Local Heart, Global Soul

May 20, 2018

From Concorde To The International Space Station…

The next pieces in the Te PaPa Brickworld LEGO exhibition concern Man’s innovations into breaking free from the confines of earthly barriers. The first is the breaking of the sound barrier in “normal” passenger travel, and then even further free from our atmosphere in the shape of the International Space Station. Family Kiwidutch visited a real Concord: (https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/new-1587/ This Old Lady Was Once Faster Than a Speeding Bullet… ) when we visited the Fleet Air Arm Museum in the town of Yeovilton, England, so we had a reference to compare the details of this model to the real thing. One thing that is very striking is the tiny space in the passenger cabin. To say that this plane is skinny is an understatement, Concord is positively anorexic in the width of the passenger cabin. I know one person who has travelled on Concord, he saved up for the trip and flew to New York. He rated it as a very special experience, but it was almost too short a trip for the amount paid for the ticket. Sadly the drain on his wallet meant an economy flight back to Europe, the experiences poles apart.

(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)

The model of the International Space Station was appropriately enough, far above our heads. I captured what detail I could, it’s a bigger model than I bargained on, and getting it to hang up must have been no small feat either.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde
Wikipedia / Aircraft / Concorde

Wikipedia / International Space Station
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station

November 18, 2015

The Dousing At The End In No Way Waters Down The Day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my last post from our visit to the Kazerne Scheveningen,(Scheveningen Fire Station), Little Mr and two of his little neighbourhood friends have been enjoying a good look around at the exhibits and demonstrations.

Now on our way out there is one more thing to do on this ideal summer holiday Open Day: play with the fire hoses.

The fire station have some wooden frames in which there is a sort of target area, the frame is painted up to look like a house and the target area like the area of the house that is on fire.

When the child has hit the target area (fire) for long enough with the fire hose, the “fire” painting drops down and the target area becomes a black window, signifying that the fire has been extinguished. Off-duty firemen help the children to aim in the right place to hit the “fire” and of course the volume of water coming out of the fire hose has been greatly reduced so that the kids can hold on to it. There are a couple of kids dousing the “fires” before the three in our group wait, but lots of fun is had once they have a go and it’s a brilliant conclusion to an afternoon out.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 14, 2015

Great Stuff Inside, Beginning With A Bouncing Start…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post about our summer visit Kazerne Scheveningen, (Scheveningen Fire Station), a beautiful building known locally as the “barracks Duinstaat Castle” due to it’s style of architecture.

The Kazerne (pronounced “car zer nuh”) started out life as a combined police station and fire station but’s it’s services have since been transferred: the police station to another location close by and the new fire station located right next door.

Himself and I have bought Little Mr and two of his neighbourhood friends to an Open Day so that they can have a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on. The Open Day is taking place in the current fire station, the large ladder appliance is outside, as are a few other things that are being set up, but it is a large bouncy castle located just inside one of the engine bays that captures the attention of the kids first. They play for a while before pausing for breath and starting to look around at the exhibits on display. There are motorcycles to sit on and engines to take a look at, certainly enough to keep kids happy…

(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)

p.s. Himself has been on the phone half of the day to the two companies who provide our phone and internet, they continue (as per the past 10 days) to blame each other. Finally Himself manages to get contact with someone in management and after some “I-am-now-a-seriously-unhappy-customer” chat, we got a promise that someone from tech support (again!!!) will ring us. This time they spend a further 45 minutes on the phone with Himself, having him crawling under desks to do stuff to the modem and general process of elimination until they eventually solved things. Yeeeeah …Fingers crossed!

April 17, 2013

Gifts in Vacuum Packs and a High Speed Exit…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this retroactive post, my Kiwi cousin and his family have finished their stay with us in The Hague. We’ve had some very late nights over good food and drink , with tons of laughter and chat about adventures old and new so time as flown all too quickly.

They are scheduled to take the fast train (Thalys) that operates the high speed train service between The Netherlands, Belgium, Northern France and the region of Germany around Cologne.

They have Eurail tickets that allow them so many train trips within so many days and have carefully allotted their time in Europe so that they can get to as many places on their list as possible in their allotted time.

