Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The first week in Boussac

Goodness... I cannot believe that I have been in France for almost a week!  The first couple of days were a blur of jet lag and general travel fatigue, followed by  laughter, fun and wonderful food  when my two girl-friends visited me here in Boussac.  

I arrived here from Sydney on Thursday evening after an arduous 35 hour journey.  Friday was spent slowly opening up the little house... throwing open all of the windows, removing the dust covers,  making a couple of beds,  getting in some groceries in preparation for the girls' arrival...oh and did I mention a flat tyre...  Anyway, it all got done very slowly with plenty of breaks as I really was very tired and energy was lacking!  The girls' arrival on Saturday was the beginning of a weekend of great fun and laughter.  Neither had been to Boussac before and many of you wouldn't have a clue where it is either.  Boussac is in the Creuse department in the Limousin region right in the centre of France.  It is a quiet little town and very authentically French.  Lazy days lying by the pool,  slow walks along the quiet streets, the constant chiming of the 15th Century church bells,  all accompanied by beautiful birdsong.  Thursday is market day and the whole town comes alive with fresh produce, locally produced cheeses, poultry, fresh vegetables and fruit as well as clothing, jewelry etc etc.  

We had a lot to catch up on, resulting in lots of chatter, swapping of hilarious stories and sharing wonderful food.  It was a fabulous weekend and a huge spirit booster!  How I discovered Boussac will need to be in a separate post and below are a couple of photos of our house, Boussac and delicious meals.

The Long Room

The Study

Poulet au Pot (before)

and after ... Cooked by Liora and delicious!

This lovely stream... just a minute or two from the house

The Medieval Chateaux of Boussac also minutes from the house

The old village roof tops

The kitchen window

A light supper of smoked salmon, quail's eggs and salad

Beautiful white Iris in the Jardin du The

Veronique and Liora with Hardy of "La Creuzette" - a truly magical place which I will tell you all about next time!

Monday, 21 May 2012


Taken in April last year in the countryside near Boussac

Packing up to leave for a couple of months is no small thing... well not to me anyway!  I just hate packing to go anywhere.. even if only to Sydney for a couple of days.  I loathe the clothing choice dilemma.  My wardrobe is so jumbled and un-coded.  It took ages today to sift through the 'possibles' and 'definites' and in the end I chucked it all in a huge case which I have to sort out tomorrow as I leave on Wednesday.

Mr R-I has bravely carried my bags for all the years we have travelled but not without complaint mind you.  Yes,  he is a resigned 'pack-horse'!  He regularly pleads with me to lighten the load, but I am simply unable to do so.  I usually start off really well, making piles on a spare bed and critically matching this with that, resulting in the piles getting smaller and smaller. Triumphant,  I then begin the careful process of transferring said piles into the gaping suitcase.  This is where the trouble starts.  I suppose I start feeling some sort of panic when looking at a half-full case and slowly the 'just in case' items start creeping in!

Anyway, the purpose of this little note is to say that I shall be in France for the next couple of months and although this is a blog mostly about the farm and life in the Highlands,  I don't think I will be breaking any rules by writing from France do you?

I will be in Boussac - a small town in the Limousin region as well as in Provence for a while and in Paris for a couple of days.  So... until then... 'au revoir' and 'a bientot' !!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

SUNDAY MORNING on South Acres Farm.

I haven't been able to look at my computer screen for a few days as I've had my 'flu' friend visiting me and sapping all my energy!  Waking up to a cold grey morning and looking outside, it seems that Autumn is in it's final days and winter will be upon us soon.  Time for the comfort of the Sunday morning ritual I tell  'the girls' (Penny and Bunny) as I walked into the kitchen -  they were in 'snuggle' mode and looking rather the worse for wear.  Mr R-I was back from buying the Sunday papers and soon I was cracking golden organic eggs into a bowl, warming up the coffee mugs, and slicing up a delicious juicy papaya.  Even the coldest of mornings, and still feeling ill can be cheered up by a lovely breakfast surrounded by comfort and warmth! 

from my kitchen window - cold, grey day

oh dear... looking a tad disheveled this morning!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, 11 May 2012

A regular pleasure!

One of the many pleasures of living in the Southern Highlands is being able to visit Antiques on Consignment.  At the gateway to the Southern Highlands, just after leaving the motorway from Sydney,  a pretty cottage behind french grey gates, and glossy green hedges, is the home of Antiques on Consignment. After restoration, the historic home "Kamilaroi", built in 1904 and situated in extensive grounds, has become a favourite stopping place, not only for us but for many many others.  

