What can I say? I’m a bad blogger My trouble is, when my mind is fully taken up with a story in full flood, I find it very hard to think of anything else let alone write it coherently! So, probably not for the last time, my apologies for the long silence!
But, here I am back with my head full of a new place: a medieval town in modern Belgium – Mechelen – where I just spent the weekend with my husband by way of a birthday treat :).
Mechelen is a seriously atmospheric town on the River Dijle, jam packed with beautiful buildings, old churches, and palaces that proclaim its distinguished and turbulent history. It’s lovely to just wander around as we did, soaking up all the sights and sounds of the town on market day. The stalls filling the market square and the surrounding streets, still sell food and cloth, clothes and shoes, surely not so very different from five or six hundred years ago.
We sat outside a cafe, in the shadow of the huge St. Rumbold’s cathedral, church bells ringing all around us. It was easy to zone out of the present until I barely heard the sound of traffic and could imagine sitting in the same place hundreds of years ago, watching the wealthy merchants and their wives in their rich robes weave among more ordinary folk: guildsmen, servants and clerics. Surely we were gazing at much the same, bustling view and hearing the same bells as they did. We might have been there…
Until the bell ringers broke into “Strangers in Paradise”, or some other charmingly bizarre tune from a more modern era! The tunes themselves, whether Bach or Jem, take a while to register, and I suppose that’s the point: the ancient and the modern blend seamlessly here, producing a kind of insidious, compelling magic. A wonderful place that I was sorry to leave but will certainly come back to.