Watch this space

Some interesting news about the future of historical Stanton should be forthcoming in the near future.

The Walls of Stanton Have Many Stories To Tell

Outside Front

By dint of its 188 years, the walls of Stanton have many stories to tell, the most dramatic probably concerning the day in 1843 when bushranger Martin Cash and friends arrived, held 16 people at gunpoint in the drawing room, relieved the house of its valuables, charmed the ladies present, and galloped off into the hills behind the house, where his hideout, ‘Cash’s Cave’ exists to this day.

We are fortunate in that the house has survived bushfires, storms, neglect and most damaging of all perhaps, ‘modernisation’, and hence retains its original simplicity and charm.

Stanton has 3 bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. The living room, dining room, extensive library, sun room, verandahs, spa house, licensed cellar, barbeque, gardens and orchards are all available to house guests.

The normal comforts of home are all here – electric heating, tea and coffee making, bar fridge, electric blanket, hair dryer, television, DVD, stereo, but also the things you go on holidays for – beautiful rooms filled with antique furniture, open fires, fresh flowers, wonderful breakfast served on lace clothes and Wedgwood china, silverware and crystal, (but most importantly, cooked by someone else and with no washing up), and all the time in the world to enjoy the pervading peace and tranquility of a time past (without the bushrangers!)

In the news …

Stanton in the Sunday Tas

A pleasant surprise in today’s Sunday Tasmanian — a full-page article on Stanton Bed and Breakfast by Alison Ribbon and photographer Amy Brown.

We’ve been busy, busy. busy …

Stanton Garden

With all these ‘lists’, one could be forgiven for thinking that Stanton is merely a paradise of lost hours, lying around reading, listening to music, watching movies, smelling the flowers, munching on fresh produce.

Well, you’d be right, of course, there is an awful lot of that goes on, but this summer has been probably our busiest period since opening, and despite early mornings, late nights, copious quantities of wine consumed with guests, snowy white mountains of washing, the ache of clean shower recesses, and the complete inability to keep up with the triffid-infested expanses of garden, we’ve actually had a brilliant time.

Not only that — our guests appear to have enjoyed themselves too!

From impromptu picnics on the front terrace overlooking the dam at sunset, to intermittent giggling and splashing in the champagne-sodden spa house, to late breakfasts that threatened to continue until lunchtime, to a quiet glass of port in the library, or a quiet walk (with Sam the faithful) through the back paddocks at dawn, every visitor seems to have found something to gladden their heart or feed their soul.

Music, books and films galore

Books we’ve read during January: Nicholas Shakespeare’s In Tasmania (constantly amazed by this wondrous island, its history and secrets); Vikram Seth’s Two Lives (terrific Christmas present); Artemis Fowl (likewise Christmas present, but wouldn’t it make a good movie?!); Simon Jenkins’ England’s 1000 Best Houses(inspiration/envy factor), JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (able to speak with some authority with the young fry); Joanne Harris’ Jigs and Reels (’cause anything she writes is okay by me); Jacquie French’s Chook Book (3 guesses what the main winter project is going to be this year?); William Dalrymple’s From the Holy Mountain (travel writers have always fascinated and this one’s no exception).

Inside the CD player this month: lots of Kate Rusby (young northern English folk singer — do yourself a favour), The Waifs, Sting, Dougie Maclean (Scottish legend — 25 years ago he was responsible for me turning to the dark side — folk music …), The Wailing Jennies (Canadian group — 4 incredibly talented women with voices to die for), Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Mark’s Christmas present — don’t ask me), Albinoni Oboe Concertos, played by Anthony Camden; Jessye Norman singing Richard Strauss — yum; Carlos Santana — VERY loud it blocks out Sam’s barking when I do the vacuuming; Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos — helps with the Sudoku somehow — going to try it out on the bookkeeping …

DVD acquisitions/gifts: Richard Curtis’ Love Actually; Northern Exposure 2nd series; House of Elliot 1st series; Elizabeth (a la Cate Blanchett); Battle of Britain (oldie but a goodie with a stellar cast); Sense and Sensibility (just love costume dramas).

In the vegie garden

Vegie Garden

Garden goodies harvested this month: giant rhubarb, silverbeet, English spinach, broccoli, beetroot, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, all sorts of lettuce, cabbages, strawberries, raspberries.

