The Final Salon

After a few days one finally feels able to reflect on the final salon that took place last week. Just shy of 50 fabulous ladies convened to celebrate the eight decades of Dilys Price; one amazingly inspirational woman. Not only did Dilys look absolutely fantastic she was an engaging guest to interview. When one is at the centre of organising events one tends to be a little distracted by the mechanics and it can be difficult to assess how it’s going. One’s tendency to organise and prepare things into a cocked hat doesn’t exactly lay the ground for a relaxing evening. Ironically the easier the evening flows, the more effortlessly it seems to flow the more detailed planning that underpins it is! No prizes for guessing the Spinster is a trained strategic planner!

Sophisticat’s who attended the Salon have been kind enough to send me messages about how much they enjoyed the evening; the judgement of Dilys being the most important of course. On Saturday a HUGE bouquet arrived with a note saying the Salon had been one of the loveliest evenings of her life; this is more than good enough for me! It was a privilege to be able to honour a woman who has such humility, grace and genuine goodness embedded in every cell of her being. Dilys you are simply the best! One of the most delicious little packages one has ever had the pleasure of unpacking – OK perhaps not the best selection of words but the candour with which Dilys has told me about her life has been illuminating in so many ways. Some of the details will remain a deux d’accord but safe to say Dilys has indeed lived life to the full!

One toyed with the idea of entitling this post ‘an embarrassment of flowers’ but thought better of it for fear of offending.  In addition to the flowers given to Dilys one found oneself the recipient of rather a lot of the same oneself; in fact one received more flowers than Dilys herself with some coming from the lady herself! One is not terribly good at being on the receiving end of kindness from others curious behaviour one could say; but ones natural default position as a facilitator oiling the wheels discretely in the background is one that one has grown used to and comfortable with.

Dilys quite rightly put one in ones place firmly asking one to shut up and listen! One is respectful of such female tour de force and of course was powerless to do anything other than comply! Reflecting the humility and decorum with which Dilys conducts herself one graciously (albeit with a degree of embarrassment) accepted her very kind words. And then Gilly Adams followed suit with a fantastic bouquet of sunflowers too! One felt very very spoilt by the end of the evening which was somewhat overwhelming but wonderful at the same time as it meant a lot to be honoured by and in the presence of so many wonderful women.

A fine accolade and fitting conclusion to two years of Salons. With ones ‘posh finishing school’ inflected accent the irony of historic hostesses being drawn from French Aristocracy is not lost on one! More recently the magnificent Louise Bourgeois hosted weekly salons in her home in New York where artists across generations were drawn to receive her wisdom. At the end of the conversation with Dilys one asked her for her advice to the gathered audience; what should we do in terms of our lives. Follow your passion was her response in a nutshell and one trusts we shall all respond appropriately wreaking creative havock on an unsuspecting world! Go Gals the Spinster awaits the ripples on a society begging to hear voices of sanity with answers to a myriad of questions both spoken and unspoken! Who needs a public school Oxbridge education? If you’ve got one then plough those ready receptive furrows shamelessly you have no excuse not too!

Back in 2010 when ones victorious endeavour was merely a twinkle of an idea the ethos behind the salons was to provide an opportunity to indulge our curiosity in the way we did as children. Before we became adult women expected to readily have answers to every question posed. An early evening window where we got together as ourselves; not as a mother, a wife, a partner, a daughter or anybody with a designated ‘role’. One wanted to create a welcoming warm pause in a busy day; the scale of the interaction was all important hence the seating on tables of no more than 8. Each table was hosted by a woman one trusted charged with making her charges feel relaxed and included whether they wanted to talk or just listen.

Dilys reflected on her involvement in the Salons saying she wasn’t naturally someone who joined in; that she’d been to womens business events many times but never felt as comfortable   as she had at the victorious endeavour. One was humbled by Dilys assessment as it was precisely what one had set out to achieve. Indeed the planning and preparation has been all important; ones way of giving every individual a ‘cwtch’, a gentle squeeze around the shoulders signifying the importance of each woman as an individual. The hosts who went along with ones crazy little plan have consistently made all the difference; whilst one does seemingly have an inexhaustible supply of love to share (with those one considers worthy of receiving it – one isn’t universally accepting although generally one default position is to expect people are genuine with a element of goodness in them – not advice that has always served me well I confess). This final salon was a joy to share with so many wonderful ladies who have each enriched ones life in so very many ways; collectively we are a tremendous force of nature!

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey, this victorious endeavour, with me; one hopes each one of you have enjoyed the destinations we have paused in. It is fitting that Dilys should have been the guest at both the first and the final salon; seldom does one meet someone who is quite so inspirational. We all have our moments when we have achieved something but Dilys has a refreshing honest consistency; she spoke of the times when life had been challenging as well as the (literal) high spots. Reflecting one what one loves most about Dilys is her that she is almost unaware of the impact she has had on the world, the difference she has made to so many people’s lives. Not just the vulnerable guests of the Touch Trust but those she taught and the partners she’s worked with.

For me the wicked little fairy that Tinkerbell like lurks under the elegant surface of Dilys cheeky little face is quite exquisite. She always makes me smile! Dilys has asked one to pass on her thanks to everyone who made her evening so special and so memorable. Once the film of the evening as been edited it will be posted so we can all get another dose of the delightful and my very dearest darling Dilys – over and over again! Heaven know one wishes one had spent more time dressing from behind as it were – certainly the curve of ones skulls will surely emphasis ones inadequate skills with the straighteners!



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