Local Heart, Global Soul

October 13, 2018

Woodn’t You Know It, It’s THIS Challenge Again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch had just settled into our accommodation in Hanmer Springs in January 2018, when we received notification that the winter firewood supply would be arriving.

We were asked could we keep the garage open so that it could all be stacked inside to dry out for winter please?

could we  also please arrange a time convenient to us for this stacking to take place too?

Kiwi Daughter suddenly jumped up with an emphatic exclamation: “Stacking wood? MY Job! I want to do it!”

Her request was relayed to a very surprised Hanmer Holiday Homes staff who manage the house and bookings and Kiwi Daughter got her wish.

Kiwi Daughter has happy memories of completing a firewood stacking challenge almost five years previously:  “Kiwi Daughter Wood Prove Me Wrong…”  (https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/new-2374/) and clearly is relishing the physical challenge once again.

They came with a trailer and dumped a very decent sized heap of wood in front of the garage door, closer at least to the stacking site than in the playhouse last time. She immediately grabbed the gardening gloves and set to work with gusto. In fact she worked so hard it was difficult to get her to some for dinner… a very familiar theme to that of the last time. She did however admit that it seemed to be harder work this time than last time, and that her hands were suffering a little in spite of the gloves.

Aches and pains aside Kiwi Daughter was proud of herself for persevering, and rightly so, we were proud of her too. She got through more than half of the pile the next day, but a sudden change in our holiday plans put the completion of her task on hold for several days. She did however get back to the task in hand as soon as we returned, and did an amazing job. Well Done sweetheart… this is a challenge you completed almost single handily this time and “Woodn’t” you know it, this city kid can get stuck into a heavy manual job and do herself proud!

November 18, 2015

The Dousing At The End In No Way Waters Down The Day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my last post from our visit to the Kazerne Scheveningen,(Scheveningen Fire Station), Little Mr and two of his little neighbourhood friends have been enjoying a good look around at the exhibits and demonstrations.

Now on our way out there is one more thing to do on this ideal summer holiday Open Day: play with the fire hoses.

The fire station have some wooden frames in which there is a sort of target area, the frame is painted up to look like a house and the target area like the area of the house that is on fire.

When the child has hit the target area (fire) for long enough with the fire hose, the “fire” painting drops down and the target area becomes a black window, signifying that the fire has been extinguished. Off-duty firemen help the children to aim in the right place to hit the “fire” and of course the volume of water coming out of the fire hose has been greatly reduced so that the kids can hold on to it. There are a couple of kids dousing the “fires” before the three in our group wait, but lots of fun is had once they have a go and it’s a brilliant conclusion to an afternoon out.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 16, 2015

Literally Cutting Edge Technology…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Still at the Kazerne Scheveningen, (Scheveningen Fire Station) on their summer Open Day, we are treated to a live demonstration.

Little Mr has seen this once before, several summers ago at a similar Open Day in the town of Schoonhoven , written about in my post: “Pincers to the Rescue: a Coconut Crab Would be Proud“… but the two little neighbourhood friends who have joined us, it is a first time experience and they have their eyes wide and their mouths open.

Little Mr even proudly shows off his experience by explaining what some of the equipment does and why some of the steps are being made (taping over the windows first so that when they are knocked out the glass will stick to the tape). Little Mr is thoroughly enjoying everything anyway. Unlike the Schoonhoven demonstration that used one of the fire service personal as the “victim” in the crashed car, this Brandweer (fire service) has a stuffed dummy to fulfill the role as the crash “victim”.

Everyone in the crowd was suitably impressed, especially with the deep “thump” that the jaws-of-life pincers made cutting through large lumps of metal. After the passenger doors were removed, the back doors and roof followed and the audience was told that it can all be done in less than four minutes when casualties need to be extracted in haste. Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Other related posts from Schoonhoven:

Our Fears are Extinguished As we Leave a Morning of Fire and Ice…
When Fundraising Reaches Scary New Heights…
A Monumental Turn Of Events…

 

November 14, 2015

Great Stuff Inside, Beginning With A Bouncing Start…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post about our summer visit Kazerne Scheveningen, (Scheveningen Fire Station), a beautiful building known locally as the “barracks Duinstaat Castle” due to it’s style of architecture.

The Kazerne (pronounced “car zer nuh”) started out life as a combined police station and fire station but’s it’s services have since been transferred: the police station to another location close by and the new fire station located right next door.

