About Me

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here I am in a little cottage that evokes the energies of my ancestral lands - a cottage on the moors of Cornwall, or on the cliff tops of Ireland or Scotland. It has a hearth. I am a hedge witch {of sorts}. I wear upcycled clothes, patchouli oil and Redback boots. I am a gypsy; an eccentric and a mystic [I often live with a foot in two worlds]. I serve my guests, tea from an old silver teapot. I love Vervain, yarrow, chamomile & mint. Star watcher and Moon gazer. story cloth weaver. keeper of family dreams and wishes. good friend and creator of life. herbal tea drinker and potion maker.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

last thoughts of Den Haag

this morning, off to the laundromat - the nitty gritty of travelling. funny that the laundromat, only a short walk of about 3 blocks - 1 kilometre, was in a 2nd hand/antique area. there was a wait for a washing machine, so the owner offered to do our washing for us as we went to have a coffee and a look around the shops. honestly, the junk here is brilliant and I was wishing that i could buy lots to ship home. weight and cost for shipping prevents me, however, this did not stop me buying an old Sunflowers painting..

there it was, sitting on an old chair.. waiting for me. It seems serendipity is at work. an original Van Gogh, the owner assured me.

then for a lovely cup of koffie. Here in Holland, when you buy a cup of coffee, they mostly always give you a little something to go with it. Pumpkin spice cake yesterday and today, a little morsel of sugar and butter cake [I am battling voices in my head over the whole eating thing though!!]

we went back to Crispijnstraat to knock on the door of where Joe was born.. and while walking, we  found the church that he was most probably baptised in. A gorgeous, gorgeous 16th century church. It seems Mother Mary is all around me here.

Samhain here today and every little cafe is decorated mostly with pumpkins and other autumn vegies and lots of little tea lights. the smell of spices, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg assault the senses.. to experience Samhain here in the Northern Hemisphere is special, even though i wasn't able to celebrate as I usually do at home. it just feels so right.

the afternoon we caught a tram to markets. thinking of flea markets back home.. not so. this was a food market. 500 stalls of fish, vegetables, nuts, meat and every other food stuff in between. an experience to say the least.

it is kind of bittersweet leaving Den Haag, knowing our time in Holland is over, but so looking forward to England and what that may bring. I have said before that this reminds me of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. every time you turn a corner, there is another little laneway, narrow laneways with an assortment of shops, twinkling lights and those glorious cobblestones. it's like something out of a faery tale, every laneway is a picture postcard

 we spent alot of the time dodging trams and bicycles

it is a city full of beautiful churches and old building. I will miss the beautiful dutch language, the women who make smoking look elegant and I will miss the croissants. my hips and tummy won't.

Den Haag started to grow on us slowly at first, a city devoid of colour but it revealed itself to us bit by bit, allowing itself to seep gently into our being and
now it's time to leave..
yes, we will come back oneday

and that ends our time in Den Haag as well as Holland... for tomorrow, we set sail for England.

don't forget to click on the photos and you will be able to see a larger version xo

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Den Haag. The Hague.

I must say, that The Hague does not have the same attraction as Amsterdam did. Amsterdam for me was one of joy, belonging, where as Den Haag is one of conservatism. A big contrast between two cities that share the title 'capital of Holland'.
Joe said that when his mother returned to the city, she found Den Haag dreary and drab. and I can see why.

that said, it is still pretty and quaint in places.

a little bit of colour to brighten an otherwise drab street

At times, I feel like a fish out of water, not sure why and for the first time since I arrived in Holland, I feel a need to re-centre my energies. Even this morning at breakfast, I felt 'different' to others. Many were business people on important business in the city, men in business suits with an air of 'distinguished' about them, women in black suits. I flounced in, in my colourful skirt and pixie energy and felt like a naughty little girl among stern grandparent.. afraid of using the wrong knife and fork! I wonder what the elderly gentleman thought when I licked yoghurt from my fingers?

After breakfast this morning, we set of to find where Joe was born. Crispijnstraat 16.  A short 1 kilometre walk from our hotel. Past alot of footpath reconstruction and truthfully, a little depressing at first.

Finally finding the street which he had not seen for 55 years. He was really delighted to see it, it brought back many memories for him..

The fact that it was such a cute street, took away that depression and drabness that had begun to envelope both Joe & I. We then walked along the canal where he remembered Paul, doubling him on a push bike very close to the edge, trying to scare him and then on to an old hotel which his grandparents had owned.

Back along the canal to find a little coffee shop for morning tea and then on to some Museums of art and history..

a lovely long walk around the city centre today,  had us thinking that this city is very, very much like Melbourne.

a kind local took our photo.. the first one together since our trip began

for some reason, this shop reminded me of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter.. not sure why, but it did

There are lovely little cobblestone alley ways with quaint shops.
One that I did find was an antique shop full, absolutely full of Mother Mary statues. Oh my lord, I was in heaven. A big one for 250euros, had me wishing that I could buy her and post it home. But I will have to settle on a smaller one.. and rosary beads! A collection.. be still my heart!!

