Monday, May 26, 2014

Madelief and Her Dutch Garden

Since its publication in 1898, Elizabeth Von Arnim's 'Elizabeth and Her German Garden' has continued to delight readers with its evocation of the joy and wonder which she, the author, found in the gardens of her husband's Prussian estate. Those who know of, and follow, 'Madelief', will be familiar with the absolute loveliness of her own Dutch garden where, only a short bicycle ride from the heart of vibrant Rotterdam, she has created an oasis of calm, beauty and tranquillity scarcely to be imagined.

a pretty corner of Madelief's Dutch garden displaying a selection of Viola

Madelief, as we think of her, is most dear to us. And over recent days, staying with her in her most charming home set in a quiet, leafy area of the city, where cool canals flow alongside verdant grass banks, we have been treated to the most magical of times.

evening - a quiet, residential area of Rotterdam yet only minutes from the bustling centre

the sails of a landmark windmill stand out against the darkening sky over Rotterdam 

First there has to be Rotterdam. Such an exciting, thriving city with its contrast of old and new and its myriad of waterways. We took morning coffee in the newest of skyscrapers, the city spread below us, a patchwork of canals and rivers, shops and offices, bridges, parks and gardens, apartments and houses, factories and warehouses, all teeming with life.

just one example of many of the new and exciting buildings which populate Rotterdam

it is called taking a 'selfie' - Jane Hattatt and Madelief together in a Rotterdam skyscraper

Later we explored the New York Hotel, formerly the offices and headquarters of the shipping company 'Holland America Line' and so resonating of a vanished era.

interior of the New York Hotel, formerly offices of the Holland America Line

speeding down river in a water taxi - the New York Hotel between skyscrapers

From there, transported by speed boat, we found ourselves aboard the SS Rotterdam for lunch on the Lido Deck where, for a short while, we imagined ourselves plying the Atlantic as privileged passengers of the 1950s. So exciting. Such fun. As was tea, taken outside a tiny street café overlooking a quiet square, where we all indulged in a delicious raspberry lemonade [and as an aside to Magalie, we were not stabbed!!]. And beyond Rotterdam we left our hearts in Dordrecht, with its steam festival, and Delft, famous for its blue pottery. They, however, are tales yet to be told.

on board the SS Rotterdam - Lance Hattatt checks out the lifeboat station

leaving the SS Rotterdam, now permanently moored in the city where she was built 

But what remains indelibly with us is Madelief's garden. Bordered by a small canal it sits among a series of allotment gardens, each one distinctly individual, each one tended with care. Here she has created, in the very real sense of the word, a true cottage garden where old fashioned perennials cavort with colourful annuals, where fragrant roses are entwined with clematis, where honeysuckle scents the air, where birds sing, paths meander, and daisies dance on the lawn. Perfection.

this delightful summer house lies at the very heart of Madelief's garden

in the entrance of her summer house, Madelief radiates the happiness she finds in her garden

At the centre lies an enchanting little summer house with its treasures of decorative cups, saucers and plates, all made excellent use of for eating al fresco, its ornamental jugs and teapots, its country furniture, cushions, chandelier [really so] and its walls lined with paintings, photographs and prints. Where else to come across the regal, and young, King and Queen of Thailand?!! And beside that a tiny kitchen, complete with sink and drainer, all ordered and contained.

a young King And Queen of Thailand survey the scene

an eclectic mix of  treasures are gathered together on a vintage dresser

a corner of the garden with a weathered table used for outdoor dining

And as we looked down from the aeroplane on a receding Rotterdam en route home for Budapest, we took with us memories without equal of love, kindness, generosity and happiness which will be with us for all time. 

Jane Hattatt listening to the bird song rather than attempting to ride a bicycle

going Dutch - Lance Hattatt rides a bicycle along the path bordering Madelief's garden

Dank je wel! Hartelijk bedankt, Madelief, M, M, A [and B].

242 comments:

  1. What beautiful pictures! We were kinda-sorta close by in Den Haag and also popped in to see the delights of Delft!

    That summer house is exquisite!

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    1. Delft we thought to be a delightful city - so historic and so full of charm. Our visit coincided with the large, weekly street market which was so much fun and where we found one or two rather goodly treasures to bring home.

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  2. What a wonderful trip. Madelief's garden is magical. Visiting her blog is always son enjoyable, as is yours.

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    1. That is so kind of you, Amelia. Our trip was so enjoyable from beginning to end and, as you may imagine, we fell in love with Madelief's garden instantly.

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  3. I am now following Madelief so I can keep track of you next time you galavant off. It save me the worry, and it saves having to put up yet more mentions of Iford Manor.

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    1. This comment has really made us laugh, Tom, and Madelief gains a Follower! Now what is there not to like?!!

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  4. Dearest Jane and Lance

    Your descriptions and your visit to Madelief's home and garden makes me feel like I am with you. You have provided an additional insight into Madelief's garden and the surrounding countryside.The beauty, hospitality, friendship and memories will no doubt be re-lived by you often.
    To think such friendship came about because of blogging is truly marvelous. As Imelda May sings "Oh my God it's good to be alive"
    Helen xx

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    1. No-one could have been more generous or kinder to us than Madelief, Helen. This we know you can readily believe. Her house, her garden and her summer house are all delightful and we were utterly charmed as we were with all of the places we visited on what was, for us, our first visit to The Netherlands. We never cease to be amazed at the very real friendships which can and do develop through the blogosphere.

      And now it is you who must seriously think about Budapest!! xxx

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  5. How wonderful to pop on and feel like I've just been to Europe! I especially like the washroom selfie. xo

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    1. We are so very pleased, Elizabeth, that you have through the post felt a little of all that we experienced on our visit to Rotterdam.

      AS for the washroom 'selfie', we have to confess that there are more, as yet unpublished!!

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  6. How wonderful your trip was Jane and Lance.
    I remember your lovely tea cup and saucer (on your side bar) that you received as a gift from Madelief.
    Yesterday afternoon, I had my D.I.L 's mother for tea. My eldest son's wife is married to a Dutch girl. The two of us were talking about me making a visit to Holland in the future- they live between their home in Holland and Portugal. We were looking on the map, where she lives .
    So nice to read about Rotterdam and all the new big skyscrapers.
    Super photos.
    How super is Madelief's little wooden house.
    Another lovely story of your travels.
    best wishes to you both.
    Val

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    1. We had the most marvellous time, Val, and cannot possibly in words convey how welcome Madelief made us and what an exciting, enjoyable and interesting time we had with her and her family.

      How intriguing that your eldest son should be married to a Dutch girl and that you should be entertaining his mother-in-law. How is your Dutch? Ours is terrible - so difficult to pronounce!!

      We should so much recommend a visit to The Netherlands and do not leave out Rotterdam which is the most exciting of cities and hugely varied in its architecture. We are already longing to return for there is so much more to be seen.

      Madelief's little summer house is enchanting and fully equipped. We enjoyed tea there on two separate occasions.

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  7. Oh this sounds so wonderful and your explicit description of your visit brings it all to life. Thanks for sharing your stunning photos and your memories.
    Patricia x

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    1. It really was all so wonderful, Patricia, and so very new for us never having visited The Netherlands before. Such enormous fun.

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    1. It was delightful, Matthew, from beginning to end.

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  9. Oh what a perfect looking place. And you ought to know what constitutes a wonderful garden, so I am sure that it is even more wonderful than your pictures show. I know that Rotterdam has changed a lot since I used to get on the ship as a child to come back to England, and it's on my list of places to see. Your post has made me move it a little further up the list!

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    1. You are right, Jenny, as our pictures in no way do justice to Madelief's extraordinarily unusual and very, very pretty garden, As for her summer house, an absolute joy to be in.

      How interesting that you know of Rotterdam from your childhood. You would, we are certain, find it hugely interesting to revisit and see all of the changes. It is a most vibrant city.

