Photographs by Elizabeth, unless otherwise stated. Do not reproduce without permission, please.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Scart House, Ireland

All photographs in this post are courtesy of C & K Bohm

Have you an eye for beauty, a sense of romance, a love of history, and a desire to step away from the pressures of urban living – your own private, idyllic retreat for weekends, holidays or perhaps even permanently?

Do you desire a place with spectacular ocean and mountain views that is only metres from waves kissing a pristine, deserted beachMaybe you need a break from the public spotlight?

I'm home a lot. 
Because I live in Ireland, we can live under the celebrity radar. 
I might go missing for a whole year.

Then my friends' rare, lovingly restored, Georgian, 6 bedroom residence in South Kerry,Ireland, may be just the perfect place for you. 

Claire and Karlheinz Bohm purchased Scart House with a vision of turning it into their permanent, family home. 

Over a 10-year period Claire and Karlheinz had been meticulously bringing this Georgian gem back to life using Karlheinz’s professional stonemason’s skills as well as the skills of local craftsmen. 

However, life has unpredictably changed direction for the Bohm family. They no longer can be the custodians of Scart House so it has been put up for sale (at a relatively small price for this Georgian piece of history). Scart House, now in structurally pristine condition, is waiting for someone with a passion for decorating to make make it the glorious home it could be. 

For more images, information and benefits about Scart house you can contact Claire and Karlheinz directly, drop by the Scart House website or visit it in person. 

Irelands loss of this delightful family has been France's gain as the Bohm family now reside "just down the road" from My French Folly where they now look after a dependent elderly family member. 

If you haven't yet visited the above links to Scart house, you can see it by clicking here.

Please note that I do not stand to benefit from the sale of Scat House and I am not a real estate agent. I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you some Irish beauty (and perhaps be a catalyst for someone else's dream become a reality). 
Claire's direct contact details are:
May the sun shine, all day long,

everything go right, and nothing wrong.

May those you love bring love back to you,

and may all the wishes you wish come true!
An Irish blessing

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Man on the Ground = A Rat up a Drain Pipe

Before local friends came to our rescue.
Thank you to those of you who have contacted me for an update about the situation with our house in France. 

The renovations to My French Folly have been a farce. My Man on the Ground, an Englishman, and his "company" resemble something from a slap stick Laurel and Hardy movie, instead of the slick professional team that they claim to be. Unfortunately I'm not laughing.

It appears that this husband and wife team exploit the fact that many overseas buyers of property in France aren't on site, can't effectively speak the language or don't understand the French building rules and regulations. Their ability to look clients in the eye and repeatedly lie without flinching, is deserving of an Academy Award. 

Embarrassingly, I am one of many people who have been taken for a ride.  After the damage was done to My French Folly at the hands of my Man on the Ground and his wife, I read that this scoundrel was taken to court, but suffered no loss for his wrong doings, as he had arranged his finances so he was penniless.  Despite this court case, inexplicably, in this country renowned for its officialdom, he and his wife are still running the same business,  flouting the law and managing to scramble up the proverbial drainpipe with well orchestrated, emotive excuses when his clients become suspicious. 

Work is now in progress. Mr R is making our 
shutters and a French stonemason (one of our 
local guardian angels) has commenced 
repairing the stone work. The new external 
stairs were a welcomed surprise when we 
arrived last summer. 
Since the debacle at at My French Folly, I have learnt a lot about siret numbers, the French building system and French law -   and my language skills relating to renovation and legal matters have improved quickly.
Stairs being rebuilt last year by one of our friends - a true French artisan.

With the generous support  of the local community, we are now working with talented French artisans rectifying the myriad of problems with our house,  albeit slowly. There has been a temporary lull in my quest to make this couple of scoundrels accountable for their actions due to the unfortunate events of 2013, but the chase is not over………..

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekend Reflections - Lac de Charmes, France

I always say that the times in my life when I've been happiest are the times when I've seen, like, a sunset. Chris Evans
SUNSET, LAC DE CHARMES, Haute Marne, France
When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator. Mahatma Gandhi
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky. Rabindranath Tagore 
Lost yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, 2 golden hours, each with 60 diamond minutes. No reward is offered because they are gone forever. Horace Mann

Another weekend when I'm joining  Weekend Reflections. Drop by Jame's blog  for some visual treats.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reflections: Chateau d'Azay - le - Rideau

Do not worry if you have built castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. David Henry Thoreau
Once again, I am joining Weekend Reflections. Click here to see the reflections of others.

