woensdag 31 mei 2017

Spellbound

Last Thursday was a public holiday here in Belgium, and as summer finally seemed to be arriving in this part of the world, the day was too good to be spent inside.

We were feeling a little bit lazy: a feel-good, absolutely no pressure whatsoever kind of laziness, so we decided on a leisurely walk after lunch.



This gave me the chance to road test a pair of light walking shoes which I bought with Wales in mind. While they are not the most elegant of footwear, they were the least showy pair I could find, and the only ones which didn't have those ugly thick white soles.



The rest of my walking outfit consisted of a crazily patterned handmade vintage dress, with a very (and I mean very) pointed collar. Its main colour is purple, with splashes of orange, pink, yellow and white. I added an orange belt, orange plastic beads and a red plastic butterfly brooch and, in way of protection against the piercing rays of the sun, a hat bought at a flea market in April, and my prescription sunglasses mounted in € 0,50 charity shopped frames!

We chose my dad's place, a green space surrounding the remains of one of the old forts encircling the city of Antwerp, the one nearest to us, which is only a 10 minutes' drive from Dove Cottage.



There's a path in the half shade along the moat, from which we watched the abundance of birdlife: a moorhen in its watery nest made of twigs, and a heron in search of its lunch.



Soon, however, we veered off the main path, climbing onto an elevated tree-covered area, its folds and glades a magical landscape created by the passing of time.



Some of the trees are growing from gnarled and twisted roots, so that they resemble grotesque fairy tale creatures.



Here, only a few jigsaw-like fragments of blue sky can be seen, and here and there, between the trees' branches, are fleeting glimpses of the moat's tranquil green tinted water.



A cheeky robin was watching proceedings from a felled tree in the middle of a clearing.



Below, a well-trodden path could be seen snaking through the trees. We eventually clambered down to it and followed its curves until we came to the path leading to my dad's special place. I spent some time in contemplation, inhaling the earthy smell emanating from the layers of decomposing vegetation and finding peace in its never-ending cycle.



The footpath eventually joined a cobbled path circling the fort itself.



Soon, a long row of low brick and sandstone buildings, in various stages of dereliction and neglect, came into view. The early summer sun filtered by the trees was bathing the buildings in a strange golden glow.



At the main entrance, we disappeared inside the fortress, a not unpleasant scent of dampness and decay tickling our nostrils: a mossy, ferny, rich earthy smell.




The air has a hushed quality here, as if oblivious of the passing of time.



Eventually, we resurfaced onto the path at the water's edge through a low, narrow, tunnel clad with age-old once-white tiles.



The sun was playing with the surface of the water, and ducks and turtles were sunbathing on overhanging branches, victims of a winter's storm.



Some are moss and lichen covered, while others have had their bark stripped away by the weather, leaving them twisted and driftwood like.

The hypnotic soundtrack of a lazy summer's day, provided by the droning of bluebottles and the buzzing of bees, accompanied us on our way back to our car, now and then punctuated by sudden bursts of birdsong or a dull splash of water made by fish coming up for air.






34 opmerkingen:

  1. Purple and orange are absolutely scrumptious together aren't they!

    Your walk looked lovely and I love the collage of you, Jos and the heart ❤ also, turtles! xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Glad you love the collage, Melanie. I took the photo of the heart graffiti especially for the purpose ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  2. Such a lovely post and what a beautiful place. It really looks tranquil and green; a really special place.

    I loved your purple swirly dress and the walking shoes look very practical. I agree I hate the thick white soles as well!

