Local Heart, Global Soul

March 29, 2017

Drugs Have Me Losing My Photographs As Well As My Mind…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During the 2016 Easter weekend, Family Kiwidutch visited Texel, an island in the province of Nord Holland (North Holland).

Usually when I document on this blog, trips that we have made, I naturally start at the beginning and go as chronologically as possible to the end.

On this occasion I misplaced a folder of photographs, an error of concentration, a side effect of the pain medication that I take.

Two days ago I found the photos in a folder about Dutch buildings, so what was going on in my head when I did that, goodness only knows!

I’m slotting this in now with the idea that “better later than never” is a better principle to follow than to leave it out completely.

To be slotted between blog dates of February 10th and February 11th 2017, these photographs offer our first impressions of the island, the glimpse of the airport and Air Force and War Museum that lead us to rewarding and memorable visit later on, the landscape and architecture that define island life.
I’ve mislaid files before: usually I am not so lucky and they do not turn up later, or in some cases, ever. I know that this is a very human error but in the last four years the dosages of powerful pain medications has risen and the “human errors” have risen dramatically in direct relationship with the pain medication rises. I suppose that the summary
is: “Don’t do drugs folks, they mess with your brain” (or in my case, what’s left of it). I’d like nothing better than to come off this medication, if only solutions could be found to fix my foot and do so. In the meantime, here are our first impressions of Texel.

(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)

March 28, 2017

Quality Time As A Family…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Easter weekend of 2016 saw us on the island of Texel, taking a break from extended family responsibilities that had been weighing heavily and from which we needed a little bit of “time out”.

Helping to care for someone nearing the end of their life is a difficult task, there are deeply rewarding moments but also ones of despair. For Himself, seeing his mother loosing the ability to independently run her household herself and later, the loss of dignity when she lost the ability to look after her own personal hygiene, was harder than he ever imagined.

District nurses helped her bathe but slowly even the ability to brush her own teeth was beyond her.

Whilst we never ever begrudged him the daily and sometimes multiple daily visits, it was difficult to stay at home and keep up with family life alone.

The kids also saw their grandmother slowly loosing her grip on life, she was no longer the person they knew a few years back, the board game days were over and they had to come to grips with the fact that she wasn’t going to be with us forever. This long weekend break allowed us to spend some quality time together as a family without chores like laundry and homework. We each found at least one activity we liked, we had fun and smiled again. Texel’s scenery is interesting, barns and houses quirky and we are liking Texel more and more and more…

(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)

March 27, 2017

A Lot Of Flat Land And Changeable Skies…

Texel may not have any imposing geographical features, there are no mountains, cliffs, hills… just flat land, dunes and then the sea. That means that it’s biggest feature is the sea, the flatness of the land and the sky. Our visit in the 2016 Easter weekend, and our car journeys around the island, meant that we saw a lot of flat land and a lot of changeable sky. The days varied wildly, it was never topically warm of course, but at some moments there was bright sun light and others the sky was so dark, we half expected it to hail.  Naturally I took photographs as we travelled. There may not be many geographical features but that didn’t mean it wasn’t interesting!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Two seagulls were having a fight, on the road, with very little regard for cars until the last minute…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another one of these strange “half barns”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 13, 2017

There Seems To Be Very Little House And Rather A Lot Of Roof…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in 2016, Family Kiwidutch started their Easter long weekend on the island of Texel.

One unusual thing that we quickly realised was unusual to us, was the shape of the houses.

To put it bluntly, there appeared to be very little house and an awful lot of roof.

In some instances, as we travelled around during the weekend and I took photographs from the passenger seat of the car, it was like we were looking at some sort of structure in the distance that was like a roof placed on the ground.

When we got closer we would start to see the house appear underneath, but the buildings still look rather strange.

Some of these houses were farm houses attached to their barn in the traditional style of centuries past, other barns were in duplicate style of the houses but separate from them.

