Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ABC Wednesday: T for Tea-Time

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It strikes me that I did T for Tea in the last round of ABC Wednesdays as well, but never mind. I do love tea! And I hope that even coffee-drinkers may enjoy looking at these tea-pots that I saw in the window of my favourite tea shop the other day. I was there to renew my stash of my favourite local blend (I have no idea what’s in it), + peppermint candy-flavoured black tea, + a spicy green Christmas tea, which is only sold this time of year.

ABC Wednesday 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Advent Advert

From Thursday 1 December through Christmas Eve my blog DawnTreader’s Picture Book will be turned into an Advent Calendar. (For those of you who are not already following that blog, there will be a special Advent Calendar button at the top of the sidebar here to conveniently  transport you there.)

Traditional Advent calendars here take the form of a large rectangular card with 24 windows; one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. Each window opens to reveal an image or poem, or lottery number. Some calendars have a small gift concealed in each window, such as a toy or a chocolate item.

My plan is to take you “window shopping” with me. Yesterday as I walked through town, I found myself stopping frequently at shop windows and entrances to take photos of decorations. A few quite clever and inspired; others trying to display every article in stock; some trying the approach that ‘less is more’; and then some that seemed like a tired sigh: ‘I guess we have to do something….’ 

I will be combining my photos with various kinds of quotes; and so I hope there will be something for everyone as we go along, whatever your feelings about Christmas – or shopping! – may be. I’m afraid you shall have to buy your own chocolate, though.

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No, I’m afraid it’s no use clicking on the numbers!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Larch

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Although a conifer, the larch is a ‘deciduous’ tree which means it loses its leaves/needles in the autumn…

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… So not recommended as Christmas tree! …

It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

SOOC Sunday: Bird Conference

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Last weekend this flock of birds were holding a conference in some trees I can see from my windows. Reminded me of the Hitchcock movie! After chatting for a good while, they took off. Direction south… Probably a good decision!

I have not tweaked the colour in these photos, they were taken at twilight, shortly after sunset, and the sky itself contributed to the sort of ominous feeling.

Linking to  Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Let There Be Light (2)

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Last weekend we had the official lighting of the Christmas lights in town. Since then, I have also been getting my own lights up. As this is the darkest time of the year here in Sweden, I enjoy getting my window lights up in time for the 1st Advent Sunday. Electric candlesticks and advent stars in the windows are very common here during the month of December.

Back in my childhood, I think most people had only one of each. Nowadays it is not uncommon to have one in each window. I say that to defend the fact that as of this year, I myself do have four electric candlesticks (one in each window) + two stars (on in the kitchen and one in the study) + a chain of lights on the balcony…

The 1st Advent Sunday is always the fourth Sunday before 25 December. This year 25 December falls on a Sunday,  and therefore 1st Advent Sunday is as early as can be – 27 November.

I’m glad of that, because I don’t think I could have waited another week to put up my lights! That feeling may have something to do with the last three years being so full of worries (for my elderly parents, now both gone). This December, no worries of that kind; but still a lingering sort of melancholy, and trying to find my own way and will among old traditions and perhaps new ones, memories and future. Whichever way one turns, this time of year will always be full of reminders: lights and decorations, special kinds of food and drink, and spicy smells.

I decided to get a new electric candlestick for the kitchen window this year, to replace an old one which I’ve had too long. So I went to two different shops in town to have a look – and found one in each shop which took my fancy. One seemed more right for the kitchen though, so I bought that one. 

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However, a couple of days later I found myself going back to to buy the other one as well; because my mind had not let go of it, and just kept telling me how good it would look in my bedroom… As indeed it does!

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Today * Yesterday, with all the candlesticks in place, and the sounds of storm and rain outside, I was inspired to also add the delicious time-of-the-year smells of saffron and gingerbread to the atmosphere... First I made a saffron loaf in my bread maker; and then ‘shortcut’ gingerbread biscuits. So called by me because I let the food processor do most of the job, and no rolling-pins or pastry-cutters involved. But you still get the right smell and taste!

For Weekend Reflections 

* Some technical problem got in the way of posting this Friday evening.
Hope for better luck today!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Thankful

Each Thursday, Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks a bookish question, and readers put their answers on their own blogs and link up. Thanks Deb for keeping the book-discussion going. :)

What book or author are you most thankful to have discovered? Have you read everything they’ve written? Reread them? Why do you appreciate them so much?

