Local Heart, Global Soul

July 22, 2014

A Few Locals (Or Eleven!) Invite Themselves For Lunch…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The date was the last week of October 2012, the place was Palio Trikeri Island, off the extreme tip of the Pelion Peninsular in Greece.

The setting was the restaurant that I featured in yesterday’s post.

Apart from a couple that appeared to be on a walking holiday we appear to be the only other tourists on the island this late in the season. We have just enjoyed a fabulous lunch, in fact I found a fish dish that is beyond divine.

But just because there were not other human customers present, doesn’t mean to say that we were alone.

During our meal we attracted the attention of some of the local wildlife, I’m not too certain if they were greedy local house pets or feral , but no sooner had our meals been carried to the table than we were joined by some of the neighbourhood cats.  Of course cats adore fish, and after tasting my delicious meal I couldn’t blame them from coming to beg for part of the action.

So… what was unusual about a cat coming smooching in the hope of a little lunch? nothing, except that I’ve never ever been joined by eleven of them at once. That’s right, eleven cats. They were all ages, sizes and colours, three sat demurely at the head of our table, politely staring at our plates but not actually setting foot on the table itself (ugh, they would have gotten short shift if they’s tried that one).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr tried to feed them small pieces of  French fries… these discerning beasts looked at him with faces that clearly said “stupid boy, who wants potato when there is fish such as this as a possibility?

They waited patiently and gave us their best stares so that the message was perfectly clear what they were really there for.

It was their lucky day, having tried hard to tempt Little Mr. to eat fish off the bone, Himself and I did our parental duty and stuffed ourselves with as much of his portion (as delicious as ours) as we could manage.

There was still plenty left over and we were fit to burst, so Little Mr. amused himself by carefully and patiently separating fish from bones with his fingers and attempting to feed each cat equally. (on the ground).

The bigger, older cats tried hard to muscle in on the action so Little Mr. figured out that preparing multiple portions and distributing to the younger, smaller beasts whilst the older ones were distracted was a technique that worked. I didn’t manage to get all of the cats in a single photograph, some were more tame than others and several were on the ground on the other side of the table and scattered when I moved to try and take a photo. One adorable little grey kitten made himself comfortable on the seafront wall at the end of the next table after he had had his nibbles. If I wasn’t allergic to pet hair I’m certain I could become a cat lady. Sadly we had to tell Little Mr. that no, he couldn’t take it (or any of the others) home with us.

(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 25, 2012

Does This Image Look Positive or Negative to You?

Filed under: LIFE,MALAYSIA,Miscellaneous — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are  somewhere  along the Malaysian highway during our three hour bus journey when I spot this billboard and click off a hurried image.

My first thought was: “What a nice image, if only the world was more like this in reality.”

But on reflection another thought struck me:  You can  read this both positively and negatively:

(a) We are a team, if you are down we will help you up again.

(b) Whenever someone is down, often many people will stand and do nothing,  they don’t put themselves out from their normal business instead, leaving it to the same one or two every time to offer help  and take care of the situation.

What do you see when you look at this image? is it a matter of seeing it as a glass half full or as a glass half empty? Is it a positive or a negative image?

Hmmm, I think a billboard where everyone is helping the person up would be even better.  What do you think?

September 9, 2012

Studies of Water and Waves…

Filed under: LIFE,Miscellaneous,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Today’s post is a photographic post… you know I’ve mentioned that I’m trying to get back into drawing again…OK, it’s not actually happening at the rate  I would like (too many other things happening at the moment with work and family) but I like to dream and plan a little for a future that has a bit more spare time.  As I take photos over the side of the Ferry of the surrounding landscape, I also notice interesting wave patterns in the water below me as the ship cuts through the water. I point my lens downwards and take some shots that may come in useful at a later date if I want to do a study of water movement…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 31, 2012

Shooting the Wildlife….

Filed under: Miscellaneous,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s not often I get to attempt taking wildlife photos… the city birds who settle on our balcony are wary of the tiniest movement and I don’t have a particularly long lens on my camera to get good shot of them in the nearby trees.

