Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Butterflies

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I was happy the other day to find another kind of butterfly visiting the little park which over the past few years I have come to think of as my Butterfly Park (but which recently seemed to have been abandoned by them). On Monday afternoon  this week I found about half a dozen or so Painted Ladies fluttering about, enjoying the flowers. A very welcome sight! :) Not very willing to pose for proper macro photos though, so I had to zoom them in from respectful distance.

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Painted Lady, Cynthia cardui or Vanessa cardui.
Tistelfjäril in Swedish.

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According to the Swedish Wikipedia article, this butterfly migrates here from Southern Europe in the spring, and the ones we see now are the second generation. They cannot hibernate in our climate.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Are the Chances? (in Postcrossing)

I received a very familiar-looking postcrossing card in the post today. The front was unmistakable (see below), but after all São Paolo is a big city and the carneval famous, so not too surprising that more than one postcrosser might choose to send that card.

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(I divided the image into two to be able to show it as big as possible here.)

What was remarkable, however, was that when I turned both cards over, and compared the backsides… Those were identical too, apart from the date:

BR-Sao Paolo x 2

The sender was of course the same person as well.
I’m just really curious about how common (or rare) that might be! (I know this is probably not the right place to ask the question and get a good answer; I just could not resist showing you.)

PS.  I see from comments that I need to explain further. In postcrossing, you don't write repeatedly to the same person. (If you do, then it's by private agreement and outside the system.) When you get a postcrossing address to write to, it can be anywhere in the world, among over 400 000 members. You don't get to give preferences in that respect. The addresses are distributed randomly (or based on a number of various factors automatically calculated). Each card has a unique ID number. The odd thing is not that this postcrosser sent the same card twice, but that she got my address twice within a month.

Beach Walk

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We had another sunny weekend and on Saturday I was out at the House outside town again, and took time to also go for a walk, starting at the beach closest to us and walking along (partly through the woods because one cannot walk by the waterside all the way) to the next one. 

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Himalayan Balsam – ‘jättebalsamin’

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The water in the lake is low after the long dry summer. When the water level  is high, it’s not possible to pass dry-shod here (the area to the right is a private garden). But just now it is.

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This beach is on the far end of the long, narrow lake.
Even when the water level is “high” it’s still very shallow waters here (which makes it a popular beach to visit with small children). And just now it makes for great reflections of the sky on a day like this :)

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The tall pine trees with their long visible roots always remind me of the Ents in The Lord of the Rings.

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Linking to Our World Tuesday

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blue Monday: Sometimes I Wish…

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Sometimes I wish The House (my parents’ old place, which we are preparing to sell) were just a very small cottage like this… That’s only a fleeting daydream, though. I know even a summer cottage this size would require more work and care than I’m really able/willing to put in. I was just enchanted by it when I passed by. :)

(This whole cottage would probably fit into the living room in The House.)

Linking to Blue Monday

Blue Monday Instructions

Friday, August 23, 2013

Take Off

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(The photo above is from last year. I might have used it before, I’m not sure.)

This week has been school start week in Sweden. The weather is still summery, but at the same time there is an excitement of change and new beginnings in the air, both in nature and in city life. The buses are back on their normal time tables. The streets are buzzing with people. In the clothes shops there are signs with 50% off on summer sales prices, side by side with new items coming in every day.  In supermarkets and bookshops there are special tables with everything you might need (or want) for school: pencils and erasers, writing pads and book jacket paper, stickers and whatnots.

It’s been many years since I was actively involved in school activities of any kind; and yet I’m still affected by that special atmosphere this time of year.

I’ve not been buying school supplies, but I still have quite a busy shopping week behind me.

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“Calories: Tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night.”

Because I banished the “calories” from my wardrobe this summer, I now have to do their job myself. Or buy new clothes.

