May 16, 2014

The Road to Tahilla….and England and Scotland

I always wonder, as I take the last turn to Tahilla, what it will feel like when I spot the the red barns in the distance. Eight thousands miles (from Saigon to Boston) is a long way to travel for the love of a farmhouse down a dirt road. Will I feel a sense of dread for buying this house on a leap of faith or will I feel the pitter patter of excitement again as I make my approach? I always wonder…

With a sigh of relief, I can say, hand on heart, I felt the same as as I did on my previous visit. On this trip, I spotted the mountain in the distance, the last days of a winter scene, before a cast of spring green fills in the outline. I never cease to be amazed by this little corner of the world. 

Over the past week, I have taken the days as they come. My bags are unpacked, the cupboards are full,  I have set my feet to all corners of the property letting the jetlag slip away. It has been a process…a quiet one and not without wonder. You may think I am crazy, but I swear….there is a bit of magic playing about in our fields…truly.

At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I set up our telescope just to be sure. As I tightened the lens into place and focused my eye to the view, I heard it..children laughing, calling out to me..."Come Outside!" "Watch Me!" "No, Watch Me! "Look What I Can Do!" "I Can Do It Better!" Then a fit of giggles as they rolled and tumbled along.

I wasn't human children, it was stones behaving as children and they could not have been prouder, as they perched themselves into curious shapes and spaces. Am I crazy for seeing magic in stones? Well…I have the Irish in me and our house is called Tahilla Farm for a place in County Kerry, Ireland. A bit of malarkey? Did I kiss a Blarney stone in a past life? Ahhh…now where would we be without a wee bit of magic in our lives? It would be a dull life indeed...

I mentioned a few weeks back that we were having our stone walls rebuilt and were fortunate to enlist master stone craftsman, Dan Snow, to carry out the task. Pictures were sent as the work was in progress and they looked beautiful. Standing before them today is another story…every time I approach they draw me in and tug at my heart. I see past travels to the English Lake District, to Grasmere, the home of William and Dorothy Wordworth in Cumbria and to the The Spittal of Glenshee  in the Scottish Highlands. But it's the playfulness that has endeared me. I wrote my first impressions in my daily journal...

They tumble and roll and stop to talk and roll on again.

 It is like seeing a group of joyful children at play, 
reminding me of the days when my own children would call out 
from the highest point on the jungle gym...

"Mom- look at me!"  

"Come watch this!"

"Bet you can't do this!"

To which I would look on with surprise and amazement…
loving every act of confidence in their beautiful little bodies.

Fast forward many years and the memories come rushing back, 
whether it is a glimpse from my kitchen window 
or strolling alongside the beautiful shapes of stone.

I wrote to Dan to thank him for bringing magic to Tahilla. Every time I look over at a wall, I find another surprise and can't help but smile. It will keep me happy for a lifetime, I am certain of it, and I imagine the fellow travellers who will follow in my footsteps, will feel the same way.

As always, I thank you for following my tales.
I know they are crazy at times..but I just can't help myself.
It's the Irish in me..I'm sure of it!

At my front door..a baskey of whimsy.

On my last post, I joined in on a blog hop by way of an invite from 
Katrina Kenison. I was asked to pass along the request and am 
delighted to share the wonderful responses with you. 

Katrina Kenison:

My post: 

Heather @ Lost in Arles:

Michelle @ The American Resident

Pamela @ From the House of Edward

And above all, 
watch with glittering eyes
the whole world around you 
because the greatest secrets
are always hidden 
in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic 
will never find it.
Roald Dahl

Jeanne xx ;)

May 5, 2014

On a personal note: Why I Write

A collection of words, by my hand and others.

I was asked to join a writer's blog hop by a very special writer, Katrina Kenison, author of a book I love, Magical Journey. I have to answer four questions about my writing process, which seems easy enough until you get stuck into it. Once you do, a magical journey of another kind transpires. I have Katrina to thank for mine and a journey it has been. I encourage you to hop over to her blog here to read about her writing process. I am going to pass the pen and paper at the end of this post to three other writers I admire..but before I do, as is often the way at Collage of Life,  I would like to tell you a story.

May 3, 2014

Well Begun is Half Done..channelling Mary Poppins


When I was a wee girl, an impressionable young thing, I fell in love with the magic of Mary Poppins. If I were to ask around, I think most women of my generation have at least one Mary Poppins memory, probably similar to mine.

May 1, 2014

Between the pages..little surprises and fruity Americanisms

I love a good mystery, especially when it leads to little surprises. This morning I spotted a beauty bursting with sunshine in our garden. Unable to identify it, I went in search of my Gardeners' Encyclopedia for Plants and Flowers by The Royal Horticultural Society, a book I purchased in of a local shop when we lived in Surrey, England. We moved to Vietnam shortly after I purchased it and have since had little occasion to refer to it.