreak. Somewhere I cultivated my interests and aimed a little higher. The place up north that I have longed to once more call my home.

I'm back.

Nevertheless, it's a little different this time round... I have the Duke of Albany on my arm for one. There was a time when no less than two men would have kept my ravenous appetite at bay, but now all my extra-curricular activities are more than satisfying, and I wouldn't want it any other way. 

I have had my wild and rebellious way with the world and though I did not lose that battle, I will admit defeat. I no longer want to stay up all hours of the night only to wake with a head that burns with the aftermath of lust and gluttony. I have grown, and it is only wonderful to see my old home with new eyes. 

Of course it has changed, haven't we all over the years? I do not have the Court Jester to listen to my heartache, or the Duchess of Tuthershire to drink red wine with. There is no Lady Lina to remind me of my mistakes or Harlequin to guide the attention his way. Nor do I have the musician, the Brewer and the Gameskeeper, that wonderful trio whom I miss sorely. I shall have to have them all to visit, but when I do not know, for my position begins in four days!

Thankfully I do still have the wonderful Coxswain and her gentleman. They have not left the shores of the Northern counties and I look forward immensely to reacquainting myself with them. And of course, how could I forget my darling Belle. She was half the reason I applied to return to this side of the world. It will be like old times and I cannot wait to listen to her words of wisdom.

Living with the Duke is, in itself, rather daunting. Our personalities clash and we are far too independent to easily fit into one another's lives. For example, I like to have my evening meal rather late, however he is used to having dinner two or three hours earlier. Compromises are rife, though the internal battles I don't doubt are more so. In some ways it feels like we have lived under the same roof for all our lives, but in other ways I'd love nothing more than to push him down the stairs! But I cannot deny my happiness, with every step I want to thank the world I live in for my happiness. I feel so blessed.

To new beginnings and a return to a county that stole my heart all those years ago.


D. S.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back in bed with the Duke and there is no where else in the world that I'd rather be. We are certainly enjoying our last few days of freedom before the great move North ~ and though the packing has begun, we are both a little apprehensive ~ it is no little thing for the two of us to make this sort of commitment to each other. 

The days are shortening and as I look out at the dimming of the sun, I know I will have to light the candles before I finish my writing this evening. The work I have started to indoctrinate myself to the finest arts of a genteel lifestyle are far more harrowing than I first expected: and I have only just begun to scratch the surface. The philosophies of those who are much wiser than I will ever be are interesting to read, and I'm enjoying the process of learning, though I know there is so much more to learn.

For me to become a Lady-in-Waiting to my Royal charge; three infants whose names are spoken with with hushed whispers as their progress is tinged with rumours. To think that I, someone who has had very little to do with children, will be involved in their development? It is an honour where I shall strive to be the greatest inspiration and motivator to these darling children. 

I cannot wait to meet them.

Until then however, I have the Shire to call my home, and the Duke and I are certainly making the most of the freedom. We are pushing our own boundaries in ways I didn't know were possible... To think even I have blushed at some of our extra-curricular activities is unheard of! But I wouldn't change a thing... In fact, I can hear him calling my name...

D. S.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another sunny day in the Shire, but rather than waking up next to my beloved Duke of Albany, I am reclining on the chaise long of a Lady of the Shire. The same Lady who incidentally visited me in the lands of Bohemia many months ago. The Duke is having a weekend to himself - this is no philosophical retreat for some 'soul searching', nor is he reconsidering his imminent conjuncture with myself - rather he is making the most of his time with other Gentlemen and Lords as they prattle away after too much whiskey. 

I made the wise decision not to question his motives, and the wiser move to vacate myself from the premises. I can only imagine the drunken horror the men will give inflicted on themselves and I do not want to bear witness to it. 

Instead the Lady of the Shire and I have conversed merrily about the changing times, politics and love affairs , as well as a few more sordid details that I will keep secret. It is so refreshing to spend time with someone whose friendship spans over a decade so there can be no misgivings about who we are as people. I suppose this must be what it is like to have a sister. 

I have heard from my newer acquaintances - the Irish princesses are home safely and send their regards from across the Irish Sea. I still laugh at the thought of the scandal that erupted out of Brighthelmstone but I wouldn't have exchanged it for all the world. In all honesty I am missing those volatile vixens most keenly and hope to see them again before the year is out. 

But for today I intend to mark the most of my freedom and jaunt around the more familiar streets of my home town. 

