Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

 

‘But the really significant thing was the inscription on the tomb. Rex Arthurus. Britannorum Rex.’

He looks expectantly at Ruth, who is frantically working out the Latin.

Elly Griffiths – Dying Fall
(#5 in the Ruth Galloway series)

Teaser Tuesday (March 31)

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Mosaic Monday: Easter Decorations

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These are some of my Easter decorations at home.
The cross-stich wall hanging was made by my mum.

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The fluffy little chickens on the kitchen corner shelf have been with me since my childhood or teens.

And so have some of the paper eggs.

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One Easter symbol that never quite took root here in Sweden is the Easter Bunny, even if they do appear now and then in imported decorations. The egg above has different images on the top vs bottom half – bunny on one side, chicken on the other. On the inside it has the stamp “Made in GDR” (German Democratic Republic) – which should mean that it’s at least over 25 years old (but not over 65!)

 

Mosaic Monday

Linking to Mosaic Monday

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Starts Here

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A decorated Easter Birch Tree in the main square has become a new tradition in my town over the last few years. I think it started in 2011 but it might have been even earlier.

I was glad to find the tree up and decorated yesterday (Saturday) as that was a sunny day and perfect for a walk into town. (Today we’re back to grey and rainy… But I’ve got my pictures!)

In answer to a comment on my Friday post: I see this weekend as the beginning of Easter, because today is Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, and people spreading palm branches on the ground in front of him.
(Matthew 21:1-11)

Having a certain lack of palm trees here in Sweden, we use what we have… which is birch! (We often also take bare branches into our homes for Lent/Easter and decorate them with coloured feathers and eggshells. So the birch in the square is just taking up an already existing tradition, and making it bigger!)

Palm Sunday starts the Holy Week – or, as we call it here: “Stilla veckan” = Quiet week.

Friday, March 27, 2015

FMTSO: Animals

Some photos of farm animals at our zoo, which I don’t think I got round to sharing back in the autumn.

(If you want to see more animals from the zoo in my town, just click on the ‘zoo’ tag below the post.)

No problem getting the “pet” animals to pose…
They are usually very obliging.

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- Personally, I think this is my best side.

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- Do I need to brush my hair?

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- Lying down or standing? We can do both!

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- Please excuse us if we don’t get up…

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- I would offer you a drink too, but I’m afraid I’ve only got the one trough.

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- We’re in training for laying Easter Eggs!

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Friday My Town Shoot Out

Thursday, March 26, 2015

BTT: Carrier

(Picture borrowed from some .org site on the web.)

“Do you carry a book around with you? Inside the house? Whenever you go out? Always, everywhere, it’s practically glued to your fingers? (And yes, digital books very much DO count as long as you’re spending time reading on your Kindle or iPad and not just loading them with books that you never actually read.)”

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In Swedish, my answer would be “Nja”, which expresses an hesitation between No and Yes… I only carry a book (or my Kindle) with me if I do expect to actually use it. On the other hand, when I go out, I do usually always carry my smartphone; on which I can also read and listen to books. But as I don’t travel much, and most of the year only go out for shorter walks and errands (or else in company), it’s normally only in summer that I sometimes sit and read outdoors (or anywhere else than at home). 

With a good audio book it might happen though, that I carry on reading/listening almost throughout the day – both while resting and doing routine housework, and maybe even while going for a walk as well. (When I walk into town and have to cross busy streets etc I don’t usually listen to either books or music though, but prefer to be aware of what’s going on around me!)

Today it’s been raining, and I have been staying in most of the day, pretty much glued to the Kindle, reading the third book in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths (cf my Tuesday post). I’m reading these books with my eyes though, which does force me to take a break now and then during the day whilst doing other things!

For those of you interested, I just discovered that the price on books 4-6 in that series (for Kindle) had been lowered since I last checked (about 50%, perhaps to do with the 7th now being out as well?) … Not knowing whether that will last, I decided to buy! (click-click-click) … Remains to be seen whether I’ll also end up reading them all in one swoop; or take a break and read something else in between!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Review: The Crossing Places

In a comment to my Booking Through Thursday post last week (March 19), Janet mentioned Elly Griffiths as one author whose books might send her running to the bookstore.

I could not recall reading anything by this author, but when I looked her up, I seemed to vaguely recognise one of the titles – The Crossing Places. When I checked my Kindle collection, it turned out I already had it there; among the many that I have downloaded for free (or very cheap), and then after a while forgot why…

As the weather turned back to cloudy with icy winds this weekend, it seemed a good time to just stay in and curl up with a good mystery book. So I did!

