27 May 2016

Tika of Tahilla…she made it!

Passing rainbow cloud…Tahilla Farm

There has been some serious nail biting going on at Tahilla Farm this week as we patiently awaited Tika's arrival from Ho Chi Minh City to Boston. Everything went topsy turvy when President Barack Obama arrived in Vietnam earlier this week. For security reasons, Tika's flight was pushed back two days. I admit it had me in a panic…something that is easy for me to do. 

It didn't last long as I knew we were in good hands. The photo below is of our driver, Mr. Khai, saying farwell to Tika at the HCMC Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Mr. Khai has been a devoted friend to Tika's these past four years. She has been a very lucky girl!

Mr. Khai sees Tika safely to the airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

This was Tika's fouth international flight in 13 years and thankfully it will be her last. She flew 21 hours in addition to spending 28 hours in Dubai at the airport pet hotel. An exhausting journey!

I am so very happy to report that Tika is doing fine. A bit smelly and stiff in the legs but within a few minutes she was off and running, stopping long enough to let us give her a good wash. It was WONDERFUL to see her back in open fields again. I have been waiting for this moment since we bought the house in 2012. Her time has finally come!

Tika of Tahilla Farm taking in her new surroundings.

I want to thank all of you for your thoughtful wishes
for Tika's safe arrival. There were moments when I 
was close to pulling my hair out…your kind words
helped more than you know. Thank you!

Until next time...
very best wishes for a 
wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xx

14 May 2016

Whispers…lots of little white whispers

Whispers….lots of little white whispers. 

We spend most of our time in a kind of horizontal thinking.
We move along the surface of things…but there are times when we stop.
We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or it's memory.
We listen, and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.
~James Carroll

Dear friends….

This bird has landed in the USA and has just about flapped off her jet lag stupor. It was a LONG journey…a series of flights that had me checking my watch two hours into my first flight…with 17.5  hours to go. Not a good sign…but…that was somewhere between Monday and Wednesday and today is Friday... and I have moved on. I am starting to feel a whole other world whispering to me.

It has been go, go, go since I arrived. It was all about the garden on Wednesday, I met with our garden designer, Gordon Hayward…who greeted me with a bouquet of fresh picked flowers from his garden. They smelled divine and I loved the touch of mango in the bouquet. We met to review through the final details of our garden plans. We anticipate tucking them into place the week after next. I am SO SO excited!

A touch of mango..

Since Wednesday, the window washer came along and washed every window inside and out. I love a clear view. The cleaners have come and gone, I stocked the frig, unpacked my clothes, moved furniture and moved furniture again and spent a few hours alongside a wheelbarrow pulling weeds.

Next week a crew comes in to do the spring clean up around the property and the curtains and blinds arrive for the bedrooms, study and keeping room. All this before Mr. H arrives on Wednesday.

Porch views…Tahilla Farm

Speaking of Mr. H…I received a call from a delivery service to say that my shipment was clearing USA customs and they needed more information. Shipment? What shipment? I started to panic…this had Mr. H and his surprises written all over it. I asked for more details, What is it?….they said... a sculpture. I asked where the shipment originated from…they said South Africa. I asked how much the sculpture weighs..they said 100 lbs. Ok folks…I have NO idea what is on it's way to Tahilla Farm but I have a feeling it is going to be a big surprise…it certainly will be a heavy one. I can say with certainty that it is not Henrietta Hippo for I know she is still lounging around Chateau Mango back in Vietnam. Stay tuned…I will be sure to fill you in when it arrives!

If you wonder if I ever find the time to relax the answer is yes..especially in the USA... because I have access to USA Netflix and PBS and a host of other stations that are not accessible from Vietnam. A few recent favs…Grantchester, Vera, Call the Midwife,  Outlander, Mr. Selfridge, Madam Secretary, Blacklist and Blindspot. It has been ages since I have been to a movie theater….I am really looking forward to seeing Love and Friendship adapted from  Jane Austen's book Lady Susan. Have you seen it?

Oh yes…
and the other thing I love to do
 and find so relaxing…
is write to you!

With that I send best wishes 
from Tahilla Farm 
for a wonderful weekend!
I hope breezes from 
a whole other world 
whisper to you.

Until next time….

Jeanne xx

01 May 2016

My Secret French Girlfriend and the travelling washer...

Roadside service...Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
With thanks to my SFG for this photo!

I hope this post finds you well...I am taking a mini-break from my packing schedule to share a great photo sent to me by my Secret French Girlfriend. Say what? Yes, let me explain...

I have written before about the book My Stylish French Girlfriends by Sharon Santoni....and I put my friend in this very special category for she is both stylish...and French...but she likes her anonymity.

What is very special about my Secret French Girlfriend is that I met her through Collage of Life. I have to say...this blog has rewarded me immeasurably. If I had never started writing all those years ago...well, we wouldn't be here would we? And if we weren't here, I never would have discovered Tahilla Farm or the many friendships that have developed along the way. I count my blessing for this little space called Collage of Life...especially when events like this happen...