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  10. I was drawn to Madelief's blog, at first, because of my love for the Netherlands, and then I stayed around because of the beautiful photos of her garden and the stories of her entertainments. No one arranges al fresco better than the Dutch - unless, perhaps, the Danes. People will gasp and say 'no - the French and Italian have perfected al fresco'. I'd argue that it takes someone from a colder, wetter climate to truly understand and refine the enjoyment of a summer day at table.
    What a lovely time you must have had - taking notes!

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    1. Madelief's photographs are, we agree, exceptional and her posts always contain the most wonderful images. Until our visit we did not know The Netherlands at all and were so thrilled with all that we saw and did. As for eating al fresco in the garden, pure heaven. And we have come away inspired to do picnics with greater style!!

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  11. Dear Jane & Lance - I think that I would have joined Jane listening to the birds rather than going Dutch, but well done Lance for giving it a go.
    It is lovely that you all had such a happy few days together. Madelief's pretty garden is familiar to so many of us, but it has been interesting to see it from your perspective too.

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    1. Cycling, as you will know, Rosemary, is so much of the Dutch tradition that we simply had to give it a go. One of us managed rather better than the other!!

      Madelief's garden exceeded our expectations which were, we assure you, very high. And its situation is most interesting as one of a series of allotment gardens totally unlike anything to be found in the United Kingdom.

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  12. What a beautiful post Jane and Lance, and a fitting tribute to our lovely friend Madelief's wonderful hospitality and her pretty and beautiful garden. I have followed Madelief for pretty much 5 years and I love to watch her garden evolve from Spring to Summer into Autumn and even in the Winter months when it still looks so enchanting.
    …. and, it sounds as if you had the most enjoyable visit with her. We haven't visited Rotterdam but, when we went to Amsterdam and Delft we had the most wonderful time and loved it so much so, Rotterdam will now be on our list of destinations to visit.
    Love the selfie, the photograph of you both with matching scarves { on Madelief's blog } and love Jane's hat, purple tights and shoes !!!! XXXX

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    1. Truly, Jackie, Madelief's hospitality knew no bounds. We could not have been made more welcome and we have, like you, always enjoyed her posts. Actually to see the garden was, we felt,something very special indeed and, as might be expected, it looked so very pretty.

      We should so much recommend a visit to Rotterdam. Very different, of course, from Amsterdam which we have yet to visit but so utterly 'alive' with so much to see and do. Delft was lovely but so too is Dordrecht with rather fewer tourists.

      And to think we are into 'selfies'!! What a world!!

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  13. Was thinking of you this past week knowing you had to be enjoying your trip in the lovely sunny weather Europe appears to be experiencing. Madelief's home and garden are so beautiful and I'm sure the flowering plants were at their peak - and that Summer house, SO delightful.

    Loved the pics of you both, and Madelief, around Rotterdam. The 'selfie' of the girls is so good - I've done that in hotel powder rooms too - it is definitely a 'girlfriend thing' haha! The modern city looks like an interesting place - and water taxis bring back lovely thoughts of Venice of course! I've yet to visit Holland but hope to be there next year.

    Just a week and we'll be on our way across the pond - getting excited at the thought of enjoying life on the ocean waves again!

    Happy week dears - know you are now gearing up for the next trip which I hope will be a good one. You will be in my thoughts!
    Hugs, Mary

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    1. How really kind of you, Mary, to have been thinking of us en route to and in Rotterdam. We were so very fortunate with the weather which was sunny and warm which made going around even more pleasurable. In addition to everything else, and all that we saw, we spent such happy hours in Madelief's garden - for us rather like playing at houses as children!

      Rotterdam really is the most vibrant of cities, full of life and energy. Yes, you are right, the water taxi also reminded us of travelling up the Grand Canal in Venice in similar style.

      We are certain that you must be so excited in preparation for your next adventure and, before too long, we shall be meeting up here, something to which we are so looking forward. But for now, have a really happy and enjoyable time, take lots of pictures and post it all as and when you have a spare moment.

      Take care. Much love from us both. xxx

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  14. What a lovely trip you had, I had no idea Rotterdam had all those skyscrappers. I am going to visit Madelief's blog now.
    P.S. Love the purple tights!

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    1. We had almost no idea what to expect of Rotterdam and it all came as such a wonderful, happy surprise. Some of the modern architecture we thought to be exceptionally good, not least the very newly opened Central Railway Station.

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  15. What a delightful summerhouse! It's now on my list of must haves in the garden but it has to be done properly, as Madelief has done, fully kitted out and ready for tea!
    Probably a wise move Jane, resisting the temptation to get up on that bike. It would have been a tad uncomfortable in your exquisitely tailored dress.
    Glad you had a good time and look forward to hearing more. It's a place I have never been.

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    1. Madelief's summer house is quite unlike any we have ever seen before and is, as you say, totally and fully equipped for tea as well as garden lunches and suppers.

      As for the cycling......well, with practice!! As for The Netherlands, well, go if at all possible.

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  16. The Dutch tend to do everything well don't you think? I love that country and I have always loved their art and sensibility. I am itching to go to Het Loos in fact. I must say your selfies were most charming and made me smile. In fact it has inspired me that I must start practicing!! Thank you for a delightful post!

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    1. We could not agree more. Holland, as we kept remarking to Madelief, is a country which 'works'!! We were so impressed with all that we saw and are now longing to return to continue the experience.

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  17. One of the greatest pleasures of a garden must surely be to sit and take tea on a summers day - makes all the toil worthwhile. We definitely must venture outside Amsterdam on our next visit to the Netherlands. You have inspired me. Nice toilet selfie btw Jane! x

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    1. Indeed, to pause from one's labours and to take time to drink in the atmosphere and scents of the garden is one of life's simple but great delights. And in Madelief's garden we were so blessed with warm, sunny weather.

      As for Rotterdam, we can recommend it unreservedly.

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  18. Jane and Lance I feel like I have been there with you. What a charming setting, offset by the excitement of the city... I think it suits you both perfectly. Your friend is so charming, please tell her the red necklace makes for an excellent outfit. Of course I have to tell you that your own outfits please me to no end, Jane those purple tights are smashing.
    Thanks so much for sharing, it is such a privilege to read your blog!

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    1. How you would have enjoyed it all, Dani, for Rotterdam is so very vibrant and Dordrecht and Delft both amazingly pretty with almost every street fronting a canal.

      Madelief always dresses with such style and we do agree that her red necklace looks especially good.

      And thank you for those very generous last words.

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  19. This is so nice !! you two again by Madelief....hope you having enjoy the trip and enjoy Holland......did she say hi to you from me ???..i ask her.....)))....lovely week love from me Ria...x!

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    1. We had the most wonderful time with Madelief and her family, thank you, Ria. And it is always such fun to share news of all our friends in the Blogosphere.

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  20. What a wonderful time you had there. Madelief seems like a lovely person. I'm glad you had the chance to visit with her.

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    1. Madelief is an exceptional and, as you say, Jennifer, "a lovely person". It was so good to have the opportunity to meet with her again and this time in her home country.

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  21. Truly a piece of paradise, this garden with the summer house. But everything else looks fascinating, too, and of course I recognized the shoes with the yellow bows! Incidentally, I was wearing a purple polka dot dress to the office the other day, and carried my yellow handbag.

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    1. We think that you would really love Madelief's garden and summer house, Meike, as much as we did. Just, we imagine, your kind of a place with wildlife all around including ducks and geese on the canals.

      Purple and yellow - such a striking combination. Might there be a picture?!!

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  22. What a wonderful trip, I never imagined Rotterdam would be quite as lovely.
    Madelief and Jane are both the picture of elegance, those purple tights are wonderful. xxx

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    1. Not only is Rotterdam architecturally of interest, but its situation as a port, combined with all of its rivers and canals, makes it a fascinating place to visit.

      Such a kind compliment - thank you.

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  23. What an entertaining and enticing report from Rotterdam. That HAL-building-turned-hotel looks like our kind of place. Enjoyed coming along with you as you showed us the sites and caused that travel bug to start stirring again.

