It occurred to me this morning I’ve never said much about the everyday beauty of the Netherlands. I’ve sat and typed through the long dark days of winter, made miserable by the relentless rain, howling wind and a chill factor that grinds the bones.
Come the spring everyone is so grateful for the rays of the sun and the odd day you can venture out without a jacket, we’re out there living and breathing it, not writing about it.
I’ve mentioned how the Dutch cheer up amazingly when it does warm up, how the country becomes well, a whole other country. It is a glorious place of colour and gentle delights, light breezes, dappled sunlight and clean air.
Perhaps I appreciate the change more than most as I spend several hours a day wandering the leafy footpaths alongside shallow canals trying to exhaust the Archster. It’s difficult for him right now as dogs are on a leash till 1st August to protect the breeding birds, but that’s not really a hardship as it means he’s not in and out of canals every other minute. He believes his appeal to any available female lies in his casual, slobby chic – wet and stinky.
What we have is a front row seat observing the seasonal changes up close, and it’s a marvellous show. This time of year is perhaps my favorite but from a purely practical perspective; I don’t have to wear ten layers of wind/rain proof gear or hose the dog down after every trip outdoors. We can walk, enjoy and luxuriate in the solitude of quiet walks.
And quiet walks there are. We live a ten minute drive from the center of The Hague, but are surrounded by woods, fields and miles of pathways through parkland. During the week we can walk and not see a soul, which is my kind of walk. In a country of over 16 million people in 16033 square miles of land that’s pretty darn good.
Admittedly the weekends are a tad more busy, but then the Captain is happy to take over dog walking duties and deal with the masses, brave soul.
Yesterday was a delight; warm, sunny and rejuvenating and I realised I’d never shared this side of the Netherlands and maybe it was time. Armed with camera and a long leash the Archster and I set off to record our circular walk from the front door, through the woods and back.
It was glorious; the only noise the cacophony of agitated birds protecting emerging young, the shade under the trees without it’s usual chill, the open spaces bathed in soothing warmth and sunlight. Such days you want to sit, leaning against the solid strengh of a tree, absorbing and blending with nature, dog laying alongside panting in the sun – he’s of nordic descent and he regards the mildest of days as tropical.
So I make no apologies for posting photographs of some of the natural beauty of the country we now call home. Of course while I’ve sat here on my laptop the clouds have rolled in, the wind is screeching, but that’s what makes a day like yesterday so very special.