Author: Diligent Candy

Wild Things are a Joy Forever

Two years back, on my first visit to New York, my friend from school Shalini recommended a visit to The High Line. We walked there; she stylishly in her boots, and me clumsily dragging my massive backpack.

I loved The High Line (thank you Shalini). It not only recycles and repurposes old beautiful things but also provides this incredible sense of community. It is a living artefact; you walk through it, into it, use it, and get inspired by it, mingled are chunks of concrete, old metal, grass, plants, and graffiti backed buildings. At the end of our walk, the crowning moment, was a magnificient sun dipping down the Hudson river.

Imagine my joy when I realized that the garden designer who worked on The High Line was in fact Dutch and he very generously opened the doors of his private garden in Hummelo, near Arnhem, every year to the public. Of course one of the delights of visiting the gardern is the nonchalant Piet Oudolf casually walking around and talking to visitors, “Is that actually him, oh my God!”

The hour-and-a-half drive from Amsterdam was rain drenched but when we reached the garden looked freshly showered and ready for meet and greet. There is a strange wildness to it. Everything looks like it has grown around, grown into, yet the colors are purposeful, the leaves carefully arranged, there is a balance of height and breadth.

A crafty arched passage of pruned expertise is met with rebellious grass and masses of feral greenery. Thoughtfully placed benches and chairs are alluring. Bumble bees and butterflies fly around in what could well be their paradise. Around there are acres of farms, holstein cows, horses, and sheep.

The garden is magically located in a bucolic postcard village called Hummelo. Where thatched cottages have red doors and gardens have ponds with little wooden wind mills. The garden opens up like a secret path, a hidden idyll, and its rampant plant life is a joy to behold. It reminded me of the wild flower mirth I often see around the Metro Line 51 route tracks, the bloodred poppies, the blue and pink foxgloves, and daisies. Though missing from action were the dandelion bet they would be an utter nuisance in a garden such as this.

For more information on the garden openings and details you can visit the private garden website. There were three of us, and we had to pay 10 euros, which is not mentioned on the site, however given the garden maintenance costs it is understandable.

We rounded off our trip with a walk around the city centre of Zutphen, which was half-an-hour away. We had visited this little town ten years ago and it was sweet to relive old memories and very welcome was the piping hot kibbeling that we devoured in the Saturday market while getting drenched in the rain, ah summer joy!

Pizzas at Sotto

Sotto Pizza on Roelof Hartstaart is a small hidden delight. Tucked away in Oud Zuid it has a wood burning oven that dishes out not just yummy pizzas but also atmospheric charm. The pizzas are much like the texture of a good tandoori roti, perfectly done with none of that extravagant processed stuff we have come to associate with a pizza thus offering an authentic joy that comes with unparalleled taste.

Bambi ordered a non-cheese pizza, which according to him was perfection.


The restaurant is small with no-fuss seating. The tables were all occupied and there were plenty of takeaways during the time we were dinning. Albeit it has this hipster vibe going for it. Around the corner are some beautiful canals as well as Museumplein, so a walk around the block comes highly recommended.


Series – Women with Eyes 

It was such an exhausting and intense experience to work on this canvas. This particular piece was created with few art supplies, three brushes, and six colors, on a former printed canvas sheet that I had to prime before I started drawing. 

I have been dreaming of working with grays, greens, and blues, of geometrical faces, angled women with large drooping eyes on even larger canvases. While I think of bigger projects and tools, I also feel this one is special because it took so little in terms of materials to create it, as though it birthed itself. There was incessant need, a thirst, in this piece, to simply appear in this world, and so it did. 

It depends on how you see things

cropped-image-164-509x300.jpegI see little things.

M. Night might be from my neck of the woods but, I do intentionally mean every word when I say I see little things.

I have Anisometropia, which means my one eye is long sighted while the other is short sighted. This refractive error should have been corrected in early childhood but it went undetected.

Now, it is my superpower.

It manifests in the pictures I take, the food I make, the content I create, and the insight I gain while mindlessly staring into space. It has also become an errant metaphor, which often does not pay heed to my advice.

Will you now be Googling Anisometropia?

P.S.: my hearing I will save for another day, another post…


Burgerbar and galvanting around Sarphati Park

What lovely summer weather we finally have here in Amsterdam.

Aside: We went to the Bangkok restaurant near Rembrandtplein for a meal and I forgot to take food pictures, don’t blame me, blame this decadent weather that tosses all care to the wind. I guess I will just have to go their again, eat again, review it, all for the sake of this blog. *long sigh*

I did manage to take pictures at the Burgerbar, which because of the bright sun turned out well. I had the brown bread chicken burger, with avocado and jalapenos, so insanely good. The chicken was crispy outside and juicy, lovely moist, on the inside. The decor is basic and not even remotely impressive. It is self service with a buzzer alert system. However, the food exceeded my expectations. It reminds me of those pokey old joints that serve amazing delicious no fuss fare.

I must add that part of the charm of Burgerbar is the neighborhood, right around the corner of Sarphatipark this district has a bohemian relaxed vibe. There is a Yoghurt Barn, vintage clothing stores, ice cream parlors, and yoga studios.

While we were chilling in the park, watching the blue sky and reading our books, there were cyclists who handed out plastic mats for folks to lie down on the grass (sponsored by Karwei), ice cream carts that rang their bell, children blowing bubbles, banter from picnicking people, and the atmosphere was packed with that inexplicable summer feeling. You know that unbottleable (I made that word up) air that reeks of floating dandelion pollen, flipflops and tank tops, whitened sunscreen skin, and appears like bug bite marks on bare legs, yes, indeed zomer tijd is here.

Getting the Cooking Mojo Back

In the busy schedule I have had over the last year (or so) I had completely forgotten how much I enjoy cooking.

I have been growing my own chilies, the lemon plants are thriving, and it feels oddly satisfying to use home-grown ingredients in the dishes we serve and eat.

Thus, to share my reinvigorated joy of cooking, the freedom of time, the gift of sensory delights, and the miracle that is life, a picture from last evening.

‘the PhD experience’

I am thinking of writing a longish post on my experiences as a PhD, perhaps this will spur me on before I forget, and send over the idea to half-baked ventures I promised to do and never did.


Patter is currently on two weeks annual leave. (Faint sounds of cheering.) So thenext four posts are reprints of some otherwriting that might be of interest to Patter readers.This is theforeword I wrote to a new anthology of Australian doctoral researcher stories – Postgraduate study in Australia: surviving and succeeding.It’s edited by Chris McMaster, Caterina McMaster, Ben Whitburn and Inger Mewburn. If you enjoy reading about other people’s experiences of the PhD thenthis bookwill interest you.

The Hungarian social scientist Michael Polanyi wrote a great deal that was relevant to the ways in which learning occurs. Polanyi argued that all knowledge production was an act of creation which was profoundly about the person, their commitments and passions. He proposed that much of what is often understood as systematic, ‘objective’ and the product of logical reasoning, was actually enmeshed in informed hunches, dreams and intuitions based in ‘tacit’ knowledge…

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