The Charm of Mystery....

Gecko our front door, Chateau Mango

The evening air sits heavy outside our doorstep, dense in the sweet scent of jasmine. Not a bad way to end the week. In retrospect, it did not seem that crazy a week..until Thursday rolled around and I had a feeling I may have gone to far.

But first, Monday...
ON MONDAY..the expat book club

The week started easily enough...with an expat book club meeting. We meet on the second Monday of each month in a local cafe in Saigon. It's been months since my last meeting and I finally made it..but I nearly missed it.  With two days to go, I still had not read the book, so I sat myself down last Saturday morning and read and read and read until I finished the book a few hours later. Have you read the ethereal and compelling book, The Shack, by William P. Young? All I can say is WOW! If you are looking for a book that is sure to get people talking, read this one. 

We decided on the following books for the upcoming months, have you read any of them?

by Karen Joy Fowler

by Anthony Doerr 

by Mavis Cheek

by Daniel Mason 

Book Club done...easy.

ON TUESDAY...all that is Chateau Mango and Persian Melons

Left side of house, new colour..right side, old colour. 

The consensus on the house colour was unanimous...stay true to Chateau Mango. Mr. H was very happy with your vote. Minor glitch on that one, I only had two colours to choose from. Our original colour was no longer available so I had to quickly decide between Orange Julius and Persian Melon. The closest match was Persian Melon. I told Mr. H not to worry, he would hardly notice the difference. Done, decided...let the paint cans roll in. 

Top to bottom...melon to mango. 
Well, they is probably a better colour... softer, lighter and all the other things you try and tell yourself when you are not sure if you made the right choice. At the end of the day, it is not mango, at least not a ripe mango. It is more like a green mango. Change the house name to Chateau Green Mango? I think not. Chateau Melon, Chateau Limoncello? No and No. 

Newly painted Chateau Mango, 2012

Newly painted Chateau Mango come limoncello, 2015

Really, it is all how you look at it in the light. In the early morning and later afternoon hours, when the sun casts a warm glow over the house, it is perfect. At noon, when the sun is it's is best to go shopping. 

Mr. H has been travelling all week and has not seen it yet. I may have to go with the "you must be colour blind" you think he will notice the difference? 

Chateau Mango forever and spirit.

ON WEDNESDAY...back at the farm

I have been pouring over gardening books and photographs this week as we tweak our landscape plans, more specifically, as we contemplate the shape and size of the stone retaining walls that will one day, pull everything together. 

Who knew a stone wall could be so is that 'curve' again, to curve or not to curve, that is the question. 

Gertrude Jekyll helped put it into perspective when she described a garden..

'the garden to the west of the house 
abounds in charming surprises. 
It's various subdivisions are linked together 
in a simple general design. 
Each section shows some distinct way 
of making a garden picture, 
and each entices onwards 
to the next by the charm of mystery 
and the stimulus of pleasant anticipation 
of something still better to follow.'

by Gertrude Jekyll (with Sir Lawrence Weaver)
Published, 1912

A garden picture,

Once upon a garden...Tahilla Farm

enticing onwards,

by the charm of mystery,

pleasant anticipation,

of something still better to follow. 

 Words to feed the gardening soul.
I say we find the 'curve' in the charm of mystery.

ON THURSDAY...I should have skipped Thursday all together

via Etsy

I will just say it once.

If ever you feel the need to change your hair colour  a week before you son's wedding, as in go from light to dark...semi-blonde to brunette...don't. Stick with reading a book, painting your house and planning a garden... it so much easier.


Update on the Mother of the Groom dress..we are getting there. I am happy with the two outfits I had made with one minor hiccup ( at least I hope it is minor). The dressmaker left a large chalk stain smack in the middle of the dress. Not a good look. They are sending it to the dry cleaner and assure me it will be fine. Dry cleaning and silk...not sure about that one. Worst case, they start from scratch and make it again...I still have time.

IT IS FRIDAY EVENING...and the air is dense in the sweet scent of jasmine.

I am wondering.... if I should have added an extra week to my writing challenge. I  probably would have stayed out of trouble if I had...I am sure my hairdresser thinks so. ;)

On that are you???  Thank you SO much for your comments on my recent posts. They are truly inspiring. I have been meaning to get back and respond to them all...and to answer those lingering questions about life in Saigon and travel tips for Vietnam. A few things got in the way this week, but I will get to them, promise!


Sending wishes, heavy on the scent of jasmine,
for a wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xx

Blooming at Chateau Mango this week,
a peachy-pink bougainvillea.


  1. Oh my goodness Jeanne!!!! This has been quite a week.

    First I read the Shack years ago and LOVED IT! They are making it into a movie, should be interesting. I must check out these books that you recommend.

    As for your new house color, hmm...I do not think Mr. H is going to fall for the color blind line. The house looks good, maybe you just have to get used to it?

    So excited for your garden plans, they sound very exciting!

    The hair thing, NEVER do that again. I went to have a haircut before prom. I have long, long hair to the middle of my waist, when I came out I had a pixie cut and looked like Peter Pan. Still not sure what was lost in translation on that one, except my hairdresser said I needed a change. My date was not happy.