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    1. You would, we think, have much enjoyed the New York Hotel which had been converted from the old office building in the most imaginative way. Of course its position on the waterfront is superb.

      And where to next, Jackie and Joel?!!

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  24. Jane Hattatt in violet tights!

    Yes, indeed, happiness is an inside job and as I view these images and read your words, I am struck by the reality Madelief has sponsored with her imagination, plucking from the realm of ideas such a delightful manifestation involving everything from clematis and honeysuckle to the royals of Thailand, and then sharing it with friends in dashing legwear and trailing scarves.

    Incidentally, I once took a cruise--at 13!--on the Holland America Line: the coast of Alaska.

    (I love your selfie. Leave it to you, dear Jane, to involve a looking glass.)

    Yours ever,
    FGD

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    1. Dearest FGD,

      Yes!! Jane Hattatt in violet tights and, look closely, a violet necklace to match - a gift on the day from Madelief!!

      The happiness which Madelief radiates, and the enormous pleasure which she has from sharing her garden, is infectious and encompasses all with whom she comes into contact. As for the Royal Couple from Thailand..........!! Wonderful!!

      How splendid, Suze, to have travelled on a liner and even more so one of the Holland America Line. The nearest we have ever been on such a ship was with Madelief having our lunch on the SS Rotterdam which, sadly, was not going to sail away as she is now permanently moored. We did think, rather naughtily, to post pictures of the ship and claim that we had won the Madelief 'Giveaway' of a cruise around the Greek Islands!!

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  25. Darlings Jane and Lance,

    I love the pic of Madelief (who I am now following) with that wonderful sign above her head "Happiness is an inside job". Her expression reveals that she has the job well in hand. While I agree happiness is an inside job, those labors are often aided when one has the wonderful Hattatts to share their interesting excursions with such elegant precision.

    I love the selfie of the two gun molls squeezing off a couple of rounds at the pistol range.
    POW-POW !!!

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    1. Darling G,

      Madelief is a delight and her posts, combined with superb photography, is wondrous. We are so happy that you have become a Follower!!

      And your words, as always, are so kind. BUT, darling, dearest G, when may we expect the launch of your blog?? Spring has come, and nearly gone, May was hinted at and is running out fast. Are we to be blanketed in snow before the first post hits the air waves? We are champing at the bit. Relieve us from our misery.

      Yours in desperation.

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    2. P.S. for 'is' [twelfth word in the first paragraph] read 'are'!! Grammar, we can hear you say!!

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    3. Dearest darlings J &L,
      With all the ugly fallout from the botched Obamacare website rollout, I am proceeding with extreme caution. My first 8 posts have essentially been written. An artist who I am working with on other projects with has sent me the first draft on the new avatar which I quite like and hope you will too. I have other people I need assistance from to set the blog up as I am quite the Luddite. This Thursday, I begin my annual National Guard training so will be indisposed through June 16th. I am now thinking it best to wait until my return so as not to begin and then have a lengthy interval.
      Last week I received Lance's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers and even at first glance it's easy to see how it has garnered the high praise I've only recently discovered via google. My co-conspirator (the fabulous Bebe of Boston) is also assembling a Hattattian libarary. I have too long neglected the natural world and my new bible will soon accompany me to botanical gardens, arboretums, rookerys, and nature trials. I have much to learn but now an excellent guide. Lance's The Gardening Year will be my next acquisition.

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    4. Darling G,

      Well, we certainly would not argue against proceeding with caution. Indeed, on too many occasions we have overlooked the sound and sensible maxim of the Boy Scouts to "Be Prepared" and have found ourselves wallowing in the proverbial mire or, to mix metaphors which on occasion we are inclined so to do, up the creek without a paddle. So, the reasons for the delay are made clear which only whets our appetites even further.

      We are most interested to read that you are to start a period of National Guard training which, we think, it would probably be best to complete before you totally immerse yourself in the Blogosphere.

      How generous and noble of you to spend your hard earned money in support of the Hattatt Empire rather than on a Cartier watch or similar. It is much appreciated. We shall, of course, make copies of each one of your future posts and have them handsomely bound in Moroccan leather. The least we can do!!

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  26. Rotterdam has never struck me as a good place to visit, and it seems I am wrong. Your friend has a lovely garden and I pleased to know you enjoyed your visit.

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    1. Rotterdam, Andrew, is well worth a visit. Next time you find yourself 'cruising' up rivers, be sure to visit. We think that you will be hugely impressed as we have been.

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  27. How charming and delightful to imagine you in that adorable summer house dearest Jane and Lance. Jane dear I continue to marvel and applaud your bright leg paintings. ;>)) I can well imagine how happy Madelief would be in your spirited and generous company. Sigh. Lovely to see Rotterdam through your eyes and humor. Wonderful juxtaposition of the old windmill and the modern skyscraper. One gets dizzy scrolling down the side of that glassy building. Also great photo of the New York Hotel dwarfed by the skyscrapers. Ouch to the rising waters. Sending you love from this hillside of song and luscious green. Carol

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    1. The fun, excitement and sheer enjoyment, Carol, which we shared with you both in Venice and in Budapest was exactly replicated with Madelief in Rotterdam. Indeed how you both would love each other and we spoke much about you.

      And now we must not delay too long before either you, or we, make a foray across the Atlantic. With our new found common sense where flying is concerned, we may well become a serious threat to you!!

      Rotterdam is a most interesting city with so much to see that we have only scratched the surface. Hopefully though that allows for future visits.

      Take care and much love on this sunny Budapest day. xxx

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  28. Another inspiring post that awakens my imagination. Thank you, Jane and Lance! I enjoyed each and every picture.
    Talking about Dutch gardens, I can't wait to visit my sister who lives in Holland...

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    1. We are so very pleased that you enjoyed the post, Julia, and thank you for saying.

      How wonderful that you have a sister living in Holland. We do urge you to visit at the first possible opportunity.

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  29. Beautiful descriptions and photos of a place I would love to visit, maybe one day. Thanks so much for sharing this trip with us, much appreciated. Diane

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    1. The Netherlands, which of course we have only newly discovered ourselves, Diane, are a delight. We should certainly recommend a visit.

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  30. Thanks so much for this interesting post with such fantastic photos of a place I would love to visit. Thanks you for sharing this with us, much appreciated. Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane, for commenting for a second time; doubtless you probably thought the first [see above] was lost in the ether as does happen.

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  31. Dearest Jane and Lance,

    We all read your blogpost as soon as we saw it appear on our mobile this afternoon, but I left it for tonight to write a proper comment. To compare me and my garden to Elizabeth von Arnim's book is too much praise!!! I think I read the book more than thirty years ago, but I may try to find it in the UK.

    I enjoyed your post of your visit, the lovely photographs and your sweet replies to the comments on your blog from the beginning to the end. We all miss your fun and liveliness so very much! The two of you were, and still are very dear to us :-)!!! Hope another visit will follow soon, but first you are off to Italy and I will be on my way to the UK.

    Wishing you lots of fun and sending a big hug your way!

    Liefs,

    Madelief xoxox

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    1. Dearest Madelief,

      And every word is true. You all gave us the most wonderful introduction to The Netherlands and, in particular, your home town. We have come away with so very many treasured memories and we were so sad when we parted. But now we shall have the next time to which we can look forward when, before too long, we shall all be together once more. In the meantime, have a lovely time in England and we shall be back in touch on our return from Italy.

      Our love as always. xxx

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  32. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Rotterdam with you. I was under the impression that it was an industrial city but on seeing your interesting photos I can see I was misinformed. So glad you had an enjoyable time in what appeared to be lovely sunshine and that Madelief's garden lived up to and exceeded expectations.

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    1. Being a major port we too, Elaine, had previously thought of Rotterdam as being very industrial and were very pleasantly surprised to discover a modern, thriving city with attractive waterways, parks, open spaces and some exceedingly charming residential areas. Madelief's garden is lovely and one which we are certain would appeal to you too.

