Sunday, February 25, 2018

Another Windmill

Yesterday’s windmill postcard from the Netherlands reminded me that I still have some “unblogged” photos from a trip that my brother and I made back in July 2015. I think I blogged about the first half (two days out of four) in the month after; but then other things got in the way and I never got round to the rest. What made me think of it now was a comment on yesterday’s post, asking if we have any windmills where I live. The answer is that while I can’t recall any old windmills in the vicinity of Borås (only water mills), there are other districts in southern Sweden where they were more common. The photos below show one standing close to the road somewhere between Lidköping and Läckö Castle (at the southern end of Lake Vänern – which is still in Västergötland, the province where I live). The mill is of “Dutch type”, probably built in 1878, but moved twice since then (I don’t know where it stood originally). We only stopped on the other side of the road to take photos, we didn’t go up close to it.

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Riddargårdens väderkvarn (windmill), July 2015


Shadow Shot Sunday 2


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend: Serenity/Peace/Calm

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What says “calm” better than a windmill standing still? ;)

From Jarina in the Netherlands, February 2018

Molen de Dellen, Nieuw-Scheemda, Groningen, NL

Looking it up in Wikipedia, I think I manage to deduce from the Dutch text that this mill (built in 1855) was a “polder mill” used for regulation of the water levels.

Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the Weekend 40: Serenity/Peace/Calm

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sliding Back in Time

Time is a Mystery. Sometimes the past and the present seem to weave seamlessly in and out of one another, separate and inseparable at the same time. Yesterday was my Mum’s birthday, so I was thinking of her. “Hard to believe” (as one often says) that nearly nine years have gone by since she died. Although sometimes that day too seems like yesterday or a long long time ago, all in one.

Anyway – with part of my brain thinking of mum, and another part observing the snowy weather outdoors, my Master Mind connected the two and reminded me of an old photo in one of my childhood photo albums. Probably from January or February 1961.

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I wonder if when and where we were born affect how we feel about the seasons of the year? My mum was born in February and far up in the North (but only lived the first year of her life up there); and I think she always liked winter a lot better than I ever did. I was born in late August, and I think early autumn has probably always been my favourite time of year. At least I know for sure that I’ve never been a huge fan of winter, and neither at age five nor at any point later in life would I ever voluntarily have gone sliding on ice like mum does here. (Yes, that’s me behind her – looking very sceptical.)

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Same occasion. This feels more secure.


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The whole scanned “winter walk” page from my album; with illustrations by my mum.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Snowy

Yesterday I woke up to a very white world outside; and it kept on snowing all day.

Some of the photos I took from my windows and balcony look like they were shot in black & white, but are actually “colour”:

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In the afternoon I ventured out for a little walk, in spite of still heavy snowfall. I didn’t go very far though.

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More “black and white” across the railroad…

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… but along Yellow Brick Road (my nickname for it), the buildings suddenly stand out as almost shockingly colourful!

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Our World Tuesday

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend: Happiness/Joy

Snail Mail

“… because of you – thanks!”

From Ginny in the US, January 2018
© Carmen Mok

Of course every day that brings a happy snail mail card is a happy day!


Maulwurf

Postcrossing card from Germany, January 2018

Illustration from a book entitled “Wie der Maulwurf den kleinen Adler rettete” / “How the Mole saved the little Eagle”

Digging a bit deeper, I find that The Mole* is the character in a series of cartoons, created by Czech animator Zdeněk Miler (1921-2011).

*(in the Czech original called Krtek, or, for little mole, Krteček)

Some of the books seem to be available in Swedish as well. Not having children or grandchildren of my own, I have not been keeping up… :)


Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the Weekend 39: Happiness/Joy

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Skywatch Friday

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Sunrise view from my kitchen window,  8:30 ~ 7.30* a.m. (yesterday)

A sign of spring, even if still very much winter outside! :)


SkyWatch Friday

*Sorry, seems I never set my camera back to “normal” time over winter…
Not much point in doing it now (back to “summer” time in five weeks…)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend: Love / Lovely

Papilio machaon

Papilio machaon (swallowtail)
Postcrossing card from Poland, December 2017

The butterfly is lovely, and I’m sure it loves the flower…



A Curious Encounter

A Curious Encounter 
(Artist: Amy Brown)
Card received from John in England, February 2018

Not sure whether this is love at first sight; but love often starts with curiosity, doesn’t it? Winking smile 


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Too-whit Too-whoo, So Cold for ‘oo’
(Artist: Molly Brett, 1902-1990)

▲And ooh, this looks like love, too!▼

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There’s Room For You!
(Artist: Margaret W. Tarrant, 1888-1959)

The last two cards both came from Jarina in the Netherlands in December 2017 – and I have to confess it did not strike me until now, that they were painted by different artists!