It all started....
My SFG wrote to me about 18 months ago to say she read my blog and felt she had found a kindred spirit.  Like me, an expat and travelling spouse, she had been on the move with four boys for 20 years. She could relate to my story and as luck would have it, she was moving to Ho Chi Minh City. The questions and answers about life in Vietnam flowed over the following months. When she and her husband came for a "look see" visit we all met. Mr. H and I instantly warmed to them, feeling like we connected with old friends. Our laughter and conversation never skipped a beat. They moved to HCMC a few months later and since then a lovely friendship has developed. My SFG has a spontaneous gusto for life, has a passion for the color red and looks stunning in it. She is learning Vietnamese to add to the many other languages she already speaks, has a great sense of humor (a must for me), an eye for the beauty around her and is a super talented photographer. She has thought about writing a blog...which I encourage wholeheartedly. I just have to get her past the anonymity part..

Passion for red..Chateau Mango

Which brings me to the travelling washing machine photo above...I recently mentioned that I was on the hunt for a new washer and dryer for Tahilla Farm, my SFG offered up the photo as a possible solution. I can't decide which I love more...the backseat passenger 'wearing' the washing machine or the Zombie Personnel jacket on the driver in front of them. This photo arrived at just the right time....my SFG seems to always know when I need a boost. I love when friends do that.

What do you recommend?
So...as we are talking about washing machines, let me put this question to you...do you have a washer and dryer that you recommend? Are you a fan of top loaders or front loaders? Do you stack or have them side by side? Do you go for the tried and true brands or the latest with all the bells and whistles? Dying to know because my machines at Tahilla Farm are about to die and I need to replace them soon!


One line or two? or three?
The other project I will be working on this summer is the construction of a clothes line. Once upon a time I could rely on our beloved old tree, 'Martha', to look after our fresh air drying needs. Now that she is gone, I need to find another source. We have a design, I just can't decide how many lines I should have built in...one, two or three? Any thoughts?

by Marta Orlowska

And that's a wrap...
I have dilly-dallied long enough, 
time for this woman to get back to work.

I hope the travelling washing machine brought
a smile...I just love that photo. So typical of
Vietnam! Thank you my SFG! ;)

Before I go,  I want to thank you for
all your lovely messages. They are much
appreciated and mean the world to me.
If you have written,
I will be back in touch soon!

Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you!
for reading along.

Jeanne xx

27 April 2016

The 'Tahilla Pack' and men in black...

Chateau Mango, Vietnam

This morning eight men dressed in black whizzed 
into our driveway and parked their motorcycles 
alongside our house. 
They came to start the 'Tahilla Pack'. 
The time has come. 

I have spent weeks tagging and sorting, inside and out. 
I have to say it has been hard not to feel nostalgic 
for what we have created at Chateau Mango.
It's been a labor of love.

View to a garden and a hippo.

Even though our days in Vietnam are not quite over yet, 
Chateau Mango will shortly be a shadow of it's former self. 
And that's ok...we knew this time would come. 
We have been planning for it since we arrived four years ago
and we certainly have been busy.

This goes with that...kind of.

I can't help but wonder...
what will it be like when Chateau Mango 
merges with Tahilla Farm?

Tahilla Farm awaiting a garden.

I have been able to keep my sanity through it all 
with the help of my youngest son, Connor
He came home for a two week school break...
I just love when he comes home,
Tika does too.

Connor has since returned to Sydney
leaving his mother talking to herself again.
Mr. H is keeping quiet.
Smart man.

I fly back to Tahilla Farm in two weeks
where a garden party awaits and a college graduation.
Our Miss Claire is graduating!

Claire is off to Africa in July 
for a two year assignment with the Peace Corps.
We are so very proud of our girl in 
 red, white and blue. 

Miss Claire sporting red, white and blue.

I would love to share one more thing. My mother, Alma,
was recently interviewed and asked to tell
 a little bit about herself and her shop. 
It was so much fun to view
and since many of you have asked...
here is Alma and her thoughts about turning 80.
Go Mom!

Wishing you a wonderful week!
Thank you so much for reading along!!

Jeanne xx

19 April 2016

For Ellie and Teddy....

I never ceased to be amazed by the magic of the blogging world. My family often teased me about my 'imaginary friends' those 'virtual men and women' spread out across the globe who I knew only through words...until I started to actually meet them. Some are now counted as some of our dearest family friends. It warms the heart to think how those friendships evolved.

11 April 2016

Decorating Notes....Tahilla Farm

Transition new house to old house via a reading nook.

If you asked for a postcard last month, I am happy to report, it is on it's way! I also asked if you had any questions for me and many of you did. Tahilla Farm seems to be as much on your mind as it is mine. So let's begin...

29 March 2016

The Habit of Light...

An opulence of beeswax and light...Tahilla Farm

I discovered a poem today.
I read it once, twice..
and I know it won't be the last.

23 March 2016

The Postcard Trail....

First postcard to Mariana in Glasgow...from Hanoi

My postcard list is growing and I am delighted! If you asked for a postcard from me on my last post, consider it duly noted. If you would still like to receive one, please leave a comment or email me jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com.  I would be happy to write to you!