Local Heart, Global Soul

April 7, 2015

Taking A Little Rest From The Beating Waves On Your Sides…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you have a small dinghy, jet-ski, kayak or yacht, and you live in New Zealand then getting it out of the water involves a boat ramp so that you can get your car down to the water’s edge, a roof-rack to put you lighter craft on to or a tow-bar and trailer for your larger one.

In the Netherlands that can also be done, but since fewer people have a storage space at home for a boat, many people have a boat but no trailer to take it out of the water with.

Instead, like my brother in law, they pay for a marina space during the summer months and then sail it in the autumn to a spot where a company will lift it out of the water for you and store it until you next want it into the water again.

Maintenance and cleaning can be done whilst the boat is out of the water and it doesn’t matter if the waterways freeze (not an issue that New Zealand “boaties” (as they are called) ever have to contend with.

The Dutch sailors have to pay for the storage etc which is why it’s a far more expensive hobby here than in New Zealand where many a boat or jet-ski is parked in the double garage.

Therefore it’s not a common sight for me to see boat slings and hoists, apparatus for getting larger boats out of the water. Naturally when there are three of them to be seen as we travel around De Kaag, a lake just outside Leiden in the Netherlands in our little rented sloop, I have the camera at the ready.

So nighty-night Boatie… come out of the water for some tender loving care (and probably a good portion of the owners savings) and enjoy a little rest from the beating of the waves against your sides.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 6, 2013

Scouting Around a Canal for a Theme…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are heading back to the car after our day trip out seeing our Brother in law’s  little sailing boat.

We’ve crossed the waterway with the ferry and are heading back to the car park a short distance away.

The kids didn’t notice on the way, but there is a row of small boats on this secondary canal that belong to  the scouting organisation.

They are pretty much all alike and have each been given a make-over that stamped each one with a Sponge-Bob character or the name of  popular soft drinks.

The kids giggle as they discover the various themes and characters one boat after another and wrangle with each other as to their favourites and why the favourite they each have chosen is the best one.

Walking slowly at the rear, I catch up the rest of the group as they stash the last of the picnic stuff, life jackets etc. into our respective cars.

Of course Brother in Law and I could not resist teasing Himself about checking the car-park for possible duplicate grey Volvo’s…

…just in case he felt the need to follow a complete stranger goodness knows where,  for the second time today.

There are no extra Volvo’s in the car park but there is a dark grey car of a different brand,  Himself retorts “it might do at a pinch”…  He know’s he’s not going to live down this morning’s mistake  for a while and he can laugh even though the jokes on him.

The weather may have been less than what the weatherman promised us, but on things was for sure, the promised first  frosts did arrive by the end of the week as autumn arrived  and temperatures plummeted.  We definitely made the best of one of the last days of summer. Sailing is fun,  next summer we will be back!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 5, 2013

Crossing the Water and Watching the Boats Sail on By….

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Welcome to my retroactive post of photos taken very late last summer of Himself’s and the kids first sailing trip.

Ok, so only Himself actually got to sail, but the weather is still warm enough for the older kids to enjoy swimming and finishing the day with large helpings of bitterballen, toasted sandwiches, apple juice and hot chocolate (featured in yesterday’s post) has been the icing on the cake.

Whilst said consumption was taking place, I took the opportunity to take photos of the boat traffic going past the café, we see the ferry go past several times and then later, when it’s time of us to board, I try and get some arty shots of rowing boats and sunlight on the water.

It suddenly gets busy as cyclists, boaties, walkers and picnicker’s all start to head homewards. Amazingly the food had given our kids and visitors a new burst of energy and they are running around like laughing, shrieking wild things (come to think of it, What else is now, if probably wasn’t the  food, they are usually like that after just sitting still for a whole 20 minutes).

The bigger girls help tote picnic baskets and the folding chairs and although it’s far from being dark yet, when the light catches the water at a particular angle, the water starts to sparkle and is rather literally like watching some of the boats sailing into the sunset…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 4, 2013

Working up an Appetite in the Fresh Air…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that the children in our group had requested our next destination…  their wish was granted and this lead to us trailing the figures of the three older girls as they raced ahead in the direction of the Café  situated by the jetty that the ferry that bought us here docked at.

Once we catch them up we find that they are still itching to go swimming, but we find that swimming is not allowed directly in front of the café, partly because of the ferry and boat traffic that frequent this particular stretch of water.

