Local Heart, Global Soul

March 18, 2019

Pigs Might Not Fly But Apparently Dogs Did…

Family Kiwidutch see this building often, some good friends live nearby and it’s just a short distance from my physiotherapists practice. The other side of it used to have a large sign similar to the one on the door, for “Tekkel Air” (Tekkel means: Dachshund,  a.k.a. Sausage Dog, Airline) and this was a Travel  Agency.  Recently I think that the building changed owners, all of the signs have been removed and it’s now just another period building amongst many in the area. The pictures of the little dog and the fact that there seemed to be an airline named after a Dachshund also made me smile. I don’t even know if such an airline ever existed… maybe like this building it was wonderful in it’s time but has now been painted out into obscurity.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 17, 2019

Mate, …We Got Your Back.

Filed under: CHRISTCHURCH,LIFE,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A cowardly attack by someone armed with an automatic weapon against innocent, unarmed people on their knees in prayer.

What chance did these peaceful people have?

The perpetrator livestreamed innocent peoples last moments of life as he murdered them, how low can a human being go?

Human being is too good a word, calling him one casts a shadow over all of humanity who find this utterly deplorable. This coward is a monster.

Apparently according to his manifesto the thought that a little out of the way place like New Zealand was immune to this kind of thing, was precisely the reason why Christchurch, New Zealand was *chosen* for this attack.

This coward of a perpetrator wanted that people felt that nowhere in the world was safe.

R.I.P. the poor souls who only wanted to pray peacefully: you didn’t in any way, shape or form deserve this.

My condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims: our tears flow with yours, we feel angry and outraged, disturbed that this awful thing has happened.

We want to show unity, we want to let you know that you do not stand alone in this terrible moment of darkness.

I do not utter the name of the coward who did this: let his name be deleted from the history books, let his name be nothing but a redacted black rectangle on the page.

Let instead the spotlight of these days and history be shone on the victims of this rampage and the good things they were doing in their lives and in this world. Let us grieve for them together, let us show solidarity, let us be the shoulder you can cry on, the one you can talk to, the one with whom we can share prayers.

It’s not:us” and “them

It is:You‘ and “Me‘, and we together are Kiwi’s (Readers may insert the name of your people here.) no matter where we live. Stay strong brothers and sisters. When enough good people stand united, fear and hate will never bring us down. Not when we know that no matter what happens, our mates have our back. We are all in the same boat. Let us always steer towards Peace.

March 16, 2019

The Shower You’d Never Want To Get Naked For…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Of course any posts about our 2016 visit to LEGO World would not be complete with at least one detailed look at one of the pieces.

I am not sure which building this is, but the LEGO builders have not just done an amazing job, they have also put lights inside the model so that the windows are lit, enhancing the features even more.

Then I went on to the Shower, yes, a shower, but it’s not water droplets falling on your head, it’s zillions of tiny pieces of LEGO.

Shower-ees don plastic hooded capes and then walk through the LEGO rain, some of them try and wave to those taking their photograph, others keep their heads down as they get pelted with the plastic pieces.

Smart parents like me sit a safe distance away and use the zoom to try and get pictures of their kids.

Little Mr. held onto the hood of his cape and kept his head down so these were fleeting photographs of a literal moment in time, since the attendants were making sure that the queue kept moving.

Apparently the experience was fun but the LEGO rainstorm hit with more ferocity than expected, those little pellets stung a little on exposed skin.

The verdict was that he happily would do it again but would make sure he kept his head down the whole way, even the idea of looking up into the shower would be a definite no-no.

Once out of the shower the carpet where visitors removed their capes was littered with LEGP pieces that attendants were shovelling back up to be used again in the shower apparatus.

Inspection of the pieces showed that they got warn out and battered from their constant recycling through the shower machinery.

For the LEGO lovers here though, that didn’t matter becuase even if all of these pieces were rather tired looking they were still genuine LEGO parts and the experience was a lot of fun.

We made our way to the car park after that and whilst there I spotted some pigeons taking shelter from the cold on the underside of the bridge.

The bridge itself was also architecturally pleasing, I really liked the design.

Some buskers were parked near the car park and event entrance, our route didn’t take us past them but we had a little music to listen to as we made our way to the car.

Finally, on the way home, we spotted (well they were rather hard to miss) rows and rows and rows of glasshouses, some lit with their glowing yellow fake sunshine and heat to make the vegetables inside grow.

