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)

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 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.

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 )

January 5, 2017

Kiwi Daughter Wood Prove Me Wrong…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in mid December 2013 Family Kiwidutch were in New Zealand on holiday.

We spent a few days in Christchurch before heading up to one of our favourite places: Hanmer Springs.

We had no sooner arrived and headed off to the hot pools  when the season’s firewood delivery truck arrived, and in error, the wood dumped partly in the small shed and partly on the lawn in front of it at the back of the property instead of in the garage.

Jason who runs the Hanmer Holiday Homes rentals apologised for the mix-up, the wood should have gone into the garage and just as we were discussing what to do next, Himself and Kiwi Daughter bounded in: they wanted to be the ones to shift it.

Apparently there is nothing like shifting two and a half cord of firewood to burn off the blues of sitting in a plane for a total of twenty-four hours, they thought the exercise would be great fun. I cautioned Kiwi Daughter against the idea that the first fifteen minutes would be great and then she would want to pack things in, but no… apparently she was even keener than Himself to take on the job. She assured me that she would see it though. I told Jason that everything had been worked out, so everyone was pleased.  After long flights I always have more problems with my asthma and my foot was sore, so I headed off to some pain killers, nebulization and a nap, leaving Little Mr comfortably reading comics because he wasn’t keen to join in with the work outside.

Meanwhile Himself and Kiwi Daughter set to work and by the time I woke up they had shifted half of the enormous pile of wood from out of the shed and in front of it and stacked it against the far wall of the double garage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) NOTE: Shed in distant back above top left of picnic table.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) NOTE: Shed in distant back above top left of picnic table.

Even at the half way stage the outside pile of wood reached as high as Kiwi Daughter’s shoulder. She was powering along with no sign or intention of stopping.

I started to take photographs of the work from that point.

Later Kiwi Daughter reluctantly stopped work for dinner, then pushed on, telling us that she aimed to finish everything in one day but it finally got too dark to work or take photographs.

When the light faded we prized her away from the last of it, it was too much to finish safely and yet little enough that it was frustrating.

Kiwi Daughter surprised us by being up bright and early the next day, out at the shed, the steady thud of lumps of wood as they landed in the wheelbarrow being my early morning wake up call.

A little over an hour later Kiwi Daughter and Himself had not only cleared up the wood from the lawn but also cleaned and swept the shed and garage. It was a very impressive feat that earned her a hot meat pie from the local shop, followed by a an extra large helping of gumdrop ice-cream in a cone.
I found out later that day from Himself that Kiwi Daughter’s motivation hadn’t come completely out of the blue. She was twelve-going-on-thirteen years old at this time, and in a strange stroppy pre-teen stage.Therefore like most kids she had been testing parental boundaries, which included months of neglecting household chores.

I had told her several times prior to our trip that she was a lazy kid(which she was at the time) but on this occasion she had said to Himself: “I am going to prove to Mama that I am not lazy!”). This “proof” turned out to be temporary mind you.. it didn’t extend to most holiday chores later, her excuse being “but Mama, I’m on holiday!” I have to say that I was seriously impressed with the work she accomplished, it may have been a one-off but it proved that she has the determination to stick to her guns and finish some seriously hard work, even if the going got tough after a while. I was proud of her… She wanted to prove me wrong, and she did!

(photograph © Kiwidutch) NOTE: The shed that was in far background of previous photo.

(photograph © Kiwidutch) NOTE: The shed that was in far background of previous photo.

The remaining half of the woodpile was up to Kiwi Daughter’s shoulder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The distance between the shed and the house (garage on the other side of the house per second photograph)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Half of the wood stacked inside the garage whilst I slept…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

First thing the next morning this was all that was left…

(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)

A shout out to the friendly neighbour who loaned us the wheelbarrow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr’s contribution: play with his “plane”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 23, 2016

There Is No Age Limit On Fun, … Or Wagers.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before we leave the “Playtoday” Lego shop in Gouda I am keen to take a look at some of the detailed models in the shop.

Parked inside large perspex display cabinet these display pieces are safe from prying little fingers but make photography tricky, so a few of my shots have lighting issues.

Little Mr. and I probably spent rather too long excitedly pointing out to one another some of the especially well done details that we saw to one another but there is no age limit to having fun is there?

In general, each of us liked different things but share a love of a “good build” and humorous details.

We agreed that the use of tiny, clear round bricks to represent the breaking of waves around a wind sailor or a jetty was a masterful move,  he loved the balloon “hovering” over the island, I loved the jewel detail in the pirate island treasure chest and we both grinned when we saw a crab on the roof of a beach-front property.

I loved building things a a kid and was disappointed that Kiwi Daughter never looked twice at Lego, so my son’s delight is also my own, I am often to be found being the Chief Lego “sorter outer-er”, combing through heaps to find a piece that he needs to make his next project complete.

It gives us a chance to chat about stuff too, and what he doesn’t know is that I am secretly trying to learn some of the construction tricks of the trade.

Why? the answer is simple. I looked at a few of the entries in the competition display cabinet and said ” I could do that!” which was met with horrified, wide eyed disapproving stares from Little Mr. “Not cool“… he declared later in the car, “that was sooo embarrassing“.

The problem is that he doesn’t think I am anywhere near being able to enter any competition. Oh yeah?  In fact he believes so strongly that I can’t that he has wagered me Euro 10,– of his pocket money that I win. Yes,  of course he stands to gain the same from me if I can’t.  Entries are once per year, at the beginning of the 2017 summer school holidays. I have to start thinking about a topic and a build that will blow everyone out of the water. Hmmm… Thinking cap would be great… if I had thoughts. I have time. Watch this space.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 22, 2016

There’s Profit In Inspiration And Building Dreams…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The “Playtoday” Lego shop in Gouda is probably one of the places closest to heaven as far as Little Mr is concerned.

They are open one Sunday in the month, which is how we found ourselves there exactly as the doors were opened, and with Little Mr chomping at the bit to give the place a full check over.

The “pick-and-mix” brick wall drew him first, but it wasn’t long before he discovered the room out the back where Lego was laid out on tables for people to build with.

There are also display cabinets containing competition entry models, which prompted much debate between the two of us about which we thought was the best.

I love the models but the Lego figure wall decorations are one of my favourite things there too.

All around us was Lego, Lego and more Lego, and once again I have to give credit to a company that not only makes money from the wishes of kids but also inspires so much creativity and zeal from the product they sell.

I took these photographs in the first fifteen minutes we were inside, after that parents started to arrive, pulled in by their offspring. It just goes to prove that the is a profit to be made in inspiration and in building dreams.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

November 21, 2016

Building On A Summer Time Wish…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My son is a die hard Lego fanatic.

Not only is it an obsession, he has built up an encyclopedic knowledge  about which bricks belong to which sets,  which parts are often used together,  tips and tricks for all sorts of building and the best prices for pieces and sets.

It’s true that his “wish list” is so long that we’d need to be billionaires to accommodate it and that his dreams for Lego sets outweigh his pocket money, so he has also become a keen budgeter and bargain hunter.

This summer each of our children were promised a weekend activity that they choose themselves. Little Mr spent a long time thinking about it before deciding to ask for a visit to a Lego shop in Gouda.

What he really wanted was t visit somewhere that had a Lego “wall” where individual bricks could be purchased, Gouda met the criteria and he was keen to go.

Himself’s work schedule didn’t allow for a weekday visit but Little Mr found out that one shop was open every third Sunday in the month,  which is how we ended up at the “Playtoday” shop on a little street near the centre of Gouda.

(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)

 

 

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