Local Heart, Global Soul

January 28, 2017

Parking Six Feet Under Ground (Cover)…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before leaving the small German town of Isselburg-Anholt in the summer of 2016, Himself and I made one last discovery that I found worth stopping and taking photographs of.

As per the usual theme of this blog it’s something very normal and everyday, just a bog-standard car parking building.

But since I also like quirky things, this is a car park with a twist.

First, there are the ivy covered outside walls, ivy can be both a blessing and a curse, especially if you have to remove it from brickwork, but it’s a great way to “green” vertical spaces.

This twist here is the roof, which is also green, there are what appears to be grasses and wild flowers like  lavender carpeting the roof and providing an excellent spot for insects and bees as well as adding more plant life into the town.

If that is lavender, then it must smell wonderful whenever you are close to it as well.

I’d love to see more plants added to cities and towns like this, it’s a fabulous idea!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2017

A Quiet New Year Started Off With A Meal…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Three years ago on the night of December 31st we were in New Zealand about to see in the New Year.

Unlike in The Netherlands, there are no fireworks (there is a nation wide fire ban due to it being summer and the risk of forest fires being high).

As teenager we used to sometimes save fireworks from the November Guy Fawkes celebrations and sneak off to an isolated beach to let them off out to sea on New Year.

I’m not even sure if that is even still possible because the Guy Fawkes celebrations were for a long time in risk of being phased out too.  (It’s one thing I haven’t kept up with, if they have or haven’t been).

Three years ago we don’t have too much planned, just a quiet celebration.

First however we feel like going out for dinner.  Racking our brains we come up with a favourite from a previous trip: Harringtons in Belfast, to the north of Christchurch. My camera of course is still suffering from it’s fall onto the grass in Wellington, so these photographs are far from ideal but per our previous trip’s visit, there are large helpings of delicious food and we end the year stuffed to the brim.

The first week of the New Year will be spent visiting various family and friends in Christchurch, and then we head back to Hanmer Springs again where our favourite little house has been booked so that we can enjoy a relaxed time away from the city and further travels until it is time to head back to the airport for our 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)

A Quiet New Year Started Off With A Meal…

January 9, 2017

The Thing That Makes The Best Memories, Is The Love That We Share…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in 2013 Family Kiwidutch arrived in Wellington, New Zealand in stormy weather.

There had just been a cyclone in northern Australia, the tail end of which swept across the Tasman Sea and hit mostly the North Island of New Zealand.

A part hit the South Island’s West coast, the soaring Southern Alps stopped the rain clouds in their tracks, the precipitation was dumped on a coast that is well used to coping with large amounts of water.

The West coast of New Zealand is one of the wettest places on earth, with an average of twelve meters of rain per year. (My converter tells me that that is 39.4 feet for those readers in un-metricated parts of the world).

The east coast of New Zealand’s South Island thus enjoys a drier climate than the rest of the country, and as a kid, before global warming turned the world’s weather on it’s head, I enjoyed long hot dry summers, cold dry blue sky, winters and rain in spring and autumn.

These days the weather is rather pot luck in both the northern and southern hemisphere, with weird weather being the new norm. The storm we arrived in lashed the North Island all week, with the heaviest rain falling in the north and central areas of the North Island. Wellington did not escape so rain poured down the entire four days we were there.

We drove out to see the Christmas lights that people had put on their houses, sadly all but one of my photographs were a fuzzy disaster. We visited one of my cousins and Himself and the kids made a trip to the local swimming pool, on the first day I came down with a heavy cold and spent most of our stay in bed, but we still enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Day with some excellent friends.

The husband in the family is battling late stage cancer at the moment so we hope to return to New Zealand before his time runs out. It was a very special Christmas that no matter what happens in the future, we will remember for much joy, laughter, good food, excellent hospitality and loads of love. It goes to prove that it is not the weather or things that make the best memories, it is the time spent with people that matter and the love we share.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 25, 2016

Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas…!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Like many Christmas-celebrating homes all over the world, the last few days have been a hectic rush of shopping, menu fine tuning and last minute rushes to the supermarket for bits and pieces  forgotten or added.

Himself is doing all of the supermarket and Haagsemarkt running around, I am busy at home.
I knew that with a limited ability to stand for long that I’d need to be organised, so started earlier in the week with small tasks and paced myself.

Himself thought I was mad when I asked him last Thursday if we could possibly forgo eating dinner at the table until Christmas Day, the kids were ecstatic because that meant dinner in front of the TV and pizza.

Starting my dinner table three days in advance gave me the opportunity to arrange things in short bursts, to organise exactly how I was going to manage seating nineteen friends and family in my dining room and to organise a few surprises.

In the above photograph the table is only about half way to completion… there are still napkins to be fancy folded and put into the water glasses, some sparkly start coasters to find, cutlery to be added and a ton yet to go onto the table. If I get time later I hope to get photographs of the completed table fully decorated.

The main thing is that the “bones” are there, Himself will not be at the kitchen door for the 89th time asking what I mean when I said “x dish goes there, if x dish is the green one or the blue one, or the one with flowers, or stripes, or glass, that he’s not sure what utensil I mean, can I please come and check that everything is in the right place please?”.

