This is my response to this week’s Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were asked to share our favorite water-inspired work.
This was one of those two-part answers. An immediate thought, followed by a more tasteful, mature thought. Do you ever get those?
My first thought was back to Age Fourteen. My first visit to Northern Europe, although I’d flown to Greece previously. This was a school holiday. At that time, neither of my parents had been abroad and I am immensely grateful that they sacrificed their extra cash, so that I could see a little of the world.
It was a twin-centered holiday. Germany, on the Rhein near Koblenz, followed by the Netherlands, in a town called Valkenburg, near the city of Maastricht. We travelled from Liverpool by coach and I took my first cross-channel ferry. The drive over to Germany is a long one, and we took a pit stop in Brussels. It’s actually the only time I ever went there – this manufactured capital, a Walloon enclave in the middle of Flanders never really appealed. But that first time, anyway, we saw the key sites like the Grande Place.
And the Manneken Pis.
So there you go. My first water-inspired thought. Nothing like a boy pissing to send a fourteen-year-old into fits of giggles.
Now with my mature head on, this is a wonderful bronze by Jérôme Duquesnoy, only about two feet tall, which was first unveiled in 1618 or 1619. But it has been repeatedly stolen over the years, and this latest replica dates only from 1965. Beautiful, isn’t it?
My more mature thought was this:
(click through to a hi-res image.)
I have been lucky enough to visit Monet’s Garden three times.
The first was when I just met Mrs Bump. I’d known her just six weeks and it was her birthday. To impress her, I whisked her over to France. After a first night in a magnificent hunting lodge in the Loire, we spent the next evening in Paris, but it was way too hot (it was during the ’98 World Cup) and Paris was an oven, so we cut short our stay and headed back to the coast. On the autoroute we saw a sign to Giverny. Totally by accident, we found ourselves touring Monet’s Garden. It is preserved as he would have enjoyed it back in 1900 – if he were around today, the view you see above is exactly what he would paint. I’d recommend it to anybody as a must-visit. Because we had just met, that experience was the most magical. Rose-tinted glasses!
The next was about a year later, when she was eight months pregnant. Ouch. (For me.) Okay, okay, far too bloody quick…. But we haven’t killed each other yet!
The last was meeting a good friend. My family was over in Normandy, and she lived near Paris, so we met halfway. I remember lots of conversation and crêpes, though not so much the garden. My daughter (aged seven or eight) ran off somewhere and both families (six people in total) had to be enlisted to hunt for her.