Naturally the wish list is far larger than can be accommodated in a three month trip, but they are doing their best to squeeze in as much as possible.

Himself and I discovered some years back that various specialist cheese shops will vacuum pack cheeses, and once so packed the cheese will last six weeks without refrigeration. (with one small special note: decently aged ‘old” cheese can be vacuum packed but is the one sort of cheese that will suffer deterioration in quality if stored like this for any length of time, so each time we have vacuum packed it for ease of transport alone and with instructions to open this cheese packet first).

A selection of vacuum packed cheeses have become a favourite parting gift to friends and family who have visited us and then continuing their journey in other parts of Europe. Needless to say their rucksacks were crammed full to bursting of chocolate and cheese at the train station and we later heard that they picnicked in France and later in Italy with a locally bought wine and freshly baked bread,  and a new Dutch cheese to surprise, taste and enjoy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s a really practical gift on many levels in that it extends the enjoyment of their time in The Netherlands weeks after they left, it’s great for visitors who have discovered that Europe is far more expensive than prices back home and re sticking to a budget (aren’t we all?) and it’s not some weird or tacky object that’s not to your taste that  you feel obliged to lug around both for the rest of your trip and then back home because some relative gave it to you.

The beauty of the cheeses and chocolates is that you can enjoy and finish them as you go further in your travels and there is no excess baggage to check in at the airport  later. …. Well, ok…maybe apart from the extra kilos you may have invariably will have gained after partaking of Europe’s delicious gastronomic delights.

We drop them off at Hollands Spoor Station and wait with them on the platform. There are hugs and sniffles all round, time has been too short.

Some double decker commuter trains pass by first, and a short while later, the burgundy-red sloping nose of the Thalys high speed train. Last minute hugs and then they are aboard, these trains don’t dally in stations, so literally minutes later they are frantically waving  at the window as the train moves off from the station and within seconds they are receding into the distance as they continue to their next destination: Paris.

Naturally almost all of the photos I took were family photos of us together… but there are a few of the trains that came and went, …and the Thalys as it arrived.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 23, 2013

A Very Different Sort of Parking Garage…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my final post  for the moment about Hollands Spoor Station, I am always amazed about how many people in the Netherlands cycle… in fact there are said to be around 14 million bikes in the Netherlands, and with a population of about 17 million people that’s some serious cycling.

What’s even more amazing is how often these bikes are used… forget just taking the bike out for a Sunday jaunt maybe if the weather is nice, No: the Dutch ride their bikes daily, in rain, hail, sleet and shine.

Due to my lung condition I’m the only non-cyclist in our household, but our home still currently boasts  four bikes, plus  a child’s “step”  (a non-motorised scooter) and a unicycle that Kiwi Daughter is admirably proficient in riding.

Until a short while ago we had several more kid bikes on top of this tally too but they’ve gone to the neighbours after our kids grew a bit big for them.

Bikes here in the Netherlands are regularly seen overloaded with goods you wouldn’t think possible on a bike:  Amongst the things I’ve personally seen locals peddling down the city cycle paths with are:  a mattress for a double bed (I was waiting for a tram and when this guy went past everyone in the tram halt laughed and then loudly cheered and encouraged him on), a man balancing large IKEA-like flat pack furniture, a bedside cabinet perched on the back carrier…

And then there are the human cargo’s: a girl peddling whilst her boyfriend on the back carrier  held on to two crates of beer, one on each side,  a young guy peddling with a girl on the bar, another on the handlebars and a third on the carrier behind, and people carrying  kids, groceries, shopping parcels and flowers in such massive quantities that the tyres were  squished almost flat to the road… and much more too much to detail in one blog post.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s common practice for Dutch train commuters to own two or three bikes: two will be old bikes that are hopefully not worth stealing… one gets ridden from home to the train station, and left locked up in the bike racks there, the other is waiting in a bike rack at the Station of their destination and get ridden from the station to work. The process is reversed for the journey home.

