Local Heart, Global Soul

October 16, 2018

Reefton Lights Up The Southern Hemisphere…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch went on a road trip in January 2018, making a side trip away from their favourite haunt in Hanmer Springs.

We have left Maruia Springs and our mornings tea (well, breakfast for the kids) and head onwards until we come to a fork in the highway.

The map tells us that branching to the north on State Highway 65 would eventually bring us out in Nelson, (yellow line on the map below) another New Zealand gem all on it’s own, but for future trip.

Staying on State Highway 7 will bring us to Greymouth, via Reefton (red line). Shortly after Reefton the road branches again, keeping west brings us out in Greymouth, whereas branching to the north-west would bring you to Westport (blue line) Ergo the Kilometre distance marker to each being exactly the same.

We are heading to Greymouth, so following the red line. I am informed by Wikipedia that: “In 1888 Reefton became the first town in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to receive electricity,the work of Walter Prince, and its streets were lit by commercial electricity generated by the Reefton Power Station.

Rich veins of gold found in a quartz reef near the town led to its name, and also its former name of Quartzopolis. (Kiwi’s note: “Quartzopolis” sounds like the name of the villains lair in a comic strip or movie).

Intrigued by a name I have never heard of I did a quick search and found this http://www.ipenz.org.nz/heritage/itemdetail.cfm?itemid=2096 “Engineering Heritage of New Zealand”: “In 1886, following a demonstration of electric lighting in four of the hotels in Reefton by self styled “electrician”, Walter Prince, it was decided to form a company to build a power station to provide electricity for the lighting the town.

The Reefton Power Station was completed a few years later and on 4 August 1888 it became the first public power supply in New Zealand.”
Gold was first discovered near the town in 1866, although the major discovery was made in 1870. Soon after, the town briefly boasted a population of several thousand. This later dwindled to less than a thousand. Other industries in the town are coal mining, forestry, tourism and angling.

The town as it is today looks lively, and very much geared up for the passing tourist trade, taking advantage of the winding roads, vastly different driving conditions than most northern hemisphere tourists are used to and thus the need for a break from driving, restrooms and refreshments. This is a country town with plenty of guts and life, staying relevant and making the most of it’s location. I could live In Reefton very happily indeed.

Hanmer to Greymouth, Map made via Google Earth.

Opps… I forgot to add the map until some hours after this posted, apologies. (I’d made the post several weeks before, and the map at the last minute because I thought it would help to visualise how the route we took looked on a map.) Then of course I forgot to actually add the map to the blog post. Duh… I’ll blame my pain medications but realistically I just have moments of stupid and this apparently was one of them!

(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)

September 25, 2012

From That First Raspberry Bun Until Now… Sydenham Bakery.

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When I first started my first  job in the centre  of Christchurch. I was still living at home and would walk the length of Colombo Street to and from work.  I  therefore passed the Sydenham Bakery twice a day and would look fondly in the shop window as I went past.

My Grandparents, and sometimes my parents, used to stop there every so often to buy soft white,  raspberry buns, apricot pies, Boston buns or slices but only as a really special treat, so for me…  a typical sweet toothed kid, treats that happened not nearly often enough!

I worked all week in town, walking every day past the bakery and at the end of my first working week  the “pay lady” did the rounds and handed out a very small,rectangular brown envelopes to all the staff.

Inside mine were the bank notes of  my first pay, a few coins at the bottom to complete the balance and a crisply folded  pay-sheet that detailed what I’d earned Gross, Taxes paid and the Net balance. The figure on the bottom line wasn’t particularly much but there was more cash in that tiny envelope than I’d ever held before in my life.

I was so proud of my first pay-packet,  dreamed of saving for world travels and walked in the direction of home as if on air. I walked over the Colombo Street over-bridge,  the railway tracks were  busy with trains, freight wagons and carriages and Christchurch’s main  (err…only) Railway station with the tall clock tower was a short distance away.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There were the favourite shops that I would pass in Sydenham on my walk south… the  second hand furniture shops, the photographer’s,  the printing place,  Church, Post office and park with Nazareth House in the distance and on this occasion I knew I would be making a special stop on the way home from work.

I entered the Sydenham Bakery and after a short deliberation bought a raspberry iced bun.  It was my first purchase my my first weekly pay and I was as delighted with my new financial independence as I was with my iced bun.

It’s the sort of day you remember all of your life, and every time I walked past Sydenham Bakery I would look in the window and remember that day and that feeling with a smile.

