Local Heart, Global Soul

April 10, 2015

Taking Your Bed, And Fridge For A Bike Ride…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since I’m not very mobile I found myself sorting through some archive folders on my hard drive.

It’s rather funny that I came across some photographs to do with moving house, because these photographs were taken over four years ago when our friends “The Traveling Two” (link to their website at the bottom of this post) were moving house. (Photograph posted with permission).

The funny thing is that this couple moved again only last week, so these photographs are, kind of relevant once again.

The Netherlands is a densely populated country where in the large cities it can be common to not own a car.

If you are moving house or need to move a large appliance a short distance, you would need to hire a van, but that too can be problematic because not everyone has a driver’s licence.

In a country that’s famous for it’s bicycles there is however another option to solve this problem: a bakfiets that’s made especially for transporting large goods. In the time when my Dutch father was a child in the Hague, these were commonplace in cities because so few people owned a car, but these days they are a rarer sight. When our friends shifted house the first time, Family Kiwidutch came to take a look, Himself to help with the loading up, me to take photographs and our children of course to cage a lift, enjoying a ride around the block once the refrigerator had been moved.

Here’s to moving house…  With a bakfiets, Dutch style!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

travellingtwo

May 5, 2014

The Human Eye Gets So Much Of A Better View Then The Camera Ever Can…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried for some years to keep orchids alive at home, without success.

We had a sunny window-still but the glass was single glass and in winter the outside chill was evident even some way into our living room.

Then nine years ago  Himself an I replaced the single glass windows with double glass and the transformation in the survival rate of our house plants was immediate.

By chance soon afterwards I was given an orchid as part of a leaving gift by work colleagues when I transferred from one area of my workplace  to another and amazingly it’s been happily blooming almost year round ever since.

I’m not known for having particularly green thumbs, if I’m completely honest, it’s down to general ignorance rather than intentional malice towards plants and anything growing at our place does so at it’s own risk (children excluded).

When we visited the Keukenhof recently the friend we took with us had one specific place she wanted to see of all the indoor exhibition areas: The Orchid House.Until now I didn’t even know there was an orchid house here, and upon entering I can say I have never seen so many orchids in one place, or so many varieties.There’s an upstairs viewing area (I didn’t even try to get there on crutches) and displays  to amaze. There’s even a clever box completely  lined with mirrors and filled with white orchids: the mirrors create an infinity effect and it looks like the orchids go on forever.

My photographs don’t even begin to do these beautiful plants justice… outside the skies are dark and threatening rain, my photos seem to have come out dark in sympathy. Yet another reason to come and see the Keukenhof in person, the human eye gets so much of a better view then the camera ever can…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 24, 2014

The Danger Of Removing The Customer Too Far From The Source Of Their Food…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The average evening meal for most people contains meat.

Meat has become a regular part of our diet,  a far cry from for instance one hundred years ago when probably only the Sunday meal contained meat and the rest of the week was eked out with leftovers, vegetables, potatoes and bread.

Of course many more people kept their own livestock in centuries past and even in my own family as recently as my father’s childhood when he breed rabbits for show, with the ones that didn’t make the grade going into the pot.  He was one of ten children,  and in the practical and stoical dutch fashion of the family, even money put into hobbies could yield no waste.

Across the world in rural New Zealand I grew up  with the reality that pigs never got named, and that once a year one would disappear during school time and be returned a short  time later in the form of voluminous bags of sausages, chops, minced meat, diced meat  etc. and after a  while longer, hams.

Even when we moved to the city of Christchurch, my parents went to the Sydenham butchery every so often and order a side of  beef:  my mother would prepare the chest freezer in our garage during the previous month, it would be  defrosted and completely cleaned, and reduced to a state of emptiness that meant only  few lonely old fashioned metal trays of ice-cubes remained.

Then my mother would return from  a shopping trip with an arm-load of plastic bags and labels, large ones, small ones and I knew which chore would be coming next. The half-side of beef would arrive in boxes of a large assortment of various cuts and it was my job to count out schnitzels, sausages, steaks etc into family meal sized portions and bag them whilst my mother labeled them and stacked everything in sections in the base of the freezer or in the baskets that sat suspended inside the freezer.

