Local Heart, Global Soul

September 22, 2017

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Summers have not been real “summers” or winters been real “winters” for a long time now.

Gone seem to be the days when the long school holidays could be counted on to give us sunshine and allow kids to play outside together for days on end.

My father will often recount the winters of his childhood, thick ice on small canals and ponds and chain-skating adventures on larger ones. Chain skating apparently involved a long line of skaters hand in hand: the trick was to have one or more strong skaters at the head of the chain and one or two smaller skaters on the end.

Water didn’t freeze easily underneath bridges so between bridges there would be solid pieces of ice that tapered off at each end until it became open water under each bridge.

The sport was that the chain of skaters would speed as fast as they could towards the bridge, coming as close as they dared before the strong skaters performed a sudden “U” turn and dug in to speed back in the opposite direction.

The person who was second to last in the chain would often be whipped around and find themselves skating over seriously thin ice that began to sink under their weight, the last person in the chain was by now almost travelling over submerged ice and almost open water, but moving so fast that the water flicked away from under their skates as they flew past the thinnest of ice and back onto the safety of the thick stuff.

Nano seconds counted, strong grips in the chain did too, sometimes it went wrong, calculations or under estimated and the kid on the end ended up in the freezing water. My father told me that if that happened then the kid was fished out (sometimes needing the assistance of passers by to achieve that) but under no circumstances did they go to their own homes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Canals were polluted and rank, kids greatly feared the wrath of their mothers who had to get the stink and mess out of clothes after express instructions not to play this kind of game. That’s not counting the fear of drowning that did not seem to ever occur to kids as a possibility, but I am certain was the stuff of their parents worst nightmares.

If a kid ended up in the drink, they were fished out and hurried to a friends house, and since this was oft a weekend sport, if they were exceptionally lucky the mother of the house was not at home, but the father was.

The attitude was then ” boys will be boys / no one drowned”, with a big grin, water would be boiled so that a hot wash was available before being lent spare clothes from one of your friends.

The friends mother would later wash and dry the damp and smelly laundry and the kid who had taken the icy dip in the canal was left to sneak home in borrowed clothes and hope his mother would not notice. Of course she always did, and it was always the worst kept secret in the neighbourhood.

Borrowed laundered clothes would magically reappear back to whoever they had been borrowed from, stinking ones would be washed and returned to their owners too. It seemed to just be part of growing up, both parents and children ‘played the game” but small punishments would also magically ensue.

Extra household chores, more of a hated veggie on your plate, and never a complaint because everyone knew that everyone knew (well, maybe the kids did not twig to this until later) and it was one of those rites of passage things that was part of many a Dutch child’s childhood.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Snow and big freezes were standard every winter of my father’s time, his two grandchildren who live here now however cannot say the same. Little Mr looked longingly at his sled without a snowdrop in sight, and then one day we woke up to the white stuff.

Himself and I had to go to Delft for a hospital appointment so I took photographs on the way there and back, especially enjoying the small open space between Rijswijk and Delft where there are trees that stood in their white coats in the strange stillness that even the proximity of the cars creeping along the nearby motorway could not break.

There is a peace and stillness that comes with snow, it blankets the noise of every day life and gives a pretty as a postcard look to even the plainest neighbourhood or grayest day. Personally I love snow, but preferably from a distance, either rugged up warm inside or on the postcard whilst I sit somewhere tropical!

Even though I will never miss snow, I do realise that I should miss where it should be, Dutch winters should have some, the seasons should be as they were meant to be and not the product of man-made mis-management on a global scale.

I can only hope that the small spattering of snow that arrived in the 2016/ 2017 winter and stayed barely a few days will not be photographed as some of the last winter snow we see in years. I hope that Little Mr’s sled does not stand forlornly waiting for the seasons to be as once were. Snow, even though it’s no personal favourite of mine, is still a stunning work of nature and it has it’s place. I can but hope that this winter it will let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cycle paths are often as quickly cleared as main roads…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 29, 2016

Out With The Old And In With The New…

Filed under: DELFT,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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The old hospital in Delft is one where I have had quite a few stays and many an appointment. A few months ago Himself and I were in the new hospital that has been built next door when we noticed that the demolition cranes were busy on the old site.  Over time I hope to show you what has become of the  site.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 9, 2016

Excellent Lunch And The Best Seats In The House…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This summer  in the “Knus”,  a cafe / restaurant located in the “Delftse Hout” I found something to add to my “dream house if money were no object” list.