Himself and I have bought Little Mr and two of his neighbourhood friends to an Open Day so that they can have a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on. The Open Day is taking place in the current fire station, the large ladder appliance is outside, as are a few other things that are being set up, but it is a large bouncy castle located just inside one of the engine bays that captures the attention of the kids first. They play for a while before pausing for breath and starting to look around at the exhibits on display. There are motorcycles to sit on and engines to take a look at, certainly enough to keep kids happy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

p.s. Himself has been on the phone half of the day to the two companies who provide our phone and internet, they continue (as per the past 10 days) to blame each other. Finally Himself manages to get contact with someone in management and after some “I-am-now-a-seriously-unhappy-customer” chat, we got a promise that someone from tech support (again!!!) will ring us. This time they spend a further 45 minutes on the phone with Himself, having him crawling under desks to do stuff to the modem and general process of elimination until they eventually solved things. Yeeeeah …Fingers crossed!

February 7, 2013

Quite Literally the Engine Room of the Airport…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Schipol,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this next instalment of our Shipol Airport “behind the Scenes Tour” the bus we are on the far side of the airport taking a look at the many support services that keep a large modern airport functioning.

We see a massive area with high sided walls and learn that these are blast walls were aircraft engines can be tested at full strength.

Schipol houses the world’s biggest aircraft engine workshop (50, 000 square meters full of engines) where aircraft engines are stripped down  for maintenance,  inspected,  dismantle, cleaned and checked. A complete overhaul take about 65 days.

Then we learn about the control tour, and the flight paths that are like  highways in the sky for aircraft to follow.

Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter were rather surprised to hear that these air corridors existed and that the control towers gave instructions as to where everyone in the air should be. Luckily my children are not air traffic controllers because they seemed to think it would be perfectly acceptable for any aircraft to fly wherever and whenever  it wanted to,  so I posed questions to them about how they would successfully land jumbo jets at a rate of 100 per hour during busy times, as is often the case here at Schipol.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Once a little logic kicked in they realised that their hit and miss approach to air traffic control was probably going to result in more catastrophic hits than misses and conceded that maybe pilots doing what they were told in the skies was the safer option after all.

I was surprised to learn that Schipol Airport was a refuge for birds, vast open areas with little or no human interference meant this was actually a resting place for birds: apparently they quickly get used to the noise of aircraft and it doesn’t bother them. However, their presence is not wanted on the runways so the wildlife officers use flares and loudspeakers that transmit recordings of bird alarm calls to keep them away from aircraft.

The bus takes us to the far end of one of the runways where we can see the landing lights stretching back into the distance and a plane coming in to land just above the runway as we watched.

Since Schipol is so close to the sea, wind direction and strength can vary a lot, which is why there are extra runways here, to allow pilots the best direction for landing and taking off. Schipol also gets help from the National Meteorological Institute, with a meteorologist stationed at the airport and a full array of technology both here and at the Institute to produce updated weather reports every half hour.

Then we move on to an area where the Schipol’s fire department practice for emergency situations… this is one point of the tour where it would have been brilliant to have been able to have left he bus for even just 10 minutes.I know for sure it would have made Little. Mr.’s day. Sadly he had to be content with the view from the window and a friendly wave from one of the fireman as he looked up from his task (Thank You for that Sir, my sweet son was delighted that you waved).

The large carcass of the plane body is obviously used in pane fire simulations, and the video tells us that the mock-up of the houses nearby is used not just by the airport fire brigade to train for building fires but also by Amsterdam fire services. The bus turns around and heads back towards the main terminal…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 6, 2013

Our Fears are Extinguished As we Leave a Morning of Fire and Ice…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For my last post in Schoonhoven we are being treated to  multiple displays from the Schoonhoven Brandweer (Fire Service) as part of National Open Monumentendag (Open Monument Day).

This is where numerous organisations open their doors for the day so that the public can learn more about what they do.

Little Mr. has discovered that this fire station is hosting all manner of activities and so we’ve stayed here to take a look and it’s turned out to be very interesting and well worth the detour.

There’s a trailer here too where two of the sides  drop down and the fire service can take  it out for demonstrations in the community. In this demonstration involves learning what to expect if you ever should need to use your home fire extinguisher and is an excellent way to do it in a controlled environment.

