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Jeanne Pickers

A New Chapter Begins!

Don, Jeanne, Des in Kuala Lumpur

The South African contingent…

Mom and daughter.

Garden shopping.

The frogs!

4th January 2017.

We got the keys to PEACE HAVEN, Rainforest Retreat, and had a look in to what will be our new abode for the following few years!

All I can say is WOW!

The ride up through the little village of Batu Ara and then the narrow, winding road, overhung with rainforest trees up and up and up was impressive. A clearing with a working plantation of rubber trees lead even further up to the gateway of Cempedak Farm and the home of Peace Haven. The stunning house that will be our home, its  wonderful potential for the garden we are longing to create, an amazing view of the islands and sea on one side and the tropical forest on the other is awesome….but most of all, the feeling of tranquillity and respite was quite overwhelming.

I felt a quiet moving of the spirit in the essence of what this beautiful piece of earth is, and an emotional bond of belonging.

Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. Literally it translates as wind-water in English and is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics. Sounds complicated, but simply put, it’s a metaphoric term of invisible forces that bind the universe, earth and humanity together.

When the buildings of Cempedak Farm (of which Peace Haven is a part) were designed, a master in Feng Sui was consulted. Metaphorically the rainforest mountain behind is the Dragons back.  He altered the design of the buildings slightly to have the three houses (Jasmine, Hibiscus and Frangipani  ) nestled in the dragons belly….the perfect place to be. And so it is!

Then the planning began:

Basic furniture – heavy Indonesian Teak – and all the mod cons insitu, we needed to make it all “home”

Carpets, curtains, recovering, digging up, throwing out, replacing and buying new. It all began to happen.

Consultations and ideas flew back and forth with phone calls and emails with our children in Australia. Until daughter, Desre decided it would be easier if she paid us a weekend visit (yes, all the way from Australia!) We met her at Langkawi airport, laden with linen bought at the 26th December Australian sales!  Beautiful silk sheets, bamboo quilts and covers, and towels. She landed on Friday, scouted the property, made suggestions for decorating the house, and we all flew down to Kuala Lumpur to the big smoke to do some shopping. Only two days, and off home again on Monday. It was a whirlwind visit, but we crammed it full and even managed some partying in between!

Man, did that credit card get hot!

We bought far too much to lug all the way back on the plane, but managed to coerce a friend to drive all the way up to Langkawi a week later with the promise of a weekend at Peace Haven. Our first guests!

As Peace Haven began to take shape, so the visitors came to peek at our progress. Lots of advice was given, we chewed the fat together, arranged furniture and re-arranged, unpacked, and re-packed and so it goes on.

Before we had done with inside the house, Don couldn’t wait to get his fingers into the soil. “Soil?” did I say? Its very poor and we have had to buy bags of top soil and fertilizer. But that’s another up and coming project – we will make our own compost in the future.

Driving along an inner Langkawi road with Desre, she spotted a nursery tucked away obscurely. We screeched to a halt and drove down the side road and squashed along side it. A bunch of the dearest kittens was playing together and we almost forgot what we had come to see. They were adorable and I watched carefully that Don didn’t sneak one into the car. That’s another project for a later date! We need an animal at Peace Haven!

Our first trip to the nursery was a frenzy of buying beautiful ceramic pots of all sizes, plants and driftwood and more plants. We couldn’t fit any more in and had to leave some behind to collect later. Desre even had plants on her lap as our little car struggled to negotiate the hill home.

Our French friends, whom we fondly refer to as our “Frogs” –  Cath and Francois and their daughter Gaelle had arrived back for their three month stint on “Windcall”. Of course they wanted to see Peace Haven, so we collected yet more plants from the nursery and this time a fish pond as well. All the paraphernalia was squeezed into the car. Don and I in the front seats and our friends in the back surrounded by the plants and fishpond and more pots.

And half way home, there was a plop and a flying through the air as a real live frog who had been hiding amongst the greenery, made his appearance. So we drove home with four frogs in the back seat.