"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Paleis Het Loo

Another two-country day. We hired a car to drive from Antwerp, Belgium to Apeldoorn, Netherlands, so I could tour Paleis Het Loo and its gardens, created by King William and Queen Mary. A couple of scenes in my novel take place there.

It was a pleasant drive to the Gelderland and the forest areas where William enjoyed hunting--he purchased Het Loo for that very purpose, and and and Mary soon created the Versailles of Holland.

The front of the palace.

I started in the gardens.

My lizard Sparkle makes a friend.

Celestial globe. (Its mate, a terrestrial globe, was positioned on the opposite side of the garden.)

The ornate back door of the palace, which opens onto the gardens.

Queen Mary's Garden.

Queen Mary created a similar wych elm bower at Hampton Court Palace, but not quite as elaborate as the Het Loo one.

Inside the bower.

The figs are still coming in.

I love passion flowers. So did Queen Mary.

I was inside the palace for quite a long time doing the tour--King William's and Queen Mary's apartments, the chapel, as well as rooms reflecting later periods of the House of Orange right up to Queen Juliana's 20th century bedroom with furniture she chose herself, and the marks inside the door frame to chart her growth. Queen Beatrix and her family still use the palace, royal marriage cermonies and christenings take place in the chapel.

I saw it all!

Snacking in the car. Let it be known that I did not steal this royal fig myself. Someone who shall not be named nicked it for me, because I missed out having a proper lunch.

The drive back was less enjoyable, heavy rains and heavy traffic, especially in the ring roads outside Nijmegen and Eindhoven. But we made it back safely, in time for a late dinner--and for a second time this week we dined with jazz great Toots Thielemans! I had the Flemish Stew again (Toots's favourite) because its so very tasty.

Tomorrow will be a three-country day.

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