Sunday, September 29, 2013

Punday

Have I posted this before? Found it when going through my blog-drafts. I no longer remember where I got it from originally. Someone’s Facebook page perhaps.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Iron Age Grave Field

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In the neighbourhood outside town where my parents lived (and before them my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents and who knows how many generations before them), there have been people living since the Iron Age (~ 500 BC – 1000 AD).  There are old grave fields to prove it. (Actually not very far from this place there is a neolithic cist tomb as well, which means going back yet another thousand years at least, to about 1500-1800 BC.)

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In the summer the grass grows high in this meadow beside the road, which means that when passing it (especially by car) one does not notice anything special about it. I seldom walk past this one myself, as I usually get off the bus one or two stops further on; but yesterday when going out to our house to check on things, I got off a couple of stops early for a walk. Passing the field I noticed that the grass had just been cut; which made the stones stand out more than they usually do – even if some of the “bumps” weren’t stones but little stacks of hay!

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The three raised stones.

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Part of one of the stone circles (just now confusingly mixed with little haystacks of the same size).

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The big raised stones have been “restored” with iron cramps.

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(I wonder if this one had a “top” to it once?)

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Shop ‘til You Drop

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It’s a tough job, trying to build up a new wardrobe.
As previously mentioned, I lost a bit of weight over summer, with the result that when I started needing my autumn/winter clothes again, I found that rather than just fitting back into them, I have shrunk out of them…
Which is of course a pleasant change from the other way round; but it does involve quite a lot of “work”.

For one thing, because of limited wardrobe space, I could not just buy new clothes without also radically throwing out a lot of old ones. And what on earth was I to do with all those which no longer fit (and that I have no wish to fit back into)? Having no car, and a bad arm (not able to carry much), I would require help to take them to a charity shop (across town) …

One day a few weeks ago, while out walking in my neighbourhood, I was thinking about this and wishing for some place closer to home where I could leave them. Then, passing the recycling station on the estate where I live – which has hitherto only had recycling bins for paper, plastic, glass and metal – I happened to look up; and there, right in front of me, was a brand new container which must have been added this month. And it turned out to be for clothes; by courtsey of some environmental non-profit organisation. I don’t know much about them (I think they’re new), but I don’t really care. They have now got about half of my old wardrobe! … Which leaves me some room to go shopping!

On Thursday night this week, one of my favourite clothes shops in town had a special shopping night for members, after the usual closing time – with 25% discount on everything bought during those three hours. As among other things I needed a new winter coat, I decided this was worth a bit of queuing. I’ve never been to one of these club nights before, but it did indeed soon get very crowded… Phew! But it did save me around £45/$70. The items bought (that night) were the ones above.

That’s not the only shopping I’ve done this week. I also bought new shoes (not that I’ve shrunk out of my old ones – but I do tend to wear shoes out by walking).

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However, even a new winter coat or good walking shoes seem fairly simple purchases compared to the major ordeal of the week, which was a vision examination followed by having to choose no less than four new spectacle frames (as just one pair of progressive glasses does not sufficiently cover all situations for me).

As anyone with bad eyesight (and not wearing contact lenses) knows,  choosing spectacle frames is an ordeal because one has to try on the frames without the correct lenses in them; which means not really being able to see properly how one looks in them.  And on top of that knowing that these frames will be part of one’s appearance every day over the next two or three years or more.

Have you noticed the change in spectacles fashion lately? I’ve actually been avoiding walking into opticians’ shops over the past few months (even though I knew I’d soon have to), because I was so afraid to find nothing but the kind of frames that seem to be turning up everywhere around me lately (especially on TV). That is: huge, thick, plastic ones, covering half the face. And I don’t want those!

(image courtesy of Google image search)
My apologies to anyone who happens to love them. They may of course look just awesome on you. I just don’t want them on myself!

Which is why, when I finally stepped inside a couple of weeks ago to make an appointment, I found myself in a big predicament, as the assistant behind the counter (offering to help me with a preliminary look at frames) was herself wearing a pair similar to those above. Only purple instead of yellow.

The predicament increased, when among the frames she picked out for me to try, were the very same big purple ones that she had on herself…

N.b. this was after my (obviously inefficient) attempts to make clear that I really did not want plastic frames at all, but was looking for metal ones similar in shape to the ones I’ve worn for the past 2½ years.

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In my attempts to explain my reasons to the purple-framed shop assistant, one of the phrases I used was “been there, done that”… I doubt she understood what I meant, but I have proof:

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(Any wonder I don’t want to go back there? This was 1977. I would not mind the better hair quality back, please – but not the glasses!!!)