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The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway #1)

The background setting is Norfolk on the east coast of England and the main character is Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist at a local university. She is often called in to help the police when old bones are found – and sometimes the other way round, i.e. archaeologists having to call in the police. There is a lot of archaeological digging going on in the area, and it is often hard to determine at first glance exactly how old finds of human remains may be.

So among the background characters we also get to know some of the local police (especially Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson), and other archeologists and university staff, for example.

Many of the crime scenes and finds of archaeological interest named in the books are fictional, but as they are more or less based on similar places and things, the overall impression is realistic, and there is a lot of general information about history, traditions and folklore etc included as well.

In The Crossing Places, an archaelogical find in a saltmarsh becomes intriguingly linked to a modern time missing person case.

Quote from the author’s website:

The Crossing Places is about layers. Layers of time, history and memory. It is set in Norfolk, an area of Eastern England that has been inhabited for over 6000 years by, variously, Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman settlers. It was also, until 10,000 years ago, physically linked to Scandinavia. Thus, the Norse or Viking influence is strong is Norfolk. Perhaps because of its history, it is also a place steeped in superstition and folklore. Norfolk is famous for its ghosts.

Ruth Galloway, the heroine of The Crossing Places, lives on the edge of desolate marsh land known as the Saltmarsh. The name is fictional but the area is very closely modelled on the North Norfolk coast, places like Holme-next-the Sea where the real Seahenge was discovered.

Iron Age man considered marshland sacred. They saw it as a bridge to the afterlife – neither land nor sea, life nor death. It is thought that this is why they often buried bodies (who may or may not have been murdered) on the edge of marshland.  ---

In general I’m no big fan on police novels with a lot of forensic detail; but in these books it is a bit different, as the focus is on archaeology. I also think that the author has managed to put together quite an interesting mix of characters – some of them almost bordering on caricature, but in a kind of good-humoured way.

I read this book pretty much in one swoop… And then of course when I found the second one in the series also available cheap, I could not resist the temptation to straight on to

The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway #2)

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In The Janus Stone, some of the background relationships from the first novel continue to develop; but the crime/mystery focus this time arises from two different excavations: One made in connection with an old Victorian mansion (for a period of time in the past also used as a children’s home) being torn down to make room for a new block of flats. The other of a Roman villa in the countryside. In both cases, the skeletons of children are found buried underneath.

Janus, referred to in the title of the novel, was the two-faced Roman God of doorways – the God of endings and beginnings.

It’s no doubt good business strategy of Amazon to lower the price of one or two books at the beginning of an interesting series… The third one not free or extremely cheap, but still only a “click” away… Who can resist??

Quote for Teaser Tuesday

“Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson is sitting by a pool with a glass of beer in his hand, thinking dark thoughts. It is evening and fairy lights, strung in the trees, are twinkling manically in the still water.”

The House at Sea’s End (Ruth Galloway #3),
chapter 2 (= where I am right now…)

Friday, March 20, 2015

FMTSO: Spring In Your Step

“It's the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. Show us the start of it in your corners of the world.”

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This week I spotted the first tree blossoms.

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A couple of golden-eyes in the river.

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Lots of crocuses on the ground.

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People showing spring feelings…
(represented by a piece of street art under a bridge)

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Light at the end of the monstrous dark tunnel Smile

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Alas I did not get to see the sun being eaten up by the moon today, as that drama was all hidden by clouds here. Maybe just as well, considering I did not have the proper equipment for staring straight into the sun anyway! I think it was only supposed to be like an 80% eclipse here. The sky did grow rather dark for a while, but as it was all grey anyway, I certainly would not have thought “solar eclipse” if I hadn’t known there was to be one (and was watching it broadcasted live on internet TV from the Faeroe Islands and Svalbard). (The foreboding photo above taken by me on Wednesday afternoon the 18th).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Booking Through Thursday

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A 2nd hand bookshop in town I passed by today.
(Yes, I did pass by!)

 

It seems it was a while since my last BTT post, so I’ll make up for it by short answers to a few old ones as well this week…

 

 Spring (March 19)

What new book would make you spring out of your chair and run to the bookstore? (Or library, or nearest computer screen, depending on your book-delivery-method of choice.)

The first author that sprung to mind for me to check up on to see whether there might be a new book coming was Kate Morton. (I’ve read her previous four.) Yes! Her Facebook page, post dated 17 March, says “It's coming! New book, October 2015.” (Lake House).

 

Bookcases (March 12)

Two part question:

In an ideal world, what kind of book cases would you have? Built-ins? Barrister ones with glass doors? The cheapest you could find so you could have lots of them?

And … what kind of bookcases do you REALLY have?