I’ve been taking part in this meme almost every week for about 1½ years now. Inevitably, some topics tend to get repeated after a while. Even when the questions vary slightly, my answers tend to frequently sneak away in the direction of certain authors/ books/ genres which have remained my favourites for a long time.

Last year too, around American Thanksgiving, the question was about authors and books we are thankful for. You will find my answer here: Worth Reading More Than Once. And some followers of my blogs will probably know my favourite authors by now even without peeking!

So instead of writing yet another tribute to C.S. Lewis and/or J.K. Rowling, I’ll mention a book and author I’m thankful to have just recently discovered. In fact I finished the book only a couple of days ago, and before I bought it, I had never even heard of the author. But as it turned out I enjoyed it enough to feel curious try another one soon. Lucky for me it seems she has written four so far (not in a series but each their own story).

It’s not very often that I just go into a bookshop and buy a book without having heard of either the title or the author before. With this one I did just that, though. Went into the bookshop to browse around without anything specific in mind; and came out with The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen.

Here’s the cover and blurb that made me buy it:

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Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. Why did she leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return?

But in a place where unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight, where the wallpaper in your bedroom changes so suit your mood, and where a neighbour bakes hummingbird cakes in the hope of bringing back a lost love, Emily will find that the answers are not what she expects…

In fact one of the things I found most enchanting about this book was the fact that until the end, I too did not have a clue what to expect, or even quite in what ‘genre’ to put it. But I also liked her use of language, and after finishing the book I have half a dozen little sticky notes sticking out it, marking quotes… Like:

He’d meant – absolutely – everything he’d said at the time, all caught up in the fantasy come true. But adolescence is like having only enough light to see the step directly in front of you, and no farther.

or

‘I’m homesick all the time,’ she said. ‘I just don’t know where home is.’

 

 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

S for Sledges in the Sun without Snow

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Last winter we had snow already in mid November and it did not go away until April. I have to say I don’t really mind if we have to wait a bit longer for the first snow this year, even if it makes the sledges look a little bit out of place!

For ABC Wednesday – S

Monday, November 21, 2011

Macro Monday: Snowberries

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“I am I plus my circumstances.”
~José Ortega y Gasset ~
 

… … …

Snowberries - Symphoricarpos albus:
I remember these berries from childhood.
When you squeeze them, or stamp on them,
they burst with a popping sound…

… … …

It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’ Chaos.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SOOC Sunday: Torchlight Procession

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From the lighting of the trees in the Park (see yesterday’s post) there was a torchlight procession to the Town Square…

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… and the lighting of the Christmas Tree there:

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More photos from the same occasion in my Picture Book.

This post is linked to Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Let There Be Light

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While most of November so far has really been quite fine – for November! – yesterday was a typical November day as we often tend to think of it in this part of the world; all grey and misty.

I don’t go out after dark very often these days, and especially not in this kind of weather. When I have a choice, I prefer to go out in the daylight. Yesterday however, I had set my mind on going into town for a special event in the afternoon. So I set out from home around 3.45 pm, which is about the time of sunset here now. (Yesterday, however, it was kind of dark all day!)

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The statue in the foreground represents the history of our town and area: a tradesman travelling on foot from place to place selling his goods from a sack. He stands just where the modern shopping street begins.

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At 4.30 pm people were gathering down by the river… Quite a few lights reflected in the river already, but this is what we were waiting for:

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The official lighting of the Christmas lights in the Park.

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I took lots of photos, so no doubt you will be seeing more of these views. ;) Night photography is tricky, but I had brought my gorillapod which helped me to use railings and lampposts and wastebaskets and whatever I could find for support.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

BTT: Categories

Of the books you own, what’s the biggest category/genre?
Is this also the category that you actually read the most?

The BTT questions come from Deb at Booking Through Thursday

I’ve never counted the exact number of volumes in my shelves, but a rough estimation is that around 55-60% are novels/fiction. Out of those probably 65% in Swedish, the rest in English + a few in German. Out of my non-fiction, the biggest category/genre would be Christian theology/spirituality; the rest a mix of history, mythology, psychology, language, dictionaries… whatever.

And yes, I suppose that on the whole, my bookshelves give a rather fair representation of my reading. Had I kept every book I ever bought though (not to mention library books), there would no doubt be even more Swedish (since I am Swedish). I’d also say that crime fiction is probably a bit underrepresented in my collection because I tend to borrow more of those than I buy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

R for Retro, Rusty and Rustic… and Getting Ready!

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… and a barrowful of Christmas Roses … for ABC Wednesday!

