Local Heart, Global Soul

October 8, 2017

Strawberry Fields Forever!

Filed under: BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our visit to Breda, the next information board that I see is all about “de Aardbeienroute’ (The Strawberry Route).

I translated it, (and a small amount of additional text from “de Aardbeienroute” website) into English, it reads:

The Strawberry Route is fully situated in the territory of the fusion municipality Hoogstraten, combining the historic center of Hoogstraten.

The Hoogstraten Strawberries are considered as the most beautiful and delicious in the country.

With an annual output of over 25 million kilos, Hoogstraten is the undisputed center of strawberry cultivation.

The Strawberry Route illustrates the importance of agriculture and horticulture in this region.

It combines the historic center of Hoogstraaten with the beautiful Mark Valley and the vast countryside of the Belgian-Dutch border region.  You cycle past many greenhouses with strawberries and strawberry fields that clearly show the evolution of strawberry cultivation throughout the years. The route was reworked in 2017 , of course, the great features of the original route were retained, but these were complemented by nice spots around Hoogstraten. The Strawberry Route is available free of charge at Hoogstraten Tourism. Ever picked a portion of crispy strawberries from the machine? This is your chance! Sample these ‘Hoogstraatse Queens’ during or after your trip.”

Of course the machine in question is the automatic dispensing machine that I featured two days ago. It’s a good thing that most Dutch fields are bordered by canals, otherwise I envision cyclists being tempted to stop and nibble the produce of the strawberry fields as they make their rounds of the route. As the Beatles most aptly put it: strawberry fields forever!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 7, 2017

Working Towards Real Growth… Not Just That In Trees.

Filed under: BREDA,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This blog is all about noticing the little things, the details of my daily life and surroundings.

I seem to always notice the things that so many others walk by, possibly because I walk the slowest but more probably because I am a detail fanatic; a trait I carried long before my accident.

I am always interested in small signs, plaques, maps, information boards and the like, and as usual I was bringing up the rear of our group, lingering reading several new “finds” of this ilk.

I will start with the smallest one which was located next to a small tree.

The reason for that quickly became apparent: this commemorated the planting of an “Inclusieboom” (Inclusion Tree).

Translated into English the sign reads: ” Inclusion Tree, Planted in November 2001 by the Catholic Disability Society together with the local community.

The planters of the “inclusion tree” wish to emphasize /reinforce that people with disabilities are also part of the community. The coexistence / working together of people with and without disabilities must grow. This is what this tree symbolizes.”

I am not certain how planting trees helps handicapped and non-handicapped people grow together on a practical level, although I wholeheartedly endorse the sentiment. I’d personally like to see inclusion and awareness done better, with things like mandatory sign language classes and exams in schools, kids having to “live the life” of someone in a wheelchair, sight impaired etc for the bare minimum of a day each so that they can learn just how difficult it is to negotiate modern life.

Not only might they better understand the difficulties but all kids should also learn that there is a human being behind the disability who deserves respect, dignity and understanding. All kids should learn that people who are “different” still have feelings, hurt when they are called names, bullied, or even just constantly stared at. In fact I would go so far as to say that in an ideal world, part of every kids education should be to help out disabled and special needs kids on a regular basis, to get to know these people as individuals with personalities, feelings and dreams just as they have. Maybe then we could raise a more caring society and if that happened, that would be real growth.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kiwi’s note: apologies for only seeing that this post was missing at the very end of the day, my fuddled brain put this into the schedule with the wrong date on it and somehow it completely missed my earlier double-check. On the upside I suppose that means you get to have a double dose the next day!

October 6, 2017

A Vending Machine Gets An innovative Use…

Filed under: BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Arriving at our friends house in Breda, we were soon joined by Himself’s sister and her husband. Our family friend gave us time to have a cup of tea before leading the way to somewhere special she wants to take us. It’s a beautiful weekend in April so we have a little bit of trouble finding parking when we get there. It’s not like me to ignore a beautiful building but, spotting something quirky I decide to first check out a little shed next to where we parked. The shed / kiosk houses a dispensing machine and the machine dispenses fresh organic strawberries!
I would have loved to get some but we were all due to eat dinner back at our friends place later and all of the others were gathering a little bit further down the path, waiting for me to catch up.I love the idea that people come up with innovative uses for these kinds of machines, eggs in one location, strawberries in another, perfect!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 5, 2017

Around Breda, Mis-navigation Style…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Around April of this year Himself and I went for a weekend visit to see friends in Breda.

