Local Heart, Global Soul

September 29, 2017

One For The Road… Well, Better Advised For After It.

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Design,THE NETHERLANDS,Zeeland (Province) — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I have an ongoing “thing’ with some friends who we consider more as family than friends and visa versa.

Whenever we travel somewhere new we try and bring something the local cuisine back for the other family.

On a few occasions it isn’t possible but it can be surprising what we manage to pick up, be it home made goodies from road side stalls to guesses made in foreign languages in regional supermarkets.

Himself and my friends hubby are both keen connoisseurs of dark beers: apparently these are called stouts and porters and the darker the colour the happier our menfolk often are.

We have become experts in wrapping bottles so that they don’t break in checked in baggage on long flights and in attempting to guess what interesting looking packages are in supermarkets.

Our food and beverage swaps also extend to new areas of the Netherlands so when spending Easter in Zeeland and finding this beer it gave us a giggle and we immediately decided to bring some back as our food swap souvenir gift.

The reason for the chuckles were because although Zeeland is a very conservative part of the Netherlands, they are is obviously not without a sense of humour.

On the label is a funny photograph of a very traditionally dressed Zeeuwsch lady driving a very untraditional mode of transport: a large motorcycle.

The name of the beer is “Zwarte Lola’ (Black Lola) which refers to the fact that this is a dark beer and again, it sounds more heavy metal than classical music if I was to make an analogy of musical genres with regional stereotypes.

I have never have been a beer drinker, but apparently it wasn’t bad, the taste testers verdict was that whilst it did not rank amongst the very best they have ever tasted, it was far from terrible and had there been more going, it would have been quickly accepted.

I love it when product manufacturers come up with quirky, imaginative label ideas.

This one shows that the locals can poke fun at themselves and stand out from the crowd.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 19, 2014

Until Next Year… We Race A Ship On The Way Home…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself’s family started a new tradition in September of 2013, where the intention is to gather together as many of the extended family as possible  for one weekend per year so that we can all spend time with Oma (Grandmother) and with each other.

Our first weekend meeting  in Zeeland has been a huge success, kids of all ages played together, adults got time together, Oma got to see everyone at one time or another.

None of us felt that we had to be together every minute:  my children disappeared off with their cousins, Himself and several adults to play on the trampolines and on the peddle carts, and I got a few hours to rest in the afternoon whilst they burnt off energy.

Now we have all packed up our stuff and are heading homewards. It was the Sunday evening  and even now in September the days are getting noticeably shorter.  Even though it’s early evening the sun is starting to set and the kids are getting drowsy in the back seat. This all changes when we come close to Maassluis and we spy a massive ship on the river close to the road. The road and the river run together for quite a while so I get to document the ships progress as we drive alongside. It’s so close that we can read the name plate on the bow clearly, the ship is from Luxembourg and it’s called the “Adeline”.

We watch as it passes us by… other big ships are also on the river, all of them dwarf  even the biggest of the river barges. By the time it’s out of sight the sun has almost gone, the night closes in and our kids drift off into sleep for the rest of the trip home.

(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)

 

June 18, 2014

Strange Staff Arrangements, Surreal Meal: Family Harmony Wins Out Over The Food…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself’s extended family have started a new family tradition, the idea is that as much of the family as possible meet  together for one weekend per year, and the inaugural  meeting was made in September 2013 in the province of Zeeland.

We are staying at  the Roompot “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard” holiday park, and  Oma (Grandmother), my mother in law wants to take everyone out to eat at the restaurant on site to say Thank You for the  family members organising the weekend and taking her out to see old haunts and favourite places.

It’s the end of the summer season and the holiday park is fairly quiet,  the on-site restaurant is about a quarter full,  so it’s already a surprise that no-one comes to even give us a menu.

After a descent time one of my sister in laws approached a staff member to enquire about this and was told rather gruffly that we may not take menu’s ourselves, but someone will be over shortly to bring some.

After yet another long wait I decided that “instructions” or not I would go and ask someone else, which I did, explaining that our party had several younger children who were close to their bedtimes and getting rapidly harder to keep quiet because they were very tired and very hungry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This member at least allowed me to bring menus back to our table with me and we ordered as quickly as possible.

