Tuesday, April 29, 2014

“Not giving up”

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Nature is rather amazing sometimes! Smile

Sunday, April 27, 2014

People With No Brains …

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… do this kind of thing (repeatedly); without a thought to how it might affect others (for example those using wheelchairs or walkers, or having bad eyesight, or just not constantly expecting traps behind every door).

Sorry. Not knowing exactly who to yell at, I just felt like shouting it out loud to the world in general! (+ I just emailed the picture to the landlord’s office)

“Stupidity is a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason, wit, or sense.” [Wikipedia]

Friday, April 25, 2014

FMTSO: Let the Bells Ring

Even though no bells were actually ringing, seeing the church tower and the old phone booth in town today reminded me that it was Friday and My Town Shoot Out time:

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 There’s not even a phone in the booth any more… It is just there to remind us of Old Times.

But you do remember who is given credit for the invention of the telephone in the first place , don’t you?
That’s right … Alexander Graham BellWinking smile

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While there weren’t any bells ringing, there were other sounds to liven up the marketplace today:

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The jazzy music also brought out two girls from a nearby toy store to give this little performance:

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Can you tell we’re all really happy to celebrate Spring?
(We’ve had beautiful sunny weather all week.)

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(Oh, and there are actually bells ringing in the Town House every day at noon, I think. It’s just that I’m very rarely in town just around noon…)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Weekend Summary

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This Easter weekend, my brother and I got a good start on not just one, but several of the projects we still need to get sorted out before we finally sell The House (=originally the home of our paternal grandparents, and then of our parents in their retirement years).

1. On Good Friday we met with a local antiques/second hand dealer who seemed willing to take on the job of clearing out all the remaining furniture and stuff in the house and outhouse. (We showed him around the place, and he will get back to us with an estimate.) He also cooperates with a cleaning firm.

2. The gardener who used to mow the lawns for us has retired. We asked the antiques guy if he knew of someone else locally who does that sort of thing? He said he can do it for us this summer himself, as he lives nearby and has the equipment needed.

3. The neighbour who started a road project last year, involving some tree-felling between our properties, is getting on with that job. A huge fir tree on our land that was left standing last year is now down too. Per met this guy outside a couple of times this weekend and got to discuss with him what still remains to be done on that front. An additonal decision was made to take down the huge birch tree in our front yard too – as just now there is space to fell in a direction where it will do no damage. This will probably be done next week.

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The outhouse with the birch tree still in front. The high fir tree used to be between the mound and the car. (The mound will be removed as well.)

4. The tree-felling guy will also give the facade of our house a pressure-wash in a couple of weeks (he’s in the construction business).

5. Either Per alone or both of us also got to talk to the owners of the other three neighbouring properties this weekend. So everyone is now informed of our plans and no one has to wonder what’s up.

6. Before Per went back home, he also got to show the house to one couple who might be interested in buying (we’ll let them know when we put it up for sale).

Besides all this, we had a gloriously sunny and warm Saturday. We were able sit outside in the garden and eat our lunch (salads conveniently bought in the grocery shop in the village). Before lunch we also visited the graves of our parents and grandparents in the village churchyard; and in the afternoon we went for a walk to the old mill and nature reserve meadow behind it, where the hepaticas and wood anemones were in full bloom.

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In the summer when there is cattle grazing in the meadow, there is an electric fence. Just now there is just the gate!

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Mornings are still chilly, but in the afternoon sun on Easter Eve it got a bit hot wearing a winter jacket.

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Blue Hepaticas and white Wood Anemones.
The wildflower essence of spring!

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On Sunday I stayed in town, and went to an Easter church service.

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Through the cherry blossom tree in the foreground, you can see a glimpse of the church up on the hill behind.

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Sitting in my pew, I just had to sneak my camera up our of my bag, put it discreetly on “silent” and take this shot, with the light coming in through the window and hitting the boquet of daffodils next to the candle holder with all the prayer candels burning.

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In the main square, the Easter Tree stood in all its glory against a clear blue sky.

In a grocery shop I bought a lunch salad again, and decided to stop in the park and eat it sitting on a bench overlooking the river. (I did also buy a a plastic knife&fork set, and bottle of sparkling water.) I was far from the only one who had my lunch in the park that day – there were several more picknicks going on.

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Panorama view from my park bench.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday My Town: Museums

Over the past 1½ years or so, our Textile Museum has been in the process of moving across town, from this building …

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… to the new Textile Fashion Center, where it will also be in easy access for the students at the Textile College, which has already moved in.

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The museum has not yet been re-opened. Moving it was a really gigantic job, considering all the heavy machinery.

Three photos from the old museum, just to give you an idea… There are lots more old machines of similar size.

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A few weeks ago, I went round the back of the ‘new’ premises and tried to peep in through the windows… My  attempts to take photos was not very successful, though. Too many reflections!

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I’ll be back to post more about it after the official re-opening; which will take place at the end of May.

