RUTH

I was born in Baselland Switzerland into a farming family of thirteen children. I was the second youngest and had one younger brother. The family consisted of four girls and nine boys. We lived on a diverse farm that earned its main income from dairy, wheat and meat. There was always a lot to do and each child had responsibilities adequate for their age. My parents were Christians and worshipped with the Mennonites.

As I grew up I dreamt of travelling and followed that dream at the age of nineteen I left Switzerland with a backpack and travelled to Canada where I visited my sister and my brother and worked for them as a house and farmhand for a while. From there I went to the United States, Mexico and then to South East Asia and Australia. In Australia I worked on fruit and vegetable farms making my way up the west coast from Donnybrook (Western Australia) to Darwin (Northern Territory). It was during this time I met my husband Terry while working as a cook on a prawn trawler out of Carnarvon. We met two more times on the way to Darwin where my visa was about to expire and I had to leave the country. I went back to South East Asia and then home to Switzerland. Terry and I wrote to each other by snail mail for over a year until Terry finally had enough money to come to Switzerland where he met my family and learnt about the Swiss lifestyle. We got married in 1987 in Kununurra (Western Australia) in a simple but meaningful ceremony.

We started our married life on the outskirts of Perth and in 1989 our son was born. We decided to raise our children in the country so we bought a small caravan and 40 acres (16 hectares) of land in a coastal town called Dongara. It was difficult to find regular work in town due to the seasonal fishing and farming industry but Terry was fortunate to secure a job with a mining company. This meant he became a fly in fly out worker and was away from home two weeks at a time and home for one. We started to establish ourselves on our land. We installed electricity, which meant we could have running water from a tank we set up on the hill and we built a small house.

Our first girl was born in 1991 just after finishing the ‘granny flat’. We started to build our family home doing most of the building during Terry’s week off. I had chickens and ducks and a big vegetable garden. I sold free-range eggs and vegetables and potted herbs for medicinal and culinary uses. Our second daughter was born in 1995 and the granny flat became a little tight. It took us another four years to complete our beautiful family home and in 1999 we finally moved in. Our children learnt about building, gardening and animal care in their growing up years. We spent a lot of time down at the beach and exploring the bushland both on horseback and on the four-wheel motorbike we had.

Ruth Portrait
Ruth Portrait

We started our married life on the outskirts of Perth and in 1989 our son was born. We decided to raise our children in the country so we bought a small caravan and 40 acres (16 hectares) of land in a coastal town called Dongara. It was difficult to find regular work in town due to the seasonal fishing and farming industry but Terry was fortunate to secure a job with a mining company. This meant he became a fly in fly out worker and was away from home two weeks at a time and home for one. We started to establish ourselves on our land. We installed electricity, which meant we could have running water from a tank we set up on the hill and we built a small house.

Our first girl was born in 1991 just after finishing the ‘granny flat’. We started to build our family home doing most of the building during Terry’s week off. I had chickens and ducks and a big vegetable garden. I sold free-range eggs and vegetables and potted herbs for medicinal and culinary uses. Our second daughter was born in 1995 and the granny flat became a little tight. It took us another four years to complete our beautiful family home and in 1999 we finally moved in. Our children learnt about building, gardening and animal care in their growing up years. We spent a lot of time down at the beach and exploring the bushland both on horseback and on the four-wheel motorbike we had.

Ruth sitting on chair

In 2005 we decided to subdivide the land into five blocks of two hectares with the house block remaining at five hectares. The children were now entering highschool and travelled to Geraldton by school bus, which meant they spent one hour and a half travelling morning and afternoon on the bus. As a family we decided to leave Dongara and go to the city while they completed school and university in Perth as it meant less travel time and more opportunities. In 2006 we rented our house in Dongara out and bought a house in Perth. It was a big move and a change of lifestyle for everyone. Eventually we sold our house in Dongara as we decided we would not move back and renting it was heart breaking.

I started studying in 2004, first getting my university entrance and then I entered the arts of Psychology and Addiction as an external student with a Perth based university. When we moved to Perth I studied on campus and graduated in 2009. During this time I did some voluntary work with abused individuals that led to a part-time position in 2008 with the Department of Justice in victim-offender mediation. This job became full time in 2010 and I stayed with the Department of Justice until 2016. The work was emotionally draining, as it meant working with traumatised and abused people. For my own wellbeing I looked for other employment opportunities and was fortunate to secure a job that I enjoyed immensely with Disability Services as a contract manager for individualised services.

Ruth sitting on chair

In 2005 we decided to subdivide the land into five blocks of two hectares with the house block remaining at five hectares. The children were now entering highschool and travelled to Geraldton by school bus, which meant they spent one hour and a half travelling morning and afternoon on the bus. As a family we decided to leave Dongara and go to the city while they completed school and university in Perth as it meant less travel time and more opportunities. In 2006 we rented our house in Dongara out and bought a house in Perth. It was a big move and a change of lifestyle for everyone. Eventually we sold our house in Dongara as we decided we would not move back and renting it was heart breaking.

I started studying in 2004, first getting my university entrance and then I entered the arts of Psychology and Addiction as an external student with a Perth based university. When we moved to Perth I studied on campus and graduated in 2009. During this time I did some voluntary work with abused individuals that led to a part-time position in 2008 with the Department of Justice in victim-offender mediation. This job became full time in 2010 and I stayed with the Department of Justice until 2016. The work was emotionally draining, as it meant working with traumatised and abused people. For my own wellbeing I looked for other employment opportunities and was fortunate to secure a job that I enjoyed immensely with Disability Services as a contract manager for individualised services.

