Sunday, March 18, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend–Sunrise/Sunset

Doesn’t matter which part of the world we’re in – we all seem to marvel at the sunrise/sunset!


Postcrossing card from Finland, 2014


Postcrossing card from Switzerland, 2014


Postcrossing card from Ukraine, 2014


Postcrossing card from South Africa, 2014

And to see a sunset from Sweden, go to Maria’s blog:

Winking smile

Weekend Linky Party:

Postcards for the Weekend 77: Sunrise/Sunset

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bring on Spring (2)


In spite of Spring Equinox being less than a week away now, winter is still holding Sweden in rather a firm grip. There were a couple of days at the beginning of the week though, when the temperature climbed above 0°C (freezing point) - at least in the daytime. On Wednesday, it actually looked as though some of the main walkpaths might be just about ice-free; so I decided to attempt a walk into town, without the help of anti-slip devices or walking poles. Felt good to be able to “stretch my legs” a bit again, even if lately I’ve become so used to all the safety-devices that I almost felt a bit wobbly without them!

However, keeping to the main walk/cycle path along the main street, I did manage to find enough dry ground for my feet to take me to the city centre. My destination there was a flower-shop, in order to bring home a bit of indoors spring feeling, even if the outdoors will probably keep us waiting for a while yet.  

“Mission accomplished” Smile - including having changed back to my spring/summer curtains in the kitchen this week.





PS – Posted separately below, a YouTube video of the snow situation further up north in Sweden…

Spring in Sweden (video)

Love this YouTube video, shared by a friend on Facebook yesterday...
I should add that here in the south, we haven't got quite that much snow... But it is still/again very cold (well below freezing point all day again today - and windy).

"Finally, the first month of spring is here! Sunshine, singing birds and
the best things of all; being able to hang out the laundry to dry in the
fresh air! :D" [Jonna Jinton, "Spring in Sweden", Mar 14, 2018]

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sun, Snow and Swans


We had a rare glimpse of sun and blue sky over the wintry cityscape today. Appreciated by both people and birds – and even sculptures!


No one sitting on the stairs leading down to the water, though!


There was a flock of (whooper) swans swimming in the river by the park.



“A swan may stare at a human, as well as the other way round!”






One thing I love about the camera is the option to just zoom in on the things I want to see…


(… and ignore, for example, the highrise buildings on the other side of the river…)


Weekend Reflections

Friday, March 9, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend: Places of Worship

Convent of St John of Kronstadt

Convent of St John of Kronstadt, St Petersburg
(1900-08; architect Nikolai Nikonov)
Postcrossing card from Russia, January 2018

JJ 2018-111

Churches of Opsterland (in Friesland, NL)
From Jarina in the NL, March 2018

170708-170712 from John 1715

Nun’s Cross, Dartmoor
From John in England, July 2017

”This cross, more properly known as Siward’s cross, is the largest ancient cross in Devon and the oldest recorded. It is first mentioned in the 1200s. Siward owned the land on which it stands in the 11th century, and it is thought to pre-date the Norman Conquest. The name Nun’s is thought to be a corruption of “nant” or ravine.”

Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the Weekend 76: Places of Worship

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Read in February

A Classic Swedish Trilogy: The Ring of the Löwenskölds

The General's Ring or The Löwensköld Ring is the first novel in a trilogy written by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) (the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1909). (The photo above shows a statue of her.) The Löwensköld Ring (1925) was followed by Charlotte Löwensköld (1925) and Anna Svärd (1928). I listened to the first book (in Swedish) back in October 2017, and the following two in January/February 2018.

The first book is a kind of ghost story, set in the 18th century; about a ring stolen from a grave, and a curse laid on the family Löwensköld. In the following two novels we meet descendants of that family (and others) from the first book. I felt more engaged in the story and characters in the two later novels, which have less of the supernatural touch. I have to confess that for me, it remained hazy until the very end how the 2nd and 3rd books were really supposed to relate to the first. (Not sure how much that, for me, had to do with three months’ gap between reading the first one and the other two…)

The central male character in the two later novels, set in the mid 19th century or so, is a young assistant vicar, Karl-Arthur – of gentleman background, but not taking much interest in making a “career” for himself in the church. Instead, he’s very set on living a humble life. At the same time, though, he turns out far from a natural when it comes to putting proper humility into practice. When we first get to know him, he’s engaged to Charlotte, a woman of equal social background to himself. But at a certain point in the story he meets Anna, a poor and illiterate peddler woman… Both Charlotte and Anna are strong female characters, each in their own way. These two are not the only women with influence over Karl-Arthur, though; and there are several more twists and turns in the story before the end.

I know these books have been (re)published in English in recent years; not available for Kindle though, from what I can see. But you could try your library, perhaps.

In This Grave Hour by Jaqueline Winspear
(13th in the Maise Dobbs series, 2017)
Read on Kindle.

“Sunday September 3rd 1939.  At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs' flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered.  And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the “last war," a new kind of refugee — an evacuee from London — appears in Maisie's life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the “Operation Pied Piper” evacuee train.  They know only that her name is Anna.”

As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come.  Britain is approaching its gravest hour — and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.”

The first book in the Maise Dobbs series was published in 2003; I read it in 2006, and have followed the series since. My feelings/opinions about them have varied a bit, and somehow I never felt 100% sure how much that had to with each book in itself, vs me being in the right mood for it (or not) when I happened to read it. The previous one in the series (No 12, Journey to Munich), I will probably remember best for its “actual story”; while with some of the others I have felt them to kind of sprawl out too much and the author sometimes seeming unsure whether to focus on the “case” or on Maisie’s personal life (past and present). In This Grave Hour may be another one of those, in some respects. But one thing that Winspear is always good at is the background research and catching the “spirit of the time” in which each story is set. And with Maise having a complex past (growing up as daughter of servants on a big country estate; serving as a nurse in the first world war; and then making a class trip by both her own efforts, education, marriage and inheritance), by now she is very flexible when it comes to fitting into almost any circumstances, and talking to all kinds of people.

