Sunday, 4 August 2013

Doors to the World, Art Nouveau in Brussels and a new Downland Beauty!


Doors to the world ... the south coast of England looks towards Europe ... yet in those early centuries we were the last outpost, or the starting point in those early endeavours ...
 
Doorway in art nouveau
Brussels

How far we’ve come, new countries named, new continents and countries found, new ways of travel invented ...


... languages changed, were promoted depending who was in power, for now we’re in our Information Age ... including our blogging world.


When I came back from South Africa, the squash scene here in Eastbourne was quite robust with links across to Brussels ... and one year there was a tour there – reminded me of my squash playing days in Johannesburg.

Country cottage

One of my opponents was an Australian lady, whose husband was in the Diplomatic Corps, and she invited me back to revisit and see the art nouveau style of art, architecture and applied art as found in Brussels.


Who would have thought I could have walked to Belgium from Eastbourne – but yes, that was possible with the advent of those Victorian inventions: the railways and tunnel excavation.

A revived rural ride across Kent and Sussex
c/o KESR org.uk :  Bodiam Castle is in the background


I walked to the station popped on a train to Ashford, mid Kent, via the Sussex coast, and across the beautiful weald full of oast houses, timber frame cottages, stunning fertile countryside to the industrial train station ...



... before I was off speeding through the French and Belgian countryside to central Brussels and the dazzling station designed by Victor Horta.


Farm House with oasts
Baron Victor Horta (1861 - 1947) was a Belgian architect and designer, described as “undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect”.  Many of his buildings and designs today form a major part of Brussels’ heritage and have been recognised as such ... four of them have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.



Art Nouveau facades
I couldn’t help but see the art nouveau facades, the doorways, the narrow houses with three or four floors, the windows with curves and balconies, ornate wrought iron, stained glass panels reflecting nooks and crannies filled with light ...

... we were able to visit the Horta Museum – a museum dedicated to his life and work housed in his former home and atelier (a studio: workshop of an artist in the fine and decorative arts).


The Art Nouveau interiors include permanent displays of furniture, utensils and objets d’art designed by Horta and his contemporaries ... a fabulous place to visit.


Palace of  Fine Arts
The video below takes you on a brief 2.27 mins ‘tour’ of some of the dazzling works of art nouveau still available to visit – in high couture shops, patisseries, and the Horta designed Eurostar train station ...


... many of his buildings and designs remain, but what is special is that they are still mainly used for their original purpose ... private houses, schools, big shops and ...


Tintin and Snowy
... the Palace of Fine Arts, where there are concert halls for festival concerts, recitals, Chamber Music, exhibition rooms and the Victor Horta Great Sculpture Hall ...


... then the home of Tintin – the fictional character in the comic series created by the Belgian cartoonist Herge – is the main feature at the Belgian Comic Strip Centre ... now situated in one of Horta’s early designs for the Charles Waucquez textile shops of 1906.



Museum of the Comic Strip
Well that’s covered language, travel, cultural aspects ... now let’s move on to the blogging world and backwards in history to the town of Waterloo – where Gattina of Writer Cramps lives ...



... she has been coming to visit friends in Eastbourne, my home town, and this year we met up twice ... once for a pub lunch and yesterday for a visit to the Napoleonic fort, the Eastbourne Redoubt ...

Eastbourne Redoubt - a Napoleonic Fort

... which reminds her of her home town of Waterloo, in the Walloon district of Belgium, near to the southern outskirts of Brussels – as did the exhibitions within the Redoubt museum.


Waterloo is the place where finally Napoleon met his comeuppance ... defeated by the Duke of Wellington ... marking the end of his rule as Emperor of the French – Napoleon abdicated, surrendered to the British ending his days on St Helena (in the middle of the South Atlantic).

Having been ticked off in the comments, quite correctly, by Friko - I'd better put the record straight.

Napoleon was defeated by a coalition force - the British under the Duke, and the Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blucher ...

... fortunately Napoleon delayed his attack to let the ground dry out, which gave time for the Prussian army to arrive in force ... the Duke of Wellington described the battle as 'the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life': thanks Friko!