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The Town has started getting ready for Christmas…

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… and inspired by the goings on in town, I put up my own fairy lights on the balcony railing today. I haven’t turned them on yet though, except briefly to check that they were working. But the 1st Advent weekend is only 1½ week away! And today was a good day to get the job done – sunny and dry.

Paul Simon: Getting Ready For Christmas Day

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Award

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Pauline of The Paddock (NZ) recently passed on this blog award to me. ‘Liebster Blog’ is German, meaning ‘Favourite Blog’. Thanks Pauline for thinking of me.

The rules say “This award is given to blogs with fewer than 200 followers, with ‘good content’ that warrant more support.”

Those of my readers who have been with me since my first blog might remember my struggle with some previous awards. For example, when I received my first, which I was supposed to pass on to five others, I did not even have that number of followers yet!

My own ground-rule ever since is that awards should not come with obligations. If you give someone an award it is because you think they already deserve it. Blog awards also often tend to go round and round among the same circle of friends, so can become a bit of a bother that way. (Especially if they come with rules like answer 30 personal questions before you pass the whole package on to 20 other people.)

However - it’s been a while since I last received any, and I think that for this one I can find five candidates whom I have not been ‘bothering’ with similar ones before. There are no questions involved, and whether the recipients choose to pass it on or not I leave entirely up to them.

So here are five blogs from around the world that I find worth a visit now and then for their beautiful photography, nice layouts, and interesting insights into different kinds of landscapes and cultures:

Life Accomplished – Daily Delights (Lauri - USA)

Mersad Donko Photography (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Moorlands and Peak (Blogeomah - UK)

One Time One Meeting (SnowWhite - Japan)

Sweet Memories (Jama – Singapore)

Keep up the good work! :) And if you like… copy the award onto your own blog, and pass it on to (5) others who you find worthy.

---

Here’s a summary of the rules:

Liebster Blog Award
1. Copy and post the award on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Pass it on to (5) others (with less than ~200 followers).
4. Keep blogging, commenting, enjoying! :)
   

Macro Monday: Rose Hips

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“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns,
be happy that the thorn bush has roses.” [German proverb]

It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November Lake

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On Friday I went out to check on The House. As I often do when circumstances allow, I got off the bus one or two stops early and took a roundabout walk down by the lake to get there. A still day with subtle autumn colours.

This post is linked to Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

Saturday, November 12, 2011

At the Town Archives (FMTSO: Letter A)

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Normally I take part in Friday My Town Shoot Out from my Picture Book blog. Yesterday however was not a normal Friday. For one thing I was away from home most of the day; and for another I couldn’t think of Anything At All to do with The Letter A, which was the theme for this week’s Shoot Out

But then today it was Open House at our Town Archives, which suddenly struck me as an acceptable A-word. So I decided to link to FMTSO from here even though it’s both the wrong day and the wrong blog. Daring, but I hope we shall all survive!

(I’m putting the post on this blog because my own private complicated archiving system tells me that’s the best place for it.)

The photo is from the Town Archives’ Research Hall, which is really just the Anteroom to the bigger labyrinth of the archives. Normally when you visit, you ask an archivist for the article you want, and it is they who will enter the Chamber of Secrets* or Department of Mysteries* to get it out for you.

Today at Open House however they also had guided tours into the Restricted Section* (the actual archives). For some reason though I forgot to take pictures in there. Maybe they cast some kind of memory spell* on you when you enter!

[* Sorry for all the Harry Potter references. I’ve been watching HP films seven nights in a row; still waiting for the eighth.]

One of the things I learned from the visit today is that our town was one of the first in the country to establish a Town Archive.

Besides records (and photos) of the development and decisions of the town, they also keep for example original copies of the local newspaper, and certain court records etc. They also provide archive space for non-profit organizations, societies and clubs. And even some ‘private’ collections.

One of the reasons why I wanted to take the opportunity to learn a bit more about this place was that I’m hoping they might also want to take in some of the local history research notes left by my granddad and dad. On an occasion like this I could of course only ask general questions, but I think it might be worth pursuing.

 

 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

BTT: E-volution

E-readers like the Kindle and iPad are sweeping the nation world … do you have one? Do you like it? Do you find it changes your reading/buying habits? If you don’t have one, do you plan to?

(And yes, e-readers and e-books do come up periodically, and yes, we’ve had similar questions in the past, but things change so quickly … it’s worth revisiting.)

The BTT questions come from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

I take the liberty of changing “nation” to “world”, because in Sweden, they are not quite sweeping our nation yet. Which is probably also part of the answer to why I still don’t have one. I feel fairly certain that one day I shall, but I think I might wait another couple of years to decide what kind to buy.

