Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Setting Sail

Now that I have managed to source the perfect outdoor lights for the cottage at Boulders, I am inspired to be adventurous about some of the interior fittings.

I have always loved the gentle loveliness of the sitting room pictured above.

The oversized portrait, pale blue drapes and that enchanting sailing boat light add just the right touch of whimsy.

Jennifer Nicholson, daughter of the more famous Jack, blings it up in her apartment where the sailing boat seems to lose some of its charm.

But I can still see it setting sail over the dining table in 'les grand salon'!

xxx elle

Babylonstoren - the culture of beauty

The road to Babylonstoren beckons like a siren's song, and if you have not yet heard the call then you are deaf to the poetry of the very earth itself.

Babylonstoren is the brainchild of Koos Bekker and Karen Roos, and lucky for us mere mortals that they have chosen, in a gesture of immeasurable generosity to share her with the public.

So that what might have been a hidden gem privy only to a selected few, is a national and sure to be beloved national treasure.

The 8 acre vegetable gardens at Babylonstoren were designed by acclaimed architect Patrice Taravella who is the part owner of The Orsan Garden which is set in the Berry region of central France.

They are inspired by the Company Gardens of the Cape which for centuries acted as a refreshment station for visiting ships stopping off half way between Europe and Asia.

But it is Gundula the fine art graduate (seen here observing the flow of the leiwater with Mr Nielson) who acts as chief gardener.

It is Gundula who (with her purple and green eyeshadow and floral apron ) looks as if she has been plucked from the finest garden bed, and who colludes with visionary owner Koos Bekker to ensure that the gardens continually respond to the dynamics of the South African landscape.

Everywhere there is a meeting of function and form.

Here, cut off wine vats act as washing stations for freshly plucked produce.

And here, an assortment of vintage garden recliners lie about under the trees near the public restrooms.

 In the Apiary a chorus-line of mulberry trees tempt the lucky bees.

Creatures great and small are all welcome at Babelonstoren.

In fact, it is the warmth with which visitors are welcomed by Elmien, Lionel and the rest of team that makes the farm so hard to leave.

9000 clivia's in bloom down by the river make the perfect photo opportunity for Moira and Gundula!

In a moment of serendipity I discover the barn lights needed for the cottage at Boulders!

And am inspired by the way in which even the most utalitarian construction is a thing of beauty.

After a day spent wandering the gardens, we retire to one of the beautiful guesthouse suites for a delicious lunch supplied by Babel the restaurant kitchen.

And then, around a shaded lunch table we plan our next return...

xxx elle

Spring Yard Sale at Talana

It's not a South African tradition to hold a yard sale.

But Noo Noo decided to host one, and donate all proceeds to the 'Help a Rural Child' charity.

And where better to hold one, then in the garden at Talana, where a tree stump proves the perfect place to try on a pair of Steele's sneakers.

Facebook is the advertising method of choice, as friends begin to arrive and head for the bargain rails.

There is sunshine and music, Pimms and lemonade, sundresses and hoolahoops.

And bargains to be found.

When it was over the rails were still full!

Noo Noo knows to market to a wider audience next time, and not to hold it on the weekend of Earthdance!

My favourite sight was a box marked 'Gareth's T-shirts R20, Haven't you always wanted to be more like Gareth'.

xxx elle

Windyridge...the promise of things to come

Mr Nielson and I, can't keep away from the cottage at Boulders for too long.

We make any excuse to go out Simonstown way and assure ourselves of a quick walkabout.

Here, the 'boat' bedroom begins to take shape.

And an enclosed porch promises a lazy afternoon's read, with a view from the foldaway windows to distract from even the juiciest book.

The 'Grand Salon' is already a wondrous space, despite the fact that it still doubles up as a hardware store and carpenter's workroom.

Then we are homeward bound but heed of course, the whales call...

They never disappoint.

xxx elle