Local Heart, Global Soul

October 22, 2017

The Beautiful Architecture Of The Hague…

A photographic post: from our many travels to and from medical appointments around the city,  another in the series on the beautiful architecture of the Hague…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 21, 2017

Who Can Resist Stopping And Getting A Photo?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sorting out my archive photo files brings many older folders to light.

The Hague doesn’t have the many canals that makes Amsterdam the tourist draw, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s share of beautiful buildings.

Architectural detail is a passion of mine, old buildings, decorative elements, and things of beauty in brick, stone, wood, wrought iron and the like.

I also like that in the Netherlands bikes come in all shapes, sizes and styles: these ones both sport wicker baskets on the front, but the one on the left is twice as big as the one on the right.

In fact I haven’t seen a basket that big before (or since) so I was delighted to have my camera in my backpack.

I also spotted a map shop that looked inviting but we were in town for an appointment so didn’t have time to go inside. I did get a few quick snaps of one of the stunning old maps on a stand outside though. It’s a detail fanatic’s dream. Then there is a door that has decorative grate work incorporated into it and two caved figures into the stone above it, Who can resist stopping and getting a photo? Not me that’s for sure.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 18, 2017

Entirely for My Artistic Pleasure…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This next post is entirely for my artistic pleasure.

I love shape, form, texture and pattern, so the shape of vines on a trellis at Himself’s family friends home in Breda captures my imagination.

I also have a “thing” with plants, trees and leaves at the moment and keep intending to draw them, so these also serve as “studies” for my artwork portfolio.

Not having a garden of my own means that I need to ‘stock up’ on photos for my arty archive when ever I get the chance.

It’s not just the garden that has items I can use as inspirational material either, inside a beautiful statuette, a barometer and the pattern on a dish also catch my eye.

I did of course ask permission to take all of these and since there was no identifying information it was no problem. I even found a garden hose interesting (yes, I know there is no accounting for taste!) Regular readers will know that I delight in photographing every day ordinary things and there is no more ordinary thing than a garden hose.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 17, 2017

My Still Life Folder Grows…

Filed under: ART,attempting Still Life,BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Following yesterday’s post, whilst our Breda hosts are busy preparing dinner I take more photographs, inside and outside. There are spring plants to test my close up skills, and some white flowers outside in a pot that catch my eye. I try different angles and crop out different bits; my Still Life folder grows.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 16, 2017

A Photoshoot Around The House…

Filed under: ART,BREDA,My Reference Library,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Himself’s family friends in Breda have a lovely garden. It was early spring time when we visited and we were told to relax and make ourselves at home whilst they prepared dinner. I found this lovely little bird house and thought I would try some arty shots…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 15, 2017

I Mean, Seriously, Who Doesn’t Love A Turret?

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Never one to miss an opportunity to photograph a beautiful building I ask Himself to pull over when we pass by what looks like a little castle surrounded by a moat.

We pull off the road, into a driveway where I can take photographs where the grand building is less obstructed by trees.

There is a Wikipedia page for Bouvigne Castle (in the Dutch language only) so I have translated it here: “Bouvigne Castle is located near the Mastbos south of Breda and has been owned by Waterschap Brabant Delta since 1972.

After it’s 1975-77 restoration the castle was reopened on September 13, 1977 by His Royal Highness Prince Claus. It is not known exactly how old the castle is or what the original building looked like.

It is known that from 1494 on the De Boeverie estate there was a watered stone house near one large and one smaller farm.

The small farm stood at the intersection of the Duivelsbruglaan and Bouvignelaan but went  up in flames during the siege of Breda by Spinola in 1624.

The large farm had been owned by the Prince of Orange since 1614 and after 1881 by the state. The large farm was destroyed in 1941 by a V-1 bomb but was  rebuilt after the war.

As far as can be determined, the stone house first appeared in publication in an official deed of 1554; the will of former owner Jacob van Brecht. In this testament the castle was described as a stately stone house surrounded by canals.

The home was expanded over time. It began with the stone house, then addition of the first floor of the tower (between 1554 and 1611). In the three years after that, some other renovations took place and the tower was raised with a second floor.

On October 8, 1614, Prince Philip Willem ‘Boeverijen’, along with his brothers Maurits, Frederik Hendrik and Willem II bought the home for 27,000 guilders to use as a hunting lodge.

In total, the castle has been in the possession of eight princes. In 1637 it was headquarters of Frederik Hendrik invaded the city of Breda to end the Spanish rule. Hendrik Carel van Naerssen gave up residence there in 1774 after deterioration of the building due to neglect.  The Nassause Domain Council agreed. Wealthy coffee planter George Ruysch turned up the castle and Frenchified the name to Bouvigne (and named as such in 1802 in a deed of sale).

From 1930 the castle was owned by the government and was rented for a long time to the Catechists of the Eucharist Crusade (Pius X Foundation). In 2007, the castle was regularly in local news in connection with controversial building plans for the castle. Since October 1, 2010, Bouvigne Castle is one of the official wedding venues within the municipality of Breda.” We have to get back to our friends home in Breda where dinner is waiting for us so I zoom in as best I can and capture as much of the detail as possible. With gardens open to the public, round turrets and a fairy tale quality make this building well worth a closer look. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love a turret?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia: Kasteel (Castle) Bouvigne / Breda / The Netherlands. (Dutch language only)

October 13, 2017

Silence Is Golden In The Maria Park…

Filed under: ART,BELGIUM,Meersel-Dreef,PHOTOGRAPHY,Statues / Sculpture — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A few days ago I translated an information board in Meersel-Dreef about how the “Valley of Mercy of Our lady of Lourdes” was founded in 1895.

In todays post we are crossing the road from the monastery and entering the Maria park where the valley of mercy and Lourdes grotto are located.

