Local Heart, Global Soul

October 6, 2017

A Vending Machine Gets An innovative Use…

Filed under: BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Arriving at our friends house in Breda, we were soon joined by Himself’s sister and her husband. Our family friend gave us time to have a cup of tea before leading the way to somewhere special she wants to take us. It’s a beautiful weekend in April so we have a little bit of trouble finding parking when we get there. It’s not like me to ignore a beautiful building but, spotting something quirky I decide to first check out a little shed next to where we parked. The shed / kiosk houses a dispensing machine and the machine dispenses fresh organic strawberries!
I would have loved to get some but we were all due to eat dinner back at our friends place later and all of the others were gathering a little bit further down the path, waiting for me to catch up.I love the idea that people come up with innovative uses for these kinds of machines, eggs in one location, strawberries in another, perfect!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 1, 2017

Taking Your Housekeeping To The Beach…

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,Scheveningen,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are plenty of beaches cafe’s open during the summer but due to lack of parking in close proximity most of them are off limits for me.

Both crutches and wheelchairs are not in any way friends with sand, so luckily the Gemeente (city council) puts in permanent concrete paths.

Most of the time it is far too much work so I do not join Himself, other parents and a large group of kids at the beach, but on one occasion I did and captured these machines in action.

Several large earth movers are keeping a large drum filled with sand, the drum rotates and screens out unwanted debris, the now cleaned sand is then spit onto a pile where it will later be smoothed out.

It’s an excellent idea, the beach along the Dutch coast is crowded during the summer and even with a dog ban in place there are plenty of other dangerous, messy or wasteful debris to be disposed of in the sand.It’s great that the council go to the trouble, but I suppose they have a duty of care to upkeep the coast line in their area. The wheelchair was never going to allow me to get closer but so the zoom lens will have to do.

(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)

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)

(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)

September 16, 2017

The Small Things Make Me Smile…

Way back in 2012 I featured this as one of my series of electrical substations: Just Humming Along in the City… (or Should That be Buzzing?)  and recently Himself and I  passed it again after having lunch in the Brownie and Downies café and saw it rather congested with bicycles. There had been cars around it too, but for some reason several all left more or less at once, so I snapped up a few photographs before more cars swooped in to take their place. My biggest question was how on earth did someone manage to stack one bike on another like this? I don’t get out so much , so even the small things can make me smile and make my day. This quirky sight certainly did.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 13, 2017

Picking Your Car Out From The Crowd…

Strange looking bicycles are not the only thing to look out for in the Netherlands. On occasion you find some strange looking cars too. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a type of camouflage or if it’s just a random geometric pattern, either way we were not the only ones staring. I do like how the “ducts” on the roof hide an everyday looking top-box though. Maybe this is an art work too and the owner is an artist, one thing is for sure, you won’t have too much trouble picking out your car in the rows of cars in the car parking building.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 12, 2017

“Taking A Walk” … In A Wagon!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post I featured a “bakfiets” (cargo bike) which is a standard mode of transport around the Netherlands.

Today’s post is another one about transport, but it could not be more different.

We needed bread so Himself dropped me off at a supermarket where I saw a little ball of fluff sitting in a small wagon.

As I moved with my crutches, the ball of fluff moved and turned to check me out.

A small dog, and strangely to me, the wagon  appeared to be built for it.

I’m used to seeing dogs tied up on leads outside supermarkets but sitting in  wagons just inside the doors of one, is new to me.

I also wonder why the wagon is necessary, surely the dog needs to walk?

maybe it is very old and can no longer walk longer distances. It is the first time I’ve seen a dog “taking a walk” … in a wagon!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 28, 2017

So Much To See, Even More To Make You Curious…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gouda has some beautiful public buildings but there are some very interesting and quirky private ones there too.

Looking through the trees at the back of St Jans Church, I see something that catches my eye: a fish.

It’s a fish of the architectural variety not a real fish but why on earth am I seeing it on top of a building?

Later during my visit I wheel myself around to the street it is on (I was separated by a canal from it earlier, so I had to make a small detour to get to this house). There I find it standing on the corner of a canal and accompanied by some unusual architecture.

First there is a curved piece nibbled out of the corner wall. It’s not for a door, there is only a tiny round window here.