Perhaps the exposed landscape on the island necessitates this style of building,  it is certainly very different to the house styles we have seen in all the other parts of the Netherlands we have ben to so far.  I find myself wondering how the upper space of these houses is used, in most instances there seems to be just one small window, but that said the room up there can’t be large, so maybe one window is enough. On the upside, from high up in the roof space, the view from these windows must be rather special.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 11, 2017

A First Glimpse As We Look For Our Accommodation…

Arriving on the Dutch island of Texel just before the 2016 Easter weekend, we check out the map: our accomodation is near the far end of the island.  Texel is flatter than I imagined: flat paddocks in the centre of a dune /dyke rimmed perimiter that keep the waves of the North Sea at bay.  It’s interesting to get a first glimpse, there will be better chances to see the island in detail during the weekend of course, but for now we are intent on finding our accomodation and settling in.

(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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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 10, 2017

A Short Trip, Great Views But The Commentary Inside Drives Me Crazy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch needed to take a break from extended family obligations in 2016, get some fresh air and recharge their batteries.

We took the opportunity of the Easter long weekend to visit one of the Dutch Wadden islands: the largest of which is Texel.

On board the ferry for the short trip over, I am puzzled, amazed and horrified to hear that the person welcoming visitors on board in the English language commentary over the intercom pronouncing the name of the island incorrectly.

Dutch native speakers always pronounce the word “Texel”  as “Tess ell” but on the loudspeaker system on the boat, it’s being pronounced as “tex ell” !

It is a complete and utter mystery to me why the islanders (who in recent years have taken over and now run the ferry service themselves) perpetuate the error,  especially because the word “Texel”  is one of the most corrected words in non-native speakers learning the Dutch language in the Netherlands. It’s very windy, so I take a look around both of the front sides of the ferry as we leave harbour. It’s interesting to now look back on the photographs and know that our friends were soon to be at the end of the queue that I see forming on the other side of the ticket check-in area. By their account though, they were a long way back around the corner, so their vehicle isn’t by coincidence in my photographs.

The distance to Texel isn’t far, we can see the buildings of the far harbour in the distance. I take my time walking back to the car deck and only minutes after I get there the bell goes that summons passengers back to their vehicles. Soon we are on our way up the ramp and making the transition to dry land. Texel awaits.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 9, 2017

Make Allowances For A Long Wait In The Queue…

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Thursday evening before the Easter weekend, saw family Kiwidutch and friends head towards to the Dutch island of Texel.

We are travelling separately from our friends, and we know from communication earlier in the day that they will be leaving later than we did.

As soon as it becomes apparent that traffic for the boat has built up not just in front of us but also now stretched out far behind us, we phone them to tell them to expect a long wait at the ferry.

They change their plans slightly as a result, electing to travel up in one go with their small children and spend any down-time for their kids to stretch their legs whilst also waiting in the queue here.

As it turns out they manage to get the sailing after ours so are pleased because then they can just make it to the accommodation in daylight hours, so everything works out perfectly. We have hired two different houses of different sizes so they are in the same rough area but not together. Eventually the line of cars move and we find ourselves through the check-in area and driving on to the ferry. Our long vehicle is squeezed into the far end… time to get out and look around.

(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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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 8, 2017

Out From Below The Depths, …And It’s Not Yellow!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Den Helder is the small port city in the far north of the province North Holland that also contains the ferry terminal to the nearby island of Texel.

At the beginning of the 2016 Easter weekend, Family Kiwidutch were in the town, about to board the ferry.

Before you reach the terminal however, there is an unexpected object nestled between nearby buildings: a submarine!

It’s far bigger than we all thought it would be, everyone in the car exclaimed out loud at it’s discovery… that it stands big and hulking, a glimpse of something that we usually only see in books, TV, movies or the News.

None of us have ever seen a submarine like this up close (I am not counting the small yellow glass bottomed tourist boat we went on whilst on holiday in Cape Verde because that was a tiny pleasure craft: what we are seeing here is the real thing). It’s an eye opener, and according to the billboard close by tells us that it’s open to the public.

