Local Heart, Global Soul

September 6, 2019

We’re Gonna Need A Bigger …. Hat!

There are hundreds of giant silos around Rotterdam Harbour. Filled with things like chemicals, natural gas, and petroleum, they come in many different varieties of “round”. Some are in reinforced barrels of every size from large oxygen tank size to these massive round structures, which I think are gas tanks. Someone wanted to brighten up the view and since these gas tanks look like giant hat boxes, they decided to paint one of them like a hat box! Brilliant idea!

This “box” incorporates the Vopak company name into the “label”, features a buckle-up style strap on the side of the “box”, and a hat decoration illustration on the other side. Needless to say I think this is an excellent idea. Not only do decorative landmarks help people navigate around a site filled with many featureless silos that all look identical, but they add a little bit of “colour” to an otherwise bland landscape, which must surely lift the spirits of people who travel past it. At least it made me smile when I saw this!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 31, 2019

Posting A Letter: And A Mystery…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another place I pass during my 2017 Easter break in Zierikzee was a local post office.

These establishments are becoming as rare as hens teeth in the Netherlands, the rapid rise of email and electronic communication having depleted letter post wholesale.

The rise of internet purchases and subsequent parcel post meant that separate couriers arrive for packages, and the humble letter, greeting card, postcard and stamps have been dispatched to a counter located in a tobacconist, book shop or the like.

What hasn’t changed are the large letter boxes,  they are sometimes bigger in size because there are now fewer of them around the neighbourhood too.

Here in The Netherlands there are different slots for different places, so local Zierikzee post, The Netherlands, Europe / Outside Europe are possibilities, depending on the instructions on the front of the box. This makes for faster sorting and quicker delivery.

Behind it however is a very curious stone plaque that incorporates a letterbox in the wall of the post office.

I looked up the “Coat of Arms for Zierikzee and found that it “consists of a black lion rampart, on a red background, with a saber from it’s mouth, topped with  shield covered in a crown and the letter “Z” in gold on each side of the lion“.

This clearly isn’t it. This stone plaque has two lions rampart, standing apart in the top left and right corners. They both face left and there are two small banners above that semi-connect them.

My guess would be that these represent waves, but I could of course be wrong. Underneath the lions flies a bird… which by the wing length and shape of the body looks (at least to me) more like a seagull than anything else, and then the letter slot and beneath that the words “Anno 1940” (Year 1940). I did a search of Coats of Arms for Zeeland and came up with nothing even vaguely similar so this one is a mystery to me. If anyone knows I’d love to find out what this one means or what it belongs to.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 19, 2014

Ticking Another Little Red Box…

Filed under: ART,ENGLAND,Folkestone,Quirky Letterboxes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

I have seen the red coloured round “pillar box” letter boxes in the United Kingdom, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one that looks like this one. Therefore I’m adding this to my collection of letterboxes from around the world. It’s less quirky that some in my collection, but for me it’s nice to get some of the less well known ones into my collection anyway…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 28, 2014

Beware: A Top-Box Puts You Into A Higher Price Fare…

Filed under: Channel Tunnel,FRANCE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve blogged about the Channel Tunnel before, but this is the first time that we’ve travelled though it in a vehicle bigger than the average sized car.

Camper vans are tall and are therefore the channel tunnel train operators  are unable to get a double story of vehicles onto the train.

It’s not surprising that the fares for the crossing are more expensive for bigger vehicles too, which of course we completely understand and have no issue with.

However, what I didn’t realise until we boarded the train was that an ordinary car fitted with a top-box also qualified as a “larger vehicle” and had to travel on the more expensive tariff as well.

My photograph doesn’t do justice to the size difference between the car in front of us and our camper van, we are already sitting considerably higher than them and have the compartment that houses one of the double beds above our heads in addition to that so our vehicle is massive compared to theirs. It’s a warning for people who might expect that a regular sized car with a top-box would fit in with the other cars without one, be prepared if you have a top-box for that extra luggage to be land you in the higher tariff section of the train.

January 30, 2012

A Post Office that Moves with Those On the Move…

Filed under: Funny,Places and Sights,SINGAPORE,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You know I like quirky things…

…and it doesn’t get any better then when Whimsy meets Practical and you wish you’d see something like this in every airport you visited.

This is a small post office van… not the delivery type of van but like a really little post office, where you can get a parcel weighed, buy stamps, post a letter etc.