The ‘bloomin’ garden (sorry Peter Cundall) is currently awash with roses, lavender, Oriental lilliums, hydrangeas (those that haven’t been burnt by a few nasty hot windy days — yes, we get them), dahlias, daisies, penstamon, Californian tree poppies (can’t remember their proper name, but they’re as big as dinner plates!), pelargonums, alstromeria, Japanese wind flowers, carnations, salvia, sage of many different varieties, and all the usual little visitors — alyssum, poppies, violas (and lots of pretty weeds!)

Thought we’d include a few shots of the unusually green gardens of December/January — so many people visit Tasmania in the summer and wonder why it is so brown. We had unexpected but very welcome rain very late this year, and so, no water restrictions, and green grass! Hooray!

Festive Cheer

Lounge at Xmas

We’ve planned and we’ve plotted, we’ve dusted and swept,
We’ve weeded and painted until we’ve all wept.

Stanton finally opened as a small B&B,
And guests we’ve had plenty, both paying and free.

So Stanton belongs now in public domain
And guests who have once stayed, as friends will again.

She’s more than a business, more than ‘rooms with a bed’,
She lives past and present, and for what lies ahead.

So the one-eyed white dog and the small chocolate cat,
And the oft absent host with the navy blue hat….

All join with the hostess (read: Washer of Dishes),
To wish all and sundry Stanton’s very best wishes.

May your Christmas be joyful with large laden reindeer,
And hopefully Stanton might see you all next year.

The very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year from all at Stanton

Stanton By Night

Stanton by Night
Stanton by night. As a city-dweller, one forgets just how bright the stars can be without city light and pollutant interference.

On a cool, crisp night, bundled up in a coat, with red wine and dog in tow, Mark and I often stroll up to the ‘Stanton Stones’ (sorry about the bad pun) in the paddock behind the garage block, and ponder the universe and our insignificance generally. (This is particularly helpful around tax time, job interviews, local council meetings.)

One day we will have a telescope mounted somewhere, but at the moment, it’s the naked eye solo.

But it’s not just the stars. The stillness and peace is like a thick lambs’ wool blanket (okay, from a black lamb then), and it’s easy to pretend oneself in another century or dimension.

All the more inviting then are the soft lights and open fires inside, which to a large extent perpetuate the illusion of a gentler, slower time.

We have striven to minimalise interference with that illusion, by furnishing not as a museum or hotel, but as a home with china, silver, crystal, linen, books, antiques which are used on a daily basis. During your stay here, it is after all, your home …

The Blue Bedroom

Stanton small bedroom

Living in an old house involves a lot of guess work as to the previous uses of rooms and areas.

The blue bedroom is 4 steps below the main second floor, and was originally a larger room, with two other rooms opening directly off it (now bathrooms). We suspect that this was a nursery or at least children’s dormitory, and I didn’t realise how much that had rubbed off on my subconscious until standing back after decorating the room.

The twin iron beds were found in New Norfolk and were from an old hospital, and the colour choices, combined with the skillion roof and small print curtains and cushions combine to provide a nursery feel. Again things seemed to fall into place, with a long neglected framed copy of Desiderata done by Mark’s sister, Angela, a talented calligraphist, echoing exactly the colours and pattern of the already chosen curtain fabric.

Further, a small tapestry with similar colouring was brought to Stanton by friends from Brisbane last year, with a small tag on the back of the work, identifying it as the work of Joe’s great-great-great-grandmother, that it had been worked in approximately 1850, and that Stanton was to be its new home.

More stories

Stanton green bedroom

More stories … a Victorian dressing table that came from an old house in Brisbane, another wardrobe from Narnia, and an interesting double bed, which originally drew me to it because the end looked like a witness box!

It’s previous owner had it for most of her long married life to a First World War hero, had removed its legs because it was too high for her, and then eventually sold it to remove to a nursing home. I would like to think that she would approve of its current home.

The cross stitch above the bed was worked by myself as a gift to my grandmother on her 70th birthday some 20 years ago. It looked over her for some 12 years, until at her death it was returned to me. Again, I like to think she would approve.More stories … a Victorian dressing table that came from an old house in Brisbane, another wardrobe from Narnia, and an interesting double bed, which originally drew me to it because the end looked like a witness box!

It’s previous owner had it for most of her long married life to a First World War hero, had removed its legs because it was too high for her, and then eventually sold it to remove to a nursing home. I would like to think that she would approve of its current home.

The cross stitch above the bed was worked by myself as a gift to my grandmother on her 70th birthday some 20 years ago. It looked over her for some 12 years, until at her death it was returned to me. Again, I like to think she would approve.

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