Monday, 29 April 2019

Panorama 2

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how Google Photo surprised me with automatically turning some of my photos (taken with my mobile) into a panorama.

Today, I decided to put it to the test if the same thing would happen again if I deliberately took three overlapping photos in different directions from the same spot.

 Looking along a side street to the right.

  Looking straight along the row of houses ahead of me.

Turning a little to the left to also catch the school buildings on the opposite side of the street ahead.

And voilĂ ... Not long after I got back home, and my phone was back on WiFi, Google again laid the puzzle (quite automatically), and made this panorama view for me:

This is from a part of town where I don't walk very often, and had not really intended to go today either. My plan was to buy some geraniums for my balcony, and for that purpose I took a bus to (the neighbourhood of) a certain garden center across town. After I had bought my four pots of flowers, instead of waiting for a bus back, I decided to try a path I spotted that seemed to lead in the right direction, through an underpass under a road and railway. It soon proved to be (as I hoped) a convenient shortcut to more familiar surroundings.

Here are some more photos I took along the way:

  A mural at what I assume must be a school.

  Large tenement buildings from the 1960s or 70s. 

This is a part of town that is some ways a weird mix of old and 'new', and nowadays predominantly inhabited by people from "all over the world". (Africa, Middle East, Asia... And a lot of muslims, judging by the dress code.)

There are some quite charming older tenement buildings too, though - looking especially pretty on a sunny spring day like this.

Some areas along the railway seem just to be waiting (still) for decisions about future plans for the railway.

The railway station. I think you probably have to buy your tickets online these days, though! (It's been so long since I last went anywhere by train that I'm not even keeping up any more with how to go about it... It might have changed next week anyway!)

The geraniums that accompanied me on my walk!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

From My Photo Album, 45 Years Ago

Meike, Librarian of the blog From My Mental Library, has posted a few times about the Hornblowers of Ripon, Yorkshire. This always rings a bell with me (or blows a horn, perhaps?), because I do recall that once upon a time, on some family holiday trip in Britain back in the 1970s, we did visit a city with a horn blower. I may even have checked my photo albums about it before - but as I could not remember now if I ever actually got round to that (or just thought about it), I decided to do a proper job of it this time, and check again - and post about it if I found it. 

So, "for the record" (and for Meike and her horn blowing friends):
I have once seen (and heard) the Hornblower of  Ripon; and it was on 27th June 1974, at 9 p.m.

The text on the Town Hall says
Except Ye Lord Keep Ye Cittie Ye Wakeman Waketh In Vain

The horn blowing tradition in Ripon is said to go all the way back to 886, when king Alfred the Great decided to grant a Royal Charter to the settlement there. A watchman was appointed to patrol the settlement from dusk till dawn; and to sound the horn at the four corners of the market cross each evening at 9pm to let the people know that the watch was set. And the tradition is said to have been kept up ever since - i.e. over 1100 years.

In Meike's recent post (linked to above), you can read about the first female Hornblower, appointed in 2017!


Linking to Sepia Saturday 467
which happens to include the inspiration prompt "men standing like statues"...

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, 27 April 2019


After a very dry and sunny April here, we at last got some rain this weekend. I don't think I was the only one longing for it... It really has been worryingly dry the past few weeks, with several big fires in our area already - reminding us of the unnaturally hot and dry summer of last year (with no rain for months, and several big fires all over the country), and stirring some fear of repetition. 

Not possible to tell yet, of course, what the summer ahead may actually be like. But as far as I'm concerned, just now I think I can endure one or two more days of rain before I start complaining too much about that! ;)

Last night we had both thunder and rain. (The thunder came as a bit of a scare - being rather unusual for this time of year!) This morning when I got up, it was just cloudy to begin with. I walked into town around 11 am, and then it was not raining, just cloudy. But the sky was growing darker, and some drops of rain started to fall as I reached the center. I had an umbrella, but decided to take the bus back after I had made my purchases. While waiting for the bus, I took three photos with my phone, looking across the river to the park, where the trees are now turning greener by the hour...

When I got back home, Google Photo had a surprise waiting for me: It had amused itself by editing all three photos together into a panorama view. I hadn't even taken the photos in the right order; but it figured that out, too...

 SkyWatch Friday

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter Eve Parade

At Noon on Easter Saturday, there was a sort of parade for young children (and parents) in the city, ending at the Easter Tree in the main square, where there were also some singing and dancing games around the tree - and then some candy for the children at the end (Easter Eggs, I suppose! although I did not stick around to watch that part).