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  33. Hello Jane and Lance, More that most gardeners, Madelief has managed to create a private and enchanted world, one that is compounded of so much more than plants and flowers. In addition, I just visited her blog and enjoed the stunning photography. You were lucky to have this privileged visit.
    --Jim

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    1. Your description of Madelief's garden is exactly right, Jim. It is 'a private and enchanted world' and we feel so very privileged to have been able to enter into it. Her posts, in addition to that which she writes, always contain the very best of photography.

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  34. Dear Jane and Lance,
    As if I know you already!
    The stories of Madelief about her visiting you a few years ago!
    Were like a fairytale.
    And we are charing the love for Madelief AND her garden.
    She is a dear friend to me and I love visiting het garden on our anual blogHighTea.
    Thank you for your lovely words on my blog and welcome as a new follower.
    I will follow your blog as well from now, with a lot of curiosity......
    I hope on your next visit to Rotterdam, we will meet in my shop.
    Liefs from Holland
    Lia

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    1. Dear Lia,

      Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to comment. Indeed we have heard so much about you and your wonderful store and very much hope that on our next visit to Rotterdam, a city we found so full of interest, that it will indeed be possible to meet.

      Madelief is a very, very dear person and one who speaks so highly of you. Her annual blogHighTea must, we are sure, be enormous fun.

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  35. I have never visited Rotterdam, so this has been a lovely introduction for me, and it now on my list of places to visit. Nor had I come across Madelief's blog, so that is my next stop.

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    1. We should have no hesitation at all, Tracey, in recommending Rotterdam to you. It really is a most vibrant city with so much to see and do. Madelief's blog is one which we are certain you will enjoy.

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  36. I've never been to Rotterdam but Jenny has and she liked it very much. Your photos make it look very enticing.

    A strange optical illusion with the "new and exciting building" picture - as I scroll down, the building seems to get bigger and bigger!

    Nice to see a hotel that's preserved its original features and hasn't ripped them all out in favour of bland, shiny modern decor.

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    1. Rotterdam appealed to us hugely, Nick, not only for its situation where water plays such a large part but also for its interesting mix of old and very modern, much of it exceedingly stylish, architecture.

      The 'skyscraper' picture has turned out rather unusually we do agree. But we do assure you that we have the most basic of cameras and so much is left to chance!

      The New York Hotel is fascinating and would be a good place to stay.

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  37. How very VERY!! What an exquisite treat to find on our return from a long, relaxing weekend at a Gasthof, ourselves. We've been practically comatose, as that is the one place we say we can "be bored" and not apologise. Naps and reading and more naps, interrupted by strolls down by the lake and down the drive to the on-site restaurant. Oh. My---my Mother's neighbor used to say that was the "life of Mrs. Buff-Orphington."

    And to see your own lovely adventures and ventures and gatherings and teas and such LOVELY companionship and conversation---she looks EXACTLY as I'd pictured her---pretty and pleasant and oh, so glad to see you. She's simply beaming, and who would not?

    What a treat it must have been---all that wonderful traveling and arriving and being together. with such a welcoming, gracious hostess. Her comments show her great fondness and regard for you both, and I know that you all had a scrumptious time.

    And the GARDEN---what a treat (there's just something about a secluded little house, all snugged into the greenery, and filled with such treasures at every hand(. I all but wept just now when we drove up, just to see all the Winter's debris removed, the mowing and sweeping finished, the patio cleared and righted, and all the flower-and-herb pots stacked clean and ready to fill.

    You were my first stop, as ever when your light is on, and I'll go now and see if a nap in my own bed is as lovely as I remember.

    Best of rest-of-Spring to you both!!

    rachel

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    1. How wonderful, Rachel, that you have enjoyed a long and relaxing weekend away doing very little. We all need this from time to time. It sounds as though you were staying in a very appealing place with its own restaurant and a lake within walking distance.

      Madelief, as you will have guessed, is the most delightful of people and she is very, very dear to us. She and her family gave us such a warm welcome and had prepared a very carefully thought out programme for our visit which made our stay all the more enjoyable. As you say, a 'scrumptious' [what a superb word!!] time.

      The garden was wonderful. Since we no longer have one, we both thought that if we were ever to have a garden again, then we should like one exactly like Madelief's. And we are so pleased to learn that your own garden is now in a state of readiness for the summer season. What joy.

      Take care and we shall stay in touch.

      Delete
  38. I can't help but start singing one of Beautiful South's song of the city you just mentioned as soon as I started reading your post Jane and Lance! And Madelief's garden is most charming and full of wonderful, personal character!

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    1. We are delighted, Mark, that you were inspired by the post to burst into song!!

      Madelief's garden is one which we are certain that you would find of enormous interest. She certainly shares the love of plants which you both have.

      Delete
  39. Dear Jane and Lance, how I've been waiting for this post! What sneaky peaks into Madelief's beautiful garden and summer house and how fortunate you are to have seen it in person. Sounds like you all had a really fun time. Looking forward to seeing your other pictures and stories. Have a wonderful time in Italy, but don't stay away too long. All my love, Linda x

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    1. Dearest Linda,

      How you would simply love everything about Madelief's garden and summer house. Indeed you would have so much to share and, most likely, many, many stories to exchange. It was all truly wonderful and exceeded even our very high expectations!!

      Rotterdam was hugely interesting whilst both Dordrecht and Delft, about which we shall post in due course, were inspirational. And now Italy. What huge fun life is.

      Take the greatest of care and we both send you our very best love. xxx

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    2. Dear J&L,thanks for your lovely message. A blue and white lamp post, this I must see! Life is huge fun, and mine feels all the better for having you two in it.I know you will just have a ball in Italy, can't wait to hear what you got up to. With lots of love, Linda xx

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    3. It, being the lamp post, was amazing and actually in the pattern on the ceramic a tank was included. Most strange but perhaps a reference to the Second World War.

      And your comments to us, dearest Linda, are always so kind and generous. xxx

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  40. What a delightful post, full of beauty and friendship. Rotterdam looks very impressive, and Madelief, her garden and summerhouse are gorgeous. Fantastic photos, and your appreciation and enjoyment of your trip radiates from your writing and pictures. xxx

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    1. We had the most wonderful time, Curtise, with such a dear friend and her family. So much to talk and laugh about and everywhere new things to see and think about. Rotterdam is somewhere to which we shall most definitely return.

      Delete
  41. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I have never been to Holland, but my mother stayed there and was so impressed by how the Dutch have been such good AND SMART caretakers of their land. I would love to see it for myself someday!

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    1. The Dutch, Mark, are a very inventive nation and their systems of working with, and controlling, water are more than a little impressive. We should highly recommend The Netherlands to you and of course they have so much in the way of outstanding art to be seen.

      Delete
  42. How very wonderful...what a magical trip. Madelief's, garden is so charming, how I would love to see it as it is just the type of garden design that I am drawn to. Such vibrant colors and riotous flowers ~ what a joy!

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    1. We really believe, Adrienne, that both you and Madelief when it comes to gardens and gardening would have so much in common. You both share a real passion for plants and delight in growing them well.

      Delete
  43. Hello Jane and Lance - I adore Elizabeth Von Arnim's work and y'all's "selfie" is cute. The Rotterdam trip looks wonderful, another place to visit, eventually. "Happiness is an inside job"...so very true!

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    1. We do so agree, Sandra, that Elizabeth Von Arnim is a most seductive writer and one to whom one can return time and time again.

      If at all possible you should include Rotterdam on your next European trip; you will not be disappointed.

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  44. Greetings Jane and Lance,
    Your trip looks delightful and I am grateful to have found your blog and now you have introduced Madelief. As a passionate gardener I love to potter about in formal and cottage style gardens. I am looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

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    1. We did, indeed, Leslie, have the most wonderful trip to Rotterdam and Madelief made us so very, very welcome.

      It is so good that you have 'discovered' Madelief's blog for her posts, often centred upon her garden and collections of vintage items, are always of interest and beautifully illustrated with her own photographs.

