Sunday, September 27, 2015

Been away, come home

Which it's I, for all love, upon the taffrail,

and in the master's cabin of the Dutch East Indiaman Amsterdam*.

The Maritime Museum (het Scheepvaartmuseum) in Amsterdam was glorious, and one of the few places where I took many photos on our holiday, some of which I'll post later. Otherwise I didn't take so very many, but probably enough. The whole trip was such a wealth and a welter of experience and sensation, (even an Embarrassment of Riches perhaps) in so many ways: Amsterdam was lively and upbeat and friendly and beautiful and full of wonders and Bruges was exquisite and bijoux and beautiful and full of marvels, and everywhere there were all kinds of people to listen and talk to and watch and enjoy, it mostly seemed better simply to ride and soak than to try to capture and record. Tom took more, and I may pick over and pinch some of his later, and I may remember some stories to tell.

Now on our return, the swallows are still with us, and as a result of this, we have these, I've counted four so far, on the fennel and the Mexican orange (which is having a second flowering):

and while the sunflowers are coming to their end - I cut the last decent blooms to put in a bunch to thank the friends who took us to the railway station - the dead heads can stay, so we can still enjoy the goldfinches on them:

Unfortunately and less welcome on the nature notes front, we also returned to find that we now have these:

Hornets, finding ingress in some numbers into a weak point under the roof where the extension joins the main house. It's late in the year for them but evidently not too late. However, this fact did promote a friendly exchange with the lad next door, part of an unspecified family grouping who moved in unannounced just before we went away. We are rather used to our space and privacy and not having to anticipate arguments about the ill-defined parking space, so we were a bit grumpy about their arrival; I made an approach (in part to establish boundaries about the parking) and offered my name but received a somewhat reserved response and none of their names, and I instantly saw them as unfriendly, potentially troublesome, and this chap in particular as rather ferrety and feral looking. And we were slightly miffed that the house's owners, our former neighbours, hadn't given us any warning that they'd re-let it, which of course they aren't obliged to do but they always have done in the past.

I think we needed to get away and out into the world; too long behind your own walls, minding your own business and guarding your space can make you fearful and defensive, and inclined to see evil everywhere. In the light of shared concerns about the proliferation of frelons, the youngster was sympathetic and helpful, and went and found his i-phone to give me the name and number of his half-brother, who, he said, was in the business of pest control and lived locally. He's not weasle-like or surly, I thought, he's just thin and wan and shy, and very young. I asked his name and he told me it was Steve. That sounds English, I remarked, and he smiled rather sweetly. And their parking habits so far have been neat and considerate. So far so equable.

More to come about the trip.

* Read Desolation Island end to end in the course of the trip. I like to have the appropriate holiday reading matter for the location.


the polish chick said...

i find that my perception of the outer world is very much a reflection of what is happening in my inner world. i sat, surly (and possibly weasel-like) at a fundraiser party last night, waiting for friends to arrive, feeling anti-social and judgmental and seeing the very worst of the people around me. not good, not helpful, not really rooted in love.

glad to hear you had a grand time. i fell in love with amsterdam (and with all of holland) and would love to go back. bruge, as you said, is adorable! looking forward to some photos.

Avus said...

My kids, when small, used to collect such gorgeous caterpillars in matchboxes - then we had to feed 'em all and console the kids when they (almost inevitably) died.
Know what you mean about the big, bad, frightening world. I felt (and still feel to a certain extent) like that after home confinement due to my stroke.

Zhoen said...

Never met a maritime museum I didn't love. We are leaving some sunflowers up as bird-feeders as well.

susan said...

When I mentioned to Tom I'd like to hear more of the journey you made he suggested I visit. I should have thought of that myself, of course, as I've been by before to see your wonderful photographs. The clarity and beauty of the images you capture are really marvellous and these are as lovely as any I've seen before.

Ah yes! Desolation Island and it's devastating chase through the Antarctic waters - one that's still among the most memorable (and tragic) of the series. Experiencing the adventures of and the friendship between Aubrey and Maturin is a pleasure I'll enjoy again.

You looked very happy on that taffrail.

Stella said...

I could look it up, but tell me what name that caterpillar has? I don't recall anything as exotic, even at the farm where no pesticides are used and you'd think there would be all kinds of creatures on the foliage. I expect soon we shall be seeing a post of the welcome gift you have knit for Steve.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

PC - I'm sure you could never look weasel-like! Of course it's necessary and helpful to regard the world with a degree of caution and reserve, but within that one can get a bit too miserable and suspicious perhaps. I remember how you loved Amsterdam, perhaps we will meet there one day!

