Local Heart, Global Soul

September 10, 2016

The Best Advertisement Of Your Childhood…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When looking around Trier last summer, Family Kiwidutch saw what looks like a shop front that instantly made everyone stop, smile and point out things about what we see to each other.

What we first though as a shop turned out to be a Toy Museum and has an amazing sign outside it’s door that is one of the best adverts for the contents inside that I have ever seen.

Made from cast iron, the sign not only advertises the shop name, but also depicts toys of all varieties too.

We make a list of the items we could find depicted: a kite, an elephant with a trumpet, a cockerel, boat, football, spinning top, jumping jack,  a little pig on a “step” (scooter), wooden blocks, train, wooden doll.

There is also a doll in a pram, a puppet, a policeman on a rocking horse, a monkey, balls, a dice, a windmill, (something meant to be papier-mâché ?) or decorated balloon heads on sticks, and skittles.

It’s work of art, both in concept, design and finished result… it’s quirky, cheerful and beautifully describes what is inside. We don’t have time to visit on this occasion but this is exactly the type of place that I personally would love to spend some (or rather a lot of) time looking around. This sign is one of the best advertisements for the memories of childhood that I have ever seen… delightful!

(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)

Wikipedia: Trier / Germany

November 9, 2012

The Replica of Flora de Lamar Stands Tall… VERY Tall…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just around the corner from Dutch Square in Melaka, is a sight that will stop you in your tracks and make you go “whoa!!!”.

It’s been out of sight whilst we’ve been in Dutch Square but now that we’ve rounded the corner the exclamations and “wow’s” are coming thick and fast.

What confronts us is a full sized replica of a 16th Century Portuguese galleon called the “Flora de Lamar” that sank off the Melaka coast whilst returning to Portugal. It’s beyond massive: standing at 34 meters (111.549 feet)  in height and 8 meters (26.246 feet) in width.

By today’s standards for ship proportions, this galleon looks stunning but I find myself wondering where in earth the centre of gravity is and if  maybe it sank because it was simply too top heavy?

It’s massively tall for it’s length… but since the Portuguese successfully circumnavigated the globe and were master mariners it’s clearly must have been a design that worked. It’s possible for visitors to climb up to the upper deck of the galleon to enjoy the view.

Maybe it’s just as well we don’t have time to go aboard, it’s a step too far for me on crutches… definitely something for a return visit. The museum itself is housed inside the  replica ship and focuses on the maritime history of Melaka throughout it’s various phases: from the Sultanate, to Portuguese, Dutch and British eras.

http://malacca.attractionsinmalaysia.com/Maritime-Museum.php

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 6, 2012

One Building Has Worn Multiple Hats, Another, the Result of a Dying Wish…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Situated near the Stadthuys entrance of the square stands a clock tower painted in a matching shade of pink/red as the Youth Museum & Art Gallery, Church and Stadthuys… our guide tells us it was built by a son over a century ago to fulfill his father’s last request. I did some research on the internet because I had totally forgotten the names our guide gave us at the time and discovered the following information: (website link at the bottom of this post if you are interested in reading more)

More commonly known as Red Clock Tower, the Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower stands tall at the center of the Dutch Square. While it was named after Chinese billionaire Tan Beng Swee, it was actually his son, Tan Jiak Kim, who had this built in 1886 to fulfill his father’s promise.

Tan Beng Swee was a rich Chinese man who lived in Malacca and was known for his philanthropy. He donated the land where the city’s Chinese cemetery now lies and the bridge just beside the tower.

For almost a century, the clock installed on top of the tower was from England. In 1982, however, it was replaced by a Seiko clock, which was not received well by the older residents of the city and caused an outrage because many of them still remember the suffering they experienced when Japan occupied the city decades ago.”

When I first photographed the clock tower  from the bridge I was under the impression that it supports a radio mast… luckily this isn’t this case, the mast being a far larger construction situated behind the Stadthuys, and my position on the bridge just producing an unfortunate angle.

Once I walked a bit further it was clear that the two were separate and that the clock tower was rather a sweet little building. In case you are wondering if  it’s Melaka’s version of Pisa, it’s me on a lean, not the tower. I was juggling crutches, camera and a water bottle and the further I walked the more I ended up leaning on at one of the crutches when I stopped since it was rather tiring keeping up. Nevermind, you get the idea of the surroundings at least.

