Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Balcony in Bloom (oh, well...)

Someone (you know who you are) asked me for me a "balcony in bloom" post. Actually there isn't all that much in bloom at the moment. However, I suppose one advantage of blogging is that there's nothing really to prevent me from mixing present and past!

The thing is, my balcony is very much exposed to Wind and Weather; and we have been having quite a lot of both.

The month of May was rather chilly with a lot of frosty nights; which means most of my "gardening" consisted in covering and uncovering my faithful perennial survivors: the two clematis plants climbing up a trellis on the wall, and one small balcony box of small strawberries. 

The clematis seemed to appreciate my care and rewarded me by being very lovely at the end of May and beginning of June, though:


 By now they're well past their prime - but still rather decorative in a more subtle way:



(A bit later on I'll probably be cutting off many of the seedheads to try and tempt the plants into producing a few extra flowers instead.)

The strawberry plants have grown green again and it seems I can look forward to a few berries too (if the birds don't get them first!)


The orange flowers are kalanchoes which I bought in full flower and just put out in the pots in which I bought them (in holders that one can hang on the railing). I've often had kalanchoes indoors but it struck me that being succulents, they might actually be able to cope with the varied climate on my balcony too. (Ice cold showers one day, and hot burning sun the next...) So far, so good - even if these too are about to lose their prime glory now. (I've had them for just over a month.)

On the balcony table, I have a geranium which I can easily just take inside if the outdoors climate gets too extreme. (Like this week, when it's been sunny but still so windy that one day the pot just fell over, in spite of being in the most protected spot... It's also been too windy most days to have the parasols up. Which means I haven't really been out there myself much either, except to give the struggling plants some water when needed!)


I never got round to buying any pansies this year - partly because of the frosty nights, and partly because the neighbourhood florists' shop closed down earlier this year. (So no longer just a spur of the moment thing to go and buy a plant or two...)

What I did though, actually on the day before my Famous Fall towards the end of May ('famous' only among devoted readers of this blog), was to prepare a box for planting some nasturtium seeds. And as I had done everything except put the seeds into the soil, I did manage to do that a day or two later (in spite of my sore arm).

This is their status a month later (yesterday evening). Six out of seven have come up. Whether they'll also produce flowers remains to be seen!




That's it! - for now. 

Linking to
Outdoor Wednesday









Friday, June 16, 2017

Postcards for the Weekend: Historic Site / Building

 
Berlin - Pariser Platz - Brandenburger Tor
(Brandenburg Gate)

Postcrossing card from Germany, March 2017


Tokyo, with Tokyo Tower
Postcrossing card from Japan, April 2017

The Mysore Palace (southern India)
Postcrossing card from India, May 2017

Raffles Hotel in Singapore
From Maria in Singapore, March 2017


Hunebedden, or dolmens (megalithic tombs),
in the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands

From Jarina in the NL, March 2017

Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis
"the setting is thought to have both lunar and solar alignments"

From John in England, August 2015


Weekend Linky Party: 



Thursday, June 15, 2017

What I listened to in March (Short Reviews)

I often wish I had (for example) Librarian’s consistency when it comes to writing book reviews. I don’t, though! Partly I blame it on the fact that I listen to audio books a lot more than I read with my eyes these days – which makes it harder to go back and recapitulate. So I often end up just writing about some books that somehow make a special impression, and if I also happen to find the time and inspiration around that time to write about them. Checking my blog, that does not seem to have happened for a while now (since February or so)…

That does not mean that I have not been reading / listening, though.

In March, I listened to audio versions of these two books (which I have read in print before):


The Distant Hours Audiobook


The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton
Narrated by Caroline Lee (22:30 h)

This novel by Kate Morton I first read (in print) back in December 2011. This is what I wrote about it back then:

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. My most recent read. (How memorable it will seem in a year’s time… remains to be seen!) This book won “General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2011 Australian Book Industry Awards”.

I mentioned it in my BTT post last week, when I still had 1/4 left to read, saying: “I’m still feeling that on the one hand I want to just keep reading to find out about the mysteries involved; on the other hand I want it to last because I so much like reading it.” I finished it over Christmas, and I have to say it did manage to keep up the suspense until the end. It is a story told from more than one perspective, and going back and forth in time, so sometimes a little hard to keep in memory or be sure who in the story really knows what. (Or, indeed, how much I as reader can trust what I know!) I would call it a modern Gothic tale, and from three real classics mentioned in it I would say it also picks a lot of inspiration from those three: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Mysteries of Udulpho.

