This is my final post from Bruges, Belgium. My diary entries have been detailing our adventures and now it’s time to move on and check out new places and experiences further afield.
My Singaporean friend “Velveteen” (I use her internet screen name here to protect her privacy) is a real kindred spirit when it comes to loving architectural detail, stained glass, visiting churches, museums, admiring artworks and enjoying chocolate, but I never realised how similar her tastes were until I found her photographing the different sorts of street stones and patterned floors.
I totally assumed that I was the only one who found these, and patterned man hole covers, photogenic material.
The photo of mine taken of wet cobbles, has a little story behind it. Little Mr. in the back seat of the van decided to pick something up from the floor of the van at the same moment that Kiwi Daughter decided to rearrange her long legs to change her sitting position. This resulted in an unintentional whack on Little Mr’s nose and a lot of blood flowing down his face.
Little Mr. has a history of bleeding impressively when he suffers a bloody nose or a cut and as a result in the past has freaked out Himself as well as crèche and school staff. As a kid I had exactly the same problem until it got so bad that a hot New Zealand summer’s day could produce three or four serious nosebleeds if I so much as went to pick up a pencil from the floor, so I had to have some little blood vessels in my nose quarterized. Since with Little Mr. even a tiny cut produces a lot of blood, the main trick is to keep him calm and still, apply pressure to a dressing and if possible an icepack and after about ten minutes all will be well again.
Having just arrived in Bruges at the time, Himself had gone to look for someone to help us find our hotel (as usual for our family we were lost and Our Lady of the Tom Tom was having some sort of meltdown directing us in circles).
This is how I find myself in the back seat of the van armed with wads of tissues from the family box of tissues that are a standard accessory to all our long car journeys, cuddling my son in my lap and trying to stem the seemingly inexhaustible supply of blood issuing from his nose.
The sight of red tissues is freaking out Kiwi Daughter and Velveteen is getting a lesson in the type of first aid parents everywhere learn to handle. She was quickly delegated the job of distracting Kiwi Daughter so we start a conversation together about the amazing cobbles. “Real” and ancient cobbles in Belgium and The Netherlands (and maybe elsewhere too) used to be made up of really round stones and earned the nick-name “babies heads”, a fact that delivered the expected “eew’s” from the kids and provided an opportunity to photograph some of the ones we were parked on in the rain after I also I confessed my man-hole cover photography obsession. After that, Velveteen felt right at home photographing various brick and cobbles beneath her feet. I “get it”and think they are beautiful.. if you don’t please just bare with us, we clear suffer from “bricks on the brain”. I believe it’s an affliction bought on by exposure to European cities after being bought up in countries that have a profound absence of bricks and cobbles.
Little Mr. self-mended after a little cuddle and some tissue pressure on his nose from Mama, Himself returned to the van to stories of the drama from Kiwi Daughter that made it sound like Little Mr. was bleeding to death and we even successfully found our hotel shortly afterwards. The rest of these photographs are various bits and bobs that caught our eye and camera lenses around Bruges… a reminder that there is always more to see in a new place than can be fitted into the time you have, no matter how long the time you planned. Right now though it’s time to bid adieu to Belgium… and head for the border…