It did at least brighten a grey day, which for us (well especially Little Mr.) were glowing with the tired joy of a day enjoyed and much fun had.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 15, 2019

Wheels, Wheels, And Vehicles Of All Styles…

I am unable to explain the deep fascination that the male human being  has with … wheels. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes are sought after and treasured from as soon as the toddler discovers that the item he has in his hand can move along the ground, and continues until advanced age. Himself and Little Mr. know the makes of all the cars we see on the road, even at a distance there will an excited exclamation from the back seat of: “Porsche!”, “Lambo!”, “Old Timer!” (the name given in the Netherlands to vintage cars) and the like. Discussion is entered into if they disagree about what they have seen or if the model is especially interesting. Me? All I see is: “Car”, “Car”, and “another Car”. If you remove the MiniFig models on display and then look at the exhibits in the 2016 LegoWorld  exhibition, a large majority of them are vehicles of one sort or another from massive to small. Cars dominate of course, then there are trucks, fire engines, trains, boats, helicopters etc. Naturally, having these in the exhibition also gives the organisers and builders the chance to automate them, the train went around it’s track at a speed that paid true homage to the fastest trains of Japan and Europe. Even though I don’t have a particular interest in cars, the detail on these vehicles was impressive. Special Kudos to the shipbuilders too… THAT model had everyone in awe.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 14, 2019

Just A Few Bricks…

Filed under: Exhibitions: LEGO World 2016.,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The 2016 LEGO World exhibition in Utrecht was a serious eye opener for me.

It was my first visit to this annual event and I rather expected rows of completed models, a bit like we had experienced in the Wellington New Zealand exhibit.

Here there were plenty of large scale and complex builds on show, but I was completely taken aback by all of the activity possibilities for the public.

All around the complex were large contained areas filled with blocks that the public could build with.

Forget “Do Not Touch” signs, this was very much a hands on experience.

The areas were separated into themes and styles, so Star Wars, Ninjago, Nexo Knights, Friends, Technics, City, Creator, and of course Duplo building areas were all in their respective “zones”.

In between there appeared to also be several “general” looking building areas so there were areas familiar to builders and also new areas to explore and experiment with.

Parents and kids alike were having lots of fun completing builds, you couldn’t taken them with you afterwards, or even buy the bricks from there areas, it was just fun with the kids.

Actually it was hard to tell if the parents or the kids were having the most fun. Being a commercial event, there was naturally also a very large shopping area, with both box sets of every possible size and loose “pick-a-brick” possibilities.

Several sites around the complex invited visitors to building competitions, other areas were to put completed builds on display so that people could compare and get inspiration from others. This is unlike any other LEGO exhibition I have ever been to. On one hand I like this hands-on approach, on the other I also love the complex and detailed pieces on display that wow with their design, construction and sheer scale. The two styles compliment each other because one showcases for instance a building made up of tens of thousands of pieces, absolutely not the kind of thing Little Mr and I could  make at home, the other gives us practical ideas of things we could design and build at home. I’m impressed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Above): kids build their own Pull-Back cars and then race them…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(Below): So many building areas…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I am not sure what this was… possibility a place to trade/buy second hand models??? It was seriously busy even at the beginning of the day before the bulk of the public arrived.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below): Translated the sign says: “Building competition”.  All of these photos were taken early in the day, later the place was so packed it was almost impossible to get photographs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Above and Below): of course Parents were not going to get past this area without some damage to their wallets… Needless to say Little Mr. practically dragged me in here, sadly he did not get his wish to buy the entire shop.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 13, 2019

LEGO And The NBA…

Getting photographs of the large sized LEGO “Minifigs” in the LEGO World Exhibition in 2016 proved time consuming because they are natural kid magnets. I had to wait at many of them until children finished hugging them, climbing on them or posing for the photos their parents were taking. Ones that were easy were the basketball players: life-sized LEGO figures of famous basketballers, dressed in real clothing, the shirts and shorts of their team and sporting their player number. I know very little about basketball but assume that one of these has to be Magic Johnson, and others Michael Jordon and Larry Bird. That’s pretty much where my basketball knowledge ends, but I was impressed by how these were made, some of the players even balanced real basketballs in their LEGO hands. Little Mr. quickly checked out any of the figures that had to do with the emergency services and we grinned at the determined kid only about one year old or a little older, who seemed to think he could climb onto the back of the cow. He failed of course, raising his leg as high as he could then toppling over several times but going back determinedly for another go. His parents need to be warned he will be a “climber” and better watch their bookcases and anything he might get into trouble on. These are impressive pieces of building work and were certainly appreciated by the kids.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 12, 2019

