Local Heart, Global Soul

October 11, 2019

Jolly Good Day For A Drive Old Chap!

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

October 10, 2019

My Tourist Trap Treasure…

About ten years ago I bought this little print from a flee market in the Hague. The Lange Voorhout is a tourist trap as far as curios and antiques are concerned and nothing is particularly cheap, but as is the way with these things, I saw this and fell in love. I’m a detail fanatic, I adore the scrolls, the patterns in the background, dress, and side panels. It’s also lovely to see a babies head pop out of this very flat surface and quirky arrangement of the entire thing. It’s a religious piece of course, and whilst I do have faith I have no clue what the meaning is behind this picture. It’s in glass so the photographs were terrible to take, and I should probably take it somewhere to see if anything can be done about the dark spots splattered around the outer edges. It’s probably not worth enough to have expensive restoration done on it, it might even just be a page out of a religious book or  magazine.

I daren’t open up the carefully sealed and obviously old backing papers; if I have learned anything from antique TV programmes is that clueless amateurs have destroyed priceless objects with their “little clean-ups, cutting, plugging, sanding, gluing mending jobs and dabs of cleaning stuff that the internet told them would “be perfect for the job”. Nope, I’m not kidding myself, this is not in any way a priceless object, it’s of miniscule financial value and it is probably not to many people’s taste, but I love it so the sentimental value of my little treasure is indeed priceless.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 9, 2019

Is There A Lost Property Box For Murals?

Filed under: ART,Mural,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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As in the case of yesterday’s mural, this one has escaped my labelling system so I have no clue where I took the photographs. It could be Rotterdam, but could also be Haarlem, were we visited one weekend. I’m starting to feel like I need a “Lost Property” box for photographs like these.  I could also be completely wrong and it could be somewhere else that I can’t remember in my moment(s) of brain fade.

Once again, location is not the biggest feature or factor of this mural; beauty is. This is a bold statement piece, it’s full of details and vibrant colours so anyone who walks or drives this way often can find something new even after weeks or months. It’s on a busy intersection, the red light worked in my favour this time, keeping the car still was one thing, getting a photograph between traffic passing in the other direction. Luckily, “Sport” on the DSLR enables me to take rapid photos one after another, the chip allows me to take my twenty pictures and then delete all but these two, and my Blog enables me to share them. Hurrah for the Digital Age!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 8, 2019

Beautiful No Matter Where It Is…

Filed under: ART,LIFE,Mural,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Himself has been ferrying me back and forth to multiple hospital appointments in recent months and in addition to that I’ve tagged along on a few of Little Mr’s Fire Station hunts so on one chips sometimes I end up with a few photos where I scratch my head and think: “Was that there?, or There?, Or There?!”.
I think there are ways to track down where you took a photograph but if I’m honest I’m lazy and I have enough technical issues with computer as it is.
So, the biggest chances are that this Mural is in Delft, Leiden or Rotterdam (but could be somewhere else in South Holland too since I’m a bit out of synk at the moment). In the end, never mind, we can enjoy it’s beauty and the creative spirit that made it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 7, 2019

I’m Right! … Actually Maybe Not!

Our house has been undergoing a massive renovation this year, so we have taken the chance to do a massive Spring Clean in slow stages around all of the work. It’s been a slow process because we had no idea just how much “stuff”we had accumulated, and  the bewilderment of how many parts of toys were sperad out in so many different areas of the house. (I’m not even sure how some bits got into so totally unrealated boxes in the first place… we have toy goblins who make mischief it seems). Christmas Tree decorations also suffered this fate, so when a little bix of Christmas bits turned up, I recognised a small stained glass orgament that I bought as part of a set in New Zealand.

Kiwi Daughter immediately exclaimed: “Ooooh THAT, I remember that one! I made that so long ago when one time we had to go to one of those School Holiday programe thing that Little Mr and I both hated.” (Himself and I both had to work at the time, so the kids had to an organised childcare programme for the week – tears and drama galore from them both, they HATED it with a vengence, so we did it twice from sheer necessity and then never again).

I tried to tell her that: “No… this angel was one I bought in New Zealand.” She disagreed vermently, this was the one she made. Ok, kid, have it your way. Vindication came about ten minutes later then there was an excited: “Hey! Look at Thi….  …Ohhh”. Silence, Then an explosion of giggles. She had something in her hand that she didn’t want to show me. Eventually when she could mange to talk she showed me what was wrapped in tissue paper in her hand, and said: “uhhh, actually THIS is the one I made in that horrible school holiday programme” Then more laughter. I think that for you, photographs will explain more than words ever could…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I must note though: if there was a fire in the house, it’s Kiwi Daughters ornament I would save in a nano second, the other one, beautiful as it is, would not even get a second glance. One may be professional and expensive, the other is the real treasure and priceless.

October 4, 2019

Also Called “Drop Scones” …

My New Zealand Grandma always said: “You are either a Cook or Baker“. She was beyond doubt a Baker. Her meals were fine in a “meat and three veg” sort of style, but nothing adventurous. She probably did roast lamb dinners when her children were at home but even making the easy roast at home got ditched as “not worth it for just two people” (Grandma!!!… have you never heard of awesome Cottage Pie with leftover roast beef or lamb?). If they wanted a roast dinner then there were enough family style restaurants around with it on the menu and they would “treat ourselves”, as she would put it.

