Le Grand Banc

 

Sun-baked tiles and Provence stone

On a hillside set alone

White-washed walls and open beams

Epitome of summer dreams

Cottages on winding streets

Hide a myriad of treats

Weathered doors close-wreathed in blooms

Leading into unique rooms

Paintings, sculptures, objets d’art

Treasures gleaned from near and far

Warhol’s Monroe, young Hockney

A private, personal gallery

Mementoes also plain to see

Of England’s chocolate dynasty

Ochre floors and winding stair

Furnishings of style and flair

Windows set in foot-thick walls

Open out to cuckoo calls

Drifting in upon the breeze

Cross yellow broom and cypress trees

Stone-paved paths with poppies strewn

Shimmering in the afternoon

Terrace echoes by the pool

Of children’s laughter out of school

Friends and family here combined

With workday cares left far behind

Geraniums red in giant brown urns

And lazily the sunbed turns

Beneath a statue’s steady look

The guests recline with chosen book

 Up above a tree-trapped kite

A testament to one last flight

While down below an empty swing

Awaits a child to make it sing

A marble table now just bare

Is ready for the banquet fare

And diners who will gladly choose

To mix the wine with valley views

Secret courtyards hid from gaze

Where to while away the days

At the heart the big house stands

With artefacts from many lands

Open plan and open fire

Time to dine and then retire

To gaily talk into the night

With music backed by sculptural light

Hello Darling’s said goodbye

Farewell to Jeremy J. Fry

A hamlet brought back from the dead

Once dereliction, now instead

Work in progress, carefully planned

A tribute to the founding hand

One man’s vision here made clear

Artistic soul of engineer

His image looks down everywhere

From games room walls, o’er fireside chair

Pleased no doubt Grand Banc survives

To pleasure bring to future lives.