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… of colour awaited us when we took our ‘annual autumn bike ride’ (it seems to be becoming a tradition around here :) along the Amstel River to Zorgvlied Cemetery on Sunday morning. Autumn in Amsterdam in all its bedazzling, breath-taking beauty!

Gorgeous, glowing autumn colours at Zorgvlied Cemetery, on the Amstel River

When one is in need of a nature-fix but doesn’t have the time or opportunity to escape the city, urban cemeteries are often wonderful places to find an unspoilt natural enclave. Zorgvlied is no exception, and is always a beautiful place to experience autumn unfurling in all its kaleidoscopic glory. The pleasant and meandering bike ride along the Amstel River, to get there, doesn’t hurt either :)

Autumn came to an abrupt end here in Amsterdam this past weekend with the first snowfall and insistent sub-zero temperatures. It was unquestionably stay-indoors weather so I took the opportunity to do a long overdue sort of a big batch of postcards acquired over the past several months (I’m a voracious collector of postcards – I didn’t set out to be a postcard collector, I just don’t seem to be able to visit a gallery or museum without buying a fistful when I leave. Filing them in an accessible way for future reference and inspiration seems like a good idea but I seldom get/make the time to do it… so I was glad for the inclement-weather-induced opportunity!).

Filed! (by approximate subject)

From ‘animals vol.2’ – two beautiful calico cat portraits by Gwen John
(c.1904-08, pencil & watercolour on paper)

While sorting this batch I came across these three images that beautifully capture the light and tonal qualities of a northern European autumn (one I’m already nostalgic for as I Michelin Man myself up with yet another layer, and watch the white stuff fall outside).

Christen Købke, Autumn Evening, Frederiksborg Castle in the Middle Distance (detail), 1837-38  |  Oil on canvas, 25.5 x 35.5 cm

Egon Schiele, Autumn Tree in the Wind, 1912
Oil on canvas, 80 x 80.5 cm

John Everett Millais, Dew-Drenched Furze, 1889-99
Oil on canvas, 170.2 x 121.9 cm

One of my walking routes from home in to ‘town’ takes me past a quiet bit of water (between two busier canals) and the back of the Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam’s botanical garden. It’s such a beautiful spot, always tinged with a bit of mystery and magic whatever the season, and if it’s possible to covet a building (which, it seems, it is!) then I have a serious case of palm house envy.

The Hortus’s palm house (and, in fact, the entire garden) is not on the grand scale of the palm house at Kew, but it’s the unassuming mellow brick and glass, and the human-scale of it, that make it so appealing. It doesn’t dominate the landscape, like an overwrought wedding cake*, it nestles into it and they become one…

It’s hard to believe that this magical landscape is, practically, in the middle of the city!

If you stand around long enough gawking at palm houses, autumn leaves and their watery reflections you’re bound to attract some attention. When two handsome strangers approach for a chat…

… it would be churlish not to hang out for a while. Topics of conversation are limited however – mostly we talk about the deliciousness that’s lurking beneath the dew-damp carpet of fallen leaves.

Hmm, beak-smacking good!

* Actually, I love the majestic greenhouses at Kew! But for the sake of this comparison the ‘wedding cake’ simile seemed appropriate ;)

Hortus Botanicus palm house built 1912, designed by Amsterdam School architect Johan van der Mey (also responsible for this gem)
Kew Gardens palm house built 1844-48, designed & built by Decimus Burton (architect) and Richard Turner (engineer)

My local ‘hood has donned a pleasing palette of glowing yellows and muted greys
for early November…

And occasional bright (and strident!) flashes of red and green…

(Weather permitting) my bike and I will go a little further afield, in search of some of autumn’s other colours, this weekend.
Whatever you’re up to I hope you have a good one!

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A post in honour of this little fella, who would have been celebrating his 6th birthday today. We still – and always will – sorely miss the tummy-tickles and all the good times we shared together. Happy birthday Gira! #gira #rip #best_fur_buddy #studiomate #cat #russianblue #greeneyes #grey #furry #stretch #catsofinstagram #fuckcancer
When the furry host at your temporary AirBnB lodging doesn’t want you to leave… #attemptingtopack #suitcase is futile! Thanks Mustard, aka The Colonel, for the warm welcome and fond farewell #mustard #ginger #cat #airbnb #capetown #southafrica #catsofinstagram
Powerful, compelling work by Zanele Muholi, from her 'Somnyama Ngonyama' (Hail the Dark Lioness) series. -- 1. ‘Thembeka II, London’, 2014, 50 x 46 cm, Silver gelatin print 2. ‘Somnyama Ngonyama II, Oslo’, 2015, 50 x 43.6 cm, Silver gelatin print - #zanelemuholi #photographer #visualactivism #art #portrait #selfportrait #blackandwhite #photography #zeitsmocaa #contemporaryart #museum #capetown #southafrica - @muholizanele @somnyamangonyama -
The new Zeits MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) building in Cape Town is an extraordinary architectural intervention/renovation (by Heatherwick Studio) of a decommissioned 1920’s grain silo complex. I particularly like the many-paned windows, which bring to mind the compound eyes of insects, and offer wonderful multifaceted views over the city and its iconic mountains. - #zeitsmocaa #contemporaryart #museum #capetown #architecture #heatherwickstudio #tablemountain #devilspeak #southafrica #africa #window #multifaceted #pattern #blue -
Weird & wonderful rock formations and epic vistas at Stadsaal Caves & Truitjieskraal, deep in the Cederberg mountains - #cederberg #mountains #caves #rocks #sandstone #erosion #cederberg_wilderness #capenature #stadsaal #stadsaalcaves #truitjieskraal #southafrica #hiking #chibi_totoro #landscape #nature #texture #colour #form -
Rocking rocks! Luminous lichens! And other textures, colours and patterns ‘collected’ over three days' hiking in the Cederberg mountains - #rocks #sandstone #erosion #mountain #cliff #lichen #protea #cederberg #hiking #southafrica #nature #texture #colour #pattern -


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