Straight from the Duchess' Mouth

You might have heard rumors and gossip about me returning to Caledon. might not have heard a word. might not give a flying fig! :-) I do not like the rumor mill, so I'm going to stick a big wedge in it right here and now.

Yes, I have returned to Caledon. I repurchased the Southwest corner of Caledon Rothesay, which was my original parcel in that sim when the sim rezzed a year ago. Before Rothesay was a full sim, it was what was known as an "Openspace" or "Void" sim. It's name: Caledon Carntaigh.

Caledon Carntaigh was one of the first four Openspaces in Caledon. Des called them "Duchies" and bestowed the title of Duchess on to those of us that owned them. All four sims rezzed on December 7, 2006. The first four Duchies and their owners were as follows:
  • Kamilah Hauptmann (Caledon Vicereine) - The Duchy of Lionsgate
  • CoyoteAngel Dimsum - The Duchy of Primverness
  • Shenlei Flasheart - The Duchy of Loch Avie
  • Gabrielle Riel - The Duchy of Carntaigh
Kami and CA still own their Duchies today, three years after the sims arrived. Carntaigh ceased to exist one year ago when it had to be converted into a full sim during the Openspace sim disaster. Shenlei sold Loch Avie to Eva Bellambi in March 2007, who held it in her care until one year ago, when she passed it to Ilsa Munro.

Many, many more "Duchies" have come into existence in Caledon since December 2006, and not just in the form of Homestead sims. Des considers anyone who owns 3750 prims in a single sim (1/4 of a sim) to be a Duke or Duchess. I used to own almost 1/3 of Caledon Cay three years ago, so I suppose I could be called the first and last Duchess of Caledon Cay!

I'm not going to go into the whole "title" thing here. If you want to know my opinion on titles in Caledon, refer to this post of mine from last January. comes the "fun" part of this post.

"Why Gabi? Why did you go back?"

"Look at that Gabrielle Riel! What a hypocrite! She left Caledon a year ago in a big huff, and now here she is, crawling back!"

etc etc

I'm used to people saying nasty things about me. I'm used to people constructing motives for me that don't actually exist. I'm used to people creating entire scenarios about me that are completely untrue. I don't *like* these things, but my skin is tough after years of dealing with them.

There are several reasons why I repurchased 1/4 sim "Duchy" in Caledon. Some I am aware of, and some I am still working on discovering. And I don't HAVE to explain any of them publicly if I don't want to. I will say this: my return has a lot to do with the discussions about Formal Balls that were going on in the New Babbage Ning and the Steamlander Forum a few weeks ago. Writing my responses out there helped me remember how much work and planning went into those events...and it showed me that some people are actually *interested* in learning about Formal Balls.

I am in the process of working on a class, currently nicknamed "Dancing Lessons", for Caledon Oxbridge. This class is something that came out of the discussions on Steamlander. It's going to be about more than just "how to dance and Formal Balls". It will possibly contain bits and pieces of general etiquette and Caledon/Steamlands History. It's a work in progress.

The thought of teaching such a class, the thought of pulling all of the joyful, funny and painful memories about Caledon out of my head in order to help new people learn...and then to say to them "And oh yeah, I have not lived here for a year!"...well, it just seemed wrong to me. Very "do as I say, but not as I do".

For those of you that do not know, my RL career for the past 15 years has been in training and instructional design. Obviously, I am going to approach course development based on all of my skills and experience. And one thing I KNOW as a Trainer: when you teach people something? They want to know that you know what the hell you are talking about. They want someone who "does" what it is they are teaching about. That stupid saying "Those that can't, teach" is such a huge lie! Because it's the opposite! To be an excellent teacher, you need to be able to say to your students, "I have stood exactly where you are, and let me tell you how I made it through."

So, that's one of my many reasons. Another reason: I am going to sublease space there. I would not have bought 1/4 sim if I did not have some way of covering the tier. My hope is to create a "new" version of my manor house, Coughton Court, and to have rooms for rent in parts of it. I went on an extensive research mission yesterday morning to see if anything like this (a boarding house) existed in Caledon.

