Sunday, 19 March 2023

The Death of a Phone


I've spent this weekend grieving the death of a faithful servant - my Smartphone. It did not have to suffer long, but its last few hours seemed rather a struggle. Or at least they were to me! After having served me well for 8½ years or so, yesterday afternoon it suddenly refused to be woken up from its slumber, and was also obviously suffering from quickly rising temperature. (It was not connected to the charger at the time, so I have no idea what exactly it was struggling with.) I moved it to a safe place (the kitchen sink) and managed a quick operation to remove its SIM card and memory card. A few hours later the phone had cooled down - and when I tried pressing its button one more time it granted me one last "look" - just to inform me that its battery power was now 0%. And then it stopped breathing.,,

I did not dare try resuscitate it again, because in its last struggles with the overheated battery, it's backside seemed to have expanded and almost come loose. 

So: Rest In Peace, old friend.

I then spent the next 24 hours (except a few hours sleep) trying to sort out various problems related to getting a replacement. Like: What do I want? What's available? Where? At what cost? And at how much trouble? (And in between also: Who do I need to inform about the number of the deceased phone being out of order for time being...)

At first the task did not seem impossible, as I had other devices for the internet, and for text messages an even older spare mobile (with a different number, on a different size sim card), and for phone calls also a "landline" phone (via my fiber optics cable). 

The major difficulty arose today when I had got as far as having decided on a replacement - but it turned out impossible for me to order it online, because whatever company and payment method I tried, they required my "mobile bank ID" to confirm. (I don't know if you have the same hassle in other countries.) And my "mobile bank ID" was, of course, on my dead phone...

At long last, I thought to check yet another company. Turned out they did have a few of the desired object in stock locally, and would allow me to pre-order to pick it up myself and pay for it at the store. So a bus trip (+ a bit of walking) "across town" is on my agenda for tomorrow...


Thursday, 16 March 2023

Other Birds (Book Review)


Other Birds: A Novel by [Sarah Addison Allen] 

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen (2022)
(Read on Kindle)

(I bought and read this book because I've read and liked previous books by the author.)

Sarah Addison Allen writes books in the genre of "magical realism". In all the books by her that I read before, the magic was strongly related to food. In this one, I find the food factor less dominant, even if it can still be noted in certain details.

Zoey Hennessey has inherited an apartment that belonged to her dead mother, and comes to Mallow Island to take possession of it. It's one of five condos in a building called Dellawisp - named after a special kind of bird, native to this island (and found nowhere else in the world). To add to the sense of mystery, Zoey also brings with her an unusual bird of her own. (To everyone else, it just looks like she's bringing an empty bird cage, though...)

The same night that Zoey arrives, one of her neighbours dies. This neighbour turns out to have been a hoarder; and the owner/manager of the Dellawisp hires Zoey (who is looking for a job) to help clear out her apartment, while also looking for a potentially valuable manuscript that is supposed to be hidden somewhere among all the hoarded piles of paper in there. 

While taking on this task, Zoey also gradually gets to know the other neighbours - all with their own stories and secrets. Sometimes there is a thin line between the present and the past, and what is "real" or not. Some of the chapters in the book are also "ghost stories" - told from the perspective of people who are no longer living - but none the less still "hanging around", so to say... and in various ways still affecting the lives of those they left behind. 

While this may sound strange, at the same time the book actually feels quite down to earth - dealing with themes like loss and grief, and how everyone struggles in different ways to work their own way through all that. 

Sarah Addison Allen also most definitely has a "a way with words", and I found myself quite frequently stopping to ponder over, and mark, key phrases and passages.


"Stories aren't fiction. Stories are fabric. They're the white sheets we drape over our ghosts so we can see them." (Quote from a fictional book within the story.)

"Birds are supposed to be messengers between heaven and earth."

"There are lots of things we can't see that are real."

"There were only two times in a person's life when a family secret should be revealed... at the very beginning, or at the very end."

"It is love, even if you're not loved back. It is."

- - -

SARAH ADDISON ALLEN is the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Lost Lake, First Frost and Other Birds. She's sold millions of copies worldwide and her books have been translated into more than thirty languages. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

My Moomin Mugs

In comments to my previous post I was asked to post photos of all my Moomin mugs. As my collection is no larger than nine, I did not find the request too overwhelming...