Pilgrims have been coming here for more than a century, and one of the first warm spring days in 2017 saw the park busy with many visitors, so it’s popularity has far from waned.

The main path separates into left and right branches that curve around in a semicircle,  that meet more or less at the grotto in the middle.

Around each of these curved paths are a series of small hut-like brick buildings, each containing statues that pertain to a station of the cross.

The marble statues inside are beautiful, and it’s a perfect place for contemplation.

The Maria Park is a place where the public are requested to be silent during their visit so that proper contemplation, prayer, gathering of thoughts and finding of peace might be obtained. We visited in silence, and even though the the strength of the religious beliefs between the members of our party of six varied considerably, each of us came away with something from having been here.  They say that ‘silence is golden” and if our experience here is anything to go by, sometimes it certainly is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Eerbied en stilte” (reverence and silence), the sign also requests that dogs be on leads.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This was an additional shrine, but we didn’t take the wheelchair down this side path.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hoogstraten  / Meersel-Dreef / Mariapark
Wikipedia  / Mersel-Dreef / Belgium (Dutch language only)

October 10, 2017

A Monastery Where The Devil Is In The Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing our visit to Meersel-Dreef, the information board describing the buildings history was so long that I have broken it up into two parts: posted yesterday and today.

The board was only in Dutch so I’ve translated it here: “The French revolution: When the French revolution spilled over into this area, the State taxed all religious goods.

In early 1797 the monks were driven out of the monastery. After the Belgium independence was proclaimed, Trappist monks from Westmalle started to use the monastery on 3rd May 1838.

About 30 years later the Kapucijnen monks returned and spiritual life in Meersel-Dreef returned. The Maria Park and the Lourdes grotto date back from 1895. Foundation of the “Valley of Mercy of Our lady of Lourdes”.

After the Maria appearance in Lourdes in 1858 and the renewed interest in pilgrimages, Meersel-Dreef was also given it’s ‘Valley of Mercy’.

Father Jan Baptist, Provincial of Belgium left on a mission to the Punjab in English India in 1895. On the way his ship came into a big storm during which he promised to make a grotto for Our Lady of Lourdes so that he would reach shore safely. He managed to arrive safely so he decided to stand by his promise. In June 1896 he laid the first stone for the Lourdes grotto at Meersel-Dreef in the garden opposite the monastery.

The watermill. In general it is thought that the watermill if Meersel-Dreef already existed in the 14 century, evidenced from a document which describes the renting of the mill “Meerselmolen’ and the farm de Eyssel from Jan IV Van Cuyck, Lord of Hoogstraten.

Like all mills in the duchy of Hoogstraten, the mill of Meersel was a “banmolen” (which means) a mill owned by the feudal lords where the locals where obliged to mill their grains (and pay for the privilege).

The mill was rented out early in the 17 century, and a canal was dug to bypass the mill allowing boats to sail further up the canal. At the beginning of the 20th century the mill burnt down (again) so in 1911 the mill was restored and modernised. This grinding installation is still operational. Opposite the mill is the mill house which was built in 1894. The old mill store house, next to the house, is still used as a house today.’

Try as we might, and with our short walk around just part of the buildings, we found it hard to pinpoint exactly where the mill now is. There was an abundance of outbuildings, some of them possibly dwellings but if one of them was the millhouse, or just part of the buildings and monastery from the Kapucijnen monks, we could not tell.

That said, there was probably a lot more possible to explore but we of course stayed where our hosts lead rather than branching out separately on our own. The Meersel-Dreef buildings continued to delight and as usual I was interested in not just the complex as a whole but also the details. For instance, I love that one window that has diamond shaped panes, opens with nine of the diamonds near the center opening out as one small window. It proves that function and practicality need not ruin the beautiful design, you just work with it and get a quirky diamond-shaped window! Brilliant!

(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 6, 2017

A Vending Machine Gets An innovative Use…

Filed under: BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Arriving at our friends house in Breda, we were soon joined by Himself’s sister and her husband. Our family friend gave us time to have a cup of tea before leading the way to somewhere special she wants to take us. It’s a beautiful weekend in April so we have a little bit of trouble finding parking when we get there. It’s not like me to ignore a beautiful building but, spotting something quirky I decide to first check out a little shed next to where we parked. The shed / kiosk houses a dispensing machine and the machine dispenses fresh organic strawberries!
I would have loved to get some but we were all due to eat dinner back at our friends place later and all of the others were gathering a little bit further down the path, waiting for me to catch up.I love the idea that people come up with innovative uses for these kinds of machines, eggs in one location, strawberries in another, perfect!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 3, 2017

My Unconventional Collection Grows…

Filed under: ART,Manhole covers / Street grates,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

I am a weird collector of normal everyday stuff.

Luckily ninety-nine percent of these things are not physical collections, but photographic ones.

The beauty of pattern, texture and design delight me so photographing things that reflect these are amongst my passions.

I like to record these not only because they are beautiful but also because we so often walk past these without looking up, around or down.

Today’s post is all about looking at our feet: at drain covers on the street.

It’s not just me who gets crazy about these either, Himself’s Aunt has joined me in my quest, taking photographs of drain covers whilst on holiday with her husband in China in 2016.

Aunty I’s first photograph is from the Grotegans-pagode, the next set are from Suzhou, followed by Xi’an and Yangshuo.

My Aunt’s husband will relieved that these are the last in this particular series, especially since she risked life and limb on occasion darting into roads during pauses in traffic to capture some of these images. No, this was not at my instigation or encouragement.  Stay safe Aunty! Therefore I extend many Thanks to “Aunty I”, for taking these,and adding some more examples to my collection.

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

Xi’an…

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

Yangshuo…

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

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