It is incredible. The things that have happened in the past two months. Looking back at all the pictures I took, I now realise how many people we have met and how many places we have visited. And I am amazed and tired as well.
These are curious times. I feel that we just had to meet many of the people that came to our place. And that we had to guide them to these special places. And to talk to them. I also feel that things are changing now. I know this is what I say every time, but it is true. The tides are turning.
So much is happening. The world is in turmoil. It is terrible what is happening. Things are so bad that they hardly can get worse. Or are we finally plunging in a world-wide crisis? Something good must come off it, it must, that’s what I feel, it must, eventually. That’s what I feel and that’s what I hope.
Look at the people of the Earth. Scared to death, being slaughtered everywhere. Is this our future or is it the brutal transformation from one world to another? Here in the West it is quiet. But many are tired, very tired. Feeling the fear and anger of the people and the Earth. Feeling the many changes that are coming up. Changes in the outside world and changes inside themselves. Feeling that things are speeding up.
The weather is restless as well. Beautiful skies, some rain, a few thunderstorms and lots of sun. Warm, cold, the weather is changing day by day. Rain in the morning, sun in the afternoon. Harsh winds blowing down the mountains. Strange skies. So unpredictable. But also beautiful.
La Source/Les Labadous
Always in motion. Always something going on. Birds that fly into the glass. Or have to be rescued from our cats. Doors to be repaired or a sudden break in our central heating system. But than our great friend Arnold is always there to help us out. Woodworm discovered. Ten years after we treated all the wood. So here we go again, this time with our friend Maarten. Looking in the most inaccessible places and dressed in protective clothes. But there is also time to rest and relax, like our cat Sheba. See pic’s 001 – 006.
My fruit trees
Nature is so free and so giving. So abundant. Her fruits are plentiful. And I have to make use of it. What nature has produced cannot be neglected. It must be received in gratitude. And treated with care and respect. So we collected dozens of kilos of Mirabelle’s. And about as many of those little red prunes. We bought special glasses, special sugar, other fruits like apricots and peaches, all to make comfiture. It took me days and it was wonderful. Now we have enough comfiture for the winter. And lots of jars to give away. But as you know, everything that grows on you own land, helped by your love and attention, is healthy. Is good for you. See pic’s 007 - 009
I am so proud of my garden. Every day I walk through my little paradise, talking to the plants, removing weeds, collecting fruits and vegetables, enjoying the flowers. It is wonderful.
But here we go again. At certain times there is too much. We cannot eat it all. We feed our groups on ‘haricots verts’ (French beans), tomatoes and courgettes. But it is not enough.
So we collect our extra tomatoes and make them into an attractive sauce. Recipe: chopped carrots, chopped celery sticks, chopped onions, all-in equal amounts and some garlic. Fry them softly for about 10 minutes in sunflower oil. Then add the tomatoes, a little basil and let it cook for a few more minutes. Delicious and easy to deep-freeze.
The same goes for courgettes. Peel some potatoes, chop them fine, and softly fry them in sunflower oil. Add garlic, the chopped courgettes (remove the seeds), add water and let it boil for about 5 minutes. Then mash it with a mixer. Add basil and if you want some coriander. A wonderful soup. And easy to deep-freeze. See pic’s 010 - 012
What can I say? The skies in this area are always fascinating. Especially the skies near the Pech Bugarach. Where often huge spaceships or smaller UFO”s can be found, silhouetted in the clouds. Or where the clouds are torn apart by this mighty mountain. Leaving a sky is been split open. But also strange cloud formations over Rennes-le-Chateau. One could almost think that these clouds carry a message. And the skies at sunrise and sunset are always beautiful. It is magic. I can’t get enough of it. Well, see for yourself. See pic’s 13 - 23
I will not tell you with whom I made all those trips. That would make it a bit too complex. I can only say that all of us, guests and guide, immensely enjoyed our trips. I will also not show you the same pictures as shown before in previous newsletters, but several other pictures. Pictures that have not been shown before, or pictures that are really special. And finally I will not tell you all there is to see in the area or to the north, east, south or west. But just talk about the places we visited.