I’m not quite sure if requesting my kids to build a clock tower would be an item that features anywhere on a list of my dying wishes… but hey, each to his own, and Dutch Square is certainly a prettier place for it, so maybe Tan Beng Swee was onto something.

There’s another former administrative building on Dutch Square too, it stands on the opposite side of the Christ Church to the Stadthuys and was built in 1784. In 1826 it became the Malacca Free School and then roughly one hundred years later a second story was added to it and it took on a new function as a post office, before finally becoming the  Malaysia Youth Museum & Art Gallery.

The  Youth Museum is located on the ground floor and the Art Gallery is housed on the upper floor and displays artworks from both local Melakan artists and from artists from around Malaysia.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.thepoortraveler.net/2012/05/tan-beng-swee-clock-tower-queen-victoria-fountain-dutch-square-malacca-malaysia/

June 24, 2012

A Posting Back in Time, …But Can I Take My Gadgets Too?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve left the Kauri Museum, but literally right next door is a delightful little building reminiscent of  many New Zealand country town public service buildings. It’s an old post office and there’s an information board giving a little of it’s history.

Matakohe Post Office 1909-1988.

Early mail delivery was to Mangawhai, Waipu and Pahi. The Matakohe settlers had to make their own arrangments to pick up their mail fom these settlements.

Later on mail came to the Matakohe wharf, built in 1881. The first postmistress was Catherine Smith who issues mail from her home “Devon Grove”. When a store ws built at the Matakohe a small postal area was included. This was operated for a number of years until this post office was built in 1909.

The Matakohe post office was a centre of this area for the rural deliveries of Tinopai, Hukatere, Ararua, Oparakau and Parahi until 1988 when postal services were replaced by an agency.

It will come as no shock to find that I adored this place the moment I stepped inside… even though it’s sealed off behind a glass or perspex wall it reeks character, history, and I have a deep fascination with things like old ledgers, bank books, ink blotters and wooden post office boxes.

Maybe I was born in the wrong time…I’d love to have worked here, but I still adore (parts) of today’s technology… so it would have been a deal breaker  if I was unable to combine it with my laptop and the internet. (I know, I know… is there anything worse than a half hearted cold footed historian?).

(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)

June 23, 2012

Reaching Maturity…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amazingly even after all these posts I still haven’t covered the whole museum… there is the history of the Boarding house, more machinery, an entire hallway on New Zealand rural life, but at a certain point I’m thinking we’ve covered so much that the rest?…

… you’ll just have to come and see for yourself one day if you can. Gotta leave some surprises right?

In the meantime there’s some amazing artwork on display at the Kauri Museum … and some beautiful pieces for sale in the shop too.

This place is easily one of the highlights of our trip so far and I could happily do this all again, and again and again.

The Kauri have me in awe,  the human race has the power to cut them down physically but they in turn have the power to cut us down in a sort of emotional  and intellectual sense as their sheer size and age is dominant and inspiring.   In seeing tree rings that span two thousand years we see our own lives as puny smudges of existence in the landscape of time, and I really hope that this humbles us into trying to use our limited time as wisely as we can.

It’s traditional in New Zealand to celebrate your 21st Birthday as a very special occasion to mark your “coming of age”. Often you might be given a large key…  in wood, cardboard or some other material, to signify that you now may have your own “key to the door” and 21st Birthday cards are often in the shape of keys.  I see a carved “21st” key in the display and think it’s funny in light of being in the presence of these ancient trees that human beings think twenty-one means reaching maturity… if Kauri could speak I wonder what age wood would they set adulthood at?

… and if they could speak, with all that they could have witnessed in the 2000 year lifespan, would they think that human beings ever grew up?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 22, 2012

From Tree to Table, there are Literally Ton’s of it…

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

You are looking into the pages of my retrospective Journal documenting our trip to New Zealand (December 2011-January 2012)

This is Northland’s Kauri Museum… with stunning exhibits in halls that lead off halls. I’m still on crutches so taking it nice and slow, letting the others in our group race ahead. Around every corner are new finds…

An information plaque tells me that: “this boardroom table is a single slab of Kauri 15 feet long (4.57m)  and is 4 feet 6 inches (1.37m) at one end, widening to 5 feet 6 inches (1.68m) at the other.  

