Local Heart, Global Soul

November 23, 2011

Sometimes the Machine Gunner tries hard to be More of a Sniper…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These photos from my Leerdam travels  managed to escape my eye earlier and didn’t get posted.

I took these sunset shots  by the car park by the Argentinian Restaurant  when we went here for dinner the other day.  The sunset was so beautiful by the water that it seemed like a good time to try out a few impromptu arty photography shots.

Of course  a large dose of professionally is missing because moving around on crutches means photos that are even more lopsided than my usual efforts and not having my tripod with me means that that perfect stillness wasn’t happening  in these photos any time soon either .

I don’t think I take too many “arty”shots, I’m more of a “see it, click it ”  kind of  gal.

If  my photography were to be compared with  a weapon I’d definitely be a rapid fire, all fire blazing  machine gun rattling through bullets at an alarming rate and not the carefully aimed sniper who patiently waits for just the right moment to squeeze the shutter button gently down.

So here is a Kiwidutch attempt at “arty” photography. I’m open to critique (that’s Politically Correct terminology for “she needs all the help she can get“) Fire away…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 22, 2011

When Our Best of Intentions to Dine Genteelly ….Falls as Flat as a Pancake.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is one massive drawback of our decision to not bother cooking for the two days that we have been in Leedam.

The drawback is that we never thought to have a  “Plan B”.

Since Kiwi Daughter is now mature enough to not disgrace herself in a Restaurant , we assumed that Little Mr had progressed decently in this respect as well.

We were wrong.

His day just keeps steadily  unravelling, he makes unreasonable demands in shouting, whining or angry mode,  his severe  lack of listening skills lead me to believe that his ears must have fallen off when he got out of bed this morning…

… he’s picking for a fight at every opportunity over any real or imagined slight,  his “attitude” meter is turned up as far as it will go.

In fact, his attitude meter has gone way past “now would be a sensible time to stop, kid”  zone  and  into the ” watch out, you are seriously tempting your parents to give you away” zone.

With the crystal clear vision of 20/20 hindsight, we shouldhave just asked directions to the nearest take-a-way joint, got something quick and  easy to eat or take with us and headed back to  the camp-site as soon as possible.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Instead I made the mistake of thinking that a “Pannenkoekenrestaurant”  (Pancake Restaurant) would have child-friendly fare so all we should have no problems from Little Mr.

The logic in this  turned out to be  only partially sound, Yes: pancakes can be considered child friendly food, but if the child is not itself   in a friendly frame of  mind, then maybe no menu on earth was going to  bring peace and harmony to the situation.

The pancake restaurant in  question is called ‘t Veerhuys  and I’m sorry to say that Family Kiwidutch were not in this instance role-model customers. (well, one  member of family Kiwidutch wasn’t at least).

We mistakenly assumed that Little Mr’s.  grumblings were entirely due to hunger and that feeding him would improve his disposition  (as is often the case at dinner-time at home).

Sadly this  time his moodiness is  just a continuation of an entire day’s  “out of sorts” and he moans about which pancake he wants, he decides he doesn’t want it when it comes, he demands a different one (loudly) and won’t take “no” for an answer.  He refuses to sit at the table and makes such a pest of himself  that Himself  hastily eats the last of his own pancake, and silently scoops up a wiggling, belligerent Little Mr. under one big strong arm and heads out with our  little monster  to the car standing in the car-park a short distance away.

Kiwi Daughter and I listen  with faces burning with embarrassment as Little Mr’s angry  protestations continue all the way until he is in the car and the door is shut behind him.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself takes the drivers seat and I can see him trying  to ignore the  tantrum in the back. I’m left with half a meal on my plate and Kiwi Daughter with half a pancake on hers. We try and finish our plates as quickly as we can so that I can pay and we can get back to the car and out of here.

It’s a great shame because the meal is not bad at all and it would have been nice to have done it  justice.

I see that they have small single serve sizes of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream on the menu, I  ask if it’s possible to take some away with us.

The lady who’s been serving us a really nice when I say that I don’t feel comfortable having dessert whilst poor Himself is stuck in the car with a  small kid having a large meltdown.