· Around Rennes-le-Chateau
Favourite places are of course the Cave of Mary Magdalene, frequented by our dog Ruah, the cave with this strange, colourful picture, the Source of the Mother Goddess in Campagne-les-Bains and the church of Rennes-le-Chateau. Next comes Alet-les-Bains with its church housing a curious wall painting, its abbey and the statue of Diana or Athena and the house of the grandparents of Nostradamus on the town square. At the entrance to the ‘Galerie des Anges’ we find a fierce lion of Judah and the statue of Mary Magdalene? A little further north are the sources with that special, free water from Alet. And high up the hill east of Alet is the little church of St Salvayre, with a beautiful view of the two sacred mountains, the Pech Cardou and the Pech Bugarach. And two new items, the wall with holes in it, as described so colourful by my friend Val Wineyard in her new book Alet les Bains. And this lady of Alet located near the public springs. And last but not least the “Angels Galerie” of Lorrie and Eugene. Always a great and fitting end to any full day program.
Very interesting are also the ‘capitelles’ (the little stone huts) on the hill north of Couiza, the beautiful bridge at Serres, the hot spring in Rennes-les-Bains, as well as the Fontaine des Amours, the Benitier (Holy Water Stoup) where the River Sals meets the River Blanque and where it is good to swim, the Fauteuil du Diable or seat of the devil, also called the Seat if Isis, with next to it the little source called ‘Le Cercle’ and the magical Trembling Rocks with its doorway to other dimensions. See pic’s 024 - 039
· To the North
First of all there is the city of Limoux. Know for its delicious Blanquette de Limoux and its Carnival. And the church of St Martin with its enigmatic stained glass windows. And the ND de Marceille with its healing well (for the eyes). And nearby the abbey of Polycarpe, with its fresco’s, its beautiful portrait of the three Mary’s and its stations of the cross in a very bad state. Further north is the fully renovated abbey of St Hilaire. Then we come to Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the Cite, with Madame Carcas, with the castle and the basilica. And in the town on the west side of the River Aude, the canal du Midi, the lovely Chapelle de Carmes with a statue and fresco of the weeping ND de Salette and the enigmatic church of St Vincent, with a painting of the Last Supper with clearly a woman next to Jesus and a statue of a pregnant Mary Magdalene. There is much more to be seen in the north but we now take a turn to the northeast. To Caunes Minervois. And the lovely church of ND du Cros, with its Black Madonna, its statue of the reinstated Judas, its sacred well where we saw Orbs flying over the water, its lovely pick-nick place and its rocks full of red marble. Further on we have the dolmen de Fades. Where this time they had added three strange balls located to the south of the dolmen. And finally Minerve, with its huge bridge, its underground river and its dove, carved out of the rock. See pic’s 40 – 62.
· To the East
To the east we find the magnificent, male mountain the Bugarach. Further east are the famous Gorges de Galamus with this heart carved out of the River Agly, with the monastery of St Antoine, the Cave of Mary Magdalene with its wonderful wooden statue and the church built into the rock. Then St Paul de Fenouillet, with its love little square, so typical French. Turning left at Maury we go to the Castle of Queribus and then to the town of Cucugnan. With its great restaurants, it’s Mill of Omer and the church with the pregnant Mary. See pic’s 063 – 066.
· To the South
First of all, of course, we visit the city of Quillan. Where Joke’s wonderful shop “Renaissance” can be found. Then through the Gorges de Pierre Lys past the road to Axat to the valley of the river Ribenty. This valley ‘runs’ all the way up to the mountains around Ax-les-Thermes. A wonderful trip. On narrow roads and high meadows full of cows. Made even more spectacular by our delicious lunch in the ‘Seaview’ restaurant in Belfort sur Rebenty. After lunch we went on, even further, all the way to Andorra. We went in by tunnel and out over the mountain. In Andorra we visited the ancient church of the Notre-Dame de Meritxell. What a beauty. What a special place. That little church alone, situated along the road to the city of Andorra, made our trip worthwhile. With it curious crucifixion tableau and its wonderful Black Madonna. On the way back we visited the town on the border. It is just a huge supermarket. See pic’s 67 – 73.
· To the West
The first place to visit, and it is always something very special, is the Labyrinth of Nebias. It is not really a labyrinth but a maze. We followed the Camie Salvatge, indicated by the read hand. Then past the Chateau of Puivert and the fountain of Fontestorbes to the Montsegur. We were happy that we did not climb the mountain for 10 minutes later the rain started to pour down. Massive sheets of water descended on the holy mountain. As if to purify it. We went on to Foix and from there to the monastery of Carol in Baulou. With the two very strange statues. One of Jesus in one cave and one of Mary Magdalene in the other cave. With others I went to the initiation caves of the Cathars. To the cave of Bethlehem with Reint and Gabriela and to the Eglise and Hermit Cave with others. Always, if possible we visit the small chapel of Sabart in Tarascon-sur-Ariege with the beautiful Black Madonna. On the way back we look at the famous Rock Church of Vals and at the lovely and lively city of Mirepoix with its Cathedral of St Maurice and its sculptured wooden beams. See pic’s 074 – 085.
