Sunday, February 28, 2016

In Memoriam

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One reason I did not get round to much blogging the past week is that I had a funeral to attend on Friday – a cousin of my dad’s, who was rather like a brother to him (and thus also like an uncle to me and my brother).

Dad had no siblings of his own; Sten did, but he was the oldest, and dad and he were the same age, only four months apart. And when just one year later, Sten had a baby brother, and then another, and then a sister… it all got a bit of a handful for his parents occasionally; and then sometimes big brother got to stay with his aunt and uncle and cousin for a while. The families did not live all that far apart and I also think dad and he went to school together. Anyway, they kept in touch throughout life. The last time I met him face to face would be at dad’s funeral  back in 2011. But we also spoke on the phone occasionally after that.

So I was sad to learn from his sister that he had passed away (at age 84); but I also felt honoured to be asked to the funeral, as (in accordance with his own wishes) it was to be a ceremony for family only. So there were only a dozen people present: his partner, siblings with partners, and some nieces and nephews (me included). He had no children of his own.

The ceremony was non-religious in character and held in a small chapel in the same village churchyard where my own parents are also buried (and where we have quite a few older family graves as well). The coffin was beautifully decorated in a nature theme, with spring flowers + a little hand carved canoe (he used to love canoeing). A niece who is a professional pianist provided the music and a couple of the others also contributed with singing and readings. It was beautiful sunny day with a clear blue sky, a hint of promise of spring in the air, and birds singing so loud that we even heard the birdsong inside the chapel!

After the ceremony in the chapel, we went back into town for lunch, in a lovely old building which is often used for such occasions as weddings, funerals and the like.

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At the luncheon I was talking (mostly) to my (sort-of) ‘aunt’, and two of the nieces (second cousins to me). We did a bit of math and worked out that I am 18 years younger than the former, and 18 years older than the younger of the latter. It struck me – not for the first time – that I’ve always been in a somewhat odd position in my family context, that way. My parents were both firstborn, and got married rather early. The first 6 years of my life, not only was I an only child to my parents, and the first grandchild to both sets of grandparents - but also ‘the one and only’ child within the whole extended family circle. Some years later, however, there were suddenly lots of littler ones! and the whole world no longer revolved around Me…

My impression is that my ‘uncle’ Sten whose memory we were celebrating on this day was quite good at keeping up with the whereabouts and doings of all his nieces and nephews though.

We weren’t in the habit of exchanging gifts for birthdays or Christmas. But I have one book I think I got from him when I was about 10 years old: Robinson Crusoe. (There’s no written dedication to prove it but I’m pretty sure.)  As his love of nature as well as of literature was mentioned a lot now, perhaps rather a fitting keepsake!

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Rest in peace.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Rörstrand Porcelain Museum (Lidköping)

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(July 2015)

In Lidköping by Vänern we had lunch at the Rörstrand Porcelain Museum. Even if our table in their café was not laid out as elegantly as this one in the museum, it was still a very nice place to have lunch.

Rörstrand is one of the most famous Swedish porcelain manufacturers; initially founded in Stockholm; in the 1930’s, they moved to Lidköping. Nowadays the company has been taken over by Finnish Iittala, production has been moved abroad and the factory in Lidköping closed down. But the museum is still there to enjoy – and entrance is free.

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Many of Rörstrand’s classic tableware patterns are very well known in Sweden. Some of them have a long history, going back 100 years or more; and some patterns taken out of production for a while have proved so popular that they were reintroduced again later.

One of those is ‘Green Anna’, first created around the turn of the century 1900. It was out of production between 1943-1966; but then reintroduced on the market again until 2002. I myself chose this series to collect when I first moved away from home to live on my own in the mid 1970’s. I have dinner plates, soup plates, and side plates in this pattern, and also the teacups which you can see here. The plates I’m still using almost daily. The teacups are not my favourite design to hold and drink from though, so they don’t get used very often now (as I have others that I prefer).

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My paternal grandmother’s everyday tableware (she got married in 1930, so probably bought around then) was another Rörstrand design, Bengali Blue (which I did not see in the museum).

