Friendship in France

by Rachel Ashwell

Kathryn and I have been friends for over 25 years. We could be described as the “odd couple." She has a great appreciation for fine French wines, where I’ve never had a glass. 

    She loves nothing more than a plate of local fancy cheeses where I’m happy with a plain chunk of cheddar. She walks into a room and the party begins. I walk in quietly and find a comfy corner.  She will wear a party dress to pop to the market where I never surprise out of my jeans and boots. 

    But as far as the core of who we are, we are like sisters. Our appreciation of family, friends, creating welcoming spaces and always excited for the search for treasures from antique shows to car boot sales. 

    This summer I spent two weeks at her French farm house named “La Castellane” near Toulouse. It’s been well published in magazines as well as her own books. And as beautiful as the photos portray it's only when you experience it first hand that all the senses are satisfied along with heartwarming emotions. 

    Laughter and meaningful talks start at dawn and continue well after sundown (which can be as late as close to midnight in August.)

    Fragrant foods waft through the house landing up at one of her many dining spots in the house. Eye candy furnishings & flowers abound. And new friends are formed as her welcoming revolving door or friends and family come and go with lingering hugs on departure.

    Kathryn’s home is a melting pot of characters from all walks of life without any judgement of who or from where. I became the resident tarot card reader which gave me the privilege to connect to many in a special way. 

    And many mornings whoever was interested came along for the search or treasures at the various local brocantes. Different treasures to ones I find in the US. Irresistible to us all who mostly arrived with hand baggage.

    Thankfully Kathryn has a selection of well traveled suit cases for loan. And lots of bubble wrap & tape at the ready as she also host her Food, Wine & Design Retreat, where her attendees often ship back their found treasures...  Such a magical way to shop, in village squares set in the shadows of cathedrals dating back to the 1100’s. Little cafes nestled in the meandering streets. 

    This isn’t my first time here and am comforted knowing it won’t be my last as this is one of my favorite places on the planet. 

     


    4 comments


    • Thank you, Rachel, for these sweet glimpses into the heart of Kathryn’s lovely farmhouse! Can’t get enough of it!

      Donna Prendergast on

    • what a beautiful piece and so honored that you did a whole blog on the past week or so… thank you so much. What a pleasure to have you and Lilly here again… its been a while since you have been here together. I love the candide shots, the antiquing, flea marketing here is beyond… Tomorrow I have to face the many many things we all bought and how to get them home, via you or other ways. To so many talented great friends for my birthday meant a lot, from the film maker to the potter to the boys from New York.. all three of them, to the wonderful Lady Jane whose smalls you had to post to her. Great freinds, Live life and Laugh!!!!! huge love your dearest freind Kate, (that what I was known as growning up, Kathryn if I had been naughty!!)

      kathryn m ireland on

    • what a beautiful piece and so honored that you did a whole blog on the past week or so… thank you so much. What a pleasure to have you and Lilly here again… its been a while since you have been here together. I love the candide shots, the antiquing, flea marketing here is beyond… Tomorrow I have to face the many many things we all bought and how to get them home, via you or other ways. To so many talented great friends for my birthday meant a lot, from the film maker to the potter to the boys from New York.. all three of them, to the wonderful Lady Jane whose smalls you had to post to her. Great freinds, Live life and Laugh!!!!! huge love your dearest freind Kate, (that what I was known as growning up, Kathryn if I had been naughty!!)

      kathryn m ireland on

    • What a thoughtful post and your descriptions are spot on. Immediately I knew who you were describing. Thanks for sharing such a delightful place.

      Tracy on

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