Local Heart, Global Soul

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)

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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)

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October 16, 2017

A Photoshoot Around The House…

Filed under: ART,BREDA,My Reference Library,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

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)

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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)

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October 2, 2017

A Few Of My Many Snapshots Of The Hague…

The Hague has many interesting buildings and sights. This photographic post shows just a few…

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Then the same building a few days later…

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September 24, 2017

Spotted Around The Hague…

Today’s post is a photographic one: camera on hand, I take photographs on the move, this time these places were spotted around The Hague.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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September 17, 2017

Dragonflies: Nature’s Brilliant Feats Of Engineering…

We have a glass window over the first set of stairs to our house, at the bottom of which is a stone shelf that is on the inside facing the stairs.

After one of my hospital appointments, Himself and I arrived home and I went to go up.

Himself was already at the top of the stairs, unlocking our front door.

I on the other hand was slowly bringing up the rear as usual and on this occasion stopped on the bottom step because I could hear a strange fluttering sound.

It was a sound similar to the ones that flies make when they are fluttering their wings in frenzy, attempting to fly outside but the pane of glass of the living room window is stopping them in their tracks.

It was similar, but different, so I stopped to try and figure out what the noise was. As it turned out it is just as well that I did because the frenzied fluttering was coming from a trapped dragonfly. I carefully put my hand out towards the little beast and to my surprise instead of trying to flee, it climbed onto my fingers. I made my way to a bike leaning on a pole outside our stairs and stood in the semi-shade as I tried to see if the dragonfly had damaged itself in it’s attempts to get out of the stairwell.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There seems to be a tiny bit missing off the very tips of both top wings, it had collected some dust from the shelf, but for the rest it appeared to be more or less intact. I was lucky to be bringing my camera in from the car at the time, so with the dragonfly still balanced on the fingers of my left hand, I started to take as close-up photographs of it with the camera with my right.

The DSLR was heavier than I anticipated without having two hands to balance it, and the front wanted to swing about a bit, something I had to take great care to avoid so that my little insect did not get accidentally swiped.

My newfound friend seemed in no hurry to leave, so I had time to get the wavering camera under control and press the shutter as I did. Slowly, after a rest lasting several minutes the dragonfly started to recover, miniscule shudders passing through it’s wings as it seemed to be checking that everything was in working order.

In the meantime Himself had come back to the street to see why I had not followed him upstairs and several of our younger neighbours arrived home with their parents. We called them over to take a closer look at this beautiful creature and they, like us, marvelled at the delicate wing structure, flecks of colour and intricate body.

After at least five minutes and the dragonfly still on my hand, I started to wonder if I suddenly had acquired a pet, but I was luckily not in a rush. I wanted it to have the time it needed to recover so that in it’s weakened state it did not get eaten by birds. Another two minutes later, after an unsuccessful attempt to lower it onto the tan bicycle seat, it slowly turned around and then took off. These are my “studies of a dragonfly” photographs, it’s a little creature that is beautifully made, one of natures brilliant feats of engineering. I hope that my assistance means that it eventually lived to a ripe old dragonfly age.. at least on this day, it had a second chance at life.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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August 25, 2017

Lazarus Gate, The Only “Warning” Needed, Is That This Is A Beautiful Building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the beginning of the Willem Vroesenplein in Gouda, I come across a sweet little building.

Called the “Lazaruspoortje” (Lazarus Gate) it is a small but imposing piece of architecture.

There is an information board on the wall, in Dutch text only, which translates as: “At the end of the 16th century the German Gregarious Cool (approx 1570-1629) came to Gouda to work as a stone mason.

He made beautiful pieces, amongst others the “Bordes” (steps that go both in two directions) of the Gouda Stadhuis (Town Hall), the entry gate to the “Vroesenhuis” (sorry, I could not figure out this word, it’s “something”.. house), the facade of the Museum De Moriaan and this gate.

A long time ago it provided access to the Le Prozenhuis (lepers house) elsewhere in the city.

The relief shows the bible story of poor Lazarus and the rich man. In 1939 the gate was taken apart and rebuilt here in 1964.

Against the back wall is another gate coming from the old women’s house at the Kleiweg which was demolished in 1938. Inside the entry way there is also a “Gevelsteen” ( literally means “gable-stone”, but it is a pictorial or text facade stone that gives information)  also made by Cool of the former Looyhal” (a place used to check and inspect fabric).”

I also found a Wikipedia page that was in the Dutch language only, which gives more information. Translated into English it reads:

The Lazaruspoortje was constructed in 1609 as an entry gate for the then lepers house at the Gouwe in Gouda, by the sculptor Gregarious  Cool. Initially the lepers house was located outside the “potterspoort” (potters gate) in Gouda at the Wachtelstraat.

In 1579 the then Saint Maria convent at the Gouwe which was within the city walls, was the designated place to house lepers. In 1609 the gate at the Rotterdamse Veer was constructed which provided access to the lepers house at the back.

