Local Heart, Global Soul

July 16, 2018

The Houses Of Our Youth…

Filed under: ART,Kaikoura & Region,LIFE,My Reference Library,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Houses in the New Zealand of my childhood consisted of two main varieties. The first were brick, such as the house my grandparents lived in and the second was the wooden weather board home, often in the form of a villa.

There was a semi-standard form to the villa: a veranda at the front, a dining room, living room, on occasion in the larger ones a formal lounge, a long central hallway off which the rooms branched left and right, and a varying amount of bedrooms.

The size of each of the rooms often depended on the age of the villa, then a kitchen located at the rear, a laundry and shower often located off the kitchen.

These buildings were always for some strange reason rather poorly insulated so could be pretty cold in winter, but were cool in summer. In stark contrast with houses in Europe the roof was not tile, but painted corrugated iron.

I shared accommodation with other girls in several houses such as these when I first left home, and villas could be seen set back from the pavement with their surrounding gardens all along the street at the time.

One of these villas where I was “flatting” (sharing accommodation) in Colombo Street, Christchurch, New Zealand, the home dated from just after 1900, had belonged to a Doctor who had his practice at the front and his residence at the back. It had enormously high ceilings, large square rooms and a central hallway so wide and long that you could park two station wagons end to end in. It was an amazing space (usually- dance floor) for parties but a serious pig to vacuum.

The pipes in the kitchen threatened to freeze at the faintest hint of chill every winter but the back yard behind it had enough space for us to play volleyball in. Add to that, it was cheap. For two girls in employment and three university students it was perfect.

Five females in one residence was a balancing act when it came to the shower but we worked out a system and a cooking rota and it worked. One of the girls had a brother, who shared a house with three other guys about a half kilometer down Colombo Street from us. They were rather haphazard cooks so our cooking rota got torpedoed rather often when her brother would pop in rather conveniently just before dinnertime, and often several of his flat mates would be with him.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

They could clean out our fridge by standing in front of it with the door open and inhaling.

Many a weeks grocery shopping disappeared shortly after they arrived.

On the upside, they were all working and more cash than we did, so would often turn up with a fish and chip feed for everyone as a sort of Thank You.

Since I hung out with the girl who had the brother the most, we would often both be “shouted” (treated) extra’s like KFC when she and I were out together with them as well.

This girl and I were good friends and after habitual hassles with the students getting behind in rent, eventually went off together to a smaller “flat” nearby, where the fridge continued to be emptied by her brother and his mates, but they would also bring large volumes of ingredients if we would cook them roast dinners, so all in all it was a case of swings and roundabouts. Needless to say, the “boys’ flat was also a weatherboard villa, but one a lot smaller than ours. After more than a decade away from New Zealand I wanted to show my husband the place where I had spent several happy if chaotic years. To my shock, it was completely gone and in it’s place stood set of small modern brick retirement homes.The large parcel of land had obviously been too valuable for some developer to want to keep as a single residence. These weatherboard villas are either being done up to high spec, insulated and modernised inside, or, more often, being torn down.

The row of them in the central city, one of which was my home for several years too, also demolished. I think that only one stands today out of the entire row. In their places are modern concrete block and brick units, I am sure the heating bills are far reduced but so is the character and charm. In Kaikoura I happened upon one of these old villas, and it bought back a zillion memories. This one is in a rather run own state, it’s probably rented for a fairly low rent as the landlord gets the last mileage out of the place. Eventually it will meet the fate of thousands of other villas as the age of the “new build” takes over. In their heyday these were fabulous places, maybe not always the easiest of living but they were the places where thousands of students and kids with first jobs made their first forays away from the parental nests, and as fledglings learned together to make their way in the world. For this reason the villa will always be something special in my heart.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 13, 2018

Stormy Weather Building On A Beautiful Day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Travelling south down the Kaikoura coast from Blenheim to Christchurch in the last days of 2017, we saw the sea a lot less tranquil than during our journey north.

A “Southerly” (the main weather front that gives the South Island of New Zealand its rain and cool temperatures) was moving in and we were riding in a good weather window just ahead of it.

The temperature was still a fabulous 28 C (82.4 F) and we were enjoying the excellent New Zealand summer.

After passing through several no stopping zones and having weaved our way around the coast for some distance, I was getting impatient for a stop for some fresh air.

The rest stop that we pulled into was a leveled out area past the road works where people could pull over, get a good look at the coast and take a break.

I didn’t have to walk far, standing near the bonnet of the car with my camera I could already line up some nice shots of the sea and surrounding coast without getting the other pulled over cars in the photographs.

These photos are not just for my blog, I am fascinated about how waves move, roll over, crash against rocks and sprays out, how the spray in some areas produces a sort of misty fog that hugs and envelops the coast. I’m saving these as “inspiration” photos for my arty reference files too. The taste of fresh salty air is wonderful for those of us who have stomachs adverse to long car journeys; having stopped moving for a little while, taken some photographs and enjoyed the view, I was ready for the next stage of the car ride that would take us to Kaikoura.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 16, 2018

Arty Waves And Windy Views…

There is more to the Petone Settlers Museum but I could of course not cover every item. Himself and I left the building and investigated the waterfront directly outside. I wanted to get some “arty” wave photographs, so this is a photographic post of a lovely (and on this day, very windy) part of Petone and its portion of Wellington Harbour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 15, 2018

Not Quite A Certificate Of Truth…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I mentioned a few posts ago that the Centennial celebrations that took place in New Zealand in 1940 were heavily balanced in favour of Pākehā (white) settlers who had more or less comfortable lives, land, jobs and social mobility.