    I am sure the chalk will come out, it usually brushes away. In any case you ar in the right place to have a new dress whipped up in a day or two.

    I hope that you have a wonderful weekend, relax, read a book and let all of the stress of the last week float away.

    xo Elizabeth

    1. Thank you Elizabeth...what is life without a few ups and downs and a change of hair colour! I bring it on keeps me laughing. Thanks for the book tip and best wishes to you for a relaxing weekend. Off to have a massage, I think I deserve it this week! xx

  2. Beautiful and exciting news from you always.
    I cannot wait to hear all about the wedding and all the events before during and after,.
    Love Jeanne

  3. Reading a good book might have been a good option but wouldn't make your blogpost nearly as interesting!
    Thanks for sharing your week with us. I hope your dress and your hair feel comfortable and right by the wedding. Now find yourself a good book to curl up with! xo

    1. Will do Carole...and I did manage to get the hair colour sorted, just what I wanted. One down...xx

  4. Wishing you all the best for the wedding - don't forget your handkerchief!

    1. So glad you mentioned that Lisa...I will need lots!

  5. LOVE the color of the house! Yes, it's softer as you stated, but makes the windows and doors stand out (as in more contrast). I've been wanting to read "All The Light We Cannot See" simply because of the title. I favor non-fiction, but I can get engrossed with well-written fiction. As for the hair color, can you wash away some of it before the wedding? I'll bet it's not as bad as you imply. The chalk in the dress should come out fine too. A couple of weeks ago, a blog I subscribe to posted an extremely thought-provoking idea on finding happiness in our crazed (my word) world. At the end of this enlightening post, the advice that succinctly summed it up was simply: "Good enough is almost always good enough." Oh, and that shade of bougainvillea—oooh!

    1. Thank you Susan, the good news is I managed to sort the hair colour and am happy with the result...everything else will just fall into place, naturally. I agree...that peachy pink colour, I want to bottle it up!

  6. Oooo...a joyous week ahead! Have a fabulous time!

  7. Wish I had bougainvillea blooming in my yard; March, this year, is cool and overcast, but buds are popping out and I can tell the birds know spring is just around the corner.

    New Chateau Mango color is lovely, not so different as to give Mr. H a big surprise.

    I've read The Piano Tuner, quite some time ago, liked it.

    When you come up for air, if you haven't already, check out the books of Elena Ferrante, beginning with "My Brilliant Friend," the first of a trifecta (with a fourth due later this year) about the lifetime of friendship of two girls, Lina and Lenu, in Neopolitan Naples in the '50's. Unputdownable.

    Have a wonderful time at the wedding!

    1. Love your suggestions Judy, I will be sure to check it out. I watched the British drama, The Cazalets on DVD this week by Jane Elizabeth Howard. There are a few books associated with that series as well. The TV series left me wanting more. Another book to add to the list!

  8. You were busy and time was full. Next week is the lovely wedding. Joy and love intwined. Joy and happiness are very to contain. I’m even getting excited.

    For the delight of booksI love the Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason with memorable passages and a beautiful story that took place in Burma. The Light We Cannot See is haunting story of a blind French girl and her devoted father and a German boy who tracked her in the midst of war.Very subtle flowing story.

  9. Oh my goodness, I am sending SUCH good energy for the wedding! It will be wonderful. If you really dislike your hair, why not wear a hat or a tiara or some such? Either way, you will look gorgeous!! How could you not? :)

    I loved "The Piano Tuner" and I know you will too...
    Gros Bisous,

  10. I read The Shack quite some time ago and thought about it for a long time after. I have been wanting to read All The Light We Cannot See. I hope your husband likes the new house color. From the photo, I do. It makes me so frustrated when I come home with something less than I had wanted at the hair salon. Your deep color change will likely lighten a bit after a few washings. Glad your dresses are what you wanted. Best wishes for a beautiful time with your family next week!

  11. I read The Shack several years ago, and it is full of beautiful truth. I am not sure how I feel about the making of a movie, but I guess it will be interesting to see what they do with it. The story behind the book is interesting, too. Thanks for the other suggestions.

    The new color on your home looks fantastic, and I wish you the best with the wedding and the hair situation:)


  12. Oh my gosh...The Shack. I read that several years ago quite compelling. That one will be tough for Hollywood I think. So glad Chateau Mango was restored to her glory. Enjoy the wedding you will look gorgeous!!

  13. Enjoy the wedding and please share some photos. I adore weddings. You have had another busy, interesting week. Yes, paint colours can be very deceptive and my husband and I argue about them all the time. I think he has finally given up and lets me make the final choice. I sometimes think that men see shades differently than we do. They don't quite get how vibrant a colour can look.
    The Piano Tuner sounds interesting.

  14. Hello Jeanne,
    You certainly know how to add life to a week. I did read the Shack. It is a good book for a book club as there is lots to discuss and debate.
    I do like the new Chateau Mango-esque transformation. High noon drains colour.
    Happy to hear your hair is sorted. You are so calm Jeanne, I love how you seem not to stress over the little matters and your humour sees the funny side. I am looking forward to hearing all about Patrick's wedding.
    Helen xx


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