Local Heart, Global Soul

May 28, 2015

Swans Everywhere in De Zwaan…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Firstly my apologies to my early bird readers who only got a “part” post with no photographs yesterday, it seems that an earlier version of my post got saved instead of the final version.

A special “Thank You” to fellow blogger and regular reader Kiwiskan for letting me know so that I could fix it :)

Now I have to offer apologies to the same reader for this post, it seems that food photographs of luscious deserts and the like can be rather torturous at this reader’s breakfast time.

Since Kiwiskan is in New Zealand I’ve advised her to get even by posting photographs on her blog of all the yummies from home that I can’t get in the Netherlands.

Then we would be square and equally tortured.

It was late afternoon on a Friday last summer when Himself delivered Little Mr and three other little boys to a camp site in Belgium.Not being allowed to leave the country whilst on medical leave, I was dropped off at the last Dutch village before the border, which happened to be Borkel en Schaft.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The camp site was only ten kilometres over the border so Himself dropped them off as quickly as possible and arranged to come back and meet me for dinner.

Kiwi Daughter was away having a sleep-over at a friends’ place so with Little Mr deposited at the camp site we didn’t have to rush back to The Hague.

After checking out the architecture and history of the local church, I saw a promising looking café / restaurant called “de Zwaan” (the swan).

At first I thought they must be closing because there wasn’t a soul at the tables out the front, but I went inside to ask and then found out that the reason none of the patrons were out the front, was because they were all in a wonderful garden out the back.

Filled with sculptures and shade trees and flowers,  I sat down and had a cup of tea whilst I waited for Himself to arrive. He duly arrived and we ordered…  the evening was warm and the setting was lovely, the meal was nice and we ate as the sun set.

There was one burst of sunlight through the clouds that I attempted to capture, a different camera setting would probably have given a better result but I liked the photo anyway. It was dusk as we left for the journey home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

Restaurant “de Zwaan”
Mgr. Kuijpersplein 18
5556 VS Valkenswaard

May 27, 2015

A Little Church And Many Souls…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve been dropped off in the small village of Borkel en Schaft, the last village on this road before the Belgium border.

Himself and four children have gone on ten kilometres further to drop the kids off at a camp-site in Belgium and he will return shortly and join me for dinner here.

In the meantime I am in a little square, there are some houses, café’s and at the end, a church. The church graveyard is around the church and looks interesting so whilst I wait for Himself,  I go over to take a look.

An information board on one of the entrance pillars tells us (I’ve translated it from Dutch) “Borkel and Schaft were formerly two seperate villages that stood very close to one another. Over time they grew together and the name of the merged villages became “Borkel and Schaft”.

St Servatius church and cemetery area was finished in 1845. For a time Borkel, and Schaft each had their own church and cemeteries. (Kiwi’s note: I didn’t see another church in the village so where the other church is, or was, isn’t clear).

In 1890, the tower of the St Servatius church was raised and received a clock tower level and in 1925 the church was extended with a new priest choir, sacristy and local catechism.

A new rectory was also built, and the cemetery extended into the garden of the former rectory. During the World War II offensive of “Operation Market Garden” on 17 September 1944 the church was struck and destroyed by three rocket bombs.

After the war, the church was restored to its original state. In 1995 a new cemetery space was made on the extra land that came with the new rectory, on the Dommel stream side of the church. (the other side of the church that I couldn’t see from here) In 2005 and 2006 respectively, the wall and fence around the old cemetery were restored.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 26, 2015

RaboBank Is Downsizing: …Or Shrinking ?

Filed under: Borkel en Schaft,Funny,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Borkel en Schaft is a tiny Dutch village and their tiny Dutch bank stopped us in our tracks. It’s the smallest bank I have ever seen and is basically an ATM machine enclosed in a building smaller than the average garden shed. The roof, offering protection from the rain as customers take out, or deposit their money seems massive when compared with the size of the building. We found this a funny, quirky, but completely functional building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 25, 2015

A Very Small Adventure To Borkel en Schaft …

Filed under: Borkel en Schaft,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I am on medical leave from work, and there are certain rules and restrictions that apply to staff members in my situation.

One of them is that I am not allowed to take annual leave, another is that I may not leave the Netherlands without permission.

Last year my outings were therefore few and restricted to weekends.

After several difficult months full of medical appointments and a few social engagements, all of them in our home, I was feeling more than a little house bound.

Little Mr was due to go on a camping trip to Belgium and since we now have a large car, we offered to drop off a few extra children as well.

Although the camp-site the kids were booked at was only ten kilometres over the border, I did not have permission to leave the Netherlands so we found a compromise that would please everyone. The children were to be there after school on a Friday evening, Himself would drop me off at the last Dutch town before the border then drop off the kids at the camp-site in Belgium, then return and join me for dinner. That’s how I ended up in the small village of Borkel en Schaft. Let’s get going southwards…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 24, 2015

At Least You Know Who You Have To Ring To Put Out The Fire!