Both the boardroom table and lectern were commissioned in 1977  by the Chairman of Dominion Breweries and were made and carved by Brian McCurrach of Auckland.

The kauri timber came from a 1800 year old tree in Warawara Forest (Northland) and huge single slabs were taken out by helicopter.The carvings incorporate a broad spectrum of Maori art with particular influence from the carving style of the Whakatohea people of the east coast of the North Island. When Dominion Breweries moved to new premises in 1986  the set was presented by the Chief executive to the Governor General, Sir Paul Reeves for use in Government House.

In 1994 the Governor General, Dame Catherine Tizard passed the pieces onto this museum where they could be appreciated by thousands of visitors each year. The tabletop weighs more than 1 ton (1,016 kg)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve got mixed feelings  about this table and lectern…  they are stunning pieces to be sure,  no doubt about it …but I really had hoped that by 1977 people would have been wise enough by this time in history to have refrained from taking this 1800 year old tree out of the forest in the first place. I can only hope that maybe the tree was used because it was already dying, maybe partly hollow and clearly not going to be able to sustain it’s top weight for much longer or some such reason.

At least then it would have been clearer that  making it into a beautiful and useful item was better than let it rot on the forest floor, but since they don’t specify if the tree was healthy at the time of removal or not, I suppose we will never know.

The timber for this table might have been hauled out with a helicopter, but in times gone by loggers used more labour intensive machinery… there are rooms and rooms of it from hand cutting to the saw mill processes so if you are into working history, this is a place with bucket-loads of it. These photos are just a minuscule sample… let’s have a look.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Even wood-turning on a solid kauri workbench…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 21, 2012

A Treasure Chest of Inspiration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s no mystery why there was  section in the Kauri Museum that displayed household equipment (which comprised mostly kitchen and laundry items) that were made of Kauri or had Kauri incorporated into them.

I’m assuming that the other non-Kauri objects were just historical items that got added to the collection, and yes, there probably was  an information panel to explain it but I was far too busy drooling over the butter churn, butter pats, rolling pin and cast iron pots to notice any information panel by that this point.

If you are a regular reader you will know some things about me… I adore detail, I like taking photos of strange things like  letter boxes, stonework, Art Deco gutter gratings, and decorated  man-hole covers. I like drawing but haven’t been doing any for years…

I’m working on fixing that in fits and starts as time, energy and mood allow. To be honest so far that adds up to many “fits”of  good intentions and not many “”starts” to go with it. My excuse is that still on pain killers and doing intensive physio for my foot, I’ve generally used up all my concentration and energy getting through the day at work and and too tired to muster too much more at home.

I’m currently looking for inspiration  because I have set myself a task to try to learn  to draw foliage better… leaves, trees and the like. When I laid eyes on this next item the acanthus scrolls make my heart skip a beat…  Here’s what I’m adding to my arty photo files… a cash register that used to hold treasure of the fiscal kind is now a cash register  treasure trove of inspiration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 20, 2012

A Kitchen That Mangles My Heart and Churns My Emotions…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Kauri Museum in Northland New Zealand is a bit like Dr. Who’s Tardis…  it looks small on the outside but once inside, you keep finding a new bit that extends further and branches off  just around each corner.

Around this corner I discover an entire section devoted to Kauri wood incorporated into kitchen equipment… a topic as a Foodie that is close to my heart.

From butter churns to washing machine mangles, rolling pins to decorative shortbread and butter forms, I’m captivated.

Now there were a few extra non-Kauri items sneaked into the display too… and yes,  those gorgeous cast iron pots and pans had me drooling  just as much as the woodwork items did.

Foodies amongst you will understand the diversion and forgive me for it… the rest of you I will box around the ears with either the Kauri rolling pin or  a cast iron skillet… your choice !

(of course I’m only joking, Family Kiwidutch are not  a hitting family). Once again I find myself sighing wistfully at the beauty of the workmanship of these tactile tools… they were once the hard working workhorses of the “modern” kitchen and how little we appreciate not having to churn our own butter!

(but I bet that butter churn wouldn’t have looked too beautiful to the poor lady of the house who had to labour over it every day… and of course going to the gym was never a necessity for her, since she got more than her fair share of workouts in her house every day just keeping up with the housework).