      Thank you so much for becoming our latest Follower - it is much appreciated and we shall look forward to staying in touch.

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  45. Beautiful! I love the Netherlands and they have the loveliest gardens! I was enthral led when we were in Arnhem several years ago. Thanks for the tour of your friend's slice of heaven!

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    1. It is so true, Wendy, that as a nation the Dutch really do have a great love of plants and gardens and do everything with great style. Arnhem is somewhere we should now like to visit. Hopefully next time.

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  46. Seems you both had a wonderful time Jane & Lance. How lovely to go on a bike ride in the 'flat'.
    Regards,
    Margaret

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    1. It is many years since either of us was on a bicycle, Margaret, and we have to confess to finding it a little wobbly at first. But it is, as you say, made easier by all being on the 'flat'!!

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  47. Madelief's garden tour is delightful. Jane and Lance thanks for being part of our lives, you take us to so many enchanting places that we would otherwise never go.

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    1. You are, as always, so very generous in your comment. The Netherlands, previously completely unknown to us, is such a very attractive, interesting and appealing country and one to which we shall certainly return.

      Delete
    2. I have been through Amsterdam a few times but always a business trip and very brief. As far as my comments are concerned I just express how I feel about you, your posts and the blog itself, no flattery at all. There are few people you come across in life that you click with, it always has to do with chemistry :) I think we all are romantics and as Mr. Keating said in Dead Poet's Society, we are trying to "suck the marrow of life" to the fullest :)

      Delete
    3. Whatever, this is so very kind and hugely appreciated. Yes, we really do believe in that sometimes elusive 'chemistry' which really does come into its own with certain people. And we feel, and this too is sincerely meant, so much the same about you and your posts [although we should enjoy more of them!!].

      And now you make mention of 'Dead Poets Society' which is a film we have always hugely enjoyed, and been moved by, on each occasion we have watched it. Carpe diem is something Mr. Keating also urges upon us.

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    4. Carpe diem it is :) ......crazy it may sound, my better half and myself try to watch Dead Poet's Society once a month ...

      Delete
    5. Actually to us that does not sound at all crazy. We are both always in tears at the end and think Robin Williams gives an outstanding performance in the role of Keating. The strength of this film is that it carries with it so very many universal truths and touches on such important, or so we believe, issues.

      Delete
  48. Dear Jane and Lance, seeing this post and Madelief's own post about your recent time spent together really brought me joy. Isn't it wonderful how folks can connect via their blogs, and have that connection actually result in meeting each other?

    I've had the pleasure of such meetings both here in New York and also across the Atlantic. Joy every time, with the opportunity to get even better acquainted with someone whom you already sense is a friend.

    Rotterdam looks to be a wonderfully vibrant place. My only visit to the Netherlands was decades ago and only allowed me a week to stay in a charming Amsterdam bed and breakfast house, walk all over that beautiful city seeing wonderful art and architecture and urban style, and have a day trip via train to lovely Harlem. Oh...lots of bicycles, too.

    I do look forward to your reporting on Delft.

    As always, you all took your fine sense of style with you. xo

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    1. Dearest Frances,

      How very, very kind of you to have joy in our glorious adventure. As you may imagine we had the most wonderful time with Madelief and her family and saw so many very attractive places, each one different from the one before and leaving us with so many memories and so much to think about.

      It is extraordinary how it is possible really to connect with others through the Blogosphere, something which we never believed to be possible at the outset. We are delighted that you too have found the same and have, as we, formed real and lasting friendships in this way.

      Rotterdam is hugely interesting as a city. Largely destroyed during the Second World War, it has been rebuilt and now contains some very impressive modern architecture. Beside that there are residential areas, some surviving from the 1930s, which are utterly charming and where the apartment houses front peaceful, tree lined canals with grassy banks and an abundance of wildlife.

      Delft was, as you will readily imagine, amazing. We shall most definitely write a post on our visit in due course. xxx

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  49. Oh you lucky ducks. Madelief's garden has always been a favorite of mine. She is a true gardener with heart and it shows in her gorgeous surroundings. Her tea cup collection alone take my breath away!

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    1. Absolutely, Janet, Madelief's garden is, put simply, a delight. As for her summer house, equipped and furnished with her various 'finds' in such a stylish and appealing way.

      Delete
  50. WOW, what an extremely fun filed trip.. you packed so many things in, I love how you too live life so boldly and with so much zest :) The pictures are amazing Jane and Lance and it looks like you totally enjoyed yourselves... :)
    Have a really great week ahead :)

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    1. We really do think of ourselves as hugely privileged, Launna, to have the opportunity to make trips such as our recent one to The Netherlands - something which we hope we never take for granted.

      As you have surmised, we really did have enormous fun.

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  51. This is all oh, so lovely, including the wonderful selfies and pose next to a bike, making the sensible choice to keep one's feet on the ground and listen to the bird song!

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    1. Life, as we know that you appreciate yourself, Susan, has so much to offer and we are all so very fortunate to have the opportunity to do so many interesting and varied things.

      As for the cycling, it is a very long time since we were on bicycles!!

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  52. Such a lovely post. I adore Madelief's garden and that sweet summer house and am so glad you were able to spend time together. xo

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    1. Madelief's garden is a delight, Jen, and one which we are sure would appeal to you instantly. The summer house is full of the most remarkable treasures, many of which are to be coveted!!

      Delete
  53. Dear J and L: Your post brightened my day - and jumping over to M's did as well, though I did feel guilty for not working in my garden today ;)

    And I must say, those tights are very cool!

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    1. Our Rotterdam adventure was so exciting and so full of interest, Carol. We cannot wait to go again for there is so much yet to be seen.

      Do not feel at all guilty about neglecting your garden; chores can always wait when life offers more!!

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  54. Jane, you look like you have not a care in the world listening to the birds sing in such a serene place, and Lance on the bike--it definitely looks like spring is in the air. I love the little house and would want to live there year round if only I could, and have great simple dinners at the outdoor table. Yes, I could do that.

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    1. Being on bicycles was an experience we have not had for a very, very long time, Linda, but such fun.

      Madelief's little summer house is delightful. Indeed, some of her neighbours, with similar properties, do stay there for the summer months, living simply in lovely surroundings and waking each morning, or so we imagine, to the dawn chorus and the sound of the ducks on the nearby canal.

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  55. Thank goodness for beauty, nature and being outdoors.

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    1. Yes, we do so agree, Christopher, life would be a shadow of itself if we were to be denied contact with the natural world.

      Delete
  56. It is interesting that of all the times I have been to the Netherlands, I spent far more time in Amsterdam, Leiden, Delft and The Hague and not much time at all in Rotterdam. Perhaps because of WW2 damage? I don't even know.

    You selected well, examining the headquarters of the shipping company 'Holland America Line'; relics and of a long vanished era fascinate me too.

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    1. Amsterdam is certainly, or so we believe, seen as one of the principal tourist destinations of The Netherlands whist Rotterdam is somewhat passed over most likely, as you suggest, Hels, on account of so much of it having been destroyed during the Second World War. As it is, today it represents a modern, thriving and vibrant city with much to see and to do.

      Everything about the Holland America Line we found to be fascinating and to go on board the SS Rotterdam was most certainly the icing on the cake.

      Delete
  57. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Such an eclectic mix of things you have both done during this recent trip. Madeliefs home and garden look wonderful, and I particularly like the summer house. Jane, is that a selfie in the ladies cloakroom? You girls!

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    1. Our trip to The Netherlands was indeed hugely varied, Gary. We saw so many places and things of interest and yet leaving a great deal more for future visits.

      You are completely correct about the 'selfie'!!

      Delete
  58. I’m with Jane - I’d be listening to birdsong rather than attempting to ride a bicycle too! Another interesting trip you have shared with us and I’m looking forward to hearing about Delft oo.

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    1. It is a very long time since we were on bicycles so there was, as you may imagine, a certain amount of uncertainty.

      Delft was lovely and very different from Rotterdam; we shall definitely post about it in due course.