The second snag came because  Himself tried to order plain boiled pasta without sauce for Little Mr.  Apparently this wasn’t possible, pasta only comes with sauce.

Himself  orders himself a pancake for a very tired Little Mr. without telling him that the pasta option was off the menu,  which meant my youngest exploded into a flood of tears when his plate appeared before him and it wasn’t what he expected.

Who said that eating out was the easy option?

When the rest of our parties food arrived I think some of the adults secretly wanted to cry too.

The pizzas looked like they came out of supermarket packets: one order was for a mushroom pizza and it arrived looking like a few mushrooms had been dumped on top of a  four-cheese one and it’s still cold in the middle…

I start to wonder if this is one of those places that gets frozen food in bulk and just heats up the orders:  it would explain why they say they can’t cook plain pasta for Little Mr…. Who knows?  At the very least I’m starting to have doubts about how much is made from scratch here.

One of my sister in laws ordered a fish dish that came sizzling to the table in a black cast iron pan, that and my schnitzel  seemed to be the best dishes on the table, but that said, it wasn’t a meal that I was ever going to be  dreaming about repeating.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The rest of the pizzas ordered only got  “so-so”  reviews but when I whisper to Himself that we should complain he  said “No”,because  if we did then his mother would feel terrible that no one had a nice meal and he didn’t want to ruin her evening.

It went against the grain when the waitress came over and asked if everything was ok, and he said yes if it fine…  but I bit my tongue and kept my thoughts to myself for the sake of family harmony.

The final straw was when the staff started to pack up for the night before we had even finished our meal.

Not just wiping down empty tables type of cleaning up, but actually stacking chairs on tables.

At first when they did the first table I thought it was a joke, but no, they were serious and they kept on, snapping up chairs as soon as diners were getting up to leave. There appears to be a few older staff in charge, and then there are at least six trainees, all very young and all on “stage”  (pronounced “star – juh) which are work experience positions that can be either paid or unpaid. Himself was horrified to see several of these trainees waiting on tables in the evening (not ours) because he went for an early morning walk with Little Mr. at 6:00 a.m. and saw the same trainees getting out the hire bikes, cleaning, setting up tables and getting the trampoline area sorted the same morning. The kids saw them too in the middle of the day when on the  trainee supervised trampolines … We started to wonder just how many hours these trainees were being required to work?

If  you see the same person working hard at 6.00 a.m, midday and at 8:00 p.m. it certainly raises question marks.

“Surreal” doesn’t even begin to cover this situation… As far as meals go, Himself and I agreed  we wouldn’t go back in a hurry, but  if you discount three mega tired children and the strange older staff behaviour (what’s new in The Netherlands?) But at least Oma was happy. … And in the end that’s what matters most.

(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)

 

 

June 17, 2014

Zeeland: A Small Photographic Tour…

You know me, touring around an area, I have to have my camera in hand, checking out the surroundings. In recent days I’ve shown you some of the quirkier parts of the area around Goes and Zuid-Beveland, this is a photographic post featuring some of the other views around the province…

(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)

June 16, 2014

Maybe The Kids Need To Go Down The Road To Make A Phone UK Call?

Filed under: Funny,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Zeeland (Province) — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

I’m going to combine two quirky finds in one post today.

Seen around the Dutch province of Zeeland: One red very British telephone box, sitting looking a little lost in the flat Dutch landscape, and a few villages further along, a  corner paddock which had some play climbing frames in the garden… for their kids  (and I don’t mean kid children, I mean kid goats!)

So many questions, so few answers… so much fun!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 15, 2014

The Surprise of a Plum Find !

Filed under: FOOD,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Zeeland (Province) — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Any Foodie on holiday, be it within their own country or abroad, will have their heart leap at the sight of little roadside stalls that contain local produce for sale.

Sometimes it’s fruit or vegetables in season, sometimes flowers or vegetable plants and sometimes things like home-made chutney, local honey or jams.

I’m not any different and any roadside stall that we come across gets checked out for possible gifts for people back home, preserving ideas for ourselves or items for instant eating.

Whilst taking my mother in law to see some of her old haunts we decide to make our ways down the smaller roads around the district.

