Local Heart, Global Soul

October 6, 2019

Not Sure If I Would Ever Drink To That…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Design — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Earlier this year Himself and I had dinner with one of Himself’s colleagues, an Armenian lady and her sons. The two boys are adults and help out in her business. so after telephone conversations, texts and emails, it’s nice for them all to put faces to the voices. The Armenian lady bought out a bottle of wine. It wasn’t the wine that was particularly interesting here but rather the label on the bottle. The wine is from Georgia, Armenia’s northern neighbour.  An the unexpected portrait on the front of the bottle?: Stalin!

I always assumed that Stalin was Russian, but in fact he was from Georgia. Although responsible for some of the greatest mass murders of all time, Stalin is still revered by a small percentage of people and his home town lives on the hype of the man (which keeps the local museum open etc.).  Thanks to Hmself for that infomation! Stalin did however murder thousands of Georgians as well as Russians, so there is no love lost for their most notorious countryman in many a Georgian household. Here, this wine celebrates him, but I have to say that it’s weird to see Stalin’s image on a bottle, for me it’s compromible with finding Hitler’s image on a wine bottle… downright creepy.

No, we didn’t open it, this is a special bottlle in the collection of our hostess. There is a little bit of text on the label in English, which reads:” KINDZARAULI”, “Kindzmarauli”  half-sweet, red wine. It is made from Saperavi sort grapes cultivated in  Kvareli district, Kakheti region. The wine has dark red colour and pleasant aroma, It has been produced since 1942.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 22, 2019

Open …Or Closed?

Driving along the “dune” road of the Maasvlakte on a warm, sunny Saturday morning in August, Himself, Little Mr and I spot an unusual piece of wooden sculptural art. It’s cleverly structured so that it appears to change as you progress along the beach road, even looking like it has several solid panels at one point. It’s something that stands out  if viewed from one location, but at other times it almost melts into the dunes. The natural wooden timbers  and curved top lines blending in so well that despite it’s size it can be difficult to spot at a distance. It’s certainly a landmark (when it can be seen) and I’m delighted to see the use of natural materials.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 12, 2019

Creepy Or Charming? You Decide…

My next find at the Garderen Sand Sculpture Exhibition in 2017 were these (I think they were cast concrete) faces. They remind me a little bit of Shrek, but somehow, for me at least, there is not quite enough charm and whimsy in the expression to avoid them just being creepy. They were too big to use as doorstops (unless you had a barn door that needed propping open, and as a garden ornament I am not sure what you would do with it.  I live in a big city and don’t have a garden but if I did I’m not sure if knowing that Shrek’s cousin was grinning in the moonlight near the potting shed would fill me with confidence or unease.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 11, 2019

Would You Keep A Cow In The Back Garden?

There seems to be a current trend for painting on stone (or concrete). Sometimes these take the form of small decorative pebbles and stones, other times they are intended to be hyper realistic images of other things. The popular theme of the 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition appeared to be cats, but sheep, cows, birds and even a bear (who I think doubles as a post-box) is included. Some are more realistic than others (intended to be or not) and whilst I like, for instance the black crows and black and white cats for their realism, I can’t think of where I could possibly put them, or how I would want them at home.  But full sized sheep and cows? That would make for an “interesting” garden (if I had one).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 8, 2019

How Much Do You Want To Scare The Kids?

The next thing to catch my eye for my arty reference files during the Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition in 2017 is this large garden urn. I’m supposing that you have the option to use the top basin with water inside as a bird bath as well, but these plants set it of beautifully as a planter. I was not just interested in the ribbon and fruit decoration on the north/south faces of it, but also in the fact that if you turn it to face either the east/west sides, you get an entirely different vista” with the face of a very angry looking ram. I suppose that if you have a garden and put this inside, which “face” points outwards depends entirely on how much you want to scare the kids.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 7, 2019

Birds Swing Rather Than Fly…

The 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition has an outside area around the entrance where all varieties of garden ornaments can be fund for sale. In this particular year birds were a popular theme and so I got a closer look at some of them.

The first one swings with a sort of pendulum effect on it’s base, The others don’t move but are beautifully decorative in their own quirky way. I love how they have been put together, the added elements like the glass “eye” beads and the glasses. Of course, if you are talking about birds then maybe there is also a chat somewhere about the birds and the bees… since the exhibition included one of those too!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 23, 2019

Maranatha, A Floating Roof And Awesome Brickwork…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes whilst I was on full Medical Leave (before I went back to work) Himself would just drop me off  somewhere interesting in the city in my wheelchair, leave me to take photographs of various things in a small radius for a while.

After an hour he would come and pick me up again.