The sorting, counting,  bagging  and labelling would take the whole family some hours but once done the freezer would be tightly packed full of meat and whilst it was a large financial outlay at one time it worked out far cheaper  over the course of the year when compared to supermarket prices with packaging etc.

In centuries past there were no chest freezers of course,  or any sort of freezer at home or anywhere: a few large country houses may have their own ice-house, where blocks of ices were cut and stored for use in the kitchens, but in general apart from cured meats,  meat was impossible to store for long or to transport very far.

The solution in medieval European cities was that once or twice  a week there would be a meat market day, where livestock were herded into the centre of town and butchers would slaughter and butcher the beasts on the street  next to a market stall where the meat would be bought fresh by the  city customers.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In due course the cities grew large enough that the volume of beasts and mess of the slaughter became a messy and problematic issue for the city centre pavements, so the meat market moved it’s trade indoors to purpose built buildings where the mess, noise and smell could be better contained and regulated.

The move indoors also meant that beasts could be bought in in smaller numbers on almost a daily basis and meat could be bought fresh most days: thus in it’s earliest form the local butchery businesses as we know it today was born.

Here in the center of Delft is one of these early stone slaughterhouse and butchery buildings, the animals carved in stone of the front  façade a signpost to the trade that took place within.

The lower doors access the slaughter-house via ramps, the steps to the upper doors were probably for the meat sale rooms, separating and removing  the customers from the less gentile realities of the trade … an aspect of our food production that continues to this day.

The reality of a butchery may be grim but it’s a fact of life and I firmly believe that people who are more aware of where their food comes from are also more likely to fight to ensure that the beasts we eat are well reared,  killed in a humane fashion and that nothing is wasted. The Butchery trade has evolved, but there is an aspect of the reality that in this ever increasing “processed” world that I really hope we never loose.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 17, 2014

Beauty In Form And Detail, On A Scale I Never Could Have Imagined…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday and the previous few posts, Family Kiwidutch got the opportunity in the summer of 2012 to visit a commercial seedling operation here in the Netherlands.

We are here because our visiting friend “Velvetine”  is active in the specialised  Bromeliad horticultural society, and has helped host International conferences in Singapore for the same,  thus earning herself a very special invitation from another Bromeliad specialist here in the Netherlands.

Rarely open to the public, Family Kiwidutch as Velvetine’s hosts and friends, also scored this privileged opportunity to look “behind the scenes” at this very unique industry. One thing is for certain, I totally underestimated the scale of this sort of industry, there are literally millions of plants here.

Located a short distance from Schipol airport, there are are series of glasshouses, each one the size of several football pitches. Inside, “parent”  plants, mostly Bromeliads, are grown so that their seeds can be harvested and turned into thousands of tiny seedlings, which are then in turn exported around the world to nurseries, research institutions and various organisations. I know that Velvetine knows many of the “proper” names of  many of these Bromeliad flowers, but I am just trying to do their beautiful forms justice with my camera… the colours are often beyond intense, their structures delicate and stunning!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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January 15, 2014

Aaaagh! The Structural Engineers Are Coming!!!

Filed under: Funny,GERMANY,Monschau — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I know that not everyone shares my off-beat sense of humour, so maybe this post is one that only I appreciate… When photographing this set of houses in Monschau, Germany in the summer of 2012, it struck me that the middle house  in this photo looks like it has a worried “face” on it.  I stared at the photos and started to come up with possible captions to put underneith it, and because of the view that the side of the house affords, my best effort was ” AAggghh, I hear that the structural engineers are due to visit!“.   Is it just me who sees something funny in this building? If it’s not just me, your captions would be most welcome!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 3, 2013

The Thatching Tradition, More Than Just Under Construction…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you just have to get lucky and be in the right place at the right time.

My luck was certainly in on the day that I took photographs of thatched house around the English town of Great Dunmow last summer.

I turned around from photographing one beautiful roof to see another down the road a little on the other side of the street and suddenly realised that the thatch wasn’t all neat and even: it was in the process of being worked on.

