Local Heart, Global Soul

February 15, 2018

Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees, But Gold Does?

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,SINGAPORE,Statues / Sculpture — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We are getting ready to leave the “Gardens by the Bay” in Singapore. On the way out I notice some art that follows the “tree” theme, no doubt influenced by the massive structures of the “Supertrees” close by. The Gardens extend far beyond the small area we have visited in part of one afternoon so if you like nature and walking then this would be an excellent place to explore. We didn’t even get time to visit the two large indoor buildings, the “Cloud Forest” and the “Flower Dome”. We will have to leave that for another trip. The “trees” in this sculpture series appear to be part of a set, I counted three, but I think there may have been more. They were so far away that I needed maximum zoom to get a decent close up, and judging by the raised cameras of people close by, I was not the only one keen to get a photograph.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 22, 2017

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Summers have not been real “summers” or winters been real “winters” for a long time now.

Gone seem to be the days when the long school holidays could be counted on to give us sunshine and allow kids to play outside together for days on end.

My father will often recount the winters of his childhood, thick ice on small canals and ponds and chain-skating adventures on larger ones. Chain skating apparently involved a long line of skaters hand in hand: the trick was to have one or more strong skaters at the head of the chain and one or two smaller skaters on the end.

Water didn’t freeze easily underneath bridges so between bridges there would be solid pieces of ice that tapered off at each end until it became open water under each bridge.

The sport was that the chain of skaters would speed as fast as they could towards the bridge, coming as close as they dared before the strong skaters performed a sudden “U” turn and dug in to speed back in the opposite direction.

The person who was second to last in the chain would often be whipped around and find themselves skating over seriously thin ice that began to sink under their weight, the last person in the chain was by now almost travelling over submerged ice and almost open water, but moving so fast that the water flicked away from under their skates as they flew past the thinnest of ice and back onto the safety of the thick stuff.

Nano seconds counted, strong grips in the chain did too, sometimes it went wrong, calculations or under estimated and the kid on the end ended up in the freezing water. My father told me that if that happened then the kid was fished out (sometimes needing the assistance of passers by to achieve that) but under no circumstances did they go to their own homes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Canals were polluted and rank, kids greatly feared the wrath of their mothers who had to get the stink and mess out of clothes after express instructions not to play this kind of game. That’s not counting the fear of drowning that did not seem to ever occur to kids as a possibility, but I am certain was the stuff of their parents worst nightmares.

If a kid ended up in the drink, they were fished out and hurried to a friends house, and since this was oft a weekend sport, if they were exceptionally lucky the mother of the house was not at home, but the father was.

The attitude was then ” boys will be boys / no one drowned”, with a big grin, water would be boiled so that a hot wash was available before being lent spare clothes from one of your friends.

The friends mother would later wash and dry the damp and smelly laundry and the kid who had taken the icy dip in the canal was left to sneak home in borrowed clothes and hope his mother would not notice. Of course she always did, and it was always the worst kept secret in the neighbourhood.

Borrowed laundered clothes would magically reappear back to whoever they had been borrowed from, stinking ones would be washed and returned to their owners too. It seemed to just be part of growing up, both parents and children ‘played the game” but small punishments would also magically ensue.

Extra household chores, more of a hated veggie on your plate, and never a complaint because everyone knew that everyone knew (well, maybe the kids did not twig to this until later) and it was one of those rites of passage things that was part of many a Dutch child’s childhood.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Snow and big freezes were standard every winter of my father’s time, his two grandchildren who live here now however cannot say the same. Little Mr looked longingly at his sled without a snowdrop in sight, and then one day we woke up to the white stuff.

Himself and I had to go to Delft for a hospital appointment so I took photographs on the way there and back, especially enjoying the small open space between Rijswijk and Delft where there are trees that stood in their white coats in the strange stillness that even the proximity of the cars creeping along the nearby motorway could not break.

There is a peace and stillness that comes with snow, it blankets the noise of every day life and gives a pretty as a postcard look to even the plainest neighbourhood or grayest day. Personally I love snow, but preferably from a distance, either rugged up warm inside or on the postcard whilst I sit somewhere tropical!

Even though I will never miss snow, I do realise that I should miss where it should be, Dutch winters should have some, the seasons should be as they were meant to be and not the product of man-made mis-management on a global scale.

I can only hope that the small spattering of snow that arrived in the 2016/ 2017 winter and stayed barely a few days will not be photographed as some of the last winter snow we see in years. I hope that Little Mr’s sled does not stand forlornly waiting for the seasons to be as once were. Snow, even though it’s no personal favourite of mine, is still a stunning work of nature and it has it’s place. I can but hope that this winter it will let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cycle paths are often as quickly cleared as main roads…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 15, 2016

Am I Really Not Able To See The Wood For The Trees?

During our summer holiday in Germany last year, we used the area close to the town of Stadtkyll as our base and traveled around checking out the local area. Since the area is rural it makes sense that the locals heat their homes with wood fires or burners. Therefore it was very normal to see lots of wood piles during our travels and you know me… even the ordinary things can have interesting patterns in them so I started taking photographs of as many of them as I could as we drove past. The wooded countryside was also interesting too of course, and then a possible title for this post popped into my head… a little something about not being able to see the wood for the trees.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Christmas tree farm…

(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)

Almost missed this one…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This one was so long I only managed half of it…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Almost missed this one too…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

September 8, 2015

Green And White Ribbons Around: Hundreds Of Trees…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you drive past something and your eyebrows go up as you look quizzically at what you are seeing.

Your brain is busy trying to find possible answers to the “What on earth is this?” question and nothing instantly comes to mind.

Such was the case three years ago when we visited the southern Dutch province of Limburg.

