Local Heart, Global Soul

November 1, 2015

Wishing I Was Sitting Down On The Job…

Filed under: An Accidental Franken-Foot,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

In order for me to stand up for more than an hour a day, my physiotherapist recommended a high stool that had three wheels and a ring around the base for me to rest my foot on. An online search found plenty of five wheeled stools, bar stools galore and large office chairs but no tall stools with three wheels. Five wheels are no good, the idea is that I could use it when I’m trying to stand and cook in my kitchen. The problem is that my tiny galley kitchen isn’t wide enough for  any chair with five wheels.

I shelved the search for several months but earlier in the year was having a checkup in the hospital outside of The Hague where I had my bones realigned and fused, and spied this nifty stool that takes as little space as possible and would be ideal for standing in my tiny kitchen. There appeared to be no Makers mark inscribed into it, just a sticker with: “/108563” and “1701 Kleur Zwart” (colour black) on the sticker. Unfortunately someone in the past has attempted to remove the sticker and ripped off a section so the rest of the information it contained is missing. This is a “reference post” so that I don’t loose the photograph I made of it and am reminded to keep looking. Ok, it’s not a stool with wheels but it is small enough to help me peel the veggies and get things into the oven. One day I very much hope to be sitting down on the job…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 18, 2014

Quirky Until The End, …What’s With This Obsession With Three Wheels?

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in 2012 our family visited Greece with our in-laws during the October school holiday break.

They have a holiday home in Platania on the Pelion peninsular, an area of Greece that is mostly free from high rise tourist apartments, wall to wall nightclubs or bars.

Little villages are just as they have been for decades, there are of course some tourist restaurants and accommodations but it’s all low key, small scale and very local.

Even in the “big”city of Volos where we pass through on our way to the airport there are little surprises that make you smile and realise that no matter how modern parts of it look on the outside, that the heart of the community is still very much “old style” Greece.

One such surprise is that when we are leaving the restaurant on the beach front where we had dinner before our flight, I spy two quirky vehicles for my collection. I’m still laughing at the three wheeled one: What is it with Greeks and  their apparent fascination with three wheeled cars? Bulk lot going cheap? Who  knows? The truck was a wonder in it’s own right… Can this mountain of branches actually stay on once the truck  negotiates the local steep and winding roads? Or are they sort of locked together by their twisted interlocking shapes? Is it a tree pruning clean up or a firewood delivery? Greece is proving charming and quirky right until the end.  How excellent is that?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

March 12, 2010

When your workhorse comes with wheels…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Bicycles in the Netherlands are an essential piece of daily transport used by about a third of the population every day.

Many people don’t own a car so the bike might be their only mode of transport.

Grocery shopping,  delivering offspring to crèche, school, after school events, sports, visits to family members, friends for a cup of coffee, Birthday celebrations, annual events, and the massive miscellanea of everything else you can think of  in-between, means that bikes come in all shapes, sizes and colours.

The most popular bikes are what look like what might be described as “old man” or “old lady” bikes. Thick sturdy frames, solid, heavy beasts.

Come on, think about it, just  a few posts back,  I showed you a photograph of my street… believe me, this type of Dutch street eats modern 10-speed bikes for breakfast and rattles them down to  warn-out-nothings in next to no time.

Streets like mine, see a 10-speed coming and let out an evil chuckle.

The bikes built for speed are kept safely out of the way of the daily utilitarian chores that other bikes so dutifully preform and kept for recreation or serious sport on smoother cycleways, usually outside the city boundaries.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Your average 10-speed is also rather pathetically equipped to deal with the weight of your biggest kid on the back baggage rack and your youngest kid dangling in a kid seat by the handlebars in front of you. Carrying three on a bike made ideally for One, takes a bike that has fortitude and stamina and the guts for the job.

If a 10-speed could cut it, you’d be seeing millions of them around here.  It’s been long since discovered that their flimsy lightweight frames quake at the approach of laughing children and the sight of laden grocery bags.

I went for a walk the other day and photographed just a few of the bikes on one side of a single canal…. they display the passion and stoical work ethic of this beloved and well used mode of transport.

The Dutch word for “bike” by the way, is “fiets“. Pronounce  that as “feets” and you will have added another Dutch word to your vocabulary.

Some examples for the multi-kid and grocery carriers…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This one is decorated with plastic flowers, carries one kid, one adult and the groceries whilst another kid cycles along side.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This one looks like a cut-and-paste job, it’s clearly a mishmash of  parts from bicycles of another life… check out the handlebars and the seat …. re”cycling” at it’s very best.

Owwwl, what a terrible pun,  I know, I know,  but I couldn’t resist !!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These all reflect the personalties of their owners…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Has this inspired you to get on your bike? I hope so…

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