We first watch a teenage girl have a go and then I ask the fireman if he could please do a demonstration so that I can take photographs for my blog,  something he is more than happy to do. He says that if anyone ever has the opportunity to have a go in a controlled situation like this one, that they should do so because it will given you real confidence and an extra element of calm that can be a life-saver should a fire break out in your home or workplace.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m a bit too tired after all the walking I’ve done on crutches today to attempt this, but directly after these photos were taken Himself had a go and said that the experience was a real  revelation: knowing  afterwards what to expect definitely made him far more confident that he could handle our extinguisher at home without hesitation if ever the need arose.

Lastly there was the decompression diving tank, with the duikteam (diving team) divers inside.

It was difficult to get photographs because reflections in the very thick porthole windows showed the background behind me, but I managed a few interesting shots, even right to the other side of the tank where people were looking in windows on the opposite side.

We manage to see everything on display and are only a little behind schedule in getting back to the car and back to Den Haag (The Hague) for our 2.00 p.m. appointment. The whole family is unanimous  this day out has been a total success, even with the combined themes of Fire and Ice (cream)!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 5, 2013

When Fundraising Reaches Scary New Heights…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing from the previous day’s post, we are enjoying the displays and events put on by the Schoonhoven Fire Service as part of  “Open Monumentendag” (Open Monument Day) where various organisations open their doors so that the public can gain an insight to what they do.

One of the things that this local Fire Service also does is to raise funds for various projects and for this  they have an brilliant  idea.

The public can take a ride in the cherry-picker “basket” on the end of the biggest extension ladder and in an ingenious twist the ladder extends from the vertical great height to a horizontal one over the roof of the fire station where a large red bucket (or is it an old oxygen tank?) sits waiting for their donation to be deposited.

Himself and I asked the kids if they wanted a ride in this too and confessed our secret relief to each other afterwards when both children looked horrified at the idea and swiftly declined.

Having no head for heights ourselves we reassured them that not wanting to go on this was absolutely fine with us too and I told Kiwi Daughter afterwards that I found the height that this ladder went to rather scary, so didn’t blame her in the least.

It’s certainly a brilliant idea, and I wish I was brave enough to have enjoyed what must have been some fabulous views from so high up. Maybe if the opportunity ever arises again I should stop being a cowardly lioness and summon some courage to give this a go.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 4, 2013

Pincers to the Rescue: a Coconut Crab Would be Proud…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our family day out in Schoonhoven has taken an unexpected detour as we discover that today is also “Open Monumentendag” (Open Monument Day) when Little Mr. found a local Fire Station giving displays and information.

We arrive just in time to see a crash dummy in a car that’s been in a car  “accident” and a demonstration of how the fire service use their tools and training to cut the car open to extract the “victim”.

It’s amazing to see that sometimes a low tech solution is the best one as a firewoman sticks what looks like a wide roll of heavy duty sellotape onto one of the car windows, after pressing it to the glass she then smashes the glass with a special mallet and hey presto, lifts off all the broken pieces of glass (still in the shape of the window) stuck to the tape for clean, easy and swift disposal.

On the other side of the car a fireman is in the back seat keeping the head and spine of the “victim” stable whilst colleagues use massive hydraulic snipper claws (yes thére’s probably do have an official name for them but I have no clue what it might be) to first remove both the doors from the car body and then chop through the pillars between the front and rear seat section of the car.

There’s a dull thud as the hydraulic claw crunches through the metal… children, definitely not a hands-on toy for you to play with, as it would make rather literal short work of fingers or limbs. The spinal board is levered expertly into the back of the car and I’m surprised to see that once al hands are on deck that getting the “victim” out is a smooth operation that only takes a few minutes.

Mission accomplished, the “victim” is stretchered away for “treatment” and we turn out attention to the “claws” used to extract him…

Humans regularly steal brilliant ideas from nature and Tasmanian King or Coconut Crabs may be two of the biggest crab species in the world, but I dare say they would be very jealous of the pinching power of these man-made claws…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 3, 2013

A Monumental Turn Of Events…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still in Schoonhoven and have sampled the ice-cream and had a look around.

We take a look at the bricante second-hand bric-a-brac market that was advertised in the sign nearby.

We walk back to the car, well at least I’m walking, bringing up the rear as the kids run ahead and  Himself  jogs to keep up with them.

They disappear out of sight but after ten minutes or so Little Mr. runs puffing back and can barely speak he’s so excited.