Well. At least this novel proved memorable enough for me to want to reread it again, six years later (but this time as audio). In the meantime I have read her other four novels as well; and I dare say it’s likely I’ll want to reread (or listen to) those as well at some point. She is a good storyteller!

Publisher’s Summary:

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.

Evacuated from London as a 12-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters, and their father, Raymond.

Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle. She, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. For the truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it....



Die unendliche Geschichte Audiobook

Die Unendliche Geschichte
by Michael Ende
(The Never Ending Story)

Narrated by Gert Heidenreich (15:06 h) – in German

I mentioned this book too in my review of Ende’s Momo back in February – which my first attempt ever to listen to an audio book in German. I think I bought them both at the same time, but I started with Momo as that is the shorter of the two. Probably also the better choice to start with as it is shorter and the story a bit simpler. The Never Ending Story has a lot more fantasy characters in it, and originally the story also sort of involves the reader’s visual impression of the printed text (some parts in red ink, some in green). But since I do own it in print and have read it before (in German), I enjoyed the listening experience now. Basically it is about a boy who finds a magical book, and escapes into it…

Publisher's Summary (English version)

In this classic fantasy novel from author Michael Ende, small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there.

Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shadow Shot Sunday

A little stroll around town yesterday with my new camera.  All of these are straight-out-of-the-camera shots, no editing.


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The old “Moulin Rouge” cinema in the background (built in 1914)


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Street art under a bridge, from a couple of years ago.
Artist Joe Iurato.


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Murals by Shai Dahan (spiced-up Swedish Dala horses are kind of his speciality). These, at a hotel restaurant near the river, are not proper all-year-round murals. They are taken down every winter and put up again for the outdoors / summer season.


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View over the city from the edge of the park


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Rhododenron


Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Friday, June 9, 2017

Postcard for the Weekend – Flag

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A postcard of the Swedish flag.

I don’t have a special category for flags in my postcard collection. Can’t remember if I ever received any flag cards from other countries (and in that case, where to look for them).

In Sweden we celebrated our National Day / Flag Day this week, on 6th June. See my photo post from that day.



Weekend Linky Party:

Postcards for the Weekend 41

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

6th June - Sweden's National Day

 



 



I didn't really properly "attend" the National Day / Flag Day celebrations this year - just passed by on the outskirts of the crowd gathered in the town park. The ceremonies include welcoming new citizens; and this year I think they also had more activities than usual for families going on in town during the day.
 

Our World Tuesday Graphic

http://mersad-photography.blogspot.se/2017/06/summer-greens-through-my-lens-nr-97.html



Saturday, June 3, 2017

My New Camera

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My old camera on the left, the new one on the right.
(This photo taken with my mobile phone!)

As someone might remember (I don’t blame you if you don’t): Just before my unfortunate fall two weeks ago, I had been to buy a new camera; and I promised some more detail about that.

The new one is a Sony DSC HX80. Beforehand, online, I had been looking at a similar but slightly different one (also a Sony); but when I got to the store, I noticed this one on display next to it; and when comparing them, I found this one even more to my liking. And actually also sold at a slightly lower price.

You may think it looks very much like my old one – and you’re right. There were a few things wrong with my old one, though. The flash hasn’t been working since a couple of years back, and on top of that, during the past winter some dirt got stuck somewhere in the lenses so that I got a dark blurry spot appearing in all photos using zoom or macro.

I haven’t had all that much chance to get to know the new one yet, but I have tried it out on a few short walks, to make sure it survived the Fall. It seems to have come out of that adventure better than I did. (It was still in its box in my backpack when I tripped and fell.)

It has some technical advantages over my old one. Better zoom for one thing (30x optical zoom compared to 12.5); and both an optical viewfinder and a tiltable (‘selfie’) screen. It is still almost exactly the same size as my old one and only 40g heavier. So far I’m very pleased with it. Looking forward to exploring it more later on!


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Unusual combination of rhododendron and (‘wild’) wood anemones in a flowerbed next to my building (last week).


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The lilacs are in bloom.


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And so are the horse chestnut trees (zoomed in)


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And the many colourful azaleas in the old cemetery.


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As for me, I’m afraid writing/typing for long is still painful. Evidently it will take some time to grow new skin on my arm/elbow… Four more nurse appointments booked over the next two weeks, to change bandages (which in this case I can’t manage myself). My minor wounds healed and most of the bruising gone, though!

I’ll be following some blogs using Feedly on my phone but may not feel up to much commenting.

