Local Heart, Global Soul

May 18, 2015

Ely To Cité Europe In Record Time, Then Onwards To Home…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch travelled to England in 2013 for a family wedding.

It was a long weekend in May and apart from a disastrous cloudburst just the the bride and groom left the church, we have for the most part had beautiful weather.

The rest of the family, taking the ferry from Harrich to the Hoek van Holland have a short car ride and then a long crossing on the boat.

We, having opted for the channel tunnel have a lot of driving but a crossing that only takes thirty five minutes as opposed to the eight hours plus on the boat.

The children have asked about a possible breakfast at the Little Chef that’s almost next door to the hotel and we figure that if we are there when the doors open in the morning then we can have a quick breakfast and get onto the road in time to get to our channel crossing appointment.

As it was, traffic was lighter than we expected and we got to Folkstone over an hour earlier than we expected. We made our way to the channel tunnel and instead of having to wait, were told that there was space if we wanted to catch an earlier train.

We did, and on the French side we had time to pop in to the Cité Europe shopping centre close the channel tunnel entrance on the Calais  side of the channel.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On the French side it’s also clear to see the measures that have had to have been made to stop illegal immigrants from attempting to stow away on or underneath trucks, trains and other vehicles about to make the crossing to the United Kingdom.

Exceedingly tall fences surround the Cité shopping mall and for kilometres around the train areas.

It follows the road for quite some distance  before we see open fields again.

Annoyingly we come up against one of the downsides (or upsides, depending on how you look it it) to France: weekend shopping hours have not been embraced so on this long weekend almost all of the shops in this gigantic mall are closed. I was hoping to pick up a cured ham but we are out of luck, we make our way down to find the gates leading into the supermarket are well and truly closed.

We can at least make a toilet stop and after that it’s back on the road and back to The Hague. The kids are tired and after a while squabbling and getting comfortable in the back seats, they fall asleep and a quiet peace reigns in the car as the kilometres glide by.

It’s dusk by the time we turn into our own street and it’s been a long day on the road, but the way has been smooth and the traffic easy, and we are safely home to our own beds.  It’s been a wedding to remember, and a lot of kilometres in a weekend but worth it for a special family occasion.

(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)

Interesting decoration around the restaurants…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

calais way home 1m (Small)

Cité Europe

 

May 17, 2015

We Send Balloons Into The Fast Clearing Skies…

Filed under: Ely,ENGLAND,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing on from yesterday’s post and the wedding that no one will ever forget, the wedding breakfast and party at least go smoothly.

The weather, having caused chaos earlier in the day has now improved greatly, and it’s now a dry and balmy evening.

One thing that the bridal couple have organised for all of the children are a large bunch of helium balloons, with strings and little notes for the children to write their addresses on.

Of course my children, along with their Dutch cousins, wrote their Dutch address as the “sender”of the balloons, even though the balloons were “posted” as it were from near Ely and not The Netherlands.

Each balloon was released into the evening sky with much speculation about if anyone would find the notes and drop the children a line, but in the end we heard nothing back, probably not so surprising considering the large amount of open fields around the church.

The kids were very excited about letting the balloons go and watched them until they were tiny specks in the sky.

The wedding evening  party was far larger than the sit down wedding breakfast (as is of course common at weddings) and since the bride and groom were saving for a home of their own, they asked workmates, friends and UK relatives to bring a plate of food as part of the wedding gift. In this way they had a buffet table filled in no time and delicious food!

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 16, 2015

The Near Horizontal Wedding That We Will Never Forget!

Filed under: ART,Ely,ENGLAND,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,Stained Glass,Statues / Sculpture — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It was a long weekend in May in 2013,  four Dutch families had crossed the channel to England to attend a family wedding.

The big day dawned bright and warm,with blue skies and perfect weather.

It was an afternoon wedding so the families had a fairly leisurely breakfast together and then got ready.

Final preparations were made in our hotel room, kids playing together, parents chatting, cousins catching up.

Later when we stepped outside to go to the car park we were astonished to see dark grey skies and heavy clouds threatening rain.

The wedding was to be in a tiny local church, there would only be enough space for parking near the church gate for the bridal car and that of the bride and grooms parents. All other guests had to park in a parking lot at the end of a lane. There was also room in the further away parking lot for the coach that had been hired to take other friends and family. Since the Dutch contingent had all come to England  in our own cars we just used our own vehicles to get to the church instead of using the coach.

Realising that the lane was quite long, Himself wanted to get there as quickly as possible, sneak our car up the lane so that he could drop me off at the church and then take the car back to the further away car park. So far, so good. That worked.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

He joins me and the children a short time later and since the first drops of rain start to fall a few minutes later, we take refuge inside the church.