Friday My Town Shoot Out

Weekend Reflections

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: The Physic Garden

The Physic Garden

The Physic Garden
*****
by Catherine Czerkawska (2014)

Catherine Czerkawska is a novelist and playwright based in Scotland. I have previously read (and reviewed on this blog) her novel The Curiosity Cabinet.

The Physic Garden is her most recently published novel (March 2014).

The story is set in Glasgow in Scotland in the early 1800s. The narrator is one William Lang, telling the story from the perspective of old age, but looking back on his life as a young gardener, working in the physic garden of Glasgow University, and also out and about on the moors collecting plants for a botanist and lecturer at that university, Dr Thomas Brown.

William’s father died when he was quite young; and William, as the eldest son, has to work hard to also support his mother and several younger siblings. Dr Brown (not all that many years older than William, but married, and by his profession belonging to a different social class) takes a liking to the young gardener and tries to help him as much as he can. In spite of the vast gap in formal education between them, they have interests in common when it comes to their love of plants, and the Physic Garden. While Thomas Brown realises that learning goes both ways and that William has practical knowledge that goes beyond his own, William finds it harder to accept what he thinks of as charity: like when Thomas lets him sit in on lectures, and also gives him access to his own private library.  Nevertheless, in spite of the differences in their circumstances, a friendship slowly comes to grow between the two men.

In looking back and telling his story, William lets us understand already from the start that this friendship did not last forever, though:

"What am I afraid of? That a million thoughts, feelings, memories, will come rushing back to overwhelm me? I cannot begin to describe to you the terror - there is no other word for it - engendered by the thought of him, even now, and yet he was as kindly a man as you could wish to meet, one who inspired trust and friendship in equal measure, a man who inspired great love in all those who knew him. I used to think it an unmitigated blessing, used to envy him. But now, with the wisdom of my years, I realise that it can be a peculiar curse and a burden, to be a man whom people love."

Another important friend in William’s life back then, was Jenny Caddas, a weaver’s daughter whom he met one day when out gathering plants for Thomas Brown. It is also hinted at quite early on in the narrative, that there is a connection here; even if it will take a long time for it to develop. In fact, when the various threads of the story are finally woven together, the pattern comes out a little different than expected (not quite as obvious as one’s first guess might be).

Besides the intricate web of friendship, trust and betrayals involved in this story, we also learn quite a bit along the way about what life was like back then. Quite a few of the names mentioned in this book, were real scientists and authors – attached to Glasgow University, and/or having written important books within their respective fields of research.

A physic garden is a type of herb garden with medicinal plants. One of the background issues in this novel has to do with the clash between traditional herbal medicine and new radical experiments including advanced surgery (and the use of dissection and autopsy to learn more about the human body). The clash between the old ways of life vs the new industrial, mechanical and bookish society is also underlined further by the fact of a type foundry being built on the grounds right next to the physic garden, and the plants in the garden suffering from the air pollution:

The stench of the fumes from the type foundry, which the university had permitted to be built next to the old physic garden, covered all the leaves and flowers in a foul-smelling, oily deposit that few plants were robust enough to resist.

All in all, I found this a most fascinating book, which made not only the main characters but also that whole period of time “come to life” for me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Postcard: Temporary Street Art by David Zinn

I just have to share this (postcrossing) postcard I received today from Detroit, Michigan, USA. Looking up the artist David Zinn’s website www.zinnart.com I found lots more of the same kind – amazing and amusing at the same time! I also learn that his temporary street art is composed entirely of chalk, charcoal and found objects, and is always improvised on location. Wow.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Reflection: Happy Easter

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Not sure I’ll have much time for blogging in the week to come, so I thought I’d put in an Easter card already this weekend. Happy Easter to you all – and good luck with figuring out what’s inside vs outside in this picture! Smile

Weekend Reflections

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bird-watching

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On Sunday morning I went for walk around the Bird Sanctuary Lake. The swans have moved on (except the few rare ones that live there permanently). Now it’s the gulls that rule! (Somehow “gull lake” does not seem to have quite the same ring to it as “swan lake” though!)

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▲Black-headed Gull (I think. Blackheaded anyway…)▼

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▲Goldeneye Duck. I noticed one of these in the river the other day too but then it was too far away from me to zoom in with my camera.▼

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Mandarin Duck (from East-Asia). ▼
I think these “belong” to the sanctuary and are not commonly seen in the wild here. I’ve seen them before in the sanctuary lake, though.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Out and About Again, Looking for Spring

I went out for a walk yesterday (Saturday) to check for more signs of spring, and the result of the planting going on in the park earlier in the week.

These photos are all straight out of the camera as I wasn’t in the mood for editing just now.

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Scilla trying to escape through a fence

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The first cherry blossom buds are opening up! (Tall tree – I tried to zoom these in from way below. Not easy getting the focus right.)

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Not sure what kind of bush this is.

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Corkscrew hazel - Corylus avellana 'Contorta' (I think!)

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Lots of pansies planted all over the Park

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I wasn’t the only one Out and About

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Also quite a few of these flower arrangements to be found here and there around town. This is one corner of the Main Square.

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