Himself’s Aunt went on a trip to China with her husband last year, and when they got back I recieved a wonderful bonus to my collection of manhole / drain covers. All sorts of diverse patterns and even a few shapes make for some interesting ” wrought iron” creativity. The two places these were taken in was Guilin and the Forbidden City, even if the latter consists of only the last three photographs. My many thanks goes to Aunty “I”, for taking these for me, and for the many readers who enjoy these too.
April 24, 2017
April 19, 2017
The exhibits continue one after another at Fort Kijkduin. I am taking up the rear of our group, enjoying it all at a leisurely pace. (“Fast” is a setting I no longer have after my accident anyway). There is however something very very different just around the corner… Looks like I am in for an unexpcted surprise…
April 18, 2017
“History” appears to suit me. Not only do I adore old things, I also find them aesthetically pleasing and a delight to my artistic eye.
I only wish that my photography skills could do these pieces justice.
Needless to say these are going into my arty archive reference files so that if ever I want to draw these, I can find them back amongst the tens of thousands of photographs that have now accumulated on this blog.
Fort Kijkduin has so many artifacts, amazing historical exhibits that a bit of blog post photography can not nearly do them justice. A visit would be highly recommended.
Even four of the five kids in our group gave this activity a five star rating.The other kid was roughly one year old at the time and gives the same grin and giggles to everything here as he does to playing with shiny crinkly wrapping paper. Put it this way, he didn’t cry and for most of the time he wasn’t asleep. I suppose that counts as a tiny thumbs up from the smallest member of our group. Finding and activity that equally pleases a 1,4,5,11 and 15 year old is a tough task, the Fort does a good job of keeping them happy.
I love these quirkier items: a bottle labeled ” azijn essence” ? (vinegar essence) … ok, what on earth did they do with that? Drink it? Horrors.A green box with a handle on the side to turn… a pump handle perhaps? Two taps are located on the front, one of them very large, the other small. Both have fancy decorative shapes.Might this have been used for water? booze rations for the troops? Who knows.. it’s an interesting item that may well have had a label (obviously I missed it). I love weird stuff like this. Old suitcases, rusty keys, bottles and lamps round out the collection for this post.
April 17, 2017
The history continues in the next rooms of Fort Kijkduin near Den Helder. This time the focus is on militeria: medals, awards and coins. These are just a few examples of the many here. I am also saving these as reference material for my drawing files. I find that many of the patterns in these pieces are tiny works of art in their own right.
April 13, 2017
Fort Kuijkduin has seen many changes since it’s formative days as a single story series of complex tunnels and bunkers.
Over time more layers were added, the fortifications increased and the size of the site changed as war, and the defences needed against enemies changed.
The complex tunnel system (or at least some of them) are open to the public, but accessible only by staircases, so out of reach for me and any other less able-bodied visitors.
Although I missed this section of the complex there is still plenty more to enjoy on the upper levels and if you really wanted to stop and look at everything in absolute detail, then one visit here would not be enough.
Models, diagrams, historical artifacts and more abound.
In the first hall that I enter, a mannequin figure in one of the alcove cells immediately gives me the impression of a famous painting by Goya and indeed I find out that this is no coincidence. I studied this painting in my Art History days of youth.
With my study notes long gone I found this excellent background:
“In 1807 Napoleon offered an alliance with Charles IV of Spain in order to conquor Portugal. Napoleon’s troops poured into Spain, supposedly just passing through. However the alliance was a trick: The French were taking over and Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, was now the new King of Spain.
On May 02 1808 hundreds of Spaniards rebelled. Unsuccessful, these freedom fighters were rounded up and massacred by the French. Their blood literally ran through the streets of Madrid. Goya, although having French sympathies in the past, was appalled by these events and commemorated the uprising in two paintings, the most famous of which being “Third of May 1808”.
To discover why this exhibit is here I read from an information board:
“On 02 May 1808 the Spanish people stood up against the French but their attempt was unsuccessful. The painter Francisco de Goya made a moving painting about the mass execution that followed.
Many (Spaniards) were made prisoner of war and were forced to work on all sorts of large projects throughout the French empire. One of the persons depicted being executed in this painting is a symbol for all of the prisoners of war who were transported here and forced to dig out Fort Kijkduin.” I had no clue that this connection existed. It’s a sobering thought, not just for the Spanish who lost their lives but also for those and all the other prisoners who were forced into hard labour both at home and abroad.
Fort Kijkduin, situation 1812, lighthouse removed 1822…
Fort Kijkduin, situation 1990…
April 11, 2017
The strong, cold, gusting wind that greeted us at Fort Kijkduin during the 2016 Easter weekend a gives me a special sympathy for this next subject.
Whilst everybody else scurried hurriedly to the entrance to get out of the wind, Moi, Kiwidutch Plod, was relegated to the rear, slowly making my way with the crutches, taking both rest and photographic stops.
