Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Balcony in Bloom (oh, well...)

Someone (you know who you are) asked me for me a "balcony in bloom" post. Actually there isn't all that much in bloom at the moment. However, I suppose one advantage of blogging is that there's nothing really to prevent me from mixing present and past!

The thing is, my balcony is very much exposed to Wind and Weather; and we have been having quite a lot of both.

The month of May was rather chilly with a lot of frosty nights; which means most of my "gardening" consisted in covering and uncovering my faithful perennial survivors: the two clematis plants climbing up a trellis on the wall, and one small balcony box of small strawberries. 

The clematis seemed to appreciate my care and rewarded me by being very lovely at the end of May and beginning of June, though:

 By now they're well past their prime - but still rather decorative in a more subtle way:

(A bit later on I'll probably be cutting off many of the seedheads to try and tempt the plants into producing a few extra flowers instead.)

The strawberry plants have grown green again and it seems I can look forward to a few berries too (if the birds don't get them first!)

The orange flowers are kalanchoes which I bought in full flower and just put out in the pots in which I bought them (in holders that one can hang on the railing). I've often had kalanchoes indoors but it struck me that being succulents, they might actually be able to cope with the varied climate on my balcony too. (Ice cold showers one day, and hot burning sun the next...) So far, so good - even if these too are about to lose their prime glory now. (I've had them for just over a month.)

On the balcony table, I have a geranium which I can easily just take inside if the outdoors climate gets too extreme. (Like this week, when it's been sunny but still so windy that one day the pot just fell over, in spite of being in the most protected spot... It's also been too windy most days to have the parasols up. Which means I haven't really been out there myself much either, except to give the struggling plants some water when needed!)

I never got round to buying any pansies this year - partly because of the frosty nights, and partly because the neighbourhood florists' shop closed down earlier this year. (So no longer just a spur of the moment thing to go and buy a plant or two...)

What I did though, actually on the day before my Famous Fall towards the end of May ('famous' only among devoted readers of this blog), was to prepare a box for planting some nasturtium seeds. And as I had done everything except put the seeds into the soil, I did manage to do that a day or two later (in spite of my sore arm).

This is their status a month later (yesterday evening). Six out of seven have come up. Whether they'll also produce flowers remains to be seen!

That's it! - for now. 

Linking to
Outdoor Wednesday

Friday, June 16, 2017

Postcards for the Weekend: Historic Site / Building

Berlin - Pariser Platz - Brandenburger Tor
(Brandenburg Gate)

Postcrossing card from Germany, March 2017

Tokyo, with Tokyo Tower
Postcrossing card from Japan, April 2017

The Mysore Palace (southern India)
Postcrossing card from India, May 2017

Raffles Hotel in Singapore
From Maria in Singapore, March 2017

Hunebedden, or dolmens (megalithic tombs),
in the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands

From Jarina in the NL, March 2017

Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis
"the setting is thought to have both lunar and solar alignments"

From John in England, August 2015

Weekend Linky Party: 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What I listened to in March (Short Reviews)

I often wish I had (for example) Librarian’s consistency when it comes to writing book reviews. I don’t, though! Partly I blame it on the fact that I listen to audio books a lot more than I read with my eyes these days – which makes it harder to go back and recapitulate. So I often end up just writing about some books that somehow make a special impression, and if I also happen to find the time and inspiration around that time to write about them. Checking my blog, that does not seem to have happened for a while now (since February or so)…

That does not mean that I have not been reading / listening, though.

In March, I listened to audio versions of these two books (which I have read in print before):

The Distant Hours Audiobook

The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton
Narrated by Caroline Lee (22:30 h)

This novel by Kate Morton I first read (in print) back in December 2011. This is what I wrote about it back then:

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. My most recent read. (How memorable it will seem in a year’s time… remains to be seen!) This book won “General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2011 Australian Book Industry Awards”.

I mentioned it in my BTT post last week, when I still had 1/4 left to read, saying: “I’m still feeling that on the one hand I want to just keep reading to find out about the mysteries involved; on the other hand I want it to last because I so much like reading it.” I finished it over Christmas, and I have to say it did manage to keep up the suspense until the end. It is a story told from more than one perspective, and going back and forth in time, so sometimes a little hard to keep in memory or be sure who in the story really knows what. (Or, indeed, how much I as reader can trust what I know!) I would call it a modern Gothic tale, and from three real classics mentioned in it I would say it also picks a lot of inspiration from those three: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Mysteries of Udulpho.

Well. At least this novel proved memorable enough for me to want to reread it again, six years later (but this time as audio). In the meantime I have read her other four novels as well; and I dare say it’s likely I’ll want to reread (or listen to) those as well at some point. She is a good storyteller!

Publisher’s Summary:

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.

Evacuated from London as a 12-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters, and their father, Raymond.

Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle. She, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. For the truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it....

Die unendliche Geschichte Audiobook

Die Unendliche Geschichte
by Michael Ende
(The Never Ending Story)

Narrated by Gert Heidenreich (15:06 h) – in German

I mentioned this book too in my review of Ende’s Momo back in February – which my first attempt ever to listen to an audio book in German. I think I bought them both at the same time, but I started with Momo as that is the shorter of the two. Probably also the better choice to start with as it is shorter and the story a bit simpler. The Never Ending Story has a lot more fantasy characters in it, and originally the story also sort of involves the reader’s visual impression of the printed text (some parts in red ink, some in green). But since I do own it in print and have read it before (in German), I enjoyed the listening experience now. Basically it is about a boy who finds a magical book, and escapes into it…

Publisher's Summary (English version)

In this classic fantasy novel from author Michael Ende, small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there.

Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shadow Shot Sunday

A little stroll around town yesterday with my new camera.  All of these are straight-out-of-the-camera shots, no editing.


The old “Moulin Rouge” cinema in the background (built in 1914)


Street art under a bridge, from a couple of years ago.
Artist Joe Iurato.


Murals by Shai Dahan (spiced-up Swedish Dala horses are kind of his speciality). These, at a hotel restaurant near the river, are not proper all-year-round murals. They are taken down every winter and put up again for the outdoors / summer season.


View over the city from the edge of the park



Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Friday, June 9, 2017

Postcard for the Weekend – Flag


A postcard of the Swedish flag.

I don’t have a special category for flags in my postcard collection. Can’t remember if I ever received any flag cards from other countries (and in that case, where to look for them).

In Sweden we celebrated our National Day / Flag Day this week, on 6th June. See my photo post from that day.

Weekend Linky Party:

Postcards for the Weekend 41

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