My Holiday Part Three

I love visiting gardens right across the other side of the world! Everything here is so green, and light. It's still raining, but my New Zealand wet weather parka certainly does the business...

 Surrounded by arches of greenery.
Parterre - le Chateau de la Hulpe

Thursday 26th May

I've had the most wonderful day. My Brussels friend and I went to Le Chateau de la Huple for a long relaxing walk. It's a beautiful, inspiring place of peace, and the purple-lavender rhododendrons were in full flower. Only a week ago Liza had taken photographs of totally different flowers - how quickly things change as spring accelerates into summer!

 A Cistertian Abbey.  Amazing!
Arches at Villers Abbey

Villers Abbey

Then we had lunch by the lake, and paid a quick visit to the Cistertian monastery ruins - Villers Abbey - then zoom! Off to the fields where the Battle of Waterloo was fought. A defining moment in the history of Europe, with the farm still standing (Belgian Blue cows munching in the fields), and three surviving oak trees.

A Star of the Eurostar

Now I'm back on the Eurostar train, zooming through France - it's predictably raining. I've had the most wonderful couple of days, full of good food, philosophy, and friendship, and love. I've met my new friend, her garden, family, and her two cats. I am so very lucky. I am totally inspired, but in one of life's ironic moments have my mind set on writing a list for tidying my house and garden when I get home.

Here goes - I will move that bookcase upstairs, buy (or make) some bedside lamps for the upstairs guest room, completely tidy the backdoor porch, and buy a rack for storing shoes. Daughter of Moosey's Lonely Planet Guides will go in the newly positioned bookcase (which will impress guests), and I will buy an unknown quantity of plastic storage bins to clean up the downstairs spare rooms...

And so we zoom out of France, pop under the sea, and pop out in England, and I am still fervently planning the Moosey house's winter spring-clean. Ridiculous!

 These are the rhododendrons flowering at the time of my visit.
Rhododendron - le Chateau de la Hulpe

Then in the taxi from Waterloo Station I have a brilliant idea for a new Moosey garden area! This is more like it! My mind is bursting with new paths, plants, accessways, which will cover the back lawn as far as the Mermaid rose on the fence. I think I need to define some of my paths with a stony, pebbley cover. I need to switch the way I look at the shapes - border shape versus lawn shape, where the positive becomes the negative, that sort of thing. Hee hee! Miss Moosey is back!

 A beautiful place, which I enjoyed so much.
Restful Seat - le Chateau de la Hulpe

Friday 27th May

Today I plan to stay London flat-bound - to watch some cricket (England versus Sri Lanka), do some writing, sort out my thousand and one photographs (Le Chateau de la Hulpe - I love you!), read my book, check my maps (was I really there?), drink cups of Yorkshire Gold tea...

I am also on Rooftop Garden Squirrel Watch, with instructions to turn on squirrel-cam on if I see or hear one. I have already scared off two visiting pigeons, who have been scratching and sitting in the Lavender. Londoners do take their visiting wildlife very seriously. Amidst the usual big-city problems there is a huge Save the British Bumble Bee campaign going on.

Sunday 29th May

We are back from a London home-and-garden store with some house plants, including an eclectic little collection of cacti. Every second customer's trolley had in it - guess - yes, a red New Zealand cordyline. The rooftop garden, declared a red-cordyline-free zone, is getting some pigeon-proofing - some decorative stone mulch. And the first sun since I arrived is shining! And I am almost ready to go home, back across the world, to winter...

Tuesday 31st May

Right. I am off to Heathrow, flying back to New Zealand. I have had a wonderful wee holiday. I'm so glad I came, even for this short time. And I'll be back! Goodbye to London - enjoy your summer and your ten million (or thereabouts) red cordylines!