Local Heart, Global Soul

October 21, 2014

Getting Up The Solar Energy For A Chocolate Box Alert…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today’s post is a photographic series that follows our journey last summer in our hired camper along part of England’s south coast, specifically from  Yeovilton to Crediton.

I have seen fields of solar panels whilst travelling in Germany, but it’s the first time I’ve seen some in the United Kingdom. Some people argue that this sort of  green energy arrays are unsightly, but I find them wonderful and would love to see far more of them.

In fact, I  find the argument that they are unsightly rather hard to fathom because we are riding in a camper,  sitting higher than you would in a normal car and  even with our elevated position I find it hard to get a clear shot of them because the solar units sit quite low and the field is surrounded by hedges

I’m sure that some of the occupants in cars around us may not have even been aware that the solar panels were there. I’m always worried by the idea of nuclear energy, other sorts may not be perfect but they are at least more forgiving to human life and the environment should something ever go drastically wrong.

I’m also fascinated by the patchwork effect of the hedged fields, by necessity the Dutch divide their fields with drainage canals and there are little or few hedges, and in New Zealand what we would term a small field is often about the same size as some European farms. Bigger “Paddocks” or “runs” usually have very simple fences because of the scale involved or natural boundaries to sheep and cattle like steep mountains or rivers.

These little patches of land make for an interesting landscape, and very different to the ones I am used to in the Netherlands or New Zealand. Adding thatched roof houses and quintessentially  English style buildings and you have the possibility of a chocolate box cover photograph at almost every turn.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 9, 2013

Apparently Stripes are The Latest Thing this Season…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a largely photographic post… Stripes, stripes and more stripes of amazing colour.

Even narrow strips of land along the roadside, between a canal and a farm are packed solid with blooms. The air is pungent with the smell of perfume, the colours are fresh, bright and there are cyclists and people stopping everywhere to admire the views.

We even noticed a number of tour buses travelling ridiculously (and unlawfully) slowly on the motorway behind us probably in response to tourist pleas to try and catch some elusive photos of the bulb fields en route to their next destination.

Also something funny: at one point where we stopped to take photographs we caught sight of a chicken in the tulip field just across the canal. It didn’t falter or dally  but marched resolutely right the the very end of the long field, and entered the last row of tulips and fussed around there: it probably thought it’s owner will never find her eggs here, sadly she will probably return later in the next days to find them scrambled simply because she’s hidden them so well. Needless to say, the nearby town of Noordwijk has planters full of tulips all down the streets… and it’s clear that stripes are very much in fashion this season, along the Dutch coast just north of the Hague.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 8, 2013

The Pain of Reaching the Extraordinary Beauty of Full Bloom and then Facing Decapitation…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have turned off the motorway and found a suitable small road that by coincidence runs parallel to the motorway where we can retrace our way back home but at a slower pace and with stops for more detailed photographs.

Himself has a few hours free this (Monday 6th May) morning but knows a client is due to arrive with work after lunch so we are hurrying a little to make the best of a few hours free time and a beautiful day.

Growing tulips from seeds is a time consuming and difficult business, it takes toughly six years to achieve.

Nature provides a quicker method by producing bulbs that will split into two plants during their cold winter months underground and can be harvested in the spring. The splitting process however requires that the plant puts as much energy as possible into the magic of the multiplication process and not into generating and maintaining the flower and subsequent seeds. Other flowers are highly prized for the seeds but not tulips… the production of seeds invariably  means a poorer quality bulb, and thus a poorer quality bloom from that bulb the following year. Since world-wide sales of some three billion Dutch grown tulips depend on consistent quality of the flowers they will produce the following spring, machines are employed in growers fields to decapitate the flower heads before the seeding process can take place. This of course means that if you want to see tulips out in full bloom you have to be in the right place at the right time.

Many factors determine the exact time that the blooms will be decapitated: this year the flowers arrived very late because the warmer days of spring came roughly one month later than normal. Rainfall, temperature and the amount of sunshine then determine how fast the bulbs bloom and for how long.

The sudden rise in temperatures in the last week or so have seen tulips out en masse, but some are starting the process of producing seeds already so the machines are already in some fields chopping off their heads.

Luckily not all of the blooms on display today are unfortunate tulips waiting for their turn at the guillotine  Himself (the gardening guru of the family) informs me that the other little plants here are Hyacinths… Not only do they  look amazing but they smell fabulous too. If only I could present you with photographs that gave off the same heavenly perfume as we were greeted with as I opened the car door to step out and take photos…

(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)

The bulbs were being checked by people walking systematically though the fields… I assume they were checking how far along the seed forming process was…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The decapitating machine is making steady progress down the right hand strip of blooms…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Off with their heads!  (ouch!)… I felt sorry for the poor flowers.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s as “pretty as a picture”… and I have the picture frame to prove it…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 7, 2013

Break Out Your Sun Glasses, Spring Rolls Up Late …But Parties Hard With In Your Face Colours…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My mother in law has been asking Himself for weeks to take her to see the local bulb fields in flower.

Unfortunately for her  the European Spring slept in this year and arrived roughly a month later than usual so there were no flowers to be seen in March and the first blooms only came out in force in late April.

In the last week or two the weather has suddenly changed for the better and we  have been treated to some beautiful sunny days.  The bulb fields are now blooming  at a frantic rate and with temperatures rising there is a chance that the petals will have dropped if we leave  catching a good view of them too late. (Most of these  plants are wanted for the valuable bulb beneath the ground and not the blooms we can see above it, so the petals will be left to drop, or the blooms will be beheaded with machines but amazingly none of these will end up as cut flowers in vases. (potpourri anyone?) I’ve taken a few more days annual leave so that I can sort some major family events and luckily, Himself  who works as free-lancer, had a break in workflow yesterday that allowed him to take a few hours off  on a sunny Monday morning. This meant we quickly  arranged to pick up my Mother in Law and soon headed out of the Hague, past Wassenaar in the direction of Katwijk and Noordwijk.

At first we were on the motorway and not being able to pull over and stop meant getting tantalising fleeting glances of bright colours…  there were masses of cyclists on many of the smaller paths and cycleways as people come from all over the region to enjoy cycling along the bulb routes, enjoying the amazing colours and taking zillions of photographs. Naturally I was equally keen to get my camera out, so as we made our way out towards Noordwijk we also started looking for a few good side roads that would allow us to pull over and enjoy a closer view of the flowers.

First however, here are some of the fleeting views I got from the motorway … and I noticed that we were not the only ones enjoying the colourful views.

(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)

Blog at WordPress.com.