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When we cleared out my parents’ house, I found the soup plates from this series to still be in good condition (obviously not having been used much, compared to the flat ones that were used all the time and got well worn and cracked over the years). So I  kept those – and I’m glad I did. While I find them rather too flat for soup (my Green Anna ones are better for that purpose– deeper and more bowl-shaped), these are just perfect for my “TV dinners” (salad etc).

They also match my grandmother’s teacups rather well…

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But the teacups and saucers are of a different make, and from England!

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Linking to Mosaic Monday

Sunday, February 21, 2016

On the Road Again (Västergötland, July 2015)

A ‘problem’ with taking lots and lots of  photos on your summer holiday trip is that afterwards it gets so hard to choose which ones to blog, that you never get round to it…

On the other hand, it makes a nice change when you suddenly remember these photos in the dreariness of late winter.

On the non-existing third hand, however, you may then realize that you no longer have any idea what exactly you’re looking at!

But never mind… Let’s go back again to July 22, 2015…

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Our last stop was the lock at Brinkebergskulle, Vänersborg.
We are now driving east from Vänersborg towards Lidköping.

The landscape south of Lake Vänern  is mostly flat, but with some ‘table’ mountains/hills adding a bit of drama to the scenery:

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Halleberg, with an average height of about 90 meters above Lake Vänern and the highest point 155 meters above sea level, is also Scandinavia's largest old hill fort, dating back to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. It is now part of a large Ecopark area also including Hunneberg (another table mountain nearby).

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In the Middle of Nowhere (apologies to Grästorp municipality), there is a lay-by displaying a Viggen aircraft.

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A dilapidated old cottage (also in the middle of nowhere)

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I don’t remember what church this is – we did not stop here. This is a typical countryside view in these parts, though – quite a few church towers sticking up which can be seen from miles around - and many of them white.

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Here’s another church where we did stop to have a closer look - but I don’t remember where that was either…

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I’ll be linking this post to Mersad’s Through My Lens meme.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hibernation Art

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Today it's been snowing and sleeting all day from a leaden sky, with temperatures around freezing point. I’ve not set foot outside. In the afternoon, I think some time around 2:30 pm, I lay down for a while to listen to an audio book. Feeling really cold I even pulled the duvet over me… Woke up around 5 pm, with the talking book (a Swedish crime novel) still chattering on… way ahead of me… Must have slept deeply for over an hour at least - had to rewind several chapters before I began to recognize the story! (Usually I set a sleep timer, but obviously not this time.)

The picture is an overlay collage of four different photos taken from my window earlier in the day (before I lay down to rest…). Actually I think the result represents the day quite well.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Winter and Summer Reflections

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Photo from Tuesday this week when I had to go into town early on a cold morning. The building is an indoors swimming bath, situated in the town park just by the river. 

I’m really tired of winter… Below are some pictures from summer. The tree in the middle below is the same as the one above, but seen from the other direction, looking towards the city center.

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(PS. This building is not the pool I used to go to; that was at the hospital... This one is an ‘adventure’ bath,  and I’m not really a mermaid at heart… I prefer calm waters…)

Friday My TownSkywatch FridayWeekend Reflections

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ruby Tuesday

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Few things make me feel as cold and ravenously hungry for the rest of the day as having to go out without breakfast (or even a drink of water) on a cold winter morning (-10°C = 14°F)…

Today was one such day. Had to go into town for some fasting blood tests for a medical check-up (seeing the doctor next week).

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Just getting dressed for the expedition takes some planning, when the outdoors part requires multiple layers of clothing, while the indoors part involves giving lab staff quick access to your bare skin…

To look on the bright side: by mid February it’s no longer pitch dark at 7:30 am, and even if the morning was very cold it was (going to be) a sunny day; and moreover, this week is winter sports holiday week here, which means the bus was not crowded with school kids as it usually is that time of day. 

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There was also no queue to speak of at the lab at this early hour in the morning; and the procedure really went rather smoothly. Wise from experience, I had brought a picnic breakfast (small thermos of tea + sandwich) to consume immediately afterwards, before I put on all my outdoor gear and ventured out again. Thus revived, I managed to walk home – where I immediately felt in need of a second breakfast. Two hours later, a bowl of hot chicken soup; followed by yet another pot of tea, and a piece of chocolate…

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About three hours past lunch, a glance at the clock on the wall in my study confirms that hooray, it’s Tea Time! Off to put the kettle on again!!! … And with this cuppa I’m definitely craving hot toast with marmalade, and cheese… and a banana… and another piece of chocolate…

(I always look away while they draw the blood… Beginning to seriously wonder now how much they took!!!)