This may look like some kind of strange religious worship of the Tree... But it's just an old singing game involving imitating certain movements (connected with everyday tasks - although some of them feel kind of outdated now by modern standard... like washing clothes by hand...). 

I looked up the game to check its origin and found that it's actually originally British, and then called "Here we go round a mulberry bush". I think in Swedish we use a slightly different melody, and we say "juniper bush" - but on this occasion, they had replaced it with "Easter tree"!  

In old traditions here, Easter Eve was a night to watch out for witches and other evil forces at work... (being the night before Christ rose from the dead). From that has also sprung traditions to light bonfires and fireworks at night to keep evil away; and (more playfully) for children to dress up as witches. No doubt the traditions still vary throughout our oblong country. But they also change with time. In my childhood, and in this part of Sweden, bonfires and fireworks were still common at Easter. From early childhood, I remember dressing up as Easter witch at my paternal grandparents' house, and dad also lighted a few fireworks in their garden at night. Nowadays, the big fireworks night is New Year's Eve, and bonfire night is Walpurgis Night (April 30th). But you may still see a few little witches - and other strange creatures! - around at Easter... 

Have to say this chicken (leading the dance games) looked a lot scarier to me than the cute little witches that could also be spotted here and there in the crowd...

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Hello Spring

'Spring is sprung'; and it's been the kind of spring week when I keep running around trying to catch it all on camera, but don't find time to blog; and the next day the photos from yesterday already feel kind of outdated... 

For tonight, I decided to just post these photos of ONE of the several beautiful cherry blossom trees that I've stopped to admire this weekend. This tree grows near a hotel in the city center; and the photos were taken on my way into town on Saturday. Enjoy! :)


Saturday, 13 April 2019

The Easter Tree

Walked into the city centre today and found that the Easter Tree had been put up as usual on the main square. I don't remember which year this tradition started, but those who have been following my blog for a number of years will probably remember having seen it a few times before. I like how the second photo of the tree came out, with the fluffy clouds in the sky gathered around it! 

 I still haven't got used to the remodeled shopping mall on the left, now with luxury flats added on top... (It's the fashion here at the moment, adding extra storeys on top of existing buildings....)

Scilla (I think) in bloom in the park

SkyWatch Friday

Friday, 12 April 2019

Things Going On

I have learned this week that there are things going on "behind my back" that I did not know about.

For one thing, having a new tablet to explore (see previous post) is very educational. One of my discoveries while downloading and checking apps on the new device is that in Google Photos, I had immediate access there to photos taken with my phone. 

This made me go to the computer later and check Google Photos there as well. Then I got confused at first, because there I found different photos, which seemed to be camera photos I used on my blog in the past - but not the most recent ones, and not those from my phone. A bit of thinking required... 

But then it hit me that I use two different accounts, and each of them has their own set of photos. On the computer I also use two different browsers (to save me from the trouble of logging in and out of certain places). One Google Photos account has the photos from my mobile phone. The other seems to have been collecting photos I used when blogging via Open Live Writer. However, some time back around New Year, I ran into problems with OLW (for some reason, it wouldn't post to Blogger). So I switched to preparing posts directly in Blogger, and have kept on doing that since. And those photos seem not to get stored in Google Photos. (I haven't been bothered to check OLW for a while, but did so just now, and it seems to be working again. But I'm writing this in Blogger as I've kind of got used to that again. Too many decisions just now...) Strikes me that possibly that's got something to do with Blogger leaving Google+ (?). But as I never joined G+ in the first place, I haven't bothered to explore much what's involved in that. (Neither have I tried to dig deeper into which of all my photos from the past ten years that are stored in the Cloud or not...)

Phew. I felt I'd had enough of the digital world for a while and went out for a walk. I decided to walk some streets/paths where I hadn't walked all winter; and it turned out I was in for another surprise. When I last went that way, a certain path down by the river would take me past a tennis court, and a club house. Now both the tennis court and the club house are gone, and at the moment the area looks like an odd kind of desert (with a few park benches planted). But it's probably going to be an open park with generous lawn areas.

Anyway, when I got back from my walk... I was able to access these phone-photos directly from my computer.


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Seagulls Have Landed

One of the sure signs of spring around here: The seagulls have arrived! A gang of them always come up the river from the coast in spring, to spend the summer here.

More signs of spring:

 Flowers are being planted in the parks and graveyards.

 Trees and bushes are slowly turning green.

 I bought some daffodils for my balcony. (In Swedish we call them "pĂ„skliljor" = Easter Lilies)

My strawberry plants have survived another winter. (In the late autumn, I wrap the box in newspapers, put it under a bench on the balcony, cover the bench with a tarpaulin - and hope for the best...)