Often there will also be a “good”  bike at home that lives in the hallway, or in the garden shed if you are lucky enough to have a garden or kept in  a “fietsstalling”  ( with a paid local bike storage business). This is the more expensive bike that’s used for recreational touring,  social trips etc.

This cycle “garage” at Hollands Spoor  is actually rather small if you compare it to for instance the one at The Hague’s Central Station… but the limit  is more imposed by lack of space around Hollands Spoor Station rather than by lack of numbers of bikes needing to be parked.

Over time, I’ve photographed it from a distance, from inside and from the trams that run alongside it:  Let’s take 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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 22, 2013

Hollands Spoor … A Grand Old Lady that Knows Her Station…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterdays post I’ve been looking at some photographs in my archive folders and found several concerning the beautiful building that is Hollands Spoor (HS) station in the Hague.

One of the cities two train stations, it’s the one that is a ‘” through” station rather than the cul-de-sac type at Central Station where trains turn in and then reverse out again.

This means that if you need to catch many of the intercity trains or the high speed Thalys train, then it’s Hollands Spoor station that you’ll be departing from (or arriving at, depending on your location).

Both stations are significant junctions for the cities tram systems, although buses tend to go almost solely via Central Station because it’s a far more recent building and has a bus terminus level within it.

With regards to the history of Hollands Spoor Station, I found some interesting snippets on Wikipedia, written in italics below.

Den Haag Hollands Spoor railway station, also known as Den Haag HS, is the oldest railway station in The Hague, Netherlands.It was opened in 1843, when the Amsterdam–Haarlem railway, the oldest railway line in the country, was extended to The Hague. This line was further extended to Rotterdam in 1847. The railway station was named after the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg-Maatschappij, the company which operated the railway station.

Rival company Nederlandsche Rhijnspoorweg-Maatschappij opened a second main railway station in The Hague in 1870, Den Haag Rhijnspoor, for the railway line to Gouda and Utrecht. This railway station was demolished in 1973, to make way for the Den Haag Centraal railway station. As a result, The Hague has two main railway stations: Centraal Station and Hollands Spoor. Trains from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and beyond (Brussels) stop at Hollands Spoor, not at Centraal Station.

The original railway building of 1843 was replaced by the current building designed by D.A.N. Margadant in 1891. A Royal Waiting Room was opened in 1893.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Den_Haag_Hollands_Spoor_railway_station

I’ve taken more photos of the station over the years, these are just a few…

(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)

August 24, 2012

Tram Station Café: Great Food, the Egg and Bacon Pie is Recommended!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are flicking though the pages of my retro tour of New Zealand:   you know me, …can’t let any detail slip by, so the pages of this trip have bulked up with all the sights, sounds, and tastes of our trip.  Luckily it’s all electronic because if this were all on paper a small rainforest would be suffering.

Speaking of tastes… Most of  family Kiwidutch are now experiencing stomach rumbles so we look around or lunch.

Actually it doesn’t take long because whilst I was dawdling at the back, bewitched by the amazing artworks, Himself and the kids had found the café on the other side of the courtyard from the entrance of  Foxton’s windmill and made themselves comfortable sorting out their menu choices.

It’s called the Tram Station Café and the food looks excellent.

My slice of bacon and egg pie looks (and tastes)  amazing and the kids demolish their toasted sandwiches. Most members of my family are fully trained by now in the gentle art of “you may eat as soon as your food has been photographed by your demented Foodie Mama for her Blog”, but on this occasion Little Mr. lacks both willpower and motivation to keep his grubby little paws off his toasted sandwich during the photography session.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Sigh) Yes, his hands are still that dirty after  the hand wash! I suppose it’s testament to his immune system that he’s so very rarely sick.

As a concession in obtaining at least half a photo, I agree to take a photo of a very curly piece of dried grass that he’s taken a shine to and declared that it is “ so beautiful that he wants to keep it  forever!”

Unluckily for him it got sucked out of the van in a good gust of wind when we stopped down a coast at a beach a little while later and his love for it can’t have run too deep because he didn’t even mourn it’s loss for a single second.

Himself opts for coffee only,  since he stocked up on the bacon and eggs back in Wanganui at breakfast time.

