In this photographic post I discover another sculpture around The Hague, well, Scheveningen to be exact. Seen from the car as we stood in traffic, this “interesting” piece that depicts… hmmm I’m not quite sure. A stylised daffodil maybe? There are plenty of those in the lawn around it in the spring time. Truly, I am not quite sure what to make of this one…
December 14, 2016
December 2, 2016
Regular readers will know that I have many collections of photographs on my blog Most of them are art works of some sort, statues, sculptures and the like but there are also street man hole covers, bicycles,various pieces of architectural detail and quirky stuff such as letter boxes, loos and strange wheeled vehicles. This post is rather tame when it comes to quirkyiness: it’s a statue of a man looking towards the harbour area. Located in the Scheveningen district that connects The Hague with the sea, it’s one of many “blink-and-you-miss-it” pieces that needs to be glimpsed on the pavement between parked cars.
It has not however escaped my eagle eye, and is now another checked off item on my long list of sculptural pieces in The Hague and surrounding areas. No, I have no idea why the poor man appears to morph uncomfortably out of the post that supports him. He doesn’t exactly look comfortable does he? It kind of looks painful. But here he is… standing guard? waiting? My first feeling looking at is that I’d like to give the poor man a chair. Who knows what the artist was thinking…. I’m not entirely certain I want to know.
November 28, 2016
Whenever our kids went to the beach this summer they would arrive home with stories for me at home about how their day had been.
On several occasions, when having been down by the harbour, Little Mr would start to describe several vehicles, and to say that he gave me rather strange visions about what he had seen was an understatement.
The vehicle he described had “wheels but not wheels, …like a tank, a truck tray that tips backwards, but with big sides, like a skip, and a sitting place for the driver, but not like a truck, … like a crane.”
My head tried had to compute what he meant, … and failed.
Then he tried to draw it (and in order to not heart his feelings, I did the Parent Thing: told him it was a beautiful drawing and I got it, but reality was that the drawing was no blue print and I didn’t really get it). Yes, it was a white lie, but the drawing was a blue print in his mind and I should have gotten it, so I played the game. Several weekends went by and we went other places so it was more or less forgotten. Then we returned to the beach by the harbour and saw these on the way home. Indeed, Little Mr. was completely right: his description was on point, even if I had been too stupid to imagine all the parts together. It’s a truck with tank tracks, and I’m wondering if it has anything at all to do with the harbour, might this be used in dredging work? I asked Himself to cruise past whilst I took a string of photographs. It’s another unusual vehicle to add to my photographic collection but in all honesty, this one is all for Little Mr.
November 12, 2016
The summer of 2016 was for the most part (ok, discount June more or less entirely) one of excellent weather.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Himself and adults from three or four other families took turns to supervise a bigger group of kids on the street or take them to the beach during week days.
Weekends they would forsake their bike rides to the beach and join me in a car ride to one of the spots that had a car park close to the beach café we wanted to go to.
Luckily with a seven seater car we manage to pile in extra kids so the kids weren’t short of a friend to take with them.
The Dutch are a cycling nation and nowhere is easier to get to by bike than car, is the beach.
All along the dunes there are hundreds of cycles racks, which at the height of summer can see bikes chained together on one rack up to four deep and every available signpost or fence surrounded by clusters of bicycle hardware.
Our weekend visits to La Cantina on the south side of the harbour were no different, but one of the attractions was that this was one of the quietest spots along the shore, so bike parking was never as bad as I have sometimes seen it in other places during my time here in the Netherlands.
One thing did catch my eye, and that is the sharp rise in the use of “Bakfietsen” (cargo bikes) in the last decade: one reason their popularity increase is that although they are very expensive to buy, they hold their value incredibly well and you can sell one in good condition, second-hand for near new prices.
This makes them an excellent investment and the Dutch are never ones to pass up a good thing when a deal makes sense.
It’s therefore no surprise that I saw quite a few bakfietsen during our visits to the beach. Two bikes did perplex me for a moment because I only saw strong metal “prongs” (not sharp ones) sticking out in different configurations from several bikes, then the penny dropped: these were also bakfietsen, but ones where the “bak” (Literally translates as “container”) i.e. the kid-carrying compartment, can be taken off the bike and taken with you.
I don’t know the exact brand of this type, but they are soft sided ones similar to the “Gazelle” bakfietsen in my photographs.
Hard sided bakfietsen are of course heavier and are as far as I know, never detachable. I love how this mode of transport has been embraced, and how the trend is growing. They even come with sturdy rain covers for the winter months, making these fabulous bikes way more than just fair weather friends.
November 11, 2016
This summer my kids spent their fair share of time at the beach.
Most of the time they were with a group that consists of several families and they had several set places to go to that were firm favourites.
