A couple of days ago I headed to the gorgeous little central Victorian village of Trentham, armed with all the warm clothing I owned, a carload of aerosol cans + a design for the back wall of Du Fermier. Du Fermier, a French cafe in the middle of town, is the latest venue opened + owned by the chef + author Annie Smithers, who also owns the incredibly popular Annie Smithers’ Bistrot in nearby Kyneton.
The closer I drove to Trentham, the colder + darker the weather became. I had planned a large, somewhat detailed mural for the back wall of Du Fermier, which would take a while to paint. I watched the black clouds hang low over the forest as I approached the cafe, glad that I had packed my snow jacket, hoping that the forecast thunderstorms + hail would hold off until I had a chance to at least make a good start on the wall.
(wall in progress)
I was surprised (+ suspicious, as were the locals) when the ominous clouds disappeared mid-afternoon, leaving me to paint in crisp sunshine; in winter, this rarely happens in Trentham! I painted well into the evening, anxiously making the most of the clear, still air while it lasted. When it became too cold for me to paint, I went inside + was treated (thank you Sarah!) to a decadent dinner by the open fire. The coffee was like velvet, + the bread + gnocci obscenely beautiful, even the side salad was amazing. The atmosphere + the food itself confirmed why Annie + her venues are so incredibly popular with foodies from near + far; Du Fermier really is a foodie’s delight.
(stoked to find that the Du Fermier artwork included dapper Cornish Rexes)
After spending the night in the cozy warmth of a friend’s nearby farmhouse, I returned to Trentham (which was again shrouded in clouds), accompanied earlier by Butcher-birds singing their haunting duets, + later by growing crowds at Du Fermier + nearby cafes. I towelled the wall dry + painted in between showers, finishing just before the icy, wind driven rain set in. I thawed out by the fire, enjoyed one last treat from the cafe + drove out of wintry Trentham, thankful that I had been able to complete the painting in the middle of winter without getting covered in rain (or snow).
(finished Du Fermier wall)
Thank you Annie, for inviting me to paint on the wall of your awesome cafe; thank you Sarah, for the beautiful dinner + the evening at your lovely farmhouse, with your charismatic companions; + thank you staff at Du Fermier, for the many welcomed coffees, treats + of course the dinner itself.
(Good coffee fuels Kaff-eine)
I look forward to returning soon x