Weekend Linky Party:

Postcards for the weekend 72: Love/Lovely

Friday, February 9, 2018

Weekend Reflections

On Monday this week we had a rare day with sunshine, blue sky, -10°C and snow.

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One of my favourite reflection spots along the river…
And various kinds of ducks seem to agree.

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Mrs & Mr Mallard

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Mr & Mrs Goldeneye

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Mr & Mrs … hmm, not sure we’ve ever been introduced…
(checking my birdbook at home) … Goosander??
(mergus merganser) (Swedish: storskrake)
Pleased to make your acquaintance, I’m sure!

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Weekend Reflections

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend – Fairy Tales

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Postcrossing card from Bremen, Germany
(January 2018)
The Town Musicians of Bremen;
a sculpture inspired by an old folktale.


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Postcrossing card from Japan
(January 2018)

A Moomin illustration from Japan. I love the Moomin characters. Originally created by the Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001), the Moomins are also immensely popular in Japan (and I think the TV cartoons were made there). If you follow the link to the Moomin characters page, you’ll also find a test “Which character are you?” I got Snufkin (he’s the one to the left, clad in green). He’s a traveller, though – even if he always returns. I often feel a bit more like Moominmamma, I think (even if I live alone); she’s more of the stay-at-home kind, always carrying a handbag full of anything that might come in handy, and wanting to pack tons of just-in-case stuff whenever they’re off on longer adventures. At the same time there is an artistic and dreamy side to her character as well… (If you take the test, I hope you’ll share your result in the comments!)


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Postcrossing card from Russia
(January 2018)

"Sadko" (Fedoscino lacquer miniature factory)

WIKIPEDIA: Fedoskino miniature (Russian: федоскинская миниатюра) is a traditional Russian lacquer miniature painting on papier-mache, named after its original center Fedoskino (Федоскино), an old village near Moscow widely known from the late 18th century. The contemporary Fedoskino painting preserves the typical features of Russian folk art.

WIKIPEDIA: Sadko (Russian: Садко) is the principal character in a Russian medieval epic Bylina. He was an adventurer, merchant, and gusli musician from Novgorod. Sadko played the gusli [old Russian multi-string plucked instrument] on the shores of a lake. The Sea Tsar enjoyed his music, and offered to help him. Sadko was instructed to make a bet with the local merchants about catching a certain fish in the lake; when he caught it (as provided by the Tsar), the merchants had to pay the wager, making Sadko a rich merchant. -


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From Jarina in the NL
(January 2018)

The Snowdrop Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker
from Flower Fairies of the Spring (1923)


Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the Weekend 71 – Anything You Wish

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Read in January

Strong Poison (1931) by Dorothy Sayers (see previous separate review). (5th in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Read on Kindle.)

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Unnatural Death (1927) by Dorothy Sayers. (3rd in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.)

I listened to this one as audio book; read by Ian Carmichael (1920-2010) who also played Lord Peter in the 1970s-80s BBC radio  and TV dramas, based on the novels.

This mystery involves the death of an elderly woman, supposedly from natural causes – or…? A will may be involved (or not); Lord Peter gets suspicious, and sends Miss Climpson (private investigator in his employ) to find out more…


Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go (2005) by Kazuo Ishiguro  (Nobel prize in literature laureate 2017).