A few steps towards the driveway of the house revealed a thatcher perched high up on a ladder busy making a neat line of thatch along the top ridgeline of the house.

I called out a hello and asked if he minded me taking photos of him working and he was so intrigued by my interest that he came down the ladder for a chat.

I learned that far from being a dying trade, there are a small group of local thatchers who keep busy renovating the roofs of local houses and as we saw in yesterday’s photo series, there are also an increasing number of newer homes being built that have thatched roofs. The thatchers each have their own signature styles and patterns of thatch that fit within the local and regional styles and they take great pride in their work.

This thatcher was delighted that I wanted to feature his work and thatching in general on my blog and was very pleased that I wanted to know more about the process. I asked about the fire risk of thatched roofs and was told that because of modern building regulations and modern materials used when installing chimneys these days, that the fire risk was  negligible, but that the cost of thatch was more expensive than a tile or slate roof.That said, the thatch only needed renewing about every forty  years and the density of it made it surprisingly water and weather resistant.

I was totally fascinated by the process and couldn’t believe that Id been lucky enough to see a house in the process of having it’s thatched roof renovated.  I’ve also included some extra photos of other houses I saw that day that better show the thatch in detail.

In some of the houses where the thatch comes low to the ground level, a thin layer of chicken wire encases the the thatch… I saw this house later in the day so didn’t know why… to stop the rodent community from setting up home inside? or birds from stealing straw for their nests? All of it has character and it’s very clear that thatching is far more than a trade, it’s also an art form.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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thatched houses in Great Dunmow 1n (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 1, 2013

Off To Heaven And Hell, um… With a Quick Stop At St. Joseph’s…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are enjoying a quick visit to the Belgian city of Mechelen: it’s essentially a business trip but we have just enough time to  have lunch and take a little look around.

Opposite the restaurant where we had the tagine there is a large footbridge and we ended up on the other side of the canal simply because that’s where the supermarket we wanted to visit was located.

Going home without some beer for Himself and a few friends and some waffles for the kids was not an option and I was keen to get a (dried) leg of ham … but the latter wasn’t stocked here  so I was out of luck.

Luckily we succeeded on the other two counts and tested just how much weight my little backpack could carry stuffed in as many bottles of local and unusual stouts as possible.  The other good thing was that since it was Himself’s beer, he got the job of carrying the now seriously heavy backpack  from then on.

We were just exiting the supermarket when we saw what looked like a tour group party making the rounds with their guide. They were short distance ahead of us and all were stopped at a corner a little way down the canal, and crowded around taking photos.

While Himself was busy (re) arranging beer bottles in the backpack so that the zip would close, I took the opportunity to ask a lady leaving with her shopping what the tourists were looking at please.

“Some of the oldest houses in Mechelen” she said, “… and the oldest wooden one, they are very nice, you should go and take a look“.

Needless to say this became the  next stop on our walk and thus we duly arrived at the same corner now deserted, as the bus tour tourists had departed rapidly to keep to their schedule.  There is a wooden information board on the canal side of the Haverwerf (street name where these stand) that gives some information:

“Houses: St Joseph, the Little Devils, Paradise:  These Facades are representative of the evolution of dwellings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. First they were built of timber and later of stone. From left to right you see: baroque, timber and Gothic with early-renaissance features.”  

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I found quite a few websites where these houses were mentioned but most were just a line or two of the same information… so I’ve amalgamated all  the little bits I found. On several websites they were referred to as the “Heaven”and “Hell” Houses too.

The white and green house corner house  of a row of period buildings is called “Het Paradijs”  (Paradise) and dates from between 1525 and 1550.  

The style is transitional, with Gothic crockets and finials coexisting with Renaissance-influenced tympanum reliefs.  Its front shows scenes from the Earthly Paradise  and two of those reliefs are Adam and Eve scenes:  one representing the Tree of Good and Evil and the other the Expulsion from Paradise (hence the name of the house).

Next door to “Het Paradijs” house is the house called “Duivelshuis / de Duiveltjes” (Devil’s House / Little Devil’s)  and it dates from 1545-1550  though quite a bit of its original planking has been replaced.