It’s discoveries like this that make having a camera on hand an excellent idea. These photographs are a compilation of ones taken on the away and return journeys, in order to try and get photographs from as many angles as possible. I manage to get photographs as we go past it simply because traffic has suddenly reduced to a crawl, it seems that after a fairly straightforward trip up here, we are in a traffic jam right within sight of the ferry…

(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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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 7, 2017

Den Helder Is Full Of Marine Vessels Of All Shapes And Sizes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Arriving in the North Holland town of Den Helder, we make our way towards the ferry terminal.

The road we are on follows alongside a canal, the large blue and grey building that stated to come into sight in my last post turns out to be for “scheepsonderhoud“, which translates as “shipping maintainance“.

Judging by the way it is situated on the water it looks like it’s a covered dry dock, where ships can sail in and then the water is pumped out of the dock so that work can take place on the hull of the vessel.

This waterway is an extension of the outer harbour, so we see various boats and ships in all sorts of sizes and shapes, from leisure craft, coast guard and various waterways department, fishing boats to tall full rigged sailing ships. The buildings along the canals also vary in age and styles, I’m most taken with the older, more decorative brick buildings and even there there are glimpses into modern non-traditional fishing-village life: we sight a ferris wheel, the “kermis” (fun fair) is in town.

The buildings clearly house activities associated with fishing, but also water sports, proving that Den Helder is that quirky mix of modern and traditional Dutch town, some traditions remain as they have done for centuries, others have long since moved on.

The traffic increases the closer we get to the harbour on the far side of town, it’s apparent that we are not the only ones to have thought that a long weekend away in Texel for the Easter weekend would be a good idea. It’s no surprise either that Little Mr was very excited to spot naval and coast guard vessels, that said, all four of us let out an exclamation when we rounded a corner a little further on…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 6, 2017

Taking A Much Needed Break From Everything In The Hague…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

2016 was a difficult year for Himself and I as far as travel opportunities were concerned.

My Mother in law was in failing health, a long drawn out series of dips and rallys that gave us hope one moment then dashed them the next as the next chest infection or illness set her back just a little bit further than where she had rallied to before.

She had been at least mentally active into her 90’s, but the physical excursions were getting slowly harder and harder. It was already testament to her constitution that she was still living alone in her home until she was 93 years of age.

She was lucky to not be suffering with anything like dementia, but like a well travelled vehicle with parts worn out, thinned and rusted from sheer old age, her hearing, eyesight and eventually memory started to falter.

Once remained of things she would quickly remember what she had forgotten, often putting the pieces back in remarkable detail but even in her good moments it became clear that the assistance that family hade been giving around the clock would have to be taken over by professionals.

Himself visited daily, I often did the lunchtime “slot” as we took turns, we both did weekends, but eventually the time that we were skipping at home with our own family and Himself’s work time started to catch up.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Clients, kids and their teachers understand when you need to drop everything for a family emergency, but not if that state of emergancy starts to be come a permanent situation.

Added to that, Himself and his two sisters were starting to suffer from burnout, stretched between home needs and that of their mother.

Just before Easter it became clear that my mother in law would be heading back into hospital again as another crisis hit.

After a while she was well enough to leave hospital but not well enough to come home, so a place was being arranged in a care home that had facilities that was between the two.

Consultation with his two sisters, both of which had arranged holidays in the following school holidays bought about the idea that we also deserved a break from this stressful and emotional situation, and with his mother in the full time care of a hospital environment, and his sisters on visiting duty and standby, we ended up taking advantage of the long weekend holiday that Easter offered to go to the island of Texel with friends.
In order to make the most of the weekend, we are ready and packed on the Thursday afternoon, heading away as soon as Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr are home from school.

We head northwards past Schipol airport, past aircraft taxiing over the air-bridge that goes over the motorway. The journey takes a while due to the usual evening rush-hour traffic but soon we are arriving on the outskirts of Den Helder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The tiles under the air-bridge look like aircraft when viewed from a distance…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Dredging the cannals…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Outskirts of Den Helder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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