Heavenly hideyhole

Heavenly hideyhole

This morning I took a long walk in the countryside with my better half and the dog. Jean Monnet used to take a walk every morning before he went to work. Unfortunately, I cannot do that. But I am a great believer in getting some fresh air and exercise from time to time. It was glorious weather; a clear blue sky, and that autumnal freshness that presages true winter coldness. The farmers were harvesting their potatoes. Great wagonloads passed us on the muddy lanes. The birds have started migrating and the birdwatchers have started watching them; we passed three¬†ornithologists with a powerful camera hoping to take shots of migrating birds of prey. We saw a flight of geese, a lone buzzard circling southwards, and lots of smaller birds darting towards the south. This walk, near Berthem, with Leuven in the distance, is one of my favourites. Part of the reason for that is a little brick hut that stands in the middle of a field. We’ve met the owner once, a cheery man. It’s very basic. He has to bring water, for example, and he uses oil lamps. He has planted a wall of pine trees to act as a wind break and he keeps his own vegetable garden in a patch of ground in a field opposite. He doesn’t live there, but he comes out to tend the fruit and vegetables and uses it as a sort of summer house. I would give my eye-teeth to have that hut! Each time I pass it, I think to myself ‘how many books, articles and poems I would write, if I could sit in that wonderful isolation’!