Since Himself and I are both allergic to winter, it stands to reason that this house would be somewhere with a warm climate, and what is nicer on a hot sunny day than relaxed al fresco dining with friends and family?

With skin cancer running in the family,  a general knowledge that excess sunshine is bad for your skin and that slapping on sunscreen regularly is messy and inconvenient, I always opt for the easy option: shade.

The problem with sun umbrellas, no matter how large, is that the movement of the sun means that a couple of changes of position are usually necessary, and seating a large group can be problematic.

On a good hot day like this day we were in Delft,  and with a group of ten, I was delighted to find my dream seating dining area.

It was a large recessed area with a small hedge around it as a wind break, benches, seats and tables around the edges, and large timber supports holding up an overhead canopy.

The toddler and smaller children were also effectively “corralled” by this arrangement which provided a natural play area with this natural boundary.

With all of the tables free when we arrived, we were able to pick the ideal spot with enough sunshine and shade to suit everybody and we didn’t have to worry about chasing reluctant kids with sunscreen for a while.

The cushions on the seats were an added quirky bonus: the kids busy swapping them around as they decided it was most important that the sit on ” an orange, or a slice of watermelon”.

Lunch is both adult and kid friendly: various salads and kid favourites like toasted sandwiches.

Everyone adored the food and every crumb was demolished.

In my ideal dream home scenario however, I would make two small changes to this seating area: first add a ramp instead of steps, and second, add retractable mesh screens so that evening dining does not attract mosquitos and and other unwelcome guests. For the rest I just need to bring a tape measure and confirm my ideal dimensions… oh, and wait for our one lottery ticket per month to come good.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Knus // Delfts park restaurant

November 8, 2016

One of Delftse Hout’s Best Kept Secrets…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This summer we met up for a Saturday lunch with two sets of friends in Delft.

The location is in “Delftse Hout” a wooded are just outside Delft, and the place is called “Knus”,  a café / restaurant  that is located in the middle of a recreation area.

As well as a large playground for small children, there are things like canoeing on offer so it’s a popular meeting spot for families.

Our three families have kids that range in age from toddler to teenager so it was nice to have something to please everyone.

This Saturday had stunning weather too so to say it was busy here was an understatement.

First we scored a table next to the kids playground but it was a table really meant for two, maybe two at a push and there were ten of us.

Also it was in a spot without shade and even after a five minutes waiting for the others it become uncomfortably warm. Then the first of our friends arrived and let us know that there was also a spot out the back, at the rear of the restaurant. Before we take a seat though I take a look around…

(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)

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(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)

Restaurant: Knus

 

 

 

November 1, 2016

No Prizes For Guessing What My Next Order Will Be…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the hospitals in and around The Hague that I have contact with as I pursue answers and treatments for my foot damaged in an accident six years ago is the Reiner De Graff hospital in Delft.
I have watched during my time as a patient, the building of a brand new state-of-the-art building next to the old hospital and the recent transfer from the old to the new.

It’s usual of course to have cafeteria in hospitals, this one also has it’s own brasserie.  My last visit here happened to be just before lunch time and Himself, my “driver” since I am unable to drive myself, had organised his work load to accommodate the time of my usual appointment.

Unusually on this occasion, my update, test results and appointment for my next treatment went so swiftly that we found ourselves with some unexpected free time.

As we were making our way towards the main entrance, Himself suggested that we stop for a short lunch in the hospital’s  “Kannen and Kruiken Brasserie”. Lunch soon appears and we even treat ourselves to a wonderful chocolate cake dessert. The chef has incorporated fresh raspberries into the chocolate icing which has the effect of bringing a sharp contrast to the sugary sweetness of the chocolate icing with the result that we enjoyed every single bite and I have resolved to stop here for another sample of the same some time in the future. Of our main courses, Himself said that his was “so-so” but in the case of my fish, it was perfectly cooked and tasted wonderful. I hope that we have time to stop here again some time: Himself already knows that there will be no prizes for guessing what my next order is going to be.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

April 8, 2016

“Power Painting” At The De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer a long time friend of mine from New Zealand visited The Netherlands.

We met whilst working together in our early twenties and a fast friendship formed that has even survived my relocation to the other side of the world.

We spend quality time together every time our family is in New Zealand and this was her second trip to Europe, albeit with several decades difference. Her daughter (who I will refer to as “G” for reasons of internet privacy), who I first met when she was just a day old and visited on the first trip when she was four and a half years old is now all grown up and working on a special programme as an au pair in Germany.

Study options for G. in Europe were looked into but with the added cost of being an “International student”, work restrictions due to a non EU passport and the higher cost of living she decided that it was better to return to New Zealand to further her studies.