I’m definitely a Cook. This was confirmed rather painfully after visiting our Canadian friends. “F” had made amazing scones. Light, fantastically risen, beautiful, delicious, mouth-watering scones. She said they were mega easy and gave me the recipe. I was so confident that I printed it out on paper and laminated it, as I do for my recipes that see regular use. I should have remembered a certain line about Pride, and falls. I’m good at falls. Regular readers know that only too well.

So… I followed the recipe to the letter. To the last full-stop. I crossed the “t’s and dotted the “i’s”. I measured precisely. The oven was perfectly pre-heated, I adjusted the racks, laid out the scone dough exactly as “F” had instructed. I even set timers. And I surprised myself.

Sadly it wasn’t the good surprise I had been expecting. The first photograph is not a “before” baking photo, it is regrettably the “after”. Delicious tall, light scones? Nope, these are more in the “decorative brick” category. In fact I think that LEGO probably has bricks less tough than this. They didn’t even cook completely though. My beautiful laminated sheet with its “perfect picture” of scones and the recipe, sits in my kitchen drawer (with another non-baking recipe that I DO use on the back.) It’s either taunting or haunting me… or both.

Maybe they shouldn’t be called “Drop Scones” for a reason? I am declaring defeat. This is an indisputable: “Fail“. Needless to say. no-one ever asks me to bake scones for them. People have common sense, like their teeth intact, don’t want their jaws wired, and do not wish to purposefully insult their taste buds. I’m definitely a Cook. Whenever I announce that I intend to Bake something, people should be afraid, …very afraid.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 3, 2019

Rude Information?

Peeling carrots recently, I came across this little gem. I will leave it to you to decide how to look at it… is this carrot giving me Information? Or representing something more rude? Or a combination of them both…. Rude Information!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 2, 2019

Thinning Out The Plastic…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Plastic has become a huge world issue of late, and for very good and very alarming reasons. The lastest UN environmental reports show that global warming is excellerating faster than ever before, from fires in the Brazilian rainforest to the abnormal amount of icemelt in Greenland, Mother Nature is doing her best to tell us to stop talking and start sitting up and taking notice.

Recycling is big in the Netherlands, (but could always be that tiny bit better)  after all this country doesn’t have a lot of space for landfill, so it pays to avoid the problem of where to put it by producing as little of it as possible.  I noticed whenever we visiting America, I am shocked that things like yoghurt post are make of seriously thick plastic.

I’d like to show how we already address the issue of using the least amount plastic as possible, and I wish that the world would pool all of it’s great ideas about reducing plastic: who knows how far we could decrease it if it were like a consumer driven competitive sport. Win for the consumer, win for the environment. In the first photograph we see a typical Dutch yoghurt pot, family size from our local supermarket. It’s empty and the pot has been washed out.  We see the product information and advertising on the outer paper wrapper, and the lid. First remove the lid…

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The outside bit in colour is actually thick paper7cardboard, and there is a “tear here” spot at the top where to two ends of the paper join.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The paper then comes away, and when it does it becomes apparent that the carboard works in conjunction with the thin plastic liner inside to hold the product firmly and in a stable fashion whilst joghurt is on the shelves.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Off comes the cardboard / thick paper sleeve. The bottom is reenforced for strength. This part heads into our paper recycling bin…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are then left with the thinnest of plastic pots inside, it’s very flexible and almost transparent. I hope that with technology, this could become even thinner yet.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The thin plastic pot and lid head to plastic recycling. I wonder if we can find something new to replace plastic ? The world needs to pool resources so that we learn from our plastic mistakes and use the stuff only where and when it is really necessary. Any future plastic we use also needs to be 100% recyclable. Our children and grandchildren will rightly blame us if we do nothing, but will see that we took action if we can redeem this environmental disaster. (I was about to say “looming environmental disaster”, but let’s face reality, with mirco-plastic now found in fish and even in our drinking water, the plastic disaster is already here!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 1, 2019

Little Mr. Is Overjoyed…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,ROTTERDAM,Rotterdam Harbour/Port — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Little Mr is a huge fan of the Emergancy services and on our way home from our Maasvlakte visit around the Port of Rotterdam he already saw a Life Guard vehicle checking the beaches,  and one of the ports fire station cars. Good for the day, Right? Nope. For some strange reason we chanced upon Emergency service vehicles all the way home. Needless to say,  Little Mr was delighted.

We had seen a vehicle like this earlier in the day, but that was several hours ago so we don’t know if it was the exact same one.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then on the roads outside Rotterdam…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Followed a few minutes later by a police car… ( I have no idea what the officer is pointing at) They were in a hurry…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

An ambulance filling up at the petrol station…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

No.2  Ambulance parked up in a side street … outside a block of flats.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We turned a corner at the next intersection and found No.3 Ambulance around the corner of the same block of flats as No.2 Ambulance… (So one on the west side, the other on the south side of the same building) …no lights or sirens here either. The emergancy services are definiately having a busy day! (I was less delighted to see them, always worrying if the people they were attending to were ok).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 29, 2019

An Unexpected Find!

Filed under: ART,Mural,PHOTOGRAPHY,ROTTERDAM,Rotterdam Harbour/Port,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Leaving the “2nd Maasvlakte’ area of the Port of Rotterdam, I spot this mural. It’s stylized representation of a large container ship, containers on a train that snakes away on the right (or maybe they are containers arriving?) and the port cranes and docks in the background, means that you have to take a good look to figure it all out. Regular readers will know that I delight in seeing blank walls filled with art, they also know that more abstract design is not really my thing. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying this though. Art ! ,,,way out here in the industrial area of a port… I’m loving this find!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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