Local Heart, Global Soul

October 7, 2017

Working Towards Real Growth… Not Just That In Trees.

Filed under: BREDA,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This blog is all about noticing the little things, the details of my daily life and surroundings.

I seem to always notice the things that so many others walk by, possibly because I walk the slowest but more probably because I am a detail fanatic; a trait I carried long before my accident.

I am always interested in small signs, plaques, maps, information boards and the like, and as usual I was bringing up the rear of our group, lingering reading several new “finds” of this ilk.

I will start with the smallest one which was located next to a small tree.

The reason for that quickly became apparent: this commemorated the planting of an “Inclusieboom” (Inclusion Tree).

Translated into English the sign reads: ” Inclusion Tree, Planted in November 2001 by the Catholic Disability Society together with the local community.

The planters of the “inclusion tree” wish to emphasize /reinforce that people with disabilities are also part of the community. The coexistence / working together of people with and without disabilities must grow. This is what this tree symbolizes.”

I am not certain how planting trees helps handicapped and non-handicapped people grow together on a practical level, although I wholeheartedly endorse the sentiment. I’d personally like to see inclusion and awareness done better, with things like mandatory sign language classes and exams in schools, kids having to “live the life” of someone in a wheelchair, sight impaired etc for the bare minimum of a day each so that they can learn just how difficult it is to negotiate modern life.

Not only might they better understand the difficulties but all kids should also learn that there is a human being behind the disability who deserves respect, dignity and understanding. All kids should learn that people who are “different” still have feelings, hurt when they are called names, bullied, or even just constantly stared at. In fact I would go so far as to say that in an ideal world, part of every kids education should be to help out disabled and special needs kids on a regular basis, to get to know these people as individuals with personalities, feelings and dreams just as they have. Maybe then we could raise a more caring society and if that happened, that would be real growth.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kiwi’s note: apologies for only seeing that this post was missing at the very end of the day, my fuddled brain put this into the schedule with the wrong date on it and somehow it completely missed my earlier double-check. On the upside I suppose that means you get to have a double dose the next day!

September 28, 2017

You Only Have A Hefty Supermarket Bill To Loose…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I love to use root ginger in my cooking, there is nothing better in a stir-fry or a curry.

I have several pet peeves about the stuff though when it comes to the practical side of things.

Who of us can say we are not guilty of buying some ginger for a recipe we are making, using a centimeter or two of it and then leaving the remainder in the fridge until it dries up and withers?

During the time of our gingers demise we glance at it with “good intentions” of using it, but it doesn’t go into our pasta or potato dish so our good intentions gather dust.

Eventually the now offending piece is unceremoniously scooped out from the bottom of the veggie bin and thrown out as we or our families lecture about food waste and we swear we will not ever do it again. Until next time.

For a long time I stored my root ginger immersed in a jar of sherry. The two flavours go very well together and would fuse, adding a wonderful extra level of flavour to marinades, and whenever you needed a spoonful of sherry in something it’s ginger accompaniment would make it shine. My mother used this method for years and never had a problem but for some reason I have had a layer of mold form at the top of my jars,  I stopped using this storage method. Then a friend suggested her method: peel the ginger and store it in a plastic bag in the freezer, grate from frozen whenever you need it. Seemed ideal, but I quickly found that my fingers do not function well when stuck to a stone cold piece of ginger and in charge of an uber sharp micro grater.

Then comes the biggest and not insignificant problem with root ginger. It has all of these tiny little nodules that stick out from the main root, I loath to waste them but at the same time they are a pain in the butt to peel and grate.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I also have to be brutally honest; at base level, I am lazy, both the freezer and sherry storage methods require hard word right at a moment when I want it least: in the middle of cooking a meal.

