Local Heart, Global Soul

October 29, 2019

Ceramics And …Going To Lick The Windows!

The Hague’s “Parels” (Pearls) events cover multiple neighbourhoods on different weekends, and display creative talent in each. A few weeks ago I went to another one and in one home, four different people had their various hobbies and artistic pieces on show. This one was all about ceramics, something I know very little about. I tried once long ago to use a potters wheel, sadly my efforts to make a pot that was (a) round, or symmetrical in any form, or (b) would stand up, were for naught.  It’s harder than it looks and takes a good amount of practice to make something like a tall vase. 

My efforts may have been laughable but these pieces are beautiful… I tried my best to get a close up of the shell form decorating the inside of the first bowl, to be honest the photograph doesn’t do it justice. I like the one with the green glaze. but we are downsizing and clearing out at the moment as the house gets a makeover /renovation , and with a ton of household stuff already stacked high in boxes as we emptied rooms and Himself paints, he would have a fit if I bought stuff home at the moment. Still, at least as one of my favourite French saying goes I can: “faire du lèche vitrine” (going to lick the windows!). It’s a wonderful way of conveying the drooling after something that you shouldn’t or can’t reach… brilliant!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 27, 2019

Bubble Glass Windows… Wait A Minute…

One quirky feature of Zierikzee is that in random places in the city centre, I found these “interesting” doors. They all have a large balloon-like window in them, which gives a quirky shape and style. All of them are dark and mega reflective so I first assumed that they were some sort of dark security glass, but closer inspection on a few of them revealed the faint lines of wooden panels so I will take a random guess and say that all of these are wooden. None of them had letter slots in or above the bulging section so they are also not letterboxes. therefore I give up, I have no clue as to the function of these unless they are purely decorative. I spotted at least half a dozen of these and each time they make me smile. Fooling me into thinking they were glass gives these doors an air of fragility that is apparently a complete sham, so the joke is on me because I was completely taken in.These are quirky, apparently only decorative, and distinctive, I can laugh at myself, What’s not to love?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 1, 2014

Surprising Details Come In Threes…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Zaanse Schans — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The thing that surprised me more than everything else when I visited Zaans Schans  turned out to not be something on any of the information boards, but something rather subtle and indirect.  The surprising thing is that almost all of the buildings that have been relocated to Zaans Schans are made of wood.

I live in The Hague, one of the large Dutch cities and like any town or city of decent size in The Netherlands you’d be hard pushed to find houses that are built of wood.

Brick is the predominant building material in Europe, less prone to the ravages of fire, sturdier and more readily available than wood, brick  (and more modern materials like concrete) is still one of the mainstays of  Dutch architecture.

It’s therefore unusual to me to see so many wooden buildings relocated here, possibly it’s because they didn’t originate from city areas, or it’s just co-incidence, but who knows the real reason?

Another new item of information comes from one of the information boards dotted around Zaans Schans: “The street design at the Zaanse Schans is typical of the region’s unban planning until the late 19th century with wealthy merchants’ houses along the dike and labourers’cottages set at right angles along the water drainage channels, made accessible by small bridges.”

My interest is more piqued by some of the quirky details: for instance, instead of what we could now call a “bay window” some of the houses have a front facing window with a diagonal one each side of it, that cut the corners off the front facing room, under the windows that cut the corners are triangular window ledges… something I find quirky and have never seen before.

These strange windows would make sense to me if there were more windows on the right angled wall but there are none, and even quirkier, often these corner-cutting windows are not symmetrical on both sides of the front facing window either.

The I go from mind bending carpentry to mind bending nature: the kids discover a tree that appears from it’s top half foliage to be thriving, but goodness knows how because  it also appears that about 90% of the inner trunk area is missing…

Skinny Little Mr lost not time squeezing himself into the gap and spying through the lower knot hole.  I ask him to remove himself since I imagine the poor tree has difficulties enough surviving without spindly children imposing themselves at such close quarters, although I do admit that a comedy scene where a tree appears to talk could be rigged quite easily under different circumstances and probably with very amusing results.

It’s certainly a prime example of nature’s tenacity… bravo little tree!

(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)

February 5, 2014

The Strange Mixture Of The Real and Surreal…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m busy documenting our travels and adventures of the summer of  2012 with visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine”. We have already seen little snippets of England, Belgium, France, Luxembourg  and Germany, and now we are back in The Netherlands checking out the M.C. Escher Museum in The Hague.

One of the information boards inside the museum tells me:

Escher played mysterious games with mirrors and mirror images. He exploited reflections in various ways, including a large number of self portraits, which always involve the use of a mirror.

Escher’s first such work was made in 1917 when he was 19 years  old. He often worked with a convex mirror. the distortion produced by the mirror creates a broad view of the surrounding. Intriguingly, the space behind the artist is revealed.

In “Three Spheres” Escher used reflection to represent various materials with great accuracy. (This is a traditional element in Dutch art, one in which seventeenth-century artists excelled.

As a graphic artist, Escher did the same with in a lithograph) the central silver sphere reflects Escher Escher and the room: the glass sphere mainly reflect the windows in the wall at the side: the stone sphere doesn’t reflect any image at all. All three are reflected in different ways in the table top.