There was an article about this in my local newspaper just a couple of weeks ago. The Market (this mysterious entity which is always spoken of as if it had an existence of its own) here in Sweden is still having difficulties settling on the best reader(s) for our language and literature. The publishers are also hesitating. While English is first language for 400 million people or so, and second language to like a billion or more, Swedish is spoken by approximately 10 million people. It cannot be denied: There is a considerable difference.

The prophet (or whatever his official title may be) interviewed in the article predicted that it will probably be another couple of years or so until e-readers really make their breakthrough here. So I think I might wait a while yet. When I do get one, it would be nice if the same one worked equally well with both languages.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Q for Quidditch and Quills

Autumn darkness is upon us and I’m in movie mood. Over the last five days I’ve been (re)watching the first five films based on the Harry Potter books. Two more to review and then I hope to finally get the very last one (part 2 of The Deathly Hallows) on DVD next week when it is released. However, since I’ve ordered it from the same company that mixed up my last DVD order, I might just possibly end up with another copy of  The Condemned instead. (See recent post Trick or Treat.) Ah well. What is life without a bit of risk-taking! (I only placed the order with them again because of a discount they gave me to compensate for previous mistakes…)

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Anyway, not too surprising that the first Q-word which swooshed through my mind for the ABC Q-challenge was - Quidditch.  However, I already wrote a post on that in the last ABC-round. Not on this blog but on my Harry Potter blog. (Follow the link if you want to read.) Just about the only sports game for which I know the rules… The main advantage from my point of view though is that since I can’t fly a broomstick, I can’t be expected to play!

 

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Next to mind came Quills. As far as the use of those is concerned, I think I could have been accepted as a Hogwarts student. (Where no pens or pencils are used – only quills.)

In The Order of the Phoenix (which I watched yesterday), there is a nasty Quill in use (as punishment) which does not need dipping in ink because it uses your own blood instead…

… Somehow through the twists and turns of my thoughts, I was reminded that back in my childhood or teens (long before Harry Potter first popped up in J.K. Rowling’s mind), there was a bottle of red ink in a drawer in my grandfather’s old desk. I used to pick feathers outside (frequently scattered about by the crows fighting over the left-over potatoes that my grandmother used to put out for them to feast on), sharpen them into quill pens, dip them into that bottle of red ink, and practice my quill-writing…

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Another famous quill from the Harry Potter books and films is the Quick Quotes Quill used by reporter Rita Skeeter in The Goblet of Fire. This is a magical quill that automatically twists whatever you say into sensational newspaper stuff. I’m not so sure those aren’t secretly used by Muggle reporters as well!

ABC Wednesday

 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Positive Thinking: Christmas Starts Here!

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A bit early yet for Christmas, you think? Actually in the supermarkets and shopping malls it’s already been going on for a while. The photo above is from two weeks ago.

But the Christmas decorations are not the reason why I claim that Christmas Starts Here. No, my reasons for an early Christmas this year are more personal: This Monday was my last time in the rehab pool for this period; and I’m in for a three months “break” again.

These breaks keep falling at a different time each year, since each training period (for which I need my doctor’s referral) is six months; followed by three months break (= going back on the waiting list); and if July falls within the training period, that month does not count because then the pool is closed.

I’ve had the privilege of keeping up the training in the pool for ten years now. While I was floating around relaxing during my last 15 minutes there today I was trying to figure out (by counting backwards) when it was they introduced the system with the 3 months interruptions. I kept getting distracted though so I’m not sure I got it right. But I think it must have been 3-4 years ago.

Since it does not really help much to just mope about it, I keep trying to come up with ways to be positive instead. But since the ‘breaks’ keep moving, I have to think of different motivations each time. It’s been going something like this:

When the break falls in the autumn, that’s good, because a beautiful autumn day is really my favourite time for a walk, and that way I get exercise anyway. (Let’s not focus too much on the rainy days.) And then I get to go to pool all winter; which is good, because it gets me out of the house, and provides exercise even in cold weather.

When the break falls in the summer that’s good too, because then the weather is (presumably!) warm anyway.

When the break falls in the spring, that’s good because… Well, actually it’s really hard to come up with a positive attitude for the month of March either way, but it gets easier a bit further along…

Last winter I had my break from January through March, and since that was a rather horribly cold and snowy and icy time, it was honestly a relief not to have to go out on some days.