Truly A LEGO World…

Back in 2016 Little Mr. found out about a large LEGO exhibition in Utrecht. As a fellow LEGO lover I was delighted to go along. We arrived early and waited with the early-bird crowd who gathered waiting for the doors to open. What waited on the other side of the doors was massive beyond my imagination: huge halls and spaces divided into spaces for every conceivable lEGO style and theme. The LEGO exhibits are large and detailed… the lighting is the only tricky thing, it’s a bit darker than I would prefer.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 11, 2019

Countryside views, Modern And Traditional Together…

The views countryside on our return journey from Zeeland in 2017 were varied in that the weather was a little dull and overcast, it was the end of the day and we wanted to get home. Traffic varied too but the route via the Rotterdam Havens kept us out of the worst of the traffic jams. Little Mr. saw a tanker and wondered why one set of wheels didn’t touch the ground, I saw a bridge that looked like a nature bridge, we all saw the stereotypical sights of the Netherlands: tulips and windmills. These mills are modern and massive, producing electricity from the wind; the central hub deceptively larger than most people realise. In fact I heard from a TV documentary that they are bigger than many Dutch apartments. The little farmhouses and stripes of purple blooms, a wonderful reminder that a modern international industry is still carried out in an old tried and true traditional way, the mix working perfectly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 10, 2019

The Devil Confirms The Most Evil Of Road Users…

Filed under: ART,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I’m always on the lookout for quirky things. Coming home from out 2017 Easter break, passing Rotterdam we got stuck in heavy traffic. The car in front of us was a Volkswagen or as I usually say it a “Vee- Dub”. I don’t know what it is, but often (back during my driving days) if there were incidents of people cutting in front of me, racing last moment through exceptionally “stale” or even red lights, not indicating or just generally being an inconsiderate fellow road user, then it would very often be a VW Golf the culprit.

Himself thinks that maybe a certain type of person is drawn to buying this make and model of VW, and he adds Alfa Romeo drivers to his list of inconsiderate drivers too. On the occasion of this sighting, this German VW driver was behaving himself, (not that you can do much in a traffic jam). Apparently confirming our stereotype, around the VW emblem on the car boot, was the figure of a devil. It seems that even the drivers themselves know they are the most evil of road users!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 9, 2019

The Answer My Friend, Is Blowing In The Wind…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Windmills — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands is trying to become completely independent from all imported gas for heating, cooking etc. from approximately 2025-2030.

With these dates looming fast, a lot of investment is being made in green alternatives.

Wind and solar are the “big two” of course, with heavy investment into R & D for other possibilities like wave technology close behind.

With the coastal areas averaging 360 windy days per year, it’s no surprise why windmills have been such a success throughout Dutch history.

Large modern wind turbines dotted around the landscape, and even bigger wind farms in the North Sea supply more and more of the countries energy, but there are some smaller wind generation alternatives around too.

This variety of small wind turbine looks perfect for a “local” solution, and personally I’d love one of these on our house, the only downside is that I am not sure how much noise these make and if they therefore would be suitable in a residential area.

The noise of just one single unit, might not be a problem, but if they were especially successful and several sets of neighbours wanted one too, then a string of them in each street might have a cumulative noise effect that may well become a contentious neighbourhood problem. The one I sighted here looks like it’s on a commercial property, so less noise concerns there.

We are totally into the idea of generating our own green electricity, Himself and I are going to be insulating our roof in the next months and afterwards, as much area of the roof as possible will be covered with solar panels.

The cost difference these days is amazing: we bought three solar panels around 15 years ago and they set us back around 10, possibly 11.000,– Euro, Now we can get 25 solar panels for 5.000,– Euro ! Both cases are without subsidy, but in the latest set, we hope to fight a bit harder for our share of the tiny subsidy budget that the Gemeente (city council / Town hall) has, even if it gets paid retroactively in the next years. In the meantime our electricity comes via one of the big wind energy companies, so we are trying to do what we can to keep the planet healthy. Hopefully part of the answer to the global warming crisis is blowing in the wind…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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