Local Heart, Global Soul

September 27, 2019

Seeing Things, But It’s Just A Mirage…

It was a very warm summer Saturday as we toured the Port of Rotterdam… Hot enough in fact for there to be mirages on the road! I can’t actually think of the last time (if ever) I saw a mirage on the road in the Netherlands: the combination of enough heat, and traffic free road is a rare combination.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 18, 2019

A Very Contained Bridge!

Visiting the Maasvlakte area of the Port of Rotterdam, we came accross a unique solution to a problem. A pipeline needed to cross the road but digging a tunnel underneath would be expensive, likewise for building a permanent structure above. I suppose someone looked around the Port and thought: “What could we use?” and found themselved staring a stacks and stacks of shipping containers. So shipping containers were stacked to make this bridge. It’s certainly solid enough and does the job. Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, the Green way to build a fairly “instant” bridge!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 10, 2019

A Cuppa With Long John Silver!

I’ve been sitting in the car, sharing my DSLR camera with Little Mr as he and I took photographs of our early Saturday morning tour of the fire stations dotted around the massive port of Rotterdam. Now it’s time to get out and stretch our legs for a little bit, and enjoy a cuppa at the beach cafe at the end of the public road in the Maasvlakte. Called “Smickel Inn” it’s an informal take-a-way/cafe place in what looks like a large shed.

The people running it are very friendly indeed, and the fries and drink that we ordered were delicious too. We sat in one of the booths facing the water and I saw afterwards that all of the booths on that side make up the shape of along ship, with the ‘bow” to our right. Standing next to this “bow” we even had our very own pirate! He’s not real of course but I bet he enchants kids when they come here. Not every day that I have a cup of tea with Long John Silver!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 6, 2019

We’re Gonna Need A Bigger …. Hat!

There are hundreds of giant silos around Rotterdam Harbour. Filled with things like chemicals, natural gas, and petroleum, they come in many different varieties of “round”. Some are in reinforced barrels of every size from large oxygen tank size to these massive round structures, which I think are gas tanks. Someone wanted to brighten up the view and since these gas tanks look like giant hat boxes, they decided to paint one of them like a hat box! Brilliant idea!

This “box” incorporates the Vopak company name into the “label”, features a buckle-up style strap on the side of the “box”, and a hat decoration illustration on the other side. Needless to say I think this is an excellent idea. Not only do decorative landmarks help people navigate around a site filled with many featureless silos that all look identical, but they add a little bit of “colour” to an otherwise bland landscape, which must surely lift the spirits of people who travel past it. At least it made me smile when I saw this!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 31, 2019

Come On, Where Did It Go?

I caught this cat sitting inside on a windowsill, staring intently at something in the thin strip of front garden border below. I didn’t see anything but kept the camera trained on where the cat was looking for thirty seconds or so, just in case something interesting happened. Back to the cat, still staring intently. Then it looks surprised and looks at me with a sort of “come on, help me! where did it go?” expression. Or maybe it was only gazing at an insect crawling over a leaf, I didn’t see a mouse, bird, butterfly or anything large-ish at all. Sorry Puss… I didn’t see anything at all, so with the best will in the world, I can’t help you.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 30, 2019

Hotel… Or Restaurant?

Spotted this on a tree whilst on our way to visit family members. These are known here as “insect Hotels” and come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen them in the form of massive log piles in nature reserves, to tiny wooden boxes that have had twigs, bark, mosses, leaves and sawdust packed into them by kids and placed in gardens to provide insect habitat. It helps everyone understand that encouraging insects is excellent for the planets biodiversity, and helps in the fight against the huge drop in numbers of small birds in most big cities around the world.

I’ve seen them at ground level a lot but never before on a tree like this one. The wicked humour that I have thought for a moment that if you stuck a birdhouse next to it, it would be the small birds equivalent of living next door to a restaurant! Oops! Probably not quite the idea that people who installed this were going for.

(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)

May 4, 2019

A Trailer With A… WHAT On Top?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in 2017 I expressed a wish to go see the Sand Sculptures in Garderen again.

Our kids didn’t fancy this, but also declined the suggestion to accompany Himself on a day long hike through the beautiful forested area around Garderen called the “Veluwe”.

Therefore we came up with another plan: himself would drop me off the evening before, I would stay overnight in a hotel literally next door to the Sand Sculpture exhibition but separated by a large belt of trees.

I could rest overnight, attend the exhibition the next day Himself would then pick me up the next afternoon once I’d been seen everything I wanted to see, and bring me home. A limited number of wheelchairs are provided at the Exhibition complex to use so I’d booked one in advance and arrived early so that I didn’t have to take my own.

