Friday, 23 October 2009

Life cycles

As winter approaches with its customary inexorable inexorability, Mr Gnome is already casting his thoughts forward to the summer of next year.

In particular, he is embarking on a period of rigorous preparation for a journey to be undertaken by his human associate in June 2010.

No prizes for guessing that the proposed month-long quest will be by bicycle.

The route? Well, at this stage we're simply indicating that it will start with St Just and end, all being well, with St Magnus.

In due course the project will have its own website / blog.

And yes, you've guessed, we shall be inviting sponsorship for a very worthwhile cause: Falcon Camps, a programme of residential adventure holidays for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

More news soon.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Quintessentially Dutch

Mr Gnome has returned from a brief visit to the Netherlands buzzing with enthusiasm for our charming neighbours across the North Sea.

He relished, in no particular order:
  • the people: dignified, kindly, helpful and healthy-looking - must be all that...
  • cycling: travel by bike is totally built in to the the Dutch transport system, the whole culture, in fact. Of course, geography helps. But we could learn so much from our neighbours
  • applegebak: not exactly apple pie. Deeper, fuller, richer. Omnipresent. Lekker!
  • the Mauritshuis Museum in Den Haag. A treasure box on three floors of a grand, but not overwhelming, seventeenth-century mansion, housing some of the greatest works of the Dutch 'golden age': Rembrandt's 'Anatomy Lesson' and Vermeer's 'The Girl with a Pearl Earring'
  • trains: Mr Gnome couldn't get enough of the zippy doubledecker commuter trains
  • Delft and Leiden: what could be more beguiling than wandering the streets of these university cities on a crisp, autumnal day?
  • Hortus Botanicus: the University of Leiden's ancient botanical gardens were a serendipitous discovery. Glorious. And free - such a bonus for a Euro-strapped gnome.