Saturday 29 June 2019

Row, row, row your boat... Sepia Saturday 476

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream...

I don't know who or why, but with the three photos above, at least I know when and where... On/at Lake Åsunden, near Ulricehamn in the province of Västergötland, Sweden; August 27, 1933. I get the impression that it must have been an outing that involved at least two boats. (Looking again: Or maybe not? But in that case, where did the 5th person in the first photo disappear to??)

All the photos are from my great-aunt Gerda's album. Without the dates on them I might never have connected them as being from the same occasion, as all the photos have been glued into the album in no particular order. (Or at least no order that makes sense to me!) No better evidence for that than these, collected from pages 1, 18 and 34! (Had to "photo-copy" them with my camera rather than scan them, as it's not a scan-friendly album.)

I'm not sure if this is from the same occasion, but let's pretend. Anyway I'm pretty sure that this is Gerda herself; and wearing a similar style of hat and outfit as one or two of the women above.

In 1933, Gerda was living in Stockholm - when not off travelling with her famous employers (Estelle and Folke Bernadotte), who did travel a lot. (Gerda as lady's maid / housekeeper often travelled with them.) She had sisters and brothers living in Västergötland, though, so I'm thinking these photos are from a holiday when she was visiting family in these parts. 

Linking to Sepia Saturday 476 

PS. Adding two photos that I took at Ulricehamn harbour last summer... Compare the background in these to the background in the first two above! Makes me think now they may actually not have gone very far from the shore...

Saturday 22 June 2019

Three Young Men (1922) - Sepia Saturday 475

Last week my Sepia Saturday contribution was a Sunday school group photo from my grandfather's photo album. On the next page in that album, there is this photo from "around 1922". My grandfather (Gustaf) is the one on the left. (Easier to identify in this photo than in that other one!) Born in 1904; so in 1922, he was 18. The guy in the middle is his brother-in-law-to-be (although they would not have known that yet!): my grandmother's brother Nils, born in 1902. The third young man is unknown to me, but according to the note in the album, his name was Gustaf too.   

My grandmother Sally was four years older than my grandfather. They grew up in the same village, but when exactly it was that romance started to grow between them, I don't know. They did not get engaged until September 1929 - when she was 29 and he 25. And they got married a year later, in 1930.

As the three young men here are all dressed up, it may have been a special occasion. On the other hand, perhaps just an ordinary Sunday, and they were dressed for church...

But if it was a "special occasion"... like a birthday...

My grandfather's birthday was June 23, which back in those days was always Midsummer Eve. That changed in 1953, so all my own life (I was born in 1955), Midsummer Eve has always been a Friday. But back in my dad's childhood, his father's birthday was always on Midsummer Eve; and used to include big family gatherings to celebrate. 

I'm not sure how big a deal it was back in 1922 to turn 18. Nowadays that is the age of majority here - as in a lot of other countries - so quite a major occasion. But back then, that was not until you turned 21...

On the other hand, it's Nils who is in the centre here, and not my grandfather. So perhaps it is his birthday - which was August 17. Checking the calendar (oh how easy these days to do that online!), I see that in 1922 that was an ordinary Thursday. In 1923, though, it was a Friday - and would have been Nils' 21st...

Ah well. Whatever the occasion for the photo: Tomorrow is June 23, and the 115th anniversary of the birth of my grandfather. (Sadly he died rather "young", at 64.) (I'm calling that "young" now because 64 is what I'll be myself in a couple of months!!) (Gasp!!!)

So besides the "threesome" theme, that's another reason for me to choose this photo for...

Sepia Saturday 475

Friday 21 June 2019

Midsummer Eve

It's Midsummer Eve, and as we had a rather fine afternoon I decided to go and have a look at the traditional midsummer celebrations in the museum park.

There are 'slanderous' ;) videos circulating online about Swedish Midsummer traditions, claiming (among other things) that everyone in Sweden goes out of town to the countryside to celebrate Midsummer Eve. That's not true!

Path to the museum park up a steep hill from the lake below.
(The same lake I blogged about earlier this week.)

 Oops. There were one or two people up there already...

This is as close as I got to the "action" = folk dancing performance this year... And that was by raising my camera as high as I could above my head for a blind shot! (I did not see a thing, only heard the music.)

I had better luck back in 2014. I even managed a video then!
Click the link if you want to go back in time with me...

No rain fell here this afternoon, but I managed to get sprayed from someone else's Coca-cola can, all over the front of my pale blue pants... This was while I was standing in line to get something to drink myself. As I did not trust myself to be able to handle a thin plastic cup of hot tea in the crowd, but did feel like I craved something slightly stronger than water, I bought Coca-cola myself. (They did not have a lot to choose from.) Thinking that as I had already been sprayed, never mind if I manged to spill some more... Actually I did not spill any, but ended up only drinking half of the content anyway, as I found I've lost the taste for it... Too sweet! (I think it must be years since I last had one? at least the sugary kind...)

So I watered some weed with the rest, and threw the can in a bin (probably the wrong bin, but the only one I managed to find). Then I set off walking back home - where I had a hot shower to get rid of the sticky stuff, and then a proper cup of tea (with a cheese sandwich and a home-baked apple muffin)...

Now for a quiet midsummer evening with TV and a good book... 

Tuesday 18 June 2019

'Where have all the birdies gone?'