Other guests quickly start to join us, the photographer is supposed to get photographs of every guest (or set of guests) coming into the church, but he is late and many of the guests are not really keen to go stand in the rain to have their photograph taken. After about fifteen minutes the rain eases and the groom and his family have arrived.

The tiny church is packed with guests as the bride arrives on the arm of her father. She is a very shy girl who has been prone to panic attacks for many years. She has worked hard to overcome various obstacles in her life and her husband to be is a wonderful, gentle, quiet, reliable man who everyone agrees is a perfect match for her.

The bride appears rather overwhelmed, nervous and very pale as she enters the church on her father’s arm. They walked the short distance to the alter where she suddenly swayed alarmingly and said she felt dizzy. A chair was quickly fetched and she sat down. After a minute or two the dizziness was worse and increasingly unsteady she looked like she was about to faint so she opted to lay down on the church floor.  The minister, realising  at this point that the bride was really stressed, asked for all photography to please stop from now on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Her husband to be joined her, as did the lady minister, who had a quiet chat to her. We assume that this chat was to confirm that there no last minute concerns, that she wanted to get married and that she was going through the ceremony of her own free will.

It became clear that this ultra shy girl was completely overwhelmed at suddenly being the centre of attention, but wanted to get married with all her heart. The problem was that as the bride with all eyes on her, the more attention she got, the worse she felt, feeling that she was letting her intended down, her parents, friends and family.

She felt ashamed that she was laying on the floor looking and feeling like a fool and so the dizziness and panic attack got worse. The mothers of the bride and groom went and consoled her, tried to tell her that everyone here loved her and understood and that no one was judging her, they just wished her all well.

The minister rearranged the order of the church service so that readings, singing and a small sermon took place first, giving the bride time to compose herself and be calm in her own time with the congregation focused on something else.. It seemed to work.

The marriage vows were about to take place. The bride attempted to sit on the chair. She swayed alarmingly again, but tried to stay calm and since she was so unsteady , again for safety’s sake opted for sitting on the floor.

The minister told the groom that he too needed to join her at the same level as she was not allowed to marry them if one of the couple was in the higher position than the other. The groom promptly asked with a laugh: “do you want me sitting or laying down?” the congregation giggled.

He held the bride’s hand throughout, reassuring her and telling her that it was all o.k. and that he loved her. The vows took place with the bridal couple on the floor.

The seats of the chairs became the “table” for the signing of the register. There was almost not a dry eye in the church. I have never willed a couple to get though their marriage ceremony as I much as I did for these two.

They are a beautiful couple so suited to each other and clearly over the moon in love with one another. They are best fiends and soul mates and everyone who knows them knows that. When the final pronunciation came that they were husband and wife, a small cheer and then applause rippled through the guests.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Phew, I was more nervous for her than I was myself on my own wedding day! They made it through their ceremony and after a further “rest” on the floor the bride felt steady enough to be helped to her feet and walk down the aisle with her new husband.

They exited the church so that some photographs could be taken and about five or ten minutes later there was even more drama as the heavens opened. A serious cloudburst, rain pelting down by the bucket load. The cars for the bridal party were near the church gate, but all the other guests, including Family Kiwidutch were in the little lane when the deluge began.

Himself gave me an arm and tried to support me as I hobbled as fast as I could on crutches but then left me and sprinted to the car as fast as he could with two children behind him running like mad to keep up, he let the kids into the car, grabbed an umbrella that was in the boot and sprinted back to me as quick as he could, holding the umbrella over me for the rest of the way back to the car. We both were dripping wet by the time we got back to the car and the kids.

The scene was of scurrying guests everywhere, most were lucky because the coach was parked a bit closer than the private cars, but huge puddles had appeared out of nowhere and the rain was still lashing down so people were criss-crossing puddles, mud and trying to run in high heels and best wedding shoes.We reached the car breathless and almost fell into our seats in our haste, it was raining so hard that none of us could see out of the windows at all.

Himself started the engine and the windscreen wipers and even on full speed the downpour was winning. We waited for while until the rain abated enough to make it safe to drive away and then headed to the venue where the wedding breakfast and party would take place. Everyone giggled and shrieked as they hurried inside, raindrops flew off umbrellas, hats and coats and guests lamented their seriously damp and dripping bedraggled hairstyles.

Amazingly about an hour later the rain stopped completely and the sunshine returned. The rest of the evening went really well, the bride, although embarrassed, was reassured that we all felt for her and no one minded the unconventional marriage ceremony, in fact I think that everyone there said at one time or other during the festivities: “this is certainly a wedding we will never forget!”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 15, 2015

Breakfast And A Radiant Day For A Wedding …But Is It?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch have arrived in Ely in England for a family wedding. Himself’s cousin has arranged a booking in a Travelodge close by so that three families coming from the Netherlands could all stay in the one hotel.

The hotel was undergoing extensive renovations during our stay so all of the hallways were covered with plastic sheeting and there were scaffolds in various places because they were busy painting the ceilings.

