Local Heart, Global Soul

September 8, 2014

You Couldn’t Hold A Candle To The Decoration In Here…

The date was the last week of October  2012, the place was Platania on the tip of the Pelion peninsular, Greece. Even though autumn is fast approaching and the leaves on the trees are turning russet and stating to fall, the temperature is still in the mid-twenties centigrade and we have the luxury of being one of the last tourists of the season and the village is deserted and quiet. I’m visiting the local church in Platania, it’s small but beautiful… This is a photographic post that takes a step inside and demonstrates once and for all my obsession for the “little” things in life… like candles…

(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)

March 29, 2013

I Conquer My Nerves But Am Then Left Hanging By a Thread…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still at “de kinderwerkplaats’ (The Children’s workshop) , getting to grips with scientific and mechanical  playthings. Working boats and  balloon cars have been made from polystyrene, volcanoes erupted, paving stones laid, rockets launched and water diverted. Child’s play, literally.

Now however Kiwi Daughter is a showing some nerves, she’s holding a thin square of wood and the band saw beckons.

She and the older daughter of our friend can think of no more imaginative a shape to cut out than their initials. (That’s the reason there’s no photo of their finished product) but the band saw looks intimidating.

I’ve never used one before either but surely it can’t be so difficult? I do remember my Dad in New Zealand using a skill saw, the round blade eating into most things in it’s path with evil ease,  as a kid I would shudder, keep my distance when it was going and keep my hands  dug deep into my pockets. This machine is  so much smaller but the blade still holds a certain menace that makes my fingers wince.

I wasn’t certain of what made me more nervous, that I would have to use it, or that Kiwi Daughter might blast confidence and gusto and want to go gung-ho on it. I drew a tiny diagonal line across the corner of he wooden square and told Kiwi Daughter that we would just cut off the smallest snippet so that we could gain some confidence at how the machine worked and handled.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

She offered for me to go first and she watched from a safe distance.  I held the wood firmly, took a deep breath and started to cut.  The trick appears to be to go as slow as you want and press the wood downwards as you go, as it wants to lift upwards and then you loose control of the cut. A tiny triangle of wood  shot away as I finished the slice I was making and the result didn’t look half bad.

Kiwi Daughter repeated my maneuver with rigid concentration  with the other three corners and then we got to grips with drawing out the letter she wanted.

Cutting what she wanted was going to require getting a bit closer to the edges so I was nervous she would want to do it, but luckily she was quick to suggest I do it,  so it was my turn to be cutting with rigid concentration and extremely paranoid  placement of fingers.

I didn’t however want her to know that this was freaking me out so I made jokes about girls can do machine tools too, and ten digits safely intact later, the letters were complete.

The next most “dangerous” item on the agenda was the dip candle. You are supplied with a length of wick, a wooden pole to tie it on to and directed to a very large vat of hot wax. Instructions are two seconds dipping a new layer and thirty seconds out in the cold air to harden it somewhat. A father of a toddler turned up to the vat and tired a technique that involved dipping, waiting about 4 seconds and then repeatedly dipping.

Instead of adding new layers quicker he only managed to melt away the still hot previous layer so he was forced to change tactics when he saw that progress was minimal.

Truth be told, not one kid to stayed the course when it came to the candles, a few dips and they wanted to be off to the next thing, leaving  Mama or Papa holding the candle and the little deserters even giving instructions to “make sure it’s a big candle” as they departed. Himself joined me with a good idea, he was dipping for the two youngest kids so he tried a wick to each end of the pole and dipped first one end and then the next. One end could be cooling whilst the other end was going in and out of  the vat.  A seriously good idea.

It was surprisingly therapeutic, and about 40 minutes and probably 500 dips later, my candle was very fat and very long ( far longer than the wick in fact) and was looking amazing when all of a sudden I dipped it into the vat and came out with only the wick on my pole! My fat candle was now floating in a fat of hot wax and in grave danger of imminent return to it’s molten state. It’s weight had caused it to slide off the wick completely and all my hard work was about to go down the tubes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Everyone frantically dipped their poles into the vat in order to push my candle as far out of the liquid wax as possible, Himself quickly seized it  and got it laid down on the side of the stand the vat was on, Phew! … only now we had a long fat candle with no wick in it.

I asked the staff for some of the saté sticks that they use for the boat masts, and since the candles remain warm and soft for quite some time,  we cut my long candle into three pieces and I gently poked the sticks down the centre of the soft wax, intending to remove them once the candle has hardened and thread the wicks back into them at home.

(I’ve since done that, but the hole down the middle is now wider than the wick so the next step is to tie the bottom end of the wick to a short piece of  saté stick so that the candle is now  resting on a supportive “foot”, I can then fill the cavity around the wick with wax and restore my candles to working order.)

The funny thing was that the kanteen was at the other end of the building and as I carefully carried my soft candles on their sticks there, no less than three children, all strangers, asked hopefully if these were ice-block ice creams and were mightily disappointed to learn that these were not at all edible.

Little Mr practised changing a tyre  and played with the sand tables and then we decided it was time for a well earned rest in the kanteen with a cuppa and a toasted sandwich. By now the kids were confident enough to return to some of the things like the volcano by themselves and we parents enjoyed a second cuppa in relative peace.

At closing time the staff were cleaning up around us and we had to drag the kids away, brilliant concept, amazing fun and kids grinning from ear to ear… One thing  is for certain, by popular demand: we will be back!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My repair job, ready for final dipping…

(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)

Playing with electricity (the only item I didn’t actually see in action, because I was too busy candle dipping)

(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)

July 11, 2012

Fire and Water Dreams…

Whilst in the “Dreams”shop in Maungaturoto, I spied a really interesting water feature and candle holder. I’m not sure how the candles would hold up if the wall it was hung onto was in a windy position but I just like the idea, all rustic, rough and unpolished.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

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