A library with built-in look-alike book cases from floor to ceiling would of course be great… But I think I’d like to be able to adjust the distance between the shelves. And while glass doors would of course be great to protect the books from gathering dust, I do think that open shelves are more inviting. I suppose I could go for a compromise – glass doors on some only. And I think I might also want drawers at the bottom of some.

Reality? A hotchpotch of different cheap ones (and none with glass doors), bought or inherited over 40+ years… Some genuine wood, some veneer. Some dark brown, some pine, some white. Some high, some low. Even if the majority of my books are in my study, there are also bookshelves (and books) in the living room and the bedroom.

 

Covers (March 5)

Hardcovers or paperbacks?

What I prefer depends on the kind of book. Hardcovers are of course better for books frequently used. Paperbacks on the other hand are cheaper, lighter and take up less space… And the last few years (my bookcases being full, and my eyes getting more easily tired) I’ve mostly bought ebooks and audio books…  Allowing my library to keep growing without taking up more physical space!

 

Short (Feb 27)

So, in honor of the shortest month of the year … how do you feel about short stories? Love them? Prefer them to novels?

On the whole I must say I usually prefer novels to short stories. Of course sometimes a short story can be just the thing – or even a collection of them. But if there is no common theme (or characters), I prefer to read short stories only now and again (like in between longer books) rather than a whole collection of them all in a row. I prefer it, I think, when I can “remain” in a story for a bit longer (if I like it!) and it doesn’t end too abruptly.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just Wandering (Outdoor Wednesday)

A stroll about my neighbourhood with camera in hand, thinking about this, that and the other…

(with quotes from Alice in Wonderland)

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“How puzzling all these changes are! I'm never sure what I'm going to be, from one minute to another.”

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“I wonder if I've been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!”

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“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where -' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.”

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“It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

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"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”

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[Is he yelling or yawning, do you think?]

“You're thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can't tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit."
"Perhaps it hasn't one," Alice ventured to remark.
"Tut, tut, child!" said the Duchess. "Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.”

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“It's always tea-time.”

[So I went home and had a cup of tea.]

 

Outdoor Wednesday

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Shadow Shot Sunday

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From my kitchen window one sunny morning this week.
Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Saturday, March 14, 2015

What has it got in its pocketses?

One of the things that the Spring Sun tends to do is make us (girls – perhaps also boys?) look into our wardrobes and exclaim: “I have nothing to wear!”

I’m having a little bit of a difficulty convincing myself about the truth in that this year though; as I was in a major shopping frenzy all last year (after losing weight) and it seems that what I bought then still fits. (Which is in itself, of course, a good thing.)

However, I think found a shopping loophole (or two). 1/ There may be  things that I looked for last year but could not find (and if bought other things instead, those, according to the laws of shopping excuses, do not count); and 2/ there are of course always things that one has to buy simply because if one doesn’t, who knows if they will still be there in the right size if one happens to realise later that one needs them after all.

Like, for example, a skirt with lots of pockets.

I love pockets. I do of course have items in my wardrobe without pockets as well; but I tend to end up not wearing those much, simply because it’s so much more practical most of the time to wear something with pockets.

So when I happened to lay eyes on this skirt, I simply could not resist it. Because… you-already-know…

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Lots of pocketses for all my Preciousss Treasures…

The fabric is 100% cotton, thin and unlined, so it’s  a casual summer skirt for warm weather. It will be a while yet before that’s the right item to wear here. But… (I already explained!)

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Photos put through some various Picasa filters to show off the pockets and seams better. (It strikes me that this could be another take on the FMTSO theme “shapes”…)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More Signs of Spring

From Human Behaviour point of view, I think that perhaps today may be counted as the first proper day of spring around here.

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Walking into town, I saw a student lying flat on his stomach on the lawn outside a school building, reading a book. (Don’t ask why the sofa is outside - or, seeing that it is, why he was not using that. I haven’t got a clue! But it is a sure sign of spring, because it wouldn’t happen in winter!)

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Approaching the main square, there was music in the air. It turned out to be coming from live street musicians; and lots of people were sitting around just enjoying both the music and the sunshine.

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I got infected by the spring bug as well, and got some balcony stuff out from winter storage. My clematis plants will remain covered for a while yet though as otherwise the variation between frosty nights and sunny afternoons may be too much of a shock to them.

 

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(And yes I will be careful with myself too.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring

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So good to see spring flowers again!

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The crocuses I found on the south side of the town park.

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And these snowdrops (and more) in a private garden (zoomed in!):

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In the Town Park it looks rather like a circus tent has pitched camp. The building under construction is still fenced in and covered in plastic wrappings. It’s going to be a round conservatory, and will be housing a new environmental information centre + a cafĂ©.

Outdoor Wednesday

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