Local Heart, Global Soul

September 11, 2013

This Imposing Gateway Makes a Grand Entrance…

Filed under: Canterbury Cathedral,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer we could be found standing early one morning  at the door of Christ Church Gate, which is the entrance  building to the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral in the city of Canterbury, Kent, England.

The gate is an imposing structure and ornately decorated, I learn from the web that:

“The Norman gateway was built in 1517 by Prior Goldstone

The christ figure and the original gates were destroyed in 1642(48) *Richard Culmer (“the battlements were removed in the present century to allow some residents in the vicinity to see the time by the Cathedral clock.”)

The original turrets were taken down in 1830

The carving and artwork of the gate was restored in 1932/33 and the turrets rebuilt in 1937″

The detail of the carving and decoration in the gate succumbed terribly to forces of weather and became very indistinct  (the link to the website at the end of this post shows old photos and drawing of the gate before and after restoration) but at least some of it has been beautifully restored. We have only had a glimpse of the Cathedral tower from further away over the rooftops so far… with a magnificent gate like this to herald our entry our anticipation grows as the doors open and we pass though…

(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)

Looking back from the other side…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.machadoink.com/Christ%20Church%20Gate.htm

November 7, 2012

Even the Church has Changed it’s Stripes… But is Not Separated From This World…

Filed under: HISTORY,Landmarks,MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are leafing through the pages of my travel diary as I document our travel adventures of December 2011 and January 2012. At the moment we are taking a side trip to Melaka Malaysia, as part of an almost week long stopover in Singapore on our way back home to the Netherlands.

Dutch Square in Melaka has me captivated… it’s wall-to-wall tropical heat but here I am, mesmerised by beautiful buildings, culture and a heap of history… what’s not to like?

The latest building to capture my attention is the Melaka Christ Church. Painted in the same pink/red as the Stadthuys on one side and the Youth Museum and Art Gallery on the other, this previously Dutch Reformed church has been through it’s share of changes because  it’s now an Anglican church.

I love going inside all historical buildings,  and love churches too, but sadly we just don’t have time to see and experience all that Melaka has to offer in one short day trip, especially one that involves six hours of coach travel.

From Wikipedia I learn:

The church is built in Dutch Colonial architecture style and is laid out in a simple rectangle of 82 feet (25 m) by 42 feet (13 m). The ceiling rises to 40 feet (12 m) and is spanned by wooden beams, each carved from a single tree.

The roof is covered with Dutch tiles and the walls were raised using Dutch bricks built on local laterite blocks then coated with Chinese plaster. The floors of the church are paved with granite blocks originally used as ballast for merchant ships.

The Dutch conquest of Malacca from the Portuguese Empire in 1641 saw the proscription of Roman Catholicism and the conversion of existing churches to Dutch Reformed use. The old St. Paul’s Church at the summit of St. Paul Hill was renamed the Bovenkerk (High Church) and used as the main parish church of the Dutch community.

In 1741, in commemoration of the centenary of the capture of Malacca from the Portuguese, the Dutch burgher community decided to build a new church to replace the aging Bovenkerk. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The foundation stone was laid by the Malacca born Captain of the Malacca Burghers, Abraham de Wind, on behalf of his father, Claas de Wind, a prominent Burgher who had been the Secunde (Deputy Governor) of Malacca.

The church was completed 12 years later in 1753 and replaced the Bovenkerk as the primary Dutch Reformed Church in Dutch Malacca. 

With the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, possession of Malacca was transferred to the British East India Company and in 1838, the church was re-consecrated with the rites of the Church of England by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Wilson, the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and renamed Christ Church.

Originally painted white, the church and the neighbouring Stadthuys building was painted red in 1911 and this distinctive colour scheme has remained the hallmark of Malacca’s Dutch-era buildings since. The original Dutch windows were reduced and ornamented after the British takeover of Malacca and the porch and vestry were built only in the mid-19th century.

The floors of the church also incorporate various tombstones with Portuguese and Armenian inscriptions used as paving blocks. Memorial plaques in Dutch, Armenian and English also adorn the interior of the church. Some Armenian inscriptions provide an interesting panorama of life in the Dutch period:

“Greetings, you who are reading this tablet of my tomb in which I now sleep. Give me the news, the freedom of my countrymen, for them I did much weep. If there arose among them one good guardian to govern and keep. Vainly I expected the world to see a good shepherd came to look after the scattered sheep.”

“I, Jacob, grandson of Shamier, an Armenian of a respectable family whose name I keep, was born in Persia near Inefa, where my parents now forever sleep. Fortune brought me to distant Malacca, which my remains in bondage to keep. Separated from the world on 7th July 1774 A.D. at the age of twenty-nine, my mortal remains were deposited in this spot of the ground which I purchased.” 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The church bell is inscribed with the date 1698 suggesting that it was used for another purpose prior to the completion of the church.
The church’s collection of Kerk Boek (Church Book), Resolutie Boek (Resolution Book), Rapporten (Reports) as well as the Doop Boek (Baptism Register) going back to the earliest Dutch times in Malacca have survived through the centuries. These antiquated documents are now being kept at the National Archives of Malaysia.

