Over the sea and back again

On Monday, we went on a trip across the North Sea to the town of Brugge (Bruges) in Belgium. One of my colleagues had found a two-for-one deal with P&O ferries so this was the opportunity for my daughter to experience a ferry and for both of us to get a glimpse of a neighbouring country.

It’s actually quite common for people in Europe to nip over the border for a bit of shopping in another country, though if you’re going from Britain the word ‘nip’ is stretching it a bit…. Fourteen hours on a ferry (one way) does, however, add to the spice.

view from our cabin coming into port this morning – the first time I’ve had such a room with a view

Now, in my endeavours to tread more lightly on the Earth, my motivation for going to Brugge was purely to wander round its streets, soaking up the atmosphere, but in a supermarket I came across pasta in a cardboard box. So that’s a few months’ supply without unnecessary plastic packaging. Yippee!

The weather was not at its finest, as you will see in the photos below, but hey Northern Europe is what it is.

And I was surprised to see primroses in bloom here. You can’t tell they are primroses from the photo but I’m glad we found this park before heading for home.

The primroses certainly weren’t in bloom when I got home this lunch time. On the other hand, the goji berry bushes have started to go into leaf, only a few short weeks after losing the last lot.


I also noticed something sticking out of the compost bin hatch. Which turned out to be, er, compost ready to be taken out. This I duly did, so now the apple tree has had its first mulching.

I can’t believed the compost was ready so quickly – it must be the bokashi mix which went in last month. I’m particularly pleased because I need as much compost as possible as soon as possible for mulching. Not just the tree but where I’ve put cardboard down as well. 

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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35 Responses to Over the sea and back again

  1. Natalia says:

    What a nice experience! Lovely pics of the river. Are those swans?

  2. atkokosplace says:

    Awesome on the compost! That’s fantastic…a perfect batch to help your plants grow wonderfully! Cheers, Koko❀

  3. Awesome many thanks for sharing have a blessed day

  4. patsquared2 says:

    What a nice experience and beautiful pictures…thanks for sharing. If I decide to go over the river, I end up in Philly or York, not quite as romantic or picturesque. Merry Christmas Helen!

  5. What a wonderful trip! I’m so glad you found a good deal and that you and your daughter could go on an adventure. I was in Bruge in 1989…a long while ago. I enjoyed my time there, too.

  6. How wonderful to get to ferry over and go to Bruges. I like your goji berry, I want try it here, it did well in Seattle. Seattle has lots of ferry rides, which are great fun, took my grandkids to Bremerton which is about as close to picturesque as we get on this side. Happy boxing day and new year too.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. As I only got the goji berries from my dad recently, I have no idea how well the will do (he didn’t get any berries) but I am intrigued to find out. My forest garden is coming along – even though the gojis are still in pots.

      I’m afraid I don’t know much about Seattle but sounds like you had a good time with your grandkids.

      • Seattle was awesome, I am from the northwest. Californians retire in Oregon and Washington and bid the prices up to high for me to retire there. Oddly enough, I bought this property so discounted, I have enough equity to move to Washington coast, about 2 hours from my grandkids. It is a temptation and my son says he will fly in and haul me home. It is hard to start again if I do. I will have to wait until spring, in any event. Your climate is cool and wet, right? Like Seattle. Give them full sun against a south wall for more berries.

        • Helen says:

          Thank you for the suggestions re the goji berries. Not sure my climate is wet (depends what you are comparing to – under normal circumstances we have about as much rain as somewhere like Israel, where I live). It is generally cool, though.

          Hard decision to make regarding a relocation!

          • You live in Israel? All this I thought England.

          • Helen says:

            No, I live in England and the blog is about my garden in England. The rainfall here in the North East is comparable to what they get in Jerusalem. Sorry about the confusion – should have changed the word order of the sentence in my previous comment.

          • Close to my 16 inches average?

          • Helen says:

            Less actually – if I’ve got my maths right – about 12 inches.

            On the other hand, just over the Pennines which are hills running down the centre of Northern England, they get double your annual rainfall.

          • Over my hill they get under 7 inches. It is why I moved here. If I moved back to my grandkids… 35 to 80 inches. Water is everything. I would spend all my time hacking things down. 🙂

          • Helen says:

            How does the infrastructure cope with up to 80 inches of water?

          • 300 foot evergreen trees, massive maples that suck up 2000 gallons a day, each. Huge rivers that may only be 50 miles long. Much larger drains under the streets. Moss grows on home roofs! Mainly the trees sucks up that water. Large drainage pits in subdivisions hold small lakes during extra heavy rainfall, until it can drainot into the system. My grandchildren’s library has a parking lot that retained the massive trees… you wind through to tiny parking spaces between them. It is quite pretty. Areas that cut trees down for fancy housing on the slopes end up destroyed in mudslides.

          • Helen says:

            Trees are great!

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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