|My friend Pierre hails from Pau in the southwest of France, about 100 minutes’ drive from our Gascon farm. While I sojourned in France, he made a home in the Hunter Valley, also about 100 minutes’ drive from my Sydney home. He’s invited us up for a rural weekend, where we’ll meet his partner Scott, and a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in years. |
The house and grounds are nestled on a rural subdivision south of Cessnock, off a just-accessible road for a regular sedan. We’re late for lunch due to an interminable slow down on the highway because of a broken down truck blocking a lane only a few kilometres from our exit. No matter, the scenery quotient goes up as we wind through the back roads, and ultimately find ourselves at a table beneath a leafy trellis.
The grounds are divided up into a variety of garden themes and colours, with a small parade of peacocks and peahens grabbing Munson’s attention. He’s interested in watching them closer, but a few years of free range farm chickens have muted the urge to chase.
Today we’re quite content to explore within the fenced areas, with so much exotic flora for Gustav to sample, and a world of non-quarantine scents for Munson to digest. The house is run “off grid” with all solar power and various ingenious systems for conserving and recycling resources.