This time the break will be from NOW until mid February or so. So I’ve decided to just see it as the longest Christmas holiday ever. Since summer did not get to be much of a holiday (with my dad’s death in mid June), I really think I can use one.

Actually there is no end to the things I imagine myself to be able to get out of the “extra” two mornings (six hours) a week ahead. Mind you, I know it’s mostly in my imagination… In reality I know shall have to spend much of the time just finding other ways to compensate for the exercise and relaxation that the time in the pool (2x45 min) otherwise provides.

However – what I shall not miss is all the extra getting in and out of multiple layers of winter clothes; or the crowded locker room and shower room; or waiting for busses in cold weather; or walking those endless hospital corridors...

And what I shall enjoy is the knowledge that if I wake up in the morning and find a snow storm outside my window, I’ll just be able slip back into bed, without having to make phone calls to excuse myself to anyone. Actually, I may not even have to bother about setting my alarm clock at all for the next three months! 

Now I think I’ve better stop before I start to imagine that I won’t have to go out at all; which of course I shall both have to (for food and such) and probably also want to (for photos and such).

Besides, so far we’re having an unusually mild and dry November, and not really too unpleasant to go out into at all. Most of the leaves may have fallen off the trees, but the lawns are still green.

Tonight, however, I’m celebrating ‘Christmas Eve’. The plan is to light candles, curl up, drink tea, eat chocolate, watch a film plus a favourite TV series, then read a good book in bed before sleep… Hm, I’m not even sure that leaves any more time for blogs today!

~ Season’s Greetings! ~

Macro Monday: Horse Chestnut Leaves

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“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn”"
~Author Unknown~

It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

Sunday, November 6, 2011

(PS) P for Pardon …

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… me, but I think I may have been wrong in my presumption earlier in the week about this being the foundation for some sort of pavillion or club house in the park … (see my ABC Wednesday post for the letter P) … When I passed the place again on Friday, I noted that a park bench had been added in a position which does not really promote the idea that the structure is supposed to grow into a building with walls and roof …

I’m not sure what to think now! Pétanque, perhaps? Winking smile
(Called boule here; and more commonly played than croquet.)

I guess I shall have to patiently wait until spring to be sure.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Door Was Open

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Today when I passed by the memorial chapel in the cemetery nearby, the door was open. I’ve never seen the inside before. (I only took a photo through the open door because there were other people there.)

Outside is the memorial place for those who were not buried but only had their ashes spread here. As you can see in the first photo, the flowerbed set aside for this purpose is absolutely packed with candles and decorations. (If you did not already read my previous post about All Saints Day, you’ll find more about our traditions there.)

Weekend Reflections: All Saints Day

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1 Now Moses --- came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush … [Exodus 3]

No, I do not claim the bush in my photo to be a particularly holy one; but with every day now, the few trees and bushes still dressed in sparkling colour, are getting more and more rare – and hence a strange sight in the otherwise brownish-grey landscape. And cause enough to stop and reflect for a while!

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See more Reflective Photography  at Weekend Reflections

 

Today in Sweden is All Saints Day. In our calendar we have two of those; and on top of that, tomorrow is All Souls Day.

The original All Saints Day was 1 November. At some point however it was moved to fall on the Saturday preceding the first Sunday in November. This sometimes causes a bit of confusion about when to celebrate “Halloween”.

All the British-American Halloween celebrations with spooky decorations, dressing up in costumes and going out on trick-or-treat etc have not really got rooted here. Some of it has crept into our culture as well through TV and so on in later years. But parallel to that, a more solemn (originally Catholic) tradition of lighting candles and putting winter decorations on the graves of the deceased has grown even more, and seems to remain the stronger one here. Even though the candle-lighting tradition also does not go further back in our country than the 1950’s or so.

This year, in discussions in the media, I noted what seems to me a growing tendency to want to keep the two traditions apart and not mix them up. It now seems to be frequently recommended that Halloween celebrations of the ‘American’ kind should be held on 31st October … While All Saints Day and All Souls Day should respectfully be kept free from that kind of stuff.

And there is of course something to be said for that. Because if you’re going out to light candles on a loved one’s grave, you might not be quite in the right spirit to deal with a ghost or skeleton turning up on your doorstep asking for treats or threatening you with tricks.

I’m kind of fascinated to see how in the long run this will develop, because in so many other ways our society is separating itself from religious practice. Christmas is pretty much commercialized and Easter I think among most people is even less connected with “church” than Christmas is.

Maybe All Saints has come to fill a sort of gap - a need of a holiday with a bit more time for serious reflection. The time of year sort of encourages it. With darkness falling and a long winter ahead, we’re not quite in the wildest of celebrations moods.

