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As September slides into October, heralding the rapid advance of autumn, here’s a quick round-up of the colours of my Dutch summer…
being away at peak seedling planting time meant no vegetable growing adventures for me this year, but my mini rock garden, and the allium bulbs I planted in the autumn last year, put on a very good show!
august mid-morning moon | laser 3.14‘s perceptive brand of street poetry
gira loves this beautiful blue shweshwe duvet cover (made by my super-talented mum)… i suspect it might be because he knows how good he looks on it :)
soft pink early morning views from the studio
leiden is rocking the pink too!
lotus @ hortus botanicus, leiden
gingko | venation
~ and you don’t get greens like those above, without a bit of the below ~
street art in leiden | stained glass window designed by willem bogtman, haarlem, 1920’s (as seen at the ‘living in the amsterdam school: designs for the interior 1910-1930‘ exhibition at amsterdam’s stedelijk museum)
everyone loves the sun(flower)
rainbow cherry toms, ready for slow-roasting
blue-eyed visitor at my studio window | radiant brickwork, amsterdam
brick gables, haarlem | beautiful berries (buds? anyone know what this fascinating plant is?)
to the beach!
kite-flying | fallow deer grazing on the verdant dune grasses at zandvoort
grey is a colour too
au revoir summer!
… but definitely worth a try
Here we are, already in the third week of another new year! I hope it has been treating you well so far… and that in 2016 we can all be kinder to each other.
On 31 December 2015 the sun was bright and the sky was blue (a good omen for the new year ahead?), so we decided to take advantage of this winter clemency, laced-up comfy boots, and bade farewell to the old year with another visually rewarding city wander through the streets of Rotterdam… where lively street art, dynamic architecture and evocative tall-masted boats abound, and on this gloriously bright last day of the year all in vivid technicolour.
apparently rotterdam’s quirky ‘cube houses‘ are intended to represent trees, with all the houses clustered together making up a wood, but to me they seem to be inspired by that simplest (but undeniably classic) of Dutch bar snacks… the kaasblokje
lasers from on high
(probably wise to keep that window closed!)
(details from the garden wall mosaic community project)
no cat can resist the mighty allure of… STRING
go green… ride a bike
1991 mural by little-known dutch ceramics & textile artist harry boom (1945-1995)… so much more interesting than damien hirst’s tedious spot paintings!
beautiful beryl bay… a perfect spot to curl up with a good book and a cuppa!
and when, in the middle of the afternoon, the sun begins to set and the winter chill really kicks in, one must seek appropriate fuel!
geveltuin, blue hydrangea | full moon, after magritte
Having friends or family to stay is always a great excuse to explore locally, to take time out to notice details of one’s everyday surroundings in a way one might not normally do. We had a lot of fun with our summer visitors exploring, amongst other Dutch cities, our new(ish) hometown (Haarlem) and our (very nearby!) old hometown (Amsterdam). Here’s a summery glimpse of these two fine cities…
headless lion | red door
huisjes and hollyhocks
(do the houses imitate the beer… or does the beer imitate the houses?)
the anatomy lesson
turtle, seahorse, yarn bomb
disembodied jib | petunia-tastic hanging basket
good grub @ foodhallen
canis minor, or a plutoid?
easy riding hells hound
a bit of boating (on the spaarne river & bakenessergracht)
clover gevelsteen | strawberry geveltuin
… and finally: RIP
this beautiful tree, as seen from my studio window at the end of may, came crashing down (along with some 400 other trees in haarlem) on the 25th of july, during what has been described as “the worst summer storm since records began”… it was a magnificent tree and is a very sad loss indeed.
approximate translations & explanations of dutch words used above:
gevelsteen – ‘gable stone’, a carved and often colourfully painted stone tablet set into the wall of a building, serving to embellish and memorably identify the building. Introduced in the second half of the 16th century they became less widely used with the advent of house numbering during the 18th century, but the tradition certainly lives on and ‘gevelsteen spotting’ can be a very visually rewarding pursuit!
geveltuinen – literally a ‘facade gardens’ (I don’t think there’s a succinct or elegant english translation?) are bright and beautiful mini-oases of green flanking the building facades and pavements on residential city streets, planted and cared for by the streets’ residents. And I discovered this summer, my first living in this city, that Haarlemmers sure know a thing or two about creating charming geveltuinen :-)
The images above bring to mind an entranceway to a tea party hosted by The Hatter & the March Hare and, if slightly more amber-hued, the road to the Emerald City…
… and Belgium’s Gent is kinda magical that way. Revisiting these photos taken on a two day visit to the city last month I’m reminded of Gent’s many storybook qualities. While we were there the ominous-looking stormy summer skies added a gratifyingly brooding quality to its atmospheric architecture and cobbled medieval streets. But it’s not all gloomy Gothic stonework – bright bursts of colour and contemporary character abound. It’s a fascinating place… and the beer’s not bad either.
spired, steepled, stained
blue hide | delirious pink elephant
passionate vine | sinuous mosaic
loaves & fish
“the wool is thataway!”
(gent’s 14th century textile industry hero, jacob van artevelde, points to england)
harlequin house | chimay triple – everyone’s favourite tipple?