In “Rippled Surface, Dewdrop and Puddle” a second look reveals that the reflections are natural. The surroundings are not directly visible: the reflection of the tree branches in “Rippled Surface” for example are only distorted by in the ripples in the water. Escher entices the viewer into perceiving and impossible situation as a reality. Often a closer look is needed to realise that what you see can not be real.

Escher was constantly imagining new combinations t take the viewer by surprise. He wanted to “draw attention to something that is impossible”. he said, while working on a commission in 1960, that in order to achieve this “there has to be a degree of mystery, but one that wasn’t immediately apparent”. He even spoke of “trickery” where two sight lines would be combined in one work.

Around Queen regent Emma’s winter Palace there are many similar themes: the arrangement of old and new, modern art in the courtyard garden and historical decorative plasterwork on the palace ceilings and around fireplaces,  Escher’s work’s where you look and know you are being fooled but are uncertain just how. There’s a juxtaposition of art and aesthetics in the Palace that I find truly fascinating. Together: ornate glass windows and mind bending art… rock 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)

(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)

September 20, 2013

Light, Colour and … Action!

More stained window glass, photographs taken in Canterbury Cathedral on our last  summer’s trip to Canterbury, Kent in England… Light, Colour and Action… Enjoy!

(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)

http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/

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

October 23, 2012

Louver Windows and the Connection to Ditches…

Filed under: LIFE,MALAYSIA,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is probably another post where you think I’m bonkers. (Actually I’m sometimes surprised you don’t think that of all of my posts LOL).

My parents lived for a while in the Solomon Islands and when I first went to visit them I was surprised to see what appeared to be a dry moat around their house, complete with a small bridge by the front door.

It looked  like a rather lethal affair too,  and uncovered open pit about one meter deep and about half a meter wide and with the addition of a little barbed wire might have been passed off as a miniature  World War One trench.

Then I noticed something funny with their roof… there was a deep overhang on the roof, so the eaves were very pronounced.  My Mother laughed… “You’ll  ‘get it” later” she said, and Yes, as soon as it rained I surely did.

Tropical rain doesn’t rain cats and dogs, it rains swimming pools and this not-so-little moat was their overflow drain for rain water. And over-flow it did… until I saw it fill and over flow within fifteen minutes or so,  I never could have imagined that so much water could pour out of the sky and flood the earth at once.

My parents  had a rainwater tank for their water supply, it was massive: big enough that my Father could climb inside to scrub the inside walls several times a year, and one day just after he’s scrubbed it,  it started to rain very heavily so he put the diversion pipe on, (from the roof to the tank) filled it completely during the downpour, then took the diversion pipe away, totally emptied the tank  and then with the tank now rinsed but the pipe back and filled it completely again from the water coming off the roof… all  in the same downpour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

He said he got soaked to the skin doing it, but  that wasn’t a bother because it was still roughly 36 C (98.6 F) anyway.

On the long side of the house that usually caught the small breezes they installed a row of floor to ceiling louver windows .

These ran for some meters along the hallway and with insect netting on the outside, gave a good airflow in the house in the typically hot and humid climate.

You could close one or two meters of louver windows at a time by pulling down on long handles at various  points along the hallway and I discovered just how heavy tropical rain can be one day when the skies opened and we were all outside.

I was fastest to sprint inside and try and get all the windows closed… but the driving rain was almost horizontal and so much rain was coming in whilst I was trying to close them that in spite of my haste I was standing in ankle deep puddles of flood water on the floor.

In the kitchen more windows were open and the entire kitchen floor was flooded and the stove top was full of water. There was actually so much water on the stove that the elements were drowning in water and we didn’t dare use them until the electrics dried out for fear of electrocuting ourselves.

It’s therefore with some nostalgia that I spy large rainwater ditches by the side of the road in Malaysia, memories of the Solomons come back in an instant and I’m reminded that whilst we are enjoying a lovely sunny day today, it’s green and lush around here for a very good reason.

I suppose that during a decent cloudburst here or a tropic storm that there must be small rivers of water flowing in these drains.  We didn’t see it today, but in my minds eye I’m transported back to the day when I was standing up to my ankles in water inside my parents hallway in floods caused by a tropical rainstorm.

Yes, I am bonkers.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 31, 2011

The Detail Fanatic in Me…

Filed under: FRANCE,LIFE,Miscellaneous,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ok, I will confess that I am being side tracked today.

My range of walking is limited by the crutches and carrying the camera isn’t easy, but I wanted to be a little mobile so I did my exercises in stages, progressing slowly around the courtyard around the gite.

The old farmhouse that is attached to the gite has been empty for years but there are still beautiful details in the windows, walls and doors.

The detail fanatic in me forced me to take my time to get over to these and make an effort to capture their beauty.

The oldest section of  the farm buildings date from 1783. I imagine that if only they could speak, the story that these items could tell of their life on a working farm in rural France over the centuries would be no doubt be a long and interesting one.

I do have to admit though that you will no doubt swiftly spot the “odd item out” within my photo series… whilst  it’s definitely a 21st Century addition,  but I think it is a nice reflection of the “old and new” that typically makes up our lives today.

(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)

Blog at WordPress.com.