Mind you, I’m not sure all that many people go to the church services. Most probably only visit the family graves; with their own sort of rituals connected to that.

I blogged about my own feelings and childhood memories of this holiday two years ago in a post entitled The Dreary Misery of Halloween.  As you might deduct from that title alone, this was never a favourite celebration of mine; rather the opposite.

I had to deal with it somehow back then, two years ago, because that was the first autumn after mum died. Writing/blogging about it was kind of therapeutic.

Last year, my dad had moved to a nursing home; and since then he too has passed away from this life.

This year I’m on my own for the All Saints weekend. I can’t visit my parents’ grave because the village churchyard where they are buried is too far from the road where the bus goes.

I don’t really feel an absolute need to either, because at heart I believe that Time and Place only matter to the living, not to the dead. But in spite of that I’m still sort of feeling the weight of Tradition on my shoulders.

So yesterday I did go to light candles on the older family graves in town – on two different cemeteries, both within walking distance from where I live, but in opposite directions. The one farthest away I visited in the morning around 10 am. It is a huge drive-in cemetery. I thought by going early I might avoid the worst traffic chaos… But found that there was already quite a bit of that going on. Someone had parked their car on a narrow lane, causing queues in both directions. Neither queue was able to move. Some people were getting out of their cars and arguing. Definite tension in the air. Being on foot myself I had to step out onto wet lawns and even into mud and bushes to get past the car queues. I seem to recall the situation was exactly the same last year…

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In the late afternoon, as twilight was falling, I went to the other cemetery which is very close to where I live. Oops, darkness still fell faster than I was prepared for. Here too, in spite of the cemetery not being so big, lots of cars were driving in. I discovered I did not have any reflex tag on me. (I usually keep at least one in each jacket but I must have taken it out when washing this jacket after last winter, and forgot to put one back.) I got blinded by the headlights of the cars, could hardly see where I was going, and felt very unsure how much the drivers in turn could see of me! And as in the other cemetery, the roads in this one are not planned for double lines of traffic either; and hedges leave no room for pedestrians to step aside.

Luckily it hit me that I have a flashlight “app” on my mobile. Never really had reason to use it before, but now it came in handy! Phew!

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To be quite honest, yesterday mostly served to remind me why I never much appreciated the tradition in the first place. It still fails to serve its real purpose with me. For quiet contemplation of the passing of time and life and generations, I really do prefer to visit cemeteries in daylight, and not when they’re so crowded that they remind of rush hour traffic in the city…

So I think that’s probably what I should stick to.
(May this post serve to remind me…)

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Booking Through–To the Centre of the Earth (And Back)

All other things being equal, would you rather read a book that’s hard/challenging/rewarding or light/enjoyable/easy?

The BTT questions come from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

All other things being equal” … In my experience, they never are! My body, my emotions, my thoughts and my interests keep changing; as does the world around me.

Let me put it this way: I like a book to be challenging, enjoyable and rewarding; and neither too hard nor too easy. I like to learn things and be entertained at the same time; thanks!

It might not help the statistics, but that’s how it is.

My latest (re)read:
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864) -
in Swedish translation. Picked it up last time I was at The House (my parents’ old place). If I ever read it before, it was a long time ago - like 40 years or so. I’ve also seen one or two spiced up film versions in more recent years, and ended up wondering how close those really came to Verne’s story. I’d say not very close.

I can certainly see the difficulty of making a film just following the original book, since half of it or more is mostly concerned with the narrator’s anxiety and disbelief in the whole project. I guess there is some narrative skill here though… Just as the narrative ego and his uncle are drawn into the adventure by a surviving piece of evidence that someone before them undertook the journey and managed to get back; so the reader is drawn into it by the (fictional) fact that the narrator must also have been there and survived, or else the book would not have been written. And we want to know how. So in spite of our disbelief, we go on reading. (Or at least I did.)

image

The travelers discover a giant cave filled with
prehistoric mushrooms.

One of the rewards of (re)reading books like these later in life  is that one’s frames of reference have widened, so that by now I ‘m better able (I think) to also see how the work relates to other authors and books and literary styles; both earlier and later. As I (re)read this book at the age of 56, a whole whirlwind of other authors and stories, as well as the development in scientific ideas in the past 150 years, blows through my mind. And writing that down, it strikes med that that experience too might be compared to some of the discoveries made by the characters in the book…

Which brings me back to where I started:
“All other things” are never equal.

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