Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Read in November

Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald
The Original Screenplay
by J.K. Rowling

Read on Kindle

I have not yet seen the film (I’ll probably wait until it’s released on DVD/BRD) – but I read the script! Something I’ve only said once before in my life, and that was (of course) with the first Fantastic Beasts film, a couple of years ago… Back then, I bought a printed copy, wich was my intention to do with this one as well. As I’d been able to buy the last three Harry Potter books, and the script for the stage play The Cursed Child, and the first Fantastic Beasts in my local bookshop on the very day of world-wide release for each of them, in English, I took for granted that I’d be able to do the same with this one. So was rather disappointed when it turned out they didn’t have it – and moreover, hadn’t even ordered it! They did offer to order it for me if I wished… But I said no thanks and went home and downloaded it instantly to my Kindle instead… Their loss, my gain! It turned out the screenplay format was really just as readable on the Kindle – including the artsy black&white illustrations, of the same kind as in the first book.

The first film/script was set in New York in the 1920s and tells the story of events in the magical world there that ended with the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald being captured by Newt Scamander. In this sequel (which I understand is to be followed by no less than three more films), Grindelwald is on the loose again, over in Europe, and of course up to no good… Historically, we’re still in the between-the-world-wars period. This time we get to see a bit of the French ministry of magic; and also get a glimpse of Hogwarts back in those days, and a younger Albus Dumbledore – who for certain reasons cannot go after Grindelwald himself, but has to persuade Newt to take up the chase. We also get to meet some of Newt’s friends from the first film again. (And of course also some Fantastic Beasts, which I look forward to seeing on screen…)

Once again, even though this is “just” a sparsely-worded screenplay rather than a long novel, I’m amazed at J.K. Rowlings story-telling skills, and not least at how much more “facts” about her wizarding world that must have been in her head already when she wrote the HP books.

After reading this screenplay twice, I felt a need to go back and also reread the last book of the Harry Potter series - The Deathly Hallows - paying special attention to the many passages within that book that include references to Dumbledore’s past…

… which makes me look forward to the next three Fantastic Beast films as well…!

Previously in November, I also happened to (digitally) stumble upon C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series as audio books – in German. I’ve already read and listened to them countless times in English… But decided that they might also make good listening practice for me in German (as it helps that I already know the stories…) – and at the same time, I have also noticed that reading a familiar book in another language sometimes also brings some new observations and thoughts to mind… So I got started upon this adventure in November So far I’ve listened to two of them. I will continue with the rest whenever I happen to feel like it… (I bought the whole series as it looked like the price might have been temporarily reduced).

Der König von Narnia audiobook cover art 

Der König von Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

  • Chroniken von Narnia 2
  • By: C. S. Lewis
  • Narrated by: Philipp Schepmann
  • Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-10-05
  • Language: German
  • Das Wunder von Narnia audiobook cover art

    Das Wunder von Narnia – The Magician’s Nephew

  • Chroniken von Narnia 1
  • By: C. S. Lewis
  • Narrated by: Philipp Schepmann
  • Length: 4 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-10-05
  • Language: German

  • Reading Kate Morton’s latest novel The Clockmaker’s Daughter in October – and discussions related to my review of that - made me realise that I had completely forgotten what her previous novel The Lake House was about – in fact, even made me wonder if I had read it. Turned out I had it both on my Kindle and as Audio, though, and according to the list I keep on my computer I did read it in November 2015. But I don’t seem to have got round to writing a review. So I decided to read it again. I started it in November and have been alternating between reading on Kindle and listening to the Audio, but I still have some chapters to go. It’s a long novel, another one of those written in “layer upon layer”. The story stretches through the life-time of one of the characters, but parts of it are told from the points of view of other people, both in the present and the past. And with each version you get to hear, the complexity of the story grows… Not having reached the end yet, I’m still not sure there aren’t more surprises waiting that I’ve forgotten about!  I’ll just give you the publisher’s introduction below. (Also for my own sake, in case I forget it again…)

  • The Lake House

  • By: Kate Morton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 21 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-22-15
  • Language: English

  • Publisher’s summary: Living on her family's gorgeous lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, clever, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented 14 year old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure....

    One midsummer's eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest son, Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined, leaving their estate as empty as their broken hearts.

    Nearly 60 years later, having enjoyed a long, successful career as an author, Alice is now 80 years old and living in London. Theo's case has never been solved, though Alice still harbours a suspicion as to the culprit.

    Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather's house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate - now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone... yet more present than ever.

    A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is spellbinding and satisfying.

    December 12


    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    Sunday, December 9, 2018


    2018-12 pepparkakor

    A Swedish Wiki article informs me that the history of gingerbread may go as far back as to around 1700 B.C. (!) in Mesopotamia – i.e. long before the first Christmas. The same article also says that Roman soldiers used to carry them as provision, because they kept well and did not get mouldy. In Sweden, ginger biscuits were probably “imported” from Germany back in the 1300s. (Swedish: pepparkakor / German: Pfefferkuchen,  because the original recipes had pepper in them.) Recipes began to spread here via cookery-books in the 1700s; and in the 1800s they came to be associated especially with Christmas.

