S is for Special

Her own mother had passed away and, like me, she had no children of her own. But on a rare ‘dark night of soul’ at a retreat without telephone contact with my own mum, this dear friend mothered me in the special way mothers do. I received an endless outpouring of unconditional gentleness into the early hours, until I didn’t have any tears left.

For years afterwards, I sent this friend a Mother’s Day card to thank her for that night. She was always surprised and touched.
Happy Mother, Happy Children
at Beatons Chester Event 

The habit has continued but with different recipients. It expands my Mothering Sunday into something a little bigger, a little more inclusive and a little less predictable. It gives the day wider arms. Yes, my mum gets her Mother’s Day Card – and perhaps a little book to delight her eyes. And – if my father and I can persuade her not to be ‘up and out’ with all the joy of a gazelle who doesn’t count her eighty−something years – she’ll enjoy breakfast in bed too.  But someone, somewhere else, will also receive a card to thank them for mothering me at some point during the year. Or maybe it’ll be a card to a friend who’s recently lost their mum, or to a single parent dad who’s also mum to his kids…

Maybe it’ll give you an idea to do something similar?

I never get any cards myself, but this year I do feel more like a ‘real’ mum. Because I have acquired a huge winged family. They currently comprise: a charm of twenty−four gold finches; innumerable tits – from ‘Feisty’ (a tiny wizened blue tit) to Tweedle−dum and Tweedle-dee who never feed without each other; two robins (constantly bickering); a pied wagtail; a nuthatch; a pair of chaffinches; a young thrush; a family of blackbirds and an occasional dunnock. Oh yes, and the little vole who helps eat up the crumbs!

There are also other children. They, too, are wild and not designed to be tamed − my creative projects which respond best to being held close, nested in a clear framework to keeps them as safe as possible yet with maximum freedom to fly.

Story-telling in Nature
I try to be a good mother to them. This wonderful observation by Hannah Rachel Bell observing the life of a new-born baby of the Ngarinyin people of Australia reminds me, ‘Touch, smell, the rhythm of the heartbeat, and breathing are considered ‘food’ as necessary for survival as mother’s milk. Through these functions, the baby is attuned to its own humanity, and the rhythm or resonance of its group and culture.* As with real children, closeness is critical.

My project ‘children’ do not honour Mother’s Day. But once they have found their voice and place in the world they occasionally prompt admiration. Then comes the shy blush of delight of a mother who knows that, once seeded, motherhood is inevitable and the sweet pause of acknowledging the creative force which births EVERYTHING.

Every mum, like every child, is special. This month we raise a glass of Prosecco to everyone who’s felt the joy of ‘mothering’ – whether its to the birds, a creative project or a brood of demanding children! Call into your nearest Beatons to find out how you can enjoy a glass of Prosecco with your mum when you book Afternoon Tea.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Liz Darcy Jones
House Poet

*Quoted in ‘Kith, The Riddle of the Childscape’ by Jay Griffiths, Penguin 

Beatons New Milton: Venue Announced!

Yes!  A Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop is coming to New Milton ! We can now announce exactly where you'll be able to find just the place for loose leaf tea, home-baked cakes and light meals, along with Beatons' special brand of gracious hospitality! That means table service, elegance and attentiveness - and a place in town where you can enjoy the whole English Afternoon Tea experience too.

After somewhat of a wait, a very eager New Miltons Franchise Business Owner - Angela Thorn - is delighted to have secured her spot at 4 Bursledon House, Station Road, BH25 6HS. It will be our sixth Beatons Tearooms and is set to open around Easter.

The venue is ideally situated in a central position in what is effectively New Milton's high street - Station Road. The shop was the former hearing and mobility centre, so access will be very mobility friendly!

Read more about Angela and why New Milton was her choice for setting up her Beatons here, and discover which charity she's chosen as her charity of the year here.

Think you might like joining her team? We offer excellent training and value members of our teams very highly. More details here

Beatons New Milton - Charity of the Year Announced!

left-right: Steve Anderton and Jo Kane from HOPe
and Beatons New Milton Tearooms Owner
Angela Thorn
Helping Older People New Forest (known as HOPe) is to be Beatons New Milton’s first charity of the year. Well and truly rooted locally, founded by and serving the local community, it aims to support its older local residents − especially those feeling isolated and vulnerable.

How? Through all kinds of support – advisory, practical and emotional. Its latest new initiative is a Befriending Scheme which Beatons are particularly keen to support. We regularly see the benefits of customers being encouraged to share a table and then watch friendly connections being made.

When Beatons' latest Tearooms Owner, Angela, discovered HOPe New Forest she immediately spotted a match with the part of Beatons’ Constitution which reads:

‘We value individuals whether customer, franchisee, supplier or any other stakeholder because unless people are heard and nourished they feel disconnected and alone’. 

