Local Heart, Global Soul

January 2, 2014

Decorations In Wood, Turrets, Towers, … And A Cable Car!

We are about to leave the town of Vianden in Luxembourg and continue our journey northwards. I find the town fascinating because there is a delightful mix of architecture and lots of  beautiful decorative features to photograph. I particularly like the decorative woodwork on the roof edges of a few of the houses we see, and the proliferation of little towers and turrets on houses, churches and towers in the town.  There is even a cable car running up the hill! Once more I can’t resist and my camera is busy…

(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)

Spot the Cable Car!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph ©Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 21, 2013

Baptised In Beauty, They Are Preaching To The Converted…

Another page from my diary as I detail our last summer’s visit to Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, England.  Our visiting friend “Velvetine” and I are busy taking photographs and drooling over the amazing decorative work all around us as we pass by the pulpit and one of the fonts (well, I think the stone oval shaped one I saw earlier was a font?).

In fact, it’s only later when I go to sort out the photographs that I realise that there are a ton of photos I missed getting… take for instance all of the wooden figures around the pulpit, I took literally just a few shots and there was so much more to look at.I know what happened, I was taking photographs of the pulpit figures when all of a sudden I realised that each of the rails holding up the handrail leading up to it were also heavily, beautifully and intricately carved.

I diverted to the new finds meaning to return to the figures, but there was so much to see, so many distractions that  as the saying goes “with the best laid plans of mice and men”… I never got around to going back.  More feasting the eye on decoration, more photographs for my artistic inspirations archive files, and more drooling at artistic beauty.  Baptised in beauty,  they are preaching to the converted…

(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 © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Cathedral

September 19, 2013

These Alcoves Are Not Just Any Old Nooks And Crannies…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing my posts from Canterbury Cathedral as per my recent posts as I detail our last summer’s visit to Canterbury  in Kent, England.

Various notable people are buried in the Cathedral and many of their tombs are located in alcoves around the walls.

However, these  alcoves are not just any nooks and crannies…

…like much of the Cathedral they are richly decorated and once again I’m amazed at the skill of the stonemasons, who managed to carve out intricate detail in, and through the stone.

I’m wishing I’d bought a tripod with me because the light is low in various sections of the Cathedral and it’s hard to get a sharp photograph.

The three dimensional shapes are amazing and there are details even in places where you least expect it, like on the inside of the internal  arches.

Ok, of course on a practical level the effigies of the people are in stone and their real remains are interred in caskets below, but if I had to rest for eternity in one of these and in theory face looking at this decoration forever and ever, I would most certainly be Resting in Peace.

(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)

http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Cathedral

March 1, 2012

Christmas Lights… Southern Hemisphere Style!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The good thing about writing about this trip a short while after  the event, is that we get to have Christmas twice over!

… On one hand it might have been nice to have posted this in “real time” but reality is that there’s only so much you can get done in a day and after any activities  I really needed my afternoon naps more than I needed to be logging on and making blog posts.

My foot is healing well, and slowly but surely gaining back significant strength and flexability but since I’m still without mobility in the area directly below my toes, the crutches are still a frustrating but necessary evil. We tailor our days so that I can have time to elevate my foot, take pain relief and sleep after exercise and so far that’s working well.

My aunt and uncle tell us that there is a house a short drive away that has an amazing display of Christmas lights and decorations and that if we can keep the kids up long enough (it’s summer so darkness falls sometime around 10:30 p.m.) that we should go and enjoy the light show.

Actually they also mentioned that there’s an even bigger one around here somewhere but didn’t know the specific address.

We tried to follow their instructions involving various reference points, rights, lefts and straight-a-heads but since we have a well known penchant for getting lost, it’s hardly a surprise that in the end we gave up driving around in circles and were content with a visit to just one really well decorated house.

The night is warm, it’s now well dark and the festively dressed gentleman owner is outside to welcome people who are loitering on the footpath  wanting to look but a little unsure if they should proceed further onto the property.

He assures us that we are all welcome to come up the side path and up to the front window to see it all.

Amazingly many parts of the display are mobile, the little group of deer at the back of the property gently sway their heads, the santa and snowman see-saw actually moves like one, and the myriad of little houses etc that are displayed in the front windows have combinations of winking or changing colour lights, skating, walking or turning figures, and even one with four tiers with trains of decreasing sizes going around on each level.

Around the roof of the house, along the fences and in the trees there are lights, lights and more lights.

