I wanted to share this beautiful drawing of Cologne Cathedral by Scottish artist Louis Weirter (1873-1932). Weirter was born at Edinburgh and studied art there and at the Royal Academy Schools, London. He exhibited at the RA and with other societies and galleries.
Chapter Two of The Devil’s Missal is largely set in Bruges in West-Flanders, deliberately chosen because of its medieval architecture and also just the sheer breathtaking loveliness of the place. If you have never visited Bruges, it would be well worth adding it to your bucket list.
I wanted to share with you this lovely drawing by local artist Editha Hackspiel of the station in Meerbusch-Osterrath. The station sadly became famous as the location of a major rail accident in December 2017 when a freight train collided with a passenger train, injuring five people.
One of the sources I used while writing The Devil’s Missal was the journal of Steven Jan de Geuns, a Dutch academic who travelled extensively through Germany in the company of Alexander von Humboldt, passing through Meerbusch on 26th October 1789.
De Geuns waxed lyrical about Krefeld, calling it a beautiful city, clean and the closest to a Dutch city that he had seen (being a Dutchman himself, presumably this was high praise). His sightseeing tour of the city appears to have consisted of a tour of several factories. Meerbusch is mentioned only as consisting of fertile agricultural land. Which sounds about right for the period.
This photograph was taken before the installation of modern gates. The driveway used to be a network of muddy puddles of varying depths. It wasn’t too bad negotiating it in a car, but on a bicycle in the dark it was only for the hardened adventurer….
One of the most famous sons of Meerbusch was Ewald Mataré (1887 – 1965) – a renowned sculptor and artist. Alongside his famous fountain which sits next to the station at Landsknecht, he is also honoured as the namesake of the Mataré Gymnasium, the grammar school in Meerbusch.
Autumn is the most beautiful season around Schloß Pesch as the woods which surround it turn golden and russet. If you haven’t taken yourself on a tour of all the breathtaking Meerbusch locations from The Devil’s Missal yet, the next few weeks would be the perfect time. These are older photos… the leaves have not turned yet.
The weather here tends to approach from the west. Yesterday around dusk a storm was approaching, which made for beautiful skies over the cabbage fields, when I walked out briefly to post a letter.
Some people favour geraniums and hanging baskets, others prefer wind-chimes and gnomes. My favourite Meerbusch balcony has gone for the full Jurassic Park effect. I doff my cap to you, dear Dinosaur-balcony-family! Your outdoor paradise is awesome.
As one foreign settler to another, I have a soft spot for the local parakeet population which lives around Büderich. Of course they visit our garden often because we have a well stocked bird feeder. They seem to get on well with the local birds too. Perhaps they’ve learned to squawk in German?