Friday, 21 September 2018

Wild winds over western Europe

Bumping home across the cloud-filled sky to arrive in a sunny Schiphol airport, Amsterdam.
A calm evening awaited me. The following day the wind got up, banging loose doors and whirling down twiggy branches and coppery-brown leaves.
Fine to be back: after almost fifty years living in this country, it has become pleasantly familiar.
But there is no way it can ever compete with the country and the language that I was raised in.
Hope I can continue travelling for many years to come.

Ah yes, a word about Brexit: people I met in England are just stupefied about what's happening. 
And there will still be protest marches; no one has given up hope (I speak about the Remainers. The others are, it seems, going to wake up one day and wish they hadn't...)
Here in mainland Europe many people are also amazed. I observed a lot over the past three weeks about social psychology...

I bought the best-selling book Sapiens, and started to read, learning a great deal with every page I turned. Clearly, I shall emerge a wiser and a better Sapiensa!
Now to write a poem (it's in embryo form) for my friend who is celebrating her 65th tomorrow.
We share some parallels in our lives: both have English as our mother-tongue. Both of us married in the Netherlands,  had a son followed by a daughter, and then found ourselves as single mothers (with very young children, living in a country without family or relatives and having to work out the best way to manage the complications of child-rearing with a profession). I've written many poems through those years ...

Below two views of a canal close to my house; I try to make this part of my daily walk.
Looking down Reguliersgracht towards Thorbeckeplein. Wonderfully grey, with a warm wind. Later came a thunderstorm. Then quiet.

Monday, 10 September 2018

England, still green and pleasant...

September days, sun stroked and soft wind in the branches. We go for long walks in the countryside, along softly meandering waters or beside quiet lakes.
This really is like being on holiday. Far from the city's roar (and madding crowd).
I stayed in Bedfordshire and Nottinghamshire and visited places I'd not been before.
Deer parks and landscaped gardens. Balm for the eyes.
Here we go, some pix:
A small selection, capturing the light in this northern landscape, and a fine example of Norman architecture.

Yes, a picture worth perhaps a thousand words. Well, that's debatable.
On the ten pound note in the UK there's a portrait of the incomparable author, Jane Austen, and in tiny type, beneath it, her words:
'I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!'
I have just finished reading an incomparable book, by the contemporary author, Nina George. Its title in German is Das Lavendelzimmer. The English title got re-arranged to become The little Paris bookshop. A curious transition. The book is a joy, and when I finished it I was both greatly enriched and a little sad (like when one says good-bye to a dear friend who is about to move far away). Fortunately Nina George has written more. And I have a whole stack of books waiting for me to read at home.