 
Gattina and I having a cup of
tea and a chat - after she had visited
the exhibits and I had been at a
talk on the Victoria Cross award
From this British ‘girl’ with one language, a touch of Latin, Italian, French, Afrikaans and German – here is one European Union of a family ... one of our own blogging fraternity ...


Gattina was born in Germany, learnt English, and when her parents moved to Belgium she then learnt French as they lived in Walloon the French part, and when she ultimately married an Italian, Italian soon followed ...


Their son was raised speaking German, but French became his mother tongue for his studies et al – he then moved to London for 10 years and learnt English ...

Gattina and I at the pub with our lunches -
baked potato and salad - Gattina's favourite ...
I had fresh herring and salad
c/o Gattina and her camera!

... he returned to Europe to continue his work as a photographer/graphic designer ... now married to a Dutch lady, who only speaks Dutch and English ... so far Gattina’s son doesn’t speak Dutch too well – yet her grandson is being brought up speaking Dutch and French ...


What an admirable mix!  When they’re together ... English is the major language communicator – while there are many subsets going on in the other four common language denominators ...

All I can say is I’m glad I don’t have to speak Dutch ... mine would be a double ...

... yet here we are around the world communicating in English courtesy of the internet and the blogs we’ve set up ...

For other stories and posts check out
Writer Cramps (Gattina) blog - this photo
came from her post on her historic town of Waterloo
and the re-enactment of the battle that
occurs every two years

Amazing world and what a wonderful one ... it’s been a pleasure meeting Gattina – and she’s offered to look after me if I want to visit for a few days sometime ...

... a look at the real Waterloo and then a repeat visit to some of the art nouveau buildings and museums – sounds a very good idea ...



Gattina will have a few posts with some more photographs  - so please visit her ...

Gattina - a lover of family, cats, an artist, photographer, blogger in many languages, great traveller ... who lives life to the full!  Also she's on her way back to Belgium ... 

Visit Brussels – Art Nouveau Walk  (with the briefenticing video, I mentioned)

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

65 comments:

Suzanne Furness said...

Sounds like you have had a lovely time. The internet certainly does make the world seem smaller when we can converse with people all over the world at the touch of a few buttons. I love that interaction. I also believe we tend to find a way of communicating even when we speak a different language. Thanks for introducing us to Gattina.

A Lady's Life said...

Wow that is so nice you gals met up.
There is so much to see in England and France and even Waterloo.
So much history there.
You look great!

I didn't know you played squash
That is a hard game to play.

loverofwords said...

How wonderful to be able to stay in touch with a special friend. And thank you for the glimpses into Art Nouveau. Now Brussels is on my "bucket list" Have printed the information on the "visit Brussels' sit.

Val Poore said...

The internet has extended our travel connections virtually hasn't it, Hilary. Now we can make friends to visit all over the world! Gattina sound like a very forward thinking person as well as a good friend. I sympathise with her son! Living here in the Netherlands, I have learned to speak Dutch better than I ever spoke Afrikaans, but I still find listening to locals difficult. We also still need French too for Belgium and France, and my K speaks German very well too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's cool you were able to meet up with Gattina. That's amazing she speaks all of those languages.
And your Dutch would be a double - rim shot!

Friko said...

Hey, Hilary, you did what all English people do: you forgot Bluecher! Without him Wellington would not have defeated Napoleon!
I bet Gattina could have told you that too.

Isn’t it brilliant that we have this connection between us via blogging? We can talk and visit and explore in the friendliest way, without ever having to get bellicose.

Hope you are having a great time in Eastbourne in spite of the rain. We have plenty of it today.
Actually, I don’t mind, I could do with a comfortable day.

Old Kitty said...

How utterly lovely to meet Gattina and her wonderful family! And what a trip to Brussels! Thanks for the link to the video - it was a very fast (and spoken at speed! LOL!) 2 minute clip of the wonders of these of these marvellous art nouveau buildings! I want to go!!! I've only ever been to the station on a connecting train to Bruge but now wish I'd have explored this fab city!!

Take care
x

MorningAJ said...

I LOVE that doorway. I've never been to Brussels. I think I've missed a treat.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've met several of my blogger friends and it's wonderful. I hope to meet even more.

I can only imagine how many photos I would take of the Art Nouveau.

Rosalind Adam said...

