Local Heart, Global Soul

October 27, 2017

Having The Patience To Decorate Cakes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Winter is never my favourite season because I am somewhat allergic to short days, long dark nights and cold temperatures.

If Himself and I were to believe in incarnation then I’d hazard a guess that in a previous life I had been a tomato.

Himself was probably a chili pepper, and we are well suited to one another because we would both choose a tropical getaway over a skiing holiday in a nanosecond.

My current situation does not lend itself to getting out and about much, so to kick me out of the house and have some fun my best friend organised for us both to attend a cake decorating workshop in the Hague early in the year.

I have the patience to decorate cakes, providing there are no serious time constraints, and there are not kids underfoot, since I have “Been there, Done that” and can sincerely say that it was not in any way a success, at least on a practical level.

It’s beyond frustrating to see one of your offspring squeezing the last of the icing out of the bags into a puddle on your dining room table just to see how the colours mix.

Of course those exact bags were the ones you had set aside to finish the other half of the big cake you were working on, everything had started well but now you have run out steam,  exhausted, and to add insult to injury the kids have  disappeared leaving you with a kitchen and dining room table that look like a bomb went off in a food coloring factory.

The extension was in the table so that everyone had enough place to work in, now icing is solidifying in the crack between the table sections, the food colouring trail leads as far as the door handle and goodness knows how much further beyond, there are splatters of icing on the floor and you are so tired that you feel like sleeping face down in your incomplete cake.

In the kitchen looks like you used every dish you own (probably did) and the sink is filed to overflowing (my pet hate) so it feels like a day’s work to get it empty let alone start the washing up.

In contrast, in years gone by I could wait until the kids had surrendered to their early bedtime,  then start in peace, all the bits and pieces I needed set out neatly on the dining room table. Then the kids grew big enough to “Help” and chaos ensued. To make matters more complicated, if my offspring were not stuffing their mouths with cake or biscuits (cookies), they were singing the praises of the experience: “This has been great fun‘, “Can we do this again next weekend?”,Mama, I love you, You are the best!”, although to be fair, this bit generally takes place after the wreckage in my kitchen and the carnage on the dining room table has been eradicated by the parents. They know how to choose their moments, my kids. Of course you have to remember too the most frustrating thing of all: I said I had the patience to decorate cakes, .. I didn’t  say I was any good at it.

(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)

October 26, 2017

Interesting To See Where This Might Lead…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Recent posts have taken an Arty turn, so I thought I might throw in one more so that you can see that no matter how much of a beginner you may be, anything is possible if you are willing to learn.

Himself and I have been helping a friend get through a difficult domestic situation in recent years and since she has no money, but was unhappy that I would do this for free, so we worked out that in return she helps me around the house with tasks I can not manage.

When she has appointments (lawyer etc) and it  not appropriate for her young daughter (“M”) to be present, I look after “M” after school.

“M” is six years old and was always asking to draw something so we arranged that in return for this help, I would fill some of these babysitting occasions with simple drawing lessons.

I am by no means a qualified teacher, so I had to get help from the internet on the topics that my young student choose: cats, bunnies, flowers, Space (I found a rocket, which was approved) … and other things like horses, which she will have to work up to later when she is older since they represent a way too difficult level for her at this stage.

I bought her a small, cheap book that has blank pages, a larger one for me and we got to work. We start with learning to draw circles and ovals as softly as we can with an HB or 2B pencil.

We make a hard lined circle in her book and put a sad face next to it when we try and rub part of it out, but part of the line still shows, and a happy face next to the one we did softly that disappeared when partly rubbed out.

Leaving space for some practice exercises we draw more circles,  I first go over what we will draw, step by step in my book, then repeat again in her book as that she can refer to it at home.

Then she has to try and replicate the drawing at home. Since she is very young and I do not want her to get frustrated, feel like she failed, and want to give up, I draw  guide circles into her book to help with her home efforts.

Luckily I found some good examples on the internet to start her off  on her chosen topics and we begin to draw. Of course she has major difficulty to replicate the image at this age without my guide lines but the idea is to have fun and not gaining perfection. Since these are not paid lessons and we only babysit when needed, sometimes quite a few weeks goes by between our sessions, so I want to try and keep her interest over time. I wrote her and my name on some of the pages so in the interest in privacy for us both I have edited this out of several of the photographs. We aim to keep going whenever the occasion arises and it will be interesting to see where, for each of us, this little arty exercise might lead.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 25, 2017

I Can At Least Dream…

Filed under: A sketching Journey,ART,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m continuing with the arty theme of the past two days with a post about “long, long ago”.

When I was sixteen and studying practical art, we could choose between two areas for our exam portfolios.

One area was “General” and involved things like life drawing, still life, sculpture, photography (and other things that I now forget) and the other branch was “Graphic Design” where various mediums were explored to complete packaging designs, posters and advertisements, gift wrap (and other things that I now forget… it was a while ago after all and my memory is muddled with medication).

