Local Heart, Global Soul

October 3, 2014

The Chilley Farm Shop On A Hot Summer’s Day…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer we hired a camper van and crossed the  Channel for some summer holiday adventures on England’s south coast.

We aimed to combine seeing good friends, go to an event to do some charity fundraising and to fit in as many family fun activities as possible.

We’ve so far learned that talking roads other than motorways has definite disadvantages at this time of year: traffic anywhere remotely close to beaches reaches wall-to-wall vehicle proportions and “squeezing” though anywhere in a vehicle that feels (and probably is) bigger than a tank is wishful thinking.

We were often faced with one double parked vehicle on our side of the narrow roads and a constant stream of cars coming towards us on the other side.

Whilst the traffic jam behind us was therefore not our fault,  I’m sure that many of the drivers behind us had mutterings of “tourist” in less that favourable tones, whilst we waited for ages for the next safe gap in the oncoming traffic so that we could pass.All along the beachfront all of the regular car parking spaces were already taken so many people resorted to parking on grass verges and odd gaps.

I don’t personally begrudge them that but if the butt of your car still sticks decent distance into the road, then maybe you should get the hint that your vehicle doesn’t fit and try somewhere else, rather than to grab your bucket, spade and towel and disappear, leaving everyone else with the mess of trying to get down the road without connecting with your back bumper or tow ball.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We weren’t in  hurry by any means, but there is “slow” and there is “slow”.

We start to see that people walking along the lines of parked cars to the staircases that lead to the beach are making faster progress than we are, so quickly decide to find an exit that leads away from the beach as soon as we can.

This is how we ended up on a larger road heading inland,  soon there was a sign that showed there would be motorway further up, or another side road heading in the direction we wanted.

We opt for the side road and find ourselves in a rapidly shrinking lane. We can’t turn around easily so when all of a sudden we happen upon a farm shop on the side of the road we all are pleased to have found a place to stop, get some lunch and take a break.

There is a well stocked shop full of local produce, since we have a fridge in the camper we buy not just lunch but also some of their sausages for tonight’s dinner. There are animals to admire in a paddock by the car park and a play area where kids can burn off some energy. The place was deserted when we arrived but during our lunch break there was a fairly constant queue of visitors so clearly this place is popular. Our children get an offer to feed the goat or even just to throw some food into the pen close to it, but are scared off when it rears up in it’s eagerness for it’s lunch and prefer to watch from a safe distance. Rested, Lunched and Loo’ed, we bundle the kids back into the camper again and get on our way…

(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)

July 4, 2014

Three Large Ladies Having Fun In The Sun…

Filed under: ART,Funny,LIFE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Regular readers will know that I like quirky things and am always on the lookout for the unusual. This set of photographs were taken because in the median strip between the two lanes of traffic  on the Beeklaan was one of the electricity substations that I had gone to photograph. The shop window display caught my eye because the models were not the sort of manikins you usually see in shop windows. These photos are from my archive stock, and were taken  some years ago so the display will of course be long gone now, but it made me smile at the time and I hope it makes you smile too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 11, 2014

You Too Can Have Christmas In August!

Filed under: Funny,GERMANY,Monschau,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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This retrospective blog post finds us in the German town of Monschau, and whilst I learned that it was one of many German towns famous for it’s annual December Christmas Markets, I had no idea that some of the “Christmas” shops are open all year around. I didn’t go inside, firstly becuase I didn’t want the kids to start begging me for a ton of stuff that we either didn’t want, didn’t need or have any space to take home and secondly because it was so crowded inside I descided not to try and go for a peek there on cruches.  From the doorway it looked like the place was packed rather tight with merchandise and what ever space was over was taken up by browsing (or maybe buying) tourists.  So… here’s something totally unexpected:  Complete with Santa on a chair outside: all things “Christmas” in the heat of August!

(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)

July 10, 2012

Drool and Dream of “Dreams”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now there’s a building that’s pretty hard to miss whilst passing through Maungaturoto…

…even when I first saw it out of the van passenger window and it was persisting down with rain, it was still a head turner.

Luckily we have the opportunity to come back on a sunnier day and Kiwi Daughter and I take a look inside.

Dreams is a gift shop and is like an emporium of amazing bits and pieces.

Kiwi Daughter’s two “bestest” friends would each celebrate their birthdays whilst she was away in New Zealand so she was shopping for something to post to them as a surprise.

I was shopping for some cute baby things for a good friend who’s baby was due pretty much the same time our plane was due to touch the tarmac as we headed back in The Netherlands and since babies have a habit of being unpredictable in their arrival schedules I thought it wise to already have something in my hand luggage in case he arrived in The Netherlands sooner than we did.

And yes, shopping for a new arrival is fun at any time, in any country so  hey what a brilliant excuse to go shopping here!  It’s a hot and humid day when we visit and stepping into the cavernous cool of this building is refreshing and relaxing.