Maori on the other hand, had less access to higher education, social, economic, and financial opportunities so the sweeping statements that generalized the ideal that everything was rosy in paradise was far from the truth, Ugly truths were swept under the carpet and a bright smile was exhibited for the outside world.

There is no point in pretending that all was wonderful in New Zealand in the 1940’s but it’s also an ideal that was the product of its time, and I hope that we have come a long, long way from that situation in 2018.

Purely from an artistic point of view I was attracted to this document, a “New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, Certificate of Attendance November 1939.” which was on display at the Petone Settlers Museum when Himself and I visited just after Christmas in 2017.

I like the mixture of western and Māori motifs and the central figure that reminds me a little bit of the female figure from the Colombia Pictures Film company logo.

In 1940 New Zealand was of course still heavily bonded with “Mother England” so the cape-like flags that fall either side of the figure feature even a fraction more of the Union Jack than they do of the New Zealand flag.

The illustration is very much of its time, but it is the inclusion of the Māori and very “New Zealand” motifs around the border and illustrated within the central panel of the certificate that I like the most.

I’m also struck that it’s a very “official” looking document for something seemingly as mundane as an entry ticket, especially when I read the accompanying information: “The jewel in the centennial crown was the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition. Running from 8 November 1939 to 4 May 1940, it sprawled over 55 acres of land in Rongotai, Wellington. 2.5 million visitors came to the event, at a time when New Zealand’s population was only 1.6 million people.

Obviously with 55 acres the physical size of the exhibition meant that it could not be covered completely in one day, so many people probably did half one day and the other half in subsequent days, helping to tot up such massive admission numbers.

With rumblings of war in Europe, the mood of patriotism was probably very high at the time as well as many New Zealand young men prepared to fight for “Queen and Country”. Who knows, many of those young men may well have come to Wellington to join ships sailing for Europe and visited the centennial Exhibition before departure. It’s an interesting piece of art, which if you think deeper about it represented in fact many lies told at the time to both Māori and Pākehā, many of which sacrificed their lives for “Mother England” within a very short time of this Exhibition.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petone_Settlers_Museum
Wikipedia / Petone Settlers Museum / History / New Zealand

February 16, 2018

And What Do You Do? …”I’m A Dragonfly Rider…”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When we crossed this bridge on the way to the “Supertrees”, there was so much to look at that I barely registered that these sculptures were there.

On the way out however I saw them and instantly fell on love: After all, a whimsical set of sculptures where a breed of tiny folk ride on the back of dragonflies, waving their nets to catch… ? (I’m not sure what they might be catching, but let your imagination run wild).

My first split second thought was “Butterflies” but that’s not logical, if everything is to scale in this imaginary world then the butterflies would be as big as the dragonflies.

Maybe it’s a grain of pollen they are after, a sweet treat on their dinner menu?

These sculptures glisten in the tropical sun, which makes them harder to photograph than I first realised.

These are two works of art that I would dearly love to get closer to on a future trip, there are coloured pieces set into the wings of the dragonflies, they really capture the gossamer structure of the real insect.

These are fanciful and beautiful, and by far my favourite artwork in Singapore so far. There are several Information notes about Dragonfly Lake (where these pieces sit) which read:“Dragonfly Lake: The Dragonfly Lake plays an important role in supporting the ecosystem vital to the Gardens’ sustainability. Stroll along the 440-metre board walk and be transported to the world beneath the lake through the augmented reality binoculars” and “Dragonfly Bridge: the Dragonfly Bridge is a fantastic photographic spot, which offers panoramic views of the Gardens and connects into Bay South Garden from Bayfront MRT and Marina Bay Sands.”

(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)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 26, 2017

The History Of Baarle In Glass…

In my final post about the stained glass at the “den Engel Hotel” (the Angel Hotel) I cover as many of the reception rooms as I can reach, photographing the glass panels as I go. The windows are lovely, each theme and item telling a story integral to the history of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog and the many stories that have been woven into that history over the centuries. A lot of thought has gone into making these beautiful windows. I applaud the idea, I love the result. This is a hotel clearly interested in it’s history and place within it’s community.(still with previously “windows” resized photos)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 25, 2017

More Stained Glass At The Angel…

The second morning Himself and I were at the “Den Engel Hotel” (The Angel Hotel) we went down to breakfast very early. Wishing to combine more sightseeing on the ground and a trip home in time to collect the kids in a timely fashion for the coming school week, we decided not to risk everything by getting home too late. The restaurant had one or two other early birds, but for the most part we had the place to ourselves. The stained glass windows I showed you earlier were just the start of what was on show here… Just as well we had made an early start because I needed as much time as possible to check them all out…(still with previously “windows” resized photos)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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However you spend this day, I hope you are with people you love… Merry Christmas1

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)

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December 1, 2017

Brick Is Beautiful.

Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, where I discover a building where brick is beautiful.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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