The images in question were of large ribbons tied to trees on both sides of the road, and not just one ribbon on one tree but on lots of trees,  in fact, hundreds of them.

At first I thought that it might have been for a wedding or some local event but then it became clear that it wasn’t for “some thing” but rather for “some where”.

These ribbons lead to a driveway, and since we pass this spot most of the times that we went back and forth between our holiday park close to the town of Vaals and the city of Maastricht, I photographed these on many occasions during our outward and return journies and at different times of day. During our first drive by we realized the the ribbons are on both sides of an entrance way. Now that we have worked out what these ribbons were for, this place was quickly added to my wish-list of places to visit. Now the time has come to make this wish come true and we follow the ribbon “trail” and enter the gates to see for ourselves…

(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)

 

December 31, 2014

Trees That Do Weights??… What’s Next? A Bench That Can Bench Press?

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our Legoland Germany visit I saw something I’ve never seen before… the trees had weights on them.

At first I wondered if they were bells or lights, but no, I think they are definitely weights.

Probably they are meant to train the tree branches into a direction that won’t poke visitors in the eyes, but on second thoughts, these branches were too high for that.

Now I’m trying to remember how close they may have been to the Legoland rail way line, maybe it’s so that the passengers (sitting higher up than the walking public) don’t get scratched … or maybe it’s the train that they don’t want scratched.

Now that I think of it I’m not even certain that these trees were by the train line at all… I seem to remember they were around the mini-Lego country / city area, and the train goes behind a hedge there. Have you ever seen tree weights or things that look like this before? If so could you please maybe let me know  what they are and why they are being used? And No, I don’t think the trees are doing a little working out on the sly! (well I might believe it if I can catch the benches doing a little bench pressing!).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 13, 2014

Stashed All Ready …And Waiting To Be Inspired

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers will know that I love patterns, and not only that, that I love patterns in the strangest of places: street stones, drain covers and tiles to name just a few.

This post is pure indulgence for myself: it’s also a reference “inspiration”  file for my future drawing efforts because I used to be able to draw trees really well and now that I’ve not been drawing for years and years I’m struggling with a subject I once found easy.

Olive trees are amazing, there are so many shapes and so much texture to their trunks, some are truly bent and twisted, contorted with age and they are a pattern lovers dream.

I used to be able to draw leaves better too, so there are a few inspiration photographs of those too.

That the  moment the strong morphine based pain relief I’m on for my foot injury affects my  concentration levels badly, so of course does pain so I rarely draw now, but I  live in hope that better times are ahead in my recovery and when that moment arrives my inspiration files will be ready and waiting here on my blog and all I will have to do is open these posts and pick up my pens. On Greece’s the Pelion peninsular in the village of Platania the oranges and olives are already starting to ripen and some are already for picking. All the colours and textures are recorded … so in the meantime I am building up my inspiration files,  need a photograph of gnarled tree bark? Plenty here to choose from…

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

October 22, 2012

Tweeking my Knowledge of Teak…

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

We pass lots of different types of plantations during our journey and one of them, seen mostly in small thickets, our guide explains are Teak trees.

I was interested to know a little bit more about teak because I once heard a chef say on a cooking programme somewhere that teak chopping boards were the best type of wooden chopping boards you could have in your kitchen.

Now that I have done some research on Wiki however, I see that it says that the silicon in the wood can blunt tools… and most of the praise for this wood is for it’s outdoor durability and termite resistance. Wiki tells me:

“Teak is a yellowish brown timber with good grains and texture. It is used in the manufacture of outdoor furniture, boat decks, and other articles where weather resistance is desired. It is also used for cutting boards, indoor flooring, countertops and as a veneer for indoor furnishings.

Teak, though easily worked, can cause severe blunting on edged tools because of the presence of silica in the wood. Teak’s natural oils make it useful in exposed locations, and make the timber termite and pest resistant.

Teak is durable even when not treated with oil or varnish. Timber cut from old teak trees was once believed to be more durable and harder than plantation grown teak but studies have shown plantation Teak performs on par with old-growth teak in erosion rate, dimensional stability, warping, and surface checking, but is more susceptible to color change from UV exposure.

Teak is used extensively in India to make doors and window frames, furniture, and columns and beams in old type houses. It is very resistant to termite attacks.”

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

Luckily to date, we have no termites in our home and I don’t have a kitchen open to the elements, (unless you count the four gas hobs) so now that I’ve done some homework, I will be sure not to fall into any sales traps and be enticed to buy expensive teak chopping boards over their cheap and cheerful other-wood cousins… so you never know, this might be a very handy piece of useless information should the need ever arise.

At least now I know what a teak tree looks like (I had somehow in error imagined it to be a very thick trunked tree like walnut or oak).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 26, 2012

Coming to Waipoua to See the Young ‘Uns…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this section of my New Zealand travel diary we are entering  the Waipoua Forest, located on the west coast of the upper peninsula that makes up Northland, New Zealand.

The open, cleared landscape that was once bush, burned off long ago to make room for both Maori and Pakeha  (white settler) agricultural efforts,  gives way to New Zealand native bush still in it’s former glory… it’s subtropical in this region, so with some very different species of vegetation to bush in the South Island but similar in that it consists of tightly packed trees and shrubs that form dense layers between the ground cover and the canopy.

Subtropical often means rain… and yes it’s raining buckets again as we enter this protected area which is also a National Forest.

This place is extra special because it’s the home of the Kauri tree… and even through the rain streaked windows of the van it’s easy to spot them, distinctive for their lack of branches on the lower section of the trunk, and for their therefore chunky rather top-heavy looking tops. And of course distinctive for their size.

All the Kauri’s I can see so far look like young ‘un’s … up to several hundred years old… we drive deeper into the Waipoua…

(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)

One of the postcards I bought to send to family and friends also featured Kauri…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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