I own 3 full sims that comprise the two Estates of Edison and New Toulouse, land in New Babbage under Radio Riel's name and my name AND 1/4 of a mainland sim (hee hee, no one knew that until now). I don't "need" land! But I can manage and rent land. I can help Des keep Caledon vibrant and full. I'm not making profits off this land. I do it because I believe in the communities of New Toulouse, Edison, New Babbage and Caledon.

Caledon is the place of my "birth" in SL. It's my roots. I was a Caledonian before I was a Duchess...before I had Radio Riel...before I had my own Estates...before I felt like I do now, that I am a resident of the Steamlands and the 19th Century grid in Second Life.

I respect EACH community in the Steamlands and the 19th Century grid. I respect the Estate Owners and their individual visions. It amazes, and angers me, how so many people get into STUPID fights over which community is better. Don't you numbskulls get it? They're DIFFERENT! And different is good! Different does NOT equal better! If you feel comfortable living in one specific community? Wonderful! Don't trash the others!

There are many residents that overlap these communities. The Estate Owners all like, respect and depend on each other for support. You might not realize it, nor like it...but we all help each other stay alive on a grid that sees sims closing every darn day! How many single, specialty sims has we seen close in the last 6 months? Most of these sims have been amazing works, built by amazing people. Do you have any idea how unique and lucky we are? That places like Caledon, Steelhead, Winterfell, Skybeam Estates, New Babbage, Antiquity, Victoriana, Steeltopia, New Toulouse and Edison have lasted as long as they have? Live in and love your community...and quit trying to tear the others down. And I can say confidently that if you are someone who likes to bitch, complain and trash others? I don't want you in New Toulouse nor Edison.

Whew! *takes a deep breath*

I want to thank three people. Thank you to Rudolfo Woodget, who *always* let me know that Caledon was my home, even when I felt like it wasn't. Thank you to Elspeth Woolley, who kept calling me Your Grace for the past year and said, when I told her to stop and that I was no longer a Duchess: "Once a Duchess in Caledon, always a Duchess in Caledon." Thank you to Iason Hassanov, for believing in me, and this decision to return...although I don't know if I can live up to your high expectations Iason! :-)

Vivat Caledon. Vivat Caledon Carntaigh.

Gabrielle Riel
The Duchess of Caledon Carntaigh


Aw, cmon Duchess. You know Tenk only trashtalks sims that he likes. It is how he shows his respect.
Gabrielle Riel said…
Mr. Baroque,

No worries! I understand Mr. Tenk's...ways. And his most interesting methods of expression! Plus, he sits with me on the Estate Owner side of things - he sees what I see!

I was not referring to him when speaking about "trashtalkers". I was referring to some of the things I've seen roll across Group Chats and posted in Nings and Forums. And to the people who have passive aggressively told me (in a lot of round about words) "Go home Caledonian! New Babbage does not want you here!"

*grins* You know me! Like I would let anyone tell me what to do! :-)
Riven Homewood said…
I am so happy you are coming back to Caledon!

When Oxbridge was still in plywood, Desmond showed it to me and told my his plans for it. I told him one thing it would need was a course in etiquette, and that you should teach it. After all, you trained me when I was merely an ignorant provencial from the colonies. :)

I'll try to be at your first Oxbridge class - I can use a refresher. Hugs!
Elrik Merlin said…
Wonderful to welcome you back to Caledon, milady, and wonderful that you're a neighbour (again). I do hope your return is happy, fruitful and prosperous and that you are successful in all that you attempt here.

--Laird Brideswell, Caledon Rothesay SE
Neb said…
Sounds like you're keeping more than busy! Whew! I know you'll have fun with this new endeavor, and that Caledon will be the richer for having you directly involved again.

Nabila N Peterman
My dear Duchess,

I look forward to the first formal ball in Coughton Court again after such a long absence.


Miss D Ember said…
Wonderful news! I was just saying to someone the other day, that there really needed to be a hotel or boarding house as a step between new folk in Oxbridge and landed folk paying tier.

Congrats on your happy news.
Rose said…
you left? {smiles}