Saturday, 29 February 2020

Not A Smile Amongst Them - Sepia Saturday 509

I decided to once again turn back to my mum's photo album in search of something to connect to this week's Sepia Saturday theme - "that forgotten genre - the miserable photograph". *

I found her first school photo (1938):

Either they weren't looking forward to the summer holidays at all - or else they were specifically instructed not to smile... :-)

Mum must be the one standing in the middle, wearing a flowery dress. (I would have added "with a big bow in her hair, and looking serious" - but that would apply to every one of them!)

In a separate notebook from 1979, forty years later, mum wrote down some comments and memories connected to some of the photos in this early photo album of hers. On the first page, she says that she was inspired to do this because she and dad had just been going through a lot of other old photos, and having difficulties identifying people etc. 1979 was the year when my paternal grandmother died; and her old albums have almost no notes at all - plus there are lots of loose photos not sorted into albums as well. (I still have those albums and boxes of photos as well.) So I totally get - and appreciate - why mum had this thought.

Even so, it strikes me now that even mum's notes do not always verify for example who is who (including herself) in a group photo. (Because to her it was obvious - but...)

I guess the same is probably true with my own albums.

* Sepia Saturday 509 theme image:
"Six people sat around a table and not a smile amongst them."

Sepia Saturday

Friday, 28 February 2020

Skywatch Friday

Dogon by Claes Hake

Just as we had all given up any expectations of seeing "real" winter at all in the southern parts of Sweden this winter ... Suddenly the temperatures dropped, the rain turned into snow for a couple of days - and then, yesterday, the sky turned magically blue, and the sun decided to show its face as well. I took my camera for a walk into the city center and a stroll around the park. Besides the various permanent works of art there, I also found a couple of temporary surprises by Unknown artists (the last two photos)...

Upside Down by Claes Hake

Hotel Grand (Borås, Sweden)

Mural by Fintan Magee

The Lynx by Arvid Knöppel (1952)

Mate Hunting by Marianne Lindberg De Geer

Vibration by Xavier Veilhan

"Here today, gone tomorrow..." ▼

SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 25 February 2020


It seems that Whoever is in charge of The Weather nowadays got tired of the complaints about climate change, and decided to throw down some snow today, instead of rain. (Not sure it helps the situation much. It's only frozen water, after all!)

Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Read in January 2020

The Royal Baths Murder
#4 in the Yorkshire Murder Mystery series
by J.R. Ellis (2019)
Kindle + Audible (9:46 h)
Audio narration by Michael Page

A writer of crime novels is found murdered at the Victorian baths in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate. The murderer, whoever it was, seems to have mysteriously vanished into thin air - and on top of all, it all took place during a crime writing festival! Another challenge for DCI Jim Oldroyd and his team... 

This is the fourth (and so far the last) in the Yorkshire Murder Mysteries series, which I happened to come across back in the autumn. I read the first two in October, the third in November, and this last one in January. I'd say you probably don't necessarily have to read them in the right order, as the individual mysteries in each book really come before the private lives of the detectives in this series. Myself, I bought the first one at cheap special deal price; and then decided to get the others as well as they weren't too pricey either. They also all came with a cheap deal on the audio version if you bought the Kindle as well. I like being able to switch between text and audio - and when dialects are involved (in this case Yorkshire), it's extra nice to get some "audio support" for the right atmosphere. 

The Vanishing Box
# 4 in the Stephens & Mephisto series (set in Brighton)
by Elly Griffiths

I love another mystery series by Elly Griffiths, which is set in Norfolk and with the forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway as lead character.  However, until now I had not read any book in this  series, which is set in Brighton in the 1950s, and in the world of variety shows and stage magic. When I happened to find this one at special deal price for Kindle, I decided to give it a go, even if it's the 4th in the series and I hadn't read the previous ones. 
"Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked 'living statues'. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens' current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there's one thing the old comrades have learned it's that, in Brighton, the line between art and life - and death - is all too easily blurred..."
Much as I suspected beforehand, the showbiz setting and characters did not appeal to me the same way that the Ruth Galloway series does. For some reason I've never really been a huge fan of variety shows and stage magic - whereas I always had a certain fascination for archaeology and history. That said, I have to admire the author for her ability to switch between the two different (sub-)genres.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Have A Seat - Sepia Saturday 508


The Sepia Saturday prompt this week shows four young men sitting in deck chairs on a "passage to the Congo", in 1939.

It seemed impossible to me at first to connect that with what I had in mind - which was some kind of tribute to my mum, who would have turned 90 years old this week, if she had still been living. (She died in 2009.) 

Probably not much chance of finding a deck chair in her childhood photo album... Or?? (...Have a guess...)

When I took out the album, it fell open at the middle - and, what do you know! There she was, 3+ years old, having a chat with some kind of stuffed toy in a deck chair...

From the next summer, 1934, there is beach photo of her with her parents. No chairs... But it is a summer holiday photo.

A bit further on I find another deck chair, in a photo from someone's birthday party in the summer of 1940. Here my mum (at age 10) must be the older girl to the left in the background - and I suppose one of the younger ones may be her sister, my aunt.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Climate Change ? (2010 vs 2020)

21st February 2010

 18th February, 2020 

Monday, 17 February 2020

Storm and Flood

Some news report said that over the weekend, we had as much rain in 24 hours here as normally in a month (and then we do have a reputation of being the rainiest city in the country to begin with)...