Filed under: Funny,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Regular readers will know that I’m a Foodie so this post won’t come as a surprise. We were at the “112 Day” last summer when we all stopped and laughed at this stall. They were selling chili sauce and the label reads: “112 Saus …Gevaarlijk Lekker!” (112 Sauce, dangerously delicious!) “112” being the telephone number that you need to ring when you need one of the emergency services in the Netherlands. We didn’t buy any but we loved the humour, and at least you know who to ring to put out the fire!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 23, 2015

Little Mr Gets Innocently Involved In A Car Chase…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch are taking a look at the Delft 112 Dag.It’s an emergency service Open Day and was held in the main fire station in Delft, a city just outside of The Hague.

They showed off everything from vintage fire engines to super fast top of the range super cars, needed for when officers of the law need to give chase to fellow Lamborghini or Ferrari’s, or need to get people somewhere at top speed.

Personally I prefer the vintage vehicles, they have a certain charm and character that I find absent in the newest  cars, but judging by the queues around the super cars it’s each to his or her own.

In one of the side streets some owners of vintage and super cars had parked up their vehicles as an additional exhibit and Himself and Little Mr must have made especially admiring noises at one of the very expensive ones because next thing we know Little Mr , as a special exception, had been invited to sit in the driver’s seat and sat beaming behind the wheel for about five minutes whilst the big boys talked about this very expensive toy.

All of the adults found themselves grinning when, away from the conversation Little Mr started to amuse himself by moving this hands around the steering wheel, not fully touching but just about it, and in his own little world suddenly oblivious to everyone else, started making not only car engine and revving noises but also a soft out-loud conversation, something along the lines of  “… if we hurry, we can catch the robber, we cut him off with a short-cut down Hoofweg, we mustn’t let them let away…“. It took everything we had to suppress the giggles, and judging by the surrounding male faces Little Mr was clearly acting out loud what many of the adults probably wished they could!

After a minute or two the bubble burst and Little Mr returned to reality in the blink of an eye and total innocence that his imaginary world had been observed. So, on that note… this is a post about checking out the wheels… what’s on top of them comes in all shapes and sizes. Here is an assortment that Little Mr most definitely approves of…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This isn’t  Little Mr on the motorbike, but this little boy’s face was so prominent in the next two photos I decided to edit a little…

(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)

May 22, 2015

Dial 112, There Is An Emergency Day Out!

Filed under: Activities,Delft,Exhibitions,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m on medical leave from work, so not eligible for annual leave.

That was tough last year when the rest of the family went on holiday without me, but every now and again we managed a weekend event as a family.

This particular one came about after a mention from  one of my sister in laws  who lives in Delft and knew that this would be right up Little Mr’s street.

It was an Open Day for the local fire service, called “112 Dag”  (pronounced “ain ain tway darg” 112 Day,  the 112 part being the telephone number you need to dial for emergency services in the Netherlands).

Little Mr was jumping around as if he was stepping on hot coals,  so excited was he to be ticking down the days.

We tried to get there early but it seems like half of Delft and the Hague had the same idea and it was  seriously busy.

I had doubts about keeping up in the crowd but needn’t have worried, Little Mt wanted to stop at everything! We joined a queue just inside the main gates where children could take the controls of a crane (under strict adult supervision naturally) and attempt to take a harnessed giant sized Garfield soft toy off a “basket” on the back of a truck, and into a large “basket” (crate with a blanket over it) on the ground.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I don’t know how I might have faired if I’d given it a try, but even the little kids had alarmingly good fine motor skills, probably due to playing games like Nintendo or the Wii, and made it look, well, like child’s play.

Yes of course some of the movements were a bit jerky but I noticed that other adults in the queue also noticed and even more, so did the other kids who became rather competitive which was rather a revelation in boys aged roughly between seven and twelve!

We made our way slowly though the stalls and exhibits, There were more exhibits than just the fire service itself, also associated services: a large tent used in exhumations and (animal) bones on show as they ran information clips suitable for family viewing, a massive ProRail truck trailer that is the mobile operations unit for use in train accidents,  police/fire divers and their boats, some huge army vehicles, various cranes, winches and all sorts of things for every situation imaginable.

There is even a training trailer where the public can see what it’s like to be in a smoke filled room. It wasn’t filled with actual smoke of course and whilst the rest of the family were game to give it a go, I have severe asthma and a lung condition so gave it a miss. They reported that inside you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face and had to rely on the fact that they had one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them in order to find the way out.

One of the most popular participation events though was the fire engine bay where you could (with help) feel like it was to hold a fire hose with the high pressure water coming out. Needless to say, from observation it was far harder than it looked and that engine bay was pressure cleaned from floor to ceiling in the process!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 21, 2015

Eykenburg, An Excellent Short Stay Solution…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My mother in law / a.k.a. Grandmother (Oma) still lives in her own home at 92 years of age.

Shortly she will be 93 and although there has been a definite decline in the last twelve months, she is now bouncing back.

Last summer however things were not quite as rosy.

Oma had a bad chest infection and deteriorated to the point where we worried if she would still be with us the following days.

With round the clock care at her lowest point and a lot of family and community nursing effort she rallied and was after a time stable.

Then, just as things were looking up she had a fall and although she was bruised and didn’t break anything her confidence was truly shaken.