I think she must have jinxed me or something, because contrary to my resolutions, I still ended up going home that day with three pairs of plastic frames that I did not like at all, on loan until my appointment this week.

By then I had come (back) to my senses, though. And luckily, it was also the optician herself, and not the assistant, who helped me make the final choices. And she seemed to agree with me (or at least had the professional skill to pretend to).

Which means all four of my new pairs will still be metal-framed ones of reasonable size. Actually the ones for allround use will be the exact same model as the ones I have now, only a slightly different colour. (I’ll show you when I get them.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Postcard

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I keep receiving lots of lovely postcards through postcrossing. I’ve given up the ambition (actually I never really had it) to show every card on this blog – it’s too time-consuming. But I do want to share this one that dropped in today, from Germany:

“Gute Freunde sind Menschen bei denen man sich jederzeit wie zu Hause fühlt.”

“Good Friends are people with whom one always feels at home.”

It struck me that feel like that about a number of friends I’ve made through blogging too. Day or night, you are there for me! (It does not even matter if I drop in while you are asleep…)

♥ Thanks to you all for “being there”! :-) ♥

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Booking Through Thursday: Imagery

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How much do you visualize when you read? Do you imagine faces for the characters? Can you see the locations in your mind’s eye? Or do you just plunge ahead with the story, letting the imagery fall to the wayside?

Interesting question! – I’ve actually just been thinking about this, while reading the book that has me engrossed just now (I’m only about half way through, so no spoilers in the comments, please!):  The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – pseudonym for J.K. Rowling (as I already knew when I bought it).

This book is the first crime novel in what is to be a series featuring private investigator Cormoran Strike, a war veteran; and the setting is London.

Knowing the author to be J.K. Rowling, it’s no great surprise to find her conveying vivid visual images to the reader, as well as using a rich and varied vocabulary in general.

I do think it often depends quite a lot on the author’s intentions and skill to describe things (and people), how clearly I come to visualize them during reading.

It’s been too long since I visited London (back in my teens, and only briefly) for me to have a clear idea of the exact geography referred to (street names etc); but I do have an inner image of Strike’s office, and certain other places so far important to the story; and also of Strike himself and various other characters. (Enough, I think, to be able to have an opinion about how well the casting was done if it’s ever turned into film!)

Robin caught the door before it closed on the dingy stairwell. An old-fashioned metal staircase spiralled up around an equally antiquated birdcage lift. Concentrating on keeping her high heels from catching in the metalwork stairs, she proceeded to the first landing, passing a door carrying a laminated and framed poster saying Crowdy Graphics, and continued climbing. It was only when she reached the glass door on the floor above that Robin realised, for the first time, what kind of business she had been sent to assist. Nobody at the agency had said. The name on the paper beside the outside buzzer was engraved on the glass panel: C. B. Strike, and, underneath it, the words Private Detective.

Galbraith, Robert (2013-04-18). The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) (Kindle Locations 190-195). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Recently Read: The Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets

The Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets
by Frances Garrood (2008)

I first came across Frances Garrood as blogger rather than as author of (three) novels. I’d been following her blog for a good while before I got round to reading one of her books just recently (delayed among other things by indecision which of them to start with).

I think this might be the first time I’ve read a novel written by someone I already (sort of) know. I’m not sure if (or how) this affects the reading experience, but I suppose it could.

On top of that it’s already been some weeks since I finished the book; and not having found the time to write down my thoughts immediately does not make it any easier to write a review.

Here’s part of the synopsis from the author’s own website www. francesgarrood.com :

“It is the early Sixties, and thirteen-year old Cassandra Fitzpatrick is growing up in a household full of waifs and strays and general misfits. Despite her unorthodox home life, however, she is generally content – until something happens to her that turns her life upside-down. Cass’ unhappiness deepens when she wins a scholarship to boarding school and is torn away from all she knows and loves – especially her adored, if wildly unconventional, mother. In time, Cass begins to settle down, but accustomed though she is to her mother’s eccentricities, even she is not prepared for the announcement Mrs Fitzpatrick is about to make. Years later, as her beloved mother lies dying from cancer, the adult Cass is reassessing the experiences, good and bad, that have made her who she is. ---”

Frances has chosen the first person narrative for this book, which means the story is told from Cassandra’s perspective. As I started to think about this, though, I found that I had to go back and check, just to make sure. The thing is (I think) that although I found the book well written and interesting, and also evoking some memories of my own, at the same time I had a bit of a struggle to identify with most of the situations described. So rather than “entering” into Cassandra’s narrative, I think I sort of remained an “observer”, or listener.

