I keep my blog as a personal record of what I'm up to, which might be seen as working towards "An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, ease and alternate labour, useful life"

I'm certainly not there yet.  There is quite some way to go!










Entries in Netherlands (3)


Shared enthusiasms

A delightful part of our trip was spent with friends though our very first day with Ilja and Marieke in The Hague seems so long ago now.  They were keen to share their favourite parts of the city with us, not least the Mesdag Panorama


Until now, I had no knowledge of these Panoramas but was fascinated to learn more from Marieke, whose enthusiasm for this medium was rather contagious.  She explained how the standard-size canvas would be rolled up and transported to different venues, as a kind of precursor to our cinema screens.  The dark passageway leading to the panorama itself was all part of the experience, as was the spiral staircase to the viewing platform; both of these devices a means of taking the visitor out of the real world and into the imaginary landscape depicted on the canvas.



The Mesdag panorama is special, for it was painted by talented artists who have created a true masterpiece, signing it by including themselves in their work.  The small platform in the centre of the viewing area showing the glass plate which was used to draft out the work - the artist could stand and look through the transparency to check perspectives and scale - the really impressive aspect of this piece.  The view of Scheveningen is enhanced by a sandy apron in between the viewer and the panorama itself and the illusion is completed by the daylight pouring through the clear skylight.  The shifting clouds and changing levels of sunshine affect the atmosphere with surprising effect and on this, a changeable day as far as the weather was concerned, we saw this to best effect.

Van Gogh loved it and so did we!



As usual, I had more than one camera in my bag and handing one of them to Marieke for the day meant that my collection of images from The Hague is especially fun.  How strange that the only two photographs we took before we realised that photography wasn't allowed in the museum are so similar



Neither of us had spoken about how we'd approach taking photographs of the day, we hadn't discussed details - and yet both of us zoomed in on these hands.  Spooky!



Marieke takes the honour of best shot of these rather curious sculptures which are around the city this summer.  The work of Mexican artist Javer Marin our opinions varied according to the time of day, the location and for me, the subject matter.




I found these two huge heads rather interesting and wanted to take a closer look at the detail immediately.  Quite captivating whether in sunlight or shade, the expressions on such a monumental scale are well placed in these large open spaces and quite in keeping with their surroundings.



Unlike dear Louis Couperus, standing there most apologetically in contrast.



But not all of Javer Marin's artwork hit the spot for me.  Right outside our hotel, this large piece invited me to take a closer look.



But having done so, I can't say I liked what I saw.



But such things give us plenty to talk about over a bottle of good prosecco and a plate of cheese...not to mention supper afterwards!



The Hague


Driving from the ferry terminal at Europoort to The Hague was easy, if not quite the most picturesque journey but just an hour after our arrival we were there to meet Ilya and Marieke anticipating a fun day discovering the city.

Our friends are excellent tour guides and we spent a happy day with them. More details to come, however, as we discover that European hotels are not the best places to keep up with email and blog posts. At 50c a minute, online activity is rescheduled for the next stop and a cheaper connection.

The hotel art is stunning here!


"..and how would you like your asparagus, Madam?"

We had witnessed the frenzy before, whilst in Germany at this time of the year, but it was fun to experience it again and fortunately, yes, we do like to eat asparagus!

It turns up on every menu, in soup, in salad, with almost every main course and, most surprising of all, in our friend Arthur's Creme Brulee! I particularly enjoyed it traditionally, with ham and boiled egg.

It's a strange plant though, and we learned a bit about it on a visit to the Asparagus Museum at De Locht, where the Stuart Singers did a short performance, together with hosts from nearby Wanssum.

The fields in this area of Limburg are impeccably tended with perfectly straight lines of sandy soil, earthed up over the precious shoots.

7.50 Euros for 5kg

And of course, accessories are available!
Strange, though, that most of these showed the more attractive green asparagus, which, though we would not have dreamed of saying so, we prefer!