The picture on the gate depicts the rich man and poor Lazarus, who asks for the crumbs left over from the rich mans meal, but all he gets is the care of the dogs who lick his wounds.  The man and woman from both sides of the picture are lepers holding a “Lazarusklepper” (which could be some sort of warning sign ‘here is a leper, stay away”) and a “aalmoezenschaaltje” (a small begging bowl).

Above is a picture of Lazarus, after his death, in the lap of Abraham. Lazarus became the patron saint of Lepers. In 1940 the gate was taken apart as a result of the  expansion of the Municipal energy company. In 1965 it was rebuilt in it’s current location at Achter de Kerk. At the moment it provides access to the garden of the museum Het Katharina Gasthuis.”

I would love to come back here when the gate is open, not just to see the additional stone carved ornamentation within the entry way but also to visit the Katharina Gasthuis museum. Lazarus may have made a noise to warn people to stay away, but this place needs one to summon people to see this beautiful sight.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia: Lazarus Gate / Gouda / The Netherlands (Dutch Language site only)

August 22, 2017

We Should Not Mangle Our Social History…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you come across quirky things in the most unexpected places.

In this instance what was once (long, long ago) a common household appliance, sitting far, far from home.

Maybe it was taking it’s day of rest… Why? because it appears to have made a trip to church.

By the look of things it was in genuine need of a rest, and come to think of it, a prayer.

Wheeling myself around St Janskerk (St Johns Church) in Gouda I find myself looking at an old mangle, the piece of equipment what used to squeeze the water out of laundry long before the spin cycle as part of modern washing machines was invented.

It’s resting right up against the wall of the church. This mangle has clearly seen many laundry days of service.

Maybe it had been recently dumped? Who knows? The upper roller has been eaten half away by wood worm and destroyed by too many years of hard work.

The iron bars that keep the tension below the main top bar were corroded, in general this poor machine was in a sorry state of repair.

I however, am a lover of cast iron and find this beautiful. Maybe it’s an art installation? (you never know these days). For me it is indeed an object of beauty.

I didn’t need any attempt to lift it to know that it weighs a ton, it’s not the kind of thing that you just drop off on your way to do some shopping. The tiny wheels on the bottom look like they are barely up to the job, and on the bricked and cobbled streets of the central city?… surely this hasn’t traveled far.

If I had a garden I’d love to see about restoring this to it’s former glory, someone has already put a crate underneath it that obviously had plants in it at one time.

I saw this on my last trip to Gouda and wonder what happened to it.  I shudder to think that a beautiful piece like this may have met it’s maker at a wreckers, I can only hope that it’s prayers at St John’s church were answered and someone showed it some love, gave it the care, attention and restoration it deserved and gave it a new life in a garden or maybe as a shop fitting piece. We should not mangle our social history, but instead give it a spin at new lease of life.

August 13, 2017

The French Are Ousted But Are Saved…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After an extended period of enforced quiet in the house due to his sisters big Exams, Little Mr earned a series of weekend trips to Gouda, resident city of his favourite Lego shop.

Whilst he, accompanied by Himself took part in the long study as to which items in the shop were to relieve him bit by bit of his built up birthday, holiday and Christmas savings money, I availed myself to visits to some of Gouda’s historic sites.

Several of these visits involved a look at Gouda’s “Stadhuis” (Town Hall), and it’s beautiful exterior.

The booklet: “A walk through history” , by the Gouda Gidsen Gilde and for sale (Euro 2:50) at the VVV (Tourist information office) tells me; ” You can see statues of the famous counts and countesses who lived in the Middle Ages in Holland, on the front of the Town Hall.

They were added in the 20th Century. Above the entrance is the motto “Audite et alteram” (listen to the opposing side”,  motto that was meant for the judges in Gouda. the imposing flight of stairs was added in 1603 by Gregorius Cool.

There is one unique detail that you must not miss, on the left hand side of the roof above the stairs you can see the coat of arms of Louis Napoleon (dated 1896). on it are the Dutch lion and the French Eagle. this was must unusual because after the period of occupation by the French, all references to the Bonapartes were rigorously removed, except in Gouda.”

One of the Ladies in the “VVV” Tourist Information office mentioned on an earlier visit that the reason for this was because many of the people of Gouda as a group, protected many of their buildings from desecration and vandalism after the French left whereas other cities let people to vent their anger by vandalizing all traces of their occupiers.

The Wikipedia page on Gouda Stadhuis (Dutch language only so I translated the relevant parts of it here):”The statues in the city’s current facade were only placed in 1960/1961. On the lower row are Karel de Stoute, Philip de Goede, Filips de Schone and Maria of Burgundy.

Above are the scenes of Floris V and Jacoba of Bavaria. Until 1882 there were two statues on the front of the town hall. They were both female figures, one a symbol of  “Wijsheid’ (wisdom) and one “Standvastigheid” (steadfastness), made by the sculptor Jan Gijselingh jr in 1695. 

In 1882 they were removed because their niches were converted back into windows again. The statues were donated to the Gouda museum.” I haven’t been to the Gouda museum yet, so no photographs of these two statues yet but these of the Dutch gentry stand beautifully in their place.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia:  Gouda Stadhuis  (City Hall) / (Dutch language)

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