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  59. Dear Jane and Lance, I just popped over to Madalief's blog to have a peak. I had no idea that Rotterdam was such a cool looking city. I've only ever been to Amsterdam and Den Haag. Now I'm very interested in visiting Rotterdam on our next trip back to the old continent.
    Your trip sounds wonderful. I love the selfies and Jane, I adore your brightly coloured tights!
    Thank you for sharing your trip and Madalief's blog with us. I shall be following her too!

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    1. 'Cool' really is the word to describe today's Rotterdam, Ruth. It is an exceptionally vibrant city with stunning modern architecture, attractive waterways and plenty of open spaces. As for the newly opened railway station - amazing.

      Madelief's blog is always of interest and her photographs are outstanding. We are so pleased that you have found her.

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  60. It looks like a wonderful trip, I really enjoyed your photos. I love Madelief's blog and her amazing pictures and sense of colour.

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    1. We had an amazingly wonderful time and cannot wait to go again.

      Madelief's own blog is, we agree, always a very enjoyable read and visually stunning.

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  61. With your violet stockings, Jane, a bicycle would surely have been superfluous...much better to chuck it into the canal and walk.
    What an enjoyable post! I'm so glad you found such an excellent and sincere welcome. It goes to show that amidst all the incomprehensible compost that passes for dialogue over the internet, real friendships can be made and grown.
    Thank you. I found this a most light and easy post. I'm sure you memories of Rotterdam will stay forever with you.

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    1. What you say here about the "incomprehensible compost that passes for dialogue over the internet" [such a wonderful turn of phrase, Faisal] really does on occasion develop into real friendships and nowhere more so than among the blogging community, the vast majority of whom in our experience are genuine people who do actually connect with others with both warmth and in a most positive way. Madelief is such a person and we treasure her dearly.

      Delete
  62. My father was very fond of the Netherlands and the friends he made there and I feel the same so this was a lovely post about your time with a special lady and your friendship with her which I've much enjoyed.

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    1. We too think that the Dutch are a most hospitable nation and, in addition to our friend, Madelief, we received so much kindness from everyone on what was our first visit. We are so pleased that you enjoyed the post and thank you for taking the trouble to write.

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  63. An exciting post, Jane and Lance, and thank you for showing us the delights of Rotterdam, which I now want to visit! Jane you are wearing the most fabulous purple tights, perfect with your chic little dress. Madelief's summer house is enchanting, perfect inside and out. I'm off to seek her blog now. Thank you for a delightful post.

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    1. Patricia, Rotterdam is a most exciting city and has some of the best modern architecture and design we have seen anywhere. If you have the opportunity, then do go.

      Of course Madelief's summer house and garden are a delight and totally captured our imaginations. We are sure that you would love them. And the purple tights have been matched with a necklace - a gift from Madelief. Perfect.

      Delete
  64. If you come and visit Bodrum, I hope I can provide such wonderful photo opportunities.

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    1. We are certain that we should find Bodrum equally fascinating, a view confirmed by your own most interesting and entertaining posts.

      Delete
  65. Wow this place looks so amazingly beautiful! I love that waterway and I love all the "life" in these photos. Makes me want to visit Rotterdam :)

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    1. The waterways everywhere were a constant source of interest. We had never in our wildest dreams imagined so many canals. And everywhere, large and small, the most attractive bridges.

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  66. Dear Jane,

    What a charming summer house. The garden is lovely. You know I adore a pretty garden. I am glad you had such lovely teas with your friend.

    XO,
    Olive

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    1. We do assure you, Olive, that both the summer house and garden were, and are, far, far prettier than our pictures show. And Madelief and her family made our whole stay so very perfect.

      Delete
  67. Hello Jane and Lance,
    What an amazing trip you had! Rotterdam looks like an exciting city even for a family with two adolecences. It has been added to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.
    I have recently had the fortune of finding your blog and has been enjoying your posts ever since. Being a Hungarian ( although living in Switzerland) I can pretty well relate to your adventures in Budapest and around.
    I am making gulyas tonight ( always "leves" to the Hungarians ). Keeping the can of tomatoes for the Italian dishes.
    üdvözlettel:
    Greta

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    1. Dear Greta,

      How kind of you to write and to spend time reading our posts. It is so much appreciated. We are so intrigued to learn that you are Hungarian [your country occupies a very special place in our hearts] and living in Switzerland which, wherever you are, must at times seem so very different from your homeland.

      Rotterdam is a marvellous city and we think would go down well with your family as it has so much to offer to every age group. The architecture is at times absolutely stunning, the people are wonderful and there is so much to see and do.

      How splendid to be cooking gulyasleves for tonight's supper. We have it often, made by our Hungarian cook/housekeeper, Tímea, in the proper way and not as a casserole as Delia Smith would have it.

      Minden jót!

      Delete
  68. Such beautiful photos, every one! The garden looks magical - and I would love to have a little summer house like that, but my garden is about the size of a postage stamp (less upkeep, so that's all right).

    I'm looking at these pictures while I'm at work, dreaming of retirement (or massive wealth) and a life of leisure. Ahhhhhhh!

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    1. Madelief's garden is absolutely delightful, as is her summer house, and she makes such good use of it in fine weather for outdoor meals or simply as a place in which to relax.

      Small gardens can often be quite hard work for in a tiny space everything has to count so much more.

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  69. what beautiful blooms and greens! it's always so magical to be surrounded by nature and the outdoors. Glad you enjoyed your time!

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    1. We had the most wonderful time, thank you, Jane.

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  70. Hi Jane and Lance,

    I visited Madelief’s blog and I agree, it is a gorgeous garden. And so close to Rotterdam, which is a great city.

    I am sure you had a tremendous time on your travels. I love seeing pictures of the two of you too. I remember when photos of the writers of your delightful blog were few and far between and always well camouflaged. Love your stockings, Jane!

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    1. One of the things which we found so extraordinary about Madelief's garden is its proximity to the centre of Rotterdam a city which, incidentally, we thought to be most interesting.

      Thank you for the compliments! In recent times we seem to have come out of the closet and are, possibly, much more relaxed about the whole thing.

      Delete
  71. I enjoyed your visit to Rotterdam, which for some reason I persisted in thinking to be lying in ruins, such is the power of post war newsreels....and Madeleif's garden is a little gem of a place.

    Yet while drinking it all in the nagging thought returned time after time...how on earth has the summer house never been burgled?

    Are the successors of Van der Valk much more successful at policing, or are the Rotterdam Dutch just very decent law abiding people?

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    1. No, far from lying in ruins, as once of course it did, Rotterdam today is a modern, thriving city and one which contains any number of interesting examples of post war architecture as well as very pleasant, well cared for, open spaces.

      Madelief's own garden is a quiet oasis surrounded by canals and fields and yet only minutes from the city centre and a short distance from the airport. We too were happily surprised to learn that there has never been a break in nor any form of vandalism.

      We can only generalise but our impression of The Netherlands after one, brief visit is of a well ordered, liberal country whose inhabitants are amongst the warmest hearted and friendliest we have encountered anywhere.

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  72. Oh my goodness, what a lovely garden! And lunch on the SS Rotterdam sounds delightful. What a nice holiday.

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    1. The garden is delightful, everything one would expect of a true cottage garden. As for the SS Rotterdam - superb in every way.

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  73. Hi there, Wow I am in awe of your prompt response to my 'follow'. I arrived here via the lovely Madelief's blog as you probably surmised and was captivated by your posts. What an interesting life you lead. I have never been to Budapest or Brighton for that matter, but the latter will probably be addressed later this year as we are hoping to make a short visit. I shall follow your exploits from now on and look forward to some interesting reading. Jenny

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    1. We are so pleased to have made contact with you, Jenny, and thank you so much for becoming a Follower and for your kind words. Madelief is a very dear friend and it was wonderful to be staying with her in Rotterdam.