I took photographs but they really can’t communicate the amazing atmosphere that was generated around this garden, Christmas music poured softly out of the door of the house and it was lovely.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To be honest, Christmas decorating of this type is only just starting to catch on in the Netherlands, in recent years a few people go all out, often using the limited space that their balconies provide and but mostly people decorate simply or not at all.

We have a set of little lights that we can tape to our front window, and yes you can set them to flash annoyingly, disco style, but we prefer the slow colour change setting.

I’m in two minds… I like the fact that our lights and others like them bring a little cheer into a dark and cold winter street…

…some of the decorations inject a little brightness and  humour and as a parent the game of  “spotting” these lights in house windows or balconies is brilliant for distracting grumpy, fighting children who are sitting in the car, tired out at the end of long days of whirlwind of pre-Christmas events …but sometimes when the various bits are thrown together they can look a bit disjointed and tacky.

I like “tat”and “kitch” sometimes but in severe moderation… and I can never quite put my finger on why I might like one decoration and say  “ooh, that’s sweet” and then go “um, maaaybe not” or “over my dead body” to the next.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Like most things in life, personal preference is everything.

Most of these bits and pieces are cute…but maybe the piled up soft toys (I didn’t take a photo) or the parachuting Santa were a step too far?

One item tried to be cute but looked a bit strange to me… a blow-up Santa inside a plastic blow-up ball, it as supposed to be a snow-globe, was plugged in and there were zillions of tiny polystyrene balls being blown around inside it …

…but I thought it looked like Santa was trapped inside a plastic bubble since you could hardly see the tiny balls and they certainly didn’t show up in my photos.

All in all though this was an amazing display and I loved it, the atmosphere was really magical and people were stopping and coming for a look from far and wide.

I talked to the owner of the house and he said that it took weeks and weeks of preperation, but that when he saw the smiles on people’s faces it was all worth it.

I certainly appreciated his hard work… the photos don’t really do it justice… it’s magical!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This Santa is huge! (it’s tied to a fence that about 1.8 m / 6 feet tall)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Parachute Santa…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I think these are kitch… but cute. What do you think?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 7, 2010

Light up your Christmas!(in tee-shirt and shorts weather too!)

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Christmas Down Under falls in the Summer season, and over the years some of the traditions of the Northern Hemisphere have fallen by the wayside.

The massive hot roast dinners eaten with a struggle in sweltering temperatures have been replaced in many Kiwi households by a seasonal Ham or cold cut selections, salads galore, and of course the wonderful BBQ.

Some years ago in one particularly hot summer,  there was a problem on street corners and in shopping centers, as heavily padded “Santa’s”  in their masses passed out or fainted from heat exhaustion (some even required hospitalization) and since the alarming sight and sound of distressed, hysterical children  screaming ” Agggggh Agggggh Santa’s DEAD!!!”  was too much to bear, it was subsequently decided that “Santa wants to be healthy, is doing fitness and has lost an amazing amount of weight children…. ( well done Santa!) ”

And thus New Zealand is slowing but surely melding the traditional points of Christmas to suit it’s climate and local situations.

The explosion of the internet however has imported a few new items that are very new to the New Zealand Christmas scene.  One of these is the decoration of houses with Christmas lights,  some are static, some are  attached to computer programmes  that display lights in amazing sequences and some  come complete with  coordinated arrangements to music.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One street on the hill close to our friends house has several houses with many lights and then one at the end of the street what is wired for sound and light, like nothing I have ever seen before. The lights are magical, like a luminary gingerbread house, and our family are as enchanted by it as everyone else gravitating down the street towards it is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The good thing is that  it is warm enough that we get to watch these shows in our tee-shirts and shorts  instead of freezing on the pavement:  the downside is that it takes so long to get dark at this time of year that we struggle to keep the kids awake long enough to get out and see the lights in their glory. On one of the nights with Little Mr being kept awake only by the excitement of the pending show, we managed it…

Of course we were joined by masses of other people who also came to see the sights, so there is some background chatter in parts and in one or two clips. cars arriving and driving off again.

Here’s a selection for you to enjoy…

So… one little Kiwi light-show that had a stream of delighted people from all around the district at the end of their driveway every night, the kids loved it to bits and stood there goggle eyed and naturally, our tired Little Mr. fell asleep on the trip home in the car even though it only took ten minutes. I’m glad he managed to stay up and didn’t miss it, ihopefully it will be an impressive little memory of this trip.

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