This November weekend felt decidedly November. Pumpkins and squash and potatoes made bright orange mounds at every table of the market on Saturday. Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piet helpers (If you’re wondering about the political-correctness… you’re not alone) were at the Town Hall, with his red velvet chair for Christmas photos. (Sinterklaas arrives with presents on December 5 in the Netherlands, so the count is on.) It’s no longer safe to venture out sans mittens, I think, and today there was a lingering dew in the air. It’s good for ya.
And, as I look out my window, there is a thick mass of fog in the air this evening. It’s a deep violet dark night already, even at 5:15 p.m. Here’s how charming this little European town can look on a Friday night in November:
My assignment was to ‘shoot’ s’more windmills, and quick. There are two windmills in the center of Leiden, one of which is under repair. There is a lovely story about the second one below – it is where Rembrandt’s father was working, milling grain, the night Rembrandt was born. Leiden is the artist’s hometown, and while most of his work and education was in Amsterdam, the street where he lived as a boy is still here. I cycled down it today, past his statue, to take a few photos of Mr. van Rijn’s windmill.
It is still in use today, churning grain to flour for a bakery in town. Legend has it Rembrandt was born on a very stormy, very late night in Leiden. As his father hastened to finish his work in the mill, the structure swayed in the wind. His wife’s nurse called to Mr. van Rijn – through the rain and thunder – from their house over the bridge to get him to run over, and quick!