Local Heart, Global Soul

October 2, 2014

I Think We Just Saw Jack Sparrow (And A Parrot) In Hastings!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch have seen some surprising things in their travels and passed though many a town and city, but even the kids gave Hastings their full and complete attention as we passed though.

Our Lady Of the Tom Tom was preprogrammed to take us though the dead centre of any place listed as her destination, which often usually turned out to be complete nightmare but on this occasion turned out to be rather serendipitous.

Himself was driving the camper, I’m in the front passenger seat taking photographs as usual,  the kids are sitting around the table in the back, intent on their electronic games.

Suddenly I spot some people dressed as pirates… I alert the kids and we giggle because we think that there must be a fancy dress birthday party going on close by. Our giggles turn to puzzlement when we realise that we are seeing more people further down the street in pirate costumes too.

What? This is clearly a very big birthday party… or something else…

We are heading towards the centre of Hastings, we round a corner and all of a sudden all four of us yell “Whoooah! ” in unison…  Shiver me timbers! …in front of us the pavements on both side are packed with people in pirate costumes!

We are moving slowly because there are so many cars looking for car parking spaces… there are none left, even a dozen streets away from the waterfront, which is clearly why so many people have parked further out and are all walking down the hill towards the beach.

The kids are captivated,  if the massive camper van didn’t mark us out as tourists, the left hand drive, the Dutch number plate, my camera and our excited squealing children with their faces pressed up to the glass certainly did, so quite a few of the passing  pirates gave us a friendly wave and big grins.

As the beach comes into view our exclamations start anew… Whoa, Whoa, Whoa ! there are not just thousands of people on the beach, there are tens of thousands  of people on the beach, many of them in pirate costumes! (Maybe Jack Sparrow is in there somewhere too? There is music pumping out from everywhere, there are people dressed as pirates in everything from just the addition of a striped tee-shirt or a pirate hat, to full pirate regalia, some of it amazingly  and brilliantly elaborate.

We even spot a “parrot” crossing the road!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There were so many pirates to see that all four of us were talking over each other, all pointing out to the others what we could see best from our vantage points…

…”There, by that café!“, “Look! by that crossing!“…

…”Wow! Look by the traffic light on the other side of the road!”…

… “See THAT one over there!“…

all four of us were laughing our socks off, what a surprise find whilst trying to navigate from A to B through what we thought was “just another town”.

It too ages to crawl along the beach front and out of town, we didn’t mind, there was entertainment everywhere.

I have no clue (then or now) what this dressing up was in aid of, but it seems that Hastings has a “Pirate Day” and judging by the turnout, it’s a massive success.

I have never seen so many people crowding pavements at one time, it was like a swarm of people. The temperature was around 26 or 27 degrees Centigrade and the skies were blue and cloudless so the Pirates of Hastings were certainly exceptionally lucky with the weather. Arrrhhhh me hearties,  All I can hope is that this is an annual event and that if any reader lives anywhere even remotely local (heck, even if you live further away it looks well worth the trip!) that you grab your pirate hat and costume and go have what looks like an enormous amount of fun in Hastings.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

October 1, 2014

Off Along The Sea Side: But Every Man And His Dog Has The Same Idea…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the summer of 2013 we went out with a camper van to visit England.

After driving through Belgium and France, taking the channel tunnel train, staying in Folkestone and visiting friends we are now ready to explore some of England’s south coast.

We knew we wanted to head west, and following the coastline seems like a good idea.

What we didn’t realise was that taking these smaller roads, some parts of which were clogged up with lots of holiday traffic would make what looked like a reasonably short journey into rather a longer one than we anticipated. Several times we sat completely still, locked in traffic jams. We wanted to stop on the sea front on several occasions but the car parks were full to overflowing: cars were parked on grass verges, squeezed in between bollards, half on the road and half off it and in all sorts of  precarious places.

