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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Category Archives: New things…

This place will never be the same again...

This place will never be the same again…

On a friend’s facebook page (Gijs Nagtegaal, thank you dear for the link) I found this rather haunting picture.

It is a digitally collaged picture of a streetscape in Amsterdam’s Dam Square, mixing the present day with a real view of old.

It is the work of Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, who is a historical consultant, living in Amsterdam. You can find more pictures on her Flickr site called Ghosts of History or the Facebook group, where she writes short descriptions for each of the juxtaposed collages.

I find it an inspired way to help people understand about the life and context of a building, recreating the sense of place. Old buildings have not always been used in the same way they are used now. Some have quite horrific chapters as part of their building biography. Others have been left for dead for decades…

It is impressive how a building will quietly bear their scorn and in some cases even pay any retaliation from the mob afterwards… Some survive, others do not. Those are left forever in the mists of history.

Work like this shows you quite aptly how in the end it is the people in the place it that bring the space to life. Like a stageset seems fake until the actors come onto the stage…

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

During my building conservation diploma this thought has never been far from my mind. If you consider a building a living being (anthropomorphism in a long word), with the windows for eyes (aren’t the eyes the windows to the soul?), the hearth or fireplace as the heart, the door as the mouth, and the sewage drains, well…
In a way you could see the people in it as it’s soul.
A house left empty loses it’s gloss and shine, and after a while may be even die entirely…

So show me how you live, and I can tell you who you are.

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Pompom showdown...

Pompom showdown…

This post is for everyone who will receive a hand-knitted sweater from an aunt or granny this Christmas.

Please remember there is love and care in every stitch.
(however hideous the design might be….)

Loes Veenstra from a quiet street in Rotterdam has knitted over 500 jumpers since she started in 1955.
In this video the people from her  neighbourhood showcase all her hard work, by wearing her sweaters that had never been worn before…

Only in Holland!

In a way it is sad this craft and tradition is slowly disappearing…

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Today I realised the deep rooted ambition of every Dutch country girl…

Well heeled…

I got a pair of clogs.


And in case you were wondering…
Yes. They are comfortable, very lightweight and strangely keep my feet extremely warm without getting sweaty.
They are available at the Boerenbond. (Farmers union), where they are sold as work wear. Apparently they are according to working safety regulations… And it is nice to support the clog craftsmen…

So I dare anyone who wears crocs in their garden to try this.
Plastic really ain’t all that fantastic…

Can’t wait to take them for a spin in the UK… 🙂

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My concoction…

Some people just can’t help but get their hands dirty. As do I.

Instead of just talking about how lovely Elderflower cordial is again, I actually got stuck in and made one.
I was surprised about how easy it was.

We had cut back a long branch off the Elder, so the initiative for this event was mostly due to the lovely scent of the severed flowers.
Picking the small flowers off the corymbs takes a little work, but eventually it is quite satisfying to find yourself surrounded in the sweet smell and your hands covered in pollen. (so this is not for the pollen averse, drinking the home made brew might have the opposite effect though…)

Pity the flowers are only around end May, early June…

For the recipe:

1. you add equal measures of sugar (preferably raw cane) and water (half a cup each ~120gr.) and boil it up to a thick syrup.

Then pour the hot syrup over the plucked flowers (about 1 ounce of flowers ~28gr.) and leave to steep, over night outside of the fridge, or 3 days in the fridge.
Most people add lemon or citric acid at this point, as a preservative and to add some zzing.

Just pour through a fine sieve or piece of cloth and keep in a nice bottle or jug in the fridge.

One table spoon is enough for a large glass…

I just wanted to try mine pure before diluting the flavour… I found the plain stuff on its own or with a slice of lemon most refreshing.

Whether this is really the most powerful potion the druids wrote about, I am not sure.

But it surely works like a tonic on me.
It is always such a pleasure to have a new experience… learn a new skill.

Now all we need is a sunny day so we can drink the brew in the shade.

Summer and a slice of lemon, do we need anything more?

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One of these days…

Can anyone explain to me how ‘Madness’ on the roof of Buckingham Palace singing ‘Our house’ is the best of British civilisation in a 60 year’s diamond reign…?!

I am trying to imagine the celebrations of Elizabeth I’s 40th celebration might have been like… Free bread for the poor and be done with it?
Or was there wild Volta dancing? Or did they play her her favourite Thomas Tallis polyphonic tune?

I wonder in so many years to come…during the reign of William Windsor’s great grandchildren… Will there be flashbacks of Cheryl Cole impersonation of a glittery plank (include the sound of electric sawing)?

Will anyone still want to imagine what Grace Jones’ hoola entertainment did to Her Majesty’s eyebrows?


PS you all have to agree that all of the older stars were certainly a lot more impressive. Pfff.

PPS Prince Charles’ thank you speech was so very well done. His jokes were more entertaining than any of the comedians on the evening… (did they organise it that way?!)
And his ‘Mummy’ was priceless…

God Save the Queen.

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Drink T, you fool!

Yesterday was a special day in the Netherlands.

I doubt anyone here really noticed, but it was National Tea drinking day

I am sure many of my British friends are sniggering at the thought alone!
What do you mean? Are there any days you don’t drink tea?!

Anyway, the Medical Research Center in Utrecht found out that daily drinking of tea reduces coronary artery disease.

Pfff. I have always known that drinking tea is good for the heart…

(I am even more proud now  that my nieces and nephews call me Auntie Tea…)

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I just arrived back in the Netherlands, my parents were so happy to see me that my father parked the car on my foot. (as I was reaching for my suitcase in the back)

Luckily I already have flat feet… So the damage wasn’t too great.


No peas…

Summer is here!

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