Thinking back on the story a few weeks afterwards, it’s still the differences that stand out to me.  At the same time, though, perhaps this in itself says something about the power of the author’s story-telling. Because if a book makes the reader think about his/her own life, trying to find comparable patterns (even if they may be hard to find), it has no doubt made an impact, and become something more than just light entertainment.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Harvest Festival

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On Saturday, the town celebrated its annual Harvest Festival. Including free apple pie served in the theatre lobby (above).

Downstairs there were pomologists at work, helping people to determine what kind of apples it is they have growing in their gardens.

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Outdoors there were all sorts of things going on.

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I took refuge inside the church for a while, listening to organ music.

Mosiac Monday

This could also have been for…
FMTSO – Taste Of  {Your Town}
… except the photos weren’t taken until Saturday, and I was not able to post them until today (too late).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What a Week

I was looking forward to a quiet week this week. Nice summery weather too, so I was hoping to spend some time just relaxing and reading out on the balcony. That’s not quite how it turned out, though…

On Tuesday morning, going out to do my shopping, I found a notice on the entrance door, informing the tenants that “exterior cleaning and painting will be starting soon”.  Oookay… That was the first I heard about it, so I took this to just be an advance warning, and more information to follow.

The same afternoon, looking out through my kitchen window, I realized that ooops, “soon” in this case should probably be interpreted as “tomorrow”... Because by then they were already at it with pressure washing of the balcony side on the next building (or rather, the building that comes before mine, meaning we’d be next in turn). Even if their main target seemed to be the gutters and downpipes… watching for a while how they went about it, I realized that even if we had not been ordered to empty our balconies, it certainly seemed like a good idea to do so…

So there went my Tuesday afternoon/evening and Wednesday morning. Or actually, the rest of the week; with extra shoulder ache and rekindled “tennis elbow” as unwelcome side effect…

A pity really, having to clear the balcony so early in the autumn - but of course no point in putting most of the things back out again. My good sunchair and some other things taken down to the storage room in the basement, floormats removed and washed (which has to be done in a special washing machine for carpets, which we don’t have one in my building, so I had to take them to the laundry room in another building to do that); parasols down, one flower box emptied and cleaned, and two moved indoors for the day, the clematis plants on the trellis against the wall covered (for the day) with a thin fabric (made for the purpose of covering plants – I have no idea what you call it in English).

… And then of course cleaning the balcony floor after they were done (well, it was a good thing that I did take everything in!!!), and putting some of the things back…

… And now my sore elbow is screaming at me to stay off the computer, PLEASE… All right, all right.

If you don’t see me around for a couple of days, you now know why.

There are no photos of this whole mess because I simply had too much to do.

But my Clematis plants survived! :)

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vintage Cars Nostalgia

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Citroën “Dolly”

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Volvo PV 831

 

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SAAB

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Buick “Skylark”

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Another Volvo

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Morris

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Messerschmitt FMP

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At the Railway Jubilee last weekend, there was also to be a parade of vintage cars. We did not have time to stay for that, but walking through the parking lot near the station we found several old cars that had probably come for that purpose :)

If you missed the steam train post, you will find it here.

Linking to Our World Tuesday and Ruby Tuesday Too.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Steam Train Nostalgia

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- Excuse me, can you tell me what time it is, please?

- Hard to say, ma’m. Time seems to be all muddled up today. I swear I can’t even tell whether it’s supposed to be 1863 or 2013! I think the train from The Past is due to arrive any minute now, though.

 

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Oops, here comes a modern day train as well!

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Now then, lets have some serious STEAM.

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What’s this, there’s smoke coming from the other end of the train as well…?

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Turned out they had one steam engine at each end.

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Here we go with a magnificent puff of steam.
Hoooooooot! Hoooot!

My Dad would have loved this, had he still been among us. (He died two years ago.) 25 years ago he wrote a book about the history of this railway line (Borås-Herrljunga) for its 125th anniversary. Yesterday the 150th anniversary was celebrated in the village where he lived half his life – first in his childhood and then again in his old age.

My brother was here for a couple of days, mainly to celebrate my birthday (Thursday). Dad’s birthday was the same day, by the way. Anyway, since this jubilee happened to take place the same weekend, we decided to take a peek at some of the events, before Per drove back home on Saturday afternoon. They had a full day’s schedule in the village; we only hung around for an hour or so before lunch though. But enough to see the steam train leave for Borås, and then come back again about an hour later, and take off in the other direction. (They went back and forth a few times during the day.)

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The sky itself seemed to “join in” with some steam clouds of its own to match the occasion.

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I’ll be doing a separate post showing some vintage cars we saw as well.

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