house is hidden behind two gigantic rows of pine trees and only
very few people even know its there.
Yves, the postmana big black Guadeloupe Papahe knows
where they live and once every week, he brings the mail up to
the house instead of putting it in the mailbox.
He comes all the way up, to see how the "Little Lady"
is doing. Ebony and ivory sit together, drink a cup of coffee,
and gossip about the French.
On the slopes of the land, the DingoDog, a Border Collie, herds
a flock of fourteen Cats. He has no baa baa, black sheep of his
own and the ones he sees passing by every morning, have their
own sheep dog and shepherd.
He hears their cling-clang bells from afar and gets all excited,
but theyre not his. Keep off! Oh, well
why he herds Cats.
Long, long ago, the property used to be a vineyard. Its
well over a hundred-and-fifty years that a certain Monsieur Blanc
planted his first vines, and with huge stones and rocks constructed
two cabanas: one way up on the slope, the other at the bottom.
The one below grew into a house, the one up high remained as was,
and in the summer welcomes a few, privileged guests.
The previous owner tore up the vineyard. His excuse? Lack of time
to cultivate it. Now, the slopes are covered with grass, but here
and there the odd vine survived the mans mass destruction
and even today gives him the bras dhonneur:
one arm bent at the elbow going up, the hand closed, except for
that one cheeky finger in the middle. Up yours!
The Little Ladys better, no, best half mows around the courageous
vines, and wild strawberries and orchids that keep them company.
True, the terrain does look a bit scrawny and patchy, but who
cares? Nobody there to see it and even if they did
old, old vines, the unique orchids, and delicious pinkish-white
strawberries are more important, arent they? Strawberry
It is a land of silence. The sounds of silence sing in the chant
of so many different bird species, that they had to buy a bird
encyclopaedia to recognize them and their song. The nightingale
of Berkeley Square sings on Les Hauts dEmbarry, there are
partridges in the pear tree, and two pairs of vultures are building
nests in the crevices of the white cliffs above the property.
Vultures? Yes, vultures. Majestically circling high in the sky,
naked-neck-funny-face-Jungle Book So, what shall we do?
vultures that leave behind perfectly cleaned white carcasses of
sheep and other animals, for you to study when you go for a long
stroll off the beaten track. Come to think of it, the only place
to stroll there is off the beaten track.
Vultures became extinct in the region and a colony was set out
not too far from where they live. Twelve vultures. That was fifteen
years ago. Today, the colony has split up and is building nests
all over the region; even in the crevices of the Cliffs above
Above the cliffs are the Highlands. Home of giants and trolls.
You can see them mooning, when the weather is nice and sunny
which is almost always.
Elves and fairies stay closer to the house and make their home
underneath, or between the rose bushes, where the Little Lady
placed several, imported from the US, nicely decorated toad houses
for Timothy Toad the Second. Timothy occupies only one of them
and doesnt seem too keen on shacking up with a lady toad,
so the elves and fairies squat the other domes; the ones that
are decorated with flowers and butterflies.
Birds are building nests all over, even in the antique amphora
that lies in the rose garden the Little Ladys man promised
her before they came to live there. He kept his promise and the
amphora was his pièce de résistance. The Cats cant
get to the nest inside the old vase. Oof! Thats a relieve.
The other birds turn their Rock-a-by Baby in the Tree Top nests
into soft and colourful nurseries, with the threads of wool they
find in just about every tree.
Spring is here, its almost full moon and sometimes during
the night, the dog starts to bark like mad. The signal that a
family of wild boar is crossing the property.
The vet told them wild boar are very intelligent and actually
know which piece of land is safe, and which one isnt. The
hunting season is over, but for a French hunter to let a boar
cross his land without shooting him, would mean utter frustration
for the rest of his life.
Its strictly forbidden to hunt on their land. No, they did
not put up ugly signs, but the hunters know, after having tried
it once and not getting away with it. The wild boar know it, too.
When the dog starts to bark in the middle of the night, they both
wake up, get out of bed and stand in front of their bedroom window.
By The Light of the Silvery Moon they watch the marvellous spectacle
of most of their fourteen Cats and a boar family of thirteen sauntering
together on the slope. Cats and wild boar get along well, they
even like each other. Nobody knows why, but they do.
Oh, look! Look at those tiny piglets! Wow, the family has grown
that makes eighteen! Lets hope the Mistral
will blow and shake a lot of fruit off the trees. The boar family
will clean up for them.
When the boar pass, the Little Lady and her man switch on a few
outside lights and sit and watch in Silence, while Jean-Jacques
and Jeanne, the House Bats hover in front of the large window
looking for moths. Big eyes, big ears, sharp little teeth, almost
transparent wings, tiny bodies
gotcha! Gulp! Yum, yum!
The large shutter that rolls in front of one of the bay windows,
will not be painted again this year. It wasnt last year
either. During the day, Jean-Jacques and Jeanne sleep behind it
and the smell of paint would bother them.
The house is hidden behind high trees, but the Little Lady and
her man see The World Spinning Round and On a Clear Day They Can
She likes to sit on the terrace and look at the town down below
and across the valley. She likes to be The Fool On The Hill and
is quite contented that Nobody Wants To Know Her. Well, maybe
they do want to know her, but
she prefers being alone with
her man and Nature, and Silence.
The house is a house of Silence and the only sounds heard at times,
are his music or hers or theirs, and the soft tap-tapping of her
fingers on the keyboard of her computer.
The house is a house with the waxed walls of days-gone-by and
tiled floors. Its a house with wooden beams and bouquets
of dried lavender, old clocks, antique watches and Eskimo Art,
and a huge open fireside, complete with an orange witchs
It always smells of herbs in the house. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary
and Thyme. Are You Going to Scarborough Fair? No need to, it all
grows right there, out in the garden.
The kitchen is very large, of course. It has a long and thick
wooden table, Bless the Beasts and the Children, it is perfect
to hide beneath.
In the winter, it often becomes a tent, which young Dylan shares
with Tiger Lilly and the Dingo-Dog, or with King Arthur and Lancelot
and a few Cats.
The house is hidden and far away from the real world outside.
Its a silently happy house and once youve been there,
it Stays In Your Eyes And In Your Ears. Like Penny Lane.
Its their Strawberry Fields Forever.
Rey, born in Amsterdam, has from the time she was a little
girl worked in radio, (later) television, publicity and the theatre,
as a broadcaster, entertainer, scriptwriter, translator, editor
and actress, in the Netherlands, Canada, and the USA. Today, retired,
she finally has the time to be a full-time writer and editor for
other authors. She is the co-founder and chief Editor of La
Rey is married, has one daughter and one grandson, and lives at
the French Atlantic coast with her husband, two dogs, and six
Sarai's Vineyard, Rey's autobiographical novel will be officially
launched in April 2008 by Bluechrome Publishing UK. It relates
the author's life as a "baby courier" in the Dutch underground
Resistance during World War II.