Despite this we had almost given up hope of finding any roadside stalls at all (we saw a few  closed up and empty boxes) until all of a sudden we found this one selling potatoes and plums.  There is only one lot of potatoes and two little boxes of plums for sale, but the plums look excellent. There is an honesty box so we rummage around to find the exact amount of money required and depart with one of the little boxes of plums. We didn’t try one whilst out whilst we were there and that turned out to be a big mistake: they were sweet, juicy and face-pullingly delicious, once some of the family back at the holiday park tried them, ears heard the praise, hands dipped into the bowl and they disappeared in a flash.

Next time  I will know to buy,  do a quick taste test and then add a few purchases if they turn out to be mega gems like these.

My advice is that often these stalls have the best produce around, don’t be afraid to give them a go it there is one close to where you are travelling past next time you are out and about!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

June 14, 2014

The Question Is: …Who You Gonna Call?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers will know that I like quirky things.

Himself is now well used to shouts of  “Whoooah, stop the car!” if the kids or I spy something out of the ordinary whilst out and about in the car.

Naturally if we are on a motorway then stopping isn’t an option…but any quiet road or neighbourhood is fair game for a quick reverse or  “U”  turn.

During our September 2013 family visit to the southern Dutch province of Zeeland there was one of these moments:  and  this time almost everyone saw this at the same time (Oma at 91 years of age has now rapidly failing eyesight).

Himself reversed the car and we all sat giggling…

 

Ghostbusters!!!!

Why is this here?

Who we gonna call?

Who knows?  But it’s fun, I take photographs and we are on our way again, still smiling at the thought of the quirkiness of this…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 13, 2014

Entertainment Swoops In Around Us In The Skies…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Zeeland (Province) — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is something captivating about  large flocks of small birds and their rituals when getting ready to roost at night.

There is the “dusk-dance” in mid air that involves intricate turns and manoeuvres as tens or hundreds of birds dip and dive in stunning formation.

How they manage to not fly into one another and knock each other out of the sky I don’t know.

I also have no clue why they do it, but it’s one of natures beautiful spectacles and judging by the small crowd of other people who were also at the holiday park  Roompot “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard”   and who also stood in awe watching, it’s something that most people find fascinating.

We were staying here back in September 2013, with most of Himself’s extended family, for a special family weekend with Oma (Grandmother) and adult and child alike were standing staring at the birds, unwilling to tear ourselves away from the sight of the birds lining up  in groups on the rooftops and then taking to the air in yet another aerial display. Eventually the show was over and the birds disappeared towards some trees a little way off in the distance, where we assume they all settled down for the night. Nature provides the most simple and the best entertainment sometimes.

(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)

 

June 12, 2014

The Importance of Family: Once You Find One…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Most of the extended Family Kiwidutch stayed at the “Roompot” “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard”  holiday park in September 2013,  beginning a new tradition where we try to come together for a few days each year as as much as a whole family as possible.

I have my own Dutch relatives, but due to family demographics, my cousins are ten, fifteen and well over twenty years my senior and there has never been contact. My own uncles and aunts are now in their late eighties and early nineties. Contact in my early years in the Netherlands was totally one sided and meant that Himself and I were expected  to visit them often but at no time did they  reciprocate.

In fact none of them have even visited our home in (so far) nineteen years of marriage. Himself and I tried hard in the first eight years, visiting my Grandmother often and one of uncles and aunts almost every weekend but when our children came along we just couldn’t keep this up any longer and these days we only get invitations to funerals as the older generation slowly pass on.

When my mother passed away from cancer (in New Zealand) in 1993, My  father notified one of my uncles first (family politics again) and my uncle phoned me at work to tell me. The conversation consisted of “Hello”, an awkward silence  and then “Are you sitting down? Your mother has passed away, our condolences”. Then he hung up and that was the sum total of my entire family ” support”  at that time and since.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Needless to say,  it’s been nice to have interaction with Himself’s family instead.

I will admit that as an “outsider” the early years were especially difficult, at my first St. Nicolas my sister in law produced a packet of unwrapped regular “black” tea bags from the bottom of a grocery bag: although they knew I don’t drink black tea, and it was embarrassingly clear that they had forgotten to get me a gift.