One thing was certain, if there wasn’t a parking space for a Mini, then there was no hope for our hulk of a vehicle. However, having a toilet on board comes in handy when you are standing stuck in traffic, there is nowhere to pull over in sight and a kid is desperate. We enter “1066 country” where the battle of Hastings took place, and I dredge up the one and only  school fact that I know about that war, which was that it didn’t actually take place in Hastings, but in a rather appropriately (if boringly) named place close by called “Battle”. On the upside, taking the little roads gets you a far better view of a country than from a motorway, so if you have time  ….why not?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 30, 2014

Our Very First Bash At Pitching Up With A Camper And Locals To The Rescue…

Filed under: Accomodation,Folkestone — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The camping park where we spent our first night in the UK  on our 2013 summer holiday was called “Little Satmar” and it’s located a short drive away from the top of the Dover cliff and hill behind Folkestone.

The signs can be a little hard to spot,  we had to look for a little lane off the main road first and once we’d found that we were fine finding the address.

There’s a large car parking area by Reception, a small shop for last minute essentials,  laundry facilities and friendly staff who get us checked in easily.

Our pitch is reasonably close to the toilet block, so easier for me to negotiate.

Our camper is so big it has an on-board toilet and shower but we quickly discover that just the toilet alone depletes the on-board water tank very quickly and lugging water to refill it is a tiresome job that lands squarely one Himself’s shoulders because of the weight of the buckets and the distance to the water supply. The toilet is has a small tank and would need emptying frequently if all four of us used it all the time.

I’m more than happy to take a morning shower in the toilet and shower block, and to walk to the toilet bloc during daylight hours: it’s the middle of the night stop for my water works that I’d prefer not to do around the camp-site in the dark on crutches. Therefore on the first night we decide to not bother using the shower in the camper at all, and that I would be the main user of the camper loo, and would restrict that to night-time necessities.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The kids could use it if they were desperate and couldn’t get to a toilet anywhere else, but otherwise they would have to use their legs so that Himself wasn’t on full time loo emptying duty as well as water replenishing duty.

Once again we realise that popping out for fish and chips is seriously impractical because Himself has set up the little tent outside, the large fold-out table, the bikes etc and the nearest fish and chip place is back in Folkestone so driving there would mean having to pack half of the stuff up again. For a while it looked like our fish and chip treat is off the menu but our Folkstone friends come to the rescue by suggesting that they pop out to visit us rather than via versa, and offered to fetch our fish and chips for us on their way out of town.

It was a perfect solution, we paid them for our meal when they arrived and  enjoyed our treat doubly because we were tired and hadn’t been looking forward to cooking. It was excellent to see our friends again, they  were getting busy to sell their big house and not everything was running smoothly, and added to this our terminally ill friend had had some ups and downs in his medical treatment progress so we had plenty to catch up on.

The camping ground isn’t only for tents, caravans and campers as I imagined, but there are also static caravans… actually they look more like little houses than caravans. It seems that people buy these and then pay a fee to park them here, (some are hired too) and return year after year to their little holiday homes. Some even have patios and beautiful flower gardens around them! It’s something I’ve never seen before and not something I expected in a “camping” place.

The camp is nice and quiet, our fellow campers are lovely, friendly and helpful: Kiwi Daughter rides a unicycle and the bolt that holds the peddles on broke, a fellow camper from the UK saw Himself rummaging though our very limited tools, overheard a disconsolate Kiwi Daughter being told that we didn’t have anything to fix it and offered to fix it for her.  She was delighted when these seasoned campers pulled out a serious tool kit and fixed it for her. It’s our very first stay (ever) at the camp site like this… lots of nationalities side by side and friendly. As holidays go, this is an excellent start.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

September 29, 2014

We Aren’t Lost, We are …..”Sightseeing”!

Filed under: England,Folkestone,photography — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer  we hired a camper and headed to the UK.  We have friends who live in Folkstone but our camper van won’t fit in their  tiny driveway and parking is restricted on their busy street.

One of our friends there has made it clear we can stay with them as we usually do, but he is terminally ill and he and his wife are getting ready to downsize from their enormous home

We are concious of the extra work a family of four landing on them imposes, and have therefore opted to stay at a camping ground locally and visit them separately instead.

Luckily we had the good sense to pack Our Lady of the Tom Tom, because as usually we are the family of geography buffs  who  know a ton about the world in general  but are navigationally challenged when it comes to the basics of getting from A to B.

