Yup, we've been staying with our lovely friends Inki & Toine in Maastricht - or more precisely in Landgraaf. We go there every year - George used to work with Toine and we have known them for many many years . The weather was kind and we did lots of exciting and interesting things - even though we have been there so often we still find fresh things to see and do. We always have to go into Maastricht - such a civilised town - and the smartest street is Stokstraat where I spotted this very stylish dress shop where all the models had their skirts hitched up like riding habits.
Opposite that is one of my favourite florist shops - walk through the shop to the back and there is this smart selection of garden ornaments. And of course I had to go to a garden centre! We were going to a
party later that day so I bought flowers for the hostess....
and we had to pay another visit to the historic Dominicanerkerk - an ex Dominican church which has been turned into a fascinating bookshop. The cleverly converted 800 year old church retains its dignity
and is really impressive and there is a huge section of English literature. There is also a coffeehouse there and it is a popular meeting place for young and old alike. I feel as if I am writing a travel brochure- but I am passionate about Limbourg! We went to visit the Textile Museum in Tilburg, housed in an old woollen mill. This is both a museum and an exhibition space and a learning centre. Both George and Toine spent a lifetime with textiles and were fascinated by this woven cloth - very difficult to see where the repeat comes and one of the weavers told us that it was a difficult one to set up. Some of the looms they are working on are two or three hundred years old. I bought a cloth in this pattern.
Then another day we drove to Valkenburg where we had lunch at the very beautiful Chateau St Gerlach. Mussels - yummy - with chips served Belgian style in little paper cornets sitting in their own wooden holders with mayonnaise at the side.
The Chateau has been very sympathetically restored as a five star hotel and, as well as looking round the pretty frescoes in St Gerlach's church we saw the display of sculpture in the grounds,
including this very wet looking cow - as you can see, by this time the weather had caved in and it was raining - so we went back to Landgraaf and sat & watched the DVD of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - in Swedish with Dutch subtitles !!! However, having read the books the characters were JUST as we had imagined them and we had no difficulty at all in following the action.
Home to Cambridge and a visit to Shakespeare's As You Like it in the the grounds of Trinity College - a picnic with more rain !!! It was a delightful performance and the actors ploughed on manfully (and womanfully) to entertain us. When we got home, DD1 and the two grandsons had arrived for the week and we packed a lot of visits and sightseeing in. This is Jeremy James in the Museum of London Docklands - if you haven't been there, do go. It is most interesting and it was hard to tear the boys away, although mention of lunch soon moved them. When we arrived at Canary Wharf I had lost my bearings, but spotted two young policemen and asked them to point me in the right direction. "I'll do better than that, madam, I'll take you there." So off we set, me in the lead with one policeman then the other four and a policeman with a dog bringing up the rear. The boys were very amused - they thought it looked as if we were being marched off for questioning. Later we went to St Pauls then over the wobbly Millennium bridge to Tate Modern - the boys were NOT impressed by the art but loved the building!
So now they have all gone back and it seems as though the summer is over. The garden is full of greengages and blackberries just asking to be made into jam, we cannot keep up with the tomatoes and beans, the weeds are growing apace and there was a mountain of washing to tackle. I haven't had time to any sewing or drawing, must try harder!