It’s hard to get enthusiastic about peeling and grating awkward bits of ginger whilst pots are boiling over, the oven timer is pinging incessantly, the pain in my foot is killing me, a kid decides to get under my feet wanting to rummage in the fridge in my nano-sized galley kitchen, half of the groceries are still needing unpacking on the bench so I am desperately short of space to work in and I am turning the kitchen over for the fresh garlic I had in my hands minutes ago but can now not find for love nor money.

I need a root ginger storage system designed for a very lazy me.  Now I think I may have found it.  We get a lot of our vegetables at the Haagse markt, and in doing so have made a very big dent in our food bill.

Last Saturday Himself arrived home with a bag of root ginger and a question: ” Guess how much this lot was?” Several seriously off course guesses later he told triumphantly told me; “Three Euros!”. Wow… that would be the price of just the largest piece at the supermarket. What a brilliant find !!! Now I had to deal with the stuff. I blocked off the entire kitchen by hauling up  a chair, and armed with a veggie peeler and a knife, set to work. It was slow but mindless work, I took several tea breaks and one nap during the process but liked that no real concentration was involved so no stress.

The pile of peelings grew steadily larger as I tried to save as much of the ginger as possible.  My food processing machine took out the hard graft of grating for me and in doing a bulk amount, justified the extra washing up.I had some plastic inserts from a special biscuit (cookie) tray in my cupboard, intending to using when next making my chocolates. Having made them last well over a year ago I am kidding myself, so these became freezer containers instead.

I packed the ginger in and added some water to seal and hold it together. The rest was such a large quantity that I put it into a zip-lock bag, added a little water and then froze it flat. Later I can cut or break off a chunk of this ginger and put it to thaw ready-grated into my stir-fry pan and curry spice mixes.

Added to the fact that this bag of ginger cost literally  next to nothing, we also save a bomb when prices skyrocket in winter no matter where you want to buy it. Yes, it’s all the preparation work in one day, but I found this far less frustrating than trying to prep miniscule amounts at moments when I am tired and cooking is enough of a job for me to manage. If you have a local market / farmers market / market garden where you can stock up on veggies and things like this, I can not recommend it highly enough.  Take leeks for instance: supermarket sells them priced per leek, market stall sells bunch of leeks for the same price… or less!  You will save a shocking amount of money in a very short amount of time. If you can, then go do it… you only have a hefty supermarket bill to loose.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Landmarks in Den Haag (The Hague): The Haagse Markt… Part 2.
Landmarks in The Hague: The Haagse Markt…

September 27, 2017

When The Person Picking Out a Double Bed Is The One You’d Least Expect…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our biggest household task this last summer school has been a long awaited and vastly overdue update of Little Mr’s bedroom. His room was last renovated some eleven years ago when it was still our bedroom since both kids were still sharing a room back then.

When we bought the apartment below us fourteen years ago it got priority as we had an older foster kid with us and his room was down there. Himself’s new office went down there too as he started his business from home, the smallest bedroom became a guest room and the tiny room by the front door (formerly a very cramped bedroom in the previous owners time) became a box room with eventually space for stuff like a freezer.

As the years progressed the foster kid left, friends came to stay temporarily whilst starting a new life in the Netherlands and after getting jobs and finding a house they left our place ten months later to live very locally, more today as family than as friends.

Always interested in meeting new people we have billeted various other people for short stays ranging from a few days to three months (I even drove to Schipol airport and rescued a few random people when the Icelandic volcano grounded all flights over a large part of Europe) and hosted visiting friends and family from around the world.

Our upstairs hall ways, stairs and living rooms got priority after that, and somehow Kiwi Daughters room managed to sneak in two makeover’s, mostly because she opened her mouth and complained more often.

This summer it has been the turn of Little Mr,  and it’s been a summer long project because Himself is doing 98% of the renovation work in between pauses in his normal work. My contribution has been sitting sorting out Lego, of which there has been an almost frightening amount.

I average anywhere between half and hour and an hour and a half  per day, and on quite a few days I sat and fixed all the sorting mistakes I made the day previously due to complete concentration malfunction.

