Local Heart, Global Soul

February 17, 2019

How To Train Your Tree…

All around Zierikzee and in a few streets of the surrounding villages, we spy some very strange looking trees. We visited the area during our 2017 Easter break, so it was only just the end of winter and the beginning of spring. These trees have been “trained” to be more or less “flat” so that they can be added to streets where there is not a lot of room. but greenery is wanted. In spring the leaves will come, new branches will form and these strange, stumpy looking threes will be bursts of green. The fact that they line up also gives protection against the sun in the height of summer, their shade not only being most welcome but the introduction of nature into the city, helping to break up the concrete, cobbles and bricks of the urban environment.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


Some trees were not stunted, just appealed to my artistic whims.

(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)

January 22, 2019

When A Tree Goes Out On A Limb, And Needs To Take The Weight Off…

You know a tree is old when you see thick branches like this one has. I have no idea why this tree has rather literally “branched out” so far, it’s amazing that it’s survived as long as this with the weight of this branch extending so far. So now that this tree has gone “out on a limb” and clearly overreached itself, it’s time to give it a helping hand (or in this case, a steel support). With it’s own little cradle to fit the tree, this steel support saves the tree from toppling over, never mind in strong winds or stormy conditions, even a clear fine day may have been too much for this branch one day. So basically, when a tree goes out on a limb, branches out and over extends itself, we need to help it take the weight off…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 30, 2018

If Vehicles Had Faces, This One Is Characterful…

Whilst visiting Bruinisse fishing harbour in Easter 2017, Himself and I saw a very old Dutch Police van. It was unusual Himself said because there were very few of these left. To me it was just an old vehicle that has clearly seen many, many kilometres and like a weather-beaten face of someone elderly who has worked out of doors all of their life, is full of it’s own sort of wrinkles and has a ton of character.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 25, 2018

“Honey, You’ll NEVER Guess What I Bought Today!”

Himself and I were driving around the small Dutch town of Bruinisse, in the province of Zeeland.  Taking the smallest roads possible “just to see where they lead” we suddenly chanced upon an aeroplane. Not overhead, in the skies above us, but right next to the road. Amazingly it’s not an airport either. I don’t know why anyone would have a fighter plane on one spot and a light aircraft on another, but here they seem to have it all. It had Himself and I wondering what on earth we had come across.   We still don’t know since at the time we were busy with the (2017) Easter weekend, I never got around to further research afterwards. I still can not imagine any situation where someone thought ” just going to pop out and buy a fighter plane’! Imagine explaining that to family and friends!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So… What did Santa bring you? Wishing you a very Merry Christmas with the people you love. Seasons greeting!!!!

December 18, 2018

Keeping Livestock In The Back Bedroom…

Heading out to the province of Zeeland for the long Easter weekend in 2017, I manage to get some shots of the local architecture. Some frontages look like there must be an enormous house standing there, but closer inspection reveals that the house is attached to the barn, a very quirky feature not readily available in any of todays modern homes. I take photographs as we travel, even though I’m technically not so far from home, the style of building here is very different to what I’m used to seeing further north.

(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)

November 25, 2018

The TranzAlpine Rolls Through Downtown..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst we are on the subject of quirky, Greymouth also has another interesting feature to it’s name.

This is that, the train line runs very close to the town centre, so you are literally just off the main street and on quite a large intersection, suddenly the barrier arms come down and a train goes though.

On the occasion that we waited for the train to go past, it was not just “any” train either, but the world famous “TranzAlpine Express”  that takes the scenic tour though the Arthurs Pass from Christchurch to Greymouth.

On the way it passes through the Otira tunnel, (prounounced” Oh Tear rah”) …a very special piece of engineering, built by hand with pick axes, and I could hardly better the Wikipedia Otira Tunnel text so I’ll just quote just a small section of the article here;

“…tunnel runs under the Southern Alps from Arthur’s Pass to Otira – a length of over 8.5 kilometres (5.3 mi). The gradient is mainly 1 in 33, and the Otira end of the tunnel is over 250 m (820 ft) lower than the Arthur’s Pass end. Construction commenced in 1907 and a “breakthrough” celebration was held on 21 August 1918 by the Minister of Public Works Sir William Fraser. When the tunnel opened on 4 August 1923, it was the seventh longest tunnel in the world and the longest in the British Empire.”

I remember from school trips that despite the large height difference at each end of the tunnel, the engineers were so through with their calculations that they were only 1 meter (3 feet) “off” from the exact center of the tunnel when tunnellers from both ends met.

In addition to the large non-reflective glass windows in the carriages, there are also special glass panels along the roof edges of the train so that passengers seated indoors can make the most of the panoramic views and an observation car, part of which is open-air (except when inside the Otira tunnel section) for the most breath-taking views of all. We see some tourists waving to us as the train passes over the crossing, they are going on one of the world’s most spectacular journeys.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 24, 2018

Come On, Surely Someone Else Sees It Too?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers will know that I have a weird sense of humour.

Today’s post demonstrates this. Maybe it’s because Himself and I had already seen a few quirky and fun sights around Greymouth, New Zealand and my brain was in a quirky mood.

I don’t know. you know the feeling when you see something, associate something completely different with it and then can’t “unsee” it?

Well it was like this for me when I saw this fountain.

It’s just an ordinary fountain right? Not for me.

What I immediately saw was the bottom half of a caricature fat person, think “The Fat Controller” in the Thomas the Tank Engine children’s books or the Monopoly board game “Banker“.

I kept looking for the top half, that must have surely toppled off these “legs”? Once I got that thought inside my head it was all I could do not to giggle like an idiot every time I saw it. (We drove past it quite a few times as we checked out the town). Yes, I do get some strange looks from my husband and eye rolls from my kids. I don’t care, better a weird sense of humour than none at all. On second thoughts don’t ask my family to confirm that statement, they probably have different ideas.

November 23, 2018

Advertising Cycling Around The World…

I’m still on the quirky theme in Greymouth New Zealand. We visited in January 2018 and just a few meters across the car park from the tent on top of the car of yesterday’s post, I see the adventure shop that must obviously lets camping tourists use their space to camp out for the night. We have good friends here in the Hague who travelled and blogged some 37. 500 kms around the world on their bikes, including New Zealand. Therefore whenever I see something to do with bicycles on my travels: unusual bikes, sculptures, signs etc, I make a post for them. the “TravellingTwo“, here is another one for you! This time it’s a huge bicycle sign: they would approve!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 22, 2018

Sleeping On the Road: A Whole New Meaning!

Filed under: ART,GREYMOUTH,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,Quirky Vehicles — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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During a drive around the West Coast town of Greymouth, Himself and I spot an unusual sight. Parked off the street was car, with a tent perched on the top of it! There were people inside the tent, a lady leaned out just as I took the photograph. We laughed at the sight, but hey, I guess if it works, it works! It’s another quirky sight to add to the list that I have seen during all of my travels.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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