This is the time of festivals. The French love it. Every village has it festivals. Sometimes celebrating the mere fact that they still exist, and that they are alive. With wonderful dinner parties and lots of Blanquette. Then there are the ‘vide greniers,’ the garage sales, where you can buy the most wonderful things for almost nothing. And the special evenings with special artists, as in the Galerie La Rose in Alet les Bains, with this incredible guitar player and Paul playing on his saxophone. Wauw. Or David playing the piano at our place. Or the lovely Devayani playing piano in Le Jardin du Marie in Rennes-le-Chateau. What a joy. That is life! See pic’s 086 – 089.
I can’t help it. I really can’t. Whenever a beautiful woman comes by, I have to take her picture. If she wants of course. And I love it; it is almost a challenge. And more so to take pictures of women who say that they never look good on camera. Maybe it is something I say when I take the picture. Or maybe it is just me. Well, see for yourself. See pic’s 090 – 095.
Some new restaurants have opened up. And of course we have to give them a try. If only in order to be able to advise our guests where to go when they are touring with me or by themselves. A wonderful restaurant opened up in Puivert. With a great view on the castle. And it is close to the lake where you can park your car, walk for two minutes and have a swim. A great restaurant is Poulet et Bicyclette in St Ferriol, also situated by a small, artificial lake full of coloured fishes.
Or this crazy restaurant in the valley of the river Rebenty. Run by a lovely English woman. The restaurant is called ‘Seaview.’ A great name for a restaurant surrounded by mountains and far from the sea. But the food is of excellent. And the place is a wonder of artistic objects, like the four different heads of horses, all made of little pieces of glass and stone. To make one head took 4 months the woman told me. Remember the name: Seaview in Belfort de Rebenty. And it is wonderful walking in this area. On ancient Roman roads. See pic’s 096 – 102.
Orbs and light effects
It looks as if the Orbs are settling down a little. They are still there of course, but no longer so spectacular as before. Only when there is a thunderstorm, they appear in great numbers, strange shapes and wonderful colours. And it is always hard to say whether we see Orbs, real Orbs or light effects. As in the Porch of the church of Rennes-le-Chateau. And at the Fontaine des Amour. And in the cave of Baulou where Mary Magdalene is illuminated by the search light of the camera. Maybe they are waiting for my e-book called “De Orbs evolutie.” This e-book will appear, if everything goes well, this autumn in the Netherlands. But whenever I show my guests, people who are interested in Orbs, the pictures I have, they are flabbergasted. They have never seen anything like this before. Even the most sceptic Orb viewers are ‘turned.’
And then the Orb fever starts. Suddenly every-one wants to take pictures of Orbs. In the beginning several Orbs can be seen, but when more than seven camera’s start clicking at the same time, they disappear. And who can blame them? See pic’s 103 – 110.
It is always a pleasure to welcome Reint and Gabriela at our place. This year they came for the tenth time. With a large group. They always come around the name day or feast day of Mary Magdalene. On July 22nd. Celebrating this event in the cave of Mary Magdalene. In the morning they have their training programs and in the afternoon we go to special places. Like the Cave of Bethlehem, one of the initiation caves of the Cathars. Or to the Montsegur, or to Rennes-le-Chateau. It is wonderful to see them sitting in the garden, in a large circle, talking to each other. Or to celebrate what they call a ‘wild evening.’ Where every-one can show his or her special talents to the group. Great stuff! See pic’s 111 - 116
In September I will be going to the Netherlands again. With my car. So I can bring ‘stuff’ with me, mostly bottles of Blanquette de Limoux, or whatever else you want. And Things from Joke’s shop Renaissance. Just let me know. But this time there is also a special occasion. I will be celebrating, with my comrades from the Navy, that we were installed as naval cadet (Adelborst) 50 years ago at the Royal Naval College in Den Helder. And now we will attend, as a group of old men, at least that’s how it looked 50 years ago, the installation of the new naval cadets. Time flies!
Furthermore there will be visits to my children, my grandchildren, family and friends. And to Femke’s new home in Egmond aan zee. And of course a visit to my publisher where I hope to pick up my new book, “Uit in eigen huis” a cooking book for men. And this time I would like to give my old Volvo, dating from 1993, a good maintenance job. By my trusted friend Roel in Franeker.
If you want me to bring anything with me from France to Holland or anything from Holland back to France or if you have any other request, please contact me. .