My friend, her Mum, decided that it would be an ideal moment for them to have a bit of special Mother / Daughter time together on this side of the world before her daughter’s time came to leave Europe and of course there was no thought of them skipping around my “neighbourhood” without coming to stay.

They arrived after a whirlwind tour in parts of the UK, and other various parts in Europe and the Dutch summer weather which had been a bit iffy picked up just as they hit our doorstep so we devised a plan that would involve an equal amount of rest and entertainment.

“G” studied Fine Art and is an accomplished artist, so the one must-do activity that we wanted to surprise them with was the possibility to paint their own Delftse tile. In the end it was a part surprise, do to some last minute necessary reorganisations to flights they had such a short time with us that I had to give them the dimensions and asked them to prepare their drawings for their tiles in advance.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch have painted tiles several times in Delft before, at the Royal Delft – De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles :each time with a different set of visitors so we have gotten to know the procedure quite well. Personally I have done the tour several times before (all previous to my accident) so I requested to skip to tour and just paint… the rest joined me after they had done the tour.

Because I know that at some time in the future I will probably be back here, I have made my tile to (eventually) be made of four parts that will fit together. Although I have not yet finalised the pattern for the other three tiles I have the over-all idea for them: columns on the left and right, on the left column containing the first names and birth date of Himself and then mine, on the right column the first names and birth dates of Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr.

In the centre there is an angel holding a banner that reads with our Surname, and the bottom an top just decorated in free hand. (I started with Himself and have edited the photographs to protect our privacy) Kiwi Daughter went with a rather last minute design, Little Mr knew immediately that he want to paint a police car (Many Thanks to the internet for his design inspiration), “G” had a stunningly intricate Wine / Wijn / Vino / Wein tile of her own design and my friend went with a beautiful symmetrical classical design.

The painting is harder and takes longer than it looks… the three of us who had more detailed designs were rushing to get them done within our allotted time, talk about power painting!!! Of course afterwards the tiles have to be taken away to be fired so we get them in the post in our respective countries later on. Stupidly I can not lay my hands on the photographs of what the New Zealand ones turned out like after firing, but will add them if I find them later. After this rather intensive morning we retired to home to rest and catch up on a lot of gossip! I got a few photographs of Delft from the car window… and we really needed one hundred times more time, but loved every second of what we had. We had a blast so I just hope it doesn’t take nearly as long before they can make a return visit !

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The paint looks more like ink, is black when it goes on and will be blue after the tile is fired…It also soaks in immediately so there is zero possibility to “rub out” any mistakes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We literally shook from all of this concerted concentration so it’s little wonder we needed a little sugar afterwards and also why I could barely manage to take a sharp photograph…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Letting Your Own Delfts Blauw Creativity Loose…

March 30, 2016

Delft’s Photogenic Surroundings, Always Finding Something New…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,DELFT,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I’ve been busy with lot of hospital appointments  of late (which is nothing particularly new),  but they have been in three different hospitals, one of which was in Delft.  Since the injury to my foot means that I can’t drive, Himself has been my taxi driver. After one of my Delft appointments, Himself had another appointment so we stopped off near the centre of the city. I stayed in the car and took photographs of my very photogenic surroundings which included a Lutheran church. I never tire of finding something new…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 23, 2015

Little Mr Gets Innocently Involved In A Car Chase…

Filed under: DELFT,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch are taking a look at the Delft 112 Dag.It’s an emergency service Open Day and was held in the main fire station in Delft, a city just outside of The Hague.

They showed off everything from vintage fire engines to super fast top of the range super cars, needed for when officers of the law need to give chase to fellow Lamborghini or Ferrari’s, or need to get people somewhere at top speed.

Personally I prefer the vintage vehicles, they have a certain charm and character that I find absent in the newest  cars, but judging by the queues around the super cars it’s each to his or her own.

In one of the side streets some owners of vintage and super cars had parked up their vehicles as an additional exhibit and Himself and Little Mr must have made especially admiring noises at one of the very expensive ones because next thing we know Little Mr , as a special exception, had been invited to sit in the driver’s seat and sat beaming behind the wheel for about five minutes whilst the big boys talked about this very expensive toy.

All of the adults found themselves grinning when, away from the conversation Little Mr started to amuse himself by moving this hands around the steering wheel, not fully touching but just about it, and in his own little world suddenly oblivious to everyone else, started making not only car engine and revving noises but also a soft out-loud conversation, something along the lines of  “… if we hurry, we can catch the robber, we cut him off with a short-cut down Hoofweg, we mustn’t let them let away…“. It took everything we had to suppress the giggles, and judging by the surrounding male faces Little Mr was clearly acting out loud what many of the adults probably wished they could!

