Local Heart, Global Soul

November 21, 2018

There Was (Kind Of) A Sign Of Penguins…

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Greymouth breakwater did not only have wonderful views of a churning sea whipped up by the strong afternoon winds… it is also apparently a favourite place for one of New Zealand’s many penguin colonies. Unfortunately for us the penguins were out catching their dinner and we missed them coming in to roost. I have no clues if they are here all year around or seasonally, but try as we might to scan the beach and sea, we didn’t even manage to see one. The sign is sweet though, so I got a photograph that turns out to be “kind of a sign of a penguin”….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 29, 2018

Hopefully Back To Former Glory…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Turning around 180 degrees from the Scott statue in Christchurch, my eyes come to rest on another impressive historic building, and one of the cities oldest. Wikipedia tells me:

Now known as “Our City”, or “Our City O-Tautahi”, registered with the istoric Places Trust, and located at 159 Oxford Terrace, this Heritage New Zealand building in the Queen Anne Style, was built to be the Municipal Chambers but since 1877 has had several changes of use.

From 1887–1924 it was used by Christchurch City Council as their civic offices, providing room for meetings of the council and for housing staff, before they moved to the Civic.

It was then used for many decades by the Canterbury Region Chamber of commerce and served as the main tourist information. These days it is an exhibition and events centre.

The Christchurch Municipal Council first met in 1862. Later that year, it became the Christchurch City Council. The council used Christchurch’s first public building, the Christchurch Land Office, as their meeting venue and for housing council employees.

The Land Office was built in 1851 on Oxford Terrace on the banks of the Avon River, just north of where the Worcester Street bridge crossed the river. The building had various public uses. It was built on Reserve 10, which was a section of land reserved for public buildings.

In 1879, the council administration had run out of room in the Land Office, and a competition for new civic offices and Town Hall was announced. After all the competition entries proved too expensive, the project was abandoned.

Another competition was called for in 1885, this time for just civic offices (i.e. for a council meeting venue and for staff), and on the same site as the Land Office. Controversy erupted when the competition was won by Samuel Hurst Seager,  who was young and relatively inexperienced, and his design in the Queen_Anne style, an architectural type unfamiliar to New Zealand.

The building was completed on 24 March 1887 and council met for the first time in their new premises on 4 April 1887. The south façade of the building has two terracotta sculptures by George Frampton that represent ‘Industry’ and ‘Concord’

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In 1919, Council concluded that their premises were once again too cramped and started looking for an alternative.

A bill was put to Parliament, seeking permission to extend the building to the north of Reserve 10 on land designated for public gardens or promenades, Instead, Council purchased the burned out shell of the northern half of the Agricultural and Industrial Hall in 1920.

Construction started in 1922, and the new offices, now known as the Civic, opened on 1 September 1924 .

In 2010, council moved into their fifth civic office; to date, the Queen Anne design is the only purpose built civic offices in Christchurch.

Parliament passed a Christchurch Municipal Offices Leasing Act in 1922, which allowed council to lease the building that was situated on Reserve 10.

The Canterbury Chamber of Commerce took the lease and held it until 1987. Part of the building was subleased to the Canterbury Promotion Council, later known as Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing, and they were in the building until October 2000. Part of their function was to provide the main tourist information centre for Christchurch.

On 2 April 1985, the building was registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (now called Heritage New Zealand) as a Category I historic place, and is a feature of the city.”The building was taken over again by the council and opened as an exhibition, event and meeting space for the community in July 2002, branded as Our City O-Tautahi.Damaged in the 2010 Canterbury earthquake and closed with heavy bracing installed around the building. The building is insured for NZ$5.8m, but repair options are in excess of that. One of the options has been estimated at NZ$10.5m

I knew this building when it was a tourist Information site and love the architecture. I realise that restoring it will be quite an undertaking, but hope that one day soon it can be bought back to it’s former glory.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia / “Our City” / Heritage Building / Cr. Worcester St & Oxford Terrace / Christchurch / New Zealand
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_City,_Christchurch

July 25, 2016

The Wasps Drive Us Inside To Interesting Discoveries…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following our yesterday’s post, we have gone volcano hunting in Germany.

Ok, an extinct volcano crater is more exacting but I fear not exciting enough for some.

When we get there Himself walks down a small path to find a map, the actual crater is another five to ten minutes walk more than I can manage.

Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter complain of being starving hungry, our little guest and Himself are the only ones keen to explore the crater that is out there somewhere.

Having passed a village a kilometre or two back, I suggest that the unwilling and unable get dropped off for lunch, then the energetic can get on with their walk without hassle.

We go into the small village of  Steffein, and find a restaurant called “Gastwirtschaft Sünnen”. The kids race to claim tables outside, and kids being kids, they claim a table each. That expanded into each trying to get me to sit with them so that the other will have “lost” and would have to shift, but when wasps appeared, both quickly disengaged the competition and we ended up sitting in side. At first glance the restaurant looks a lot like the many cafes and restaurants we have visited over the years, but once we take a better look we discover that this place is a lot more interesting… There are tables for diners and a bar for patrons who are just here to drink, and given that the place is a decent size I thought that that was it. A little later whilst I was going to the toilet, I discovered that there is also a massive reception hall complete with small stage. But of course that alone is not enough…

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Gastwirtschaft Sünnen
Karl-Heinz & Brigitte Sünnen
Brunnenstr. 3
54597 Steffeln
Telefon: 06593 8510
Telefax: 06593 998424
E-Mail: info@gastwirtschaft-suennen.de
Gastwirtschaft Sünnen /Steffeln / DE.

July 3, 2016

This Post Epitomises How I Think All travels Should Be…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We may soon to be one Member State shorter in the European Union, but meanwhile back on the Continent, border controls continue more or less as usual.

One of the thing that I adore about the Schengen Agreement is the fact that you can find yourself on a little road somewhere and in the blink of an eye, be in another country.

Himself always looks at me strangely when I express wonder at this, yet again, because he has grown up with this as a normal concept.

People from Island nations, like me find it wondrous because we always associate going “abroad” with “going overseas” … as in, literally going over sea or in New Zealand’s case a twelve hour flight across a seriously large body of water such as the Pacific Ocean to find one of your “nearest” neighbours.

When I arrived in the Netherlands I was continually using the phrase ” going overseas” to describe visits to Belgium, France and Germany and it took a while before ” abroad” felt natural. This post epitomises how I think all travels should be, all countries such good friends and equal partners regardless of size that boarder posts are not required. We turn a corner on a tiny German back road and a find a simple sign announces that we have now arrived in Luxemburg: Our adventures continue…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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April 24, 2016

People Come And Go, Cities Continue To Evolve Around Them…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Aside from the Party and Restaurant trams, the Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum (the Hague Public Transport Museum) also has a bar/restaurant above the museum with a large dining room,  available for special event bookings, weddings and all sorts of parties.

Our small group had a small snack upstairs after our tram tour and before we checked out the rest of the museum.

Both the restaurant upstairs and the bookshop below are called the “Remise” (Depot) and if you or any of your party are tram spotters, there is the added bonus that the inner windows give a wonderful view of the historic trams and busses in the inside parking area below.

In the book shop there are more train, tram and bus books available than I ever imagined possible, plus various souvenirs.

There was one historic photograph (the first in this blog post) that especially caught my eye because the tram had what looked a bit like a train engine on the front of it. All was revealed when I read the caption : “Over de Rijswijkseweg reed tot 1924 een stoomtram van de HTM naar Rijswijk n Delft. In 1924 nam de lecktrische trams het over. ca. 1900, fotograaf onbekend.” Translated this reads: “along  the Rijswijkseweg there was a steam tram from Rijswijk  to Delft until 1924, when an electric tram took over. Circa 1900, Photographer unknown”

I never knew that our trams used to run on steam! It was also possible to see how dramatically the city had changed since  many of them were taken, a reminder that in one hundred years from now, The Hague, and other cities around the world will probably be less recognisable than we know it too. People come and go, cities continue to evolve around them.

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April 1, 2016

I’ve Seen The Easter Bunny In Person!

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the home that my Mother-in-law has been in recently, the staff take a lot of effort to make life for the long and short term residents as happy as possible.

They celebrate various religious events, Christian, Muslim and Hindustani amongst others, so when we visited before and after the Easter weekend there were Easter decorations up in abundance, and yesterday when we went there was an event arranged to celebrate Holi (the Festival of Colours) which is the Hindi celebration of the arrival of Spring.