Since I had written a small stack of postcards in Singapore but forgotten to buy the stamps I needed to post them, this little vehicle was a very welcome sight because it saved me from having to carry the cards around and then post them in New Zealand later.

The van parks up in various parts of the various Changi terminals so that  people who want to  post the cards or letters they wrote whilst waiting for their flight don’t have to go hunting for the terminals post office. Knowing how big these terminals are,  that  could involve some serious walking.

There’s even a post-box on the front…  into which my now stamped postcards were eventually dispatched ….Brilliant!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 8, 2012

Breakfast Buffet … or a Box to Take Away?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Still  on the subject of food at the Rasa Sentosa Hotel, this time the Silver Shell Cafe has undergone a small transformation so that a breakfast buffet can be served.

Not surprisingly this buffet is of the same high standard that the evening one was, so even our fussy children found plenty of things to select and enjoy.

I think that the biggest surprise for our children when they looked at the selection on offer was the discovery that there are so many hot dishes with varieties of rice, noodles or dumplings, and even soup.

Naturally it was less surprise to find a good selection of tropical fruits.
Our children appeared (for once) to have adjusted to the time zone differences less well than Himself and I and have been going to bed late in the evening and struggling to get up in the morning.

Since there is a time limit on the breakfat service we initially dragged our sleepy unwilling  younger members of our family to breakfast the first day because we felt they should try and at least  to eat something,  but breakfast was full of grumbles and small hysterics over who shifted who’s fork and other  mind bogglingly trivial spats.  Luckily, we discovered an excellent service that is a brilliant solution to our problem.

It’s possible to ask for box from the staff at the bakery section of the buffet, and then you can load up your box with whatever your children fancy, which in the case of our offspring are croissants and bread rolls and a few toppings or fillings to go with them.

It’s part of the breakfast service so there is no additional charge and then et voila, we then have a “brunch” for our children that we put into the small fridge in our room and that they can have at their leisure once they are awake later in the morning. (in our case as late as 11.30 a.m.  one day!).

All it involved was that Himself and I had to take turns for our own breakfasts. One of us staying in the room with the sleeping children whilst the other one ate breakfast upstairs. The buffet options need to be seen to be believed… so let’s take a look!

(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)

September 27, 2011

The Typical Dutch … Tea Box?

Filed under: FOOD,THE NETHERLANDS,Traditional — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You know that the Dutch are a truly a nation of coffee drinkers because the smallest spoon in the cutlery tray in their kitchen is of course, translates from Dutch as “coffeespoon” and not  a “teaspoon” as it is in anglophone countries.

That said, tea drinking has taken off in the Netherlands and the varieties of tea on the shelves in the last decade has grown ten-fold.

I know that tea is often seen as more of an evening drink, something to drink before bed, but without the caffine kick that nice strong Dutch coffee would give, and generally I didn’t think much more of it than that.

Then, last week we had a fellow blogger around to join us in a quick family dinner  before she departed the Netherlands and I asked her about what were some of the “different” experiences she had had during her three month stay.

To my surprise one of her answers was “tea”!  … and more specifically, the fact the end of  every Dutch dinner party is rounded off with a cup of tea or coffee.. without fail (I have to admit,  that’s really true… for many people it’s also the social signal that the evening is over and it’s the hint that guests are expected to leave soon LOL).

The other aspect that she found striking about the tea and coffee “ritual” was the little container of various teas that most Dutch households (yes including ours) now find themselves with.

Inside this container are the various teas that you have in the house, if you have guests, you bring out the little box and let your tea drinking guest choose the flavour they like the most. I never thought anything of it  …but it’s true,  it’s like this everywhere.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ll be brutally honest why our various tea bags are all in little compartments in one little box: it’s because  my Dutch kitchen is so small microscopic that it’s easier to have these all in one place than to keep five half empty cardboard boxes in my cupboards taking up space, and the disorganised rummaging it would take to find “the flavour  you know you have, … it must be at the back of this cupboard somewhere”  is also thus eliminated.

Our tea selection pales in comparison to others I know. I like herb tea but like my herbs ‘pure”. By this I mean: peppermint and mint tea is made from actual mint leaves and Rooibos tea is made from leaves from the South African Rooibos shrub, camomile is made from the camomile  herb so there is no “tea” leaf  with say, “apricot flavour” or “vanilla flavour”etc,  just the pure herb.