We’ve had a long warm summer when I’ve mostly lived on “salad and strawberries” (take that with a pinch of salt, please!), while wearing loose-fitting clothes with elastic and/or drawstring waistbands, and staying away from the summer sales as well as the ice-cream.

When the weather began to grow slightly cooler again, and it was time to start thinking of getting back into clothes I hadn’t been wearing for three months (or more), I discovered that the same clothes I was thinking of getting rid of back in the spring because they were getting too small, now had to be either sewn in or thrown out because they’ve gotten too big!

After some not quite satisfactory experiments with the sewing machine, I decided last week that I probably needed to buy at least one pair of new jeans.

Trying on clothes in shops again was quite a disconcerting experience at first.  Truly, it was really hard to get my head round the fact that I needed to go down not just one, but two sizes compared to just a couple of months ago.

After having made sure that my one new pair of jeans had not shrunk in the bag on the way home (sometimes clothes seems to do that, have you noticed?), I had a major wardrobe clear-out last weekend.

And this week it was back to the shops again…
Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! Winking smile

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Flowers–WITH butterflies

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In a recent post I remarked on the lack of butterflies this year. Today when I visited the same little park again, I was pleased to see not just af few, but A LOT of “Brimstones” – Gonepteryx rhamni. I assume they must be a newborn brood (or whatever the correct terminology may be for butterflies). By the way, I prefer the Swedish name for them – “citronfjäril” = Lemon Butterfly.

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They seem to love these blue flowers in particular, but they tried climbing the cone flowers too.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Strawberry Season Is Over

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… so lately I’ve experimented with imported fruits.

They’re absolutely delicious, of course, but not as easy as strawberries. 

Any tips on how to get the most out of a pineapple, or a mango? How best to cut it, peel it, whatever? Sandra? Virginia? Anyone??

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Sunny Afternoon Down By the Riverside

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Photos taken today in the Town Park. I saw a dragonfly (or perhaps damselfly) as well, but it kept fluttering about and did not sit down anywhere to give me a chance to zoom it in.

Linked to Weekend Reflections and Shadowshot Sunday

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Flowers (But No Butterflies)

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Every now and then I get writer’s block because there are too many random thoughts in my head. Sometimes picking inspiration from some weekly meme may help me choose – but other times I get stuck.

I was going to post for Friday My Town Shoot Out on my other blog but then I discovered that I’d been going round with next week’s theme in mind. Which means I had been on the lookout for quite different things than “front gardens or front yards”.

I’m not even sure what makes the difference between a yard and a garden… Where I live there are rather big lawns with various trees and things between the blocks of flats but whether those areas should be considered front or back depends on which building you happen to live in. (My front yard is another building’s back yard and the other way round.)

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Anyway the new purple clematis I planted this year on my balcony (at the back of the building) is flowering again.

Yesterday I went to a nearby park looking for butterflies but found none. All I’ve seen this summer in town have been white ones and a few Common Brimstones. None of the colourful Small Tortoiseshells or Red Admirals or Peacocks that I’ve often seen in that park before.

Two years ago, I had the quite unique (and I think unforgettable) experience of seeing at least 70-80 “newborn” Small Tortoiseshells all at the same time in that little park. Last year, however, I fear the Town put too much energy into clearing up a wild area between the park and the railway... The caterpillars of those butterflies live on nettles! Logically, if ambitious humans remove all weeds from the area, the butterflies have nowhere to lay their eggs… Sad smile

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New rusty trellises/archways may give the park an interesting look according to some humans, but probably leave the butterflies unimpressed.

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There are still some bumble bees around though.

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And various kinds of flowers.

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But I do miss the butterflies (▼photo from 2011▼):

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(I shall have to check back in the next few weeks though, because many of my butterfly photos, including this one, were taken in early September rather than August.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book Review: A Mind to Murder by P.D. James

A Mind to Murder by P.D. James (1963/2012)

Among the Kindle Deals this month (from Amazon International) I found A Mind to Murder in the Adam Dalgliesh series by P.D. James, at the price of $1.99, and with the Whispersync for Voice Audible book for $4.59 – read by Roy Marsden who plays Adam Dalgliesh in the TV series.