She didn’t dare to walk alone, but after a quick check over and a few hours observation she was deemed well enough to be discharged. However it was clear that she wasn’t ready to resume life at home just yet either. The dip in confidence also bought on depression and she complained that her hearing and sight seemed so much worse.

The answer came in the form of a halfway house, something between the hospital and home. It was a wing in an old persons home that takes people for temporary stay, but provides round the clock care, physiotherapy when needed and medical assistance. This was a perfect solution and whilst Oma was there for a bit longer than first anticipated, it gave the family time to get a stair-lift installed  to her first floor apartment and make some changes in her home to make life at home easier once she returned.

Fast forward to this year Oma is doing well all things considering, her eyesight, hearing and outlook on life are all long since improved and whilst things are not back to before last summer (memory etc) she is still enjoying life at home.

The particular home she was in is called Eykenburg  and is a beautiful building in it’s own right. I adore the stained glass and original features (the chapel I only saw from the outside though). I’m not sure if it started life as a hospital or not (I think it might have) but today it houses mostly elderly people. There is a nice mix of old and new architecture and even a quadrangle where you can take a cup of tea. Let’s have a look around …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The newest thing in street bike storage nearby.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 20, 2015

Kickstarter: Kickstarting Some Amazing Ideas…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the things that I’ve decided to do in the last year or so, is to become a Kickstarter backer.

Kickstarter is a website that showcases  new and innovative products, the inventors need investment in tooling and ordering of supplies to bring their product to market, and usually a minimum number of orders to achieve their break-through to market.

How it works: if a product interests you and you have the funds to back it, then you opt for one of a various level of support (different, and listed with each product).

Usually if you can grab the “early bird”option,  you become one of the very first customers to get the product, and at a discounted price, and often the inventors offer their backers future discounts on products too.

Himself and I have everything financial in joint accounts except for a “Hobby” account each, which for me has been building up for years now because I am not mobile and have only a tiny fraction of the social life that I used to have.

I decided that becoming a financial backer of some new and innovative inventions would be something that I was interested in and being a gadget freak helps too!

I’m one of those  “arty types” who likes to draw (usually, that is, since my accident I’ve had little concentration for it).  I also try and get my kids interested in hands-on creative activities rather than electronics (although that seems like a loosing battle some days).

Because of this I was delighted to find the ColorCutter ShapeShark on Kickstarter (all links as usual at the bottom of this post) because it looks like a great way to make personalised cards and decorative creations. There is a cutter and a pen in one unit and to see how this works check out the video…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then there is  “Blue Freedom” the world’s smallest hydroelectric unit, portable and great for camping and outdoor hiking trips: here there are more canals than I can count and in New Zealand rivers and streams galore.

Light and at only 2o centimetres wide, it’s a portable way to recharge phones for emergency, laptops if you are a travelling blogger or best of all, your camera batteries when you are off the grid. All you have to do is to detach the small inner turbine, put it into the water attached to it’s cable lead, turn on the unit and watch it charge your electronics.

What I love most about this one is that it would come into it’s own when natural disasters strike and I know only too well how needed one of these might be in an earthquake situation in New Zealand… or Japan or more recently Nepal. Medical equipment could be eventually be recharged via the nearest stream, perfect for situations when you have large number of casualties and failure of the national grid.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next on my list is the SolarPuff… a tiny solar unit that you leave out in daylight and then produces light at night. Some of these have already been donated to Nepal where they will offer instant help to people suffering from the devastation of the recent series of earthquakes. Another “green” option for camping, hiking and again, for all natural disaster scenarios.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kickstarter

Kickstarter: The ColorCutter® ShapeShark™

Blue Freedom | The World’s Smallest Hydropower Plant

SolarPuff: A Unique Little Solar Light

 

 

 

May 19, 2015

Once Upon A Time, In This Case, A Very Short Story…

Filed under: LIFE,Out Of the Mouths Of Babes,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Being laid up at home I don’t get out very much. Luckily we have good friends who come to visit and one of these are Canadian friends  called “the Travelling Two”.

They have a toddler son who last weekend sat on the floor with Himself whilst his mother and I sat at the dining-room table catching up on the week’s events.

After a while there was some muffled laughter from Himself that slowly got louder and louder so we got curious and went to investigate.

There were two piles of storybooks on the floor.

The Travelling Two’s son was picking up a book from the left hand pile, then uttering the words: “Once upon a time there was “… followed by a short  indecipherable murmuring that Himself thinks translates as toddler speak for “blah blah blah” and meant to be the “text” of the story.

Next the young man announced: “Nu is het afgelopen… …Volgende!”  (…now it’s finished… Next!) and with that, deposited the book into the right hand pile with a flourish and then very seriously turned to the next book on the left hand pile to repeat the process all over again. This had been going on with every book on the right hand pile so far and by now, with the “story” now in it’s umpteenth episode, Himself was having trouble keeping a straight face.

Clearly this enthusiastic toddler was delighting in his “reading” the bedtime stories to Himself. Unfortunately the little man’s mother doesn’t think that she would be able to get away with trying the same method somehow!

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