Local Heart, Global Soul

March 16, 2015

With All This Rain No Wonder The Greenery Is On Overdrive…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our  long weekend holiday in the Veluwe, was an extended family trip, made once a year so that Oma (Grandmother) now in her 90’s could enjoy seeing as many of her children, in-laws and grandchildren as possible in one place for an extended time.

Naturally since the Landal holiday park was located within a large area of nature, and the weather on the first day was good, the physically fit members of the family dragged out the bicycles for themselves and a litter of interested children and set out on a long cycling tour of the area.

One of the other adults looked after several other kids who wanted to take part in a forestry and wood chopping course on offer by the park,  and Himself offered to take his mother to see the graves of her parents, since this was close to the area where she spent her childhood years.

Since I can’t participate in either of the other activities, I opt to join Himself and Oma for the car ride excursion.

I’m not sure why after living so long in the Netherlands, I’m still shocked at the speed at which the weather can change. As we headed away from the holiday park and headed towards Emerlo, from a clear blue sky a few grey clouds accumulated on the horizon.

Our destination took us towards them and they seems to grow blacker by the minute as we approached. Murphy’s Law dictated that in the last kilometres the first fat droplets of water descended and grew heavy by the time we arrived.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Luckily this graveyard, situated at the back of the church is full of large trees we could shelter underneath once we exited the car.

As far as graveyards go, this one is really nondescript, statues and any decorative elements being starkly absent, typical of the Dutch Reformed Church.(Calvinistic = no fussiness, no frills, nothing unnecessary).

It’s very compact in size but the plant life was having a field day.

Maybe it was just the time of year, when everything grows meters daily right under your nose, or taking ecological habitat for birds, bees and insects to a radical level, or maybe the Gemeente (city council) had too many budget cuts…

…who knows, but one thing is for sure,  you’d couldn’t complain that there wasn’t enough greenery around.

A pause in the rain allowed us to take a little look around, Oma enjoyed visiting her parents graves and since the place was very small the visit was short. We also saw the house she grew up in (long since out of the family) and then we tried to see other points of interest from her childhood and teenage days but with several neighbourhood roads completely closed because they were being repaved,  and the distance around them being too far for her to walk, that wish out of the three, went unfulfilled.

Still, since Oma now lives several hours drive away from this place and in her 90’s travelling any distance is becoming more and more difficult, each visit she can manage here is special. Also on a personal level, it’s nice to document something that might be valuable to future generations if they wish to dig into their family history and how where this particular generation of the family are buried. (Naturally I have left identifying information off this blog post, but it’s all already available within the family, this this post adds photographs of the location.)

(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)

Oma’s former childhood home…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

October 14, 2014

Moved By More Than Just Brute Force…

Filed under: ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Salisbury,South Coast,Stonehenge — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

stonehenge 2m (Small)Stonehenge is a special place, it doesn’t matter to me that at this point in time the reason it was built has been lost, or the method of it’s construction, or all the other unanswered questions that have been asked about it over the thousands of years since it’s construction.

The truth is that this is something spiritual here and it can only be felt by visiting the place in person,  It’s a feeling you get when faced with something awe inspiring, something where your brain makes the connection with the fact that these massive stones were moved not just by brute force, but because there was deep deep meaning that focused the people concerned in the effort required to make it happen.

This meaning has been lost as far as the finer detail goes, but when you visit and and stare at the handiwork of prehistoric human beings, you can sense that this was so much more than a building project. I get the same feeling when I stand in a medieval cathedral and stare up at a vaulted ceiling high above my head and also know that the centuries it took to construct, the lives and lifetimes it took to make it happen, reveal a deep sense of purpose and belief that is little evident in anything that we see today.  … and certainly don’t  see in building projects any more.

We have gone from being eternal people to being instant-human beings, and I think we are poorer for it.  Stonehenge gives me a glimpse into the eternal persons mind set, where the end result gets all the glory, there are no references here to the architects , the human beings involved are merely the means by which the end result got achieved.

Last summer, the day we visited was an eerie mixture of bright sunshine and looming dark clouds which gave Stonehenge a moody  feel, so I put the camera onto full zoom to try and capture some of the detail of these amazing stones.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve been walking very slowly with my sticks, the path around the stones is quite large and is set back from the stones so that visitors can not actually touch the stones or get too close to them,  (the summer and winter solstices are the only time when people can touch the stones).

We were here when the doors opened so it was quiet when we arrived, but during the time it has taken me to navigate the outside path, the bus loads have arrived  and as we join the path that leads back to the entrance tunnel, we find ourselves walking out against a tide of people walking in.

