Local Heart, Global Soul

September 18, 2019

A Very Contained Bridge!

Visiting the Maasvlakte area of the Port of Rotterdam, we came accross a unique solution to a problem. A pipeline needed to cross the road but digging a tunnel underneath would be expensive, likewise for building a permanent structure above. I suppose someone looked around the Port and thought: “What could we use?” and found themselved staring a stacks and stacks of shipping containers. So shipping containers were stacked to make this bridge. It’s certainly solid enough and does the job. Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, the Green way to build a fairly “instant” bridge!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 11, 2019

Beach Patrol…

During our tour of some of the fire stations around the Maasvlakte, Little Mr let out an excited exclamation having spotted vehicles from the Reddingsbrigade (beach rescue/lifeguards) doing an early morning Beach patrol. It was a Saturday, and the weather very warm so we were a little surprised to see so comparatively few people enjoying the beaches. We wondered if kids sports teams, swimming lessons, or parents working may have something to do with it.

Maybe some of the other beaches were just quicker and easier to get to, and of course many people go away from cities or abroad for the summer holidays. Although we saw, plenty of other people as we toured around the roads were empty and it seems like the beaches were too. Still nice to know that the Lifeguard service were keeping a good eye on things in the area.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 25, 2018

The Gondola Road, … And Hills I Once Roamed.

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

The Kiwidutch kids have given us a wish-list for this trip to New Zealand.

Some of the items were vetoed for being impractical, involving travelling distances we will never manage in a short time, financially prohibitive, or involve buying stuff we will never manage to get home.

Some of the things surprised us: they wanted to revisit a few places we went to four years ago on our last trip to refresh the wonderful memories we had there.

Himself and I had imagined that things that interested them four years ago would be far from interesting to them now.

One such item on their wish list was a trip up the Christchurch Gondola, which is where we make our way toward now.

Travelling from the north side of the city, we take the Cranford street, Barbados Ave, Ferry road route which quickly bought us out towards the Heathcote valley where the gondola is located.

The Port Hills are their usual dry, barren selves, the rocky outcrops in stark relief around the tops. I love the ruggedness of the hills.

I took up running for a very short period of time in my early twenties, but the Rapaki track exhausted both my body and my enthusiasm, even though in the steep parts the view got better with every step. In the typical character of someone attempting to stay fit but doing so in a sport that sounded like a good idea in the beginning, after half a dozen hill runs I went back to the flat of the city.

With traffic and noise, enthusiasm ran out and runs got shorter and shorter, less and less regular until I gave up altogether. When a little while later I decided to exercise again, I went back to just plain walking, which in my heart was always my first love. Since I worked shift work at the time and had time off during the day, I spent time walking quite a few of the Port Hill tracks, a source of immense pleasure especially in the Spring and Autumn. Therefore for me the sight of the hills I used to roam never gets old.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Barbados Street, near the city end, heading south…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Roman Catholic Basilica… still under repair after the earthquake. At least the number of shipping containers and iron bracing around for support it has been dramatically reduced.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 23, 2014

The Boat and The Motorbike Are Not For The Kids, And We Gain A New Best Friend…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have found Damouchari port on the east coast of the Pelion peninsular, where some of the scenes for the Hollywood  movie “Mama Mia “were filmed and on one side of the bay there are a few restaurants, the first of which appears to be open.

A perfect spot of lunch, so we make ourselves comfortable at a table that overlooks the bay and check out the menu.  It’s a short menu with a choice of only three or four items because we visited here in October of 2102 and the main tourist season was well and truly over.

While we wait and the children check out the surroundings, I take photographs of  the outside our beautiful eatery in the fantastically warm October sunshine. Little Mr. and Kiwi Daughter are quick to point out two beautifully made wooden children’s rocking toys, one is in the shape of a little “Mama Mia” boat and the other is in the shape of a motorbike: both children looked disappointed that they were far to big to enjoy a ride on them.

I find some thick rope that I take photographs of for sketching purposes sometime in the future and by the time I’ve finished taking photographs of that, we find we have been befriended by the restaurants cat who no doubt has already sized us up and weighed up his chances of gaining a win in the tid-bit stakes once out meals arrive. Our “new best friend” waits  patiently… he knows what’s coming soon…

(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)

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 26, 2011

Should “Medicine” to Keep You Regular Ever Taste this Good?

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another one of my favourite recipes from the ex Recipezaar (now Food.com) website.

