The Notary’s Garden Rooms

Notariswoning
The chair I posted Wednesday comes from a surprising stadstuin (city garden) that we visited the other week during Open Monuments Day. The original garden space belonged to the home of the local notary, dating back to 1860. Over the years, the neighbors joined together to create a larger combined garden space, with various pools, ponds, covered seating areas, and attractive garden arrangements.

Today, I’ll focus on a couple of the gazebo-like seating areas that I found particularly charming. I think one of the reasons I liked this whole garden area and the seating areas is because it all reminded me of some of the gardens I remember in Florida. If not specific gardens, at least a general atmosphere, especially with the slightly overgrown and slightly wild elements of the garden, paired with the slightly shabby, decaying furnishings. In all, it made me think of Southern Gothic in its most gloriously dishevelled sense.

On a warm, humid day, where the air is oppressive, you’d escape to these dark, shadowy corners of this garden, taking a seat that is vaguely damp to the touch, with a perfume in the air of fabric starting to mold and thick vegetation slowly decaying. It’s a heady aroma that is both off-putting yet somehow comforting.

Gazebo

Garden Room

To be honest, some of these more pleasant areas make me think of visiting my great-grandmother in Maitland, Florida, with this particular room bringing memories of “The Wee Hoose”. There may have been nothing similar at all, but it was that house and the land around it that most came to mind as I wandered through this garden.

Garden Living

As much as I feel at home here in Utrecht and in Nederland in general, sometimes I have those moments of feeling very far from home. But then I haven’t lived anywhere that has resonated with me in the sense of “home” for a long time. There’s something about Florida (and to a certain degree, New Orleans) that will always feel like home to me. Perhaps a lot of it is just the scenery you remember from your childhood that is imprinted upon you. There are certain sights, sounds, and smells that trigger those (hopefully) happy memories of childhood and make you feel calm and at peace. There was something about this garden and these gloriously decorated garden nooks that made me feel at home.

Until I saw the klompen (clogs). Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Florida any more.

Bloemen en Klompen

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Bliss
We’ve been having a spell of warm, sunny weather here in Utrecht, although from the looks of things, we’ll be back to cool and wet by the end of the week. But at least it’s summer-like weather for the last big holiday until the end of the year.

We’re celebrating Pinksterdagen today and tomorrow, which coincides with the US Memorial Day tomorrow. Memorial Day is usually thought of as the beginning of summer, which often means lots of grilling and days spent by the pool. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the pool we had in our last house in North Carolina. Floating in the lovely water and enjoying the feeling of weightlessness was one of my favourite things. I could go to a public pool, but it’s just not the same. The quiet peacefulness of our pool, surrounded by a forest of greenery really was idea.

Pool

I also miss sitting on the swing on our back deck, while we cooked ribs on the grill, combining smoking, braising, and straight grilling to get the best ribs ever! We still grill occasionally, but it’s not quite the same. Fortunately, we do have a nice terrace that allows us all to sit out and enjoy the summer sunshine.
The Good Life

Back to the Future


I came across this video about cycling in the Netherlands in the 1950s and had to smile. Change the clothing and the types of cars in the background, but otherwise, the film could have been made today. Whole families on one bike, couples holding hands while riding, all sorts of things being carried while riding, and the inevitable bakfiets. The only real difference is that plumbers and such now have vans instead of bikes.