      If you do find yourself going to Brighton later in the year, then let us know and we can certainly point you in the direction of places to see and things of interest. Whilst we have a flat there, in real terms we are mostly in Budapest, a magical city itself.

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  74. Hi Jane and Lance,

    So lovely to discover you blog and see the wonderful photos of your trip to Rotterdam and to visit Madelief.
    Looks like you had an amazing trip and thanks for sharing.
    Madelief's summer house, garden and photos are always delightful.
    Happy week
    Carolyn

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    1. We had such a wonderful time with Madelief in Rotterdam which was, in fact, our first visit to The Netherlands and it was especially good to see and spend time in such a lovely garden.

      Thank you so much, Carolyn, for becoming a Follower; it is much appreciated.

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  75. Just finding you beautiful blog. I adore the Netherlands and just went this past summer for my first time. Wish I had gotten to Rotterdam. I have heard of it's charms and your photos are wonderful. Biking in Holland is a treat too. Just loving all this! Looking forward to reading more of your posts! Kim

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    1. This was also our first time in The Netherlands, Kim, and we simply loved all that we saw and did. Rotterdam proved to be a most exciting city and great fun to be in as it was when we went down river in a high speed water taxi!!

      Thank you so much for becoming a Follower and for your kind words too. Both are much appreciated.

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  76. Dear Jane and Lance,
    The meeting of three fabulous bloggers - what a very nice experience!
    Those Dutch bicycles are great aren't they - like medieval warhorses, I always think. Solid and dependable. A lot of people ride them here too.
    Bye for now,
    Kirk

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    1. It was all, as you may readily imagine, Kirk, enormous fun. Madelief is such a dear friend and so warm hearted and she had done everything to make our visit so very memorable.

      The bicycles are great but took a little getting used to as it was the first time we had ridden a bicycle where it is necessary to pedal backwards to apply the brake!!

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  77. Dear Jane and Lance,

    What a wonderfully composed post! The garden, the river, the cycling, the summer mood - everything about this just makes me dream. And why shouldn't I, when it's a scorching, scathing 42C outside!? Thank you so very much for this much-needed fairy-tale escape.

    I have been following Madelief's wonderful blog for quite a while and have been always, always fascinated by her creativity, be it the country-style garden or her beautiful vintage finds. I can well imagine what a pleasure it must be to bask in all that beauty.

    Rotterdam seems to be an interesting city, and its waterfront and sky-hugging buildings amaze me to no end. Shame I couldn't visit despite being in Amsterdam, though it was only for a day. But as they say, there's always a next time!

    Have a great week ahead.

    Suman

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    1. Dear Suman,

      It was all so magical. Rotterdam itself, with its soaring skyscrapers, and then in contrast were the ancient and historic towns of Dordrecht and Delft. But the greatest pleasure to be had was to spend time with Madelief and her family; we could not have been made more welcome.

      Poor you with temperatures of 42C. Now that is hot! Try not to do too much and keep out of the sun.

      We too are hugely in awe of Madelief's creativity which is apparent everywhere: in her charming, delightfully furnished home, in her garden, in her summer house, in everything about her daily life. She is much to be admired.

      We have yet to visit Amsterdam so we are about equal on The Netherlands!!!

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  78. Rotterdam looks so interesting - we have been to Amsterdam and The Hague, but never Rotterdam. Lovely garden photos, too.

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    1. Rotterdam is a fascinating city, Stephanie, and well worth a visit. Fewer tourists than Amsterdam but with as much to see and do.

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  79. What a wonderful adventure! I do like a selfie! wonderful things they are, we have become masters of our own images! Rotterdam looks so beautiful, Madelief and her summer home are both beautiful, her garden is so tranquil and pretty and the bike is huge! I'm with Jane, I think I would have listened to the bird song too rather than ride (I would have fell off it!) x x x

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    1. It was the most amazing adventure, Sandra, and we cannot wait to repeat it!!

      The bicycle was indeed huge and after so many years not cycling it took a little getting used to. Happily we were not really going anywhere in particular!!

      Rotterdam is a very exciting city and one which has so much to offer in terms of its culture, its architecture, its shops, restaurants and cafés as well as its parks and open spaces. And always there is the water.

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  80. Thank you for introducing us to your friend's enchanting blog (although I am certain I am one of the last people in the blogosphere to have known of this).

    Your visit looks like a lot of fun and, at least for me, discovering a new city is always an inspiration and injects a little adventure into one's life. I can see this was the case for you too. Thank you for taking us along with you.

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    1. Madelief's posts are always of interest and beautifully presented and illustrated with her own excellent photographs.

      We too so much enjoy discovering somewhere new and then, as is the case with Rotterdam, the time runs out and one is left wanting so much more. But that is a very good reason to return which we shall most surely do.

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  81. Thank you both for your sweet words on LAWN TEA---Miss Maya was quite a personage and presence.

    Was she not an inspiration and an example, especially to all us women of the seventies on, for we were still in the "there, there, little lady" stage in employment and almost every facet of our lives.

    Her voice (and what a voice it was---once you heard it, you never forgot---like an echo from a deep cavern of wisdom. I think I thought that whatever she said had been pondered and weighed and cast in the absolutely perfect words, even when telling that story of making a banana pudding for her philandering fella, just before she put on her hat and walked out the door).

    She was certainly a person you LISTENED to, and the words the weight of oracles, somehow. Some folks you just can't explain---they just have SOMETHING that sets them apart and makes them indelibly memorable. Even without her crusading spirit and her endless work on behalf of human rights, just the poetry would have been enough.

    And reading it aloud---a ticket to heaven. Just that laugh alone would have sufficed.

    Always delighted to have you drop in!!

    rachel

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    1. How very kind of you to have come back for a second time here, Rachel.

      We were so much saddened to learn of the death of Maya Angelou whose death has been reported by the BBC this afternoon. She was an extraordinary woman and, as has been said, "a warrior for tolerance, equality and peace". The world will, without a shadow of doubt, be the poorer without her.

      But such a person cannot die. The standards and values which she set for us all can never diminish and she leaves behind a literary heritage which is second to none. Her death is a great loss to us all.

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  82. Thank you for following my Rotterdam-blog! I hope i get a lot off Hungarian followers on this blog, i like to show the world how nice my city is. I hope the pictures will bring back memories. Madelief is a dear blogfriend of my and we had several highteas in her garden. Isn't her garden lovely, such a nice place with all the flowers. I have another blog Franse Lelie, have you visit that already? See you there:) Lovely greetings

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    1. We are so pleased to be following 'Rotterdam Through My Lens' since we were very much taken with your city and very much hope to return before too long.

      Madelief is such a very good friend and we can readily imagine what fun you must all have when you gather together for tea in her lovely garden. And we know her to be an excellent cook!

      We have also looked at and followed your other blog which also looks most interesting. Thank you so much for becoming a Follower of this; we are delighted to welcome you.

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  83. What a lovely garden and summer house! Madelief seems to be a special friend and Rotterdam an interesting city. How nice to make the connection! I'm pleased to see that you took the time to listen to the birds in marvelously purple tights.

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    1. Madelief''s summerhouse and garden are an absolute delight and we so enjoyed our entire visit to Rotterdam which is a most vibrant and interesting city.

      And the birds and wildlife everywhere were such a joy.

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  84. Dear Jane and Lance,
    What contrasts you have shown us here. The dainty violas, and then the tall steel buildings; the large ship and then the lovely cottage with its lush gardens, all are so interesting and all evoke a different element of life in a city.

    I have been thinking lately that there may be a day coming when I will no longer be able to do my gardens. How sad I will be, but then I know that I have taught others who will delight as I have in the beautiful wonders of what nature has given us to enjoy.

    BTW, I love Jane's purple tights. The color suits you and your spirit well.

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    1. We had not really thought of it like that, Arleen, but you are right. Rotterdam is in fact a city of great contrasts which probably makes for much of its appeal. We were not sure what to expect but loved it all.

