Swallows Welcome

There are many fabulous wineries in the Margaret River region but Swallows Welcome, the smallest winery in the region, is really something special. Tim & Pat Negus first planted grapes in 1994 and the family run business has been producing wine since 1997. The rural setting is peaceful and the artistic influences are evident on arrival.

Patricia Negus is a well known watercolour artist, her illustrations of wildflowers and birds have graced the pages of many books. Tim & Pat built the mudbrick and timber Chapel of the Flowers, a serene gallery, to exhibit 102 of Pat’s works that are featured in Wildflowers of Southwest Australia (the plastic chairs were remnants of a recent social occasion).

9.Chapel of the Flowers

The beautiful leadlight windows create a subtle ambience.

The delights continue outside,

the garden is a testament to Pat’s love of nature.

31. honeyeater

We made our way, past the magnificent magnolia tree, to her studio, filled with stunning artwork, books and cards for sale.

We wandered through a gorgeous courtyard cottage garden,

inhabited by a few frogs

and the occasional snail.

45.snail

After all the distractions, we finally reached the tasting room,

46.tasting room

adorned with more colourful leadlight.

Pat guided us through the range of superb reds,

finishing with a nip of Pensioners Port. Tim’s self-portrait graces the label

51.tasting room

and his other works decorate the walls. Pat instructed the boys on the fine art of labelling

52.Pat, Michael and Dave

and they soon had a dozen ready to ship home.

53.labelling

I could have lingered in that garden all day but lunch was beckoning. It’s a good life for some……..

54.winery dog

Al Vecchio Fontanile

For our last night in Italy, I had found a B&B situated in the rural outskirts of Rome, only a half hour drive to the airport. We had a few issues with the GPS, it seemed some of the road names were different to the directions we had been given. After a few trips up and down the same stretch of road, we eventually arrived at Al Vecchio Fontanile. The stone farmhouse was only a few years old

1.the farmhouse

and was surrounded by fruit trees and olive trees.

2.the orchard

The younger family members were very welcoming and well behaved.

Our room was comfortable and beautifully finished, it felt like we were in a much older house.

5.our room

I love the detail in the curtains.

9.curtains

The quality and style continued in the bathroom.

10.bathroom

After relaxing with a restorative beverage or two, we drove to a nearby ristorante, Il Sogna and enjoyed delicious ravioli, gnocchi and panna cotta. We were bestowed with complimentary biscotti and homemade grappa before wending our way back, without the help of the GPS. The breakfast spread the next morning was sensational.

11.breakfast

Served in a lovely sunny room it was the perfect way to start the day.

15.breakfast

Yorkshire Dales

Our circuitous route of Britain led us from Edinburgh across the border, back to England via the Yorkshire Dales, famous for the drystone walls crossing the stunning landscape.

1.Yorkshire Dales3.Yorkshire Dales4.Yorkshire Dales

We drove across Wensleydale,

12.Yorkshire Dales5.Yorkshire Dales

a lush sweeping valley that runs from west to east.

6.Yorkshire Dales7.Yorkshire Dales8.Yorkshire Dales

Each dale has its own character, with rivers flowing along the valley bottom,

9.Yorkshire Dales

hardy sheep grazing in the pastures,

10.Yorkshire Dales

and stone farm buildings dotting the countryside.

2.Yorkshire Dales11.Yorkshire Dales

We stopped at the Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton and indulged in a half pint of their best.

13.Wensleydale Heifer14.Wensleydale Heifer

We would have been very tempted to stay, had we not been expected in Harrogate.

Hay Shed Hill

After a morning exploring the beautiful Margaret River region coastline, we had worked up an appetite. In the heart of the Wilyabrup Valley, Rústico at Hay Shed Hill vineyard was the perfect destination.

1.Hay Shed Hill

The setting was serene

2.Hay Shed Hill

surrounded by vines

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and the 6 course degustation menu was irresistible.

4.6 course degustation

If you’re not into food porn, look away now. We started with Esperance Scallops: West Australian scallops in the shell, chorizo, pear purée, candied jamón.

Fried Goats Cheese with orange blossom honey followed.

8.Fried Goats Cheese

Salmon Bresaola: dill aioli, pickled ginger & cucumber was a fabulous third course.

9.Salmon Bresaola

After the Free Range Linley Valley Pork Belly with apple purée & sticky Pedro Ximinez,

10.Pork Belly

I wandered around the garden, admiring the rustic artworks

while the boys discussed the fine art of cigar box guitar making.

21.Hay Shed Hill

I returned in time for the Margaret River Black Angus Petit Mignons: beef fillet wrapped in bacon, sweet potato, asparagus, green peppercorn jus.

22.Petit Mignons

We decided to forego the dessert tasting plate in favour of the European cheese board with muscatels, honeycomb & house breads.

23.Cheese Board

Obviously, there was wine involved in this fantastic experience, I just can’t remember which one. Thank you, Dave, for a wonderful afternoon.

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