I am still finding multiple piles of the same part because I would forget I’d already made a previous pile and Little Mr spent more than one day on the floor after I knocked over plastic containers of tiny bits and then could then not get onto the floor to retrieve them.

After not having a living room table since the end of July, I am now making ever increasingly loud noises towards Little Mr that he better help me clear the last of it, not an easy thing because as he discovered more and more sorted containers his “need” (his word not mine) to build outweighed his need to help finish sorting.  His building then in turn meant that I had more to sort and thus we are fast in danger of forming a never ending circle and me never seeing my dining room table ever again. I’ve told him that I want to build too so my sorting days (well, ok, hours) are severely numbered. New curtains have been ordered for his renovated room and the biggest change was a new bed,  a double no less!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yes, it did seem strange having our twelve year old son pick out his own double bed but we didn’t want to repeat the mistake we made with Kiwi Daughter.

She was about eleven when she swapped her smaller light blue room with a pink stripe (her design) for plain white walls and we splashed out on a very fancy and (looking back at it) stupidly expensive raised single bed that had a massive desk underneath.

Eighteen months later our teenage daughter was torturing us with the refrain that bunk beds were for little kids, she hated her room, a cool room would have a bed she could lounge on with friends and so forth.

Worn down we relented and guess that, no one wants to pay even 10% what we paid for that fancy get-up as a second hand item, no matter how pristine or how good quality it was.

Determined not find ourselves having the same heated rows with Little Mr as the teenage years and probably another half meter of height is added to his frame, we headed straight for the big bed, much to the bemusement of the gent in the showroom. So, gone are the pale yellow painted walls, in is the new white, and slowly the bits and bobs are on order to make his room complete. Now all I have to do is one day summon up the courage to remind poor overworked Himself about the state of the paint work in our kitchen.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is less than half of Little Mr’s Lego. His extended family nickname: “The Lego Master”… is well deserved.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 25, 2017

The Delight In Busting A Coke Habit…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have always been partial to a drink of coke-cola. In an effort to cut down on sugar I switched from regular cola to the diet variety,  and managed with just a few drinks per week.

Then I had children and during pregnancy the smell of coffee had me turn a wonderful shade of green and since my coffee intake was already very high I took the decision to not return to coffee after my pregnancies.

I drank black tea before I discovered coffee as a teenager, the main reason that coffee took hold was that I didn’t actually love black tea very much. After my accident all alcohol consumption stopped, something I missed, and still do, even though the amount of bottles of wine I drank in a year could be counted on one hand.

It wasn’t even the amount, it was just that I could have a small Pineau des Charantes, port, sambuka, baileys or wine a few times every month or two whenever I fancied one. When that choice was taken away I started drinking more and more cola.

In an effort to be healthier I started to also drink rooibos (literally= red bush) tea, from a native tree of the same name in South Africa that contains no caffeine, no tannin and a large amount of vitamin C.  I drink this tea warm rather than hot and it’s a type of tea that doesn’t get bitter if it stews, a bonus because I love this tea strong.

If rooibos isn’t around then I might drink mint / peppermint tea or chamomile, but black tea and flavoured teas based on black tea are still not, well… my cup of tea. Long term pain brings many changes and moods so it was hardly surprising that my comfort drinking of cola steadily increased even though I was well aware that aspartame is not a healthy ingredient of sugar-free drinks.

Knowing about it and caring about it on many days are two different things.

Finally, last November I decided to kick my cola habit completely and thought that cold turkey would be the best way to do it. I won’t say it was the easiest way to do it but for me at least it was the best.

Headaches and mood swings ensued. Luckily these side effects were fairly short lived and I am pleased to say that except as a rare treat I have not had any coke-cola since then. In fact I am delighted that even “treats” have added up to a grand total of  some 5-6 glasses in the last ten months and I aim to keep it at this level, or less in the future. I have had a few drinks of  bitter lemon during this summer but have forced myself to drink water, not a drink I ever gravitated towards as a drink of choice in the past.