Since all three of the girls have their swimming diploma’s they can go around the corner to a quieter stretch of water and swim as much as they can until the food we have ordered is ready. The Dad’s take turns to keep an eye on them whilst I take a seat at a table and look after the two smaller boys.

They have to be restrained from climbing onto several all of the boats parked nearby and so they then entertain themselves by throwing a little plastic boat with the string on it into the water as far as they can, dragging it along the dock and then hauling it out ready for the next throw. Making sure they keep hold of the string so they don’t loose the boat but also manage to not follow it into the water when they throw it, is a small chore that keeps me busy until the distraction of food arrives.

The chosen fare are the ever favourites of toasted sandwiches and the very Dutch “bitterballen” (literally ‘bitter balls”) which is a little misleading because they are not bitter in flavour at all, but rather the name derives because they were traditionally served with the alcoholic drink of  “bitters”.

Basically to make bitterballen, you cook meat in herbs and spices, shred it, mix it into a stiff white sauce,  coat it in an egg and breadcrumb mixture and then deep fry them. Traditionally the are served with mustard too, although it isn’t to everyone’s taste.

As the food is served the older girls come running back, having worked up an appetite and keen to devour everything in sight. In fact the boys lay waste to a very decent stack of toasted sandwiches too, and the kids wolf down a second round of orders as well, so clearly the fresh air does them plenty of good.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 3, 2013

Racing Around in Your Yacht, eh?

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing my posts from last summer’s archives: We are out on a day trip at the very end of summer with the idea of a picnic and some sailing in our Brother in Law’s (new to him) little sailing boat.

The wind is so hard that the kids and I have opted for the comfort and safety of dry land whilst Himself and brother in Law go for a long sail in the bigger waterway  just around the corner from where we are sitting.

After being treated to a colourful parade of boats that appear to be together and in party mode, the kids and I then become spectators to a sailing race, a long barge takes a position  over by the reed bank on the other side of this canal and the crew produce loud-hailers from which they then shout directions to the racing yachts.

At one point of the race the sun breaks though the cloud and highlights a stretch of water in sparking contrast to the looming grey surrounding  it and three of the yachts are illuminated in parallel as they sail past. At this point I confess to being more interested in the photographic qualities of the light on the water than on the sailing race, especially as they aren’t doing anything too dramatic like falling in.

Soon after, Brother in Law and Himself return and  we start packing up the picnic things and stash things in the boat to motor back to the marina. Himself didn’t mind the rough water sailing trip he’s just experienced, they both got rather wet from the spray whipped up by the wind but they come back with the kind of grins in faces that grown men often exhibit after successfully battling the elements and surviving to tell the tale.

The kids pile into the boat and get a ride back to the marina under the power of outboard motor, Himself and I take the walking path and meet them further up… the multitudes (of kids) have voted on our next destination…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 2, 2013

Ringside Tickets to an Unexpected Parade…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a retrospective post from late summer 2012. We’ve come out to see our Brother in Law’s sailing boat and it was the intention that Himself and our kids go for their first sail.

The intensifying wind and increasingly choppy conditions have put paid to the kids going out; even with their basic swimming diplomas they are not strong enough swimmers to manage well should the yacht by any chance capsize out in the more open water but  Brother in Law says that for Himself, a strong adult swimmer, things shouldn’t be a problem.

Since crutches and a small boat are not grand companions and given that my swimming skills are negligible to say the least, I aim to stay firmly planted on terra firma with the five kids and so Himself goes out for a spin with Brother in Law.

They head off around the corner of a nearby reed bed to an area where there is an ever bigger waterway and after quarter of an hour after they left the kids and I get treated to an interesting show.

For some reason all of a sudden an entire parade of larger boats starts to pass our picnic spot. Not just a few boats either, I think there were at a rough guess between 50 and 60 boats,  all in a neat line almost nose to tail.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have several theories as to how this may have come to pass, the first being that since all the boats were of larger persuasion, that maybe they had been held up waiting, for one of the larger road bridges to open (bridges are either raised at set times or when there is enough traffic)… perhaps they had all just come through one somewhere nearby that’s just opened and we are seeing the bottleneck being released.