The added bonus, at least in the design course was that you could choose to specialise in a specific genre to achieve these tasks, and I choose Printmaking.

During the course I did lithographic and intaglio printing techniques which encompassed; woodcuts, linocuts, screen printing, lithographs and etchings. In later years whilst I travelled I put my things in a storage facility, a change of manager of which saw most of my things (and those of the other clients), and the manager in charge of it all go walk-a-bout (missing).

Back in 1996 when Himself and I were back in New Zealand and had our first opportunity to see the communal pile of what had been left behind, I found by chance a small lone folder containing a few pieces of my artwork, everything else in my larger folders having completely disappeared.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We found one tray and almost nothing else of all of my possessions. I bought these few art pieces back to the Netherlands and dug them out earlier this year. These were the first of a series of etchings, the first that helped me become familiar with the techniques.

I was shocked when Kiwi Daughter did an “etching” at school, yes, I suppose it was in the letter of the word but in my eyes not in the spirit of it.

She showed me a perspex sheet into which she had scratched lines with a needle: gone was the zink plate, gone was the “ground” which was a concoction of all sorts of things, including petrol, gone was the acid and the feathers used in the acid baths to pick up the plates and gone were many of the ‘old school” minae that to me make up real etching.

I was shown the correct handling techniques, and a grave respect for the materials and machinery we were using was drummed into us.

It’s like keeping sharp knives: teach respect for them and your kids can learn to use them at a surprisingly young age. This etching was done with a zink plate and the final print is a compilation of four passes through the printing press. The first pass is a light print of the drawn/scratched image into the ground which is then etched in the acid.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The acid eats into the area exposed, the ink later collects into these etched scratches and is drawn back out onto paper under the pressure of the printing press rollers. Ground is then applied to the plate and more drawing / scratching takes place, cross-hatching and the like.

A second round of etching and printing and darker areas are applied in areas where shadows etc are wanted.

The third stage is a Mezzotint effect, not using the rocker technique (I did that later) here but another one where a bag of powdered resin was gently shaken over the plate resulting in grains of various sizes falling down and shielding it from the third etch. Solid areas that were not to be mezzo’ed were painted out with ground.

The resulting third print gives texture, in this case to the bricks. The last etch and pass through the printing press is another one for the darkened areas, putting in the final touches like the mortar between the bricks and shadows around the windows.

That is at least everything I remember, of course some of the extra details have gone. This is the only  remaining art piece from my teens, everything thereafter is gone but it gives you a tiny idea of the detail I used love. It’s what I aspire to one day get back to, if at least we can get my pain levels back to manageable levels and concentration can return. I can at least dream about the distant past.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 23, 2017

It All Started With A Squashed Mandarin…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today I am slotting in an impromptu post into my schedule of posts because I started writing a comment in reply to  fellow blogger Maureen and it became so long that it started to become a blog post.

Instead I left a shorter message and this post was born. Here is the post that inspired it all:  SECOND CHILDHOOD…

Maureen,
Talking about squashed mandarins and imperfections, some of the BEST parts of Dutch Old Master paintings (they are in oils of course, but it is the principle not the medium that matters) is that imperfections are celebrated.

The detail that gained from them are so much more interesting than that of items that are perfect.

Are cheeses painted whole and perfect? No, they are painted with flakes crumbling off and dropping onto tables, fruit and veggies are random, scattered and rugged just like in nature. Leaves in the background have sometimes seen better days. That’s real life right? Remember that you are painting NATURAL things and not “supermarket demanded perfection standard” items, so your squashed mandarin is fine (even if it wasn’t so squashed in the first place and you just ended up painting it that way).

My best art teacher once said to me: forget congratulating yourself over your successes, you learn most from your mistakes. He banished rubbers (that’s “erasers” for our maybe startled North American readers) from our sketchbooks and said you have so SEE your learning process, literally keep your working efforts, thought processes and progress on the paper to look back on and later see how far you have come. Since the last time I seriously drew anything was in my early twenties I am also on the slow road to getting back into practice. Frustratingly, pain has a way of destroying your concentration so these days I plan and intend to draw 98% of the time and actually do it 2% of the time.

Nevertheless I personally think my old teachers advice was the best I got, so please don’t throw your early efforts away. This teacher also said; Too many people believe the lie that only a few people have real artistic talent and the rest can not ever hope to have it, they think they are stuck in the ‘I can’t draw” group. They are wrong: drawing and painting can be an acquired skill.  Talent only makes up a small part of an artist, you are only as good as how much you are prepared to learn and how often you practice. Art is for enjoyment and pleasure, so anyone who enjoys art CAN get good if they have passion,  study the tricks of the trade and practice, practice, practice, and you guessed it..

…practice!

October 7, 2017

Working Towards Real Growth… Not Just That In Trees.

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

(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)

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