Since my wages were low and my travel dreams were large I forwent the bus and walked to and from work every day except  the very worst of winter days,  saving my bus fare and watching my travel fund grow. Every now and again I would go inside the bakery and try something new… eventually the apricot pies caught my attention and became as firm a favourite as the raspberry buns.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Years later, when my planned three month trip to the Netherlands to renew my Dutch passport unexpectedly became a more than twenty year residence, my visits to Sydenham Bakery were confined to infrequent visits back to Christchurch, but I was still in the habit of leaving their premises with a purchase of raspberry buns and apricot pies in my hand.

Then the earthquakes came and kept coming… I was as stunned and shocked as all New Zealanders, both at home and abroad. In September 2010 I was relieved that there was no loss of life, In February 2011 I grieved along with the nation as two people I knew perished amongst the 182 fatalities.

Also gone were many of my favourite haunts, and uncertainty reigned about businesses damaged and if they would stay and rebuild or move on to other places.

I contacted Sydenham Bakery via  an internet noticeboard and expressed my hope that they were all ok and wondered if  they intended repairing their damaged premisses:  telling of my fond memories and first pay-packet purchase. To my surprise Celia from Sydenham Bakery contacted me with an invite to visit her next time I was in New Zealand. We’ve been in email contact during the intervening months and set up this appointment.

So here I stand outside the Bakery… so many memories and emotions of past years and recent events, so many of the familiar surrounding buildings have been demolished.  Time to go inside…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 22, 2012

Reflections on Then and Now, Pausing to Pay Our Respects…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s strange how life can be completely normal one moment and then suddenly everything can change in seconds: damage inflicted in less than a minute can be fatal, irreparable, profound.

It’s as if you are in the depths of a horrible nightmare:  if you woke up sweating and shaking to find that it wasn’t real it would be a welcome relief, a weight off your shoulders and the pain in your heart would heal and you’d be whole again.

This senerio happens in life on a daily basis… to somone, somewhere in the world all the time, ….maybe as the result of a road accident, death or near death of a loved one or the worst possible medical disgnosis.

When it happens on an individual level, it’s like life slows down and things start to happen in slow motion but moves at normal place for everyone else.

They don’t feel your pain, they don’t understand your limbo, your sense of time being suspended and your uncertainlty as events bigger than you can handle envelope you. So many questions, so few answers, how do you find the strength to go on?

In your heightened state of emotion, fear, resolution and pain, you start relying on auto-pilot to help you go through the necessary motions back to normal life.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Its like skiddling unexpectedly off the road and finding yourself dazed and bruised in the gravel, you need time to heal, recover , repair and return to where you left off. ‘

Hopefully someone will extend a helpful hand for you to hold, a shoulder to cry on and a strong arm to wrap you in when the darkest moments of recovery are upon you.

When this sudden spiral out of  “normal life”  happens on a collective level rather than on an individual level, as in the case of a natural disaster, things take an altogether different turn.

In this case less than a single minute of shaking turned a city upside down, it took lives, limbs, annihilated  life plans, jobs, possessions, dreams.

You hope that it’s a bad dream you can wake up from but each morning you are reminded that this IS the new reality that you are going to learn to live with.

Some people rise to this new situation, they find inside themselves an almost super-human strength that they never knew they had: on February 22nd they took charge, got to work, stood strong, gave comfort, fed or took in strangers, became leaders, carers and beaons of hope.

Others were not so strong: damage, berievement, age, loss, fear, nerves, character, shock… whatever the reason, they were in position where they needed more help than they could offer and, as is probably statistically usual when counting large numbers in a collective group, some tried to help themselves more than others too.

(photograph ©Thank you Google Street view)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street view)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street view)

Everyone has a different reaction to situations of deep and dire stress, when events over-run us on a personal level there is usually someone on the ‘outside’ when can reach in and lend a steadying hand.

When everyone else around you is also in this deep level of stress it can be so much harder to see where to go next, what’s possible, which way is up, how to battle the tears and emotions.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Christchurch City was trust into a crisis where as the enormity of the situation unfolded was akin like one shock wave hitting after another… there’s been a massive earthquake, buildings are down, people are trapped, people have died, whole neighbourhoods are damaged, hillsides and cliffs have fallen, houses beyond repair… and the sickening sense that gathers in your stomach as each piece of information comes in,  is a feeling I never want to ever feel again.

The minutes spent dialing telephome numbers of loved ones with quivering hands and the seeming eternity it takes between each dial tone are some of the longest minutes of your life… you know that large parts of the phone network is down but you try anyway.