Avus - I used to do that too. Sometimes they did pupate and emerge, and then I used to be somewhat dismayed and horrified by a boxful of moths! I'm sorry your stroke has dented your confidence so; I imagine it's difficult to balance always being quiet and retired for the sake of recovery and the need to decide when and how to build on that recovery. Bon courage!

Zhoen - ships and boats and their accoutrements are wondrous things. One can store the sunflower heads and put them out over winter, ours don't seem to get that far!

Susan - lovely to see you, thank you! I may not steal Tom's pictures as he's getting rather into posting about it himself. And always wonderful to find another PoB enthusiast! In my experience there are quite as many female ones as men, if not more. Someone said Desolation Island is where it gets really difficult to read anything else in between volumes, which I'm certainly finding now. In fact this ship (or the original of it) was quite a lot earlier than the Napoleonic era, from about 1750, but it certainly gave a feeling.

Stella - they are swallowtail caterpillars, they are pretty aren't they, as are their parents. I believe they are to be found in North America too, though perhaps not so far north as you are; they are quite rare in Brittany, commoner further south and rarer in Britain. But this is partly because their feeding habits vary according to where they are, I think. I was surprised to find them on the Mexican orange at first, since they mostly only feed on umbelliferous things - we've had them on fennel, parsley and carrots, but then someone told me they are quite a pest in the US on citrus crops. I don't know if these will survive the winter, hope so.

I suppose I could knit Steve a yellow and black hornet-shaped i-phone cover! Seriously though I don't think neighbourly friendliness will quite extend to making him socks for his cold little feet. I'm determined to be a little less altruistic in my knitting habits, more on this later... STICK AROUND!!!!

Ellena said...

All I see here is so lovely but only looking at happy you, Lucy-Dear, makes me feel to pinch cheeks and give a warm hug.
Poor caterpillar dropped a few spots.

Roderick Robinson said...

Chez moi I worried about the slow death of blogging. Here the throwaway reference to JA/SM illogically reassures me. As does the interior pic of the Amsterdam where you are reduced to a silhouette but which is, nevertheless, immediately identifiable by virtue of that perturbation of hair created from the remnants of a dozen slipped haloes.

Also that you have been to Bruges and you may, possibly, have enjoyed the links with the comedy-thriller movie, In Bruges, which everybody I know remembers with affection.

Would that you were nearer and I could stand guard over your territory, armed with a BB gun and shooting hornets out of the sky.

There's an elegiac tone to this post and that can be frightening in that the word may be synonymous with valedictory. But I am not frightened; previously autumn has been my least favourite season but that's childish, the seasons do not exist independently, and you have admirably communicated autumn's contemplative quality.

New neighbours! Now that is frightening. Smiling from a distance (but no hand gestures) may provide the initial lubrication. A basket of hazel-nuts left on the door-step?

Rouchswalwe said...

Caterpillars and hornets, ships and cars, and finches! The T-RAVIA has lured me out of my little outpost (leading also to less posting these days), so I know what you mean. Steve reminds me a bit of my initial meetings with my downstairs neighbour. But now he's got a new lady and a new job and we often chat a bit at the end of the work day when we arrive home at the same time.

Ah, beautiful calming autumn ... ♪♫

Lucy said...

Ellena - thanks, made me laugh about the caterpillars. I would love to have my cheeks pinched by you!

Robbie - I would probably never have read Po'B had it not been for blogs, and yours in particular, though look, there's Susan above expressing her affection for Aubrey and Maturin. I've not in fact seen In Bruges, though I've read about it, and might try to do so now. One often feels as if in a film when there. I'll pass on your offer to dispatch hornets! When one brings up the matter, it seems many people dislike getting new neighbours, feeling it an encroachment and possible threat, and there's always the problem of striking the right balance in establishing goodwill and boundaries. Too much perceived hostility can often pre-empt the feared problems, too much friendliness could be the proverbial inch. However, these seem even more quiet, discreet and hard to see than the hornets were, and I doubt they'll breed at the same rate.

Rouchswalwe - Glad your T-Ravial pursuits are keeping you happily occupied, and your downstairs neighbour has proved straightforward!

Ellena said...

I have been feeling 'cheap' for making such a short comment on this interesting post of yours but....there is more to say than "I should have taken the time to visit Peter The Great's sailboat when I had the chance to do so In St.Malo, 14 years ago" and "Mom spoke Dutch and said it was easy to learn for German speaking persons". If I understood your link correctly, it took 400 volunteers 6 years to build this 'kopie'. I wonder how long it took to build the original.
ok, ok! I won't go on about my hornet/wasp and neighbor stories.