I've been to Bruges where the architecture is certainly very different from the UK but I don't recall seeing anything as beautiful as that art deco door. Your talk of squash reminded me of my squash playing days. I still have a gammy ankle to remind me of my time playing league squash. Certainly couldn't do it now.

Donna Hole said...

Loved the scenery. You travel through some beautiful countryside and see awesome architecture. Thanks for sharing it.

Wow, meeting a blogger friend from another country, visiting, having so much in common. That's awesome. I can't imagine living in a household where so many different languages are spoken. Must be interesting.

.....dhole

D.G. Hudson said...

Liked those shots of Brussels. Haven't been there, maybe one day. One of Dorothy Dunnett's series included settings in Brussels (it might have been the Nicolo series)

Enjoyed this post, Hilary. I wrote about doors recently on my 21st century blog.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Suzanne – the squash visit was a while ago – so it was fortuitous that Gattina came to Eastbourne. The blogging world does connect us and meeting up with Gattina has been so interesting ..

@ A Lady’s Life – we had lots to share .. and will have more when we meet again ...

Yes squash is a fun game – I started playing here in the UK as it rained!

@ Tasha – it’s been fun being reminded of my squash days, the Brussels trip and now the opportunity to get back to Brussels to see the art nouveau. Glad it’s on your bucket list!

@ Val – of course you live in the Netherlands ... I can imagine Dutch is difficult, then you need to speak French , well thank goodness K speaks German to ease the pressure .. I think Gattina’s son is happy he married a Dutch lady!

@ Alex – it was a lovely chance to meet ... I’d love to have decided to speak more than English .. but the youthful Hilary was unwilling! American squash is different to our squash over here ... the court is a different size, and the ball is hard .... and yes no doubt I’d have lots of rim shots (or frame shot – I think we call it!!).

@ Friko – I corrected it! I’m sure Gattina would have told me – but we never got to discuss the battle ... apologies for leaving Bluecher out!

Thankfully bellicose doesn’t come into many conversations I have – love the word though. I do look forward to meeting more bloggers – mentally I have a few lined up –I just need to be in their neck of the woods ...

Is it raining already up your way – we’ve had a glorious day here .. looks like its clouding up – and we could do with more rain ...

@ Old Kitty – well I haven’t met the family yet – I hope to do so when I get across to Waterloo for another visit to Brussels.

Glad you enjoyed the video – yes it is quick ... but the brief report (even done at lightning speed) with the beautiful photographic video is well worth watching – as you found out. I’ve never been to Bruges – that’s on my list too ...

@ Anne – isn’t the door way just great – I think you could add it to your travel list quite easily?

@ Diane – yes you could take a million shots ... the selection process would be quite challenging. I love seeing your meet ups ... and it is fun to meet blogging friends ..

@ Ros – Brussels is an amazing place for architecture and design – I was bowled over on my visit.

Squash – now there’s another link for us to chat about, when I get up to see Richard III. My ligaments are fast seizing up – so squash is definitely out, but not talking about it ... !!?

@ Donna – we have beautiful sites of all sorts here – we’re very lucky .. and I’m glad you enjoyed these few pictures ..

Then Gattina coming over is just wonderful especially as she lives in Waterloo ... and I wonder what visiting will be like when the family get together ...! I shall find out in a while ..

@ DG – it was fun selecting photos to show here ... I don’t know of Dorothy Dunnett – I probably should do .. and will look her up ...and the Nicolo series ...

I’ll be over to check out your door post ...

Cheers to you all – have a fun week ahead - Hilary

Munir said...

Thanks for sharing some nice pieces of architecture. I miss the quantness of small country side roads of England.

Jo said...

It's many years since I was in Brussels, but I recognised that door instantly. How great to meet another blogger as I hope to in September. I didn't know they re-enacted the battle at Waterloo every year, I would love to see that. Georgette Heyer wrote a pretty good description of the battle in her book An Infamous Army, not too heavy going as it is a romance as well, nevertheless the background of the battle was excellent.

Never been much into architecture unless you go back to the Regency period. I loved the Queen Anne house I used to live in once upon a time.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

What fun to meet a blogging friend! I met a couple of fellow authors from Helping Hands Press this weekend. There's nothing quite like making a real world connection. :)

Chatty Crone said...