I  particularly like this  recipe from “mummamills”  because it’s so ridiculously easy and because a little  of this every so often helps keeps me regular. It tastes brilliant too! If you try it and would like to leave a review too,  just follow the link at the bottom of the page.

Prunes in Port

40 pitted prunes
2 cups port
2 cups red wine
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar

Soak prunes in the port overnight.

Next morning combine everything and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.Take out vanilla bean. (You can wash it and use it again).Bottle, or store in the fridge.

http://www.food.com/recipe/prunes-in-port-212379

April 26, 2011

Everything Neatly Contained!

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Decades ago, cargo was stored in the holds of ships,  packed in crates, barrels and loaded mostly by hand using cranes, pulley’s and nets.

Space on board was not ergonomically used and loading and unloading took manpower and time.

Then came the Container… steel boxes of uniform size what had ships specifically designed to carry them.

Containers got bigger, and the ships to carry them got bigger still. Times changed and today container shipping is an international mega-industry.

Rotterdam’s Container Port works around the clock, year round.

The massive cranes are manned, with crane operators up high in cabins on the cranes.

If you look carefully in the last video clip, you will see that the operators cabins can travel the length of the boom, so that they can be both in visual range of the ship at the dock at one end and the container “trucks” at the other.

The ships are not tied up at the dock at all, instead there are several tugs alongside, keeping steady pressure on the side of the ship, and keeping it push up against the dockside the entire time that loading or unloading is taking place.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The reasons for this are twofold: speed and money, ships queue to book a “slot” at the quay, and they pay hundreds of thousands of Euros per hour for their slot. (If I remember correctly I think a figure of Euro 35.000,- per hour was mentioned).

It’s so incredibly expensive that they don’t waste time tying up the ship, they just keep it pushed up against the quay and start unloading or loading immediately.

The “truck” transporters that the crane drivers set to containers onto are driver-less, guided by network of computer electronics and a special grid to follow laid out beneath the tarmac.

The cranes that take and stack the containers are also completely automated and everything is carefully ordered to that the correct containers are stacked not only in the correct place but also in the right order.

There are special sensors in the automated trucks so that if if something goes awry and they hit something, or something hits them, the whole network comes to an emergency stop.

We watch from behind a large fence (I poke the camera lens though the mesh to get the photographs)  and the whole “dance of the machines” is quite mesmerizing.

Later see a truck that hauls containers from one area to another area with a multiple trailer “road train” style, as used in  Australian haulage, except that here it’s only use for within the Container Port.

Once again the camera can not do the scene justice… the line of containers stretches further into the distance than the lens can focus, as do the gigantic cranes on the quay.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 24, 2011

When Consumerism is an Industry…

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yes, even more industry on our tour of the inner and outer harbours of Rotterdam.

Why do I want to document this? you might ask? Well, because this is a tour that if you should ever get the chance to make it, is even better done in person than represented in bite sized pieces in a blog.

There is simply no way to convey the sheer enormity of the place, the scale of what’s going on, it truly has to be seen to be realised.

I’m realist enough to know that not everyone is able to travel the world, but learning at least something about the bits that aren’t necessarily in the top spots of the guide books teaches us not only about the nation we are visiting in the virtual realm, but also how it actually effects each of us in real terms.

Those cheap tee-shirts and plastic toys made in China? they pass though here and on to most of the countries of Europe, just the same as they do in  the biggest ports in Asia, Africa or North and South America.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

That Greek or Italian cheese you like most from the deli or the Spanish paprika,  it all passes though here on it’s way to supermarket shelves around the world. Rotterdam Harbour also boasts a  building that is one of the biggest cool-store and frozen goods buildings in the world.

Sadly I didn’t get a photo, but imagine a warehouse building that looked to be about seven stories high and stretches over hectares and you have the general idea…

How we live in the Western world is represented here.  Entry and exit points like Rotterdam Harbour expose the heavy industry needed to sustain and maintain our consumerist ways, our material mindedness and energy burning existence.

If you want to be brutal, this is the dark side of your local High Street, Main Street, and Mall.

It’s part of what makes a lot of Western nations tick.  Consumerism is an industry in itself.

That thought shocks and awes me in equal measure.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 23, 2011

A Industrial Road and Where it Leads…

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I’m still taking you on a tour of the Port of Rotterdam that Himself and I went on last year.

