†Close Ups

Text Box: La Bastide, Seillans, France 1981

This is La Bastide, a house in Seillans, France. Seillans is a half hour drive north of Frejus on the Riviera. I found an ad in the New Yorker for this property. It turned out that the owner was a sculptor who lived in New York on Central Park South. She ran an ad in one issue each year. 

We were supposed to rent a small stone cottage which was on the terrace just to the bottom left of the drawing. The cottage had been upgraded from a storage shed to a rental property and had just been painted. There was a strong paint smell and no one was renting the Bastide so we ended up there. 

Seillans is in Provence so almost everything in the ground was edible. Even the parking lot in the local supermarket was fringed by wonderful smelling herbs. If you lived in this house you could pick cherries from the tree at the bottom of the steps, nuts from the tree at the top and herbs in between. 

There was a pool but it was way too cold for me in late May. Gerry and Amy, of course, swam quite often. The conditions in this part of France are perfect for gliding so there were always gliders soaring high up in the sky. 

I realized one day that if you spent your whole life in this town and never traveled you would never experience a sunset. The sun would disappear behind the mountains long before it actually set. Eventually there would be a glow in the sky behind the mountains and then it would get dark.

There was a strange French washing machine and one afternoon while Amy and Gerry were in the pool I decided to do a wash. Not only did the machine make the water really hot. I had no idea you were supposed to separate the whites and darks. Amy had a favorite pair of white socks that she still remembers from before they became some odd dark color.

The owner wanted to use the drawing in her yearly New Yorker ad but she didnít want to pay anything and I didnít want to give it away.

We called this ďAmyís ThroneĒ

Text Box: MORE

My favorite part of this drawing might be the chair.

This is the original drawing framed with Amyís photo.

Amyís room was the one on the second floor with the open window. All the floors were marble which is beautiful but really cold with bare feet in the middle of the night.

The door opened into the kitchen. It had a long rustic wooden table. The view was incredible with the door open. Amy took these stone stairs down to the field of cherry trees one day and got confused. She was at this cherry tree but thought she was lost. She had her recorder with her so she played it and we found her.

Since the house is built on a hill the second floor is at ground level in the back. The pool is at the right.

All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell


Text Box: Email   neil@borrellcompany.com