Local Heart, Global Soul

October 20, 2019

Here Chook, Chook!

Peter’s “Parels” event papier-mâché creations continue, today with chickens (or roosters, some of them?). They are colourful and whimsical, Enjoy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 19, 2019

These Fish Out Of Water Are Doing Fine…

Papier-mâché is an incredible material, I learned that it could even be steam pressed into shapes like trays, something that was especially popular in the Victorian era. It’s also really deceptive: objects are so much lighter than they appear, in fact you find your hand flying upwards when you pick something up to take a closer look, your mind having been ready to move something much heavier.

Peter, the owner and creator of these pieces, exhibited them with several other artists in a friends home for one of the “Parels” (Pearls) events in The Hague. Artists, collectors and creative people open their homes for a day, or two, over the Pearls Weekend so that the general public can enjoy and discover local creative talent.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 18, 2019

Paper Birds… Of A Sort.

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE HAGUE / DEN HAAG/ s'GRAVENHAGE,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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The next Papier-mâché pieces in the Parels (Pearls) exhibitions are of birds… these are whimsical and interesting to look at…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 17, 2019

Sticking It All Together…

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

Over recent years I have made days out for myself visiting various neighbourhood “Parels” (Pearls) Days around the Hague. In the Statenkqwartier it’s known as “Kunst aan Huis”, (art at Home) whilst in the neighbourhoods of: Leidschenveen, Kortenbos, de Flora en Fauna wijken, Moerwijk, Wateringseveld and Loosduinen it’s known as “Parels”.

Papier Mâché is one of the things on display, so I take a closer look around. First there are a few general items,… but from there on it becomes a little more interesting…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 16, 2019

Autumn Falling Into Place…

I love looking at nature in all sorts of seasons and weathers. Himself has been ferrying me around various appointments as usual as we do the medical rounds for my foot. It’s been raining quite a lot recently so many of the autumn leaves have been piling up, not just in heaps but also in puddles. I’ve started a series of photographic studies which I will slot in-between posts in the near future. Enjoy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 15, 2019

Functional Works Of Art…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I love maps. Old ones, new ones, but, well…if I’m honest, especially old ones. Today’s find is more in the range of “Vintage” (not yet antique /100 years old) rather than Antique (more than 100 years old), but a wonderful find all the same. My Father was born and bred in the Hague, and although I was born 16.000 kilometres away in New Zealand, I now live here too.

Seeing old maps of familiar places means something to many people, they can trace streets that they recognise, and look at street names that family members have talked about, or addresses where they lived. If the places are not local, are far flung destinations with beautiful names and geographical features, we can pour over the typography and admire the skills of the mapmakers.

There are also those of us who just like to see what’s changed between the “then” that we are looking at an the “Now” that we know, but there also those of us who simply admire the detail and beauty of a functional object crafted into a display piece that is also becomes a work of art.

The area that this map depicts is the “Vruchtenbuurt” of the Hague, They have a Wikipedia page, (which only in the Dutch language) but a few of the main points translate as:

The Vruchtenbuurt is a district that consists of the Vruchtenbuurt and Eykenduynen neighbourhoods within the Segbroek district of The Hague.

Almost all streets have the name of a fruit. The homes were mainly built in the years 1928-1940,  and before development into a residential neighbourhood this was a horticultural area.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 14, 2019

Our Washing Machine Runs On Sunlight!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post  I talked about the very “non-sparkly” topic of insulation. Today’s topic literally sparkles like the sun. We have some “extra” cash left over from a house sale and I mean, whilst a luxury holiday sounds appealing, life as an adult means you have to balance the one or two week “rush” of something special like a holiday, with all of the other weeks of the year, paying the usual bills, trying to be a responsible citizen of planet earth.

Trying especially, since we now have the possibility, to be a far Greener citizen of planet earth. Some 10 years ago, Himself and I saved up for three solar panels. They cost just a fraction under Euro 10.000,– and we said at the time that * since these cost an arm and a leg, we would add more solar panels once our arms and legs grew back.”

Times have changed! There is a Foundation /Association (“Vereniging Eigen Huis“)  for people who own their own homes in the Netherlands. Homeowners become members of the Foundation and get tips and examples of what’s going on in the industry, the good, bad, ugly etc. Mostly it’s advice , but on this occasion the foundation joined up with local city councils and basically said “why can’t home owners join with other home owners to make a large order of solar panels and get an extremely competitive price because of a bulk order?” Then they said, “Why can’t city councils and home owners, join with the neighbouring city councils and home owners to make an even bigger order?”

Then … Why can’t the entire Province join in? …. Why can’t the Provinces join forces? … Why can’t we cover the country and make a massive order and get an amazing deal for everyone?”  So basically that’s exactly what they are doing.

Called: “Vereniging Eigen Huis / Collectieve Inkoop Zonnepanelen” (Home Owners Association / Collective Purchasing Solar Panels) (Dutch language only)

Of course technology has come on in leaps and bounds since we bought our three solar panels, prices have come down and there is even a rebate “subsidy” available (which I warn you, takes a HUGE amount of running around and a mountain of paperwork to get, but Euro 1.000,– is Euro 1.000,– so persevere!!!”)