Instead of throwing around coloured powders though, they opted for a selection of traditional foods amidst colourful flags. Most of the Easter celebration decorations were based on the tradition of eggs… and the very Dutch (and some other European countries) tradition of decorating willow branches and pieces of twigs taken inside with little plastic decorated eggs.

I even heard that some places in Germany put real eggs in trees outside! The rest of the decorations in the main hall at least, centred more around the theme of the Easter Bunny, chickens, chicks, eggs and such, rather than the biblical cross (which I assume was kept more for the Chapel since this is a multi faith establishment). Hung high in the air over the main hall was a giant Easter Bunny, and the other bunnies around the hall ranged from realistic to whimsical. The most important thing though was that the residents appeared to deight in them and they certainly generated a lot of smiles.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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January 19, 2016

A Chain Cycle, To Chain Your Cycle To…

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We are still in Reykjavík, Iceland, looking around the port area. All of a sudden I spy a sculpture that is both beautiful and totally functional. The idea is that you can chain your bike to a literal bicycle in chains. This is also an instance when three bike don’t make a trike! Ingenious!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 6, 2016

Speed Demons, Fun Lovers, And Then There Is This One…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I learned that the skating rink that was open during the Dutch Christmas and New Year school holidays in Loosduinen is actually rather special.

The tent, equipment and skates apparently cost Euro 50.000,–  to rent for the holiday period but the cost was mostly borne by the federation of business owners in the Loosduinen shopping centre complex.

The local Scouting group stand to gain fifty percent of the profits made but they had to provide the staff to run the skate hire, rink management and the catering too.

There were no shortages of skaters who also made orders for hot chocolate and coffee from what I saw, so I hope that this partnership was a successful one.

The idea of course was that the rink would draw in the members of the public who would also stop off to do their Christmas shopping, pick up groceries and frequent the shops nearby whilst they were in the area. That part of the plan actually worked because I picked up three Christmas gifts walking back to the car. The business community would not have to provide valuable staff, the scouting group could work hard and also benefit financially. Of course I didn’t just take photographs of the general skaters. some of them were so wonderful that they got their own close ups… here is to the speed demons, the learners and almost everyone having fun…

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Sometimes you have to be pointing the camera in just the right direction at just the right time…

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Ok, there always one kid who looks like they think they have better places to be…

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December 15, 2015

Old Fashioned Play IS Still Here Today…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the 2015 Garderen Sand Sculpture Exhibition the next item was the topic of children and outside play.

There is plenty of debate at present about the rampant rise of electronic gadgets and in particularly the amount of electronic games that children at playing at a very young age.

I know that all of these gadgets are very addictive (both for adults as well as children) and fun, and that completely restricting kids to almost nothing will not help them when they will (eventually) need more and more computer knowledge in order to keep up in the workplace, but you also want them to have an old fashioned “childhood” as well.

Luckily we have always taken our kids outside, to the park when they were smaller, and they still love being outside and doing sports now. Little Mr loves nothing more than an after school football kick-a-round with Himself on the street, often neighbourhood friends join them and it burns off some energy which both of them enjoy. Both of our children are restricted to two hours electronics per day, that includes television (except in school holidays, especially in the winter). Little Mr is often reluctant about being parted from Minecraft, but kids have to learn that entertainment comes in more than just electronic forms. A lot of parents we know have a similar view (and restrictions) on their family electronics, so in our circles at least the “old fashioned childhood” is far from dead.

There is only one section of our life where we as parents have conceded defeat, and that is on long car journeys where keeping both kids absorbed in their own iPads has truly been the best solution to keeping World War 3 from breaking out in the back seat of our vehicle. Believe me, we have tried, and horrendously failed, time after time, after time, after time, after time, after hair tearing time. Eventually we decided that peace and quiet via the Ipad made for far less stressful driving and capitulated.  Roll on summer when the long warm days will bring back them playing on the street with friends until bedtime.

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Sand Sculpture Garderen / Zandsculpturen Garderen

December 13, 2015

The Ordinary And Extraordinary: Literally The Sands Of Time…

From Grandmother’s Tips, (put candle wax onto zips to make them run smoothly) to transport and famous Dutch poems and stories, from children’s toys and pass-times, the story of ordinary Dutch life and special events, all sculpted in sand goes on…

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Sand Sculpture Garderen / Zandsculpturen Garderen

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