We set out on a Friday evening and since Himself as usual was behind the wheel I was fee to take photographs out of the window. The most notable sights were a massive new “Kasse” (green house) complex being built, the length of which was enormous and far too long for my camera to capture as we sped past. The quirkiest sight however was a car towing a trailer.. which had another, smaller trailer on top of  the first trailer! That’s something I’ve never seen before. Before we knew it we had turned off the motorway and were on roads surrounded by forests, and arriving in Garderen.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 23, 2019

Laughingly Taking The Piss Out Of Your Pit Stop…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As with any large outdoor public gathering, the organisers of the event have to provide suitable restroom facilities.

In the case of the 2017 Food Truck festival in the Hague, the solution was the best I have ever seen.

Unbeknownst to me I had first contact with a member of this group was earlier at one of the food stands.

I spied a young lady in a sort of washer-woman costume, with curlers in her hair which was also wrapped up with a scarf and a sort of  long apron/over-all kind of caricature of the manner of 1930’s.

I asked if  I could take some photographs of her and she gladly obliged.

Later I noticed a large truck that had doors on the sides, these folded outwards to reveal a small passageway on one side of the truck and a row of toilet cubicles on the other.

It was like a cross between a series of upmarket port-a-loos, and normal toilet block.  Outside by the queue was  table where two ladies sat, and it turns out that the younger one of the two is the engagingly attired lady I had encountered earlier.

Together they were taking turns to organize the queue and keep the lavatories clean. I didn’t end up getting photographs of the large truck because there were too many parents taking young children to the toilet and with all of the comings and goings, I couldn’t satisfactorily edit them out of the shots.

I did however manage to take photograph of their company car.

This delightful vehicle was as ingenious as their attire:  nicknamed the “pleemobiel”  this is a kind of pun referencing the children’s toy brand of “Playmobile” (even the font is similar) but the “plee” part that the have changed is a cute/ funny nickname for pee, or urine.

The phrase “U plassie is ons passie” translates as “Your pee-pee is our passion” and the van is decorated with two ladies (Beb & Toos)decked out in the same attire as the younger and older lady at the table.

Their sense of humour carries on in the price cards on the table: for instance the one for Gents reads: “Beb & Toos (“Bezet” means “engaged/occupied”), Gentlemens Prices (tariffs): Is your “tokus” (slang for penis) shorter than 8cm ? Price: Euro 0.50 cents. (Is your tokus) longer … Price Euro 1.00

I showed Himself this and he laughed and said “Yes of course it’s meant to make men pay more because of pride and that they want people to think they have a big penis, but don’t forget, these men are also Dutch so I bet they will all go for the Euro 0.50 cent option simply because its cheaper an they want to save money“.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I think he’s probably right, but hey, can’t fault them for trying!

The other sign was more conventional: you could get a token for a “losse plas’, basically one single use of the toilets for 1/2 of  1 munt, or Euro 0.50 cents.

(The “munt’ = being the special tickets that are the ‘currency” of this event and which needed to be purchased at a separate counter in order to buy food and drinks at all of the food trucks participating at the festival.)

You could also purchase a “plas bandje”  (a wrist band) for 1 Munt or Euro 2.00, entitling one person to unlimited use of the facilities for the whole day.

The last alternative would be to buy for 2  Munt or Euro 4.00 the “Voordeel Plasskart” which turns out to be “10 x piddle/pee-pee/take a leak/ spend a penny etc  for the (whole?) Club”  I’m not certain how this works but somehow you are paying for use of the loos for 10 occasions … just not certain how the “group’ element fits into this arrangement!

I have to admit that I may also be confused because I think this is dialect Dutch: for instance in the Gents sign: the “usual’ spelling of the word ‘kleiner” (smaller) is spelled here as “kleinert” , and the word “groter” (larger) here as “grotert”

Since this event is also an evening event, with bar stalls that only started to open up later in the afternoon / early evening, and music areas that were largely unoccupied during our visit, but clearly being set up, it’s a definite bet that as the family crowd fade away for children’s bedtimes after a day of dinning and playing, the adult party crowd come in to take their place.

Once the booze starts flowing it would be safe to assume that the need to use the privy, and therefore the W.C.’s here could create quite a demand.. maybe these ladies, busy with everyone’s ablutions, can not only provide a needed service to the event but also end up creating a thriving business in the process… so that they end up going home rather flush! … And all of this whilst laughingly taking the piss out of your pit stop!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

General prices…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Prices for Gents…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…And if you have read this far you may have noticed how many “Pee” and “Toilet” puns or nicknames I managed to squeeze into this post!

April 10, 2019

Bring Your Kids,… and Pets?

Several years ago I attended a weekend Food Truck festival. Himself and I started out early but everything started to fill up fairly quickly. At first I thought this was a small travel pram and assumed a child was inside. Imagine my surprise when the head of this little dog suddenly popped up instead. It was only when I looked more carefully at the “pram” again later that I realised that maybe this hadn’t been something built with children in mind, but was instead a pet carrier. (Not having pet meant this probably wasn’t immediately obvious to me at the time.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.