After a minute or two the bubble burst and Little Mr returned to reality in the blink of an eye and total innocence that his imaginary world had been observed. So, on that note… this is a post about checking out the wheels… what’s on top of them comes in all shapes and sizes. Here is an assortment that Little Mr most definitely approves of…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This isn’t  Little Mr on the motorbike, but this little boy’s face was so prominent in the next two photos I decided to edit a little…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 22, 2015

Dial 112, There Is An Emergency Day Out!

Filed under: Activities,DELFT,Exhibitions,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m on medical leave from work, so not eligible for annual leave.

That was tough last year when the rest of the family went on holiday without me, but every now and again we managed a weekend event as a family.

This particular one came about after a mention from  one of my sister in laws  who lives in Delft and knew that this would be right up Little Mr’s street.

It was an Open Day for the local fire service, called “112 Dag”  (pronounced “ain ain tway darg” 112 Day,  the 112 part being the telephone number you need to dial for emergency services in the Netherlands).

Little Mr was jumping around as if he was stepping on hot coals,  so excited was he to be ticking down the days.

We tried to get there early but it seems like half of Delft and the Hague had the same idea and it was  seriously busy.

I had doubts about keeping up in the crowd but needn’t have worried, Little Mt wanted to stop at everything! We joined a queue just inside the main gates where children could take the controls of a crane (under strict adult supervision naturally) and attempt to take a harnessed giant sized Garfield soft toy off a “basket” on the back of a truck, and into a large “basket” (crate with a blanket over it) on the ground.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I don’t know how I might have faired if I’d given it a try, but even the little kids had alarmingly good fine motor skills, probably due to playing games like Nintendo or the Wii, and made it look, well, like child’s play.

Yes of course some of the movements were a bit jerky but I noticed that other adults in the queue also noticed and even more, so did the other kids who became rather competitive which was rather a revelation in boys aged roughly between seven and twelve!

We made our way slowly though the stalls and exhibits, There were more exhibits than just the fire service itself, also associated services: a large tent used in exhumations and (animal) bones on show as they ran information clips suitable for family viewing, a massive ProRail truck trailer that is the mobile operations unit for use in train accidents,  police/fire divers and their boats, some huge army vehicles, various cranes, winches and all sorts of things for every situation imaginable.

There is even a training trailer where the public can see what it’s like to be in a smoke filled room. It wasn’t filled with actual smoke of course and whilst the rest of the family were game to give it a go, I have severe asthma and a lung condition so gave it a miss. They reported that inside you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face and had to rely on the fact that they had one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them in order to find the way out.

One of the most popular participation events though was the fire engine bay where you could (with help) feel like it was to hold a fire hose with the high pressure water coming out. Needless to say, from observation it was far harder than it looked and that engine bay was pressure cleaned from floor to ceiling in the process!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 25, 2014

Waterways And Parting Ways…

Filed under: City Centre,DELFT,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is something peaceful about waterways: they are often the quiet, restful spaces between the bustling busy streets, they reflect the sunshine, clouds and patterns of the surrounding trees and buildings.

In my last post about Velvetines’ adventures I will leave you with a pictorial post about Delft’s canals. Velvetine has squeezed in all sorts of adventures, tried new culinary delights, seen many new places, put up with and survived the chaos that is Family Kiwidutch.

Her bags on this day back in the summer of 2012 were being packed and we were making ready our goodbyes, trying to hold back tears as we have had so much fun and parting is always the sticky bit that we never do particularly well.

She’s tired of course because we have worn her out but we just (half) jokingly told her to make good use of the fourteen hour plane trip back home to Singapore to catch up any sleep she lost at our place and we will of course see her S’pore when we next pass through on our way to New Zealand sometime in the future. Velvetine is someone that  Himself and I find intelligent,  funny, good company and easy to get along with, she’s a  fellow Foodie and she and I, with our love of detail, architecture, old buildings, churches, stained glass and quirky things are kindred spirits so hanging out together is never a bore.  Living half a world away from one another, we can of course only see each other every few years, but we know that each time that moment comes and we are back in each other’s company, the threads are picked up  from where we last left off, it’s like our last meeting was only yesterday. True friends can stand the test of time and distance, and Velvetine is one of these. When true friendship is in your heart, your friend is really only a heartbeat away.

(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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