Into the dark…

I just love empty dark corridors in monasteries, they have this other worldly, empty and lost feeling about them that inspires me.. This is the Franciscan monastery, La Foresta that is in Flanders, Belgium. Judging by the size of the place and the number of rooms, in it’s heyday it must have housed many monks but sadly today there is just one left and the monastery is now a conference and retreat centre. Still if you walk the corridors at night that feeling of silence and peace is all around you.

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Tulip..

I found this nice tulip growing in my garden today and it made me think of a story I know;

One upon a time there was this man who was very lonely. See, he had no wife, no children and lived all alone in his big house on the hill left to him by his mother when she died. In fact he had no living relatives left at all and was a shy person too who did not really have any friends.

Anyhow, one day he decided that he would get himself a pet. He thought that this would be a great idea and so off he went to the local pet shop. He spent sometime with the pet shop owner who showed him various different types of pets; dogs, cats, parrots, rabbits etc etc but to no avail, nothing could be found that suited the man. Until, he came across a small furry hamster. The man fell instantly in love with the little animal and quickly bought all the necessary equipment; cage, water bottle, wheel, bowl, food etc. The pet shop owner carefully put his new little friend into a box and the man made his way home very carefully.

Once at home he set about preparing the cage, water bottle, bowl, wheel and food; everything was just perfect. He carefully opened the box and let his new friend into his new home.

All was well for several days. They played together, the little hamster ran in it’s little wheel, he drank from his bottle, ate from his bowl and all was well….

But, just five days later the man came to breakfast and found his new friend dead in his cage. He was heartbroken; “why?” he said, “Did I do this? How can I go on?”

After a time of reflection, he decided to go back to the pet shop and have a word with the owner; get rid of some of his pent up anger over the death of his new found friend. That was what he was gong to do!

On his arrival at the pet shop he found the owner reading a magazine. He said, “Look here good man (upper class you see) I purchased this hamster from you just five days prior and this morning, on descending for breakfast I happened upon his lifeless body, what have you got to say for yourself?” “Well” the man said, “I don’t rightly no sir, he was in fine health when you bought him.” “But, but, but see here, he was meant to live longer than a mere five days and he was such a cute little chap.” “I tell you what” said the shop owner, “I’ll give you a bit of advice; hamsters make wonderful jam!” Well the man was astounded, never in his life had he heard such a thing but seeing as he was grief stricken and in a week state of mind, he said, “Oh I see and pray how does one make this jam?” So the kindly pet shop owner handed him the recipe that had been handed down through the centuries from on generation to another in his family.

On arriving back at home the man set about turning his little friend in to a nice pot of Jam. He labored all day and was tired. So he left the new pot of jam to cool and went to bed. The next day he eagerly got out of bed, excited by the prospect of trying the jam. He got dressed and went down stairs to his kitchen where the pot of jam waited for him on the side board. He carefully cut two slices of bread and popped them into the toaster; they quickly browned. He got the butter out of the fridge and carefully buttered his toast right up to the edges, everything had to be perfect. He then opened the new pot of jam and spread a nice thick even layer over his buttered toast.

Then, lifting the toast to his mouth, he took a bite… baaaaaaa what a horrible taste. It was so disgusting that he immediately through the jar of jam our of his window and it broke on the ground.

Well, after that experience he decided to go out for a walk. He walked and walked and walked. Finally feeling a little thirsty he decided to visit a local pub he found called the Rose and Crown. He spent sometime in the pub, drinking and chatting with the locals until finally he decided he should head for home.

Well it was quite late when he got back so he made himself a nice cup of tea and went to bed. The next morning he got up as usual and came down to his kitchen to put the kettle on and to his surprise in his garden there were the most beautiful tulips. He was amazed, where could they have come from?

Well, to cut a long story short, he decided to go back to the pet shop and tell the owner about this amazing thing that had happened. So, quickly he got dressed and ran out of the house, down the street to the corner. He was lucky as the pet shop was just opening. He ran in, out of breath and said to the pet who owner, “You’re never going to believe this, but, but, but that jam I made, it was disgusting so I through it out the window. This morning, I get up and the garden is full of red tulips!”. The pet who owner said, “That’s ok, just calm down because, YOU ALWAYS GET TULIPS FROM HAMSTERJAM…..”

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In church..

The light was just fantastic this morning and shone through the window illuminating the paneled wall in the church. I was captivated and after the service just had to take a photo. This is the church in Dinant and dates from the 12th century. There are some fantastic medieval paintings on the walls too. It’s a magical place. 

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