While life in the city was good, it was never planned to be permanent for Terry and I. We started dreaming of moving back into the country. We explored different options but the thought of owning a Bed and Breakfast was the most appealing. We travelled to France because land was well priced and found the people were very lovely. We fell in love with the serenity of the Manor at Figeac, with the town and the diverse and historic region. After long contemplation of the implications to move a great distance from our children and grandchildren, we decided to purchase the Manor and embark on the venture to open a B&B in France.

The Enchanted Manor is our dream come true. We hope to offer an opportunity for people to break away from their busy, often stressful work life, we understand so well. We hope that guest to the Enchanted Manor will take time to enjoy the tranquillity of the grounds and take a break away from the noise that most of us are surrounded with in our daily lives. Here the old stones and oak trees breathe fresh life into the soul and refresh the mind. This is a place where you can get off the road of life and enjoy the moment, breath deeply and find strength. It is our hope that others will find the Enchanted Manor a place of inner healing.

Ruth portrait
Ruth portrait

While life in the city was good, it was never planned to be permanent for Terry and I. We started dreaming of moving back into the country. We explored different options but the thought of owning a Bed and Breakfast was the most appealing. We travelled to France because land was well priced and found the people were very lovely. We fell in love with the serenity of the Manor at Figeac, with the town and the diverse and historic region. After long contemplation of the implications to move a great distance from our children and grandchildren, we decided to purchase the Manor and embark on the venture to open a B&B in France.

The Enchanted Manor is our dream come true. We hope to offer an opportunity for people to break away from their busy, often stressful work life, we understand so well. We hope that guest to the Enchanted Manor will take time to enjoy the tranquillity of the grounds and take a break away from the noise that most of us are surrounded with in our daily lives. Here the old stones and oak trees breathe fresh life into the soul and refresh the mind. This is a place where you can get off the road of life and enjoy the moment, breath deeply and find strength. It is our hope that others will find the Enchanted Manor a place of inner healing.

TERRY

I was born in Perth, Western Australia to a family of two girls and two boys; I was the second youngest. My father built a house in the hills of Perth and I learnt a lot of building skills watching and helping him. After school I went north to build roads and found a job fishing on a prawn trawler. I worked the fishing seasons for a number of years. It was then I met Ruth while she was employed on another boat.

Itravelled to Switzerland to get to know Ruth better and met her family. It was during this time we decided to get married and live in Australia. I worked in Perth in a stable that bred racehorses my job was breaking the horses in, ready for the sales. After our son was born we purchased an undeveloped piece of land in Dongara and bought a caravan. We moved to the land with our son who was two months old. Life was very simple and we built a little granny flat, put in a bore with a collection tank that fed water to our house with pressure. We built fences, garden walls, a chicken house, sheds and pretty much everything else that was needed.

I found a job in the mining industry and in Western Australia this means flying to work for a set roster and flying back. While I did not like being away from the family, it provided us with the necessary income to develop our land and build a house. Ruth ran the farm in my absence and helped me build when I was home. We had two more girls. The children were happy; they had the beach, a variety of pets, the land and lots of bushland.

Terry Portrait close up
Terry portrait

As the children grew older they had to travel far for school. It was difficult for them and we decided it was time to move to the city because it offered the children better education in closer proximity, more access to church activities and work opportunities. I worked a few more years in the mining industry but decided it was time to stop after twenty-five years of working as a fly in – fly out miner. I found some casual work in the city and looked after the grandchildren when opportunity permitted.

City life was not what I loved and I started to look at going back to a country lifestyle. While looking at our options we investigated France and the potential to run a Bed & Breakfast. I liked the idea of running a business with some land and the three hectares surrounding the Enchanted Manor was perfect. We liked the region and decided to change our lifestyle yet again. I started learning French with a French student in Perth for several months before purchasing the manor. While my French is at its very beginning I do want to learn the language and be able to communicate with people around me.

Terry Portrait close up

Itravelled to Switzerland to get to know Ruth better and met her family. It was during this time we decided to get married and live in Australia. I worked in Perth in a stable that bred racehorses my job was breaking the horses in, ready for the sales. After our son was born we purchased an undeveloped piece of land in Dongara and bought a caravan. We moved to the land with our son who was two months old. Life was very simple and we built a little granny flat, put in a bore with a collection tank that fed water to our house with pressure. We built fences, garden walls, a chicken house, sheds and pretty much everything else that was needed.

I found a job in the mining industry and in Western Australia this means flying to work for a set roster and flying back. While I did not like being away from the family, it provided us with the necessary income to develop our land and build a house. Ruth ran the farm in my absence and helped me build when I was home. We had two more girls. The children were happy; they had the beach, a variety of pets, the land and lots of bushland.

Terry portrait

As the children grew older they had to travel far for school. It was difficult for them and we decided it was time to move to the city because it offered the children better education in closer proximity, more access to church activities and work opportunities. I worked a few more years in the mining industry but decided it was time to stop after twenty-five years of working as a fly in – fly out miner. I found some casual work in the city and looked after the grandchildren when opportunity permitted.

City life was not what I loved and I started to look at going back to a country lifestyle. While looking at our options we investigated France and the potential to run a Bed & Breakfast. I liked the idea of running a business with some land and the three hectares surrounding the Enchanted Manor was perfect. We liked the region and decided to change our lifestyle yet again. I started learning French with a French student in Perth for several months before purchasing the manor. While my French is at its very beginning I do want to learn the language and be able to communicate with people around me.

Owners in the back court banner B&W