We  start to figure out where our roost for the night is located… up a steep hill to the top of the Dover cliffs behind Folkestone.  About now we also discover the first down side of camper van travel…  Himself intended to use the bike in our luggage compartment to cycle for groceries… but now that we’ve seen the size of the hill he would have to lug the stuff up, we opt for a “U” turn instead and take the camper to the local out-of-town supermarket.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are going to have to think of this more often during the trip… it’s not like you can pitch up, get out everything for a dinner outside and then pop out to the shops, with a camper you have to take the whole kit and caboodle with you when you drive off.

It’s also clear that small shops on busy roads are too much of a parking challenge for this mammoth of a vehicle, especially when we have a continental set up with driving on the right hand side of the road in mind and our friends in the UK have this habit of driving on the left, which in our vehicle is rather inconvenient.

We mange to find a supermarket we can negotiate without taking out trees, bikes, post boxes, lamp posts, unsuspecting, dog walkers, slow moving pedestrians, other cars and other stationary objects to get the shopping and head out of town again but not without stopping for several sets of friendly directions and taking the scenic route.

There’s nothing like getting lost for old time’s sake is there? In fact, let’s just loose the word “lost” and tell everyone we are just “sightseeing around Folkestone”…  Ha! … if you don’t tell, no one will ever know! (ok,  except of course those who know us well !).

The upside is that we get another look at some of the beautiful architecture of this lovely town…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 28, 2014

Beware: A Top-Box Puts You Into A Higher Price Fare…

Filed under: Channel Tunnel,France,photography — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve blogged about the Channel Tunnel before, but this is the first time that we’ve travelled though it in a vehicle bigger than the average sized car.

Camper vans are tall and are therefore the channel tunnel train operators  are unable to get a double story of vehicles onto the train.

It’s not surprising that the fares for the crossing are more expensive for bigger vehicles too, which of course we completely understand and have no issue with.

However, what I didn’t realise until we boarded the train was that an ordinary car fitted with a top-box also qualified as a “larger vehicle” and had to travel on the more expensive tariff as well.

My photograph doesn’t do justice to the size difference between the car in front of us and our camper van, we are already sitting considerably higher than them and have the compartment that houses one of the double beds above our heads in addition to that so our vehicle is massive compared to theirs. It’s a warning for people who might expect that a regular sized car with a top-box would fit in with the other cars without one, be prepared if you have a top-box for that extra luggage to be land you in the higher tariff section of the train.

September 27, 2014

A Mystery…But Where Is Google Earth When You Need It?

Filed under: France,photography — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

For the last few years whenever we have come close to Calais on the E40 /A16  I have had a fleeting glance of something mysterious out of the window. I’ve tried to take photographs but there are quite a few trees and bushes in the way and we have passed by in a flash. It seems that there are letters so maybe some sort of logo spelt out out on the ground, so curious, I take photographs of  a motorway road sign  to give me a rough geographical book-mark, however when I  look on “Google Earth” I can’t find it anywhere. It’s definitely been there for at least two years and It’s a mystery that I one day hope to solve.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

September 26, 2014

Stopping And Finding Our Very Own Art Exhibition…

Filed under: Art,France,Funny,kid stuff,Life,photography — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Families with children will be familiar with the trials and tribulations of travelling long distances with their offspring by road.

We get our kids to pack a small bag of favourite bits to keep them occupied. We allow time on electronics that we don’t allow at home and we stop regularly for rest stops.  Last year during our summer holiday we need such a stop.

One kid is hungry, the other needs a loo and I need to get out of the moving vehicle for a bit because I’m feeling green.

We pull into one of the smaller rest areas, there’s a cafe come snack bar, toilet facilities and a picnic table to sit at on the grass a few meters further.

It’s busy when we arrive and the camper isn’t small, luckily another camper pulls out and we take it’s place.