 I took some photos this morning while there was good daylight in the kitchen. 

The texts I got from Arabia's website (i.e. the manufacturer); see link at the bottom.

Muddler & Little My

"Muddler is a restless and absent-minded collector who lives in a coffee tin. He keeps all the buttons that he finds, but is hopelessly careless with his collection. He forgets things and loses stuff almost all the time."

"Little My is one of Mymble's children. She is the smallest and most energetic. Little My always decides herself what she will and won't do. She isn't bothered by a mess, and she is so small that she fits into a pitcher or kitchen drawer between the whisks and spoons."


Snufkin & Moominmama
is a gentle vagabond who plays his mouth organ and loves to fish. Moomintroll is his best friend and Little My is his stepsister. Snufkin wears a green hat and wanders the countryside wherever his fancy takes him."

"Moominmamma is a gentle mother who cares for others. She never reveals the secrets that she has been told. She makes sure that the Moominhouse is safe and feels loving to both her family and to visitors."


The Ancestor
"The fascinating, mystical Ancestor is small and hairy. He moves only at night time, and doesn't speak at all. He lives in the Moominhouse salon, behind the oven. He keeps on decorating the house by turning paintings upside down."


"Adventure Move" (The Comet) + "Spring Winter"

Adventure Move (Snorkmaiden, Little My, Mymble (My's sister), Moomin and others )
"The Moomins run away from a comet and bring only the absolute essentials along with them. The comet floats in the air and gets bigger every day, and looks like it will hit the ground very soon."

Spring winter (Snufkin, Moomin, Little My)
(My comment: Moomin trolls usually hibernate in winter - while Snufkin prefers to go south for the winter, and comes back in spring. One winter, Moomin wakes up early, while there is still snow on the ground. Little My is awake too; and a squirrel plays a role in the story.) 


Moomin Valley

(Summer. Moominpappa in the black hat + several other characters.)



"Moominpappa is very proud of the Moominhouse, which he built himself.
Guests are always welcome and the doors are always open, even at
night-time. Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomintroll live in the house
and are its permanent residents. Others come and go as they please."


You can find all Moomin mugs here:

"Arabia’s Moomins are turned from stories to ceramic illustrations by designer Tove Slotte. She has been drawing Moomins onto Arabia items since the beginning of the 1990s. The designer draws inspiration from Tove Jansson’s original illustrations."

My own "collection" started with the Muddler mug, which was a present from my friend G (who recently passed away) - either for Christmas or some birthday. Not sure what year. I thought the Muddler looked a bit lonely in my cupboard, so I got him Little My as companion, and I think I also bought the Moomin House around the same time. Then other friends gave me the Snufkin and Moominmamma mugs, I think for my 60th birthday. And the other four I've bought myself on different occasions after that.

The Moomin House has become my Water Mug, which means it's always on my kitchen countertop or draining board, never in the cupboard. The others I use for tea and I tend to vary which mugs I use the most from season to season. :) (I drink tea 3-4 times/day)

Monday, 13 March 2023

Weather Report and Copper Kettle


My Moomin mug for snowy days

My blog seems to have basically turned into a weather report lately; and I'm afraid I haven't got much else to offer today either. I haven't set foot outside my flat all day. During the night we had more snow falling; but no sooner had the snow plough been round in the morning than it turned to rain instead. Heavy rain is still falling, and strong winds rattling my windows as I write this - but the lawns are still all white. Remains to be seen whether the rain will turn to snow again in the night, or if it will keep on raining.

On a sunny day last week, I noticed the copper kettle in my kitchen window casting a copper-coloured shadow/reflection (not sure what to call it!) on the white window frame, looking almost like fire:

The copper kettle once upon a time belonged either to my grandmother or to her sister; I can't quite remember now. Possibly even to my great-grandmother before them. And by now I've had it for at least 30 years (or more) myself... It's my only copper object.

The Moomin mug is comparatively new. I have nine of those, all different. There are lots of different ones, and they're very popular among collectors. Some are rare, only having been produced in limited editions. I don't think any of mine belong in that category though. I'm also not really "collecting" them - I don't have room for that! So I just have enough to represent a number of different seasons and "moods"... ;-)

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Broad Road vs Narrow Path

Walking around the cemetery today, I have to confess that for the most part, I chose the 'broad roads' over the 'narrow paths'...


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