On the other hand though, the biggest advantage of my slowness is that I get to see the most… which is how I managed to add another quirky loo to my photo collection of beautiful, quirky and novel lavatories.
This one has a sign outside: “Officiers Latrine” so clearly historically this was one of the best loos in the Fort.
I find myself wondering that if this was the luxury version offered to the Officers, then what was made available to the poor lesser ranks must have been pretty grim. Access to the Officers Lavatory was via the inner courtyard, exposed to all weathers, which here in North Holland could be brutal in winter. With no visible ventilation it probably stank too. Toilet facilities in centuries past always seemed to be rather rudimentary, but a soldiers life was already a tough one so adding a freezing seat for the basic necessities of life seems cruel indeed.
April 5, 2017
Following yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch and friends are having lunch at the “Storm aan Zee” (Storm by the sea) café in Den Helder.
It was the Easter weekend of 2016 and we’ve just left Texel.
The nautical surroundings are wonderful for this location, and we smiled when we saw small sheepskin rugs on some of the seats as we came in.
What made us all giggle though, were several seats by the door that we missed when we first came in because we were too busy being blown in by the wind.
There were customers there earlier and now that one of them has gone, these seats have become more visible: they are actual toilet seats!
No, not functional ones of course! but two toilets mounted on to the wall, with solid tops in place of the usual seats. A small table in between the loos gives a place for drinks and food. It’s brilliantly quirky and it’s great to see people do a double-take when they see them. Yet another excellent addition to my ” Lavatorial, Interesting Loo’s” category of this blog.
“Bezet” means “occupied”…
April 4, 2017
We have arrived on the side of Den Helder opposite the port.
It was the 2016 Easter weekend and we have just come off the ferry from Texel, where we have spent the weekend with two sets of friends.
Kiwi Daughter is travelling in the other car rented by one set of friends, the other friend and her daughter are travelling with the rest of us in our car.
Because I never eat before a boat trip, I am now feeling more than a little peckish, the others, who did have breakfast, are hungry again since it is lunch time, so although the place we have come to see is literally meters away, the concessions is that a lunch break is in order first.
The eatery for that lunch is “Storm aan Zee” (Storm on the Sea) and there can hardly be a more appropriate name for it on a day like this.
We, and others battle the wind for a cosy place inside and are soon sitting down for toasted sandwiches, fries, hot chocolates, teas and coffees. The place is decked out from top to toe in nautical and Dutch items: the stone Bols genever bottles, ropes, old kettles etc. The food and service were excellent: our party arrived in dribs and drabs but putting Kiwi Daughters food and drinks by our earlier bill was no problem (Dutch cafe’s and restaurants are rarely in the habit of splitting bills: that’s usually for the customers to take care off.
The wood stove looks like just the thing on a colder winter’s day, and there are some quirky seating, like small sheepskin rugs on a few of the seats in place of cushions. It’s not the sheepskin rug seat covers have have us all giggling however…
April 1, 2017
We are getting ready to leave Texel.
Our 2016 Easter trip to the island has been a hit with everyone, the kids enjoyed the activities, adults like me very much enjoyed not doing the activities, and everyone mentioned that they would love to come back again.
For three families and a total of five kids, that’s quite impressive.
I imagine that in summertime the weather is definitely better, or at least less cold than in some parts of our weekend, but on the downside, it’s also probably bursting at the seams with tourists too.
The later is not really our scene so maybe part of the charm of this trip is that we braved the unexpected gusts of wind, sudden showers and freezing nights, and enjoyed the relative quiet that the off-season offers.
For every one of my “clear” photographs I also have many that went straight to the delete bin because windscreen wipers were in the middle of the image, water shaken from roadside trees splattered on the side window, or fuzzy and on angels because wind, camera and crutches are a tricky combination.
We only explored part of the island, Den Burg, the main village I barely touched: our activities were not located there and we simply ran out of time. My last look around finds more “half-barns” and interesting sights like the two unusually shaped ‘bus haltes” (bus stop) shelters in the first photograph. Clearly built to withstand anything the elements can dish out, and completely in line with this islands seeming obsession with strangely shaped roofs. Texel is a charmer, I think it will not be long before we are back.
March 31, 2017
Unusual things always catch my eye. Sea buoys on land always look impressive because we are not used to seeing them up close. These ones, seen on our 2016 Easter trip to Texel are just quirky enough for a second, third or fourth look. I also want them saved into my “Reference” folder for any future arty projects.
I’m curious too, in their “working” life, did they mark the spot of a wreck? the entrance to the harbour? the presence of a sand bank or shallow water? Did they show the location of farmed mussels? a special diving spot? Who knows. I categorise this as … the beauty of detailed engineering.