We have transferred from the boat that took us though the inner harbour back to our coach, and have now driven out to a large “polder” (area of reclaimed land)  that is quite amazing to behold. A few decades ago all of this was under the sea. Some sixty plus square kilometers have been reclaimed in order to extend the  Port of Rotterdam even further, and since the land reclamation project is still going… it’s still growing.

We quickly find ourselves in the thick of some very heavy industry, the true scale of which can not be done justice with a few photographs. All of these were taken out of the front or side window of the coach… Himself and I get the first two seats up front as I turn into a very green passenger if I sit in the back ( and I don’t mean “green” in the eco-friendly sense).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Markers by the side of the road, all the way around the outer port, show where the underground gas transport systems are.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

But just when you thought that it was all work and no play, out here I spy something that tells me someone has a sense of humour…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 19, 2011

The Port of Rotterdam…

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From the early 1960’s until 2004, The Port of Rotterdam was the busiest port in the world. It’s is now the third busiest,  having been overtaken by Shanghai and Singapore respectively.

It’s in the top ten of the world’s biggest container Ports, and is the biggest port in Europe. The land area that it occupies has been extended by some 60 square kilometers by reclaiming land from the sea, so it covers over one hundred square kilometers to date.

The Harbour is ‘divided” into different areas, there is the container port in the outer havens and in the inner havens there are the sectors dealing with ship repairs, ships that specialise in oil transport and the shipment of chemicals and hazardous materials, and the transportation of raw materials, sand, stone, coal etc.

The harbour is located at the mouth of the river Nieuwe Maas and is so big that part of it are freshwater and parts of it are saltwater.

The various parts of the harbour are constantly dredged to avoid the build up of silt, but great care is taken that sand from the freshwater part of the harbour is kept separate from that taken from the salt water parts, that they are not mixed and that the salt water sand is not dumped anywhere where it would contaminate the land.

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)

January 5, 2010

Now HERE’s an investment for the kids to celebrate…

Filed under: LIFE,The vaguarities of Parenting — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Now here’s an investment for the kids to celebrate…

We just bought 2 crates of port… one for each year of the children’s birth, 2001 and 2005.. Nature was kind and both ended up being more than decent vintages. OK, it wasn’t cheap but it only gets opened when the kids are 21 … so we should have recovered financially by then.

Our wine merchant is Dutch, his wife is Portuguese and they were going on a visit to Portugal. Before we invested in these Ports, Hubby recommended several varieties for our wine merchant to try whilst they were there  and I must admit that I blushed…  …because well, recommending Ports to a PORTUGUESE????(rolling my eyes) should surely be viewed a just plain rude, wouldn’t it ?…

But miracles happen and a) they weren’t offended and b) and they hadn’t actually tried these ones before… and they were so delighted with the taste of  their new discoveries that more bottles will be finding their way into their shop soonest.

That’s good news on the whole I think,… but bad when it comes to our grocery budget when the excellent-but-definitely-pricier stuff will be all to available just around the corner instead of in another country and in the ” special occasion, we are on holiday, so this is a treat” budget.

Our excellent downstairs neighbour has a wine cellar under the house, the  crates are stashed there, he scored a (bottled) something for the storage ” fee” and an invite to taste a bottle together of our stash once it’s matured.

Now THAT’s a great investment for the kids… because if they turn out to hate an excellent vintage of aged Port when they are 21, then well Heck, then your Father and I will just have to put the stuff out of it’s misery… by the way… that’s parental compensation for getting to eat the ” ugly food”, the experimental food… ( Yes children…, chocolate spread with chocolate sprinkles and doused in golden syrup did SEEM like a good idea at the time, but, it does indeed taste ghastly) and reheating  and eating your wrinkled cold leftovers etc for our lunch in our efforts to  save us throwing out yet more food that you  little fussy-breeches-food-philistines turned up their noses at.

For us therefore, these crates of Port are the  Perfect Gift…  if you turn 21 and find you love it then Good for You ! Proost ! If not,  Tough for you… we tried and will willingly give your not-at-all sour grapes the appreciation that they deserve.

..so if they DO end up being connoisseurs of fine Port, then we will have done a half decent job as parents. For once in a very very long time with kids, instead of gifts that are ridiculously noisy, irritating, too hard to assemble, have parts that get lost or which break on their first outing, or which is cheap rubbish marketed with an inflated price tag,  this gift might actually turn out to be the perfect  win-win situation.

Cheers to that!

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