    During my lifetime, home made ginger biscuits have always been part of the Advent/Christmas traditions, both in my own family and with a lot of friends. I think I started baking my own the same year I moved into my first flat that had an oven. (The first year away from home I lived in a small student’s flat without a proper kitchen.) There were a number of years in between when neck/arm problems stopped me from baking; but a few years ago I decided to try it again, but now with smaller batches.

    This year’s bake proved to be somewhat of a challenge - again - probably because I forgot to add the treacle when I made the dough… (It’s in the recipe and I did take the bottle down from the cupboard before I started, but…)  As a result, the dough got a bit too dry and crumbly, and the biscuits definitely not my best batch ever. I also had to take a long break to rest between my “workout” sessions at the baking board! But hey, the biscuits didn’t break, and less sugar = healthier, right??

    Do you make gingerbread biscuits/cookies – and if so, what spices do you use? My mum’s were different from those made by her mother (who died when I was only six years old, but taste is a rather strong bearer of memories!). And mine in turn are a bit different from my mum’s. I recall my grandma’s gingerbread as having a stronger taste of ginger and being of a lighter colour than mum’s. Mum had ginger, cinnamon and clove in hers. I too have those three but also cardamom in mine.

    I may have told the story before, but reading about the Roman soldiers above (keeping gingerbread as provision) reminds me: When clearing out my parents’ house, I found some left-over gingerbread biscuits in a jar in a kitchen cupboard. Not sure now how long after mum’s death this was, if in the same year or later (she died in May 2009 and we didn’t sell the house until 2014; but I probably went through the kitchen cupboards a few times in between.) Anyway, the biscuits were still hard and with a strong spicy smell, awaking memories of Christmases past... I didn’t eat them but took a few home with me and kept in a small tin jar. I never ate them, just opened the jar every now and then to smell them. I think I actually kept them for a another few years before finally throwing them away. But even then I suspect they would probably still have been okay to eat!

    December 9 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

    Dec 09

    Tuesday, December 4, 2018

    Monday, December 3, 2018

    Saturday, December 1, 2018

    Tuesday, November 27, 2018



    Winter is here; but indoors two of my four orchids have decided to come into bloom for Advent time; and the other two seem not to be far behind. Above is the first blossom to open up, a few days ago.

    Outdoors, it’s cold and frosty now. Today the sun showed its face as well, so I took the camera for a walk into town and back. The first frost always adds some interesting effects to nature. The sun is very low now, even around noon, involving some extra photo challenges. (Some of the photos below had to be edited more than others, or they would show nothing but silhouettes.)


    Bridges are the most treacherous places to cross when the cold weather sets in… (This is a footbridge over a railway.)


    Heather plantation in the nearby graveyard.


    Love the little “fairy lights” showing up in this backlight photo…





    Ice has begun to form along the sides of the river in some places.


    As long as there is open water, the mallards never seem to mind much whether the weather it’s hot or cold!


    In the city centre, the footbridges across the river to the park have been decorated.




    The Christmas tree in the square has already been up for a while but is now also decorated. I didn’t attend the ceremony of turning on the Christmas lights in the city last weekend –  I had been out earlier in the day and did not feel like going out again…






    Couldn’t resist zooming in on this guy walking ahead of me on the street… Brrr! (I know that rolled up trousers, sockless and bare ankles was the fashion back in spring/summer… But in frosty November?! Really??)

    Through My Lens

    Our World Tuesday

    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    Kalmar Castle

    Road Trip 2018, Part 22 (19th July)

    After Kalmar Cathedral and Kalmar Museum in the morning, and lunch at the museum café, we went back to our hotel to put our feet up for a bit - but later in the afternoon drove into the city again, to also visit Kalmar Castle.

    On the site where the castle now stands, a defense tower was built around 1180. In the 13th century, more towers and a ring wall were added. At the time, the fortress was the most advanced of its kind in Sweden and held a strategically important location. In the 1500s, under King Gustav I and his sons King Erik XIV and King Johan III, the medieval fortress was turned into a renaissance castle. In the 1600s, that castle was badly damaged by war and fire. Repairs were begun, but not completed; and the castle was left to fall into disrepair for some time. However, between 1856 and 1941 it was again restored, and is now one of Sweden’s best preserved renaissance castles, including earthworks, moat, bridge and drawbridge. It’s a museum, and open to the public.


    First view, from close to where we parked the car.


    A goose may look at a castle…


    … and so may tourists.


    I’m not convinced we found the closest parking spot…



    … but we got round to the entrance eventually.


    Models of the castle from different time periods in the past, on display in the museum:

    2018-07-19-04 Kalmar Slott

    2018-07-19-04 Kalmar Slott2

    Replicas of festive attire worn by members of the royal family in the 1550s-1590s.


    Wish I knew the story behind the hobbit-size suit of armour, but I’m afraid I don’t!

    DSC04192 DSC04207



    2018-07-19-04 Kalmar Slott3

    I’m not sure I’d really appreciate stuffed birds as decorations on the dinner table…


    If you got bored by the dinner conversation, there’d be a lot to look at though!

    2018-07-19-04 Kalmar Slott4

    All of the castle’s history was not just about military defense and royal show and glamour. In a rather more gruesome exhibition,  we are reminded that for a period of time, the castle also served as prison:


    Including a far-too-realistic peek into a dungeon…


    Some sunny exteriors to finish off our visit, I think!

    2018-07-19-04 Kalmar Slott5






    Through My Lens

    Our World Tuesday

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