Walking in the World

Tag Archives: Els

Small World

There is a small airport only 15 minutes from our house, and 40 minutes after take-off, you can be landing in Amsterdam – a different country, different language, different culture, different geography. How amazing is that? It is one of the privileges of my expat status, this opportunity of travelling to beautiful places to visit dear friends who live in intriguing land. Visits like this make the world seems small and precious. Away from the whirlwind of tourist hotspots, I meet people whose lives brush up against mine in pleasant and gentle ways, sometimes with surprising feelings and outcomes.

 I am spending a few days with my friend, Els, whom you have already met in these posts. We are chilling together, two good friends spending quality time together, with no agenda other than to enjoy each other’s company.  Leaving home at the crack of dawn allowed me to be in Baarn in time for mid morning coffee! 

We spent yesterday chatting, walking, and browsing the local farm shop for local produce and meat. Simple pleasures! I love feeling at home here in her village, enjoy feeling familiar with the roads and houses and gardens. There are always new and interesting things to see, but sometimes what is most important is not the differences between us, but the samenesses. I am using that non-word very purposely. Our houses are different, our hearts thrill and swell, break and throb for similar reasons. Our lives and customs are different, our dreams are not.

11 Aug 2016

Friendship & Ferries


After a busy and productive few days of work and friendship, we said goodbye over a special dinner before heading back to the ferry port at Harwich and waving goodbye to Els. She’ll be watching tonight’s supermoon eclipse from the middle of the North Sea while we’ll be hanging out our bedroom window here at Labyrinthos HQ. May its effects be felt far and wide – for many of us, changes are afoot!


27 Sep 2015

Hatfield House Revisited


We don’t know how many more perfectly autumnal days we’re going to have this year, so we took advantage of the weather and our willing house guest to make the trek to Hatfield House and the adjacent palace and gardens. We especially wanted to photograph the gardens and the maze now that the foliage has reached its peak, before the leaves fall and winter sets in… and oh, what a lovely day it was! The gardens were amazing, and we especially enjoyed Renaissance, the magnificent water fountain in front of the main house. It was still under construction when we were there in April, so we were taken quite by surprise as it the entire structure shifted, flowed, emerged and submerged before our eyes. It is a surprisingly successful positioning of new and modern amongst the old and traditional.


The old Hatfield Palace, as I explained in my April post, was where Queen Elizabeth I spent most of her childhood, and where she was living when she learned of her succession to the throne when Henry VIII died in 1558. The grounds are huge and lovingly maintained, with a large number of historic garden features and plants. As one who is more fascinated by daily life than great events, I was once again intrigued by the personality that pervades the estate – we met up with and exchanged pleasantries with the current owners as our paths crossed out in the garden — Hatfield House is their home, not just a monument to people long gone.


I found that the personal touch extends to the shops and small businesses that make the estate feel like a small village. One shop, for instance, was selling small jars of medlar marmalade, and we spoke with the woman responsible for collecting the medlars each autumn. She told us about needing to wear a hard hat to keep from being conked on the head by falling fruit as she reached up into the trees, and we visited with the beekeeper who explained that the honey we had just purchased would taste of the lime trees we had been admiring in the park. The marmalade and honey will taste all the sweeter for having met the people who love the garden enough to keep its history alive by making use of its bounty!

(If you are reading this post in an email, you will need to click through to the website in order to see the gallery of photos below. Enjoy!)

26 Sep 2015

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