Let’s take a 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)

June 19, 2012

Moisturiser… We All Could Do With a Little (or Do the Cracks Still Show?)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve turned the quilting page of my retrospective diary detailing our New Zealand trip of December 2011 and January 2012.

We are still in the Kauri museum and are back looking at these amazingly massive trees.

I noticed that there are some containers of liquid sitting on top of one of the biggest logs…  and  found some information boards close by telling me why these containers are necessary.

What’s happening on top of the log? …Log preservation. The trunk or log of a living tree has water being pumped though part of it (sapwood) and oil and resins being stored in other parts (heartwood).

When a tree is cut down the log starts to dry out. Frequently one of the side effects of this are cracks appearing in the wood. It’s a bit like your skin getting too dry and sometimes cracking.

This log has been on display for several decades and has dried out. In order to prevent more cracks from forming we are injecting back into  he wood some wood “moisturising lotion” called polyethylene glycol (PEG for short) .

Basically we have set up four canisters on top of the log filled with PEG. From each canister there is a feed pipe leading into a hole which has been drilled about one third of the way through the trunk. We are monitoring how much PEG is being adsorbed but expect this process to take over six months.

Another thing we have done is to “seal”  the end of the log so that further moisture loss is prevented. We how that by doing this we can keep the log looking good for many more decades.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I also found it interesting  to see the saw that cut this tree down… in fact the saw was so long that I had a hard job fitting all of into the frame.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Further down there are more large logs, but this one is no longer solid near the centre and I learn:

The hollowing out of some of the large trees eventually lead to their death. In recent years two very large trees, both larger than Tane Mahuta (which is also hollow), have collapsed. Those were Toronui (Waipoua Forest) and Kopi (Omahuta Forest)

It was found that they were quite hollow and the outer wood was unable to hold up the heavy tree tops. Each has reached the age of approximately 2000 years. This log was taken out of the Herekino State Forest as a dying  tree.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last on my list of unusual  bundle of miscellaneous Kauri facts…  here is some amazing Swamp Kauri… these are the giant fallen trees have have been incarcerated in bogs of Northland and the Coromandel and been preserved still as beautiful timber. Forty-five thousand years underground just starts to blow my mind as to the time-scale that these trees have been on the planet…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then I read something that almost made my brain fuse… more Kauri, this time uncovered in massive fossilized state within the seam of  the Yallourn Open cut coal mine in Victoria, Australia.  If I thought that 45.000, years old was old then I was floored  by the next bit…  this fossilized Kauri has spent around 30 million years underground! Even more amazingly, they took a piece of it and a wood turner was able to put it onto a lathe and make this little pot out of it… still  wood after thirty million years!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 18, 2012

This Quilt gets a Big Stamp of Approval…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is the last of  the quilts that I’m detailing in the Kauri Museum.

There were so many that I could have made an individual post on… given you close ups and drooled about colour, technique, patterns and styles.

Many patterns as mentioned in a comment by GH, a fellow blogger from http://www.noodleswithbutter.blogspot.co.uk/  look like familiar American ones… if you look at my post of two days ago, indeed they probably are: quilting has gone International and quilters around the world add their own flavours, textures and colours according to their taste and the culture the pattern comes into.

This last quilt however has a flavour all of it’s own… and a theme that bought back many personal memories.

The quilt is called “Philately” and is a charity project by a local quilters group… and many of the stamps on it were ones I recognised!!!

How funny that memories came flooding back …of looking at stamps on letters as a kid and being fascinated by their designs. I even collected stamps for a little while as a child.

So sad that with the proliferation of e-mail, stamps will never really produce the same sort of memories for my children.

Not every stamp on the quilt is a New Zealand one and a few of the panels (the buzzy-bee toy) are iconic toys rather than stamps… but all in all, the wave of nostalgia that swept over me when I saw this quilt was palpable…

Yet again I’m in awe of the artisty and technical ability of these quilters. Since I’d love to learn quilting one day, these kind of exhibitions serve to both impart large measures of inspiration and intimidation…  I don’t think that anything I could produce could ever  look this amazing LOL.

Sorry if this post is rather photo heavy… there  were  twenty “stamps” featured in the quilt panel and they were all so amazing that I decided to include a close-up of each of them. I hope that you’ll agree that they are each worth their time in spotlight too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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