Naturally I also saw a ton of stuff that I would have carted home if  “home”  had been closer than 16.000,– kms away, as I instantly fell in love with lots of  ironwork items, and beautiful things in glass, wood and stone.

Sadly I would need my own jumbo-jet to lug it all back to the Hague and oh,… the small technical detail of an abode that would need to be at least three times as big as our present apartment to fit it all into.

Oh well seems I’ll just have to drool from afar and dream of Dreams.

(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)

May 9, 2012

The Whole is Made of Two Very Different Halves… A Very Holistic Approach.

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Reviews,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still in the Cafinate Coffee and Tea House in Rotorua, New Zealand.  There’s a great idea in place here, because the premises is shared by two separate businesses so can obviously both benefit from this dual purpose arrangement in having reduced overhead costs.

When you walk in the door you are in the Café section, but immediately to your right is “Simply Holistic” , a holistic gift shop, so you can browse a little whilst you are waiting for your lunch to be served, or in our case waiting for the slow ones to finish their lunch and for the rain to abate just enough to make the walk to the car parked a little distance away just a little less hazardous.

I’ll be honest, I’m not really into rock crystals and the like,  so those bits were of less interest to me personally, but the handmade soaps and natural products did grab my attention and I knew that someone we would be seeing later in the trip would love these too so we picked up a few nice things as gifts.

I love it when two businesses join together to make a partnership, it was relaxing to  be able to look around quietly and had the added bonus  that we hadn’t had to go and find a large shopping centre to go find gifts in.

And… if  this place hadn’t been incorporated into our late lunch hunt, I never would have discovered the item in my next post…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 18, 2012

…Conned by a Cod? Bullied by A Bass?

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

As we leave  Wainuiomata the next morning we pass by (what I think) is the Petone shopping centre  …where I spy this shop : “Fish with Attitude

Is this an instruction to go fishing with attitude? …or do the fish themselves have attitude?

Might customers here be in danger of being mugged by a Mullet?

…bullied by a Bass?

…terrified by a Tarakihi?

…gipped by a Gurnard?

…knocked out by a Kingfish?

…teased by a Trevally?

…conned by a Cod?

… mocked by a Mackerel?

…or snapped at by a Snapper?

We have places to go, things to see, so we didn’t stop…  but I am curious, so if any readers know the story behind this sign  then please drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.

October 5, 2011

Let’s take a Spin and look at a Farmhouse Wheel…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here are some more of my archive photos from one of the Netherlands best Specialist Cheese Shops: Ed Boele’s in the Fahrenheitstraat in The Hague.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are about 600 dairy farms in The Netherlands where the milk is made into cheese on the farm itself.  This cheese is called “Boerenkaas‘ (farm cheese) and the place it is made is called ‘de kaasboerderij”  (a dairy,  but translates literally  as ‘cheese farm’)

I have inquired about the possibilitiy of being able to visit one of these farms so that I could document the process but it’s harder than it sounds due strict health and hygiene regulations that require that the general public be separated from the manufacturing process of food by glass or perspex screens and other regulations to protect the public from themselves or others around various heavy machinery.

I will endeavour to keep looking to see if it’s possible to find a Dutch dairy that will give me a tour and let me take photos, you never know I may hit the jackpot one day.

Surprisingly even though the Netherlands is not a large county and the farms are small, the cheeses made in the farmhouses vary considerably in taste. texture and quality.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Each farm has their own way of making the cheese, the recipes differ, the type of rennet used, the amount of salt, as do the methods of ageing,  the fat percentages in the milk,  the strength of the taste is often to the regional preference and even what the cows ate for breakfast yesterday makes a difference.

In general farmhouse cheeses are made with full whole fat, non-pasteurized milk  that in turn produces  a young,  a medium aged, old or very old cheese, and so if you only wanted to compare the most basic of the 200 farmhouse cheeses you would be looking at at least 5. 000 cheeses without even beginning to consider the goat milk, sheep milk and other varieties.

Ed told me that he visits  farmhouses all over the Netherlands and tastes the cheeses for himself.  Slowly over the years he has built up a selection of some 20-30 favourites, and there are usually at least 20 of these in the selection of  “farmhouse cheeses” in his shop at any one time.

We can attest we, like his other customers agree with his selection: there is always a queue for these cheeses and little plates with cut cubes for tasting are popular. Not that it would matter if there was no little plate… it’s standard practice in The Netherlands to ask to taste these cheeses before buying, they will expertly slice off a sliver of cheese with a cheese-knife and you may compare several before  making  choice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A word of warning to the newbie cheese taster: It’s  entirely possible to taste so many fantastic cheeses that you end up exiting the shop with three or four of the  five cheeses you tasted instead of just the one you intended to buy.

More than once in the past after a cheese shop dalliance  have Himself and I ditched the evenings planned meat and salad menu and instead bought some crusty bread,  pâté, crackers, cherry tomatoes on the vine and settled down on the sofa that evening with our decadent cheeseboard dinner.