Eventually someone of the other end of the line answers as the connection is finially successful, and together in shaking voices and tears the relief is audible, tangible, enveloping.

We quickly discover that even with some 14 attempts per call, that my chances of getting though to Christchurch from the Netherlands are still higher than their local calls across the city, so I try and phone as many people as possible, passing on messages and relaying information that loved ones are safe.

Some, try as we might, we can’t contact and the heavy sick feeling remains until we finially make contact.

(photograph ©Thank you Google Street view)

We are glued to the television as footage unfolds and the internet for as many live updates as we can get our hands on.

News crews from around the world flock to the scene as fast as resucue services from abroad, some are factual, some are sensationalistic, some have facts and more have more speculation than facts.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After a few days once it’s been determined that no more survivors will be found or, if a bigger more urgent crisis is unfolding somewhere else around the world, attention is diverted and the news teams pack up their gear and move on.

Christchurch evaporates from the spotlight on the world stage and is left to start the long road of recovery alone.

But it is not completely alone, New Zealanders far and wide rally together, bonds of solidarity are formed, fundraising and support services are started, friends, relatives, neighbours, complete strangers are welcomed into homes inside Christchurch, from within the region and nationwide.

Busses and trucks arrive with food, clothes, home baking for people who are without electricy and who have had to evaculate their homes in only the clothes they stood up in.

Stories emerge that show people from one extreme to the other, from utter selflessnessness, selfishness and everything inbetween… but more often than not people rise above their own needs and wants and heartwarming accounts of “heros” in every shape, form and age come to light time and time again. Faith in human nature is restored as you hear account after account of people who waste no opportunity to give…  and wow, they gave.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Some people are steadfast that they will never leave the city, some do leave and some wish they could, everyone makes the best of the new reality that means closed or broken roads, damages houses, liquafaction, closed businesses and workplaces or tempory premises and work-around situations that are often less than ideal.

Today is one year to the day that Christchurch city had it’s heart torn open… the wounds are still raw, the recovery process is steady but slow, the pain is still close to the surface whenever certain emotional buttons are pushed.

For some this day is especially dark, in an instant they lost loved ones in terrible circumstances and their journey back to normalicy of any sort, is a road that we hope we ourselves will never have the misfortune to travel.

One thing is clear, and to which I can also attest to on Dec 23rd 2011, is when the ground is moving and everything around you is shaking, not one non-fration of your mind is busy thinking about possessions we own, we think only of the living breathing treasures that are irreplaceable, our children, spouses, friends, people we love.

The Christchurch earthquakes have helped people redefine who they are and what they want from life, February 22nd 2011 was a wake-up-call of the worst kind… a searing reminder that you only have today, time is limited, use it well, loved ones are the most precious thing you have, and this life is not the practice run.

(photograph © Thank you Google Street view)

(photograph ©Thank you Google Street view)

Christchurch and many of it’s inhabitants will spend today, along with all New Zealanders both at home and abroad, pausing at 12.51 pm and reflecting on this day, one year ago and one year on…

I may well live far away, but my heart and thoughts are today firmly “at home” in Christchurch.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street view)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street view)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street view)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street view)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Victims that the quake took came not only from New Zealand but also from abroad, my thoughts are with all the families of those who have had their lives forever changed by their loss or their injuries, both near and far.

I love and mourn the loss of my city, but that is nothing compared with the loss or injuries these people are still coming to terms with one year on.
I can only wish us all strength together for the long road ahead…

July 7, 2011

When Puff the Magic Pastry wasn’t Quite what was Wanted..

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

In yesterday’s post I mentioned Kiwi Daughter’s efforts in going solo and making her first ever  family dinner.

It wasn’t however just the pasta she made, there was a dessert on the menu too. Again, from one of her recipe cards the recipe was simple in the extreme:  line a shallow dish with short-crust pastry,  spoon in 6 Tablespoons of  confiture  (jam/jelly) and bake in the oven.

I looked at the recipe card and thought to myself that a sweet crust, kind of shortbread would probably go better than shortcrust (which I personally associate more with savoury dishes) but I had had physiotherapy earlier in the afternoon and didn’t feel up to making my own,  either sweet or short, so I thought it might be ok to go against my instincts and just follow the recipe.

Since I of course could not just pop out to the supermarket, Himself was dispatched to our local supermarket with the most specific  instructions I could manage. (Last time we wanted Puff pastry he returned with Filo by mistake. It’s not that he’s not willing, but to him, it’s just that he said they all looked alike to him so did it matter?  and so when he returned triumphantly with a package that wasn’tFilo pastry, I was already really delighted.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sadly it seems that he couldn’t find anything that was labeled Shortcrust pastry so bought Puff pastry home instead so that he didn’t have to face Kiwi Daughter empty-handed and in the hope that they would be somewhat  interchangeable.