Yesterday, I stayed in all day, listening to Storm Dennis & The Rain drumming away at my windows and rattling my balcony. This morning, while they seemed to be catching their breath a bit before the next round, I took my camera for a walk down to the riverside. Other people's videos and photos on the internet had already told me that there was a bit of flooding going on. Myself, I live a little bit further away, slightly uphill, and no river view. Just now that feels good, as it also means no real risk of finding the river right on my doorstep one morning... The situation must be a bit more worrying for the buildings just by the river. Not least that white factory/office building and its parking area.


PS. At first I had "Dennis the Menace" in mind as title for this post (referring to the classic American cartoon). But then I thought that might be tempting fate (causing a spam flood or a lawsuit or something), so decided not to... 

Our World Tuesday

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Illustration Postcards

These two Flower fairies came flying in through my door together on the same day, a couple of weeks ago - but from two different countries. One from the Netherlands, the other from the U.K. (Geranium and Narcissus - by Cecily M. Barker, 1895-1973)

Three recent Postcrossing cards:

1. A blue dragon from Japan (a so-called Gotochi-card). 

"Gotochi cards are designed and released by the Japanese Postal System. --- Gotochi cards have a couple of unique features that make them special. First of all, they are not perfect rectangles, but in fact take on the shape of their picture. Also, each card not only has a cartoon picture on it, but also the name of the place that is depicted in the image." (Source: Postcrossing blog) (not sure if the link works for non-members)

2. A different take on the Alice in Wonderland theme (role reversal between Alice and the Chesire cat). From France.

3. From Finland. An illustration by Ilona Partanen.

Friday, 14 February 2020

River Reflections

From a walk along the river on a sunny day 1½ weeks ago. 

The top photo is from where a motorway bridge crosses the river. There are always interesting shadow patterns there when the light is right! :) 

The curved building is an old factory, from back in the days when they took pride in the architecture of such buildings. (Regular followers of my blog probably recognize it by now. I walk by there a lot, but in fine weather I'm still often tempted to stop and take up the camera...)

Weekend Reflections

Thursday, 13 February 2020


We're still having a strangely mild winter here - almost no snow at all so far, but lots of snowdrops already in bloom.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Sunday, 9 February 2020

The Big Bang

It has indeed been a rough week – or at least part of it was. A few nights ago, late in the evening, there was an explosion in my neighbourhood – loud enough to be heard all over town, I have since learned.

I was sitting at my computer when it happened, just about to turn off and go to bed. Looking out of my windows I could not see anything; but decided I had better call the emergency center anyway, even if they must be getting other calls too.

Since I could not see any fire or anyone injured, I was put through to the police. Was put on hold for a while - but in such situations seconds tend to feel like minutes... By the time I did get to talk to someone, there were already ”bluelights” arriving to my street. Not until then did I begin to understand how close it was – and had a personal kind of ”aftershock”... literally trembling all over! 

I do believe there must be some British genes hidden somewhere in my DNA, because my instinct then was to brew myself some strong tea with extra sugar/honey in it... It helped! (I did not get much sleep that night, though...)

I feel this is not the place for too many details; but I learned afterwards that the explosion was caused by a large 'banger' placed at the entrance door of a tenement building. Thankfully, it caused no fire, and no people were injured. But had someone happened to be passing by just when the explosion took place, it could have been serious.

I think the police deserve credit for how they handled it so far. They arrived quickly, stayed around for hours and did not leave until an extra bomb squad had made sure there were no more explosives. They have also continued investigations in the area over the weekend, knocking on doors and interviewing people etc.

The weekend has been quiet, no more incidents, and the next couple of nights I slept okay. Have to confess I still feel a bit jumpy though. Tonight, there is a storm blowing outside, and all sorts of scary noises! (even if nothing like that explosion) I'm trying to remind myself that I'm really still living in a ”comparatively” safe corner of the world...

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Friends Forever (?)


The other day I listened to a philosophical talkshow on Swedish Radio, discussing what to do with social media accounts after someone dies. The topic caught my interest, as I had recently had reason to wonder about that myself. 

Last year, an old childhood friend of mine died. Not a very close friend; but in later years we were also friends on Facebook. Her daughter (whom I never met) then used her mum's Facebook account to inform friends of her death and funeral. That I felt was a good idea, as I for one (living in a different city and not in touch with any other mutual old friends) probably wouldn't have heard of it otherwise, until long afterwards. 

However, just recently (some eight months or so later) I suddenly also got FB notices of greetings left for my deceased friend on her (still open) Facebook wall by friends/family on her birthday. I have to confess that felt a bit weird. ("Happy birthday" - "Thinking of you" - "Miss you") Looking at my list of friends on FB, she is also still there just as when she was still alive. I suppose I can change my own settings - but then I found myself hesitating wondering if I should completely "unfriend" her?? ... Hm, in a way I guess I understand if it's even harder for the next of kin to decide!

The radio program did not really give any answers as to a 'right' or 'wrong' way to deal with these things either; they just stated the fact that the internet has not only changed our lives, but also how we deal with death - and our memories of our dear departed ones. We used to think of people as leaving Earth and going to Heaven... Now, there is also - apparently - the possibility to just stay in the Cloud... (Pretty much like the rest of us!)

One of my own thoughts while listening was that Facebook (and similar) may be more problematic than a blog; because of the possibility often left open on FB for friends to post things to someone's "wall" as well as just commenting. With a blog, perhaps it feels more natural to just leave it? (But I've also seen examples of a wife or husband taking over and continuing.)

One speculation in the radio program was that in the future, the providers of the various internet services might set a time limit for how long accounts belonging to dead people will be stored in the Cloud  - as even digital data does actually require storage space.


(I'm thinking I should probably do some more thinking, and write some of my own thoughts on things like this down while I'm still capable of thinking...)
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