Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Joy of Cycling - Wetlands Adventure No. 1 (or two...)

When you live in an entirely flat country, with only a few bumps that hardly deserve the name "hill" in the far South and the far East of your (otherwise tiny) country, you get used to wind.
And wind is precisely the thing that you either love (when you are a sailor) or loathe (when you are a cyclist).

Now there is such a thing as a sailor-cyclist (a species which takes along a folding bicycle onto their boats), and they are a curious lot, but on the whole you can divide my countrymen into two categories: the sailors and the cyclists. 
The landlubbers amongst us love to keep their feet firmly on terra firma, and only take them off to push two pedals round. Needless to say, I fall into category two.

I love my e-bike! I suffer (well, I play it down, but anyway) from arthritic knees, so cycling became a tad painful of late. But then some years ago a colleague pointed me towards e-bikes, and my horizons broadened considerably again. Not only did my school have a wizard cycle-plan, which paid half (!) of the cost of acquiring said e-bike, but it conveniently lies within cycling distance from my home - 13 kms.

My bike is a Batavus Allegro E-90, an original Dutch make, and has 8 speeds and an action radius of 130 kms (I do have the largest battery). This radius will diminish somewhat over the years (as the battery ages), but so far it is plenty for me.
Last Summer it has taken me all over the country, right up to the North and back again, in easy 80 kms a day stretches. (You can find the story on this blog, in August 2014)

The Wetlands is an ideal country for cycling. Not only is it flat, as I mentioned before, but it has an extensive cycle path network which even the biggest dummy can follow. There is a signpost on every corner and fork in the road, I'm not kidding you!
And we have a cyclists repair and aid organization, in fact we now have a couple I believe. Got yourself a flat tire and you don't want to repair it yourself? Call the number and a nice man comes and does it for you. At a price. That goes without saying.

But here it comes: using an e-bike will take the wind factor away almost entirely! All of a sudden I will cycle to work in a wind force 7, and it will still only take me 35 minutes, instead of the usual hour it used to take me with that wind. It is wonderful!
I overtake most other cyclists and even youngsters on mopeds have trouble overtaking me. The only disadvantage (as such) is that you are vulnerable to nasty accidents when your speed is 24 kms or more. But you can choose to wear a  safety helmet (I don't - I am prone to bad hair days as it is already).

The Summer holidays are approaching fast, so I am researching new cycling adventures. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Viggo on the Goldfish - Quite a Fishy Business!

Hi fans, Viggo here!
Today, as I played around a bit with a freshly caught mole, I noticed my woman sitting next to the pond. I know she's partial to those goldfish, Frith knows why, they are such dumb animals.

Anyway, she claims she has written a Haiku about those silly fish, whereas everyone knows it is ME who is writing those Haikus!
I'll prove it to you:
Goldfish gaze upon 
my reflection in their pond
and blow me a kiss

There! Obviously you are able to recognize the hand of the master?!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Am I Blue? - The Beauty of Flowers in the Blue Spectrum.

My garden is blooming as if it is afraid there will be no tomorrow...
Not that I am complaining, mind! I adore sitting there with a cup of coffee very early in the morning, when my neighbourhood is still asleep, and watch the bees and bumblebees visit my poppies and digitalis. Viggo and Gina by my side; they are wise to this morning ritual.

And this morning I want to talk to you about my love of flowers in the blue spectrum.

Spring starts with white and yellow, in the Wetlands. In February/March, when our earliest bulbs start showing their colours. They are followed by blue and purple, if you ignore the fact that our tulips show every colour under the rainbow (even black!). Tulips do not count; I like them, but they are very very contrived.
In my garden white and yellow is followed by blue and purple, believe me! And there is a period, right now in fact, when the white and yellow mix with the blue and purple.

There is something about these blue and purple and pink flowers that speaks to my soul. 
Sounds a bit melodramatic, I know. 
Yellow is a cheerful colour, but flowers in the blue spectrum have an introspective quality in my opinion. It is not a coincidence that melancholy has got the label 'The Blues'. 

Here you have the ordinary Cornflower. I allow it to seed itself everywhere it likes, simply because I adore it. When I was a child that devoured books, I used to read about cornflowers in the cornfields, except in our cornfields there were none...The wild flowers were sprayed to death in the sixties and seventies. Thank Frith that nowadays they are allowed to bloom again, and well-thinking farmers even sow them in the verges! It makes for wonderful bicycle rides, I can assure you!

This 'butterfly' lavender is another favorite of mine. I always make certain I have one next to the garden table, where it scents that entire corner.

I have shown you those two photos before, but they prove my point. Lovely, lovely colours!
(By the way, if any of you know how I can upload them so that they are positioned right next to each other, please tell me how to! I cannot)

So. Blue Spectrum? Yes, please!