D. S.  

Saturday, August 09, 2014

My life seems to revolve around never ending endings - another chapter of my life has come to an end and this one is harder to say goodbye to than the last, despite being a much shorter endeavour. 

Brighthelmstone is coming to an end, and all today shall be an echo of heart-felt farewells. My Irish princesses who have retaught me that sometimes being a little bit scandalous is only to be expected, are leaving this evening and it puts a lump in my throat to think the rest of the summer shall be a little less rambunctious. One of the three Irish princesses certainly made her reputation known ~ only good things of course ~ but it is always a pleasurable experience to enjoy similar passions with someone new.

The Duke and I are packed once again for the move to the northern counties, but first we have a few weeks to spend in the Shire with my family. Well, what's left of my family. I do not want to divulge in stories that are not mine to share, but something tells me that my family has disbanded for once and for all. Continents further afield have beckoned my mother and she has listened to their call, while my father flounders after being left behind. 

Who knows? But it means these next few weeks before the Great Move North, will be no less than interesting.

Belle was supposed to celebrate her birthday yesterday but instead she spent the entire day trapped in a carriage on her way to visit us on the coast. We fully hope to make the most of the time we have together this weekend and spoil her rotten. After the last few years that she has endured she needs more than a pick me up ~ she needs her best friends pampering her and I hope we can do that once all the goodbyes have been said.

I shall dry my eyes before I allow the tears to spill down my face.

It is not goodbye, but au revoir.

D. S.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It is done. The Duke of Albany has done the unthinkable... He has made a promise to me that cannot be broken. Our lives have been intertwined for the best part of a year, and I long to spend the rest of my life with him, but seeing our home together in the Northern counties has truly opened my eyes to the commitment we have made to each other. 

There have been many men who have proclaimed their love for me from the various rooftops, but none have proved it in the way that the Duke has. This home for the two of us overlooks the stunning parks and river that I used to call my home. The memories I have are fondly remembered, but it is the future I look forward to with such zest. I love the Duke, I am truly infatuated, and I know that he feels the same way about me.

I can't believe how long it has taken me to admit my love. I know I have mentioned it in passing, but unlike previous relationships, I have yet to crow about my emotions like I normally do. I think it's because I was nervous; we fight an awful lot about silly, petty things, (and some rather larger concerns) but I can no longer imagine my life without him.

This summer has shown me what we mean to each other, and how much we rely on each other when the rest of our lives become a little too daunting. Even a long distance relationship, which we have survived, would not be enough for me any more. I have to see him, to hear him, to feel him. I have to smell his scent as we make love under the stars. 

I have never felt so on top of the world as I feel now. 

D. S.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Though it is an early morning for me and the sun is already blazing through the trees, my eyes are blurred and I can't stop myself from yawning. This summer is taking its toll on my sleeping habits, and I long for the time when I can catch up on six weeks worth of abandoned sleep. 

Don't think I am complaining, for I adore the work I do. It is most fulfilling though I never much thought of giving myself over as a compassionate and dedicated human being. But it shows that even in so little time as one year, things (and people) can change. 

At the end of the week, the Duke of Albany and I have requested to take some time off together and disappear to our future home in the Northern counties. It will be the first time I have seen the home he has chosen for us to start our future together, and though I know I will not be living in it while I work for my Royal charge, the prospect is enough to make me grin.

He truly makes me so very happy, and I cannot get enough of him.

Brighthelmstone is having its usual scandals, however this time I am not in the middle of them. The Irish princesses are loving life and enjoying it to the full (who can blame them?) and it makes me laugh to hear the rumours ~ though which are true or not does not matter. Scandal is only as good as the next scandal.

I have also tried to encourage Bell to come and join in the summer festivities even though her place has been rescinded. Of course she feels a little bit spurned, but she throws around the word 'disappointed' as opposed to 'outraged'. I'm hoping the Duke and I together can convince her to spend some time with us frolicking in the English Channel. Nevertheless, it will be delightful to see her again, and even more incredible to begin to imagine the life the Duke of Albany and I will have together.

Though I am tired, this is the thought that keeps me going. 

D. S.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

At long last I have the time to sit in the glorious sunshine and while away the hours doing what I love most ~ writing.

Never before have I been so busy, this time in Brighthelmstone is nothing like the last, and I barely have any time to spend in the Duke of Albany's arms. Only last night did we manage to enjoy each other's company and feel like a real couple once again, but it was short lived.