This got me out of the house for a small amount of time, away from the walls of home where I was confined due to surgery, recovery, constant pain and heavy medication.

Of course there was a price to pay afterwards for my little outings and fresh air, even with an attachment on the wheelchair where my leg could be positioned straight and raised out in front of me.

Extra medication is always needed afterwards, which morphine based, works as needed but is not ideal for your body. Sometimes it’s needed for your mental health. On this occasion I did a series of photographs in the little street where the former Tekel Air Travel Bureau was. (see blog post here:  “Pigs Might Not Fly But Apparently Dogs Did… “).

I was surprised and delighted to see a small information board on the street by the entrance, telling me about some of the history of the Church.  As is often the case when an information board is in multiple languages, the information given in the “extra” languages is often shorted to fit the space, whilst the text in the native country language contains extra snippets.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Such is the case here.  Both before and after the English language text are extra pieces of information from the Dutch text.

Translated from Dutch it reads: The Maranatha church is located on part of the former  “Sperrgebiet” (Prohibited / restricted Area) of the Second World War.

The houses that stood there were, after the liberation were found to have been stripped of all wood and other useful materials, so were ripe for demolition.”

Next comes the information written in both Dutch and English:

The wooden roof structure of this church was designed by Swiss engineer Emil Staudacher as a prototype for use in temporary churches to be built in the devastated German cities. 

It arrived in kit form on a train from Zurich and was integrated into a design by Dutch architect  Frits Eschauzier (1889-1957). The temporary churches project was initiated by German architect Otto Bartning. Over forty of the churches still exist in places across Germany.”

Lastly comes the additional translate from Dutch snippet: “They have the same rose window and the same small window in the façade. Due to the continuing row of windows on the side, it looks like the roof is floating.

Bartning positioned the entrance on the side. The ceremonial front door was added at the request of the Hague church councilors.”

I was first drawn to the church because of the quirky brick construction. These fortified walls with buttresses reinforce the outside walls. interestingly these brick “out layers” are uniquely joined to the main building, seemingly by a method as simple as splicing the brickwork of the two together. It gives for a very unconventional bricklaying technique I think, barely a straight line to be seen in some sections. I find this to be some pretty awesome brickwork!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) This is the row of windows along the side wall, I’m not so convinced about the floating window idea…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Now HERE is some mega awesome brickwork!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 27, 2019

Bubble Glass Windows… Wait A Minute…

One quirky feature of Zierikzee is that in random places in the city centre, I found these “interesting” doors. They all have a large balloon-like window in them, which gives a quirky shape and style. All of them are dark and mega reflective so I first assumed that they were some sort of dark security glass, but closer inspection on a few of them revealed the faint lines of wooden panels so I will take a random guess and say that all of these are wooden. None of them had letter slots in or above the bulging section so they are also not letterboxes. therefore I give up, I have no clue as to the function of these unless they are purely decorative. I spotted at least half a dozen of these and each time they make me smile. Fooling me into thinking they were glass gives these doors an air of fragility that is apparently a complete sham, so the joke is on me because I was completely taken in.These are quirky, apparently only decorative, and distinctive, I can laugh at myself, What’s not to love?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 8, 2018

Something For Everyone…

One thing that we couldn’t miss whilst visiting Cathedral Square in Christchurch, New Zealand, were the quirky seats dotted around the area. These were green (artificial) grassy cube shaped seats, a fun and colourful solution to public seating. On the site of several demolished buildings, a short distance away, the first barrier separating the footpath from the car park also doubled as a seating area. There were of course the older, traditional seats that form a square around each of several large trees too, and the “historic” seats in the general form of piano and it’s keys, that have been around as long as the giant chess set has been in existence, so in essence: something for everyone.

(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 10, 2018

Sheep On The Line!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I are taking an early morning tour of Christchurch’s, (New Zealand) central city to see for ourselves how the rebuild process if going on after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Whilst looking around Manchester Street we see a tram parked up at the end of High Street and I spot something quirky.

Himself obligingly does a “U” turn and I go in for a closer look.

At the end of the track are buffers: metal boxes filled with concrete, a necessary safety feature and probably a standard fixture.

These fixtures however are far from standard: they have been made to look like sheep and painted in bright colours.

It’s a fun and quirky way to disguise a mundane utilitarian object, well not really even “disguise” because these draw attention to themselves, but in a totally different way to how they might as plain lumps of metal filled with concrete.

I think they are delightful, they avoid the usual problem of being blocks that might be targets for messy graffiti, will amuse kids and adults alike with their whimsical tails, ears and faces and legs and serve their safety purpose as well.

I think these are wonderful… there can be no missing these “sheep” on the lines!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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