I want to get a few postcards, the shop is crammed full of people, Himself has rashly promised the kids and ice-cream but the queue around the ice-cream seller is about fifteen deep and by the time I reach the car park area my foot is getting beyond painful and I’m desperate to sit down.

I now have to make my way past the upper car park full of coaches and mini tour buses and  I’m relieved when Himself runs past me as I reach the entrance of the paddock calling out “Wait there,  I’ll bring the camper back to you“.

The kids follow dejectedly, grumbling because Himself abandoned the ice-cream queue with the promise that there will be somewhere down the road that’s less of a madhouse. As Himself eases the camper out of the main gates, the queue of vehicles coming in is a non stop stream. Further up the side road we come across a building that is to be the Stonehenge’s new visitors centre, apparently it would officially open shortly after our visit which surprised us because it looked a long way from finished.

I get some photographs of the building still under construction and we find ourselves back on the road…   We leave Stonehenge behind, but it’s a place that lets you take a little bit of it’s spirit with you when you go.

(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)

Patterns in the car park…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

October 13, 2014

The Mystery Of How, Is Even Bigger Than The Mystery Of Why…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following my yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch are visiting Stonehenge, on the Salisbury plain in Wiltshire, England.

We’ve arrived early, right as the gates are opening to the public for the day and even though I’m walking very slowly on crutches we still have a decent head start on the larger groups of tourists who are yet to arrive.

Earlier we each picked up a headset, the settings of which, when coordinated with the numbered pegs set into the ground around the stones, gives historical information and theories about the possible uses and meanings and uses of Stonehenge because the site is so old and no written documentation exists to explain why or how it was built.

The recording tells me that amazingly, many of the massive stones that make up Stonehenge didn’t actually originate from around this area at all and some were hauled here from over one hundred kilometres  (62 miles) away. A mind boggling feat  considering that it took place with only prehistoric tools. Since the circle is no longer complete we can see in some of the remaining upright stones the mortise and tenon joints that allow at least  thirty of the Sarsen stones to fit solidly together.

Wikipedia tells me:   Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England, about 3 km /2 miles, west of Amesbury and 13 km / 8 miles north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, whilst another theory suggests that bluestones may have been raised at the site as early as 3000 BC.

The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.  

Thirty of the Sarsen stones were erected as a 33 metres (108 ft) diameter circle of standing stones, with a ring of 30 lintel stones resting on top.

The lintels were fitted to one another using another woodworking method, the tongue and groove joint.

Each standing stone was around 4.1 metres (13 ft) high, 2.1 metres (6 ft 11 in) wide and weighed around 25 tons.

Each had clearly been worked with the final visual effect in mind; the orthostats (large stone set upright) widen slightly towards the top in order that their perspective remains constant when viewed from the ground, while the lintel stones curve slightly to continue the circular appearance of the earlier monument. The inward-facing surfaces of the stones are smoother and more finely worked than the outer surfaces. The average thickness of the stones is 1.1 metres (3 ft 7 in) and the average distance between them is 1 metre (3 ft 3 in).

(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)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge#Stonehenge_3_II_.282600_BC_to_2400_BC.29

 

August 18, 2014

We Have Found Damouchari ….But Are Still Lost!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hmmm, Here we are looking for a Greek beach  in a place called  “Damouchari”  where our in-laws have told us that some of the scenes for the Hollywood film “Mama Mia”  were filmed.

As is usual for Family Kiwidutch, we are lost and trying to work out where our wrong turn took place.

According to the map we are supposedly in the right place but this clearly isn’t the beach we are looking for.

We are trying to read our brother-in-laws map and after some head scratching it seems that maybe  there is one beach called ”  Damouchari ” and another next to it called ” Damouchari  Port” and in taking the right turn in the path earlier we have come to the beach  Damouchari  instead of the port  Damouchari .

It was October 2012 when we visited so apart from one other couple we appear to be the only tourists in the whole place, and the entire place seems deserted. The beach we have stumbled on by accident is a bay with a pebble (maybe that should be a boulder) beach and in various places on it other visitors have made towers of stones, some of them quite impressively high.  It’s annoying not to be able to walk on the beach to  photograph them better, so I do my best with the zoom lens on the camera.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

By the time I arrive Himself and the kids are already at the end of the path and then start scrambling over the rocks on the beach.

There are seats spaced all along the beach front path so I can sit for rest and watch the waves roll in and marvel at the stunning colour of the sea.

Further along the path diverts sharply to the right and goes into a deep gully, too much for me to tackle of course but if I had been fully fit then it would have been a very interesting walking track to explore.

By the time I get to the end of the path and back Himself and the kids have come back and told me that they are heading on to try out the other path, if  our map reading is still wrong they will come back and tell me so that I can be saved the extra walking.