This means there is also no caffeine or tannin, and since I like my tea strong and without sugar or milk, I can leave my Rooibos tea to “stew”and it gets strong but not bitter. If I’m out somewhere and only the “flavoured’ tea is on offer then I have no problem to drink it,  it’s just not my preferred choice.

Himself prefers pure  black tea (in quantities that would engulf our little tea box) so the back tea gets a container of it’s own.

So would the Dutch way of signalling the end of an evening dinner party with a cup of tea/coffee be a new idea where you are?.. and if you do serve tea, and you have more than one sort, how do you go about letting your guest choose (or do they not get to choose?).

Start your peculators and boil your kettles… Kiwidutch has become very curious.

July 30, 2011

A 101 Project ….Large Sized Matchbox: Folding Instructions.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sitting in plaster for weeks on end , zombied out on painkillers and wishing your days could be put onto fast-forward did have one redeeming factor.

During my few waking hours I said “Thank You God for Wi Fi”   and with laptop on the bed,  groggily searched internet pictures for kid friendly, craft orientated fund-raising ideas.

Since concentration span was limited most days it did take me another 6 months to get as far as I have… a ramshackle collection of sketches, ideas and a few failed and eventually two ok prototypes.

One of these ideas was for over-sized matchboxes:  my mind whirred for possible uses:       –  used as small guest treats / name tags on a special occasion dinner table?    – to contain the dosh when someone requests a cash gift?   – to wrap a small gift?     – ribbon all around and Christmas tree ornament ?   –  wrap in crape paper so that it looks like a rectangular bon-bon?     – 24 or 25 of them would make a Christmas Advent calender?      – general “little bits” stash boxes that kids love,     – or just a crafty school holiday project for kids to keep busy and creative, just decorate fold and glue.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself printed out a template from the internet and a few weeks later I actually got around to assembling it.

It was perfect… neat folds and lovely, but the inner box would not fit into the outer sleeve come what may… the pattern pieces were clearly not sized so that one could actually fit properly into the other.

Darn…

…so I set about making my own pattern and three further attempts later had a carefully drawn template on a piece of white card.

One day when I am mobile again I want to make these with Scouting so started to measure up more of my templates for them to use. After the third one it was clear that if I were to continue on this track I’d be drawing forever, so changed tack and went in search of a printer who could make copies of  my template. One was duly found and once I explained my lack of mobility,  he even picked up and delivered to our door… brilliant!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My method for my fund-raising  is simple: I donate  my time and pay  the cost of all materials from my own pocket, then every cent made from the sale of the kits goes to the Kiribati Kids and I don’t have to mess around with separating and deducting profits from costs etc later.

Himself is leaving the kids and I at home this weekend and attending a conference, there will be stalls where various things are for sale  so he’s taken a pile of these to sell and  this will be my “test run” to see which colours are most popular etc.    I’m putting the folding instructions here so that if Himself sells any, people can log in and see how it’s done if they need the information.

So.. I’m pricing them at a set of 4 little boxes for Euro 2,–  and will keep you informed in due course about if this fund raising project sinks or flies.

Large Sized Matchbox: Folding Instructions.

Step 1: Take both templates for the inside  and outside of the box and fold neatly along both the dotted and solid lines so that you have a sharp crease.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Step 2:  Cut ONLY the SOLID LINES so that your end result has the four corners cut out and “tabs” at each end. (Do NOT cut any dotted line, they are the fold lines).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Step 3: Bend the tabs in as shown and put a dab of glue on the side of them that faces the outside of the box. Also add glue to the inside of the top flap. Line the tabs up neatly and press into place before folding over the flap (with the glue on the inside) to secure.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Step 4: Repeat (Step 3) to complete the other end of the box.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Step  5: If you wish to decorate the OUTSIDE of your matchbox, then draw, cover or paste things onto to card now whilst it’s flat and before folding it up but remember NOT to decorate the flap that has cut away edges as this is where the glue needs to go. (Make sure that the printed guide marks are on the inside of the box once it’s folded) My instruction box in the photos  is undecorated so that it’s easier to see the steps.

Once your decorations (if any) are finished, add glue to the flap that has cut away edges.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Step 6:  Fold the remaining flap over on the sleeve to complete the box shape. ( I use large paper-clips to hold it in place if I’m gluing up a few boxes at once)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Step 7: Once the glue on the inner box and the outer sleeve has dried, the two parts can be put together to make your box complete.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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