Sunday, 31 March 2019

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Postcrossing card from Russia (March 2019)
Desk clock by Fabergé, from the Peterhof Museum

 Postcrossing card from Poland (June 2018)
A clock from a Museum of History in Prague

 Postcrossing card from Germany (September 2018)

Yes, it's that time of year again... As in putting one's body clock out of order, and making sure that one has remembered to change every other clock and device in the house. Some of them take care of themselves nowadays, but that doesn't really make it any easier to remember the ones that don't. There always seems to be at least one I've forgotten. And if I haven't forgotten that I should do it, I've forgotten how to. (I actually thought of the camera this morning, only to discover that I don't remember where to find the date-and-time setting on that. So I'll need to find the manual first...)

My inner body clock is always the hardest to convince, though. (Surely it cannot be lunchtime already? I'm not hungry! Or bedtime when I'm still wide awake... Or time to get out of bed, when I just fell asleep? etc)

A piece of Good News (?) the other day was that the EU has now decided that all this nonsense about changing clocks back and forth really has to stop! Er... Wait a moment... Not immediately, of course... And let's not decide if the clocks should be stopped on winter or summer time; but let each country continue to argue about that for another couple of years... Maybe in 2021 we'll be ready for a whole new confusing European time zone system, with each country choosing its own time... (Or maybe we'll find we aren't, in which case we'll postpone, or decide something else...)

Lots of opinion polls being made at the moment, of course - and probably more to come, until a final decision is reached! I think I'd cast my vote on keeping "normal" time (i.e. "winter" time). But I guess "summer" time all year round would be ok as well. I just wish they'd stop meddling with it back and forth...

 Old sun dial at Algutsrum Church, Öland (2018)
(my own photo)

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’ 

Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'
(full lyrics here)

Monday, 25 March 2019

Visiting the Book Fair

A local book fair at the end of March seems to be on the way of becoming a tradition in Borås. This was the third year in a row. I blogged about the first back in 2017. I bought two books on that occasion. Last year it seems I did not blog about it, but I did pop in at the book fair then too, and bought one book. This year, I came home with three! 

One of them was given away for free - an offer hard to resist...  (That's the one with "Sarajevo" in the title.) 

One is about a tragedy that the author discovered in her own family history, and decided to research and write about. (I have not read it yet but the cover says it's the story of a woman who murdered her children - back in 1929.) I was intrigued by it because it reminded me of things I've been meaning to perhaps try to continue looking into myself, related to my own family history. Nothing as drastic as murder; and not likely to result in a book. But, as I said to the author while chatting briefly to her about hers, while buying it: Sometimes one does comes across bits and pieces here and there that makes one wish that someone had written the full story. 

The third one is the first in a 'cozy crime' series that escaped my attention until now. One of the rather many such series set in an otherwise rather idyllic small Swedish Town. In this series, the scene is Hjo, such a small town on the west coast of Lake Vättern, in the province of Västergötland (the same province where I live). And as it happens, Hjo is one of the towns that my brother and I visited on our tour around Lake Vättern two summers ago. I resisted the temptation to buy the whole series (five books so far) but I did buy the first one, and am enjoying reading it now. If nothing else, it's fun to read a book where one can call to mind quite a few flashbacks from one's own memories of what the place looks like. Here's a shortcut to one of my blog posts from Hjo from 2017. (To find even more, look up September 2017 in the Archive in the sidebar of my blog.)

I also attended a lecture by a well-known Swedish-Finnish author, Susanna Alakoski (link to Wiki article in English). One of the very many who moved to Sweden from Finland back in the 1960s, in her early childhood; the parents to work and the children just having to "jump right into it", going to Swedish school and learning Swedish etc without much special introduction for immigrants back in those days. I had several classmates from Finland throughout my school years. Children pick up language and dialects very quickly. Harder for their parents! With Susanna Alakoski (having come here in early childhood) you'd never guess now except for her Finnish surname that she is of Finnish origin. But in her lecture she talked a bit about these things - language, immigration, integration, identity etc; comparing the situation back then (1960s, with immigrants coming here from Finland + eastern and southern Europe, to work), and today (with immigrants coming from "all over the world", lots of different backgrounds, and many as refugees). Some interesting observations and thoughts, well worth considering. I'm also looking forward to reading her next book which she said will be published in the autumn and will be the first in a series that involves the Swedish textile industry. So just now she was in Borås to do some research. (As some of you know, if you've been following my blog for a while, Borås is an old textile industry town, and we also have a Textile Museum and a Textile College.)

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Don't Lose Your Head

After a couple of days of mixed rain/snow in the air, today was a bit more spring-like, even if still chilly. Wearing a knitted hat on your head is still a good idea... But when my eye spotted this market stall display, I could not quite decide whether to see it as funny or creepy! ( I took a photo...)

When I got back home, I posted the photo on Facebook - and was asked to 'tag' eight of the heads as friends! Still borderline between funny and creepy! (Why only those eight, they did not explain...)