When I stumbled upon this shop front, I gasped.. it was like She was calling my name.. inside, a treasure trove of Marian delights, plus more

I wish I could transport her home, but sadly the postage cost would be more than the actual statue

We had a simple lunch in an eco store and after we went to an eco supermarket, where I was thrilled to find all kinds of organic fruit and other bits. I was in heaven, not having had fruit to eat since I left home except at breakfast. I have developed mouth ulcers, so I gathered some blueberries, almonds and bananas to help my poor immune system which is kinda shattered from all the sugar I have been eating. Some organic coconut oil as well as a homoeopathic remedy for mouth ulcers and I should be right!!

an organic, eco supermarket..

such is the life of a traveller, eating strange foods and often too much.. but oh how those croissants call my name every morning at breakfast time!!
don't forget to click on the photos and you will be able to see a larger version xo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

a taste of Amsterdam ~ two days worth

Yesterday, we took a bus trip out into the countryside, to visit the villages of Volendam and Marken. Traditional, pretty dutch villages. We drove through the flat, lush countryside of Holland.

past dykes, green pastures,cows and windmills. Joe is loving this place and I know why Tina and Paul visited so often. It is beautiful.

gorgeous homes with the traditional dutch lace curtains in the windows, with Mother Mary appearing often on window ledges.

neat gardens with a multitude of pots and birdhouses.

We wandered around through laneways getting some inspiration for our own garden back home in Katoomba..

Last night we went out for dinner and more wandering around the laneways, this time in the infamous red light district. No photos, as they are not permitted. It was an interesting experience to say the least

Sunday today, daylight saving ended, so we were awake quite early. More to mess up our body clock. I am sure that Paul had a hand in this 'mistake' in the hotel booking. I have felt Tina and Paul's presence with us quite often while here in Amsterdam.

the day was spent exploring

walking down laneways we found flower markets that sold tulip bulbs. divine.

and then we decided to visit the Vincent exhibition

these are words that I wrote as I walked around surrounded by the masters

"Monet, Cezanne and Renoir. But most touching for me was Van Gogh. I stood in front of sunflowers and felt tears coming to my eyes. I could not believe that I was in front of an original Van Gogh. My favourite painting
The name Vincent leaped out at me, Oh my god I am really here
I didn't expect the depth of emotion that I felt as I stood in front of sunflowers.
I am no art critic but I actually started to cry, overcome with emotion . Feeling a kindred soul in Van Gogh, wishing that I had studied art when younger"

"I desire nothing other than to live deep in the country and to paint peasant life" - Vincent Van Gogh

I want to paint. I want to discover my own technique and sign my name just like he did

There was an elderly woman in a wheel chair being pushed by a younger woman, maybe her daughter. She was pushed up to each painting and sat there, absorbing. Maybe a dream realized before she dies

and with that, we leave for Den Haag tomorrow. by train.

a year later - 2013
I will never, ever forget the emotion that I felt when I stood in front of Van Goghs Sunflowers.
nor will I forget the charm of Amsterdam. It is so different to Australia.. and I find myself at times, wishing we had the history and culture that they do. My home country is very harsh compared to the softness of Holland.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Amsterdam - first days

After a long red eye trip of 13hours from Singapore, we arrived in Amsterdam at 7.30am, the day still dark. Our bodies not really knowing what day or time it was. Collecting our baggage, we made our way to find transport to our hotel, we were told a taxi would cost 70euros. So we decided to take a train. Buying tickets became a battle with machines not accepting our cards until we realized that our debit cards would not work, so credit it was. Tickets finally in hand, we jumped aboard a train for Amsterdam Central, arriving in the city to find that there were limited number of taxis available due to a Muslim holiday. Eventually a taxi pulled up and drove us through street after street of beautiful architecture, to our booked hotel. We were both tired by this time and absolutely stunned when told that our booking was not listed. I had booked and confirmed this online back in March, so you can imagine how I felt. The receptionist was apologetic but had no rooms available but she found us one in the sister hotel across the canal. So with all our luggage in hand, we trekked across cobblestone lanes, across the canal to the beautiful old hotel NHDOELEN.

A little more expensive but things happen for a reason, [which I was to realize a day later].
I was desperate for a cup of coffee, so a quick shower and off we went. Back over the canal to Rembrandt Square, plonked ourselves into a chair

and ordered a coffee with pancakes for Joe and for me, a croissant with nutella [and so began the growth of my hips]. Sitting there, watching women riding their pushbikes, people drinking coffee in the sun. I love it. It is cool-ish here, much like home in autumn time.

the streets are like mazes - weaving in and out of everywhere. Cobblestones or bricks. Quaint and lots of character.

After a walk around the streets, we took a trip along the canals in a traditional canal boat

the canals are lined with gorgeous grand old homes and houseboats, which are actually permanent residences for some. All decked out with plants and individual eccentricities

Picture perfect.
we found ourselves slowly falling in love with this beautiful city.

a year later - 2013
Joe and I still talk about our time in Amsterdam. The pushbikes, the happy disposition of the people, the croissants. We loved it and it was a real holiday for us.
NH Doelen was a grand old dame, beautiful inside and out. Breakfast there, was the best of the whole trip and I will never, ever forget that first coffee we had, after a shower on the first day. Sitting outside in Rembrandt Plein, sipping milky coffee and having the first croissant with butter and nutella.
Amsterdam stole my heart. I loved it, unexpectedly, I might add.