((…and what to have for supper…))

Photos: Geranium in my living room window.

Ruby Tuesday Too

Monday, February 15, 2016

Book Review–The Devil’s Sanctuary

Marie Hermanson (born 1956) is a Swedish writer and journalist who has written several intriguing novels with a surrealistic touch. Her earlier novels have not been translated into English, but this one, which I just recently listened to in Swedish, has. So I thought I’d mention it here. The Swedish title is Himmelsdalen – ‘Paradise Valley’ – but in English it has been named The Devil’s Sanctuary. This in itself I think reflects the duality at the very core of this psychological thriller: The difficulty (sometimes) of deciding what is what, what is good or bad, truth or lie – and even perhaps who is who…

Daniel and Max are identical twins, with a complex relationship ever since childhood. The story starts out with Daniel going to visit his brother while he is staying in a recovery clinic near a small village in a secluded valley in the Alps.

On the surface it seems more like a peaceful holiday resort than anything else, but when Daniel is asked to take his brother’s place for a few days, his perspective begins to change… 

Be prepared for some twists and turns (or ups and downs) before you get to the end of this novel!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

FMTSO: Love Is in the Air

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Hearts

♥ From the No Limit Street Art Festival ♥
(September 2015 in Borås, Sweden)

Looking back at these colourful pictures from last year’s
street art festival makes my heart long for spring again!

Linking to:

Friday My Town

Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Skywatch Friday

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Friday afternoon there was this sunset view from my balcony; and even if it was rather chilly, the streets were bare and dry.

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Little did I suspect it to look like this again in the morning:

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PUHTESS

Skywatch Friday

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Multiples (BTT)

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Booking Through Thursday (by Deb), February 4, 2016

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Do you own multiple copies of any books? Why? Is it the format? Size? Just because you love it?

To start with – the Bible. I have collected several of those over the years; in different translations, sizes and bindings.

There are also a number of other books I have both in Swedish (my first language) and in English. With most of those, I had a Swedish translation first, and later on wanted to read it in English too. Only with a very few has it been the other way round. The exception that comes to mind is the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis: I first bought those in English (the whole series in a box of separate paperback volumes). But later on I also bought the series in Swedish when a new hardback edition was published here.

I also have quite a few books both in print (either on paper or on Kindle) and as audio recordings (on tape, disc or downloaded – depending on when in the technical/digital evolution they were bought!)

By now I have also added a lot of classics on Kindle, which I already had in printed editions. It is physically easier  for me to read on Kindle now… But I’m still rather reluctant to get rid of the printed books. Especially if I’ve read them many times!

The pictures at the top are of a postcrossing card (and stamp) I received this week.

 

 

 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Winter Weekend Reflections

The past week has not been very inspirational for photography. To be fair, the last few days did actually offer glimpses of sun and blue sky; but with the snow gone, the streets still full of old grit, and several weeks yet to go until proper spring could be expected, both town and nature are looking rather dull and tired.

And it does not help that the only proper ‘mall’ in the city centre was closed down at the end of January for a major refurbishment, and will remain closed until the next Christmas (!) season. There are of course other shops, but most shops in our town centre have their own separate entrances from the street rather than being clustered into malls. In summer, I like that. In winter, I realise now, not quite so much… Winking smile

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This is the block that is being refurbished. The photo is from early December - but winter ‘before snow’ and ‘after snow’ does look pretty much the same…

Linking to: Weekend Reflections

… … …

On Wednesday, which was one of the sunny days, I did take the opportunity to go into town for a few errands (but left the camera at home). Besides some ‘minor’ items on my list I also bought a new duvet cover. It was not a total impulse purchase, as I had been thinking for a while that I wanted a new one. I also knew what kind of colours I wanted; and was happy to find them in a magnolia pattern, just right for spring and summer… Smile

It’s not on my bed yet, but here’s a picture of it from the web:

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