If you walk across the courtyard and up the crumbling steps, you'll find the painting studio covered in ivy and roses.
Beyond the studio to the left is an old, overgrown arch, and through it you step out to a view over the pool and windy fields.
Tucked away beside the barn is swaying a beautifully blooming patch of lavender.
When I first discovered this sea of purple I immediately became obsessed with using it in recipes, both savoury and sweet. I often make cakes for afternoon tea and so I settled on making one for the arrival of new guests on Saturday.
I decided to take my favourite tourte recipe and adjust it to adopt the scents of lavender and earl grey. Drizzled with a fresh lemon glaze, this cake is a delicious marriage of flavours. The fresh lavender is aromatic, marking purple polka dots throughout the moist sponge, and the eary grey adds a subtle touch.
We enjoyed it, sipping our cups of tea in the courtyeard under the slowly sinking sun of a late afternoon.
Lavender & Earl Grey Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup castor sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 packet of baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup fresh or dried lavender
2 earl grey tea bags
First steep the tea bags in 3 tablespoons of boiling water for roughly 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease your chosen cake mould.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, egg yolks, baking powder, milk and melted butter. When the tea is ready add this to the mixture and discard the tea bags. Mix well.
Beat the egg whites until they form glossy peaks.
Incorporate the egg whites into the cake mixture until evenly combined.
Bake at 180C/350F for about 25-35 minutes, depending on the size and depth of your cake mould. It will be finished when an inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks before serving.