She’s already witnessed most of it of course so our discomfort is obvious.

Yes, we can get some of these to take with us. I pay the bill and Kiwi Daughter and I make our way back to the car.   Little Mr. has calmed down a little bit after getting the silent treatment from Himself because Himself is really angry with him. That fact is finally starting to sink in.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This post is less a Review of  ‘t Veerhuys and more an apology to them, had we realised that Little Mr. was going to turn on a show of his worst manners ever,  we would have taken  greater evasive action as parents and not foistered his  bad behaviour on the unsuspecting public of Leerdam.

It was not the fault of the food or the Restaurant at all, just a six year old boy having an ultra-bad day and  managing to ruin an evening for the whole family.

Himself and I resolve that since we have a relatively early start tomorrow,  that an early bedtime for a certain child is in order. He’s still  a ratty bratty back at camp but turns on his best angel face once he’s asleep.

I don’t have a clue what spanner was in Little Mr’s works today, but let’s hope that he wakes up with his emotional  and mental machinery in better working order tomorrow.

Once again apologies are in order for the Restaurant… I’m sure the meal was nice,  I had  home-made lamb rollade  with sweet garlic sauce and naturally it would have tasted it better if I hadn’t been trying to inhale it,  pay and escape. Your patience with us was commendable. We were rotten customers but I was at least embarrassed enough to leave a big tip.

Travel with kids is always an “experience” of one sort or another, pancakes were a great idea,  it’s just that this kid, on this day,  fell flatter than any pancake and  failing to read the signs well enough, that was completely our mistake.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 21, 2011

Introducing a Little Green Friend (No Kisses Though, …I have Already Found My Prince)

Filed under: Miscellaneous,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I don’t often get the chance to shoot wildlife photographs.

We live in an apartment, in a large city, have no garden, have no pets due to allergies and aside from the usual city invaders that are pigeons, seagulls and magpies, the “wild” part of our local “wildlife” are few and far between.

Added to this is my year’s lack of mobility, no walks to parks this year, no hikes to the beach, in fact it’s been a very ” boringly stuck inside the house a lot”  year so it was with surprise and delight that whilst picking my way along the path to the pipos wagon that I suddenly see a little creature sitting very still on a log of wood.  A beautiful green frog!

For Himself,  frogs are nothing special, there are waterways in abundance here in The Netherlands (isn’t that  the understatement of the year!) and Himself grew up in small villages with many an open field and many more canals nearby so frogs were literally hopping everywhere at some times of the year.

I however spent my earliest years in a dry mountainous region of New Zealands South Island and then moved to the city of  Christchurch , neither of which sported any vast  frog populations for me to discover, so I’ve only seen a frog  up close  like this a few times in my life and I think they are wonderful little creatures.

I have my camera in my pocket and I think that it was luck that I was moving so slow that the little frog probably didn’t know I was there,  so I was delighted to grab a few photos of my little green friend.  My little  “Wildlife” as tame as he is, got camera shy just after these photos were taken…

… or maybe he  needed to hop off  because he was late for an appointment with a Princess.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 20, 2011

Villa Brazza: One Déjeuner Magnifique and One L’enfant Terrible…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We leave the Leerdam Glass Museum and decide that since we didn’t want the hassle of cooking for ourselves this short break, that we had better find some lunch before we head back to the camp site for a rest.

We drove around aimlessly on purpose at first,  taking smaller roads just to see where they went and after a short while we came out onto a big road where there was a sign advertising food.

The café/ restaurant is calle Villa Brazza, the building is impressive:  a stunningly beautiful railway station in brick and whilst it’s clear that the space where the restaurant is now, is probably a reincarnation of  the former waiting room and ticket offices, the building does still function as a train station so we sat by a window that looked out onto the platform and were conveniently lined up with the spot where the fiets (bicycle) carriage  part of the train is located at the end of the train.