The 14th novel in the series is to be published at the end of this month; and no doubt at some point, I’ll read that one as well.

The Dark Angel: The Sunday Times Bestseller (The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries Book 10) by [Griffiths, Elly]

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
(10th in the Ruth Galloway series, 2018)
Read on Kindle.

“Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He's discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn't know what to make of them. It's years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock - the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.”

My favourite mystery series in later years. The main character, Ruth, is a forensic archaeologist; which means that sometimes the police wants her help to determine whether bones are really old or not, and sometimes it is Ruth who has to report finds to the police. (One DCI Nelson in particular…) I read the first book in 2015 – The Crossing Places. I think I just happened to find that one for free or very cheap on Kindle, and as I’m fascinated by archaeology, decided to give it a try. I got immediately trapped and went on to read the next, and the next, and the next… Actually the first seven books one after another, i.e. all that had been published so far… Then I’ve kept reading the following as they’ve been published, one per year.

Until now, the books have all been set in England (mainly Norfolk). In this one, however, Ruth gets to go to Italy to help a colleague. Perhaps not the mystery or setting that has fascinated me the most in this series, but still an enjoyable read. The author also manages to keep the link to England throughout the book, partly by letting some of the other main characters come over to Italy as well; partly by giving the reader glimpses of “meanwhile, back home”…

(Elly Griffiths, by the way, is a pen name. The author’s real name is Domenica de Rosa and she has also written some novels set in Italy under that name. I have not -yet- read any of those, though.)

The Girl in the Picture by [Barrett, Kerry]

The Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barrett.
(Stand-alone novel, 2017).
Read on Kindle.

Two women. One house. Centuries of secrets.

East Sussex Coast, 1855

Violet Hargreaves is the lonely daughter of a widowed industrialist, and an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter. One day, the naïve eighteen-year-old meets the mysterious and handsome Edwin on the beach. He promises her a world beyond the small coastal village she’s trapped in. But after she ignores warnings about Edwin, a chain of terrible events begins to unfold for Violet…

East Sussex Coast, 2016

For thriller-writer Ella Daniels, the house on the cliff, where she’s moved with her young family, is the perfect place to overcome writer’s block. But there’s a strange atmosphere that settles once they move in – and Ella’s intrigued when she hears stories of brutal murders in the house next door more than 150 years ago. When Ella uncovers a portrait of a beautiful young girl named Violet Hargreaves, who went missing at the same time as the horrific crimes, she becomes determined to find out what happened. And in trying to lay Violet’s ghost to rest, Ella must face ghosts of her own…

This is a Kindle book I came across for “next to nothing” and decided it might be worth giving it a go. It was. Quite a page-turner; an easy read, but still with enough twists and turns to offer some surprises along the way.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Walking Round in Circles

We’re still in the firm grip of cold weather here. Time seems to have got lost in an eternal flurry of white and grey lately; and if not for a few photos I’ve quite lost count of which days were the coldest, the windiest, the snowiest, the iciest or the sunniest. Most of the time when I’ve been out I’ve had to keep my eyes firmly fixed on the ground and my mind on being very careful with each step – plus, with winter gloves (mitten type) and two Nordic Walking poles, the camera is not really easy to handle. But that said, here are some photos anyway. 

The first lot is from 21st February, just after we had had quite a lot of fresh snow coming down “all at once”. While the city has the resposibiity for clearing the major roads and streets, with the sidewalks the responsibility lies with the property owners. This can make a short walk around a few blocks quite a varied challenge. Every now and then I do take up that challenge, though; and sometimes even with the camera.







Taken from a bridge over the railway.


Advertising sign for ice-cream, outside a small corner shop.
(I wonder how much ice-cream they sell in February?)


A sculpture in the park on the estate where I live: a boy balancing on the back of a turtle. Just now he looks more like he’s riding a snowboard…

The second lot is from a few days later, the 26th – cold, but with enough sun to make shadows.

DSC02792 DSC02795


Still not feeling quite in picnic mood, though – thanks.

There were the tracks; crossing over each other here, getting muddled up with each other there; but quite plainly, every now and then, the tracks of four sets of paws.

‘I think,’ said Piglet, when he had licked the tip of his nose too, and found that it brought very little comfort, ‘I think that I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan’t be able to do to-morrow. So I suppose I really ought to go back and do it now.’

(from ‘Pooh and Piglet nearly catch a Woozle’)

My Town Shoot Out

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend: Anything You Wish


Some days bring more surprises than others. Like when the mail lands with a heavy "klonk" on one's doormat and it turns out to be a metallic house-elf (right) apparating from the Czech Republic together with a (postcard) lemur from the Prague Zoo (left)... Even if the sender did not mention it, I bet s/he too must have noted the amusing similarity in facial expression beween the two! 

I made room for the House-Elves sign on the notice board in my study – next to the bookcase where my Harry Potter books live. :)


Later in the week, I received this Moominmamma card from Finland, which is also currantly (pun intended!) “on display” in my study. A thankyou card for a little surprise that I in turn had recently sent to another postcrosser. The red part of the background is embossed, with a velvety feel to it. The image itself makes me think of my own mum, who used to love picking berries, and making her own jam and such. Also a very welcome reminder of summer, in stark contrast to the still very wintry outdoors world here. (Nature seems totally oblivious to the fact that according to the the calendar we have moved on from February to March this week!)

Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the Weekend 75: Anything You Wish

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