The kids make a happy discovery when the camper’s side door is opened:  the kids who were here previously have been busy adding artwork to the pavement and we have drawn up into the perfect spot to view it. I dare you not to smile as wide as we did…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 25, 2014

It REALLY Didn’t Look So Big When I Saw It On The Net…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As regular readers of this blog will have worked out by now, I cover our travels in detail… I love nothing more than to spend time uncovering the detail of the places we go to, where we stay, what we eat and what we do.

Since this blog is primarily my electronic journal (albeit without identifying information) and I use it to document our lives and travel so that my children and future generations can look back at our family history.

Already my children ask for reminders about past trips, places they have seen or have fuzzy memories of, and with a few quick clicks of my mouse I can show them photographs and see their faces light up with recognition.

It makes it all worth it and so I will be busy continuing this style in the future. Himself and I have always been avid travellers, and having children has not changed this. Yes, we do travel a lot… but we have a simple philosophy: live very simply at home, save hard and get out and see the world when ever we can. We cook from scratch, Himself and I both work, we live with few gadgets and no debt (unless you count our mortgage) We live well within our means and if we don’t have the money for something right now, we save and wait until we do. We love second hand stuff and fully embrace the reduce, recycle, reuse philosophy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Once in a while we splash out on something expensive, and that’s what happened in the summer of 2013 when we booked a Camper-van and headed across the Channel to the United Kingdom. I booked the Camper from an advert on the internet ten months earlier.

I was perplexed because quite a few vehicles had beds for four persons but only seats and seatbelts for two. Hmmm I didn’t like the sound of that.  We teach our family that everybody has to be belted up.

I ended up booking a camper-van that had six beds and seats and seatbelts for four. Himself drove to the depot to get it and arrived back in our narrow Dutch street with a monster of a vehicle.

We were all shocked, it was massively bigger than we expected. It was a tiny bit like what I expected but on steroids. Camper-van virgins beware. On the upside the kids squealed with delight that there was even space in the interior luggage compartment for bicycles. We quickly drew the attention of the street, people came out to the pavement and oogled. I kept apologising that it took up half the street in parking space. It felt enormous, well in truth, because it was enormous. We packed that night and piled in bright and early the next morning.  We edged out of our small street. Calais, here we come.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Part of Rotterdam Havens…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yes, the river really is that much higher than the land… Luckily the dyke systems work well.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The usual rural scenes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Not quite your usual rural scene…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Belgium border… just drive on….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are taking a short cut route…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Somewhere near the Belgium / French border…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

September 24, 2014

Having A Nuclear Scan And …No Worries About Leaving Glowing In The Dark!

Yet another update on the recovery process of my foot after my 2010 staircase fall.

After being recommended by a rehabilitation specialist a knee high pair of orthopaedic boots that would be custom made around the displaced bones as a ” best final solution”, I started looking into getting more information on the possibilities of surgery to correct the displaced bones instead.

Therein started a whole new chain of events: complicated and with a lot of ups and downs, most of which I have already documented in my last update: 

http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/new-1540/

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I got a referral for a CT scan, which showed more bone damage than first thought to the “navicular”,”cuboid” and the “cuneiforms” … which in layman’s terms means roughly the large lump of bones between your heel and the long metatarsal bones at the front of your foot.

Yet more detail was necessary so the next scan I was signed up for was a nuclear scan. “A What?” … Yep that’s what I said too.

Therefore in this post you are being treated to an inside look at a nuclear scan.  Actually it’s far more simple than I imagined, and No, the staff don’t have to kit out in head to toe radiation suits as I faintly worried about either.

First, Himself and I head down to the hospital cellars… no wine down here, just some large machinery. Once in the basement and having had everything double checked at the desk, I leave Himself in the waiting room and go sort out a changing room.

Foot injuries are at least handy on one level: no stripping off and getting into ridiculous hospital gowns necessary.

Instead I just remove my foot support brace and my right foot shoe and sock.  I have to roll up my trousers as far up as I can get them so I wobble towards the machine looking like a lost paddler in search of the sea-side. Once I’m seated on the bed, a concoction is injected into my arm: that’s the nuclear bit. It’s a low dose of radiation that will flow around my system, and which can be picked up by the scanner.