Two trains came and went whilst we ate and on both occasions the bicycle carriage was a hive of activity, first alighting passengers stream out with their bikes and then the  passengers waiting to board stream in.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For the middle of the day I was amazed (and delighted)  to see how busy it was,  it’s such a Dutch tradition to cycle to a train station,  take your bike on the train and then cycle onwards to your destination after you’ve arrived in the city you are travelling to.

There are many complaints about how congested the ever increasing  car traffic is making Dutch Roads,  but bicycles still outnumber the Dutch by about three to one and it’s nice to see so many people going about their business with their bikes.

We’ve arrived a little to early for lunch so the place is still empty and getting ready for customers,  but this turns out fine for taking photos of the surroundings …

…(I try a few ‘arty’ photos with sunflowers, pumpkins and a square(!) watermelon  …with mixed success) and taking our time choosing what we want.

The kids opt of guacamole and chips,  I bag a taglietelle with baked salmon and creamy white wine sauce and Himself got a pasta dish that I forgot to write down the name for, but I do remember that it  had mushrooms in it somewhere somehow.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr turned out to be in an incredibly unreasonable mood and drove us spare by constantly trying to stand up on the lovely velvet bench seats.

NOT something he’s ever allowed to do at home and he persisted with his efforts-with-attitude to the point that a member of staff had to come over and also join in the telling-off’s. (sigh, some days, he’s not one of mine, I swear).

It was sad that this efforts only made Himself and I resolve to remove him from the premises as soon as we could possibly manage so while the meal was very tasty we would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if we hadn’t eaten it so fast.

There were howls of  indignant protest from Little Mr. about the lack of dessert but we are  not  rewarding his determined lack of listening and self control with treats and in the end the one I felt most sorry for was Kiwi Daughter who was excellently behaved, ate well  and sadly missed out on dessert by default.

Whilst Himself paid the bill and managed to get a grumpy, uncooperative Little Mr. out the door, I whispered to Kiwi Daughter that we would make things up to her later, so when she suggested that a small, extra sum of cash could maybe be added to her pocket money in lieu of dessert treats and this was duly done.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’d love to come back here and have a more restful meal (maybe when Little Mr. is old enough to have left home as that’s probably for how long this place will have bad memories of this visit).

We get everyone in the car and try and ignore/head off/mediate the beginnings of World War Three that Little Mr. appears determined to start with Kiwi Daughter, Himself and me.

Back at the camp site I need a rest, Himself says he will try and keep Little Mr. quiet and I say not to bother, I’m so tired I’ll sleep anyway.

The girls on the bike tour packed up  and left on the next leg of their journey early this morning,  since then a couple arrived with a big tent and set it up more or less in the same place the girls had been,  but we passed them on the driveway leaving for town as we came in so I knew the kids had the entire camp site to themselves and assumed hopefully nothing would fix Little Mr.’s determined bloody-minded mood like a rare opportunity to let of steam with no noise control limits.

I was both right and wrong…  he apparently made a lot of noise during the ensuing games of chasing, tag and hide and seek and I slept through it all for  almost three hours anyway, but sadly Little Mr’s  strange mood and itch for trouble hadn’t abated much even after that, after all.

He’s totally out of sorts… end of holiday blues? too much excitement over the adventure of camping?  or just a little boy having a really big “off” day.

The mind of  six year old children is hard enough to figure out at the best of  time, so forget logic and common sense and just settle on a vague … ‘who knows?”.

(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)

November 19, 2011

Going Going Dooown… …Going Going Upppp!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I know that I literally showed you the door of the Leerdam Glass Museum in the very last photo in my last post, but there is one last thing I still  need to show you from inside.

Remember that I needed to use the lift to get upstairs? well this lift is, I think worth it’s own post because  it’s unlike any other lift I’ve ever been in.

So what makes it different?  Well first of all you press a button (as you usually would for a lift) but the door has a red light and a green light, you can only open the lift door once the red light goes out and the green light goes on. Unlike most lifts where the doors open automatically, with this lift the door is manually operated and opens outwards from where you are waiting to get in.

Once you are able to open the door and step inside the lift,  it quickly becomes apparent why this is so …because this lift has no roof!!!  To operate the lift you simply press the “up” or “down”  button and release when you get to the floor you want to get out at.