Internally this would mean that the building must surely lose quite a lot of space in this corner. Then there is the window on the side, some times  (I think) called a “hanging window”. Above the chipped out alcove corner is the decoration that is topped with the fish ornamentation. The front door  is around the corner on the bigger street, nothing unusual there. On the far side of the front door I find another fish ornament. It makes me wonder what this building’s history is… some link with the sea can I think be safely assumed: sailor? sea captain? fish monger? Who knows. I love discovering buildings like this: so much to see and even more to make you curious.

(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 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 15, 2017

Blink And You Miss It, But A Little Experience Not To Be Missed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting Gouda’s “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) you should know that the building has a special treat for young children if they are present two minutes after the striking of the hour and half hour of  the “Het klokken en poppenspel” (carillon  / chimes / glockenspiel).

On one of my visits here a man arrived in a hurry with his two children, the half hour chime having alerted him to the fact that if they wanted to see the puppets, they had better be quick.

Luckily they were on time and arrived just as the little red and white doors were opening.

I had arrived eight or nine minutes early, but having taken the wheelchair to get around with, I just sat patiently waiting to capture the action.

Despite visiting Gouda many times I’d never seen these playing before, so was not certain what to expect. There is a Wikipedia page on the Stadhuis but it’s in Dutch, so I translated into English the relevent information here:

The “klokkenspel” (chimes) on the side of the town halls date back to the 1960’s and was donated by a managing director of a Gouda insurance company, therefore not part of the original town hall. T

he Gouda locals refer to then as ‘ the Bouwmeesterrvue” (the chimes of Bouwmeester’).  The leading figure in the carillon is Floris V,  and the puppets depict the ceremony where he grants Gouda its city rights.

Every two minutes after the hour and half hour, the carillon will provide a lovely spectacle, as the puppets begin to move.”

The man with the small children sees me waiting poised with my camera and warns me there is not a lot of action in the puppet show and it will all be over rather quickly.  He hopes it will not be a disappointment.

He is a local who has seen it many times and now his kids (about 2 and 4 years of age) love coming to see the doors open and the little figures move. Eventually the final seconds tick over and the “performance” starts.

The little doors open first, the figures outside turn to greet their VIP guest Floris the 5th, who bows ever so slightly as he hands over the documents that grant the city rights. Then without much ado he retreats back inside, the doors close and the crowd turn to face outwards again. I had the camera on “sport’ mode and the shutter clicked almost continuously as the short show took place. I edited out most of the photographs as there were of course too many for this post but at the same time noticed something interesting: even in miniscule increments at no time did I manage to catch the outside figures making their inward and outward turns.

After the little doors close the two small children clap their hands applauding the show before heading away with their Dad. I am reminded by the Dutch Wiki page that other events here would also delight children. “at Christmas time, the Stadhuis and surrounding Markt buildings are lit only with candle light  on “Kaarsjesavond” (Candles’ evening) a yearly event that delights thousands. After this the Stadhuis is turned into a ‘canvas” for art light projections.  Called “Gouda bij Kunstlicht’ (Gouda by Light) this has grown to include not only the Stadhuis, but other monument buildings in the city, such as the “St. Janskerk” (Church of St. John).’

The little dolls of the klokkenspel carry out their little show every half hour, if you blink you might miss it but for me it was a new experience not to be missed for the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The outside groups of figures turn to face the doors as they open… and the middle figures move forwards…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Floris V hands over the documents confirming Gouda’s city status…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the next photograph Floris V gives the smallest of bows …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… before his quick retreat, along with whoever he gave the document to (they probably had stuff to discuss over lunch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

they retreat…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I don’t catch the groups on the left and right turning around between the photo above and the one below…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… or the two middle figures turning either, as they slide back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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

July 21, 2017

This Kind Of Quirky Is My Kind Of Thing…


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The saying: “A picture tells a thousand words” is never more true then when converting facts and figures into an image that can be instantly understood.

Telling someone that the land they are  driving their car on was once the former sea bed only takes the imagination so far.

Building a monument in the shape of a little house, adding “smoke” to it’s chimney and then a small ship so that the smoke is also now the waves under the ship is a stroke of genius.

The ship sails at the height of the previous sea level, and the visitor gets an instant visual picture as to how high use to be the water above their heads.

I think it is the perfect way to demonstrate the “before” and “now” situations.

Regular readers will know this this kind of quirky is exactly my kind of thing.  Art, history, information,  an ingenious way to show it all…. perfect!


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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