Local Heart, Global Soul

August 22, 2018

Letters and “Best” Handwriting…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,Landmarks,My Reference Library,Stone carved — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Old Post Office in Cathedral Square is one of Christchurch’s most well known landmarks.

I remember the days when I was a teenager, lining up to get stamps for letters, with other people who where there to post letters, aerograms (my father used those for years!) cards and parcels.

Email has I think, done a huge blow to the art form of sending what we now call “snail mail”.

I try and make a habit of sending postcards from places we visit, and yes, it takes time to scribble out messages.

I try and make it easier by using pre-printed address labels but I find that as time goes on there is one major difficulty that I could never have envisioned possible all those years ago.

That is: I am getting less and less used to writing by hand. I have three handwriting styles: the first is my “ultra neat” style for special occasion stuff, the second is my “still-neat-but-far more casual” (most used) and then there is the style I used most during my student days: the flat out scrawl that only I could (mostly) read, born of the days when teachers revealed blackboards full of text that needed to be copied down before class ended or before it was wiped out of existence for the next lot of text that the teacher was writing.

My children looked in disbelief when I told them this once. I asked how they managed. My daughter laughingly pulled out her phone and showed me photograph after photograph of texts on whiteboards, all she had to do was point-and-click.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gone are the days of serious cramp in your fingers as you tried to keep writing frantically before time or text was lost. Or going around your classmates asking “Anyone get the last four lines? Please can I get a copy? Yes? Cheers!” Vital instructions were often in those last four lines. Assignment details and the like.

Later this Post Office had a large philatelic section, where First Day Covers of stamps could be bought, and folders full of beautiful stamps could be viewed.

I have always viewed stamps as miniature works of art and loved a visit here to take a look.

The main work of the central city Post Office moved half a dozen blocks from here into a massive new building I (am guessing) somewhere in the 1980’s.

The Old Post Office here in the Square seems to have survived the earthquakes reasonably well. A lot of work has been done, and it’s clear that there is still a lot yet to do.

That said, I am relieved that it’s still here. With the historic Regent theatre, The Press Building, numerous other theatres now completely gone and the Cathedral damaged, it’s nice to see that one of Christchurch cities beautiful old landmarks has survived. Like our “best” handwriting, it hangs in there by a thread. I hope to one day return to look at folders of stamps and enjoy the interior.

(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)

I took close ups of this section because it’s a rare view: other buildings obscured it before so I have never seen these windows before.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 12, 2018

History Being Built All Around The Bridge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting Christchurch, New Zealand’s city center in the first days of 2018, Himself and I stopped by the Colombo street, bridge.

Not the large overhead bridge that takes traffic across the railway tracks and through the areas of Sydenham and Beckenham to Cashmere on the Port Hills, but the small more historic bridge that crosses the Avon river at Cambridge Terrace.

Located a few blocks north of the Square, and directly next to the Town Hall, this bridge was on one of my walking routes to and from work when I lived in my first flat with two other girls about half a kilometer north of here.

Here on the banks of the Avon I would sometimes come for a lazy weekend picnic lunch with a book under the shade of the trees.

Home cooking was both a habit and a financial necessity but sometimes after my regular trips to the large Public library nearby I bought potato filled sausages and chips as a treat from the snack bar in the little pedestrian alleyway that connected the Library on Gloucester Street to Cathedral Square.

If the weather was warm I’d head two either of two favourite spots.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first was Victoria Square, one block further from the Library, and just over the road from here and the second was the bank of the river.

Victoria Square usually won in the evenings because the fountain used to change colours and was beautiful to sit by on a bench with my hot dinner.

The river bank usually won if I wanted some summer weekend peace and quiet.

A tight budget meant my hobbies were simple by necessity and sitting reading or watching the world go by cost nothing and were equally enjoyable.

There were mobile phones back then but they were the size of bricks, cost a ton and no one I knew owned one.

We didn’t even dream, and it was never an issue.

It’s strange to look at those river banks now, there are construction materials everywhere, in all directions I see the city razed and slowly being rebuilt.

I take my camera and do a slow three hundred and sixty degree series of photographs …apologies I didn’t get them in complete chronological order.

I’m also trying to remember the name of the restaurant on the banks that used to serve meals unlike any other restaurant at the time, it was a family place you could line up and order various meals (roast chicken, beef or pork with roast veggies, kid friendly food) and then there were booths where you would sit after you got your meals.

It used to be here very close to this bridge if I remember correctly, but I last went there as a kid so don’t remember precisely where. So many changes will be taking place around here in the next years… this bridge may be historical but one day we will look back on this moment in time, when history was being built …or rather, rebuilt all around here.