As usual I took photographs as we made our way to their place, but sadly our route did not take us though the centre of the city which is said to be old and beautiful.

Here is a quick glimpse of the outskirts.

At one point we made a wrong turning and ended up going through a wooded area where there appeared to be  park.

We used a nearby driveway to turn our car around so that we could continue in the right direction and in the meantime I became curious about the people who were gathering there.

I don’t know if it was the fine weather or if there was a special event, but there were a group of young people in the park, around the picnic tables etc and on the side of the road, cars and a lot of bicycles parked up. I’m assuming that it had to have been some sort of event because they didn’t really look like separate family groups since I didn’t see any small children.  A large youth group or church outing? Some sort of nature group? I don’t know. We did catch glimpses of interesting buildings, and the weather is lovely so let’s see where the afternoon leads.

(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)

October 4, 2017

The Road To Breda…

Earlier this year Himself and I went to visit a long term friend of his family in the southern Dutch city of Breda. The route we took  was one that took us around the the port of Rotterdam, and but which joined up with the main motorway south later on. There were many sights of one of the largest ports in the words: chemical plants, gas storage silos, and of course the docks and ships. There was an interesting walkway over the motorway we were on, and transport barges in the big rivers that bring goods far into Germany. The weather was moderate or the time of year, traffic light since it was the weekend and the weather was bright.

(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)

October 3, 2017

My Unconventional Collection Grows…

Filed under: ART,Manhole covers / Street grates,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

I am a weird collector of normal everyday stuff.

Luckily ninety-nine percent of these things are not physical collections, but photographic ones.

The beauty of pattern, texture and design delight me so photographing things that reflect these are amongst my passions.

I like to record these not only because they are beautiful but also because we so often walk past these without looking up, around or down.

Today’s post is all about looking at our feet: at drain covers on the street.

It’s not just me who gets crazy about these either, Himself’s Aunt has joined me in my quest, taking photographs of drain covers whilst on holiday with her husband in China in 2016.

Aunty I’s first photograph is from the Grotegans-pagode, the next set are from Suzhou, followed by Xi’an and Yangshuo.

My Aunt’s husband will relieved that these are the last in this particular series, especially since she risked life and limb on occasion darting into roads during pauses in traffic to capture some of these images. No, this was not at my instigation or encouragement.  Stay safe Aunty! Therefore I extend many Thanks to “Aunty I”, for taking these,and adding some more examples to my collection.

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

Xi’an…

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

Yangshuo…

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

(photograph and Thanks to © Tante I)

October 2, 2017

A Few Of My Many Snapshots Of The Hague…

The Hague has many interesting buildings and sights. This photographic post shows just a few…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the same building a few days later…

(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)

October 1, 2017

Taking Your Housekeeping To The Beach…

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,Scheveningen,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are plenty of beaches cafe’s open during the summer but due to lack of parking in close proximity most of them are off limits for me.

Both crutches and wheelchairs are not in any way friends with sand, so luckily the Gemeente (city council) puts in permanent concrete paths.

Most of the time it is far too much work so I do not join Himself, other parents and a large group of kids at the beach, but on one occasion I did and captured these machines in action.

Several large earth movers are keeping a large drum filled with sand, the drum rotates and screens out unwanted debris, the now cleaned sand is then spit onto a pile where it will later be smoothed out.

It’s an excellent idea, the beach along the Dutch coast is crowded during the summer and even with a dog ban in place there are plenty of other dangerous, messy or wasteful debris to be disposed of in the sand.It’s great that the council go to the trouble, but I suppose they have a duty of care to upkeep the coast line in their area. The wheelchair was never going to allow me to get closer but so the zoom lens will have to do.

(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)

September 30, 2017

“Still Life With Bicycle”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If Himself and the kids want to go to the beach, it’s easy; they go by bike.

If I want to join them then the places we can go become more limited since we have to go by car.

On these occasions, because our car is large we can also take a few extra kids.

Some friends of ours were sick during the summer so we offered to pick up their kids and take them to the beach so that parents could rest properly.

We drove to their place and I stayed at the car whilst Himself and Little Mr went to collect our extra passengers.

It started to take a while before they came back so I opened the car door because it was hot.

Directly outside  was a bicycle, and feeling like photographing something I got out and took a few kind-of-arty style photos.

I am discovering that still-life is more difficult than it looks but this is an attempt at getting various textures and things into focus. I think I will call it: “Still Life With Bicycle“.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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)

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