I listened to this as daily series on Swedish Radio. It’s a novel not easy to categorize, but a very engaging story all the same. The Wiki article calls it “dystopian science fiction”. Personally I hesitate whether science fiction is the right epithet, as it’s not futuristic - and not really all that much focus on science either. My impression is that it is set in a fictional past/present corresponding to the 1960s/70s onwards (based on the mentioning of items like for example cassette tapes). The narrator, Kathy, is looking back on her childhood and youth at a place called Hailsham, a kind of boarding school / orphanage in England (the teachers are called “guardians” rather than teachers). One of the strengths of this book is how the author lets Kathy tell things from her own perspective; taking much about her own background for granted, without further explanation – as we all tend to do, with certain things. For the reader/listener, the full implications are not always immediately obvious, though – but our understanding keeps growing, along with the story…


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The Hiding Place (1971) by Corrie ten Boom (with co-authors John and Elizabeth Sherrill).

I read this book back in my youth and still have my Swedish copy (from 1976). I re-read it now by listening to it as Audible audio book in English (read by Wanda McCaddon). Corrie ten Boom (1892 – 1983) was a (Christian) Dutch watchmaker who, along with her father and sister and other family members and friends, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II by hiding them in their home. In 1944, Corrie and her sister were arrested and sent to prison and then on to concentration camp (Ravensbrück in Germany). Corrie survived the war, returned to the Netherlands and set up a rehabilitation center for concentration-camp survivors. She also travelled to over 60 countries and gave public speeches about her experiences.

 

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Esperanza Rising (2000) by Pam Munoz Ryan.

I bought this book as Kindle+Audible (Whispersync), but ended up mostly listening to the audio, as I found the narration by Trini Alvarado excellent, and adding a lot to the atmosphere of the book, with pronunciation of Spanish names etc with the right accent.

The main character and narrator, Esperanza, is the spoiled daughter in a rich ranchowner family in Mexico. The family’s situation changes when Esperanza’s father dies; and her mother Ramona, rather than marrying a man she does not want, decides to flee with her daughter to the United States. This is during the time of the Great Depression, and they end up in a poor Mexican labour camp in California. Esperanza has a hard time adjusting to the hardships of their new life – very different from what she’s been used to so far. But gradually, she learns to cope with the challenges. The story is based on / inspired by the life of the author’s own grandmother, also called Esperanza (which is Spanish for “hope”). The author has also incorporated the rhythm of the various harvest seasons into the story.

The book has received good reviews and according to Wikipedia it has also been incorporated into school curriculums in literature, social studies, and Spanish in the US. I really liked the book, and I think it gives “food for thought” for our own time as well, concerning how we treat the present migration situation, and the migrants (not only in the US but the rest of the world as well).


I'll Keep You Safe: the sensational new Hebrides-set thriller

I’ll keep you safe (2018) by Scottish crime writer Peter May (read on Kindle).

I’d been waiting for this one, and downloaded it on Kindle the day it was published… It’s yet another book set on the Hebridean Isle of Lewis & Harris. Like Coffin Road, it’s a standalone novel, even if both have one character (a local police officer) in common with the Lewis Trilogy (The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man, The Chessmen). I’ll keep you safe involves the island’s textile industry, based on the well-know Harris Tweed, but here with a fictional variety called Ranish tweed. However, some of the action in the book also takes place in Paris, France. (The connection being the fashion industry.)

The book starts with a car explosion in Paris, and two people dead – one of them from the Hebrides. Accident? Murder? Terror attack? The mysteries involved brings a French police officer to the remote Scottish island to attend a funeral, and gather more background information. As readers, we get some of the background from a “neutral” narrator; but also gain deeper insight from Niamh, the wife who lost her husband in the explosion. (They were together in Paris when it happened, but she was not in the car). Some of the chapters are written from her point of view, following her process of grieving, and dealing with the present as well as her memories, which go back even to her own and her husband’s childhood on the island, and the development of their relationship, marriage and career over the years. Friends and family and business partners also come into the picture; all mixed with the special atmosphere of the island that the author knows inside out (the geography as well as the impact of the ever-changing weather).  (Myself, I no longer quite know what I recognise from May’s earlier Lewis novels, or the photo book Hebrides [text by May and photographs by David Wilson], or from a certain Hebridean blogger that I’ve been following for even longer…) I recognise the pattern of storytelling from the previous books by May that I read – also involving unexpected twists and turns. But the author has once again managed to produce a book hard to put down, although at the same time worth reading slowly, savouring the details of landscape and atmosphere as well as insights into the complexity of human relationships.


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