(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)

August 9, 2018

Finding My Way In The Transition Zone…

Visiting New Zealand at the end of 2017 after an almost five year hiatus, I was keen to photograph the central city and see how the rebuild after the City’s major earthquakes was going. Leaving our teenage kids to sleep in, Himself and I started out in Manchester Street and then drove randomly up and down as many streets as we could. At certain points we did “U” turns and went back on ourselves, partly because I forgot about the One Way Streets and partly because without the many landmark buildings to guide me, I lost my bearing a couple of times. I will detail as much information as I can because I am finding that as new buildings rise it become harder and harder to remember what was there before. (Below;) Manchester Street looking towards the Port Hills, corner St Asaph Street, the new buildings further along on the right hand side replace the set of old brick ones that included the famous Smiths Book shop.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Manchester Street turning right into Moorhouse Avenue. A little historical snippet for my non-New Zealand readers: The original Christchurch planners made four very wide Avenues to encompass the outer limits of the new city they were founding. These were: Moorhouse, Fitzgerald, Bealy Avenues and the fourth contentious one to the west: Rolleston, or if you count Hagley Park as part of the original plan, Deans Avenue. Rolleston Avenue certainly fits the “perfect square” model better but the Park was very much a planned part of the city so the opinions of the great and the good come down on both sides of the fence. The street plan of the city was made in London before the settlers left home and without any knowledge of the terrain. All of the streets were meant to be in a perfect grid pattern, but on arrival was annoyingly disrupted by the presence of the River Avon, which as rivers are want, did not flow in a straight line. In the rear of this photograph you can just make out the curved brown roof of the old Wool Stores buildings and in front of these the Moorhouse / Colombo Street overpass bridges.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Next) A “U” turn made, back up Manchester, this little triangular garden has been a well kept frontage to the Excelsior Hotel that stood behind it until the quakes damaged it beyond repair. Despite everything that’s being going on in the city it’s still beautifully kept. The front part of the space over the road behind it between here and the mural used to house the well known Majestic house, first a movie theatre but for more recent decades the site of very popular and thriving Church New Life Church, a Christian bookshop and a café downstairs. It was a massive four story building that took up a good part of the city block, not too much to look at from the outside but had some nice architectural features inside. It too was a landmark and I was a little confused about my whereabouts when I couldn’t find it. The entire block it stood on is now completely razed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The tram is standing on High Street, looking towards the Square. Majestic House (The New Life Church) faced this view before it was demolished due to earthquake damage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I will have to see if I can find an archive Google street view to remember what used to be on this corner. I do know that the shipping containers 6 tiers high are holding up the façade of the Assembly of God (AoG) Church, it used to be a picture theatre and was a beautiful grand building, It was notable for having an illuminated white cross on the front before the quakes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I (think?) this used to be a small pub… now yet another historic building supported by shipping containers (also there to protect the public in case of further quakes)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It has character but needs some love…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amazingly I never noticed this little gem before… or maybe I did, might it possibly have been a fabric shop before the quakes?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the back of the central city bus exchange, heading towards Colombo street…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

New build on Colombo street looking south towards the Port Hills, as we turn right (north) into Colombo heading towards the Square.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Work in progress…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Colombo street pedestrian over-bridge between what my mother used to call “D.I.C” (although I knew it as Arthus Barnett) on the right of this photograph and Ballantynes on the left. Both shops were Christchurch institutions but Ballantynes was where we always had to get school uniforms fitted. I adored their handcraft and embroidery section.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Robert Harris coffee / café used to be in the building in the background. They were amongst the first to serve “real” coffee in French presses from ground roasted beans instead of instant or the slow perk coffee pots.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Looking down Cashel mall as we go past, Ballantynes is on the left of the photograph below… I think the used to be a Hanafins Chemists on the right. I don’t think there was a tram on Cashel Street last time we visited New Zealand. This is a new edition since we were here Christmas 2013/2014.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Colombo street heading toward the Square, top of High Street to the right… there used to be a fountain there in shapes like dandelion tops, every now and again someone would put detergent in it and there would be soap suds foaming in an avalanche all over the pavement. They added dye too once…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

BNZ (Bank of New Zealand) have replaced their “high rise’ with a ‘low rise’ building.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This next photograph makes me sad… there was a photography shop around the corner here that I can’t place the name of but went to often to get my films developed (Hannifin’s? … or was that the one at the top of High street?) On this side, (on the left, about half way down) was a brilliant Greek kiosk selling delicious souvlakia. Since I walked to and from work, sometimes this was my takeaway dinner when I didn’t want to cook, especially on hot days during the summer. I’d sit on the steps in front of the Cathedral to eat it, watching the world go by. There was a jumble of small shops here… now everything is gone.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 23, 2018

“People Probably Won’t Even Notice”… But They Do!

