View from the MAS Museum, Antwerp

I went out into the city searching for beauty today.  It had started well this morning ... there was blue sky and sunshine but I moved too slowly and voila, by the time I left the house, it was grey.

A few weeks ago, I had made one fast family visit to Antwerp's relatively new MAS museum and had found myself wondering whether the top floor might not feed my need for a view.  It's not bad but, by crikey, it's flat here. 

And then I found something beautiful ... De Veer van César

I left the MASS Museum and walked back through the grey city, carrying my heavy camera bag, wondering why an earth I had taken it out on a such a dull day.

I stopped to look through the window at my favourite art gallery here in the city.  It's the place where I consistently see art that appeals to me ... which is no mean feat.  And it's easy to pass-by, located in Maalderijstraat, between the Cathedral and Grote Markt.

Anyway, I decided I would blog about it and so asked Minske if she spoke English.  Of course she did.  Most Antwerpenaars speak English.  I asked if I might take a photograph of the gallery and share it with you here but  then ... I got distracted.

I asked Minske Van Wijk how she had ended up with the gallery and somehow, we kept talking and it turned out she had also made a short film titled De Veer van César.

I was curious to know more and, at some point, realised this film might be 'the beautiful thing' I was searching for in the city today.

And so it was.  I came home, organised my little world here, then sat back to watch.  It's delicious!  It has English subtitles (and French too), and it gives a delightful sense of this place.  A behind-the-scenes glimpse.   Oh I need to write of this in a better way but for this first taste, you only need to know that it is poetry, and beautiful cinematography, and wonderful animation ...

You can find out where to buy your own copy of the DVD over here.  Meanwhile, the trailer is below ... without subtitles.

Winter ...

Today, meanwhile, is a day of editing.  I have 2 big projects and a third smaller project to work through.  Miss 7 needs picked up from her new school way across the city and I foolishly just checked out the temperature.  It was -10 celsius at 9am.  The sky is grey, the ground in the backyard is white ... but more because the snow of a few days ago has frozen and frozen and frozen again.  They're talking of more today snow ... we kind of hope so because it pulls the temperature up. 

I rarely take off my thermal underwear in these days, and it's all about multiple layers when stepping outside.  The only question is whether to wear the leather and sheepskin coat, the one that weighs about as much as an adult polar bear, or the long black boiled-wool coat, with a polarfleece underneath. 

And then there's the hat, and scarf, the good gloves, and hiking boots, and woollen socks too.  Did I tell you it's cold here?  So very cold. 

But ... the days are getting longer!  We're hanging onto that.  The shortest days fell in the mild days of winter.  Now it's all down and dirty, weatherwise, but we have more light.  It makes things more bearable.

To work.

These Freezing Days in Antwerp ...

Wiinter has finally arrived.  I've been trying to ignore it, despite preferring that the seasons come and go in a natural way, however ... minus 20 celsius is simply rude.

And I wouldn't know about -20 celsius (reached due to a -11 frost the other day and combined with windchill factor) but I sometimes get to do the 2 hour-round-trip that is getting Miss 7 to school this year.  4 trams and some brisk walking.  A trip that involves a leather and sheepskin coat that weighs as much as an adult polar bear (my estimate in terms of weight) and multiple layers, with hiking boots, hat, gloves, and a scarf.

Tomorrow we have to be out the door by 7.30am and this morning, the radio weather people predicted a temp of -20 celsius.  I'm not excited about this.  I arrive home completely drained by the freezing cold bleak cityscape.  As I write this, at 9.31am, I checked in on my old blog and the weather there ... it's still -11.

I phoned Gert.  He works in one of the old guild houses in the city ... the pipes are frozen there.  They

have no water.  He's a bit glum too. 

However,the sun is shining. The heaters at home are working.  I did pick up my camera in an attempt to ward off thinking of the fact I have to race across the city later this afternoon.  I did see some nice light outside.  It's the view out the window behind me, here at my desk. 

Yes that is snow. 

Yes really, many Belgian home owners don't clear snow from the pavements outside their house.

Yes, walking anyplace here at the moment is increasingly treacherous as it freezes and freezes.

Well yes ... Monday is feeling kind of challenging, actually.  I'm here trying to write myself into a better mood.  It's not working, is it :-)

My very first newsletter is due out tomorrow.  If you would like to take a look, leave a comment and I will forward you a copy.  The first is going out to Everyone I know ... just that one time, then you are welcome to subscribe if it seems like something you would like to continue receiving.

And now ... to work.  Tot ziens.

Autumn means Easter to Me ...

I’m not sure my unconscious will ever adjust to this upside-down life in the northern-hemisphere.

The leaves are changing colour and we’re waiting for our first frost which means ... it’s almost Easter.  But no, that was a New Zealand thing.  Here it’s already mid-October. although Belgium had been enjoying high temperatures as late as last week. 

I took the bike out this afternoon, needing to stretch. I took myself and my camera into the park on our beautiful day.  We’re blessed with this city park, and mostly I love it even while struggling to forget the massively busy European motorway right next door, the motorway that, if I wake in the night, sounds like a Spring tide at Tautuku, on the lower East Coast of New Zealand.

Anyway, today it was pretty.  There was a blue heron down at one of the many ponds, hanging out with the big white geese and the ducks.  The moles hills were there mocking mans efforts to tame nature too.  I love those moles ... there to remind us, surely, that we’re not quite able to tame and maintain everything out there in the natural world.