The weather might look overcast and dull but don’t be deceived , it’s a very hot day today and we decide to eat al fresco  under a parasol at one of the outdoor tables. There are just enough puffs of wind to make it perfectly comfortable.  Let’s dine!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 13, 2012

Daisy: “Hey…Bessie I’ll Race you down the Lane!”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing becomes clear as soon as you travel away from the small territory that you inhabited as a small child and young adult… things familiar to you and expressions you use naturally  from your experience in life can mean something amazingly different to other people in and from other places.

I’ll always remember the day I thought as a kid, upon hearing the words on TV:  “travel England’s beautiful country lanes” …’Ugh since when are lanes beautiful? and who on earth would want to travel them?”

In my little world the questions were perfectly logical, we had lanes on the farm I grew up on and our neighbours did too… but ours were sheep lanes, and the only other “lanes” I knew of at that age were also for stock use… “cow lanes”.

So what’s a sheep or cow lane? Well first be aware of the average size of a New Zealand farm, they are often huge compared to what looks first like tiny fragmented hobby farms in Europe.  Molesworth, New Zealand’s biggest station at 1800 square kilometers  (1118.46 square miles)  used to run 90 000 sheep but switched to running 10 000 cattle  for sustainability reasons after the rabbit population decimated a lot  of the land required it be be resown after a  rabbit extermination project.

(Forget any cute  images of fluffy bunnies here, this was a rabbit infestation of plague proportions and whole hillsides would look like they were moving, there were so many rabbits on them).

So even if  exclude the mega stations like Molesworth, and you have a “small”  farm it’s clear that New Zealand  paddocks  come super-sized  when compared to their European counterparts, in the South Island a paddock can easily be the size of an entire hillside. The climate is such that sheep and cattle don’t need to over-winter in inside accommodation,  in the Southern Alps it’s simple,  sheep graze at higher altitude in the summer months and are moved down the mountains to lower altitudes in winter.
After the winter, the muster brings them in, their heavy fleeces are shorn and they are taken back up the mountains. Of course docking and dipping are also regularly done  so there are times when sheep have to be bought to a central location like the sheep station’s shearing sheds and yards.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried to find the average stock number for Dutch farms, I did my search in Dutch and didn’t find the information I wanted for the Netherlands but did find a site that said that the average number of stock on a farm in Belgium is 108.
The very average sized sheep station I started life on had about 35 000 sheep so shifting them all can be a slightly  bigger logistical  task.

Imagine the farm road (usually in a valley)  with wide “strip “of a paddock running parallel to it. This “strip” paddock is chopped off into a  series of very long rectangles  by gates and every now an again there are more gates on  the long edges that lead into the huge hillside paddocks above.  Like the road it follows, this strip paddock can be  kilometres long … but it’s got a very useful purpose.

When you are bringing  tens of  thousands of sheep down hill during the muster, you bring the sheep  from the top of the mountains to the bottom and then funnel them into the strip at the bottom and then close off the access to the hill. You just need to open as many gates in the “lane” as necessary to hold them all.  Now you have an awful lot of sheep in a manageable enclosed area (but not on the road) and by opening gates in front of them, and closing them behind, you can shift them all of them en mass  to the shearing sheds or yards for docking  with just the help of a few sheepdogs and minimum manpower.  Most people I know refer to this strip paddock as “the lane” or somethimes also as “the long paddock”.

Dairy herds are far smaller in numbers of course, but the milkers need to come to the milking sheds twice a day for milking and so smaller versions of the lanes are used for  exactly the same purpose. Milking cows just differ in that when they get heavy with milk they will usually just walk themselves to the sheds and then back again afterwards to the green pastures for their next feed.  On these photos I got out the car window,  the well trodden red dirt lane is a clear sign of a dairy farm… a far cry from England’s version of  “lanes” as I quickly discovered.

My city children and Dutch husband were completely ignorant of what my version of a lane was too..  Kiwi Daughter summed it up: “So it’s like a super highway for animals then? ” … well, Formula One maybe not, but … yes, I suppose it is!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blog at WordPress.com.