Silver altar vessels dating back to the early Dutch period are also in the possession of the church but are kept in storage and rarely taken out for display. The altar Bible has a cover made of brass inscribed with the passage from John 1:1 in Dutch.

I love the serenity in the prose that describes Jacob’s date of death:  “separated from the world on… ” .. and I was struck by the fact that he was only twenty-nine years of age. Life back then was apparently tough, … and short.

These days we have creature comforts Jacob could not have even dreamt about, medications not the least of them. We travel with speed and comfort, we can exchange information around the world at speeds almost beyond our own comprehension, we are well educated and we enjoy long life expectancy. I wonder what Jacob would make of us all if he could come back and see us today?

One thing is for sure… Melaka then was probably as much  a cross-roads, meeting point and place of vibrancy then as it is today. And in that, Jacob, who sleeps eternally in his little purchased spot in the church, would have felt very much at home.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Church,_Malacca

December 25, 2011

Christmas is All About a Very Special Birth… The Miracle of Life (and the Distorted Facts)

Filed under: Funny,Kids and Family,LIFE,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today is Christmas Day and millions of people around the world will be celebrating it whatever way suits their style and traditions best.  Of course not all people observe Christmas, but for people of  the Christian faith it is one of the most  important dates in the calendar year.

I’m sure that not just the birth of Jesus, but all impending births and the the miracle of Life have inspired many misconceptions and mirth because of misunderstandings of the events in progress by children.

I remember the story told by my New Zealand Grandmother:  in generations past it was not uncommon for young children to be farmed out to live with other relatives when a new pregancy became really obvious and the children were only brought back once the new arrival had been “delivered” by the “stork”.

Naturally at this time the Facts of Life were a taboo subject and little or no information was given in explaination as to where babies actually came from at any  time in many families.

My Grandma once recounted how one of my uncles asked where his new baby brother had come from and when he was told that they had got him  “from under the cabbages”  he horrified my Grandfather (a very serious veggie gardener) by cutting off a whole row of cabbage heads  because he was “looking for another brother”.

Even sadder was that he got punished for doing so, even when the error had been on the part of the parents and what he had done,  he had done in innocence and childish ignorance.

Luckily these days we are far more enlightened and I have been having “the talk”  with Kiwi Daughter on the “Facts of Life”.

To be honest I had been dreading it, thinking it would be an embarrassing topic to explain, and Yes, when she was four, it was, but mostly that was because it’s so hard to know how to phrase things in a very simple way and four year olds have a habit of asking questions at the most inopportune moment and in a manner that throw you completely off guard.

Now that Kiwi Daughter is ten, and trying to ask intelligent questions, I’ve been surprised about how easy it’s been to just sit and have “little chats”  with her.

A very good  friend of ours is pregnant and this impending event has been the inspiration for some very interesting conversations with our children as they see her tummy grow bigger.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr’s. reaction: “Does that mean you are having a little kid?” (well we don’t think he means the baby goat variety, but baby human-being sort) so,  “Yes“…

The conversation thereafter flowed simultaneously on two completely different levels, Little Mr having a rather edited version of the facts about babies than Kiwi Daughter who is almost 4 years older.

Kiwi Daughter asks about her own birth (natural) and Little Mr. his, (emergency caesarian section for medical reasons) so he knows that he quite literally came out of Mama’s tummy. He did however think a bit and all of a sudden he asked ” What do they do with the left over  bit of tummy“?

(yep…  you got me there, would have suited me fine if they had taken it away and not just sewed it up).

Kiwi Daughter on the other hand has in recent months had sex education at school and she and I have been having some in-depth discussions at home about all the upcoming changes that puberty will bring.

Most of these little chats stem from questions that she has, where obviously the exact and precise deails were not made clear, or if they were she didn’t  get it.

All of a sudden she started to giggle, and then she confessed that she had been quite shocked when it became apparent in the lesson that whan a lady has a baby, that her big stomach doesn’t instantamously just deflate the second the baby exits.

(After two kids, sigh, I wish)

… the look on her face and the question “Is that really how it is Mama?”  I said Yes, that’s how it really is, the Mama’s tummy slowly stretches and grows as the baby gets bigger, and then after the baby is born it takes time for all the muscles and skin (and a lot of exercise) to get back to the way they were before.

It transpired that Kiwidaughter had visions of the process being as simple as blowing up a balloon and just then letting the air rush out afterwards…

hmmm…  … jet prepolsion birth anyone?

The wonder of a new soul arriving into the world should be a happy event every time and for me each and every new baby is a Mircale of Life… complex, amazing, beautiful, full of promise, potential and hope…

Be it the Christ Child or any child, I hope that we keep true to the values of trust, honesty and faithfulness in all things and that we also learn to look at life though the innocent, delightful, wondrous eyes of a child… and giggle a bit and have fun too.

Whatever you believe (or maybe not, since that is a very personal choice) I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and whatever your day brings, I hope that your day today is spent with someone you love.

Merry Christmas!

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