I  had my doubts, but Kiwi Daughter was all fired up with enthusiasm so I thought ” what the heck” and she set about following the recipe.

We thawed out the pastry,  Kiwi Daughter had her first ever full solo pastry rolling  experience  (she’s kind of done it before but usually would ask me to take over once the pastry started to get even remotely thin so that she didn’t make a mess of it.)

This time it was all hers, and she made a pretty good job for a  first effort too.

Like most pastry novices she heaped a small lorry load of extra flour in an attempt to make her rolling-pin stick less and she handled the dough like it was bread to be kneaded and not pastry that better prefers the hands-off approach,  but I know for a fact that we allstart making pastry with the same mistakes so was delighted that she managed to line the dish without too many patches needed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Knowing that I didn’t want our puff pastry to puff,  I set to work docking the pastry (pricking at all over with a fork) so that the steam could escape.

Then the recipe clearly said to use 6 Tablespoons of confiture (jam/jelly) but for a pie this size, I thought this  didn’t look like nearly enough so I got Kiwi Daughter to add  more (easily doubled it).

During the baking process we started to have confiture everywhere, spilling over, and once cooked and cooked the layer was far thicker than it really needed to be resulting in an overly sweet taste.

The end result wasn’t at all pretty like the picture on the card, but doused with enough whipped cream to dampen the sweetness, it was certainly edible.

In fact we all dispatched the evidence with rude and hearty haste.

Kiwi Daughter today not only learned to roll pastry. but also a valuable lesson on the hit and miss affair of not following the recipe.

The pastry worked, kind of… a sweet shortbread style crust would definitely have been better, and my suggestion to use more confiture was definitely not a good call. You can have too much of a good thing it seems.

That said, Kiwi Daughter was delighted with her efforts and we have already decided that one of her next lessons should be in making a sweet crust from scratch so that we can re-do this recipe more in the style to which it would be more accustomed.

Bravo for giving it a go my sweet… I’m proud of you!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 6, 2011

Proudly Going Solo with Tagliatelle Carbonara…

Filed under: FOOD,Kids and Family,LIFE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Kiwi Daughter decided that she wanted to make dinner for  the whole family a few weeks ago. She had been helping  out making various meals before but that usually meant doing the nice bits like cutting the shapes out with the biscuit (cookie) cutters and rarely being involved in the actual mixing, rolling out,  cooking or washing up phases of the process.

This time she aims to do not only the meal but also a dessert as well, and has spied some recipe cards from a set that she picked up at a book fair several years ago but at the time  never got further than one of the sweets (candy) recipes in the set.

Here is the result: Kiwi Daughter’s very first solo recipe …under the watchful eye and  little help on the stove by her new sous chef   (a.k.a. Himself).  The recipe is for Tagiatelle Carbonara  and  makes enough for 4 servings.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

1 teaspoon olive oil
150g (5oz) streaky bacon
2 cloves of garlic
1  1/2 tablespoons olive oil
50g parmesan cheese (grated)
3 eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons cream
pinch fresh ground pepper
350g  (12 oz) dried tagliatelle pasta
water (to boil pasta)

Method:

Add 1  1/2 tablespoons of olive oil to a fry pan and fry off the bacon and garlic so that they are cooked but not too crunchy. Drain off the excess fat and add the chopped parsley.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, cream,  half of the cheese and the pepper.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook tagliatelle pasta until “al dente”  per the directions on the packet.Once cooked, drain off the water.

Combine the egg mixture with the hot pasta and the heat of the pasta will cook the eggs. Mix well until the eggs are cooked (only takes a minute or so) and then add the bacon mixture.

Serve immediately with the remaining parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

YUM!  We are having this again soon! it’s delicious and not only is Kiwi Daughter justifiably proud of her effort, but I am pleased to see that my picky eater has grown up enough to include the parsley and garlic without screwing her face up at the thought and then moaning at length at their inclusion. (the bacon does tend to end up on the bottom of everything though, so sorry the photo isn’t better)

Even Little Mr (still fussy) was enticed enough by the appearance of bacon (and hunger of waiting longer than normal dinner time) to not moan too long  about the parsley.

Well done my Daughter!  I am very proud of you! … not only was your first solo effort a success, but you also have been inspired to do this more regularly. As a Foodie Mama, you  made my day.

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