Just last week, a beautiful woman from Sydney came into Little Brown House. She was wearing the most marvelous pink tutu and shall henceforth be referred to as Beautiful-Tutu-Woman, such was the awe and admiration her dress inspired. Beautiful-Tutu-Woman loved the concept of the Little Brown House store (’tis quite wonderful) and her excitement was propelled into ecstasy when she discovered we sell Hildegard von Bingen cookies (Yes! ‘Tis true!)
She, quite literally, leaped up and down and exclaimed so much that her increasingly befuddled boyfriend said: “What? Who is Hildegard? What is all this?” Beautiful-Tutu-Woman then patiently explained that Hildegard was no less than a serious mentor in her life and, furthermore, her music teacher in Sydney was no less than obsessed with Hildegard von Bingen. You see, Woman of the Beautiful Tutu just happened to be a musician and composer.
I expect that you, too, are wondering: “Who is Hildegard von Bingen?” Fortunately, Claire’s summary can help if you could first, please, cast your mind back nine hundred years … to when Hildegard was alive …
Once upon a time, in a land that was not far away at all, but rather the land you currently stand on (provided you are standing in Germany), there lived an abbess, author, linguist, poet, philosopher, herbalist, composer, scientist, physician, philosopher, naturalist, counselor and medium by the rather marvelous name of Hildegard. Hildegard of Bingen.
In her spare time, Hildegard made cookies. These were not the ilk of your average cookie, they were a special breed of epic cookie, nerve cookies in fact. Nerve cookies stimulate your five senses (six, if you prefer, and seven if you are wonderfully strange), bring general cheer and gladness and “lighten a heavy heart.” This has the brilliant effect of making one more intelligent (not even kidding, I’ve eaten so many that I can now successfully tie my own shoes).
Hildegard suggests three to five of these be eaten every day and, apparently, nerve cookies are particularly helpful for children who find fascination beyond their school curriculum a little too readily. It is recommended you don’t feed them too many though, as it would be embarrassing for teachers worldwide to be outsmarted. On second thought … I’d actually be very proud to precipitate a cookie conspiracy …
If you think this is unusually interesting, you will be pleased to know that Beautiful-Tutu-Woman continued her exploration of the Little Brown House jungle. She braved writing with a Murano glass pen, befriended some 16th century French ink and made sweeping strides forth with a feather quill pen. With a flourish, she sealed something away with wax on our in-store art table and we have yet to uncover what it was.
Our store is truly experiential and wonderfully unpredictable and, should you wish to discover more, you can book a private experience with us and a group of friends (min. 5, max. 10 peoples).
As for our beloved Hildegard, she now has her own movie – another topic of enthusiastic discussion with Beautiful-Tutu-Woman. In Vision, New German Cinema auteur Margarethe von Trotte reunites with recurring star Barbara Sukowa to bring the story of this extraordinary woman to life. Vision is a profoundly inspirational portrait of a woman who has emerged from the shadows of history as a forward-thinking and iconoclastic pioneer of faith, change and enlightenment.
I couldn’t help but eagerly add that I had stayed in the town of Bingen and actually hunted down the Hildegard Forum. There, I visited her garden which is still as it was nine hundred years ago (long before companion planting was trendy!) and ate at the restaurant managed by nuns from the order Hildegard founded. Sigh!
Love Cathie x
Jumping Tangents, Little Brown House, 4 Little Street, Wanaka.
Where intrigue, surprise & delight await you.