    Hope the rest of your week is good.

    xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Veronica. I'm glad to report the shoes are very comfortable. I will wear them for shorter walks, keeping my hiking boots for the Pembrokeshire coast path. xxx

      Verwijderen
  3. Ah, what a wonderful walking outfit! The shoes are very nice for walking shoes and they look great with the pointy-collared dress!
    I love the shot of the Heron!
    Excellent descriptive writing- I do like writing of this ilk!x

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Kezzie. I'm glad you appreciate my writing, which means a lot! xxx

      Verwijderen
  4. of cause i remember the fortress where your dad played as a kid!
    gorgeous description of your walk in this lush nature - i could smell the humus and hear the birds and insects......
    and you´r chic walkers - dress and shirt and cool hats! how did the new shoes "go"? (i´m not into shoes like that - for me its leather boots or sandals)
    hugs & happy weekend! xxxxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Beate. I'm not a fan of such shoes myself, but I haven't got the easiest of feet, which blister easily, and these are really comfortable. They were the least ugly pair I could find ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  5. Love the colours in the dress. Very retro! Some beautiful photos here too. Thanks for sharing xx
    www.vanityandmestyle.com

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
  6. You were explorers, not walkers! This looks like a bit of an adventure, I hope you'd packed sandwiches and ginger beer x

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Veering off the main path always feels a bit like an adventure ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  7. What a lovely walk! And decent shoes for doing it in - no point getting sore feet.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Mim. Sore feet would definitely spoil any walk, which I've learned the hard way ;-) xxx

      Verwijderen
  8. What a beautiful, peaceful walk; just reading your post made me feel relaxed. I know exactly what you mean by the 'hypnotic soundtrack'.
    I really like the dress you are wearing, the colour jumps off the page and it's a great pattern. xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Sally, I'm glad my post made you feel relaxed! xxx

      Verwijderen
  9. What beautiful pictures! It looks like a thoroughly peaceful and pleasant summer's day walk, perfect for a n extra day off. xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Cate, we really enjoyed our walk! xxx

      Verwijderen
  10. Yes, always best to test the walking shoes ahead of time! I like them, the muted colours don't detract from your fab dress. Purple and orange are two of my favourites.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. You're right, Goody. Never take a chance with new shoes, I'd say. These have really stood the test, though, as they turned out to be very comfortable. xxx

      Verwijderen
  11. What a wonderful lazy walk! I absolutely love that dress with those splashes of orange in amongst the purple, such a vivid combination! Those sturdy walking shoes will serve you well in Wales I think xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Claire. I have a pair of hiking boots for serious walking, but needed a second, lighter pair for the other stuff. xxx

      Verwijderen
  12. What a wonderfully descriptive account of your surroundings Ann. I can almost hear the birds chirping. I love the groovilicious frock you are wearing with the orange accents and the 50c sunnies are rather cool too. Clever you, to make a fab 'love' collage of you and Mr. S. xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I'm glad you appreciate the collage, Fiona. I knew what I'd do as soon as I spotted that heart graffiti ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  13. So beautifully written, Ann! I was absolutely taken with your walk, such a tranquil place with lots to see, to smell and to hear ... and, apparently, to remember!

    I love the purple dress, such a pretty combination of colors in this pattern! And your shoes look just right with it, perfect neutral shade.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Natalia. This really means a lot, coming from a writer like you! xxx

      Verwijderen
  14. You look great! I love purple on you and what a beautiful place. I also always get very dressed up for walks.

    Kate Kitsch
    https://timetravelwithkatekitsch.wordpress.com/

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Kate. I always dress up when I go out, even if just to go to the shops. No using having all those clothes otherwise ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  15. What a stunning colour combo in that dress! That looked like a wonderful walk, so tranquil and green and lovely - hopefully there'll be equally lovely sights in Wales very soon. xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. That dress's pattern really is quite something, isn't it? Oh, and I'm sure Wales will have even lovelier sights in store for us ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  16. It looks like a fascinating place worth exploring. I love the cool spots that can be found on a warm day, either inside or in the shade, they have a tranquil feel.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. You're absolutely spot on there, Hazel. I do love the transquility of cool and shady spots on a warm day! xxx

      Verwijderen
  17. I think you would like the area we live in Ann, we overlook a nature reserve and in the depths of it there are still the old mill buildings and the river where I played as a child. There is a lovely tearoom as well. Funny enough I'm going this Friday with a friend.
    Lynn xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. How lovely that you overlook a nature reserve, Lynn. We'll have to come and visit it one day, especially as it has a lovely tearoom! Have a great week at your sister's! xxx

      Verwijderen