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.
December 29, 2016
November 9, 2016
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.
November 8, 2016
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…
November 1, 2016
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.
April 8, 2016
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.
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 !
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…
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…
March 30, 2016
May 23, 2015
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…
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…
May 22, 2015
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.
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!
March 25, 2014
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.
March 24, 2014
The average evening meal for most people contains meat.
Meat has become a regular part of our diet, a far cry from for instance one hundred years ago when probably only the Sunday meal contained meat and the rest of the week was eked out with leftovers, vegetables, potatoes and bread.
Of course many more people kept their own livestock in centuries past and even in my own family as recently as my father’s childhood when he breed rabbits for show, with the ones that didn’t make the grade going into the pot. He was one of ten children, and in the practical and stoical dutch fashion of the family, even money put into hobbies could yield no waste.
Across the world in rural New Zealand I grew up with the reality that pigs never got named, and that once a year one would disappear during school time and be returned a short time later in the form of voluminous bags of sausages, chops, minced meat, diced meat etc. and after a while longer, hams.
Even when we moved to the city of Christchurch, my parents went to the Sydenham butchery every so often and order a side of beef: my mother would prepare the chest freezer in our garage during the previous month, it would be defrosted and completely cleaned, and reduced to a state of emptiness that meant only few lonely old fashioned metal trays of ice-cubes remained.
Then my mother would return from a shopping trip with an arm-load of plastic bags and labels, large ones, small ones and I knew which chore would be coming next. The half-side of beef would arrive in boxes of a large assortment of various cuts and it was my job to count out schnitzels, sausages, steaks etc into family meal sized portions and bag them whilst my mother labeled them and stacked everything in sections in the base of the freezer or in the baskets that sat suspended inside the freezer.
The sorting, counting, bagging and labelling would take the whole family some hours but once done the freezer would be tightly packed full of meat and whilst it was a large financial outlay at one time it worked out far cheaper over the course of the year when compared to supermarket prices with packaging etc.
In centuries past there were no chest freezers of course, or any sort of freezer at home or anywhere: a few large country houses may have their own ice-house, where blocks of ices were cut and stored for use in the kitchens, but in general apart from cured meats, meat was impossible to store for long or to transport very far.
The solution in medieval European cities was that once or twice a week there would be a meat market day, where livestock were herded into the centre of town and butchers would slaughter and butcher the beasts on the street next to a market stall where the meat would be bought fresh by the city customers.
In due course the cities grew large enough that the volume of beasts and mess of the slaughter became a messy and problematic issue for the city centre pavements, so the meat market moved it’s trade indoors to purpose built buildings where the mess, noise and smell could be better contained and regulated.
The move indoors also meant that beasts could be bought in in smaller numbers on almost a daily basis and meat could be bought fresh most days: thus in it’s earliest form the local butchery businesses as we know it today was born.
Here in the center of Delft is one of these early stone slaughterhouse and butchery buildings, the animals carved in stone of the front façade a signpost to the trade that took place within.
The lower doors access the slaughter-house via ramps, the steps to the upper doors were probably for the meat sale rooms, separating and removing the customers from the less gentile realities of the trade … an aspect of our food production that continues to this day.
The reality of a butchery may be grim but it’s a fact of life and I firmly believe that people who are more aware of where their food comes from are also more likely to fight to ensure that the beasts we eat are well reared, killed in a humane fashion and that nothing is wasted. The Butchery trade has evolved, but there is an aspect of the reality that in this ever increasing “processed” world that I really hope we never loose.