I’m fortunate to be able to count Boudicca Amat and her SL partner Anthony Wesburn as friends. Both are extremely talented, Anthony as a music lover and DJ with a focus on blues, jazz and rock, and Boudicca as both a storyteller and a gifted artist, as demonstrated by her Flickr stream.
As a storyteller, Boudicca presents readings in voice at Hestium, the home she shares with Anthony, and it was to Hestium that I found myself once again drawn after seeing it featured in the Lab’s Destination Guide Highlights.
A visit to Hestium begins on the steps leading up to a small terrace café overlooking a beach of golden sand and the wide open sea. A chalk board offers a warm greeting to new arrivals and provides a note card with further information about the land – and it is well worth a read. The terrace offers the opportunity to sit and enjoy the view as well as providing access to both Hestium and to the neighbouring parcel, Willow’s Oasis, which is held by Patti Peregrine, aka Willow Amat, one of Boudicca’s oldest and closest friends. Like Hestium, it is open for visitors to explore.
Follow the sign welcoming you to Hestium, and you’ll find yourself on a board walk along which a slightly harried-looking server is hurrying towards the café terrace, laden with cake and refreshments. At the end of the board walk and a short walk along a grassy path, sits a little cottage surrounded by trees. This is the kitchen for the café, and within it an even more harried-looking baker is hard at work.
The path continues onwards through the woods on the far side of the cottage, and will bring you by turn and bridge to Hestium itself, where there is much to discover.
This little township, sitting between high cliffs and split by a channel of water, suggests a place snuggled into the Mediterranean coastline somewhere. However, the mischievous raccoons running riot in places suggest an altogether different climatic location; thus we are free to imagine where – and when – Hestium might lie.
All the buildings here are open to visitors to explore, with the exception of the little cottage up on the hill just outside the township proper. This is Boudicca and Anthony’s home, and visitors are requested to respect their privacy. Also, note that in order to explore the library within the town, you’ll need to use the teleport system, otherwise the buildings are accessible on foot.
A place of invisible inhabitants, Hestium offers clues as to who they might be, but it is up to visitors to discover these clues, some of which might be hidden away somewhere in the houses while some might be in plain sight. There are also clues to be found in the Hestium stories Flickr group.
However, why (and how) they have come to Hestium is something for visitors to decide: there is an open invitation for people to write their own stories about the various characters, and to add a photo of themselves as that character, together with a link to their story in the description, to the Flickr group.
For those who enjoy landscape photography, there is a second Flickr group where photos can be submitted, and these may include avatars as well as being landscape studies.
With cuddle spots and places to sit scattered around, and Willow’s Oasis garden next door also awaiting exploration, a visit to Hestium is well worth the time. There are numerous places to sit and relax while exploring, be they on the beach, on the water, or amidst the trees. And there’s also that opportunity to add to the history of Hestium through the stories Flickr group; or you can join Boudicca for a storytelling session in voice every Monday and Wednesday at 15:30 SLT.