Went for a walk to the 'bird sanctuary' lake today. It's been a while since I was last there. A couple of years ago the rare birds were moved to new homes, while they (people - not the birds!) were laying down pipes for long-distance heating around/across/beneath this lake. 

I was curious to see what it looked like now. I found that the foot path along the lake had been restored; but the old bird sanctuary enclosure is still empty. At the moment, the only birds to be seen were ordinary mallards and seagulls.  

The mallards were quite keen to pose for photos, though.

Hello! Are you looking for us? Just wait a moment...

Let us tidy ourselves up a bit...


 Getting ready for the duck-walk...

A bit further along the shore, there was also a Mum with ducklings. (I zoomed them in from a distance, not to disturb them.)

The gulls like to sit on the poles supporting a net used to fence off the part of the lake where the rare birds used to live.

The bird sanctuary (built in 1926) is empty at the moment. The only "exciting" thing about it just now is that you're allowed to walk in and get a closer look at some of the buildings.


 Looking rather sad and abandoned at the moment, though.

 PS. If you click on the label 'bird sanctuary' you will find earlier posts from the same place.

Sunday 16 June 2019

Shadow Shot Sunday

This iron fence and its shadow caught my eye on a walk around the old cemetery today.

And so did this sunny flowerbed: surrounded by shadows, but enjoying the spotlight of the sun in the late afternoon.

When walking through the 'valley of shadows,' remember, a shadow is cast by a Light. Austin O'Malley
Read more at:

Linking to Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Saturday 15 June 2019

Sunday School 1912 - Sepia Saturday 474

My contribution to the Sepia "country church" theme is not a church, but a Sunday School photo from the Swedish countryside in 1912. Must be end-of-term, in June, so almost exactly 107 years ago. The photo is glued into a photo album that my paternal grandfather got for his 50th birthday - and with Sunday School 1912 written underneath. He was born in June 1904, and this is probably the earliest photo of him that exists. The problem is that I don't know which boy in the group he is! He'd be eight years old here. My bet is on the one fourth from the left in the front row, wearing a sailor blouse - but that's just a guess (based on the shape of the face). With time, he became a journalist and a good photographer himself. He grew up in rather poor circumstances, though. I'm not familiar enough with the fashion of 1912 to guess which outfit might be considered higher status at the time: sailor blouse or suit! But obviously, whatever else you were wearing, some kind of hat was required...

Linking to Sepia Saturday 474

Time Travelling

Oops, I see it's been over a week since I last put in a post here. This will be a quick one just to reassure you that I'm still "around"...

... even if I kind of feel like I've spent the past week "travelling in time" ... From the early 1900s (continuing to explore old inherited postcards), to WWII (reading a new biography about Count Folke Bernadotte) - to about a month into the future (making plans for a little summer holiday trip with my brother again)...

Friday 7 June 2019

Post Office Letter Carriers - Sepia Saturday 473

My paternal grandfather, born 1904, was a journalist and photographer. I think this photo may have been taken by him in the mid 1920s.
The building is the railway station at Fristad (in the province of Västergötland, Sweden). The station house was built in 1900 - the same year my grandmother was born. (There had been an older wooden building before that.) 

The post office was also in the station house; and this photo obviously shows the postmen and coach drivers delivering the post to the village and surrounding countryside.

One of the men in this photo could be my grand-mother's older half-brother Carl. He was born in 1870 and died in 1928. Most likely the driver of the carriage on the right (without uniform).
Their father (my great-grandfather) Samuel, born 1835, was a farmer, and also used to deliver post back in the 1890s. The story in the family is that he met his second wife, my great-grandmother Selma, in a country store to which he delivered the post. He was a widower with several grown-up and nearly grown-up children then; while Selma was a younger widow with one daughter from her first marriage. They got married in 1898; and my grandmother Sally was born in 1900.

When Samuel retired from farming in 1903 (he died in 1907), his oldest son Carl took over the farm, and also the delivery of post. 

I posted the same photo on my blog Greetings from the past back in 2013, then linked to Sepia Saturday 182. Back then, I still had the identities of two of my grandmother's older brothers mixed up. But if the one in this photo is Carl, who died in 1928, that narrows down the date of the photo to that year at the latest. And if the photographer was my grandfather (born in 1904) I don't think it can be earlier than 1922 (probably later). 

Maybe... Just a guess, but it suddenly strikes me that 1925 may have been an occasion to have such a photo taken (and perhaps published in the local newspaper?), as that would be the 25th anniversary of the station house.

Below are two postcards published by Swedish Post in 1969, showing postal coaches from the 1880s (owned by the Post Museum since the early 1900s).

Linking to:
Sepia Saturday 473

Thursday 6 June 2019

Swedish National Day Celebration

Sweden's National Day is celebrated on 6 June in honour of two historical events: Gustav Vasa being elected king 6 June 1523, and the adoption of a new constitution 6 June 1809. 

This year offered a really warm and sunny day for it; which  meant that quite a lot of people turned up for our public celebrations in the park. Me & camera included! 

It's a good opportunity for "people watching"... But I try not to get too personal with the photography - taking most of the pictures from a distance or from behind. (Only zooming in on those up on the stage...) 


Parade coming from the other side of the river...


The children's choir is from the municipal music school.

SkyWatch Friday 

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