Friday, 19 October 2018

The gold is paling...

Autumn sun still cheers us every day, but the mornings and evenings ask for warm jackets, and the daylight grows shorter with each passing day. Coming weekend the clocks got back, and then an end to sunlit late afternoons, sipping tea or drinking beer on a street terrace or a friend's balcony.
We continue to walk the leaf-strewn streets and watch the light glinting on the canals.
David and I fill our days with many inquiries connected with the unsureness surrounding Brexit, the unsureness in connection with what's going to happen with the monumental building beside David's house, (the new owners maintain silence regarding their plans...)  and the definite intention of keeping the body fit despite the onset of creaking age!
We go for walks through this beautiful city, always discovering yet another hitherto unknown steegje (narrow street or alleyway) and rejoicing in the infinite variety of urban architecture that is to be seen here.
Watching the light glance upon the water, and soaking in the abundance of colour (see photo above!), forms a compensation, a kind of balance to the pictures of brutality and sheer ugliness that the media present us with. What to do with these images? I am glad not to have a television or take a daily newspaper. Always plenty of "news" to find via the internet. I often remember what the writer Saul Bellow said, many years ago: We are troubled by too much knowing. This was in the early days of internet, before Facebook, Twitter, whatsApp and so forth.

How about the Metaphysical poets?
Only a sweet and virtuous soul
Like seasoned timber, never gives.
And though the whole world turn to coal
Then chiefly lives...

Words to ponder on as autumn departs.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Summer returns

Or perhaps, glorious golden autumn is here once more...
Now we are enjoying days of delicious sunshine, 22 degrees Celsius, people in short sleeves, and here in Amsterdam, boats filled with happy relaxed folk ply the sun-flecked waters of the canals.
I am busy with houses and family and friends and much to-ing and fro-ing; so little time to write. 

Below, two sunset pix (actually, one is a sunrise)
The sun seem rising over the river Vilaine, in south Brittany, photo by David.
The sun setting by the Maritime Museum Amsterdam, photo by Machteld.
 Misty sunrise:
 Below: sunset

Monday, 1 October 2018

Had we forgotten winter winds... ?

My younger sister, in a Mediterranean country, complains it's too hot at 34 degrees C. But here in the Netherlands, chill winds blow the rain spattering against the window panes, and it's waterproof gear required when venturing outside.
Nevertheless, a friend form the US and I concluded yesterday that Amsterdam really is one of the best cities to live in. There's a great lack of harassment. And this city has a buzz: I don't frequent many of the haunts favoured by some, but for me, there is culture galore, plus the fact that this is an eminently walkable city. And now there is the metro, recently opened, to speed inner-city movement. There's a metro stop conveniently at the end of my street.
And this is what it looks like inside: steep...

This photo was taken the day after the metro was opened; over the following weeks people grew used to it, and now it has become an accepted mode of travel, though there are also considerable complaints. It's made movement, for example from home to work,  more complicated for some people.

Back to the stormy winds...

Here is Prinsengracht canal getting ready for a thunderstorm.

And me on the bridge, a very Dutch sight, beside one of the many thousand bikes this city boasts.
I love the colours in these photos, they're quite accurate.