At the farmhouse the cheeses are put into  round wooden forms that are called  “wheels”  and are made into these flat rounds because this shape ensures that  the ageing process is nice and even throughout the cheese.  All hand made cheeses are turned regularly so that the moisture inside evaporates evenly as possible as the cheese matures.

The shop also sells a few of the 15 Dutch factory made cheeses,  which are generally made from pasteurized, skimmed milk  instead of the unpasteurized full milk of the  Boerenkaas  and often has a higher salt content.

Factory cheeses have the bonus of  being cheaper and melting at more consistent temperatures, useful in the food industry and in cooking.  There’s a factory cheese called  Cantenaaer that Himself and I think rivals the handmade cheeses for taste, so it’s not necessarily about first or second rate quality, they are just different and  there is plenty of room for both.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 4, 2011

The Dutch Kaaswinkel …Smile and Say “Cheese!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I have grand ideas and dreams of living back in New Zealand when we retire. We like the idea of a more relaxed lifestyle in a smaller city or town and a lot more space. Who knows what life will bring and if we will ever get there, but if we do, then there is is a list of typically Dutch things I will certainly painfully  miss.

Near the top of this list will be some of the fabulous speciality cheese shops.  You’ll find a kaaswinkel  (cheese shop) in most  neighbourhoods and they are well used because  Dutch families have grow up with ready access and a plentiful supply of cheese… … and not content with a large cheese section of the supermarkets, the Dutch therefore expect not just average cheeses, but brilliant cheeses.

Cheeses to choose from come from approximately 200 dairy farms in the Netherlands who keep cows and make their own farmhouse cheeses on site,  plus the added bonus of having  the  “back yard called Europe”  with each members countries amazing specialist cheeses too.

Even the boring common garden supermarket can give me a selection of  seven or eight feta cheeses, all Greek, all different, all good (and cheap!)

Not all Specialist cheese shops are created equal…  good ones there are aplenty, but great ones have customers who come from further afield just to stock up on wares that are not just good, but divine. This is why I’m taking you on a photo tour of  one of the Hague’s best Specialist cheese shops.

Located at Fahrenheitstraat 625,  owner Ed Boele has built up an amazing range of cheeses.  I talked to him and his staff last year and took photos in the shop… and if you think it looks fabulous in these photos I have to warn you that he had recently had the entire shop refitted and everyone who’s been says that it’s now even better.

Sadly my lack of mobility has prevented me from seeing the new shop yet for myself,  but I will get there eventually. In the meantime let’s take a look around at various parts of  the old version of Ed’s shop and smile as we say “cheese!””.

Fahrenheitstraat 625    /   2561 DC DEN HAAG   /   Tel.: 070 – 3631819     /    http://www.kaasspeciaalzaak.nl/

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 16, 2011

Making the Most of every single Millimeter…

Space is limited in the Netherlands. The country is (in)famous for having one of the highest populations densities in the world.  This has a knock-on effect that land prices are expensive. Naturally houses are compact, gardens tiny, staircases steep,  shops try and make best use of the small space they have. for some of them it’s an art form.

Last summer, whilst out walking I spied a flower shop on the Weimarstraat that certainly takes the award for the most pavement conveniently commandeered for business promotion  purposes… it’s neat and tidy, and smelled of the perfume of many flowers. Ingenious!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 31, 2011

Just Stopping In for a Quick One (to take Home)

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

One of our last stops on our Amsterdam  adventure last summer was a place that Himself has had his heart set on going to for a while now.

Actually it’s the main reason we bought the car and didn’t take the train here.

It’s a specialist Beer shop called “de bierkoning” (The Beer King).

http://bierkoning.nl/

Noooo,  Himself wasn’t drinking any beer here, but he was selecting some unusual Stout Beers for one of our Beer tasting evenings.

The lighting in the shop (and in some parts lack of it) made it hard to get any photos in focus, but at least you get the idea.

What’s brilliant about this place is the knowledge of the staff and the massive, nay, humongous number of beers on offer. Name a beer producing nation and I’m sure there are some bottles  from there somewhere!

They have Stouts, Lagers and since that’s where my personal beer knowledge ends, many many many more that I’ve never heard of.

Himself drooled  and grinned as he picked out our bottled candidates for upcoming tastings.  His eyes sparkled and his grin got even bigger when I said ” Well, since we are here, and have the car to get them home with, might as well pick out a few more, do this properly…

(Yes, he’s well worth spoiling)  Therefore we returned to the car heavily laden and for Himself, starting the day in Amsterdam with a Guinness and ending it by bringing home some unusual Stouts to try was the icing on the cake of a brilliant day out, weather issues or not.

De Bierkoning  /  Paleisstraat 125   /  1012 ZL Amsterdam   / Tel: 020 6252336

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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