Sitting at the end table of the  Fat Pigeon Café in Piopio, New Zealand  and with Little Mr. busy digging in the sand-pit close by (and therefore not being available to be waving his arms around in excitement  or wiggling on the seat in such a fashion to scare off our little visitors) …  I stood half a chance at one of my first attempts.  Ok it’s far from perfect, but it’s a “try”at least, and not having a tripod to hand it was a challenge too.

The birds came for the bread bits that Little Mr. hadn’t wanted so once they dared to get in close enough to grab something they didn’t waste any time chatting or saying hello to us,  they were just focused on getting away as quickly as possible.

Phase One: they watch us and we watch them… from a safe distance…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Phase Two: tentative steps…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Phase Three: They check that the little noisy one who makes sudden scary movements is not too close:  Good… he’s busy….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Phase Four: be brave! rush on on, there is treasure here!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 16, 2012

A Tower in the Sky and a City of Sails…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are perusing the pages of my Travel journal, and following our New Zealand travels of December 2011- January 2012.

It’s early January at this point and we are leaving Northland and heading south.  Whilst I’m too amoured with the South Island and the Christchurch region to ever want to live in Auckland (for me there’s far too much motorway and way too busy) there are some aspects of the city that I love and get a buzz from every time I see  again.

Auckland and Manuaku Cities sit back to back on two adjoining harbours, and a relatively tiny strip of connecting land is all that prevents New Zealand’s Northland from being an island.

Consequently the two harbours have many bays and sailing is a very assessable and popular pass-time so it’s little wonder Auckland has earned the nickname “the City of Sails”. Christchurch’s deep water harbour and  port on the other hand is on the other side of the Port Hills in Lyttleton and whilst sailing is also popular there it’s not a patch on the marinas that are seemingly almost everywhere around Auckland’s shores.

Auckland’s Sky Tower is also a new addition to the Auckland skyline since I left New Zealand to live in The Netherlands.  Wikipedia tells me:

The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the Auckland CBD, Auckland City, New Zealand. It is 328 metres (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast,[4] making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere.”

The sky tower is imposing as we round the bays and I never tire of the views as I come over the Harbour Bridge and back into the city…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 15, 2012

Flax… Nature’s Work of Art…

At various stops, and in various gardens we see one of my favourite New Zealand plants: Flax. A lot of Kiwi’s grow it  in their gardens for it’s evergreen qualities but I love the stalks and seed head pods  that grow out of the top to produce the flowers. I’m looking for inspiration from the plant world for my drawing at the moment and this is right up my street.

Wiki tells about flax better than I can:

“New Zealand flax describes common New Zealand perennial plants Phormium tenax and Phormium cookianum, known by the Māori names harakeke and wharariki respectively. They are quite distinct from the Northern Hemisphere plant known as flax (Linum usitatissimum), but the genus was given the common name ‘flax’ by Anglophone Europeans as it too could be used for its fibres.”

Me? (gardening philistine that I unfortunately am…)  Flax is simply Nature’s work of art.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 12, 2012

A few Drops to Water the Artistic Soul…

Filed under: ART,Miscellaneous,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

In my last post from Maungaturoto and the Dreams shop, I zoom in on the detail.

Some of it is small detail like the little cast iron shoe that looks big when seen in isolation but true size is revealed when photographed in situ… some detail needs to seen from the right spot, like the ironwork in the entrance doorway that creates a beautiful silhouette …

and some photos I took with a few specific  readers in mind… Katie from http://interrobangsanon.wordpress.com/  adores insects so three guesses which two photos are especially for her… and the bicycle… yes I had Andrew and Friedel in mind from http://travellingtwo.com/ when I pressed the shutter on that one.

The rest are not necessarily things even I need or want, they are however forms of artistry  melded into functional items that I find creative and pleasing to the eye. Life is about finding fun and inspiration and whilst my family are by far the leaders of the pack in this respect, there are also things that attract my artists eye… less materialistic drooling and more a few drops to water the artistic soul.

