Mrs Turnstone has decreed that Autumn is near. Very few leaves have come off the trees, though many are looking ready to drop, once the weather gets that little bit colder. Nonetheless, she has declared that Sunday will see us sitting around the fire. It will be the feast of St Wenceslas, he who carried pine logs to the poor man by St Agnes’ Fountain. I don’t see any pine logs, but she has laid a good bed of pine cones, our favourite fire-lighters. Oh to be in England, now that Autumn’s here!
It will never catch on, not when the traders rule the town, or will it?
We were blessed to spend Car Free Sunday in Bruges, after meeting family and friends for a
birthday celebration. Bruges is as commercial as anywhere in Europe, but most of the shops seemed to stay shut, there was dancing in the streets, a singer covering Elvis’s greatest hits, flea market stalls appeared wherever there was room to erect them, and people quite obviously enjoyed the streets on foot or else on an assortment of weird, wonderful or wildly impractical bicycles. No buses even in the Markt, just people. And free entry to St Johns’ Hospital gallery.
And in the background, as always – the bells. The carillon was playing two songs from the Great War, ‘Tipperary’ preceded by ‘Roses are flowering in Picardy’; sentimental perhaps, but we know all too well that, ‘the roses will die with the summertime, and our roads may be far apart’. How many who went out to fight in Picardy died far apart from loved ones?
It was good to hear the bells, and worth reflecting that even on Westminster Bridge, one cannot always hear Big Ben and his quarter chimes. Worth reflecting, too, that battles are raging across the world, drowning the joyful bells even deeper than traffic does.
Here is a link to the belfry’s web page in Flemish, which tells about the carillon movement and also a little about the tunes played at each quarter. http://www.carillon-brugge.be/WWW/de%20beiaard.htm