Local Heart, Global Soul

April 3, 2015

De Kaag: My Inner Sailor Is Unleashed (Hopefully Not Literally)…

Filed under: Delftland,Delftland: De Kaag,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My last year was spent almost exclusively indoors, my social life has been almost nil because the stairs in our house are a major obstacle to my mobility and I can’t walk far.

Luckily we have good friends who regularly visit and bring dinner with them in lieu of us going to their place (also up several flights of stairs).

After watching Himself and the kids disappear regularly to the beach and staying behind because walking on sand and through the dunes is not really a fun activity on crutches, I decided that for my birthday I really wanted to have some sort of day trip out.

A short drive away there is an area of water called the De Kaag , a place that Kiwi Daughter had been to on a school trip and really enjoyed.

A boat trip interested me, but not a yacht because changing seats as the wind changes and the jib swings by is also not an easy proposition when you need help to do it.

A nice restful motorboat seemed to be a better idea, we could just glide slowly along the waterways, have a picnic on board, the kids and Himself could go swimming, … that sounded like a far more suitable proposition. I actually surprised myself in choosing a day out that included a boat trip, considering that boats and I have a dark history and I’m famous for being seasick on a boat about ten meters after it left the dock.

In my defence, on that occasion the boat in question was the New Zealand Cook Straight ferry, the weather was choppy, even in Picton and I’d just finished a non-stop winding-road  non-stop journey from Christchurch which had stretched car sickness pills to their utter utter limit.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m the wimp who gets motion sickness on the rides meant for little kids and can point out far too many New Zealand roadside points with the phrase: I barfed there on the trip when I was (insert age)… and here when I was (insert age) …. and there…. you get the idea.

Anyway, a boat trip at least sounded like a good idea, and the indoor skiiing, kickboxing lessons, jive and karate classes, skateboard, and skydiving lessons were already booked.

(If you are any one of my Doctors reading this I am joking about the last part… seriously, I do know I’m in enough physical trouble already without looking for more!)

The De Kaag is a lake on the outskirts of  Leiden that is connected to the Ringvaart which is where they drain the water from the Haarlemmeerpolder, a polder  that was drained in the 1930’s.

Basically, as with all Dutch polders,  if the pumps stopped pumping, Haarlemmeerpoler would revert back to being a lake and the towns, farms and businesses would get seriously wet feet.

De Kaag is fairly close to our home, so a short half hour to forty minute drive sees us going over the bridge (we didn’t use the ferry) to Kaag, an island within the De Kaag (the lake).  There are not many roads here in this small space but we still managed to take the wrong road and get lost.  I suppose that’s one family habit we are having difficulty breaking… after a few U-turns we find our boat hire place and a sloop that’s just right for our level of expertise and budget. Our boating adventure begins!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our Sloop is a bit more basic than this, but this one was pretty with the rope etc…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 26, 2014

Pink Pigs, Cats And Cows… Of The Quirky Variety…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The  South Holland,Delftsland farm “Hoeve Bouwlust” is not just a working dairy farm but has diversified into providing a guest camping area, two small holiday apartments and making it’s own ice-cream.

All of the children present naturally made the most  of “pester power” to get as much of the ice-cream on offer as they possibly could, but the farm also offers hot and cold drinks to go with the ice-cream and has apparently become well known in recreational cycling circles too: which encompasses a very decent percentage of the Dutch population.

Although the site was quiet I did notice that every so often  little groups of cyclists would turn into the driveway and take a tea or coffee break as well as an ice-cream.

The farm has made the most of this by providing a nice seating area out the front, and incorporated a whimsical touch by adding little decorative ornaments in the shape of pigs, cows and bicycles. Even the bell has a cat’s head emblem on it.  I love quirky, arty things, and even though I’m really not someone who usually likes ornaments, the pink pig would have been most welcome in my home had he been for sale and if I had a nice garden space to put him in. The children of course wanted to play with them and would have had I let them and if it hadn’t started to drizzle lightly, sending them scurrying back to the tents with their ice-creams. I didn’t mind the  drizzle because it gave me time to photograph these in peace once everyone else headed inside.

(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)

June 25, 2014

Hay Hay! I’ve Found A Little Gem Of Dutch Engineering…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our family and friends 2012 camping and picnic long weekend in the Delftlands farm of  ” Hoeve Bouwlust”  is a brilliant idea that gets our families and kids out of the city and offers a taste of fresh air and rural experiences.

For me it also offered the chance to get out of the four walls of home since my foot injury restricts my mobility and keeps me housebound for much of the time.