I have ferried children across the Shires and am trying my best to indulge their every whim, but with hundreds of requests it is impossible to please everyone. I am hoping to ignite some interest in the history of my beautiful country, and maybe even the urge to travel, but children are fickle and their minds flutter at a rate I seem to have lost. 

It is wonderful however, to meet like minded individuals who work alongside the Duke and I. The Irish Lady of Corcaigh graced us with her presence for a fortnight before disappearing with a promise to return eventually (though one can never tell with those of us who love to travel). There are Irish princesses who shriek and enjoy life with a fervour that I used to have (I never intended or expected to grow up so soon!) and it is most encouraging to laze about with those who share similar loves and joys.

Visiting Belle in the Northern counties last week was very tiring, however it is always a delightful experience to see my gorgeous friend. Brighthelmstone isn't the same without her, and I do hope she can find the time to join us for a few days at the very least. I'm enjoying the summer immensely, despite being exhausted, and I hope the next few weeks go just as smoothly. 

D. S. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A day of travelling leads me to my old home in the Northern counties, no less than reunited with my curly-haired soul mate - Belle. She is to guide me through my instructions for my new role which begins in September and we have two days to make the most of the time we have together, because the unthinkable has happened... The situation down in Brighthelmstone where the Duke of Albany and I are spending our summer days has reached it's full capacity and can no longer host Belle and her retinue. 

I only found out two days ago and have yet to recover from the disappointment, though it does make the next two days all the more sweet and precious. I attempted to pull strings, begging and pleading are not beneath me when it comes to the welfare of my friends, but it seems my time away in Bohemia has meant my reputation and sway has dwindled. 

It's not only I who have suffered in this change of circumstances; the Duke himself was saddened by the series of events and I know the Irish Lady of Corcaigh and the governess were none best pleased. I do hope we manage to spend some time together this summer before my life gets taken over by my new role. 

To think that six months have past since my interview in January, and I am only two months away from starting?! I can barely fathom the notion. But to have the Duke by my side keeps me as happy as I could be, and I am only excited by the prospect of our future together, not daunted. 

D. S. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

How to explain where I am without giving too much away... There are certain rules and regulations that I now have to follow in order to prepare myself for my role of Lady in Waiting to royalty as of September, and I am trying to gain as much experience as possible before the summer months dwindle away in the blink of an eye.

Again I am working with children, it is what I love most in this world because it gives me a satisfaction that is impossible to find elsewhere. Even writing doesn't bring me the joy and happiness as a laughing child. As I learn from the governess (for she has much more knowledge than I ever shall) I notice that I too have changed and am more reliable than in previous years. It's not often one can actually see self-improvement, but here, in this place, I can. And I am relishing the fact.

I have the Duke of Albany with me and though we are together in the same place, we are unable to while away the hours in each other's arms as we'd like. There is too much to do. The preparation for the next years of our lives have consumed us, and only in the dark of night are we able to steal a few kisses before passing out from exhaustion.

But I wouldn't change anything for the world.

Brighthelmstone was visited today and I stared out at the sea and all the world has to offer. I still felt that same longing for travelling new places that I always feel. I doubt that tug of my heart strings will ever cease, but it was far easier to quell the longing as I turned to face my lover and heard the gasps of the children as they saw the ocean for the first time.

The amazement of children will always be one of my favourite memories.

But now the summer days are long and though we are busy the Duke and I have had little time to argue. I thought our frazzled brains and befuddled minds may make us a little anxious and tense, but instead we are finding refuge in each other.

I've never felt so content.

D. S.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Shire has been my home for a week and though I miss Bohemia with a dull ache in my heart, to have the Duke by my side at all times has become more than a novelty. It feels like coming home. 

I dislike clichés and I'd rather not give over my entire life to a man, even though he may be worthy of at least a part of me, I have to admit I am happiest in his presence.

We still argue, that hasn't changed. We are both far too stubborn for our own good and we value our independence more than most people I've met, but it makes for a very passionate relationship. As much as I adore the Duke of Albany, and am looking forward to the summer in Brighthelmstone with him, Belle, the governess and the Irish lady of Corcaigh, all who have had the pleasure of our company at New Year's Eve, I do not imagine that the loud discussions will have ceased. It will be interesting to see what everyone else makes of our relationship, because although it is none of their business, no one can keep their opinions to themselves. And I value my friends judgements.

The sun is shining and I have a smile on my face after a wonderful evening with the Duke... We intend to spend the day outside, frolicking under the sun's rays so I should probably get dressed...


D. S.