(I like it when I’m able to read parts of a book on Kindle and listen to other parts as audio book. It means I can go on reading even when I have other things to do, or am too tired to keep my eyes open!Winking smile)

At first I was under the impression that this was one of the more recent books in the series (it’s been a long time since I last read any of them). It soon became obvious though, that this story took place in pre-computerized times. Checking up on it (after having finished the book), it turns out that it is in fact the 2nd in the series, first published in 1963 (50 years ago).

No doubt this also explains my general impression of a good old-fashioned “whodunit” mystery; focusing on sorting out the possibilites and motives among a narrow circle of suspects rather than going into an excess of gruesome forensic details, or lots of extra complications to do with the private lives of the detectives rather than the case as such. (There is a hint of that side of things, but compared to modern crime novels, it plays a very small part.) That does not mean the mystery in itsef is without complications, though!

Recommended if you like that kind of book; and especially if you use Kindle and live in a part of the world where this special deal happens to be on at the moment.

 

More Greetings from the World

Recently Received7

1. From Germany
2. From Ukraine: ‘Wedding in the Kyiv Province, 1891’
3. From Russia

Recently Received9

4. From São Paulo, Brasil
5. From England: All Saints Church, Brockhampton
6. From Germany
7. From Canada: Parliament Buildings, Victoria B.C.
8. From John in England: ‘Happy Postcrossing’

Thanks John, for the inspiration to join Postcrossing.
My letterbox is a lot happier these days.
Smile

 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: ‘Blue Mercy’ by Orna Ross

Blue Mercy: A Novel by Orna Ross (2013) ****

Just recently, I came across this book as temporarily free for Kindle (it is no longer free). As I happened to be “between books” it so happened I got started on this one pretty much straight away after downloading it. And finished it in just a few days too.

The story is set in Ireland and California. The main narrator is Mercy Mulcahy, who at the age of 40, back in 1989, was accused of having killed her elderly father. Years later, knowing her own life to soon be over, she writes a book about her life, including her version of what really happened on that fatal night. After her death, the manuscript is left to her daughter, Star, who is at first very reluctant to read it, but finally does. She adds her own comments here and there; and so we get some of the events from her point of view as well.

This is a story with lots of twists and turns along the way. The more you learn, the more complicated it gets. It is at the same time a psychological thriller, and a love story covering several different kinds of love – and dependence. (Between lovers, parents/children, friends…) It also made me think a lot about how we do tend to change our perspectives over a lifetime; and I found quite a few quote-worthy passages.

All in all I found the book intriguing enough to keep reading in spite of several minor “typo” kind of errors throughout.  It does annoy me though, when an otherwise good story obviously has not been sufficiently proofread before publication. (It seems to me this happens frequently with self-published books.)

I think I still have to give this book four stars, even with the typos. I also have some difficulties making up my mind what I think of the story and narrative technique as such. But the fact that it makes me argue with myself should probably be weighed in its favour!

The author Orna Ross is a London based Irish writer. Formerly a features journalist, lecturing in Creative and Imaginative Practice at University College Dublin (WERRC), in 2012 she founded The Alliance of Independent Authors. New to me, but I find this is not her first novel. I might consider trying another one by her some day. But I’ll leave it to Time to prove whether that thought will stick in my mind or not!

Quotes:

Time has sliced itself up since my mother died five days ago, and keeps shuffling itslef like a deck of cards in my hand.

When sorrow sours your milk, it’s time to make cheese. A very Irish way of saying: count your blessings.

I still think of myself as living, not dying.

Each I-twist oand if-only turn of my mind only tightened the tie I longed to loose.

There is no what-might-have-been, there is only what-is.

You can’t command the ocean, or strap up the wind, but you can observe them, you can get to know them.

 

 

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