Friday, June 11, 2010

It's Oh So Quiet

I'm told those are the words used to summon Bjork, though they're quiet accurate for this situation. I just had a stroll into town to see could I get some food. It's a Friday evening, I've gotten off work, time for some takeout. So I went to the only chipper I've found in town. It's a good one, great food and low prices. I should have realised, strolling by the houses, and into the deserted town that today wasn't going to be my luckiest day. The chipper was closed, and so was just about everywhere else. Seems they close at around eight, must not be much  late business in this small town.

The neighbourhoods around here aren't like what you'd find in Ireland, as you might expect. Though I'm finding myself liking the differences. Aside from houses around here being noticeably larger, one of the things I like about these streets and neighbourhoods is that every house is different. It's difficult to find two of these houses that are the same. Some of them are architecturally similar, though the core structure of every one of these houses is quite unique. A high pitched roof here, a balcony there, all these houses feel like they were designed by someone. I passed more than a handful that I wanted to stop and snap a photo of, though the thought of taking pictures of somebodies home felt weird, so I left it.

In Ireland, house design is so homogenised that the difference here is actually a little jarring. It's nearly at the stage where you could give a blind man a pencil, and he'd be able to draw you out a plan for a semi-detached three bed with a garage. At which point the contractors will promptly copy and paste that design across a whole street or even an entire housing estate. Even if you drive out across the countryside every ten miles you'll see the same big square four or five bedroom on the hill; Two large front windows with a door between, two large windows above with a smaller one between. You can almost guess the floor plan in your head, and you won't be too far off.

Of course, this isn't true everywhere you go in Ireland. I've seen some more modern estates that have moderately different designs, though at the end of they day you're still living in the same house as your neighbour. Here in Holland, it's like everyone has made an effort to be different and interesting. There's no wasted space, they all have rooms in the attic and the one I'm in has a basement. I quite like it.

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