Going on to read some other FB posts, I had one from a language program on Swedish Radio which I follow. They were asking for suggestions and questions for a future program about expressions including body parts. For some reason (have a guess!) ... what came up first in my mind was (the Swedish equivalent of) "lose your head"... So now I'm wondering why we say that, and how long we've been saying it (if perhaps it goes back to the days when people were literally beheaded?), and if it's a common expression in other languages as well. I do think I've heard "den Kopf verlieren" in German too. As for the other languages I've been digging into, I haven't really dug deep enough yet to find any lost heads... 

And writing that, it suddenly also strikes me that in the book I'm (re-)reading at the moment, there are a lot of heads and skulls as well - and not all of them attached to their bodies. The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (2nd in the Ruth Galloway series - cf my recent book review of The Stone Circle, 11th in the same series). (Janus was a Roman god,  usually depicted as having two faces, looking to the future and to the past, and the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways etc.)

Now this is getting creepy... I'd better stop while I'm ahead... ;)

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Much Ado About Nothing

Oops, I see that a whole week has gone by since my last blog post! I blame the weather, which has continued to be mostly grey, rainy, chilly and windy, and providing very little inspiration for blogging.

 Artwork on a wall near our station and tourist office.

My most exciting (?) adventure lately was probably Friday the 8th, when I went for a rainy walk into town and intended to buy myself another bouquet of tulips to to add some colour to the greyness (besides, it was also International Women's Day - and no one but myself was likely to buy me flowers). I also bought some fruit. Because I also had my umbrella to wrestle with in the wind and rain, I put both the bag of fruit and the (wrapped) flowers in my backpack for the walk back home - the bouquet sticking out a bit, but it felt secure enough. However, when I got home... I discovered that the flowers were missing! They had fallen out somewhere along the way, without me noticing. Possibly just taken by the wind; or perhaps pushed by my umbrella while I was wrestling with that in some street corner...

Easy come, easy go... (sigh)...  I decided just to imagine that they were found by someone else to brighten their day... (??)

This weekend, I had better luck: I managed to buy yet another bunch of tulips, and to bring them home safely this time...


Sunday, 10 March 2019

Book Review: The Stone Circle

The Stone Circle 

(Ruth Galloway Mysteries #11) 

By Elly Griffiths (2019)

This is one of my absolute favourite crime series from recent years, about the forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway in Norfolk. After an excursion to Italy in book 10 (The Dark Angel), we're now back on familiar ground at the seaside and marshland of Norfolk. In fact, the 11th book is paying very deliberate homage to the first book of the series (The Crossing Places), by returning to the same settings. Ruth and DCI Nelson are both receiving anonymous letters, reminding them of similar letters that were written back in connection with the very first investigation they were involved in together. But the author can't be the same, as that person is no longer alive... None the less, the past seems to be haunting or catching up with everyone in this book; in more ways than one.

I was lucky to find this book available just in time for a rainy and windy weekend, perfect for letting oneself just stay in and get lost in (more or less) non-stop reading of a book of this kind.

All the references to the past in this book also teased my memory enough to want to go back and reread The Crossing Places as well... Because as usual, I tend to remember the background settings and recurring characters of a series a lot better than the details of each individual mystery, after a while. So I've just got started on rereading the first book now... Even though I also have another new Elly Griffiths book waiting, which does not belong in this series!

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Tooth Fairies and Trolls

  Egner Karius og Baktus.jpg

(Tooth Trolls; drawing by Thorbjørn Egner)

 In the English-speaking tradition, there is the Tooth Fairy, who comes to collect children's teeth (and pays good money for them!). In the Scandinavian tradition, we have Tooth Trolls. I remember them from a book in my childhood; but when I check the facts now, I find that the original is Norwegian - created by Thorbjørn Egner. The trolls were called Karius and Bactus, and they lived in cavities in the teeth of a boy - thriving when he ate sweets and forgot to brush his teeth; but finally driven away by better dental hygiene. 

What brought them to mind for me this week was another visit to the dentist (less than two months after my annual checkup in January, when they found nothing wrong). It happened at lunch on Sunday. Whether it was fairies or trolls at work, they didn't quite succeed: An old artificial tooth crown came loose, but I somehow managed to salvage it rather than swallow it. Phoned the dentist's on Monday morning and got an appointment for Tuesday. In the meantime, I kept a kind of half-fasting diet of soup and yoghurt + meticulous use of toothbrush... And as the dentist saw no evidence of trolls having moved in, he was able to put the crown back. Phew. (For how long this time, remains to be seen!)

Long gone are the days when teeth grew back of themselves and the tooth fairy left money behind for the ones she took away... Nevertheless, I have to say that on the whole, I'm rather thankful for the advances made in dental care since back in my childhood!

 Fairy tale illustration by John Bauer (1882-1918)

Saturday, 2 March 2019


Yellow tulips this weekend, to celebrate the 1st of March! (Never mind the weather forecasts predicting gloomier and more wintry weather again for next week...)

I've also put my yellow curtains back up in the kitchen.

Playful Postcards

Some playful and colourful postcrossing cards received in February. From Germany (the Mole), the Netherlands (Little Red Riding Hood) and Finland (the cow, and the butterfly).

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