In the end we paid exactly: Euro 7.026,97 for sixteen solar panels, including installation! (and we should get roughly Euro 1.000,– or a bit more, back from the subsidy, but the wheels on that turn slowly so that’s for the some time in the distant future).  I’m putting in the exact amount that our bill came to so that one day in the future when these are due for replacement, I can compare prices and the number of units we got for our money.

We were lucky enough to get these installed during the summer,  Himself called me over on one of the really warm days to see that the numbers on our meter were running rather quickly…backwards! We were generating more electricity with the solar panels than we were using in the house! The excess energy was going back into the grid. Of course the winter months will even things out, but it was pretty amazing to know that at that moment our washing machine was running on sunlight!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 13, 2019

Starting At the Top…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing from yesterday’s post, Himself and I have begun a “Needs” and “Wish” list for our Dutch home. We have always attempted to live as “green” as possible, but we have an old(-ish) 1930’s home and what’s imaginable had to be weighted up with what’s actually possible to put in place within the budget that we have.

We decided that “future proofing” whilst we had the chance would be a wise idea, so insulation (that less sparkly topic of home renovation) started to make it’s way to the top of the list. A complete clean up of the roof and a handy little “lift” parked onto the street, saw pallet after pallet of 8cm (approx. 2 inch) insulation pads make their way up, and onto the roof. They were installed and weatherproofed, so et voilà, our electricity bill would be happier in future because the house should now be kept cooler in summer and warmer in winter. It would literally pay to start at the top…

October 12, 2019

Like Hidden Table Extensions…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It started when we bought a house in Christchurch, New Zealand almost twenty years ago.

It was a small house on a decent sized piece of land, but more importantly in several school zones that parents would fight over to get in to.

In New Zealand you have to have permanent residence inside the zone allotted to a school before your child(ren) can attend that school.

Priority is given to kids who have an older sibling already at that school and a few “out of zone” spaces are reserved for kids out of zone. We already knew that one year there were 1800 applications for just 16 “out of zone” places, so needless to say, competition to get into the zone is fierce.

Property prices within popular zones command far larger than normal and in the end it’s all about “location, location, location“.

Himself and I got lucky all those years ago and snapped up this little house for  NZD 195,000.– at auction. The earthquakes in Christchurch hardly touched our small place,  the liquefaction stopped literally a few houses away from it, we have a heap of small repairs but over-all we fared well. Then came the hard part of owning a property 16,000 km from where you live: the creeping up of small repairs that at a certain stage are fast becoming big repairs. We decided to sell up with the house “as is” and let someone else take care of the big renovation is was long overdue for.

The scarcity of “quakeproof” houses close to the city also drove up house prices so when we put it onto the market we knew there would probably be some interest but not that we would sell it in two days for the asking price. Our buyer needed a bit longer than that to sort his mortgage and in the meantime we got additional offers over the asking price but ok, we had accepted the first guy so c’est la vie. We now had NZD 443, 000.– in our pockets and with banks paying almost nothing in interest, thought that the Savings account was in this case, not  actually a wise idea.

We paid off a massive chunk of mortgage on our Dutch home, put something aside for the kids University costs, then made a “needs”/”Wish” list for our home in the Netherlands. Much like a table that has secret compartments underneath to hid the extension sections, all sorts of ideas started to come out of the woodwork… and the “needs” list grew as fast as the “wish” list did…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 11, 2019

Jolly Good Day For A Drive Old Chap!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Vehicles,THE NETHERLANDS,Wassenaar — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s weird, but whenever I see people out and about in Vintage / Classic cars (called “Old Timers” here in The Netherlands), I can’t help but assume that everyone driving them speaks with an English accent circa 1930.  It’s a totally stupid idea, especially when you think that most owners of these automobiles are older and Dutch is their native language. We were out and about one day during the summer and saw several of these cars whilst driving in Wassenaar, just north of The Hague. Wassenaar (pronounced: “Wos enn ah“) you learn quickly after settling in here, is where even small “stand alone” houses with gardens command property prices in the millions.

The large houses have prices that are never listed in the brochures, along the lines of : “if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it“. These are often no ordinary houses and gardens though, many of the houses are palatial and the gardens massive. Diplomats, Bankers, Directors and CEO’s of multinationals, and people in high paying professions, or “old money” live here.

It’s one of the richest residential areas of the Netherlands (think the last stretch of the Monopoly board) an extremely affluent area of the Netherlands, and I learned from Wikipedia that: “…(home to) …the country’s most expensive street, the Groot Haesebroekseweg” Now that’s a tiny titbit of useless information I didn’t know until now.

Himself and Little Mr are excellent spotters of unusual or expensive cars, but this one was right in front of us so even I couldn’t miss it.  It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realised that there was another Classic car on the opposite side of the highway turning into the street coming up to the left of us, and in my second photograph you can see a second Classic car  on our side of the road waiting to turn left into the same street. All of these beautiful cars turned off into the same street so there must have been some sort of event going on close by… an event and social circle far above our pay grade! These cars are beautiful, we may not be able to buy, but hey! …window shopping is free!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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