Little Mr was impressed with my decision and cold turkey efforts, but also took the opportunity to play a prank. About a week into my cola detox he came into my bedroom early one morning and announced that he was bringing me some cola. Surprised, I roused myself to find this decorated water bottle, and he disappeared with a fit of giggles. Then, about 30 seconds later he bounded back into the room with a concerned look on his face saying: “Mama, please don’t drink it, it’s not real cola and I used food colouring for the colour and dish detergent so that it would have bubbles“. Clearly he maybe thought that any dark liquid may severely tempt me so early into the cold turkey process even though the “bubbles” were rather different to the ones usually found in carbonated drinks and the label a fraction more generic than even supermarket cola home brands. I loved his genuine concern.

No one would have thought that I could have stuck this out, least of all me, but when you set your heart on making lifestyle changes, if you want it badly enough then anything is possible. Now I just have to watch out when, where and to whom my family boast that I have finally busted my coke habit.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 20, 2017

Sneaky Tactics Apparently… …Pay Off.

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE HAGUE / DEN HAAG/ s'GRAVENHAGE,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are many household things that I have never done: my Long Arts (Lung Specialist) says it’s not good for my asthma and COPD to be shaking up duvets and pillows whilst changing the covers, vacuuming is a definite no-no, and all chemical sprays and cleaning products are also out of bounds.

Himself has always taken up the slack when it comes to household duties, being brilliant in helping out without complaint.

One thing that he has always had a bit of a problem with getting laundry right.

The laundry has always therefore been my department, despite Himself’s sometimes good intentions to “help’ out: There’s A Psycho Behind The Shower Curtain…    

I like to make sure we have ample laundry powder on hand, our washing machine shifts at least two loads per day.

Last month I added washing powder to the weekly shopping list but after he bought it home I did a double take. Something was not quite right.  The height of the box was what first struck me as different when I put the new box next to the old one on the shelf, so curious, I took both of them down and was suddenly shocked that a height difference was not the only change to the new box in front of me.

Despite being a fraction taller than the old box it became immediately apparent that the new box  is decidedly thinner than the old one, so holds significantly less washing powder than the old one.

A good look at the labels showed me just how far the product had been downsized: the old box was 2430 grams and the new one was now only 2025 grams, a difference of 405 grams. I wish I knew the price of the old packet, I would dearly wish to compare it to the price of the new so that I could see if the price had also dropped by almost one fifth as well.

The rather cynical side of me thinks that it probably hasn’t.  There seems to be a trend these days for manufactures to quietly shrink the size of their packages, but keep most of the designs intact so that the changes would probably go unnoticed to most of the customers. Even the ones like me who like on this occasion do notice, no longer have the “old’ prices available so have no clue just how much we are being short changed.

It’s far too much hard work to note down and save old prices of all of our groceries for “one day when…” a day like this arises, and there is no way I can remember this kind of information in my head but it does annoy me that customers are not being told outright that they are probably getting considerably less product when in all likelihood they are not being charged considerably less money.

By all means down size the packaging if manufacturers want to for whatever reason, but please be upfront about it, change the packaging and make it obvious so that customers can vote with their wallets and make a knowing choice. There seems fat chance of that happening though because sneaky tactics rather too literally. … pay off.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 19, 2017

The Outside Hides A Dire Inner Secret…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE HAGUE / DEN HAAG/ s'GRAVENHAGE,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have often thought that cutting trees should be avoided at all costs, especially in cities.

I would wonder why on earth the “Gemeente’ (City Council) would be doing away with seemingly perfectly healthy trees.

Then, this summer, whilst travelling down the Sportlaan in the Hague, we passed by a group of people in high visibility vests.

Curious, I got my pocket camera out whilst wondering what on earth was going on.

It turns out that there are some big trees being felled a short distance further, just around the bend on the same road.