“Reception” was in a portacabin in the parking area out the front of the hotel but at least all of the staff were very friendly and most apologetic for the inconvenience of the renovations.

Luckily Mark’s cousin, knowing about my asthma problem had pointed out that fresh paint would be a problem, so they arranged that our room would be right at the end of one of the wings as that section had been painted first, in the previous week and they also aired the room as much as possible before we arrived.

It meant a long walk to our room and a very long walk to the other family members who’s rooms were at the extreme end of the opposite wing, so knowing I would see plenty of them at the wedding, I opted to stay and rest in our room and let Himself and the kids go backwards and forwards to see rest of the family in their rooms.

Right next door to the hotel were several fast food restaurants and we all arranged to meet for breakfast the next day at the “Little Chef” next door. Little Mr was delighted with the single portion servings of cereal,  Kiwi Daughter  adores maple syrup so pounced on the pancakes and Himself and I went for a cooked breakfast.

Afterwards my sister in law , cousins and families visited our room before we all departed for the wedding, ladies sharing make-up tips and making sure that husbands and children were suitably presentable.

The weather as we got ready that morning was wonderful, bright blue and not a cloud in the sky. Himself and I even  wrote in the wedding card, mentioning that they had fabulous weather for their wedding… but an hour and a half later as we left the hotel we all got a surprise as we stepped outside, the skies were suddenly grey and ominously dark, and everyone had been so absorbed in conversation that no one had even noticed the change…

(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)

August 11, 2013

Weeding Out The Rotten Apples in a Fit of Giggles…

Filed under: Ely,ENGLAND,Kids and Family,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page of last summer’s diary as we whisk our Singaporean friend “Velvetine” away with us on a few adventures.

Earlier Velvetine and I were in the magnificent Ely Cathedral ogling stained glass and delighting in the fact both of us love discovering the beauty of ancient churches and Cathedrals.

Himself  would humour me but could care less about stained glass so it’s excellent to have Velvetine as a partner in crime as she shares my excitement as I find a new detail with equal enthusiasm.

In fact we’ve been egging each other on with squeaks of delight in discoveries in stone, glass and wrought iron all morning, in and on a bit of a high with our enthusiasm.

Now after a short drive we are visiting Himself’s cousin, close to Ely.  Our delight of earlier is renewed: cousin has a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden and Velvetine and I are garden-less Foodies who live in apartments with tiny balconies. Need I say more? After heading into the thick of the vegetation to take photographs we earn our keep by filling a very large bucket with windfall apples that are cluttering up the lawn. It was done not long ago but the tree is bursting with fruit and cousin who is ill,  has been finding it difficult to keep up with clearing up the mess.

We are happy to oblige and my aim for the bucket (mostly) improves  as the collecting progresses… Kiwi Daughter even dares to pick up some of the rotting apples with as little contact as is humanly possible, albeit with a lot of noise and face pulling and in general her effort was excellent comedy. (She proves she is very clearly a city kid!) The chore is accomplished with a lot of laughter and we later relax in the shade with a cup of tea and come good conversation.

(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)

(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 4, 2013

We Prepare to Hit The Tourist Trail as The Duck Tour Finishes…

Filed under: Ely,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you are just joining my blog,  you have flicked open a page of my diary of last summer’s holiday…  it’s taken me until now to sort a zillion photographs and type up all my notes.

Our visiting Singaporean friend (who we will call here by her internet nickname of “Velvetine”  for privacy reasons) and I have a hotel in the village of Great Dunmow whilst Himself and the kids opted for a tent close to the other friends we are meeting there.

Himself has a cousin who lives close to the city of Ely, roughly an hour’s drive away so we have an invitation to visit,  which is the main point on our agenda today. I’ve been to their house several times before but not seen too much of Ely itself and both Velvetine and I are keen to visit the famous cathedral there, so this is also scheduled for today.

We make an early start almost by default because our body clocks are still one hour ahead on “Dutch time” and as we head towards Ely the countryside starts to strongly resemble that of the Netherlands in it’s flatness and  even with a few windmills. We  drive into Ely and find a parking space close to the cathedral and start  to look around at the fabulous buildings nearby.

As I get out of the car I notice a family of ducks congregated on the grass, all of a suddenly one of them seems to remember that they have an appointment elsewhere,  with a few ordering quacks they depart in short order  as a group. It’s definitely not random,   they are making tracks for somewhere specific (home for supper?) …. and the little group walk down the street and then turn into the driveway of a building a short distance away where a lady appeared to have been waiting for them a few minutes ago.

We laugh at the decisiveness of it all, they look like a little tour bus group of tourists being reminded to get back to the bus on time.

It’s time to start a little tour of our own…

(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)

The lady seems to be waiting for the ducks to come home…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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