Month: January 2013

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know” Diane Arbus

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know” Diane Arbus

My favourite way of spending a Sunday afternoon, and avoiding homework, used to be to unzip my mum’s tartan suitcase filled with photos collected since her childhood. On the hallway shelves sat large, beautifully presented photo albums, containing what were to be considered the ‘good’ […]

‘“Before the morn ye’ll work mischief:” Indeed will I,” quo’ Findlay.’ – Robert Burns, Wha Is That at My Bower Door

‘“Before the morn ye’ll work mischief:” Indeed will I,” quo’ Findlay.’ – Robert Burns, Wha Is That at My Bower Door

Heritage, where do we find our heritage? My mother’s family are Scottish, yet she was born in South Africa. My father’s family are fiercely Welsh (my grandfather Cliff Bere wrote the Welsh Republican Movement Manifesto and had a taste for burning the Union Jack) yet my […]

“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” Ernest Hemingway

“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” Ernest Hemingway

Friday is cocktail and pizza night chez Domaine Carret!

Whitney Marie and I started early with some mulled wine in the snow. It may not be Christmas any more, but since the snow has fallen, warm cocktails are the most tempting option. Mulled wine is a warm cocktail, right?

There are many variations on mulled wine, but this is what we had in the kitchen cupboard:

Two bottles of Red Wine

A couple of shots of Armagnac

The zest of one Orange

The juice of one Orange

Three Cinnamon sticks

Six Cloves

Three Star Anise

A thumb of fresh Ginger

Honey (or Sugar if you prefer) to taste

Pop it all in the pot and heat slowly for twenty minutes without letting it boil, then ladle into a warmed teapot and pour! It also goes particularly well with an enormous bowl of popcorn… and a Ryan Gosling film. That may just be a personal choice.

To see the delicious pizzas and find out Whitney Marie’s recipe for a perfect base, visit toowhittoquit. Yum!

Java x

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” John Steinbeck

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” John Steinbeck

  This morning the air was thick and quiet. We slept for hours longer than we should have, we stretched our tea drinking out until our bladders were bursting and we socked our feet until our wellington boots couldn’t fit. Eventually, Jon, Bramble and I […]

Beet Root Soup and Playing in the Hayloft

Beet Root Soup and Playing in the Hayloft

  A misty, cold and grey morning led into a misty, cold grey afternoon. Jon and I plodded in and out of the house, collecting wood, digging the garden , preparing beet roots and pondering on all the different uses for Jerusalem artichokes. So keep […]

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

IMG_3239Cheers!

IMG_3287Lyon, France

Everyone starts a fresh on January 1st, or early September at the start of the school calendar, or simply every Monday after a debauched or slothful weekend.

Recently Jon and I started a new beginning on December the 18th, 2012. We moved from the beautifully wild and extraordinary land where we were living in the Languedoc area of the South of France to the rolling hills of the Rhone-Alpes . We bade farewell to the one room stone cottage amidst the ruins at Les Seilhols, the wonderful friends we have made and shared so many meals with and our walks around the valley with the George Clooney equivalent of dogs. As we drove towards our new destination with a van filled with colourful stock for Tin Cup Vintage and two very stunned yet silent kittens, Jon and I chewed on marzipan logs and discussed our year ahead.

We have moved to Domaine Carret, a small organic vineyard near Lyon, to live with our friends Vincent and Marie, their dog Bramble, and the Tree Cat Troll Zepin. Vincent is French and makes wine, Marie is from the U.S and is a sublime cook: Their favourite hobby is discussing whether humankind ever landed on the moon, disagreeing and then not talking to each other for 48 hours.

Jon and I will be helping out in the vineyard in the mornings and during the afternoon, renovating the barn area to eventually live in. I am focusing more daily time on Tin Cup Vintage and Jon is obsessively bookmarking websites on how to renovate a barn on zero money. We have our work cut out like a pop up book.

Yet… it is a new year and I am hopeful. We have little money, but we have plenty of energy and resourceful minds. I am thrifty and weep at the prospect of wasting anything; which is possibly the main reason for collecting and selling old objects and clothes. Jon is practical and daydreams about building wooden dry toilets and wagon wheel chandeliers. I do think we have hope.

After many years of making what might as well have been a beautifully written short novel on ‘My New Year’s Resolutions’, this year I am trying to simplify. Building one’s own home, expanding a vintage business, establishing a vegetable garden and writing a play may not appear to be simplifying, but by my standards it is perfectly tame. I have erased: learning to knit, becoming a star of stage and screen and being perfect. I mean, if these things happen by accident, I have no complaints, but I am trying to ease the pressure on my fragile ego.

So here is an idea of where this blog will move towards: Exploring how to look stylish when shovelling horse manure, what happens when your social life is three other people and 4 pets, trying to surround yourself with the things you love when you live in one room and all your stuff is in boxes, building a home out of recycled materials such as hay and tyres without looking like a Mad Max set, rooting through the cobwebs and sledges in Vincent’s grandmother’s attic, and then, how do you keep making films and theatre amidst it all?

We shall find out.  It’s like walking into a cold shower when you’ve just got out of bed. All we can do is shiver and then start.