My first reaction from a distance is the usual slightly indignant ” what are they doing?” but this indignation swiftly disappeared as soon as I saw the massive cavity inside one of the trees.

Clearly, what seems to be a normal tree on the outside is in fact a very sick one on the inside. Not everything is as it seems, so I realise that my earlier jumping to conclusions was a stupid thing. It is a good thing that these sick trees are coming down after all, otherwise they will fall down without warning, possibly killing some one. I never wish that a tree die needlessly but in this case I see that some need to come down. I therefore resolve to be less quick in future to judge when I see trees coming down by the side of the road.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 18, 2017

Our Little Marshmallow Went The Distance…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Earlier this summer (when the weather was half decent, before the August and September rain set in), Kiwi Daughter went on a hiking trip with a group of girl friends.

The area they were in was the Ardennes in Belgium, so it wasn’t the flat terrain that they are used to, and they carried their tents, sleeping bags, food and cooking equipment with them, so it was hardly like a day out with a rucksack either.

The distance covered was just over 50 kilometers and the girls worked as a team to help share the load and help one another up hills. There were blisters aplenty amongst them too, Kiwi Daughter getting blisters on her feet in places where we wondered how it was possible.

Only after the hike did we discover that her feet had grown since we bought the walking shoes last Christmas, so she should have been in shoes one size larger.

She was quick to point the finger in our direction for that one, and Yes, we did forget to check, but I did gently remind her that had she done the amount of training asked of her (and the group) before the trip, she would have figured this out in the months before so (a) Himself and I would have been able to buy her new shoes in time for her to break them in and (b) she probably would not have had any issues with blisters at all.

Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing, it seems that most of the girls in the group had been also less than prepared to one degree or another so they suffered and struggled together.

At the end of the first hike Kiwi Daughter phoned us, weary to the bone, sore everywhere, her feet erupting in pain, almost too tired to eat dinner and close to tears. She didn’t know if she could do this, it was too hard, her feet were a mess… the list went on. I am certain that if at that moment Himself had offered to jump in the car, drive to Belgium and pick her up, she would have said goodbye to the rest of her group almost without a backward glance.

No such luck, we listened on the phone as the tears of weariness overcame her and told her that this was as much a test of character as it was of enduring the course. Our words of course meant little that night, and also again when six kilometers into the following days 26 km hike when she sat down at the side of a small road and thought she could not carry on because her feet hurt so much. There was a competitive edge to this event, some dozen or so groups having been given different routes but with the same terminus each day, no one wanted to be the last team in.

Some teams were all boys, some all girls and a few were mixed. Apparently all of the all-girl teams struggled with carrying the equipment, it seemed that being able to pass the weight around to few boys with muscles than they was a half decent advantage. On the flip side I think that it was highly likely that the boys carried a lot more food than the girls, but then again that gets lighter as the day goes on and tents do not.

That day, himself and I listened out for the phone, half expecting a call to tell us that she had dropped out. The phone stayed silent until the evening, when she let us know that she had persevered with the other 20 kilometers after all. Her voice was like a shadow of her usual self, her tiredness could be felt though the phone, her voice trembled and faltered, more tears ensued, and once she had recovered she told us that she wasn’t the only one who had trouble.

The girls all helped one another, taking packs apart and redistributing items several times during the journey, supporting one another physically, emotionally and mentally. They arrived in the campsite in twilight, several hours after the other teams and hardly felt like cooking after getting their tents up.

They managed to finish that day, and the next, despite all of the hurdles that they faced. This is the kind of experience where maybe it’s not the most fun when you are having to do the hard graft, but upon reflection you can look back and realise that in pushing yourself to the limit and not giving in, that you do indeed grow as a person, you find you are stronger than you thought, you can take pride in that fact that you didn’t take the easy option of giving up.

Not only did the girls finish with their team, they lived through something together and came away stronger and better for it.