Dark carvings depict the story of the Prodigal Son, including a couple of devils. Apparently, its original name (Prodigal Son) never caught on; “de Duiveltjes” or little devils stuck, probably because the fçcade is decorated with  three satyrs or devils.

On the other side of this the “Duivelshuis” house stands “Sint Jozef”. A statue of Saint Joseph showing you Jesus is incorporated in its front. Judging from their glum faces, the little devils are deeply unhappy with their neighbours. The houses are all privately owned.

The angle of the sun ( in our eyes as we looked at the front of the buildings)  made harder than I thought to get some detailed photographs of the façades but I did my best (a higher viewing point would have been handy too) and therefore in one blog post  full of photos I can literally take you from the houses of Heaven to Hell and St. Joseph and back. In this Blog you can sometimes travel veeery far indeed.

http://wikimapia.org/17024194/Devil-s-House
http://wikimapia.org/17024187/Paradise-House

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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February 18, 2013

Society Took the Farm, and Farmed it Out…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is another post in my series about historical Den Haag (The Hague). Every city grows and changes over time, but some specific areas grow and change more than others.

When the Haags Gemeentearchief  (the Hague City Council Archive) put up billboards around the city  to celebrate their 125th Anniversary a few years ago and Himself and I made it my mission to try and photograph them all.

The Gemeente (Council) placed the billboards as close as possible to where the photos had been originally taken and they made a page on their website (Dutch language only) that showed where their physical locations were etc.

Sadly both the website and the billboards were removed afterwards and so I was delighted that we managed to photograph almost every one of them with not just the “old” views that were already displayed on the billboards, but also my own photos of the areas surrounding the billboards as they look today.

This particular photograph is captioned: “Uitzicht van Monnickendamplein 17 ” (View from Monnickendamplein 17) and shows the market garden / glass houses that apparently this area was well known for as they were in 1939.

Himself told me that he seemed to remember a few open spaces that featured gardening still in the district when he was a kid, but those have long since been built on, as various apartment blocks dating from the 1970’s and 1980’s will attest.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried to find some historical facts from the Hague city Archive, but since this area mostly consisted of glass houses (as opposed to old established buildings) there was no information to be found.

Granted I spent hours looking and not days, but at least I tried.

This is  one of the billboards where, if someone who lived the area in 1939 could step directly into 2013, they would get the shock of their lives.

So much has changed, and the food, instead of coming from a market garden or greenhouse a block away, now comes from supermarkets like the Albert Hein (AH) on the other side of the road.

The land of course rose acutely in value as new houses were needed, farmland and it’s earnings could not compete with the return value of residential land,  (market forces and all that)   … it’s fate was sealed.

Society took the farm, and farmed it out to way beyond the city limits.  How little our food used to travel, and how much further it has to now. They call this progress… but I’m not so very certain that it really is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 1, 2012

An Entreating Treaty House…

Filed under: HISTORY,Landmarks,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Traditional,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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There was a building at Waitangi at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi… this is now called the Treaty House. Let’s take a look at the outside:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 1, 2012

A House That Will Almost Literally be Here Today and Gone Tomorrow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family KiwiDutch are visiting family in Christchurch New Zealand and my Aunt and Uncle are talking about their experiences during and after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

It’s amazing the things that happened (or didn’t happen) in the September, December, February and June quakes: each  quake was a unique experience with unique consequences because they came from different faults and directions.

Damage varied from massive in the September quake to minimal in the later ones or in come cases visa versa.

We talk about that “zones” that houses have been labelled and what the colours mean.

A “Red zone” house or business means that either the land or the building or both are beyond repair, and the Government has descided for areas deemed Red, that trying to fix severely broken infrastructure such as water and sewerage and power over, over and over again is no longer a viable option.

Subsequently, if you are Red, the government will pay out the value of your land as per the registered valuation of 2007, your insurer should then pay for the for building and you have to take this option within two years and go and live elsewhere.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Red Zoned properties will be bulldozed and at the moment the thinking of the people of most people is that Red zoned areas will be allowed to revert back to nature… back to their undeveloped state. However, since the government has spent so much money buying out so much land, some fear that maybe five or ten years down the track, the government may be tempted to invest in wholesale land strengthening of the red zones and bring them back to a state suitable for development.