There is still some life left in the clematis, too - at least in one of my two plants. One may have died, but the branches are all so entangled with each other on the trellis that it is very hard to tell which belong to which pot... I shall have to wait for flowers before I decide what to do! (I seem to remember that those are slightly different in colour between the two plants.)

We had a lovely sunny weekend with some warmer winds at last (although back to colder again now!) - but where did my feet (and the bus) take me? Not out into the countryside; but to the big shopping district across town...

 Photos taken from a glass-covered footbridge across the main road, connecting two main parts of the shopping district.

 All for a good cause though (well, in my opinion anyway)...

A new tablet, to serve as companion to the laptop (which serves as "desktop" in my study) and the mobile phone, whose memory is beginning to struggle to keep up with all the app updates. 

I gave it some thought, and arrived at the conclusion that a good tablet might allow me to free up some memory on the phone, and make it possible to keep that for bit longer instead.

I would probably have bought a new tablet even earlier, if not for the fact that it's such a struggle to decide which one to buy... 

I've had another kind of tablet before, but it was never a very good buy to start with; and by now it's very outdated, so more trouble than help, really. (Because it's not very good, I don't use it much, which in turn means that when I do want to use it, for one thing I have to charge it, and then it also wants to do a million updates before it allows me to do anything else... By which time I've usually lost patience with it and turned to either the phone or the laptop instead...)

So I've been spending quite a bit of time searching and comparing etc online to find the "right" kind of tablet. But there are so many things to think of, and always so much additional tech information that is just 'mumbo jumbo' to me as I don't know what it means...

But with the arrival of Spring to inspire me, I decided on Saturday to go out to one of the big media stores - the same one where I bought my laptop, and also my camera. And again I felt I got good help there, to check my "thoughts" about what I wanted, with a sales person who seemed to know what he (as well as I) was talking about. It resulted in the purchase of a Lenovo TAB4 10 Plus. 

So far, I think we (Len & I) may be able to get along well... Even if it always takes a bit of time to get properly acquainted! 

One area where I do think the tablet will be helpful is when it comes to reading and commenting on blogs. (I often read blogs on my phone, but find it difficult to comment from there.)

Writing blog posts will probably still usually be a job for the laptop, though, as that is where I collect my photos!

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Book Review: The Stranger Diaries

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (2019)

Read on Kindle + Audible (10 h 30 min)

Elly Griffiths is perhaps best known as the author of the Ruth Galloway series – and mentioned by me a number of times before, including a recent review of The Stone Circle, the 11th book in that series. (Ruth is a forensic archaeologist with a tendency to get mixed up in mysterious modern-day deaths as well as really ancient ones.)

The Stranger Diaries, however, is a stand-alone, 'modern Gothic' mystery novel.

Clare Cassidy is an English teacher specializing in classic Gothic literature (like the books by Wilkie Collins, author of The Moonstone and The Woman in White, and several others). Clare is especially interested in another writer of the same genre and time-period, with a connection to the school where she is teaching – 'R.M. Holland' (a fictional character). She is doing research to write a book about him. But when a colleague and close friend of Clare's is found dead, horror fiction and 'real life' begin to get mixed up in a way that is just as spooky and scary as the classics. In particular, certain clues seem to point to a short story by Holland entitled The Stranger. (This 'story within the story', written in the classic Gothic horror story tradition, is frequently quoted and referred to, but also included in its entirety in the novel.)

The narrative perspective shifts throughout the book (reminding of Wilkie Collins). In between excerpts from The Stranger, we get to take part of events as shared by Clare (who also keeps a diary), her teenage daughter Georgie (who, as so many teenagers, leads a kind of double life – not sharing every detail of her 'private' life with her mum any more...), and the female police detective investigating the murder of Clare's colleague. (This may sound confusing, but it's made clear by chapter headings who is the narrator in each chapter. And in the audio book, four different actors are reading the different parts.)

I enjoyed the book, and as I had it on both Kindle and Audible, it kept me in its spell the whole weekend (allowing me to shift between reading with my eyes vs ears)... I guess it helped a bit that I did read both The Moonstone and The Woman in White only a few years ago – even if I don't recall every detail, at least I get the references to the genre as such. Shakespeare's Macbeth and The Tempest are also referred to. I read Macbeth back in my university days (English lit), but I don't think I ever read The Tempest. I may have to remedy that! (On the other hand, it's easy nowadays to find summaries of old classics online.)

I was also reminded of Edgar Allan Poe, but I don't think his name was actually mentioned anywhere within the book.

Anyway, I do tend to like books that make me want to read, reread and research other books as well (and old classics in particular)... 
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