There have been a few important junctures in my life, and when they’ve happened, I’ve always had unexpected (but welcome) company.
I don’t know much about gardening. I had a nice vegetable garden one summer, in Toronto, and blame it all on the sun, soil, heat and humidity. Everything thrived, but not because I knew what I was doing. Remove one of those elements from the above equation and I don’t know how to solve the problem.
But a couple of months ago, I was in Devon,
Last week, we were in Berlin for a few days, for sheer pleasure, which is not hard to do there.
There’s Berlin the edgy,
And Berlin the brilliant and civil, when it comes to urban planning.
While we’re on the topic of food, last month there was a festival in town called the “Rollende Keukens”, or “Kitchens on Wheels”. If you were selling some kind of food or drink from something that had wheels, you were in. And it made for some pretty creative “wheels”, not to mention food.
From caravans a la Bollywood,
With European Cup soccer matches just begun, one of my favourite Dutch traditions has had to take a back seat to the flag-hanging that’s going on around here.
Every year around the beginning of June, a small pot of fish gets auctioned off for charity, marking the start of the herring season. This year’s pot, which contains 45 herring, got around 95 000 euros, one of the highest on record, but it went almost unnoticed – at least in comparison to years past – amid the excitement of football.
If you walk east of Central Station in Amsterdam, you’ll eventually come to the Oostelijk Havengebeid, or the Eastern Docks Area – which used to be the eastern harbour of the city, and gateway to the IJsselmeer, for over a hundred years.
So the area’s got a history, though there hasn’t been a cargo boat there since 1977, but it’s the kind of place that looks like a suburb that’s about 10 years old,
with a bit of the past thrown in.
It always amazes me how much of Amsterdam is under construction, or demolition.
So when, for Mother’s Day, I got three seed grenades – clay shells filled with wildflower seeds – to lob at abandoned, unloved places of my choice, the answer was obvious: a fenced-off patch of land not too far from where I live, which is stuck in a stalemate between its developer and local government, and which has been standing empty for nearly 5 years now.
A couple of weeks ago, an old friend passed through Amsterdam for the first time – a friend for whom how I connect with the landscape of Holland is a bit of a mystery.
Holland is flat and crowded to those of us from a vast, empty space, and I kind of felt I had to justify my decision to live where I do, to prove why this was worth missing Canada.
I’ve always had a thing for locks.
No, not that kind. This kind:
Holland, a country 1/3 of which is below sea level, has a great deal of them, from the massive, to the tiny, but this one’s my favourite:
Last week, my son and I went to see The Lorax. Don’t worry, it’s not at all about indoctrination on my part. It’s one of his favourite stories, and he’s not yet convinced of the importance of trees – in fact, he loves the machine that can cut down four trees in one blow. Let’s face it: trees are a commodity, and we’re constantly reminded of that in the middle of a forest, or even in the city.