Saturday, 4 July 2015

Summer Colours

Doesn't our weather man look surprised ! As well he might ; summer has taken a while to get going ....

 
Still there has been colour here and there

 
even though it has been more subdued .


 

 
London was very pretty this year .

Monday, 22 June 2015

In An English City Allotment

( with apologies to Percy Grainger ) 

If you stand on tiptoe and squint , you can see John Lewis . The 14 bus rattles past one side and the 34 past the other . Scrawny cats chase magpies who scold back , safely  perched on shed roofs .






 
 You trip over shards of pottery everywhere





 
The bread shop over the road does chunky cheese rolls to eat in the sun or you can pick up a baked potato from the butcher's   ...   or there's a Chinese takeaway a step further .
Bees hover over a banana skin . A little boy brandishes a pink butterfly net .
There's an old swing and a slide the commitee's put up to entertain the growing number of ever younger allotmenteers' children  . 
You flail at nettles and are mesmerised by hoverflies .
Lug water from the standpipe to rescue the pansies .
And take home radishes , beans and glowing , exhausted children .

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Three Kims And Curry Sauce

 
I didn't just venture forth this week . I sallied ! All the way to Assen , about another fifteen minutes on the train . It also has a nice museum and there was an exhibition I didn't want to miss . I have a weakness for propaganda posters ... the more uplifting the better . And there's no doubt about it  , The Kim Utopia was full of pictures of Paradise .

North Korea is officially the Land of Milk and Honey


 

  ... or rather of polished ostrich eggs , noodles and expertly sliced vegetables .  
 


 
Everybody is young and heartbreakingly pretty and brave ... and wearing a uniform .
Everybody laughed  , everyone's hair was lightly tossed , everyone's eyes were raised to an ever more glorious future . Any unpleasantness from The Enemy was faced with resolute nobility .
 It was all perfectly splendid !

I was reluctant to leave but very hungry so wandered up into town and found a cafe that could have been a model for Kim's official artists .
De Brink had comfy sofas and excellent coffee and two kinds of toasted sandwiches ... ham and cheese or "would you prefer one with our own goat's cheese ?" . Of course  . And it was , indeed , delicious . The owner then bustled over to offer more coffee and ask if I'd like some ketchup with my 'tosti' .... or mayonnaise ? ... or curry sauce ? before rushing out to the back to drill a few more holes in the wall .
He seemed to be barista , chef and handyman and partner of the pink haired young woman who ran the adjoining hair salon . He supplied endless coffees for her clients as well . Altogether I felt that Kim would be proud to welcome them onto his team .
A bit of window shopping and then I headed home , determined to go back in September when there's a new exhibition . The Glasgow Boys .

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Hailstones Temporarily Discontinued ...

The sun's shining every now and then and one can venture forth without three layers of wool and a vest !  So I've made the odd sortie , slightly further than the shops  .

 And here are some of the things I've admired:




which just goes to show that one doesn't have to live in the country to see things grow

or even some exotic wildlife

 
 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Feeling Liberated !

Faint sound of bagpipes coming over the river ... ?  It must be Liberation Day . 

Well , Leeuwarden was really liberated in 1945 with the rest of Europe but it's still being celebrated with the same enthusiasm each year and veterans from the Royal Canadian Dragoons are always welcome .


To make them feel even more at home a Dutch association of vintage army vehicle enthusiasts have set up camp outside the High school for five days


 

and everyone's wandering through admiring the tiny chaplain's tent , the sandbags , the sleeping arrangements ( "modern conveniences such as beds and fridges only permissible if kept out of view ", according to their website ) , a stage where English singer Lola Lamour and a Barber's Shop Quartet entertain each night


and the camp cook who posts the day's menu every morning on a blackboard and then strides about impatient to start .





The VE day tea waits again for a group of mothers and children like in the town archive's original photo . This years marble cake looks a bit dry though . Someone must have gone the whole hog and used reconsituted egg .

Today when I cycled home there was a group of men sword dancing and even more old codgers mooching about



admiring the tank and small landing craft and doing that man thing of peering in fascination at pistons and handy extras .

And through it all , this woman busily crocheted a wavy blanket .


Perhaps she's facing a long summer of similar reenactment weekends with her husband and , while hoping for good weather , doesn't intend to freeze .

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Must Rush ! Mustn't Miss The Mice ...


 
The Peepshow exhibition's been on for six months so I only had myself to blame as I galloped , puffing , across the bridge and round the corner to the Natuurmuseum on the very last afternoon .
As always it was all beautifully staged and children rushed about between Scratch'n'Sniff exhibits ( "Eeeugh Mama , mouse pee smells disgusting !"  "No Mama , rat pee smells worse !!" ) , tiny skeletons  ,


 a large array of lethal antique mousetraps and the biggest stuffed mouse in the world . 






The art exhibition at the entrance was good too , though it did seem slightly tactless to have filled walls with paintings of owls .

 
 
 

Altogether I was glad I'd managed to drag myself away from a very good book , Ian McEwan's The Children Act , to go ... even if I don't seem to have come back alone .

Friday, 17 April 2015

Culinaria Village-style




I do love our local free paper . Every week it opens a vast world of possibilities ... enough village jumble sales , plant sales , Get To Know A Sheep day , concerts and bird watching to tempt us all .

In Bitgummole tomorrow , for instance , there's a Culinary Fair with stalls full of organic honey , sausages and herbs . There's coffee and delicous home made cakes , ices and petit fours , cooking demonstrations , lessons on how to build your own BBQ oven , drinks , tapas and snacks , nibbles and treats galore .
What makes this village's event slightly different is that food technician Folkert Follema will be entertaining  us with "An Edible Bible History"and at 4 o'clock there will be a performance by a local women's choir , the Bitchbeat .
Only the thought of the 7 km. bike ride each way is putting me off .