Sunday, 3 April 2016


Lately, when the April skies turn leaden and the wind winds itself up into a bitter, brutal bite up here on the hill, my mind wanders to warmer climes.
 "To those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine" begins the advert in Elizabeth Von Arnims' "Enchanted April."
"She stared. Such beauty; and she there to see it. Such beauty; and she alive to feel it. Her face was bathed in light. Lovely scents came up to the window and caressed her. A tiny breeze gently lifted her hair. Far out in the bay a cluster of almost motionless fishing boats hovered like a flock of white birds on the tranquil sea. How beautiful, how beautiful. Not to have died before this . . . to have been allowed to see, breathe, feel this. . . . She stared, her lips parted. Happy? Poor, ordinary, everyday word. But what could one say, how could one describe it? It was as though she could hardly stay inside herself, it was as though she were too small to hold so much of joy, it was as though she were washed through with light. And how astonishing to feel this sheer bliss, for here she was, not doing and not going to do a single unselfish thing, not going to do a thing she didn't want to do."
Taken from The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
"All down the stone steps on either side were periwinkles in full flower, and she could now see what it was that had caught at her the night before and brushed, wet and scented, across her face. It was wistaria. Wistaria and sunshine . . . she remembered the advertisement. Here indeed were both in profusion. The wistaria was tumbling over itself in its excess of life, its prodigality of flowering; and where the pergola ended the sun blazed on scarlet geraniums, bushes of them, and nasturtiums in great heaps, and marigolds so brilliant that they seemed to be burning, and red and pink snapdragons, all outdoing each other in bright, fierce colour. The ground behind these flaming things dropped away in terraces to the sea, each terrace a little orchard, where among the olives grew vines on trellises, and fig-trees, and peach-trees, and cherry-trees. The cherry-trees and peach-trees were in blossom—lovely showers of white and deep rose-colour among the trembling delicacy of the olives; the fig-leaves were just big enough to smell of figs, the vine-buds were only beginning to show. And beneath these trees were groups of blue and purple irises, and bushes of lavender, and grey, sharp cactuses, and the grass was thick with dandelions and daisies, and right down at the bottom was the sea. Colour seemed flung down anyhow, anywhere; every sort of colour, piled up in heaps, pouring along in rivers—the periwinkles looked exactly as if they were being poured down each side of the steps—and flowers that grow only in borders in England, proud flowers keeping themselves to themselves over there, such as the great blue irises and the lavender, were being jostled by small, shining common things like dandelions and daisies and the white bells of the wild onion, and only seemed the better and the more exuberant for it."
Taken from The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
It may not be San Salvatore, nor indeed Italy, but there is no denying Villa Boa Vista has a similar life affirming effect on me! I love to wake here, the morning after the the shutters and gaze out over the roof tops to the wedge of sea glittering in the distance. Pad across the tiled floors into the kitchen and open up the doors to the pool and terrace. Admire the bourgainvillea dripping over the pergola while I wait for the coffee to percolate. Thrust my feet into any shoe and wander up the steps and onto the thin dusty soil where the almonds grow. Dare myself to de-robe and plop into the pool before sleep has taken it's leave..."aaaaaaaaaarrrrghhhhhh!"
 It seems I'm not alone in my affection for the Algarve. Portugal is more popular than ever as a holiday destination. Villa Boa Vista or rather Boa Vista Fazenda is a beautiful country villa nestled in the eastern foothills of the Algarve, not far from the historic and mostly untouched Moncarapacho. That wedge of sea in the distance is the view towards the Parque Natural, a mosaic of sand islands, lagoons and beaches. Head west and you will discover the beautiful unspoilt beach that is Praia Marinha near Carvoeiro...
Then there is the fish...freshly caught and simply pan there any finer meal? I long to be sandy of foot, crunchy with salt, fist clenched around beach treasure...pausing to take another picture.
 Being a pattern junkie I am forever stopping to photograph another tile, a different flower, washing strung between get the picture. It takes a patient companion to tolerate my endless looking and exclamations! Fortunately I have one, a good man. Who once, many moons ago, knelt on the tiles around the pool at Boa Vista and asked a question, THE question...
Jane Cumberbatch of Pure Style fame shares my love for this spot, for more reading and lovely images have a look here
...spoiler alert! I/She said YES!
Reading this back to myself it occurs to me this is a love letter...

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Gallivanting and home again...

Hello Hello! Been off gallivanting...Copenhagen in December and Australia in January...since then. Hmmm, not sure, been in the bunker of home I suppose, head down ironing out the travel creases. Oh and then of course I fell down the Pinterest worm-hole, which, as I am sure you know, operates in a another whole dimension of time and space. 
Time faraway spent with the "Faraways" is a rare treat for us and so we wring every drop of the days...I am etching onto memory plates, writing endless nonsense into my notebook because if I don't I'll lose the essence. Summer days spent on the other side of this earth also seem strangely surreal as though my real life is in suspended animation. 

We stayed in a wonderful Farmstead down on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne. The Faraways stay their often and I visited there myself some years ago. The driveway cuts between orchards of quince, apple, lemons, avocado, plums...heaven! Enough of my rambling...I'll show you...

I should also say, to my very great joy and endless amazement, I have friends who I discovered here in this on-line magicarium who, I had the very great pleasure of variously visiting, staying with, bumping into! Miss Pen Pen and two exceptional cats, Lynda Gardener's The White Room and thanks to my sister in law, discovering the gorgeous l'uccello.

Sigh...It's good to sit and edit my reams of diving back into it...

leaving is always feels like this...

 Parting is indeed such sweet sorrow.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Gusts and rust...must be Autumn...

I know it has been an age since I was here with you...I'm sad about that. There are a fistful of posts sliding elusively through my fingers, half formed, half thoughts that never quite made it...I hate regret, it pierces through me but let's not be morose, here we are again, all is well.
Today you find me Indulging in all the small details of the table in the hallway outside the boot room. It's a thoroughfare, and I don't often linger here, but today in the half light the heather and the chrysanthemums are quietly singing and so I pause...

I am indulging my penchant for candlelight, baskets, autumn flowers...natural colours with dusty, rusty lamps earlier in the day to combat the dimming light and the mist that has swallowed us whole. As the days shorten I long to be home before true inky black arrives here on our hill. Having said that, I never tire of the thrill of seeing, in the distance, the house, or rather the windows lit with amber light as we turn onto the top of the Lane. My heart leaps for home!

Outside the rain is tumbling and torrential, the gutters splutter and splash and the wind is torturing the last leaves clinging to trees. I listen to it all in the lamplight and send a silent prayer of thanks to the oak frame that wraps around us its back to the black...

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Charleston Farmhouse

Yesterday Virginia and I went to Charleston Farmhouse, we had been threatening to visit together for months! Are you enjoying Life In Squares? It seems to have captured our imaginations, the house was fully booked thanks to the interest the BBC drama has sparked. Bloomsbury is back!
Click on the paintings to link to the brilliant BBC website "Your Paintings". Another reason, if we needed one, to continue supporting this wonderful British institution through the licence fee.

No interior photos sadly, but they are are widely available to be seen on the Charleston website and many others.Enough of my witterings, come and enjoy the garden with me...

Such an atmospheric place...felt their energy...sensed their colours...