Vivez Bien * Live Well

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"I had a farm in Africa"

My parents owned a large farm in South Africa and which is where I grew up. We lived in this Cape Dutch style farm house which was built in 1846. Our lifestyle was very colonial. Think "White mischief" or "Out of Africa" without all the decadence! My father employed a number of farmhands to work on the farm and they lived there with their families. Their wives were very keen to work so my mom used to employ as many of them as she could. So we grew up with cooks, laundrymaids and housekeepers. As I said, it was a very colonial lifestyle! I was the youngest of five children and we each had our own nanny until we went to boarding school at the age of 6.

Oil painting of the farm house with the lake in the front

The beautiful stone outbuildings

The reason for this bit of backgroud is to introduce you to my favourite piece of furniture in my home. It is an antique mahogany linen chest that I inherited from my parents. It stood in the sitting room of our house on the farm and my parents used it as a drinks cabinet. Every evening one of the housekeepers used to bring a silver tray with a silver water jug, ice bucket, slices of lemon and so on and place it on the slide-out shelf of the cupboard. We would all have to get clean and tidy for the evening and gather in the sitting room for pre-dinner drinks. We would then move through to the dining room for a candelit dinner.

Of course, my life nowdays is very different from those days! We do try to have dinner together as a family most nights and I do light candles, but there are no servants to whisk away the dirty plates and wash the dishes. The mahogany linen chest is still used as a drinks cupboard and is well stocked thanks to my mother-in-law. (When she emigrated to New Zealand, we inherited the contents of her drinks cupboard.) However there is no silver tray with ice bucket placed there every evening. The cupboard only gets opened every once in a while when being mom, taxi-driver, laundry service, cook and cleaner for my 4 boys takes it's toll and my husband decides that I need a whiskey! LOL.

I almost forgot - well done to Pamela @ French Buttons, Ange @ Chair-up, Jessica @ The Velveteen Rabbit, Lynn @ Dreams on 34th Street and Sherry @ No Minimilist Here. You guessed it! My dining room in my previous post was E. You are a very intelligent, intuitive and/or observant bunch of bloggers!

Till next time

Sharon x


  1. I was totally fascinated reading this post about your life. How amazing! You have such an interesting story. Thank you for sharing it with us and your family farm is spectacular. Leahxx

  2. beautiful blog you got my dear!:)
    Amazing story of your life..thanks for sharing :)
    Hope to see you on my blog..!:)

    Have a great day ahead..


  3. That is such a lovely farm,
    you must have a lot of fun and heartwarming memories growing up.

  4. Thank you for sharing these lovely colonial traditions..brings back so many happy memories..sunset,G&T on the big old "stoep"-oh how fortunate we are to have grown up in this lovely country of ours....hugs Colette ~ Afrique du Sud

  5. Wow imagine that childhood, like out of a book.
    Love that chest especially because is contains so many good memories (besides the whiskey :-) ).

  6. OH Sharon i loved hearing about your childhood and seeing the photos! What a gorgeous place you grew up in. Everything sounded wonderful except the boarding part...and at six??
    I love this armoire it is gorgeous!!
    Yes if i had four boys I think that cupboard would be stocked with lots of wine for me!!!

    Pamela xo

  7. Sharon, You had such a colorful childhood. You should write a book or at least a children's book. Thanks for sharing!
    Have a wonderful day.

  8. Sharon I was so fascinated reading about your childhood! What a gorgeous piece of furniture you inherited from your parents, and I hear ya I have those nights when I need a glass of wine to unwind from all the hecticness!! Martina

  9. There is something therapeutic about doing one's own dishes, hehe but even more so if Hubby does them ;)
    Sharon, you have such gorgeous furniture pieces and it's so cool to get to know the history behind them. I happen to love your home. And I think what I love most is the reflection of your own style, in every detail. Have a wonderful day, xxx tami

  10. What a gorgeous piece of furniture. What a interesting childhood.. and story to pass down.

  11. I like your blog. Great Article! By the way, If u have time drop by my painting blog. Thanks!.. .daniel