Regular readers of this blog know that I am always on the lookout for quirky things. Detail stands out like neon for me, I see it everywhere. There are thousands of functional items on a single city street, somewhere, somehow , sometimes, someone had the opportunity to make part of these functional items decorative. I’m fairly positive someone also uttered the phrase “I wonder why we bother? people will probably not even notice this” (the decoration).

Well Mr or Ms Designer: I notice! Even whilst I’m waiting in the Te Papa, parking area for Himself to pack the wheelchair into the car, standing with the crutches so that he can put them in last, I notice that the top of the bollards around me are decorated with Kiwi’s! I haven’t had the chance to see if there are more of these around the city of Wellington, but hey, this is brilliant. Just sneak tiny little pieces of detail into some of the thousands of pieces of functional items on city streets, and make (at least some) people smile.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 1, 2018

Opened Up Opportunities For Girls Who Passed Through These Doors…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I toured Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog during a weekend away for two at the beginning of 2017.

This intriguing place where enclaves and counter-enclaves boggle the mind and make you wonder continuously which country you are in, is also full of some very beautiful buildings.

This one, a “Klooster” (convent), is yet another example of this.

Located a short distance from the former “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) in Baarle-Hertog in Belgian territory. There is an information plaque which translated into English reads:

Convent. In 1879 the Franciscan nuns came from Herentals to Baarle-Hertog to provide Catholic education to girls. Until 1917 they taught girls from Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau. They are credited with founding the first convent in Baarle and they were also the last ones to leave in 1999. They were active in education until 1979 and Sister Damiana was the last actively working teacher.

So a century of teaching took place here. It’s certainly a very different architectural style of school to the ones I attended in New Zealand. If the teaching styles were different I will never know, but I think the Baarle-Hertog kids got the more beautiful buildings, even if they did not appreciate that at the time. They also began at a time when far fewer girls than boys got any sort of education at all, so who knows what opportunities they opened up for the girls who passed through these doors?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 31, 2017

Remembering Heroic Actions…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The former school alongside the former Stathuis (Town Hall) in Baarle-Hertog  has the war memorial located on the outside of one of it’s walls.

This memorial commemorates also the actions of Miet Verhoven, Gerardus Gerritsen and Adriaan van Gestel who made the ultimate sacrifice in their efforts to help downed pilots back to safe territory.

This is a beautiful, poignant statue that gives a lasting memory to ordinary people caught up in horrific events far beyond their own making but who stood up, stepped out and showed amazing acts of bravery.

They make the ultimate sacrifice and deserve nothing less something beautiful to remember them by.

My only regret is that this statue is not located on the Main Street of Baarle where it could be even more appreciated.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Monument for those Executed

This monument is made in 1949  by L. van Der Meer in memory of the three inhabitants of Baarle who were executed on 10th September 1944 : Maria Verhoeven, Gerardus Gerritsen and Adriaan van Gestel.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 23, 2017

Getting Close Up In Meerle…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,BELGIUM,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Following yesterday’s post, there were of course too many photographs for one blog post and being a detail fanatic I sorted out some of my close-ups to share. These photos were previously loaded resized via Windows Resizer and loaded via USB memory stick… Mac resizing still a bugbear.

(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)

December 22, 2017

Meerle: Beautiful Bricks In Stunning Architecture Continue…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These photos were loaded already resized via Windows Resizer and loaded via USB memory stick from the old computer, (which I don’t have with me at the moment) I will work on getting to know the Apple Resizer as soon as possible.

After making a morning walking tour of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle Hertog , (well at least Himself walked, I was pushed in the wheelchair) we decided to check out the surrounding area.

The border is not a straight line between Belgium and The Netherlands, so within a twelve kilometer radius we found ourselves in both countries several times.

This is how we suddenly found ourselves in the small but exceedingly interesting village of Meerle.

The church and the buildings around it are architectural jewels in my opinion so of course we stopped for a pause and a closer look.

Even the school has some lighter brick accents and nice patterns. We have a good idea that the large free-standing red building with the stepped gables was probably the former Stadhuis (City Council / City hall), there are so many beautiful features to enjoy.

(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)

December 11, 2017

Architectural Detail All Over Town…

Himself and I continue our car tour of the area around Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog. I take lots of photographs for my “architectural detail” archive files.

(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)

December 10, 2017

Charm, Character And Differences…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our driving tour around the district of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, I spotted quite a few interesting looking churches.

Traffic in some areas prevented us pulling over so that I could get some more agreeable compositions, so I did my best from out of the window.

A strange sort of canopy adorned the bottom section of one of the town churches, I can’t quite make out if it’s temporary and there whilst renovations are done or if it’s been added to the tower as a permanent safety measure (falling bits??).

It certainly makes for an interesting and memorable feature.

The brickwork and styles of the churches I saw were many and varied: the steeples different and each with a charm and character of their own.

(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)

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