(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)

July 11, 2012

Fire and Water Dreams…

Whilst in the “Dreams”shop in Maungaturoto, I spied a really interesting water feature and candle holder. I’m not sure how the candles would hold up if the wall it was hung onto was in a windy position but I just like the idea, all rustic, rough and unpolished.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

June 21, 2012

A Treasure Chest of Inspiration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s no mystery why there was  section in the Kauri Museum that displayed household equipment (which comprised mostly kitchen and laundry items) that were made of Kauri or had Kauri incorporated into them.

I’m assuming that the other non-Kauri objects were just historical items that got added to the collection, and yes, there probably was  an information panel to explain it but I was far too busy drooling over the butter churn, butter pats, rolling pin and cast iron pots to notice any information panel by that this point.

If you are a regular reader you will know some things about me… I adore detail, I like taking photos of strange things like  letter boxes, stonework, Art Deco gutter gratings, and decorated  man-hole covers. I like drawing but haven’t been doing any for years…

I’m working on fixing that in fits and starts as time, energy and mood allow. To be honest so far that adds up to many “fits”of  good intentions and not many “”starts” to go with it. My excuse is that still on pain killers and doing intensive physio for my foot, I’ve generally used up all my concentration and energy getting through the day at work and and too tired to muster too much more at home.

I’m currently looking for inspiration  because I have set myself a task to try to learn  to draw foliage better… leaves, trees and the like. When I laid eyes on this next item the acanthus scrolls make my heart skip a beat…  Here’s what I’m adding to my arty photo files… a cash register that used to hold treasure of the fiscal kind is now a cash register  treasure trove of inspiration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 19, 2012

Moisturiser… We All Could Do With a Little (or Do the Cracks Still Show?)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve turned the quilting page of my retrospective diary detailing our New Zealand trip of December 2011 and January 2012.

We are still in the Kauri museum and are back looking at these amazingly massive trees.

I noticed that there are some containers of liquid sitting on top of one of the biggest logs…  and  found some information boards close by telling me why these containers are necessary.

What’s happening on top of the log? …Log preservation. The trunk or log of a living tree has water being pumped though part of it (sapwood) and oil and resins being stored in other parts (heartwood).

When a tree is cut down the log starts to dry out. Frequently one of the side effects of this are cracks appearing in the wood. It’s a bit like your skin getting too dry and sometimes cracking.

This log has been on display for several decades and has dried out. In order to prevent more cracks from forming we are injecting back into  he wood some wood “moisturising lotion” called polyethylene glycol (PEG for short) .

Basically we have set up four canisters on top of the log filled with PEG. From each canister there is a feed pipe leading into a hole which has been drilled about one third of the way through the trunk. We are monitoring how much PEG is being adsorbed but expect this process to take over six months.

Another thing we have done is to “seal”  the end of the log so that further moisture loss is prevented. We how that by doing this we can keep the log looking good for many more decades.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I also found it interesting  to see the saw that cut this tree down… in fact the saw was so long that I had a hard job fitting all of into the frame.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Further down there are more large logs, but this one is no longer solid near the centre and I learn:

The hollowing out of some of the large trees eventually lead to their death. In recent years two very large trees, both larger than Tane Mahuta (which is also hollow), have collapsed. Those were Toronui (Waipoua Forest) and Kopi (Omahuta Forest)

It was found that they were quite hollow and the outer wood was unable to hold up the heavy tree tops. Each has reached the age of approximately 2000 years. This log was taken out of the Herekino State Forest as a dying  tree.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last on my list of unusual  bundle of miscellaneous Kauri facts…  here is some amazing Swamp Kauri… these are the giant fallen trees have have been incarcerated in bogs of Northland and the Coromandel and been preserved still as beautiful timber. Forty-five thousand years underground just starts to blow my mind as to the time-scale that these trees have been on the planet…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then I read something that almost made my brain fuse… more Kauri, this time uncovered in massive fossilized state within the seam of  the Yallourn Open cut coal mine in Victoria, Australia.  If I thought that 45.000, years old was old then I was floored  by the next bit…  this fossilized Kauri has spent around 30 million years underground! Even more amazingly, they took a piece of it and a wood turner was able to put it onto a lathe and make this little pot out of it… still  wood after thirty million years!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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