It’s a tad trickier than it looks because the door won’t open at all if the floor of the lift  is not well enough lined up with the floor outside, and  on my first attempt with the lift I  apparently overshot  just enough that the door button stayed red and the door refused to open.  Himself and the kids had raced off up the stairs so I was left for a few minutes (um, or five)  trying to work out how to bring to lift to the right level to get the door to actually open and let me out!

Once I’d mastered it  on the first journey though, I had no problem with getting in and out of the lift after that.

It does look a little eerie looking up at the doors way up above you when you are on the lower ground floor. (The museum is on the side of a dyke, so the lower ground floor leads to the garden at the bottom and it’s also where the café area and restrooms are).

… and yes, the dark square at the very top is the second floor!

Looks quirky to me…   …take a look for yourself  and see what you think!

November 18, 2011

All Shapes, Sizes and Colours…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

The Leerdam Glass Museum continues to surprise me at every turn. There is almost a century of styles here,  from Deco to ultra modern and in more shapes, colours and methods  of making  than I thought possible in glass.

Even the clock in the little café is delightfully made in colourful glass, and in the garden outside,  more glass art …housed in what? … why glasshouses of course!  Let’s take a  last look around…

(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)

November 17, 2011

Andries Copier: a Designer who left a Lasting Legacy in Glass…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Andries Dirk Copier (pronounced “koh-peer”) was born in 1901, the oldest of ten children and followed his father into the glass industry when he was 13 years of age.

He quickly showed a talent for drawing and took a course at “The Middle” in Leerdam between 1915-1918. His artistic talents came to the attention of P.M. Cochius who was the Director of the Glassworks at Leerdam. Cochius was a firm believer in corporate socoal and community responsibilities and recognising the potential that Andries displayed, he enrolled him in and paid for, several art courses.

Clearly this was an inspired move on the part of Cochius because Copier not only excelled as a designer but went on to be associated with Leerdam Glass from 1914 until 1971.

Andries Copier’s first glass service was produced in 1923 and was inspired by floral shapes but after a trip to the Bauhaus in the late 1920’s his designs became more functional and geometric.

Not every one of these early designs were a success: one drinking glass had elegant outgoing rims that forced the glassblowers making them to form a huge bubble of which only the lower part was used. These glasses slipped over very easily, were exceedingly fragile, impossible to clean and few survived.

Over the decades Copier pioneered many new techniques, shapes, decoration and colours and many of his pieces are expensive and saught after collectors items today.
It’s a little known fact that Copier did not limit himself to glass design. He created designs for a large range of products: both for Leerdam Glass and other companies that included promotional material for the glass factory, many with elegant wood carvings, tableware in silver for Gero, in plastic for KLM and in porcelain for Eschenbach (Germany). These sets are chatactorise by their smooth and simple designs.
Copier even had the opportunity to work with a completely new material: graniver.
Graniver is a glass mixture to which so much sand has added that it takes on a granite-like texture. Initially Leerdam Glass used it for tiles and mosaics but Copier designed flowerpots in it and introduced graniver to a much large audience.

In 2012 The National Glass Museaum will start the Copier Research Project, and open and online research envirnment for Dutchglass art and design, and such is Copier’s lasting legacy that in Leerdam 2012 will be known as “Copier year”.

(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)

November 15, 2011

Around Leerdam…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Coming into Leerdam from the camp site we decide to take a few of the small side roads so that we could get an idea of the area and happily found a farm that had a sigh for home-made Jam for sale by the front gate. Of course any Foodie with a Local Heart could not by-pass something like  this, so Himself went to the door to enquire about buying but sadly no-one was home.

We continue with the small roads and come out by the Glass Museum  and later I combine the various photos that I’ve taken around Leerdam, so here you have a general idea of the local surroundings.

There is structure in the car park by the museum that has concrete pillars that incorporate lots of pieces of (we are in Leerdam so what else?) … Glass! …and it glitters and glistens only spasmodically on this grey day as pieces catch the  suns rays  (but my photos didn’t appear to catch any of it). I can imagine it would look quite a sight when the sun was shining properly.

