Saturday, 25 August 2012


One day we went to the Palace of Het Loo (pronounced Het Low) which is more like a Stately Home to us in Britain. The first buildings you come to are the Stables.  The building shown here houses various carriages including the Royal hearse, draped in white, other carriages and coachmens' uniforms. The flooring is made of wooden blocks to deaden the noise of  hooves and stop the horses from slipping. In the left hand building are numerous stalls, all clean and tidy.
I don't know what the box is in the front, please don't ask! There are more stalls on the other side of the space where we entered the stables then on into displays of harness, royal cars and more uniforms.
The Palace is along a tree lined walk with plenty of seats so we had our packed lunch here - less to carry! It dates from the 17th Century (not our lunch) and, as you'd expect, has furnishings, pictures, textiles and plenty of attendants in the rooms. Thank goodness for the small lifts which took us up to all the floors.
It was the home of William and his wife, Mary, daughter of James II, but when William became King of England and assumed the title of William III and his wife, that of Mary II, they moved to England. We probably know him better as William of Orange. Did you ever wonder why Dutch National teams have an orange uniform? It was a bit disconcerting being at waist height and, as is usual, there were blinds at the windows to save the fabrics disintegrating and bleaching in the sunlight. I rather liked this fireback which, presumably, shows William.
We have these cut out figures in English houses, too, and I can't remember what their purpose was - can you?  There was a girl figure on the other side of the fireplace.
The attendant suggested I didn't climb the 83 steps to the roof so Jonathan took photos for me from there so as to get a good idea of the layout. Very formal planting, plenty of fountains and no rubbish!
This lady is the Fountain of Venus.
After all that exertion (not on my part) we went for a cuppa of tea or coffee and a slice of apple tart, a favourite on any Dutch cafe/restaurant menu. I took this opportunity to take a photo of Teresa, just by coincidence framed against what appeared to be a zinnia tree! The colour went well with her hair, too.
and Jonathan, with his trusty camera at the ready.
Then a drive home along fast straight roads until another trip tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 August 2012


I've been away in Holland to stay with my daughter and her partner, being driven out to various places, taking photos, eating meals out and generally enjoying myself.First holiday since 1994! Mustn't forget the cats who sometimes came to sleep on my bed with me and to whom I gave treats in the mornings! Both of them are rescue cats.

This is Al and

                                                                     here is Lily.
This part of the Netherlands, North Holland, is very flat, LOTS of wind turbines - these are just a

few at the side of the road, but there can be a whole row of them on the horizon in the distance
People of all ages ride bikes but they aren't the maniacs who whizz along the lanes here in Lycra practising their racing skills, these are people going about their ordinary life. No potholes, or rather, just one in a touristy path. No tailgating, overtaking or being aggressive on long straight roads...
Jackdaws are almost as plentiful as starlings are here, they're everywhere. Plenty of mosquitos here, but then, the fields are divided, not by hedges and fences, but ditches of stagnant water, so it's not surprising you get bitten.
Because I don't walk very fast and to enable us to get around, Teresa had borrowed a wheelchair for me from a local shop, sort of Medical Comforts, which meant we could travel much more quickly and, if I wanted to walk and lean on the handles, everything was dumped on the seat. She pushed me on cobbles, pavements, in and out of cafes, shops and anywhere else we went. Oh, and the car boot, on grass. The usual horrified expression from one stallholder when I indicated I wanted to buy one of her dresses for sale to cut up for patchwork! One stallholder selling things for a South African charity, cut off a strip of her table covering when I admired it! I reckoned I wouldn't get anything like this in the UK.
The town has an evening market where the local shops sell off their end of season goods cheaply to make room for new stock and it's very well attended. It's a bit disconcerting to be at peoples' waist height rather than standing up and peering over shoulders or under their arms  so some photos are from a lower viewpoint or only partially successful.

Plenty of cake stalls, nearly all sold out by the time we got there.
As you can imagine, plenty of cheese available wherever we went. This is just a small portion of this stall. I did buy a cheese plane for soft cheese to use back home (not here, though) and it works very nicely. You're asked whether you want 'young' or 'old' cheese in your sandwich, which isn't a sandwich at all,but a roll plus lots of salad.
Plenty of clothes selling for just a few Euros, shoes, all kinds of things, and the shops stay open till late that night, too.
 The supermarkets are all together plus parking and that's all opposite some sculpture, of which there seems to be plenty in the town. These two are also inviting you to sit down and rest, there's space enough.
The boy up a palm tree - looking for Christmas, perhaps - is at the other end of the grass strip from the people above. There are unexpected pieces of sculpture all over the place, like the one below, which looks like a trivet to me...
The strip of grass divides the Up and Down sides of the road leading to the road where Teresa and Jonathan live.
I rather liked this little bridge for its fancy ironwork. A nice touch.
I'll do another instalment in a day or two, now I've downloaded the photos I mean to use...