Then it also struck me that most of the boats have coloured flags adoring them:  nautical sort of flags as well as party type flags, and I spot some balloons too, so maybe this is a large private party? or maybe a boat club celebration? It is after all one of the last decent days of the summer and temperatures are predicted to fall sharply next week, could this possibly be some kind of  “end of boating season” ritual that takes place before the boats are lifted out of the water for the winter?

I don’t know the answer but the “show” of this parade is rather impressive to say the least, and we by total chance have ringside seats at close quarters to enjoy it.

My kids  point out some of the largest boats and hopefully mention that owning one would “be very nice”… well, who wouldn’t agree? sadly neither their pocket money nor mine stretches that far. I’m certain that the price tags on some of these fall into the category of  “if you have to ask, then you can’t afford it”. However…  that’s not to say that dreams aren’t  free…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 1, 2013

Having a Few Hassles and Getting the Wind Up…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is an archive post from the end of last summer when we went out for a picnic and go sailing in our Brother in Law’s (new to him) small sailing boat.

Unfortunately for us the weatherman’s forecast for today is becoming more and more inaccurate by the minute, as the clouds roll in and the wind picks up considerably.

After a very quick test run of the yacht with his daughter, Brother in Law decides it’s way too choppy to have kids in the boat and quickly brings her back to the shore.

Whilst we all enjoy a picnic lunch I take photos of other yachts that are clearly also having some problems in the wind, one tacks back and forth and pitches so far over, that water starts running into the boat.

I photographed one of these boats leaving the marina earlier and after the man bravely battled the wind for almost an hour I saw him call it a day and head back around the corner to the marina again.

I don’t blame him, it looked like more of a workout than fun to be honest (judging by the size of his boat, he would have managed better if he hadn’t been sailing alone).

In New Zealand, friends of my parents had a “trailer-sailer” yacht that I often got to go sailing in, I swiftly learned that sailing often means getting wet and “climbing for the high side” sometimes needs to be done in a hurry if the gusts suddenly have the boat on an extreme angle and water is coming over the side, and that ducking when the boom swings around is the recommended practice…

…one I learned to take more notice of after I was distracted by the view and got unceremoniously clocked on the forehead. Yes, my sailing companions did of course shout warnings for all they were worth but I was stupid and turned towards the boom instead of away from  it, so was greeted by a vision of a rapidly advancing wooden beam nano seconds before it hit me.

I survived and still enjoyed sailing trips but was lousy sailor whenever the water was choppy so I’m hardly a candidate for the Best Mate job any time soon.

Watching these boats in the wind here, certainly revived a few memories for me, and it will be nice for Himself and kids who have never sailed before can have a go one day too, and feel the excitement of the wind in their hair and the hum of the boat as it speeds through the water. From the lazy comfort of the shore I take photos of the sailors struggling with the wind…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 28, 2013

Scaling the Heights and Taking the Plunge…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The kids have just their first ride in a sailing boat, albeit with the outboard motor and not with the sails.

My Brother in Law starts to rig the sails once they have motored from the marina to the picnic spot and quickly realises he has a problem.

There is a little rope that should be threaded through a ring at the top of the mast, to which a larger rope can be attached so that the mast can be hoisted.

This little rope has become unthreaded and there are only two options if  he wants to sail today: lower the mast to rethread the rope (which apparently is not an easy or quick task) or shimmy up the mast to post the rope back though by hand.

As a teenager I used to be an expert at rope climbing and was usually first to the top of the ropes that hung from the ceiling of the gym at school, but these days, with only one functioning foot this isn’t even close to possible for me to attempt today.

Kiwi Daughter has a go but has never rope climbed so couldn’t get the hang of where to position her feet or how to use her arms together with her feet to pull herself up. It’s left to Brother in Law to give this a go, but on the smooth mast it’s harder than it looks.

There are also a few metal bits sticking out at various points that need to be negotiated around and of course the boat is in the water so not entirely steady so it’s getting to be quite a tricky feat to accomplish.

He’s tantalisingly close to the top and almost got the rope threaded into where it needs to go when all of a sudden there is a loud shout of panic, a splash and he’s fallen from the top of the mast into the water. There were many yells of alarm because the boat tipped up so much as he fell off that Little Mr and Himself who were doing their best to hold it steady almost ended up in the water as well. Annoyingly I was in the middle of changing the camera battery so missed the actual fall but caught him dripping and laughing as he climbs back on board.

Another attempt after he got his breath back saw final success, and he was inundated with requests to do his high dive again so that the kids could get a better view and I could get photos. He politely refused.