I’m just out visiting for a few hours because tent accommodation and crutches are not a good mix, but since it’s a half hour drive from home it at least means I don’t miss out completely.

One things I have been trying to photograph for years now is the typical Dutch haystack, because it has such a unique form and is so very different to hay storage I know so well in New Zealand.

To date my efforts have been fleeting glimpses as seen from highways and from our moving car… and haystacks are often placed within a cluster of other outbuildings so  clear photograph has been difficult until now. Space is (comparatively) cheap in New Zealand so hay there is stored in massive sprawling sheds, often three sided and several stories high.Space is at a premium in The Netherlands and even haystacks need to incorporate space saving ideas. This has resulted in what I think is an ingenious design:  usually four (but sometimes thee or five or six) very tall stout posts that hold up a four sided roof that is secured to the posts by large rings.

The roof can be raised or lowered depending on how much hay in is the stack, and the roof is always kept close to the top of the hay to protect it from the rain and wind. Add more hay and you simply raise the roof, as the hay gets used the roof comes down.

I find the design simple, ergonomic, beautiful, logical and a perfect solution for keeping hay out of the elements no matter how much hay you have. At the  Hoeve Bouwlust farm it was near the end of summer and the winter hay had not yet been stocked so the haystack roof was fairly low. Now at last I finally had some decent photographs to show off what I consider a little gem of Dutch engineering.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another one on the same farm had a five post arrangement… and a few extra walls since clearly the campers were not wanted inside it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another one I photographed from the car had the four sided arrangement…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 24, 2014

Friesian Cow Cousins, Down On The Farm…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer my brother-in-law, Himself and several of our friends organised a group camping long weekend during the summer holidays.

Whist my foot injury meant that it wasn’t possible for me to join them camping, they were located  close enough to home that Himself could drive home and pick me up for a short visit, and then drive me back home afterwards.

The camping spot is situated in an area known as Delftsland, a heavily industrialised agricultural area of mostly flower farms, dairy herds and thousands of glass houses.

The farm they are staying on is called “Hoeve Bouwlust” and  is also a working dairy farm and of course visiting the calves and being entertained by the milking of the cows was also one of it’s many attractions.

Most of the day the cows were away in the pasture and anyway the children were rather nervous of the cows, but the calves left behind in the stall were a completely different story, they had a small fan club all to themselves. Just in case any visitor should miss the calves, the shed was helpfully signposted with klompen (wooden clogs / wooden shoes) painted up in the most famous of Dutch cow colours: Friesian black and white.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

June 23, 2014

Finding A Little Camp-site In Between The Agricultural Industry Of South Holland…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We like to spend time outdoors and summer school holidays are an ideal time for our kids to get out of our apartment and experience nature at closer hand than several floors up.

Last summer Himself organised a camping  long weekend with several friends, one of my brothers-in-law and family and with a collection of tents they set out into the wilds of South Holland.  That’s a rather tongue in cheek comment on my part because South Holland is a very built up province and there aren’t too many wilds to be found at all.

Luckily about half and hours drive out of  The Hague some farms in the intensive glasshouse and agricultural area of Delftland have expanded their business to include small scale camping and various activities.

One of these,”Hoeve Bouwlust” is where the extended group were staying and having a ton of fun. My foot injury meant that I was unable to camp with the others and was staying home alone, which was ok for the first day or so but started to be a bit lonely after that. Himself phoned me regularly and invariably gushed with news about what a wonderful time everyone was having.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Suddenly the penny dropped that being told about it wasn’t nearly as exciting as being there so he hit upon a solution: the next morning he would come and pick me up and we could have a big communal picnic together, and later in the day he could bring me back home for the night. It was an excellent solution because the other adults in the group could look after our kids whilst Himself fetched me from home and by chance we managed to bring out another family for the day as well.

Later we found out that Hoeve Bouwlust also has two very small apartments for hire which would have been ideal for me had we known about them earlier.

The farm has a reasonably small camping ground at the rear, complete with toilet block and a whole range of activities to entertain children. Aside from a playground and other play facilities this is also a working farm so there are sheds with cows and home-made ice cream made from their own milk for sale. Once all of the families had gathered together their contributions, the table was soon groaning under the weight of the food and hungry children from friends and family needed no encouragement to get stuck into the fresh fruit, vegetables, sushi and cold meats. Even though the surrounding area is packed with agricultural industry, it’s a quiet space with plenty of space fo the kids to let off steam. A little gem and so close to the city… Who knew?

(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)

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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