Hello! Here is another extra blog post. This time I’m taking you along on one of my summer walks. It starts at this church door. Legend has it that at the time the church was built a certain young lady of noble birth…
… fell in love with the master builder and vice versa. Her family thought this highly unsuitable and sent her away, hoping she would forget about him. During her last night at home, she had a dream about what the church steeple should look like, and before she left she had the opportunity to whisper it into the builder’s ear… (More about that later.)
This walk leads us through an environment that holds many happy memories for me. It isn’t a nature walk this time, but a walk through an agricultural landscape with many lovely old farmhouses.
Some of them still have the little old baking house next to them.
And they often have well-tended vegetable plots.
It is all truly idyllic and picturesque. But just as in any paradise, there are snakes around here. Well, this isn’t really a snake, but a slow worm – a legless lizard. I found it lying upside down with a damaged tail, apparently run over, and thought it was dead. I didn’t like the idea of more vehicles running over it even though it was dead so tried to move it, and then it suddenly wriggled – Eeeeek!
But also – how wonderful! These are rare and elusive creatures, and this is only the third slow worm I’ve ever seen in my life. I moved it to the verge hoping it’ll survive.
We also have one type of poisonous snake in this country: the adder. But the poison that is bothering people around here doesn’t come from snakes. It comes from fields like this:
It is a field of gladioli. The cultivation of these as well as lilies and flower bulbs meant for export to Asia is a source of great concern to those living here. When these fields are sprayed, people living next to them can see a mist of pesticides descend onto their lawns, trampolines and vegetable plots. People are worried about their own health and that of their environment. The discussion about this issue has also become venomous. I really hope a more sustainable solution will be found for the future.
Agriculture has changed enormously here over the past decades. Many farmhouses have been turned into Bed & Breakfasts, and the old agricultural tools have become decorative objects.
Looking at it from a positive side, I’m glad that the old farm buildings have not been pulled down, but been lovingly restored and given a new destination. Small bits of land are still used for growing corn – here flattened by heavy rainfall.
While southern Europe has suffered from unprecedented heatwaves this year, our summer has been cool and unsettled, with frequent thunderstorms. Before going for a walk or a bicycle ride, I always checked the storm radar and I also kept an eye on the sky. Although it felt slightly oppressive this afternoon, the radar didn’t predict any storms and the sky looked clear enough. But halfway along I heard a rumbling in the distance and a terribly dark sky came closer VERY quickly.
Fortunately I found the perfect place to shelter from the thunderstorm: under the eaves of a farmhouse, with my back against a small door.
A door too small for a cow or a person to walk through. Maybe it was for pigs in olden days. Sitting there, with my umbrella to cover my legs, I waited until the storm was over. Snug like a rabbit in its warren.
With the storm disappearing into the distance…
… I walked back to my starting point – the church from the story that still needs an ending.
Well, the master builder did what his beloved had whispered into his ear and gave the church a very special onion-shaped steeple of which the village is proud until the present day.
The young lady’s father realized that the builder was a person worth his daughter and when she came back from her travels they married with his blessing and lived happily ever after.
So, where is the knitting in this story? Uhm, hidden inside my walking boots. I always wear a pair of hand knit socks in them. More about some of those next time!