I spent Christmas Eve evening surrounded by pots and pans in the living room,  cutting boards, peelers and knives on the coffee table, and a plastic washing up bowl steadily filling up with veggie scraps as I sat on the couch and worked. Carrots for a crowd are peeled, as a potatoes for mash, different potatoes for roasting, the green beans are topped and tailed, the sprouts are cleaned and cut, and two pomelo’s are peeled and segmented for the fruit course.

In the kitchen mini pavlovas are stored in airtight plastic containers, a chocolate taart and a lemon taart are in the fridge (their fillings solved my problem of what to do with a small mountain of egg yolks after the whites were used for the pavlovas), my Aunty Heather’s beetroot is in the downstairs fridge, the garlic butter is made, the sage and onion stuffing has been made and cooked and just needs warming through.

I borrowed Himself’s strong arms to cut the pumpkin, it’s all ready to roast, parsnips will be added to the roasting pan too but I will peel them tomorrow morning because they go brown quickly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

An excellent foodie friend and guest is cooking a turkey crown and a couple of leg in her oven, she is bringing that and a large quantity of gravy… (you can never have too much gravy). One sister in law is bringing the strawberries and cream to go with the pavlovas, the other sister in law is bringing a salad because there are a number of vegetarians in the family and I am supplying  everything else.

Christmas crackers are stupidly expensive here in the Netherlands (available in ex-pat shops at horrific prices) so my foodie friend bought me some that you make up yourself: ours are simple, when the cracker is pulled and the snap goes bang, there will be found two little packets of Haribo gummies, one for each person pulling the cracker.

One thing I did do, a first and  surprise for our guests, is a preprinted Christmas map, cut into pieces and put into each glass: felt tipped pens along the table should help break the ice because we have a few people with us who do not know most of the others, and after everyone has had fun colouring in, we can piece the map together to see what the finished product looks like. There will also be a small box of chocolates on each person’s plate as a Christmas welcome gift.

The rest of the menu is healthy, peas with fresh mint will joining the sprouts and green beans,  mandarins, grapes, red currants and fresh pineapple join the cheese board, crackers and fruit course. One small addition has been made to the menu: some plain pasta for the pasta monsters a.k.a. picky eaters.

Christmas Day is the one day of the year when I really, really, really want a traditional roast and all the trimmings, and I would greatly appreciate the effort if only they would make it, to try something new on the table. Sadly it’s not about making me happy, or making one day of the year pasta-free, I was stormed down with “Christmas is about making us happy” and a big guilt trip followed so pasta is on the menu.

The best Christmas present in what has been a very difficult year is one we got on Christmas eve, the news that a friend abroad who had a cerebral hemorrhage on Thursday and in intensive care, is going to be ok, in fact they are hoping for a full recovery. It’s the kind of news that puts kids pouts over pasta into perspective.

We have very recently lost my 94 year old mother in law, so emotions in the family are still raw, tears close at hand and grieving a process we are all going through.

Filling this table is not just about a huge meal and gifts, it’s a reminder that family and friends are the biggest gift we have, that building memories and including people who would otherwise be alone is important, that we can support each other despite the fact that some can be present in memory only. That this is the day that Hope was born, and the ultimate Love.  However you celebrate the 25th of December,  if Christmas is special to you or not, my thoughts are with everyone I know, both near and far… I hope you have a wonderful day full of love, laughter and joy!

Merry Christmas !

 

 

November 26, 2016

The More I Look The Less It Makes Sense…

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On one of the roads around Wassenaar, there is a round-a-bout that has some art in the middle of it. I’ve always tried to figure out if it is meant to be a jug or an urn, and the fact that the handle seems to be on upside down has always been a grain-like niggle. The handle shape looks (to me at least) like it should be up the other way, with the larger part of the opening at the top, the same as you would find it on a cup. It could be a cup or beaker of some kind if the opening was the bit that’s face planted into the ground, the handle would then be the correct way up even though it’s placement is too far to the bottom. If the object d’art was meant to be pointing skywards then the handle looks to be placed incorrectly too, so either way this piece jars my sense of order.

Of course the answers is probably that the artist intended that it be neither an urn or a flask, rather just an abstract piece with a Picasso-like cubist thought that bits can be both mixed up and recognisable. For this reason I waiver between liking and disliking it. Then all of a sudden on our last drive-by, I saw the frilly bit of this piece near the ground. Clearly the object of this piece is simple: the motivation is surely to make it so that the more the viewer looks at it, the less it makes sense.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph Kiwidutch)

(photograph Kiwidutch)

August 9, 2016

Checking Out A Castle…

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Whilst Family Kiwidutch were on holiday in Germany a few years ago, we found the lovely little town of Mechernich that houses the Burg Satzvey Castle. There is a sort of extended courtyard once you are inside the castle gates and both in the inner and the outer views, there are new things to see.  Let’s take a look round… (Photos are doing strange again… back soonest to fix)!!!

castle 1h (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Burg Satzvey Castle / Mechernich / Germany

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Burg Satzvey Castle / Mechernich / Germany

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Burg Satzvey Castle / Mechernich / Germany

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

castle 1o (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Burg Satzvey Castle / Mechernich / Germany

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Burg Satzvey Castle / Mechernich / Germany

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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…

Filed under: Uncategorized — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

April 1, 2016

I’ve Seen The Easter Bunny In Person!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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