The owner, Lydie du Bray, was born in Paris and has been in the antique business for over 20 years.  Lydie has been living in Australia since 1964 and loves the Southern Highlands! She is a charming and friendly lady, and visiting her gorgeous home and business is a double pleasure!  Lydie visits France three times a year to buy new stock, and her business boasts a diverse collection of beautiful decorative items, consigned stock and imported antiques.  Regular visits from top Sydney designers endorse her wonderful stock and excellent  buying skills.

Congnac ... an ever present 10yr old gentleman
Lydie cleverly furnishes the rooms of the house with her  wares.

An abundance of paintings, mirrors and lamps.

One of the outside verandas
Lydie also sells seats like these,  and a large assortment of Ironwork.
A display of Majolica at the entrance to the Old Cottage
The attached Barn 

Imagine this deer in your garden.. 
An outside area under gravel displaying urns, outdoor tables, statues and fountains and other items for the garden

Isn't this beautiful !
Lydie has created a little haven and it is this lifestyle that gives her so much pleasure.  Clucking away in their purpose-built coop are a selection of white fan-tailed pigeons,  an assortment of chickens, as well as two ducks!  There are four resident Alpacas in the field close to the garden, as well as a delightful vegetable garden, the centre of which is an 19thC rabbit hutch with one long-eared inhabitant!.

The long-eared rabbit

and the rabbit hutch

 fresh herbs from her herb garden

A Persimon tree... looking lovely in the late afternoon light

A French fountain in her garden 
Lydie is an excellent cook (in the French style of course!) and enjoys having dinner parties at a beautifully laid table.  

Lydie's kitchen

Why not have a look at her website here

Have a look at my new post on
Homestead Interiors

Thursday, 3 May 2012

OPEN GARDEN at South Acres Farm

As usual,  our garden at South Acres, has stumbled into autumn a disheveled ,unruly mess.  After months of showing off and entertaining everyone, flaunting her floral beauty,  and obediently 'glowing' every late afternoon, she is a mess! Many unwanted guests (weeds) tend to get overlooked during the heady summer months and as everything starts dying down they become very apparent.

When approached last year by Caroline Davies Garden Tours in Melbourne, to open our garden in May this year,  I shuddered somewhat at the thought of showing the garden at this time of the year in her usual unruly state!  But as we had months to think and plan,  we took on the task happily and the Open Garden yesterday (3 May) was a great success,  accompanied by beautiful weather.

There were all of the hedges to trim (and there are many),  the perennials to cut back,  truck-loads of mulch to deposit,  weeds to get rid of and a rush to complete a couple of renovations that were underway. John Nichols and his son Michael were invaluable in completing these many tasks.  The week before an open garden is often a competition between us and the weather.  Planning exactly which day to do the  final mowing of the lawns, can be hampered if the heavens decide to open.  But luckily,  everything fell into place this time.  We had a big downpour the night before, and the most beautiful day followed.  Below are some pics of the final big day of preparation.

John trimming the box hedge

Young Michael spreading the mulch

The pleached silver pears at the entrance getting a trim

Lettuce from the vegetable garden about to be washed for lunch

A break for lunch - salad from the garden and pies from the  bakery in Robertson

The final mow !
It was such a still day... the reflections a mirror image.

Beautiful fresh mulch

Michael spending hours on the mower and doing a very good job!

Sweeping the pathways.. so many leaves

Penny keeping a watchful eye on all the activity!

It occurred to me last night that I completely forgot to photograph our visitors yesterday!! I was so caught up in walking around with them and chatting that my camera was left in the house.  I did notice a couple of people taking photos and I have put the word out so hopefully some of these photos will find their way back to me and I will then post them on this blog!  

5 May:  Well happily, one of the visitors took a couple of photos of some of the group... they are below and I also added a few more photos of the garden taken early this morning.

Visitors arriving!
Gathering on the front lawn and saying "Hello"

The Herbacious garden on the left

Marcel's garden

Autumn colours lovely this morning - curved Lime walk 

Walking through the Rill and the farm beyond the paddock fence

I should get up early more often as the colours are wonderful !

The courtyard
and from the other side

Thanks for stopping by !
Have a look at the new post on Homestead Interiors - "Bringing colour back"