Sunday, 26 April 2020

A Walk in the Woods

A bit chillier here again this weekend - but still mostly sunny, and good weather for walking. Today, I tried to think of somewhere "different" to go - but still not so far from home that I'd end up too tired to walk back as well. Without any specific plan I set off in a slightly different direction than usual; and along the way got inspired to make a detour uphill through a  piece of woodland where I don't think I've walked in years. It's not really far from civilization, but for just a moment, I one can get the illusion of it. I hope the video will work. Do turn on the sound - it was the birdsong that made me try a video instead of just photos... :)




Wood Anemone - Anemone Nemorosa




Once upon a time, and for over twenty years, I used to live on top of that hill. (Somewhere behind the buildings to the left in the photo below.) This summer, it will be twelve years since I moved down to live on "flat ground" though. (And never regretted that!)



Looking down on an older street which I then walked back down to the riverside level. You can't see it here, but at its upper end that street ends in a steep flight of stairs to connect it (for pedestrians) to the higher level of the hill. 



Through My Lens

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Beauty and the Beast





We've been blessed with another week of gorgeous spring weather here in Sweden: Blue sky, almost summer temperatures, and Nature at its most beautiful.

The dangerous downside to all this outdoors beauty just now is that it makes one want to forget all about the vicious corona virus, and all the restrictions involving keeping your distance to other people. This is the time of year here when we usually come out of social winter hibernation to spend more time outdoors, more time together with other people, and with lots of holidays ahead to celebrate. Like Walpurgis night (30th April) and 1st May (Labour Day), Ascension day, Pentecost, spring markets, high school graduations, 6th June (Sweden's National day), Midsummer, weddings, outdoor concerts, summer holiday travels and whatnot.  

But alas, while Sweden's corona-related restrictions so far have perhaps been less severe than in some other countries - every newscast still keeps reminding us that the restrictions that have been in place for a while now (like no gatherings of more than 50 people, and keeping your distance, and washing your hands, etc etc) are not likely to be lifted any time soon. However blue the sky may be, there is no magic spell to just declare life back to Normal


Covid-19, Coronavirus, Distance 

The photos of Beauty (cherry blossom trees) are mine.
The one of The Beast - "origin unknown"...



Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Shadow Shot Sunday - Magpie





On one of my walks around the old cemetery recently, I met a magpie (Eurasian magpie). I zoomed it in from a distance, and when I got the photos enlarged on my computer screen back home, I was amazed by the colours. (Usually thinking of this bird as black-and-white!) I also noticed that its feathers seem rather short - especially the tail. I got curious and started googling... My conclusion is that it must be in the process of moulting, i.e. shedding old feathers and producing new ones. (Any bird expert who disagrees is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong!)

Friday, 17 April 2020

Skywatch Friday - Cherry Blossom



After I had been to search for wood anemones yesterday, I also went to check on this little park with old cherry blossom trees. (The wood anemones in yesterday's post grow just behind the houses you see here...) While life in other ways may be restricted just now, Nature is not holding back, but offering the same splendour as usual. A feast for the eyes, and for the soul.

 





SkyWatch Friday

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Thankful Thursday - Wood Anemones



In the village where I lived in my childhood (from age 5 onward), we could walk straight out into woodland from our own garden. (And it was pretty much the same where my grandparents lived, back then.)

Where I live now, there is no proper woodland within easy walking distance - only some small left-over patches of it here and there. Today, I went to one of those left-over spots to check on one of the most important signs of spring: Wood anemones!





Anemone nemorosa - Wood anemone

Below is the same photo as the first one, unedited... (You can see that civilization is not far off!) I'm thankful for the possibilities offered by the camera + digital editing to just focus on beauty and cut out the rest, sometimes! ;)



Monday, 13 April 2020

A Strange Easter


It's been a rather strange Easter. For my own part, I felt like Good Friday and Easter Eve kind of changed places: Friday was sunny and warm and springlike, and when I went for a walk into town in the afternoon there were quite a few people about, and shops and caf├ęs were open etc. So the atmosphere that day was quite festive (more like Easter Eve), even though I did not get together with any friends or family. 

On Easter Saturday, the weather changed to cloudy with very chilly winds, and later also rain. I went for a walk in the opposite direction from town, and hardly met anyone at all. Nor were there any people to be seen outside in the afternoon/evening, because of the cold and wet weather.

I'm pretty sure it's not the first Easter I've spent alone; but what felt very odd about this year was knowing that even church services were cancelled - or had switched to online broadcasting, with only priests and deacons and musicians participating in the actual church. I did watch two such local online services (Friday and Sunday); and while that felt rather weird, I think it would probably have felt even weirder to pretend that things were normal (like in Before Corona) - when they are not!

The crosses below are from the old cemetery where I go walking quite often, close to where I live. They were taken on different occasions over the past week or so:




An iron cross that has been broken (from old age and rust I presume)





Today (Monday), there was still a very chilly wind blowing, all day. But daffodils already in bloom are not easily discouraged, and in a little park down by the river there is an abundance of those just now. On top of that, I managed to time my walk with a temporary break in the clouds. (Which makes the photos look more cheerful than I honestly felt today... my joints and muscles grumbling a lot more than the daffodils about the rapid weather changes...) 





Saturday, 11 April 2020

Easter Saturday Surprises


Walking past a preschool today (Easter Eve), I was able to zoom in some of the wooden "toy sculptures" in the empty playground.