I have had the great opportunity to meet some blog friends too. Nice to meet your friends. You seemed to have a really wonderful time and saw a lot of wonderful things. I am sure that you will meet again. sandie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Munir - I can understand you missing the English quaintness ..

@ Jo - that'll be a fun time for you .. the battle re-enactment is every two years, but it's good they put on a show for interested parties ..

I used to love reading Georgette Heyer ... Brussels opened my eyes to the new world of architecture! It's fun to start appreciating aspects ..

@ Susan - oh that's lovely you were able to connect with blogging friends at your conference weekend.

@ Sandie - I expect Gattina and I will meet again - she'll be here in a year's time! But I'd love to get over to Waterloo and Brussels ..

Cheers to you - have a good week .. looks like our weather is about to break! Hilary

juliet said...

So interesting to hear about these connections - the ease of travel since the Chunnel, and to have a little nostalgia trip in Belgium. It's a long time since I was there, but nice to see it again. Thanks, Hilary.
(I've been away and off line, but catching up now)

Trisha F said...

Dutch would be a hard language to speak, mostly those Gs - but when I was in the Netherlands I did actually understand a lot of what my Dutch friends were saying, due to its similarities to English here & there.

I've never visited Brussels, but now I totally want to!

Theresa Milstein said...

Striking pictures, as always. So nice to see you in the photos too. I'm a big fan of art nouveau.

Love your new profile picture!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Wow sounds like an amazing time Hilary. Yes the internet certainly has made it possible to communicate with people across the world who we otherwise would never have met. I've always felt that this outweighed the negative aspects of the internet. After all, I would have never found your wonderful blog :)

Milo James Fowler said...

Looks like you had a historical time -- that train ride appeals to me. So much history in other parts of the world; a stark reminder of how young the US really is.

Manzanita said...

I know I won't travel anymore but it's so interesting to sit here in the early morning in my ratty old bathrobe and travel with you in your posts. The video took me places I will never visit in person and as I watched, I had the strangest feeling I had already been there but only in my dreams.
What fun you and Gattina must have, meeting in person and all the exciting and informative posts and emails that follow.
Thank you for another educational and most wonderful post.

Karen Walker said...

What a wonderful time the two of you must have had, Hilary. I've been to Brussels and love the old plaza. I'm interested in the time you spent in South Africa, since I'm heading there in September.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds amazing, Hilary! Love the pictures you've posted, too. I've met a few blogging friends, and would love to meet more..glad you and Gattina had such a nice time!

Lynn said...

That sounds like a perfectly lovely visit. I always love the photos you include. That door in Brussels is marvelous.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - glad it reminded you of times on the other side of the earth! I'm sure you've had a good break away from the computer et al ...

The connections always amaze me ..

@ Trisha - oddly I can manage those 'Gs' - living in South Africa you learn pretty quickly .. but speaking it is another thing.

Yes with the advent of more and more Englifying of all things - 'cept my grammar here! .. it is easy to guess what some people are saying ..

That's great - I hope you can get over to visit one day ..

@ Theresa - so pleased you enjoyed the photos .. I'm not the biggest fan of me in photos! Yes - thanks so much the new profile one works rather well ..

I love art nouveau .. such craftmanship ...

@ Keith - well this was spread over a few years, but our minds can entwine those periods and remember back with the help of some photos.

Thanks so much re your comment - much appreciated, just so glad you enjoy reading the posts ..

@ Milo - good to see you ... those little train rides are wonderful - there's been quite a bit of restorative work done in recent years ...

Yes in American terms - the US is 'very new' ... ye there's all that tribal history that offers so much to the Americas.

@ Manzanita - so pleased you feel that way when you visit .. and can travel with me along my rather erratic path of life and thoughts ..

Our meetings were fun - and I'm looking forward to visiting her one day and seeing Belgium from her point of view ...

@ Karen - talking mainly! Seems to be the way of all things .. but I'd love to visit her and revisit some of the special places again .. and see the architecture in its glory.

Also Waterloo - that would be interesting to visit ...

I've emailed you re South Africa .. lucky, lucky you ... have so much fun!

@ Elizabeth - the various trips were fun ... and I'm glad the photos brought the post to light.

I know you and Diane met up - the two of you would have so much to offer each other .. and other authors and blogging friends ...