This however is a much more long term idea and one that doesn’t sit easily with any the friends and relatives I’ve spoken with. They would far rather that it be turned into a permanent nature reserve or recreational areas of some sort.

So, what caused some areas to become Red? There are a many possible answers to this question but there are several main causes.

The first is due to liquafaction. When the subterranian soils are mostly sandy and an earthquake strikes, the land literarally turns to liquid as the soil vibrates. Small fissures and tiny volcano like structures appear  along with large and small cracks and the water table is forced upwards shooting out tons of silt and water through all of these new openings .  Often, since the sewerage network is broken at the same moment, sewerage is mixed into the liquafaction as well.

Liquafaction can irritae skin, chokes plant growth, is a heavy soupy sludgy mass when wet and once it dries out it makes a fine corrosive dust that is easily windblown. For every centimeter of liquifaction that makes it’s way to the surface, the land benieth it will have sunk by the same amount.

Liquafaction also causes the land to settle back unevenly once the land becomes solid again, causing houses to warp, twist or break away. The second event that turned many areas Red, was Lateral Spread.

During an earthquake you have a large underground wave surging upwards towards the earths surface and it will come faster to the surface in places where ground surface resistence is lower. Riverbeds and the water above them offer very little resistance so the riverbed is quickly pushed upwards.

This causes the sides of the river to be pushed outwards and severely distorts the surrounding land as the push effect is in turn transferred onwards.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In areas around both of Christchurch’s rivers (the Avon and the Heathcote) where the soil beneith was also predominantly sandy then the combination of Lateral Spread and liquifaction caused land to sink in some neighbourhoods as much as 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet).

For many areas close to Christchurch’s Avon River, the new lower ground level meant that homes were no longer a satisfactury distance above the water table either, so flooding become an issue after every heavy rainfall and with every rainfall and the continuing aftershocks (almost 10.000 to date since Sept 2010)  more liquification continued, further sinking the land.

In areas like Avonside which already had historical problems with semi-regular floods from the river during high spring and winter tides the land is now lower than the river at normal flow and libal to continue sinking.

As land damage was assessed, areas were catagorised into zones. “Red” means that land repair would be prolonged and uneconomic, ‘Orange” means that further assment is required, “Green”means that repairs or rebuilding can begin and “White” means that more mapping and assessment is needed or is still underway (broadly speaking many of the white zone areas are on or around the Port Hills, where subsidence of retaining walls and the threat of rockfalls are the perdominant factor in their zoning).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So… that’s your lesson in geotechnical engineering for the day… But what does it have to do with my photographs?

Well, our discussion about the various zones led us to the plight of the house where my grandparents lived for many many years.

It’s the house where they spent almost all of their later lives, the house with the front bedroom with the big double bed that my sister and I shared whenever we stayed overnight.

It’s here in the “best” living room next door to that bedroom where my mother and her three brother’s fessed up to all their childhood misdemeanour’s after a long day celebrating my Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Among other things, they confessed: close shaves with dynamite, a wire bobby-trap over a bridge that claimed the local constable as it’s victim instead of the school bully who was late that day and a certain West Coast hill fire that a certain Uncle (in his childhood) lit accidently when a matches and secret cigarette combination went horribly wrong.

It might not have been so bad had Granddad not been in the local Volunteer Fire Brigade at the time.

My grandparents, my cousins, sister and I listened agast as the revelations poured out from my mother and her brothers and for every gasp of near disaster there were also tears of laughter at all the funny bits, and in the end we laughed so much it hurt.

It’s here in my Grandmother’s kitchen that I have many a fond memory of my earliest baking efforts, and in their back, less formal living room, many an hour playing card games on folding tray tables tucked up snuggly to well padded armchairs.