Once the sails were up he took the boat for a small test run with his daughter, but they quickly returned because it was clear that the wind had picked up to the point that he decides  it was no longer safe to have kids in the boat.  We adjourn for our picnic lunch having worked up an appetite laughing at all the action.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 27, 2013

The Little One is Cool, The Big Ones Make me Drool…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are taking a day trip out of the city to go and see our Brother-in-Law’s new (to him) sailing boat.

We’ve taken the ferry from the area where we parked the car to the area where the marina we want is a short walk away.

I like to go at my own steady (read: very slow) pace so the others have raced ahead and put all of the picnic gear into the boat, donned life jackets, piled all the kids into the boat and are motoring  Brother in Law with the outboard motor to the picnic area.

Himself has shouldered some bulkier stuff, including a folding chair for me to sit on and strode off down the path to meet them around the corner.

I’m left happily taking photos of other boats coming and going from the marina as I plod up the path on crutches at the rear. I dream a little that we might be able to afford one of these stunning boats, but short of winning the lottery or giving up our hard earned travel fund, it isn’t happening. You have to make choices in life and you can’t have it all. C’est la vie.

When we get to the very open area that is our picnic spot it’s immediately clear that it’s considerably more exposed to the elements and windier than by the marina, and certainly not the 29 C  (84 F) temperature that Brother in Law and niece said they enjoyed here last weekend.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are now sitting on the side of  one of the areas main waterways whilst just behind us, separated only by some large banks of reeds and a row of trees, are several smaller canals.

The kids spill off the boat and the three girls who are all older and have their swimming diplomas (meaning they can swim without water wings or an adult actually in the water with them) are peeling off clothes to their swimsuits underneath and racing each other into the water.

There are a multitude of shrieks after they emerge from their first dive, quickly followed by reassurances that the water is actually ok once you are in,  but preferably submerged up to your neck because the wind is less agreeable to skinny wet swimmers.

They alternate complaints of cold when they are out, shrieking as they run to jump back in and laughing when their heads pop out of the water afterwards.

The younger two boys keep their life jackets on and play on the bank at “fishing” with lengths of rope.

I’m sorting out the picnic supplies from the comfort of the fold out chair whilst Brother in Law and Himself start unfolding sails and sorting equipment. Let’s take a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 26, 2013

It’s Not an Island, But in Order to Go Sailing We Need to Take a Ferry…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Dutch landscape presents us with the typical situation where the land in this recreational area is so fragmented by waterways and little roads between them so few (actually most of them aren’t roads at all, they are cycle paths) that the quickest and easiest way to get to your sailing boat is to take a ferry.

Ok,  not actually “our” sailing boat, but our Brother in Law’s.

There are quite a few marina’s dotted around this area, hidden in little sheltered alcoves of water off larger stretches of water that form the nation’s  second most popular highways, especially in the summer months.

We arrive at a little jetty on the side of one of the slightly bigger canals and settle in to wait for the ferry to arrive.

This ferry route only operates in the summer months, the boats we are visiting today and all of those in the surrounding marina’s will shortly be lifted out of the water put into winter storage,  otherwise they will be damaged when the canals freeze in the winter.

Our short hop is to the building we can see on the far side of the water, it’s under the three big trees in the first photograph and the ride costs roughly 50c per person (actually I think  it may actually have been less), certainly it was loose change worth for the fare and the gentleman skipper was very friendly and bid us a cheery hello.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This area is peppered with cycle paths and so there were plenty of cyclists using the ferry like a bridge to negotiate the watery obstacles of the recreational area too. The kids help with get the picnic gear on-board and the journey across takes literally a few minutes.

The yellow sign on the water warns us that repair work is being done on the edge of the dyke so water craft are advised to keep ten meters from the work site… little motor boats go past with fishermen and their gear, and as we leave the shore I spy an artificial platform that’s been put up to encourage storks to nest on it… storks like high vantage points in the open and well, high voltage electric pylons are obviously not ideal.

In the city they have been known to annex the roofs of high-rise apartment blocks, a situation that requires rather a lot of give and take when getting on with the neighbours as they are rather hefty birds. The weather is warm and the weather-man promised a very decently hot day but this the Netherlands and that weather report went out of the window hours ago as old news and now the sky is full of gathering clouds… we will see what the day brings.

First… a very short, but very convenient ferry ride.

(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)

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