I've others lined up - just need the space to get to visit them ..

Cheers to you all - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - you hit the button just before I got my replies up ..

I'm glad I post the photos - it seems to facilitate the post sometimes ..

That door is incredible isn't it ..

Cheers to you .. Hilary

Julie Flanders said...

Oh wow, I love that door so much. And I love Tintin! :)

What lovely photos of you and Gattina! I'm glad you had such a good time and I hope you get to go to Belgium soon.

Janet Johnson said...

What a wonderful summer you've had! It IS amazing what we are able to see through modern invention.

And I loved Gattina's history. I want to learn so many languages. They are all so beautiful and fascinating to me.

Cheers! And as always I love your post!

Julia Hones said...

Amazing trip. The pictures are stunning.
Internet makes us feel that the world is smaller. It makes so many things possible... It is like a miracle in many ways.
Gattina and you look happy and laid back. What a beautiful trip, Hilary!

cleemckenziebooks said...

You took me a lot of places today, Hilary! Brilliant. Really.

I'd love if you'd tell us about Squash. I know absolutely zero about that game--it's history, how it's played whatever.

Ellie Garratt said...

That art nouveau door is beautiful. I wish I could have been there with you, but will settle for your lovely pictures and wondrous details.

Morgan said...

I love the pictures! What magic!

Hart Johnson said...

I love that art nouveau addition--it is quirky and classic at the same time and I just think it gives so much personality.

And I want a little country college like that.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - isn't the door amazing .. and I hope to get to see the Comic Museum when I get back to Brussels.

We had a great time together ..

@ Janet - isn't Gattina's history a wonderful combination of languages and meetings ..

Thanks - just delighted you enjoying reading the posts ...

@ Julia - this journey was over 18 years or so .. still well worth the memories and co-joining them here.

The world is smaller isn't - especially when we can hop the English Channel and meet up with European colleagues .. it was fun ..

@ Lee - yes we visited a few areas!

Gosh - tell you about squash .. well that is a first! I might tell you a few truths about Johannesburg squash .. or hide a few! Great social time we had .. yes it's in the thought process ...

@ Ellie - so good to see you .. you're welcome to come and join me up here at some stage and we could go over to Belgium together sometime - that'd be fun ...

@ Morgan - so pleased you enjoyed the pictures .. they do bring things to light don't they ..

There's magic times in those memories ..

@ Hart - I know the country cottages or castles are stunning around here ..

The art nouveau buildings are amazing inside and out .. something to behold ..

Cheers to you all - great comments thank you .. Hilary

Cheers

Empty Nest Insider said...

Lovely photos! I'm glad that you had a wonderful time with your blogging friend. Thanks for another brilliant history lesson Hilary!

Julie

Patricia said...

Oh I loved the pictures and the door especially and how wonderful to get together and connect with another blogger.

I wish I had gone to France too while I was in UK. I had a day where I could have but by myself so I opted to spend the day in the museum and see Harrod's

My borrowed laptop is telling me I spelling it wrong, but I do not know how to run the checker on this computer - so sorry

I do not know what I would do without my online community So many have given up writing their blogs.

Thank you for the wonderful tour and sharing. Oh I must get back and see more of your world.

Teresa Coltrin said...

Again I am envious of your traveling. You must have had the best time. I did just reading about your adventure.

Julia Hones said...

How charming, Hilary. Writing about it must have been a very special experience then...
Hilary, thank you for your contribution. I received an e-mail from Sharon and she said this:
"Your post is lovely, thank you. You'll see that Hilary in the UK who follows your blog is now sending me a cheque to buy a copy, which will mean 17 loaves of bread for the children in Ifakara, so what we have done has certainly been worthwhile."
I thought you would be happy to read this.

Karen Lange said...

I love the beauty in the architectural features - such character and history, too. Thank you for highlighting this for yet another wonderful post!

Have a lovely week,
Karen

Patricia Stoltey said...

My one trip to Belgium and Brussels kicked off the driving trip my husband and I took. We traveled a great loop through several countries and ended up back in Wavre to see friends. Your memories are of classic buildings and museums and art. I tend to remember things like Belgian monastery ales, French Fries with mayonnaise, and chocolates. :D

Rhonda said...