Lots of resting lying down and listening to audio books just now! Winking smile






Friday, June 2, 2017

Postcards for the Weekend - Country Maps

 
Postcard map of Sweden, featuring some typical tourist attractions




Postcrossing card from China, 2014 - Chinese Food Map



Postcrossing card from India, 2014 - Incredible India
(featuring the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world)


I hope none of my postcards sent to people in April and May have gone astray. I learned this week that our postage was raised again from 1st April... Happily unaware of that, I have probably been sending out a few with not quite enough stamps on them...

Weekend Linky Party: 
Postcards for the weekend 40 - Country maps

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Weekend Reflections: 'Before The Fall'


This is the place where went to take photos last Friday - before my own unfortunate fall (see previous post). It's an old water mill (dating back to the 1600s), with a millpond, a small waterfall, and some additional buildings.











Nowadays the place serves as some kind of cultural centre for artists, with art classes, workshops and exhibitions etc. (Nothing going on for the general public just at the moment, though.)

Weekend Reflections 


From Spring in my Step to Sudden Fall

Last Friday (19th May) was a lovely warm spring-on-the-verge-of-summer day here. In the morning, I took a bus across town with the purpose of buying a new camera. Mission accomplished – details another time...

After I had made my purchase, because it was such a nice day, I decided to go for a bit of an extra walk  As it turned out, not one of my best ideas. There were some nice views along the way (which will appear in another post), but then...

 Photo taken with my old camera.

Walking along this street through an industrial area, I had my eyes (please note: not the camera!) focused on a car that was about to back out from the parking space in front of a shop. I wanted to make sure the driver was aware of me before I passed. He did see me; our eyes met in his rear mirror. But then - as he put it afterwards - I just suddenly vanished from his view and was nowhere to be seen! (Like Alice down the rabbit-hole…) 

The driver and his partner both got out of the car to check what on earth had happened. And found me on the ground, trying to sort out the same, and if I had broken anything… After a little while, I decided I probably hadn’t; so let them help me get back up on my feet. Rather miraculously, I seemed neither to have broken nor seriously twisted anything.

I'm pretty sure that what happened was that while looking at the car, I stumbled on the kerb of cobble stones separating the walk path from the bicycle path. (You can see it in the photo.) I remember doing a little "dance" trying to regain my balance. But alas...

Meanwhile, a shop assistant inside had also seen us and came out and offered us to come in. The most obvious injury was that I was bleeding through my jacket from a wound on my arm (close to my elbow), which also looked rather nasty when I removed my jacket.


The girl in the shop had a first aid kit though, and did a good job of basic cleaning of the wound and providing a temporary dressing while we talked the situation over. We agreed I had probably better also have that wound professionally seen to. So the couple with the car offered me a lift to my health care centre – which I gratefully accepted.

Unfortunately, I arrived during the lunch hour, and I had to wait a while. (However, an old friend of mine was manning the reception desk, and got me a cup of tea while I waited. A little bit beyond normal service...) As soon as the lunch hour was over, I got to see a nurse who gave me a proper dressing of the wound. I had some scrape wounds on my hands too but they only needed ordinary sticking-plasters.

I got myself back home by bus okay. Had to wait a while for the bus too, but it was still a nice and sunny day, the HCC is in the city centre and I bought myself an ice-cream and found a bench to sit on. (Could have called for a taxi if I had felt I needed it.)

When I got home I discovered that I also had scrape wounds and bruises on my right hip, leg and knee, even though (mysteriously!) there was no damage to my jeans. The scrape wounds were just superficial. (Obviously the trousers had been good protection!) The bruises of course behaved as bruises do and got worse over the weekend before beginning to fade… But on the whole I feel very lucky, as I could so easily have been much worse injured.

I took most of the fall on my right side, which is my bad shoulder/arm since before. So yes, pain did catch up with me before the next morning (also triggering the old chronic pain a bit). I’ve not been able to lie/sleep on my right side all week, and it’s still hard to write and so on. Neck/shoulder a bit stiff too, but getting better. Was back at the HCC yesterday and got my elbow bandage changed. Will have yet another checkup of the wound on Monday. But it's healing.

It may be a while yet before I’m back to “normal” presence in the blog world and correspondence, though. But now you know why...



PS. List of worldly items that also were not broken in the fall: 

- my glasses
- my sunglasses
- my wristwatch
- my old camera (held in my left hand at the time but not used)
- my new camera (in its box in my backpack)
- my smartphone (in my handbag)


Nor anything else in my handbag or backpack.

The dark blue trousers I wore bear no traces whatsoever of an accident, even though my hip, thigh and knee underneath still do.

The jacket has been washed, and the only damage is a small tear in the sleeve that can be mended (when I have mended myself!)


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