Getting to most of these favourite places involved a walk or bike ride through the dunes, so were not possible for me to visit.
We therefore made a loose arrangement that during the week they would go to which location they fancied, but on weekends we would chose somewhere where it was possible for me to join them.
Located on the southern side of the harbour, and with a car-park very close by, La Cantina is a perfect location to take anyone in a wheelchair or who can not walk far.
There was a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, so we chose to sit out of doors but with large shade umbrella.The kids came and went as other adults accompanied them to the water and on the sand so at some moments I was alone, other moments sitting with other adults between supervision duties. Nearing the end of the day everyone started to get hungry so we ordered dinner: this for 99% of us consisted of pancakes, I had shrimp since I had had a toasted sandwich earlier.
The staff are very friendly and especially patient when after everyone else has ordered a certain kid said ” I think I want a pancake… wait… (looks through entire menu very slowly as our waitress stands waiting)… yes, I’ll have a pancake“. Seriously kid? Our meal arrives and pancakes are scoffed by kids, who then race way for a game on the sand before returning later for ice-blocks. The sun is shining, the day is warm, the kids are busy and happy, the food is great and I’m not doing the washing-up. What’s not to like?
October 31, 2016
The Simoni’s restaurant in Scheveningen specialises in fish and seafood. We tend to go when we have guests, and special occasions. The seafood platters are generally made to serve at least two people or more, and with me allergic to most of it, Himself can not eat one on his own. Sometimes too he is in the mood to try something completely different, so the friends we went with on this occasion went for mussels and lobster. I ordered garlic prawns, and for the very first time in all the years we have been coming here, we made it as far as the dessert section of the menu. It’s not the last time we will be here, but each time is a delight, and we can not wait for a good excuse to come again.
October 30, 2016
October 29, 2016
Simoni’s restaurant in Scheveningen is well known near and far for it’s fish and seafood.
I’m very allergic to mollusks and squid, and am supposed to eat crustations in small quantities and not too often.
This basically means that all things with hinges like mussels, clams, oysters, squid and the like are a definite no-no, but the odd prawn every now and again is ok.
Technically lobster is also ok but I don’t have the heart to look at a cooked lobster on my plate that I knew was swimming happily in a tank half an hour earlier, and I also have a guilty secret: I don’t think that lobster tastes of much, I mean, one I had decades ago dripping with garlic butter was amazing but let’s be honest, cardboard loaded with garlic butter would probably taste great too.
In short, lobster just doesn’t do it for me and since they are generally expensive I don’t see the point of paying a lot of money for something that you think tastes so-so.
Himself on the other hand has no reservations when it comes to lobster, his motto would be something like: ” bring ’em on, these taste brilliant”. What does excite me though, is the aesthetic quality of these beautiful creatures and also of other crustations, so seeing the seafood platters being made up, is like looking at a beautiful Still Life. The lamps in this section of the restaurant were red so of course everything under them was tinged a deep rosé. In front of the person building up the platters is a cooler cabinet where all of the cooked creatures were laid out for display and for selection. None of these would look out of place in a 17th Century Dutch old masterpiece, and once plated up they each become their own masterpiece.
October 28, 2016
Posting recently about views around Scheveningen, I mentioned that we had been out for dinner. The restaurant in question was “Simoni’s” down by the harbour and is very popular both with locals and tourists. This particular visit took place on a weekday in winter and since we arrived for an early dinner the place was very quiet compared to the chaotic and busy times of Thursday to Saturday nights. Simoni’s is an establishment of two halves here, one side is the restaurant and the other is the shop where fresh and frozen fish and sea food, various other goods were on sale. There are also huge tanks of live lobsters and crayfish between the shop and restaurant areas, so I try and get a few photographs of a few of the “residents” inside. I also try hard to not think about the fact that they are all destined for the pot, focusing instead on their beautiful forms.
October 26, 2016
Himself and I recently went to dinner in nearby Scheveningen, a former village on the coast which over the centuries has merged into the bigger city of The Hague.
Although geographically the two are differentiated as one side of a street to anther, Scheveningen still very much retains it’s own personality and traditions so it’s not so unusual to see old ladies dressed in black, with traditional Dutch “winged” lace caps (the traditional costume of Scheveningen) in the neighbourhood.
I took a few photographs both on the way to dinner and on the way back until the battery died on my camera.
I liked the utter spontaneity of the shots, there is absolutely nothing pre-prepared in these shots, they are just snapshots of passing moments, taken as blink of the eye keepsakes of the city around us.
I know that it’s not the first or last time we will be in Scheveningen but each time has it’s own fleeting memory. This. along with the dinner we enjoyed is part of one of those memories.