Meeting up with friends is so important, and seems even more so when travel is involved.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - thanks so much .. meeting up with Gattina has been fun ...

@ Patricia - well you had a wonderful trip around the UK .. and a day at a museum and then Harrods would have made for a peaceful happy time.

I can't see any obvious spelling 'mistake' .. but like you the online community is great to be around.

Just happy to know I brought back memories for you ..

@ Teresa - the travels I've been able to take have been so interesting and this exploration around Brussels was lovely .. I've been looking forward to visiting again for years!

@ Julia - remembering back to the two visits was fun ..

Yes I'm glad I could help Sharon with the Ifakara charity that supports a bakery and thus bread in Tanzania for the children ..

.. and thanks for Sharon's note to you ...

@ Karen - glad you enjoyed the post and photos ..

@ Patricia - oh I remember those too .. delicious food - particularly the moules! I went to a lace shop too .. then of course the chocolates ...

On neither visit was I there long enough ... next time! I'd love to look at the country a little more - I suspect I'll get that chance with Gattina ...

@ Rhonda - you've met a few on your recent travel tour ..amazing time you're having in Alaska ..and then that first part with relatives in California .. I'm loving looking at the 'tours' with you ..

Cheers to you all - have fun days .. Hilary

Diana Wilder said...

What a wonderful mélange (as yours always are) tied together with a delicious thread. ...I will be coming back this evening, when I am not rushing about, to savor.

Hilary, I meant to say that your new profile photo is splendidly jaunty and makes me smile!

Diana at About Myself By Myself

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

LOVE the art nouveau work... and especially that door. WOW! That door is amazing.

As always, I enjoyed "traveling" with you to a place I'm not likely to ever see in person. And it's interesting to hear of all the languages many Europeans speak. One of the things that's interesting about amateur radio is that I can speak to ham radio operators from all parts of the world, because they ALL speak English. Very often, they will apologize, saying their English isn't "very good", and I assure them that it's considerably better than my non-existent command of THEIR language.

Cheers!

joylene said...

Love the pic of the farm house, Hillary. In fact, I'm writing a scene that takes place at a B&B and I think this house will be perfect. Thanks!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diana - thanks so much .. it's great to know the posts draw you in ..

.. and thank you re the profile!

@ Susan - isn't the art nouveau just incredible.

Thanks .. I imagine your amateur radio is made up of lots of techie people happy to speak English .. and it must be fun talking to people around the world from so many different countries ...

@ Joylene - thanks for coming by .. that's great if the cottage gives you some idea for your writing ..

Cheers to you - Hilary

Amanda said...

A wonderful post, Hilary. Such gorgeous photographs, I love that doorway in Brussels.

JJ said...

The photos are terrific! They call me back to the UK. I love everything about the country, but that country cottage reminds me so much of the wonderful experiences we had in the Cotswolds a few years back. I must return soon!

Gattina said...

Thank you for this post ! I didn't really realize that we are not a commun family ! For us a language is just a means to communicate ! I certainly have to excercise my Dutch more to be able to speak with my Grandson although I try to avoid that and only speak French with him. He has to learn both languages. It was so nice to meet you !
Unfortunately lots of Horta's buildings have been destroyed in the 60th and been replaced by ugly modern glass boxes, and now they try to save what is still there, bits and pieces ! It's really a shame.

Sara said...

Hilary,

There's so much in this post, I don't know where to begin.

I loved the part about meeting up with Gattina -- that's a beautiful name, by the way. I'm always impressed when people are knowledgeable of so many languages! That's the nice thing about living in Europe. You do pick up languages or at least, bits and pieces of them. Certainly, enough to get you by.

I love Art Nouveau and would have enjoyed seeing those buildings.

Last, but not least...usually I'm so busy reading your posts, I don't take time look around your site. Today, I did. I read your "About Me" and loved it, especially the last line. Well said:~)

Stephen Tremp said...

Wow! What a post. I love European history.

Gattina sounds like a fun person to spend the day with.

It would be fun to see a reenactment of the battle of Waterloo. Even better to don a uniform and be a participant. I'll be the Duke of Wellington!

Margie said...

You must have so enjoyed meeting Gattina.
You always have the most interesting posts.