Now that I’ve been sitting so long they’ve been long gone and there’s no sign of them so I deduce that the other path must have been good after all.  Now all I have to do is to find Himself and the kids, so this means making my way back to the spot where the path divides…

(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 13, 2013

Stones That Stack Up, Flatten Out, Look Up and Lay Down…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I had too many photographs of around the church in Veere for one post and felt that these few deserved their own slot.

We know from one of the previous posts that the gravestones in the church cemetery were ripped up by the French invaders and some were recycled as windowsills.

The plots themselves (or at least some of them) and lay recessed in the grass around a few parts of the church.

There’s an interesting arrangement of large boulders on another (graveless) piece of grass that looks like an infant Stonehenge…

…and just across the grass, a simple but beautiful statue of two stylized figures who’s upward gaze just happens to be in the direction of the church.

Just along from the statue is the smallest entrance gate in the large wall that surrounds the church… the view through it shows a continuation of the former city wall, that now borders a little street. All of this gives a sense of tranquility and peacefulness… I drink in the calm atmosphere and enjoy, and walk on…

(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 15, 2012

Kaikoura: Where One Lobster Is Almost Whale Sized…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The kids have burnt off only a fraction of their excess energy after the seal-walk that wasn’t…  so we assure them that it’s not too far to Kairoura and that we will make a decent stop in the town.

It’s practically impossible to miss that Kaikoura is famous for Whale Watching and for Lobsters… like many things, when I was a kid it was a loosely kept secret, there were no queues, no mass tourism per se and if you “knew someone who knew someone” who had a big enough boat then there was a good chance you could catch a whale watching trip of your own.

I did, several times in my early twenties, and both time braved some pretty bad sea-sickness to try and catch a sight of a whale up close. I do have to admit that on the first trip out the sea was millpond calm and yes, I was still sea-sick.

On the second trip it started off calm enough but after being out for some hours it  started to come up choppy so we were forced to race at a rather breakneck speed to shore as the swells around us got bigger and bigger.

I didn’t feel so self conscious on that trip because  there was only one’of the half a dozen passengers on the boat who wasn’t sick, but by the looks of him that was only due to the steeliest determination I have ever seen, before or since.

I remember marvelling at how clamped shut his jaw was and how his face remained set in one stony facial expression the entire trip back.  Upon reflection as I write this down,  I now wonder how many days it might have taken before he could move his face again.

On both of these trips the skippers had put underwater microphones into the water as we bobbed out over the deep water so that we could listen for whale calls. We could hear them there were kind of clicking noises as the sounds were picked up (technology is sure to have advanced massively these days) and there had been sightings in both spots earlier in the day but sometime the whales take on air, make a very deep dive and stay submerged  for hours.

Like most things connected to natural events it’s largely a matter of luck, and on both occasions we didn’t have any.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These days Whale Watching is the biggest commercial earner for this small town, I hear that the boats used these days are far bigger and that booking is essential in the summer high season. We find path that leads to a board-walk along this part of the beach.

Little Mr is the first to spot the whale watching helicopter (I’ve been on that too in the past, but that’s another blog post) and to come running up the beach as fast as his legs could carry him (not easy running on all these loose stones) to breathlessly demand that I take photographs please.

I obliged his request and then sat and sweated on the board-walk  for the safety of my DSLR when Kiwi Daughter took  her first  few photos of the surf  breaking on the shore. ( This stony beach and crutches being completely incompatible).

Himself and the kids collect a few stones from the beach to add to our “beach archive collection” and mindful of the impending excess baggage charges we would invariably incur if  no action was taken, Himself spent the next 15 minutes sneakily removing a sizeable quantity of very decent sized stones that Little Mr thought to be the most excellent specimens on the beach, and replacing them with their far tinier cousins.

The joke is that when I pulled the tiny plastic bag of stones out of the suitcase in The Netherlands, Little Mr proudly pointed out “his” stones, completely oblivious to the fact that the ones he pointed to were a tenth or a twenthieth of the size of the ones he chose on this Kaikoura beach.

One day when he’s older he will read this blog and realise he’s been hoodwinked all the while. I might have to tell him that I decided to clean them and that they shrank in the wash. Do you think he will buy that?

More squeals of excitement erupt when the kids spot a “shark” in the water… err no kids,  it’s not a shark, it’s a seal and I do my best to grab a photo but it keep diving and moving further away. Eventually the kids grow tired enough to realise that their stomachs are rumbling and our next task is to look for a very special and even (gasp) world famous eatery.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This isn’t the eatery we are looking for, but when they boast that the lobsters from Kaikoura are huge… they weren’t joking!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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