CHATEAU D’AZAY-LE-RIDEAU - Loire Valley, France

While meandering through the grounds of Chateau Azay-le-Rideau, absorbing the tranquil beauty of its gardens, a reflection of this charming renaissance castle framed by foliage, came into view. 

Built between 1521 and 1523, during the reign of Francoise 1, Chateau Azay-le-Rideau is considered to be the "jewel of the French Renaissance". Its interior  is dominated by the ornately  embellished grand staircase on which the influence of Italian architecture is clearly evident. Chateau Azay-le-Rideau may be a comparatively small chateau on the Loire valley landscape, but it is definitely worth a visit.

                         Click here to view all participants of Weekend Reflections. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Panama-mania in Provence …….Weekend Reflections

Panama-mania at my favourite provençal market.
Our Panama hats, purchased at this market hat stall in Provence, have finally gone into hibernation until our winter solstice, when they will be retrieved and whisked off to France to enjoy the summer sun. 

Although renown for creating and exporting distinctive, refined fashion since the the seventeenth century, the French also have "an eye" for spotting items of elegance, style and superb craftsmanship  from other cultures.  Fashion that is now entrenched in the French culture, such as Panama hats and bright provençal fabrics, have their origins far from the azure seas of France. 

The exhibition of the toquilla hat at the 1855 World Fair in Paris by the Frenchman Philippe Raimond, a resident of Panama, is credited for making this finely woven Ecuadorian hat - "the Panama", a chic, obligatory fashion accessory of the rich and famous. 

P.S. This is not my elbows in the mirror, but that of a person trying on a hat.  I have used a zoom and I am way off to the left of this image.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Harley-Davidson……..Weekend Reflections.

This week I'm again joining Weekend Reflections.

Weekends often see the bad-boy bikies being out numbered on our roads by the man-next-door, indulging in his Harley fantasy. Shy executives, compliant partners, responsible fathers and conservative neighbours will carefully preen then mount their dream-machines to zip along the highways and bank down winding roads, accompanied by the distinctive roar of the Harley's engine: a sound that screams "freedom", evokes envy and causes the inner rebel to surface.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lazy Sunday afternoon on the Loire river, France

Strolling along the Loire river are some of my most treasured memories of France ….… a highly recommended past time.

Currently I'm finding it difficult to put "pen to paper"  and fingers to the keyboard. The inspiration for my post this week came from Virginia - thank you Virginia.  Please visit Virginia's addictive Paris Through My Lens  and also James' beautiful Weekend Reflections for some visual treats.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.     
Oscar Wilde

The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
Blaise Pascal
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting 2 bodies.
My florist's thought for the week

Happy Valentine's

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's Time

A view from the terrace at My French Folly
My mind is swimming. Celebrating a significant birthday, returning to work from the summer vacation and enduring a week of searing temperatures in the early to mid forties has taken its toll. I resemble the limp, heat scorched, and now rather tatty, plants in my beloved garden. No matter the nourishment and care I self-administer to rectify the situation, my body doesn't respond.

Mr R and Sue sitting on our terrace in France
after having just arrived for our 2013 sojourn.
In spirit, I am sipping rosé on our terrace in France.

In reality I'm half a world away at my desk, swamped by paper work and daunted by my rapidly growing "must do or else" list. In 2013 my daily routine was broken and I'm finding it jolly hard to re establish - the aftermath of a difficult year.

My head is struggling to rein in my heart. My heart is urging me to change my employment profile - more time to rekindle my neglected passions. I have yet to resolve the conflict between my financial security and emotional wellbeing; however, regardless of my state flux, it has become obvious that it is time to prioritise and simplify my life ………… and improve my French. 

Looking across the village roof tops from the terrace. Absolute peace descends over the village each evening at sunset.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A francophile's dream

A francophile's dream: living on a barge moored in the heart of Paris, (in this case the 1 arrondissement), with a bicycle, on which to discover the charms of The City of Light, parked at the front door.

Inexplicably, I fell so very French when I'm in Paris ambling along the the banks of the Seine, or riding my bicycle through the verdant green hills that engulf our village.