I always want to travel when I come here but the furthest I get to travel these days is to my granddaughter's house, it's a full time job taking care of her.

Take care.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Amanda - many thanks .. the photos do bring the 'story' to light and that doorway is just incredible ..

@ JJ - well I hope you get back sometime soon .. then we can meet! Also the Cotswolds are a wonderful part of our country .. glad to know the photos call you ...

@ Gattina - I think it's a wonderful example of Europe - your family with all its languages .. that's good he's learning both languages so young.

Yes I gather lots of Horta's buildings have been lost, yet many remain ... Brussels a fascinating city - we must move on at times!

But it's been great meeting up with you and sharing some time together ..

@ Sara - it just seemed so right to bring in the art nouveau in Brussels ... perhaps you can visit if you get over to visit your daughter at some stage ...

Gattina means 'kitty' in Italian - Gattina has a love of cats ...

Then of course the reference to the cat in "my about" .. that referred to the story in Nick Wilford's anthology "Overcoming Adversity" ..

Interesting connections we have which we don't always realise ..

@ Stephen - we had two meetings - so that was lovely .. she is great fun and easy going ..

Well Gattina is at the forefront of our visits ... she lives in Waterloo - though we do re-enactments (smaller) here in Eastbourne ... so I hope one day you can get over here and enjoy donning a uniform - noted you want the Duke of Wellington one!!

@ Margie - we got on so well ... and it was fascinating being able to remember Brussels and know that I can now stay with Gattina if I go out again ...

Well New Zealand is beautiful and I'm sure your granddaughter is worth a million visits! Just enjoy her ..

Cheers to you all .. Hilary

Gina Gao said...

It sounds as if you had a great time!

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Christine Rains said...

What amazingly beautiful photos. I can only imagine what it was like to be there. I'm happy you had a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing with us.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I wish I could speak a foreign language, but my head just doesn't hold it - never mind several more!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

It has taken me four days to finally get to your site. And just like always, the time getting here also makes me realise what a detailed, fascinating post you always submit.

All of this reminds me of similar times I've had. I have done the trip to Belgium and spent a few weeks in Liege with my now ex-wife. I knew little French. Her relatives knew even less English. Made for some awkward moments when my wife would leave me on my own with her relatives. Think we talked about cheese, bicycles and Jupiler beer.

I'm so glad you met up with Gattina. The shared photos and your adventure has been a pleasant reminder. Thank you, Hilary.

Gary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gina - well we did and it brought back many memories for me ..

@ Christine - there's so much to see and then Brussels itself has some gorgeous parts ..

@ Annalisa - oh so would I love to speak another language .. Cornish?! Certainly nothing sticks .. but I expect I never gave the learning process time ..

@ Gary - no worries .. there's so much going on and it's summer time to chill out with a Juliper!

I'd never heard of that beer - so now I shall look out for it ..

I can imagine trying to talk with relatives where none of you really understand each other .. very difficult situation ..

Good choices of chatter - cheese ... eat a fair amount, bicycle it off, then collapse with a Juliper!!

Thankfully Gattina's English is pretty good - so we were able to have a sensible conversation!

Cheers to you all - we have rain!! and it's a little colder and the windows are shut. Have good weekends .. Hilary

Mary Montague Sikes said...

How lovely to be able to visit another country without the great inconvenience (often) of air travel. We visited Brussels a few years ago.

The Internet makes the world seem like a much smaller place...

Mary Montague Sikes

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti .. it is such a good way to travel - though I dislike sitting in trains too!! Glad you've been and visited Brussels ..

.. and yes this little 'space' is quite small now-a-days yet opens the world to us ..

Thanks for coming over .. cheers Hilary

Tina said...

Sounds like a great time! And what lovely buildings! Did you manage to eat that whole fish? Looks like it could feed my whole family...It was a pleasure "meeting" one of your friends. Will visit her blog soon, today I'm running around visiting all the Gary blogfest participants...
Tina @ Life is Good

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. the fish wasn't that big - have de-headed, tailed and de-boned it .. but it was very good! No - it wouldn't feed your hubby and two boys!!

Delighted you popped in here .. and will get across to Gattina sometime soon - it was great fun meeting up with her ..

Cheers and yes I too have some Gary catching up to do .. Hilary