HOPe’s aim is to be there for people when they feel lost and don’t know where to go. Their latest initiative − a Befriending service − involves volunteers visiting people who feel isolated and who would welcome a cup of tea and a chat.  We know just how important that is! Heading up this project is Steve Anderton who explained, ‘There’s something very special about looking forward to a friendly visit and a nice chat, especially when you don’t have anyone else. That’s what we provide, and it makes a real difference to people’s lives.’

HOPe was founded in 2011 by two likeminded ladies and funded by a legacy. Since they started, the charity has secured nearly half a million pounds for local people which is spent locally. I had the pleasure of delivering the good news that HOPe had been chosen as Beatons New Milton’s Charity of the Year to Jo Kane, their Manager.

She was delighted and said, we’re very grateful to have been chosen. We would like to thank Beatons New Milton for their promise of support and look forward to enjoying a decent cup of tea and piece of cake!’ HOPe has a great shop only a stone’s throw away from where Beatons New Milton will be based, in Station Road. They are always looking for support and volunteers and you read more about them here.

How we help:  Each Beatons has their own Charity of the Year and has events to support it.  Our main contribution is giving 50p from every sale of The Charlton (soda) and our Community Chai Latte throughout the year.

Come and Support! Our first Beatons New Milton charity event will be our Open House, on Bank Holiday Monday, 7th May 2018. You’ll have a chance to meet members of the HOPe team, enjoy a free cup of our Beatons New Milton House tea – ‘Jasmine Blossom’ – and sample some of our home-baked cakes and scones. More importantly, there’ll be a little entertainment, a celebrity guest and a great opportunity to start raising more funds for HOPe!

Watch out for posters around the town, pop into Beatons’ New Milton when it opens around Easter, or come back here for full details soon!

Why did we choose New Milton as a great location for a Beatons?  Read more here.

Liz Darcy Jones
Non−Executive Director & House Poet

#listen - Rooting for Romance

Increasingly you'll find content in audio form here on our blog, especially verse and poetry, usually read by our House Poet, Liz Darcy Jones. 

Here's some inspiration that might prompt you to write your own Valentine's 'dittea' and touch the heart of someone special in a unique way!

#beatonstearooms: R is for Romance

When we think of romance our thoughts naturally fly to chick−lit fiction and love. I’ve discovered we may be forgetting it’s most important part. Mais oui, it surprised me to discover where ‘romance’ has its roots [hint]!

The word ‘rimance’ (Old French) is based on repetitions of endings with the same sound. Verse ends were then called ‘rimas’… the origin of the word rhyme. Germanic tongues were confounded, their language didn’t have the rhythmic pattern of short and long syllables, so they couldn’t create verse in a similar way. Instead, they invented alliteration for the telling of their tales of ‘derring−do’.  ‘Romantic languages’ were named because of their even flow derived from Latin and Greek.

As Jose Geraldo Gouvea says in a fascinating article on Quora −

‘Greek and Latin poetry was based on an even flow of long and short syllables. This is the original way of Indo-European verse. You find it in the Vedas too. What makes this type of poetry interesting is that you can feel the rhythm (υθμός) as you read. Words dance in your mouth.’

Romance as we know it was born out of the human need to sing or share verse about our great heroes, love songs or denigrate the enemy! Since those who had formerly spoken Latin had lost contact with the Graeco-Roman tradition they looked for inspiration elsewhere. Discovering their vernacular included these lovely short and long syllabled words, someone had the idea of alliterating and echoing vowels.

Cultures in the Iberian Peninsula learned from the Arabs that by employing rhythm, Germanic alliteration isn’t needed − only at the end. And the Arabs used vowels to make their verse ends. The real marriage or love story of romance is the coming together of rhythm and alliteration in a set number of lines and ‘feet’ to produce all the wonderful rhyming verse as we know it today, transported across the channel from France to England.

‘Rimance’ became ‘romance’ and meaning the languages which were rich in poetry, stories of myth and legend − where chivalry was every man’s aspiration and damsels did their best to look as if they were in distress!  Vernacular French became the preferred language for this ‘lighter literature’ as opposed to law ad serious matters, set in Latin. I prefer this etymological tale rather than the suggestion ‘romantic’ simply comes from the word ‘Roman’ – it’s so much more romantic…

What relevance has all this today and to Beatons particularly? Well, you’re probably aware we use verse as part of our brand. And couldn’t we all do with adding a dash of rhyme to our days? How about engaging in a little traditional ‘romance’ and writing a verse to someone who is special to you – a Valentine’s tradition? You don’t need a lover to be romantic either, why not honour someone who once performed a chivalrous or kind to you?

Liz Darcy Jones
House Poet

1with credit to Jose Geraldo Gouvea, Fiction Writer and former History teacher