The fireplace was in a deco style, with creamy yellow tiles and a thick glass window in the log burner benieth and a poker that I liked pushing embers around with.
The steps by the front door that were painted a shade of blueish grey, that when I was small seemed huge and mountainous, but amazingly they got smaller in later years. The steps out the back by the kitchen lead to my Grandfathers extensive and highly productive and  prized vegetable garden, with the garage at the end of the drive and the glasshouse on the other end of the garage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s also a house that is now in the Red Zone that will shortly be no more.

We drove there and I spoke to the neighbour to ask if she thought it would be ok if I took photos, (and explained why), she said Yes, she thinks it’s fine: she knows the disabled man living there at the moment but he’s due to move out very soon, his stuff is being packed up into boxes and stacked in the backroom (That used to be the sunroom that Grandad slept in).

She doesn’t think he would mind, he’s out at work at the moment.

I learn from the neighbour that there are only six people left living in the street, the rest have moved away and the land is slowly getting worse with every decent aftershock.

Liquifaction seeps out over everything every time it rains, subsidence is random in depth but everywhere, she advises to drive down the centre of the roads because a few of the puddles in the neighbourhood are hiding really deep sinkholes.

Since the street is almost empty and some of the few who are left are due to move sooner than later, the City Council won’t be repairing the streets any more… the streets will just slowly continue their process of disintigration as the aftershocks of various sizes continue and nature takes back it’s own.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

She tells me that because all the houses in the street are due for demolition soon, that the City Council paid contractors who used to keep the garden neat next door for the disabled neighbour haven’t been there since sometime just after last February’s quake, …so apologies that it’s looking so much more run down that it would in normal circumstances.

I make my way gingerly down the drive.

It’s a short but very emotional journey… the steps out the front are still painted that same shade of blueish gray, the front lawn that had once been my Grandmother’s prize flower garden is now overgrown and derelict, there are deep cracks in the driveway and there is black silty liquefaction over and between the plants all down the side of the drive.

Looking closely there are cracks and chips all over the brickwork of the house, the back steps are now covered up with a ramp for the tenant currently living here, but I remember being daring and jumping off the very top step.

The glass house is gone from behind the garage, there is a small one planted on the other side of the garden where Grandad’s compost heap used to be, but the garage is full of cracks and the garden at the back is as overgrown as the one at the front. Soon, the bulldozers will come, and not just this house, but the whole street and neighbourhood will be razed.

Next time I am in New Zealand this area might be so without landmarks and so overgrown that I may have difficulty finding this spot again.

I wipe away a few tears, say my goodbyes and head slowly back down this familiar driveway of former hopscotch and running races one last time.

I won’t be here to see the bulldozer snuff out the physical life of the place, but that doesn’t matter, it lives on in many happy memories and that’s the way whole neighbourhoods will be for many Christchurch residents now anyway.
We shed a tear for the past but we must always be hopefull that a bright eyed future beckens.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Room on right: I remember it as the sun-room that was also Granddad’s bedroom, to the left of it is the kitchen, and on the other side of the back steps, the laundry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cracks continue up the drive and literally cut the garage in half… both through the floor and the brickwork.(I’m pretty sure my father , and ex-carpenter, built this workbench for Granddad, it’s a replica design of one he built in his own garage and still stands today).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Granddad’s glasshouse used to be here, behind the garage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The room on the left was the guest bedroom, the double bed my sister and I shared had the headboard under the window that faced the drive. The room on the right was Gran’s “best” living room, the one with the china cabinet in it, and where the revelations came to light when the family met together after a day out celebrating  my Grandparents 50th… that night will be remembered fondly for the rest of my days.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Granddad’s sunroom on the corner and the less formal, cosy little living room with the window onto the driveway next to it. I’ll miss the yellow Deco fireplace and stacking things up in the airing cupboard to the left to it…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Already, even in the cracks of the driveway, nature fights to return…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The guest bedroom, the headboard was under this window, my sister and I got to listen to the children’s stories on the radio on Sunday mornings whilst having toast on a tray in bed..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back steps, (obscured by the ramp) with Grandma’s kitchen: by her own admission, she wasn’t a great cook, but her sponge cakes  were mind bogglingly tall and light, her slices (bars) and biscuits (cookies) could have revelled any bakery any day of the week and the metal cake tins were always full.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Liquefaction just piles up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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