One ‘bonus” (if it could be called that), about walking in blistered and shredded feet was that when they got sunburnt on the second day Kiwi Daughter said she didn’t feel it. Once home she discovered that she had a set of red, pink and white stripes down her legs regardless of using sunscreen several times. She said her new nick-name of the moment should be “marshmallow” since her legs looked like one.

I didn’t take photographs of her blisters, they were gruesome, but she could laugh about her legs. Kiwi Daughter now looks back on this trip with pride, and quite rightly so because she earned her place at the finish line; literally with blood, sweat and tears. Our little marshmallow went the distance and Himself and I could not be more proud.

September 10, 2017

I Await The Day When She Gets Me Back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes some of the best practical jokes come around completely by accident.

One of these occasions happened when Kiwi Daughter came into Himself’s and my bedroom whilst I was sorting my medication into my various daily doses.

She started out with general conversation, then raised a few questions about the coming week, and as I answered, interrupted me by picking up a pill and asking if she could eat it.

I replied that she had picked up a very strong painkiller and it would be a serious overdose if she did.

She then began picking up some of the other pills, asking questions bout each one. I explain that a few are vitamins, I take them on the recommendation of doctors to mitigate the effects of, for instance the hair loss side effects of several of the prescribed medications.

One pill is to help protect my stomach from all of the other pills, there is calcium with vitamin K against my diminishing bone density, Prednison and other medications for my asthma, a low dose antibiotic (I know, not ideal but my Prednison dose would be more than triple without it), pills against acid reflux, the list goes on. Kiwi Daughter then went to the other corner of the table and pointed to a tiny square white form there, “Can I eat this one Mama?” she asked. I replied: “Well you can if you really wanted to but I really would not advise it“. “Why not?” she asked, a little defiantly. ‘ I looked at her in disbelief, “Because it’s plastic, it’s Lego“. The sudden change in the look on her face was priceless, as was the flat “Oh…” as my reply sunk in.

I started to laugh, she picked up the piece of Lego, turned it over and looked at the underside to see if what I said was true, at the same time she tried to say that she hadn’t been fooled but I kept laughing and she was so unconvincing that she didn’t even attempt to finish her sentence, ending up laughing too.

It has been quite a while since I’ve managed to prank her successfully, even though we currently have a “boo” scare campaign going (we try and catch each other unaware and yell “BOO” to make each other jump, to date I’m winning that one by quite a stretch). I’ve had several different attempts at pranks in the recent years but none have reduced us to tears of laughter as much as this quite unintentional one. I await the day when she gets me back.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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)

March 16, 2017

The Adventure Of The Hunt…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Back in 2016 we spent the Easter long weekend on the Dutch Island of Texel.

We were there with two other families, both with children quite a bit younger than ours. Naturally Easter for each of our families is not Easter without Easter eggs and an Easter egg hunt.

Since our accommodation at de Krim holiday park is the largest and our kids want to be the ones hiding the eggs, we arrange that the young daughter of the friend staying with us is the one who needs to accompany Himself to get bread that morning and that their return coincides with the arrival of our other friend with younger ones.

As soon she is out of the house the rest of us get to work hiding eggs that have been hidden away in our suitcases until now.  Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter race upstairs to find good places to hide eggs, working together to find places not too easy and not too hard.

Then they come downstairs to help me, there are not only eggs but also each child gets a glass drinking jar with a few small eggs inside it.

The kids hide an egg wrapped in red foil in the fruit basket with the apples for instance, I get them to put one out on the bird table outside, another goes inside the wooden umbrella stand in the hall… the list goes on. The photographs were mostly taken by my kids, sorry for the um… “soft focus”.

The smaller kids arrive back at the appointed time and shrieks of delight ensue as they scamper around the house, guided by clues given by our children. The entire morning is topped off with a combined families breakfast at our place and a houseful of kids delighting in a miracle of a day once per year when they are permitted chocolate for breakfast. The story of Easter is of course more than just that of chocolate eggs, but on this day the kids only have eyes on the chocolate and the adventure of the hunt.

(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 )

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