      That your thoughts are turning towards a time when you may wish to give up your own garden is very sad. Certainly it was a wrench to give up our own but, in a strange way, there is always something to fill the vacuum. And you are always so very positive that we are sure, when the time comes, you will find other interests and, so to speak, move on.

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  85. Wonderfull landscape en fotos

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    1. We are delighted that you have enjoyed the post. Thank you.

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  86. What a delightful post - and such an eye-opener for me! I had no idea Rotterdam was so vibrant and modern. All the talk of beautiful gardens has pricked me into giving my own some more thought....I think I shall start following Madelief's lovely blog for more ideas!
    Fond regards,
    Axx

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    1. Rotterdam was certainly a very pleasant surprise for us too. We had no idea. What to expect but, on every count, the city more than lived up to its promises. It is well worth a visit.

      Madelief's garden is pure delight and there are so many clever ideas to be gleaned from it. We are sure that you will be a welcome follower, Annie. The flowers are pretty but it is the overall atmosphere which is truly beguiling.

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  87. Good Morning Jane and Lance, What a wonderful way to spend a relaxing few days, visiting Rotterdam and enjoying all it has to offer. I have only passed through Rotterdam when driving to Germany and never imagined it was such an interesting place.
    Madelief seems to be a very generous spirit and a joy to be with. I loved the photographs of her beautiful garden and after I have finished writing to you I am going to pop over to visit her.
    I love blue Delft and I have a few pieces which I bought many years ago when I visited Amsterdam. I would love to visit Delft one day, so I am looking forward to hearing about your visit.
    Lance, I love the photo of you riding your bicycle and Jane, you were posing beautifully.
    Best Wishes to you both.
    Daphne

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    1. Daphne, we really do urge you to visit Rotterdam as we are sure that you would find much of interest. And, the food we ate everywhere was delicious!

      Delft is a gem of a place and that is so interesting about your own collection of china. Whilst in the town we saw a lamp post made out of Delft Blue pottery!

      We are thrilled that you liked the 'action' photographs! We both tried riding the bicycle but only one of us could reach the pedals!

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  88. There is so much to discover in Holland and it does seem rather neglected as Northern Europeans flock to the sun - understandable given the climate, but what a treasure it is! I love Northern Europe and would be more than happy to spend my time exploring - it is also so fascinating historically.

    My own experiences of Holland are all sailing related - my partner has a small sailing boat - and Holland is a favourite destination from the East Coast of the UK. The first time I visited I actually accompanied him on the North Sea crossing - the things one does for love!

    I am so glad you enjoyed your visit - what a wonderful garden and the interesting cities you spent time in!

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    1. You are absolutely right, Marianne, and we definitely feel that we have neglected Holland up until now. We did not know what to expect but what we found was a myriad of exciting cities, each with its own highly individual charm. We shall certainly return.

      Madelief has great artistic flair and her garden is a gem. The planting has some formality and also a floriferous exuberance and we love the contrasts. We also love the way in which she uses her garden to entertain friends and family. It has a wonderful atmosphere that makes one feel welcome and cared for. Perfect!

      How intriguing that you sailed on the high seas to Holland from the UK. And, clearly, you lived to tell the tale. Brave woman!

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  89. Dear Jane and Lance,

    There is so much I like about this post. Firstly, your friend's garden is so so so lovely. I would love to be creative in the garden, and i have tried many times, but something is just not right. I am creative in so many other ways, but when it comes to gardening, i am rubbish. Your friend's garden is so charming. I could see myself sitting in one of the green corners, with a drink and a book for the whole afternoon.

    Secondly, i love your pictures and a write up of Rotterdam. I can't quiet believe it, but I have never been to Holland! That might be one of the next few countries I visit, but not before I come to Budapest. I have booked the tickets for end of July and am so so happy about it.

    Have a lovely rest of the week. And keep posting.

    Red

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    1. Hello Red,

      There is so much that one can learn from looking at a garden like Madelief's. The structure, the choice of flowers, the placing of shrubs and trees but, perhaps, most significantly, is to love what you are doing and just enjoy it for yourself. It does not matter what others may say or do. We definitely spent more time sitting, talking and drinking in her garden than we ever did in our own and we do regret that now.

      And, how exciting that you are to visit Budapest. We shall be here at the end of July and should love to meet up. Perhaps we can suggest one or two things as well. Do drop us a line by email and then we can talk more! Be prepared for the heat.....

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  90. Jane and Lance, I would be so happy if you recommended a few things to see and try in your 'home' time. After all, it is thanks to your blog that my interest in Budapest has been rekindled.
    Meeting up would be icing on the cake. I will be there from 22 to 25 July, so let's be in touch and definitely set something up. I am so excited to finally meet you.

    Red

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    1. Dearest Red,

      How perfect. We shall be at home at that time. Yes, we shall definitely set up a meeting, or several, and paint the town RED!

      We shall make a note in our diary but do get in touch and we can fix something definite! J and L xx

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  91. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I do so adore learning new things and going to new places. This, coupled with your charm and elegance, is why I cannot get enough of you! Thank you for taking me to Rotterdam-I have never been. And for introducing me to Madeliefs garden. Like the charming Madelief I shall soon have a bit of the Hattatts in my garden as my Hattattian library has arrived and I am devouring every word.

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    1. This is all more than generous of you, Bebe. Thank you. Rotterdam completely captured our interest and attention as it is a city of such great diversity that there really is something about it to appeal to everyone. But of course we were so fortunate to have Madelief as our guide.

      It is so good of you to have ordered a Hattatt tome for your library. All of the Hattatt gardening books were completed some time ago but we do like to think that there may be something to amuse you, or at least while away the odd spare moment.

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  92. Dear Jane and Lance,

    Your visit to Madelief's home and garden, tour of Rotterdam and surrounding locales, will certainly conjure up wonderful memories, when you reminisce about the beauty, creativity and excitement of these places, each for different reasons. What a pretty cottage garden, full of storybook brilliance in its layout and colours. The interiors are equally shabby chic, containing unique finds that demand a commentary. Thank you for introducing me to Madelief's blog; have just popped over and am enchanted! Great inspiration for al fresco dining and reclining, pure indulgence!

    Wishing you a wonderful Thursday!

    Poppy

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    1. Poppy, how perfectly put. Madelief's garden is indeed an example of storybook brilliance, bringing back childhood memories of late night story telling from the pages of vibrantly coloured books. It is altogether wonderful, as we are sure you can imagine and, equally, as we are confident that you would love too.

      And, we can certainly confirm that the garden is a fabulous place to dine and recline. We enjoyed lunch and a late night drink there and on both occasions the atmosphere of the garden totally beguiled us. Birdsong and the quacking of ducks being the only other accompaniment to the laughter and conversation.

      Wishing you a happy weekend when it comes.

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  93. How wonderful to discover that three of my favourite bloggers find such delight in one another's company. And to spend time in Madelief's delightful garden ... what a treat.

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    1. We did indeed have the most wonderful time, Annie, and are now much looking forward to our next trip to The Netherlands!

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  94. Hello Jane and Lance,

    Another exquisite piece of writing. I had never imagined that Rotterdam had some many skyscrapers. The magic of Madelief's garden is wonderfully captured by your words. I also particularly like the photo of Madelief and your caption "Madelief radiates the happiness she finds in her garden"; to radiate such happiness, that, in itself, is a wonderful and enduring personal quality!

    Fanny xx

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    1. Darling Fanny,

      Hot foot it to Rotterdam!! It really is a most exciting city and one which is full of interest both in terms of its very impressive architecture and its richly varied cultural life.

      Madelief is the most generously spirited person and one who is enormous fun to be with. xxx

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  95. I clicked through to Madelief's blog - the gardens look glorious!
    I love the idea of sailing on an old fashioned passenger ship... it appeals to the romantic in me... and to the bit of me that likes to dress up!
    Sx

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    1. Madelief's garden really is enchanting and it is difficult to realise that it is only a very short distance from the centre of Rotterdam.

      As for the SS Rotterdam, that was a experience in itself, with an interior totally of the 1950s.

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