I tried to introduce the Kiwi tradition of  a “pot luck” dinner, sister in law was beyond horrified and exclaimed “Oh No…You mean we get to go out for dinner but we still have to cook?“.

Then in mega tiny increments I have been slowly accepted and eighteen years later the same sister in law phoned me up and said ” I’ve had a great idea, we are having a dinner at my place and everyone is bringing something to eat to share, can you bring something too?” After I hung up the phone I wanted to bang my head against a wall and shout “finally!!!!!!!!!!!” but resisted.  “Tolerant”as the Dutch are meant to be it’s very difficult to be accepted as proper member of the family, it’s still far from perfect but these days they do at least make more of an effort than before and that’s something I appreciate at least.

Not having grown up in a tight knit family has been something I’ve missed so now I am older, the idea of Family has become very important to me, I’ve rekindled contact with several of my Kiwi cousins (cut off  in our teen years due to politics between our respective parents) and this is really special to me too. I also understand more, my mother in laws wish to visit places of her youth, see again homes and villages she once lived in and where old friends and family once were. She has lived in several places in Zeeland, this is one of them…

(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)

June 11, 2014

Holiday Villa Ownership, Costs More Than We Guessed… Luxury Sea-Side (For A Weekend At Least)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve arrived at the Roompot “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard”  holiday park that my sister in law has organised,  there are large houses that are holiday homes for the owners, but individually let out to the public  via the holiday  park website when they are not using them. Houses vary in size (and thus price) .

We have a three bedroom house that has a large kitchen, dining area and living room.

One set of in-laws also has a three bedroom place, for themselves, their youngest son and Oma (Grandmother) and the other in-laws have a slightly smaller two bedroom house that has a double, plus a room with two single beds for their two children.

Our rented house has a large double bedroom for Himself and I, a room with two single beds for our two kids and a smaller with singles for our friend and her toddler daughter.

Our double room has French doors leading out to a balcony that overlooks the street and which is the roof of  the veranda below. We aren’t the sun-bathing types (Like all New Zealanders these days, I’m only too well aware of the risks of skin cancer, and our family prefer Factor 80 sun-block to any sort of tanning lotion) , but if you were you could opt for a spot in the shade or in the sun as takes your fancy.

There is an extra cupboard (or it may be a small room) downstairs that’s locked, it’s storage for the owner’s personal belongings, understandably they need somewhere to keep their own bed linen and private effects that are not meant for casual tenants to use.

Other than that there is not a massive amount of storage in the house, but since I think that there are rules that prohibit year round occupation in the holiday park and most tenants would only be hiring for a week or two at the time, that’s less of a problem short term.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The living area is nice and large downstairs, our villa may have the same amount of bedrooms as one of my sister in laws, but is considerably bigger inside, so after the family sharing a picnic dinner at their place on the first evening, on the Sunday, everyone did the same at ours and the larger amount of space was noticeable when filled with a crowd.

It appears that there are various floor plans available for owners to choose from and the houses are more or less compact as a result. Judging from the house rules and reading material our owner is clearly of German nationality,  and I think that many of the houses here are also German owned: it’s an established fact that with large land area but  limited coastline, German nationals love to holiday in the Netherlands and be close to the sea.

This frequently leads to German families returning year after year to their favourite places on the Dutch coast, combined with the fact that many Dutch speak German and communication is easy,  has lead to a trend where owning  a property of your own by the sea is a good long term family investment. The holiday houses aren’t cheap though,  One of my sister in laws had a brain wave and thought that one of these would also be a brilliant idea, until we checked out the website and discovered prices between 300.000,– and 400.000,–  Euro for the types of villas we were staying in and her dream one a little larger.   Ouch… her dreams quickly evaporated at those  prices.

There are various modes of “transport” to play on and to get around with: short term hires of tricycles plenty big enough for adults, with a “side-car” sort of arrangement that the kids were delighted with. Then for a set fee you could hire a little cart, to take your stuff to the on site swimming pool, playground, or in our case, to transport tired toddler back to the villa.

We had all weathers during the weekend so my photographs reflect that… Let’s take a look around …

(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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