By sheer co-incidence today when we were in Schoonhoven (the 8th September 2012) happens to be “National Open Monumentendag” in the Netherlands (Open Monuments Day) but it’s not just monuments that are open to the public but all sorts of local, national and international organisations as well.

By sheer chance the parking space that Himself secured earlier is right next to the local fire station and the Schoonhoven Fire Service is talking part in Open Monumentendag too, so there’s a whole display of vehicles and a heap of activities.

This certainly did not escape the attention of our seven year old Emergency Services fanatic who’s arrived back smothering me in hugs and  begging and pleading for me to let him detour there.

We have an appointment back in Den Haag (The Hague) at two, so need to leave at 1 o’clock at the very latest to get there on time, and with our spare hour had intended to stop somewhere for a quick toasted sandwich or pancake on the way back but decide that if we are really quick then we could see the events here and then just grab a sandwich to munch in the car on the way home instead.

Little Mr. almost bounces up the street with joy as he dashes back to tell Himself that Mama didn’t mind having her lunch plans shelved in favour of looking at fire engines. O.K.  what actually what really happened is that he ran back screaming  “Ik mag! ”  (I may!) over and over on the top of his lungs and Himself worked out the rest without any difficulty.

I’ve a good mind to tell the Fire Service that they don’t actually need sirens on their engines and that the “greener” version would be the shrieking joy of seven year old boys who appears to easily outdo the siren in decibels. Behind the Fire Station are a grand assortment of vehicles, and actually it’s an education for me too as I see the huge variety of equipment on board.

I knew that axes and cutting equipment would be standard issue but was surprised to see rakes and brooms there too (for clean up after road accidents or something else?) So much to see … Let’s take a look around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 24, 2012

Ingenuity, Memories and Knowing You are “Home”…

Filed under: LIFE,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the things that our kids were playing on at Amberly’s  Brew Moon café was an ingenious use of an old vehicle chassis to make a picnic table.

The heap of photos of them larking about on it are not for publication here for privacy reasons, but it did lead me to taking a few extra photos of other bits and pieces that caught my attention.

Therefore this post is a compilation of  items that caught my eye… not just as we leave Brew Moon, but also of our trip here from Christchurch and back.

There’s the familiar Kiwi sign that tells you how high the fire risk is at the time… often in a South Island summer the arrow is almost permanently pointed to “Extreme” but the late start to summer and few Nor’ Wester’s this year has meant that it was “Moderate” at the time I took this photo.

That’s a good thing… the region doesn’t need the horrific forest fires of past years on top of the current earthquake stress.

There are the taken-in-a-rush whilst speeding by a wool buyer… they use special hooks to ‘grab” into the huge bales and shift them around. Don’t be fooled into thinking that wool is only light fluffy stuff, these bales are very densely packed and are very heavy indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One driving tip for New Zealand is: be extra careful around logging or wool trucks, their loads are mega heavy and if the truck stops suddenly the load often doesn’t.

As a teenager, our family narrowly missed a multi-vehicle pileup when we stopped in Timaru for fish and chips and my Mother ran into an old (retired) colleague inside the chippy. They chatted for an extra ten to fifteen minutes even though their orders were ready. A short way up State Highway One in the direction of Christchurch we were passed by fire engines, police cars and several ambulances with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

Only a kilometre or so further on was a accident site where several cars, a caravan and a wool-truck towing a semi trailer had collided.  There were wool bales everywhere and cars were crushed like soft tin cans. On the News later we heard that people had died and that the accident was caused by a car carelessly overtaking the truck, the failure of  this manoeuvre  resulted in a head on collision with a oncoming car which then veered into the wool truck. In attempting to remain on the road the driver lost his load of wool bales with devastating consequences.

We realised that we could have easily been right at that spot when the accident happened had it not been for the delay my Mother and her old colleague caused in the fish and chip shop.

The rivers we cross are so very typical of South Island rivers… wild, wide and braided, with several deep channels and a multitude of shallow ones, popular with the jet-boat and fishing fraternities. Often deceptively swift they need to be treated with a good dose of respect and they also have a habit of rising metres or even tens of metres in flash flooding if it’s raining heavily in their headwaters in the Southern Alps. I’ve crossed the Waimakariri River bridge once when the water was so high it was almost lapping the road deck.

So very different looking to the severly tamed  rivers I see in Europe, the sight of water and gravel like this always tells me I’m Home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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