From the same car park we  also spy some people getting a rowing lesson, and our  excited  kids were a little disappointed to learn that they couldn’t just go down there and join in.

There is a quirkily shaped older  house on one of the bigger roads that has a very large round room at one end, and there are some new houses a bit further down that appear to have been designed to echo the same shape. Sadly I only manage fleeting photos as we zoom past in the car.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 14, 2011

Flame Red not Just in the Brazier…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m still taking you on a retrospective tour of our short trip to Leerdam.

We’ve just had a fabulous meal at an Argentine restaurant and now we are back at camp.

The kids might be tired but sleeping when there are torchlight adventures to be had is apparently out of the question.

Adding to the excitment, there is a new tent going up through some trees,  in the next clearing, and three teenage girls are unpacking their gear.

They are on a four day biking tour together before they start the first year of their university studies and if they minded our curious brood watching their tent being assembed, they were at least too polite to say so.

Himself pulled the kids away after they had finished telling the girls where the toilets were, where the showers were etc and hopefully before the kids made complete nuisance of themselves.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself eventually diverted them with the spectacle of a fire started in our brazier… the kids loved it and got all dramatic about an open fire (agh, I’m actually quite shocked that they are such city kids!)

Our city apartment living is showing. Sooo different to how I grew up.

A small canal separates us from the farmers field next door and there is a small path along the edge of the field where the resident horse takes his daily ambles… (again, unexpected squeals of delight from our kids to see a horse, untethered so close by)

I had taken photos of said horse in daylight and the kid excitement levels escalated again when he wandered by as the sun set in the background.

For goodness sakes kids, it’s just a horse, haven’t you seen a horse close up before?  um …nooo is the actual answer, I mean these kids don’t even have a garden to play in, I remind myself  “should I really be so surprised?”.

I try to do the sunset justice with my camera and being a mere moral with mere machine, we both fail. Nature does it so much better than man can capture it. You’ll just have to image that it was even better than this.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 13, 2011

La Stancia …means You Don’t have to Go All the Way to Argentina to Get a Great Steak!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We head back to the camp site because the kids are bursting to explore the grounds and I’m tired and need a rest after my  quota of walking today. Whilst I take a nap, Himself takes the kids for a local walk where they discover the ruined site of a local castle close by.

There are only ditches and mounds to mark the foundations these days because apparently the owner of the castle was a spectacularly nasty man and was intensely disliked by the locals.

Whatever the truth is as to the goings on inside it, the castle gained such a reputation for being haunted that at later time when that owner was out of the picture, the locals tore the entire structure down so not a stone remains.

Later in the afternoon we head back into Leerdam to look for a place to have dinner, and since walking is an issue we find ourselves in the same car park that we used when we went to the Glass Studio, because Himself had noticed that there is an Argentinian restaurant right next door. It’s still a bit early for dinner but the whole family are hungry, and so why not?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Restaurant is called “La Stancia” and the  menu looks wonderful.

Of course  the cuisine is heavily meat orientated, but if anyone can cook a steak well I hope an Argentinian can. I don’t often order steak here in The Netherlands because they always seem to mess up cooking it, I don’t want my meat so rare that it’s  “walking” , I do want to see that it’s cooked, but I don’t want it tough as old boots either.

Here I took a gamble and ordered steak, and darn it if it wasn’t drop dead done to total perfection. If only we lived closer!!!!

We get a substantial meal that was excellent, and Little Mr. and Kiwi Daughter were bribed with dessert for finishing salad and sweetcorn on the cob… they shared some of our meat but were more interested in the French fries and bread.

Entertainment was also provided in the shape of a passing hot air balloon, which had the kids craning their necks to see for as long as they could.

The dessert turned out to be wonderful as well and we went away a well fed and very happy family. We didn’t mind going at the beginning of the evening when it was quiet and so we could take our now rather tired kids home for a half-decent bedtime.

Himself and I would love to come back here for a meal again some time… that might take some planning but in the meantime we’ve had an excellent evening.

(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)

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.