I spent my writing time at the beautifully restored Rubenshuis, sitting on a bench in the old master’s garden, with its low hedges, little gates, blackish trellises, straight paths, white and yellow flowers, and yellow-billed blackbirds calling sweetly back and forth.
Rubens adorned his garden with baroque statues of Minerva the Roman goddess of wisdom, and Mercury the guide of souls. He also set a small temple of Hercules — the only pagan hero to achieve godhood — in its midst. Hercules wore a lion skin, with the lion’s head hooding his own. The champion’s observant face gazes sympathetically from under the kingly beast’s muzzle.
(Excerpt from Alex’s forthcoming memoir, to be published by WriteSpa Press)