Then my feet are positioned just as they need them to be, the bed I’m sitting on is raised, the plate my feet are on is lowered, so it’s like sitting on the end of a bed with your feet on the floor. They will scan both feet because they have extra space left over on the plate and a comparison with my “good” foot may well be helpful.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next I have to stay perfectly still for eight minutes. Goodness knows what the scanner did, but a few whirrs and clicks later it was busy.

Eight minutes later this part of the process was done.  I’m told to drink as much as I can in the next three hours, preferably  at least eight cups of water and to come back in three hours.

Three hours and numerous trips to the “little room” later I’m back at the hospital and on the bed again. This time to lower end plate near the scanner circle is raised and I’m laying down completely with my feet sideways on the plate. I take some photos before the scan starts which is why some are a bit on an angle.

This time I have to be perfectly still for five minutes for the first scan, my foot gets positioned a little differently and then there’s another five minute scan. Done! simple as that.

I get sent home with instructions to drink yet more water and the results will be available to the various Doctors soonest.

The staff doing the scans were rather amused at the photographs… “No problem” they said, and answered my questions readily. Apparently a lot of scans are done on patients who are bought down under anaesthetic because staying still enough would be too difficult otherwise. Maybe they were pleased to have a patient they could talk to.

The results of the scan are now known, first in medical jargon that x,y,z is damaged etc, all of which went over my head completely, and then the layman’s terms: there is more damage than the Doctors expected to see.  The good news is, I finally have an appointment on the other end of the country for late October with one of Europe’s top foot surgeons and for him at least, these scans will hopefully provide really really useful information.

The pain persists,  I’m still on the morphine based pain relief…the rest is hour by hour and day by day, but I’m counting down the days until we go for this appointment and hopefully get a definitive solution for the long term. That’s positive at least.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

September 23, 2014

Take Away The Canal, But The Water Still Tried To Sneak Back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Dutch are well known for having one of the biggest flower industries in the world.

Their bulbs, blooms and plants are exported world-wide and many a bunch of cut flowers sitting on a vase on global household tables, or bulbs popping through the soils of a spring garden had their origins in one of the acres of glass houses or kilometres of bulb fields here in The Netherlands.

It should therefore not come as too much of a surprise that flowers feature heavily in day to day Dutch life as well. It’s usual to have fresh flowers at home, compared to many other parts of the world they are cheap, there are more varieties of flowers than you knew existed and flower shops are abundant everywhere.

Commercial flower markets these days take place in massive hanger like buildings on an industrial scale, which is a new development of the last century, but the idea of the flower market is anything but new.

The Hague differs greatly in character to Amsterdam…  the city grew quickly as a centre of Government, the Parliament, Embassies and many Government ministries are here and the shift away from a more industrial livelihood towards more bureaucratic one had an influence on the physical landscape as well as the political one.

The word “gracht” or “kade” in a Dutch street name is a word used to denote a road on a waterway and The Hague is fairly unique in that it still retains some streets  that are labelled as “grachts” or “kades”even though the water  has been long since drained and the canals mentioned have been filled in.

 http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/new-1491/

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A few of these streets had their name changed to remove the water reference (e.g. “de la Reykade” became the “de la Reyweg”) but in the central city many of the old names remain, even if the canals have not.

One such road is the “Prinsegracht” in the centre of town… and we learn more from the billboards that the Gemeente Den Haag (The Hague City Council) placed  around the city some years ago as part of the celebration of the one hundred years anniversary of the Gemeente archive department.

What we discovered is that Prinsegracht used to the the location of the Hague’s central flower market.

The merchandise would be bought into the city by boat, the canals were the best and quickest transport system, business would take place on the quayside and traders could easily move in and out of the city centres.

Later though as the city grew, more space was needed but the market had no room for expansion. At the same time the city was developing away from agricultural pursuits so the inner city canal markets moved out towards the city limits and many of the canals were filled in. Today the Prinsegracht is a roadway  on each side with a large underground tram tunnel down the centre. In an ironic twist of fate however, when the tram tunnel was first built it was plagued by flooding, so the opening of the tunnel and new tram system was substantially delayed. Clearly the water just couldn’t stay away.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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