 




Happy Easter

Friday, 10 April 2020

Keep Your Distance, Please (Skywatch Friday)





Spring is here - and so are the seagulls (also always a sign of spring here in my inland town). Only one of them seemed to have caught up with the current rules about social distancing... 

Alas, to me it also seemed like there were too many people sitting outside some of the restaurants across the river. They are allowed to keep open, but have to follow restrictions like only serving at tables, and keeping customers further apart than usual - both indoors and outdoors. I did not zoom in or take any photos of that (feeling too much like a spy if I had!) - but to me it looked like two places out of three were not really adhering to the rules... (At one place, though, they seemed to have left one empty table between each small company of guests.) 


All in all, there were more people out and about in the city than I had expected on Good Friday. And who am I to blame them - obviously being there myself! I kept walking, though, and tried to stay away from people.

I think I'll probably take my walks in some other direction the rest of the weekend, though.

 



SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Easter Preparations

From a walk into town today

A lot of things seem to require more thinking and planning than usual just now. And at the same time one has to be prepared that plans may have to be changed at any moment...

I've been using online shopping with home deliveries regularly for five years already. So initially, when various corona restrictions began to be introduced, I thought that for me, grocery shopping would not really be a big problem - I could just carry on with the same routine as before. 

But then of course, suddenly everyone else started to want home deliveries, too... And unforeseen crazy stock-piling...

Usually, I've had no problem putting in my order a couple of days ahead, and getting a time slot for delivery that suited me - and usually most of the stuff I ordered delivered on time.

Even with Easter coming up, I still innocently thought it would be okay to put in my order pretty much as usual. Somehow I did not get round to it until Sunday morning though - and then it turned out that the only delivery time slot left open all week was Thursday evening (the day before Easter Friday)... I booked it, but did not feel all happy about it. For one thing, there were a couple of things I really wanted sooner - and for another, who knows what would still be left on the shelves late on Thursday, with Everyone in Extra Extra stock-piling mood for Easter (whether shopping with or without home delivery). And thirdly, I do prefer daytime delivery...

A place I walk by when going to the supermarket


Waking up the next day to an early to a sunny Monday morning, I decided on a different strategy. So went for a walk to the supermarket, to get the most necessary stuff (and no more than I'd be able to carry). There weren't all that many customers there at that hour; and as I use self-scanning and self-payment, no queuing and really no human contact involved at all...  I even thought of bringing a couple of disposable plastic gloves from home to use in the store! (Two months ago that would have made me feel ridiculous - and the thought has never even entered my head before.) Back home, I moved my online order forward to next week. (Plenty of time slots still open then; and I can adjust the content of my order later.) Hopefully someone else  was happy to find my abandoned time slot for Easter Thursday! :)



Yesterday afternoon, I removed the winter tarpaulin from my bench on the balcony. (I'm so glad I painted that bench a couple of years ago...) The flower-pot holders on the rail looked very empty after I had removed the pots of old withered heather - so today, I went for another walk to the florist's in the city center, and bought some daffodils. They have like half the store outside the shop now (in the daytime) - including the option to even take payments outside, if customers to not wish to enter. I was there early so no queue or crowd yet, though.





My little box of strawberry plants has survived the winter once again (it spent the winter well wrapped up under the bench). The clematis seems to have survived too - or at least some branches of it. (I have not yet removed the winter covering from that, but I see at least some buds and leaves behind there...)


Our World Tuesday
 

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Skywatch Friday


The week gone by has been very windy, even stormy. 

I started on this post a couple of days ago, but got struck by Writer's Block - a condition that I regard as secondary effect of the corona virus (never mind if you've actually got the virus or not). (Adding for clarity: I'm still feeling OK as in no signs of infection.) 

The WB seems to occur at that stage when pandemic news start repeating and multiplying itself daily at a speed that makes it increasingly hard to separate one day from the other and to remember what happened when, and hasn't it always been like this.*

Let it be enough to summarize that numbers are still increasing, and restrictions and recommendations still tightened from one day to the next.

Before I find myself stuck in the labyrinth of my thoughts again, I'll move on to just report from my own personal little bubble, that today I made a brave (?) foray into a chemist's shop in town, for some prescription medicines + some other stuff. I have passed by chemist's shops a few times before over the past couple of weeks without daring to go in (because of too many customers). Today, being a Saturday morning, I went for the largest of our inner city chemist's, and to my relief found it not too crowded. (And tape strips on the floor to mark keeping distance.)  

I got most of the things on my list; the most important ones being my blood pressure and allergy medicines. There was one other prescription one that I could not get, not because it was out of stock, but because of a new restriction forbidding stock-piling... The pharmacist kept on kind of apologizing for this, even though I in turn kept saying that's okay, I had heard about that, I just hadn't paid attention to the date when I made my list (5 more days until allowed to buy more of that one), and I'm not out of it for a while yet, so no emergency... (I do respect why they introduced that rule just now - to prevent another "toilet paper" situation, but even more serious...) 

Of course there was also (still) no hand sanitizer to be found. I did not even have to ask, because I heard another customer asking about it as I came in (and she obviously did not really expect a positive answer either). 

I still have a few precious drops of such liquid in a tiny bottle in my handbag, though - and used some of those before leaving the shop.

Dear Prince, you are very sick. There is no land called Narnia.' [said the Witch]
'Yes, there is, though, Ma'am', said Puddleglum. 'You see, I happen to have lived there all my life.'
'Indeed,' said the Witch. 'Tell me, I pray you, where that country is?'
'Up there,' said Puddleglum, stoutly, pointing overhead. 'I - I don't know exactly where.'
'How?' said (Corona) the Queen, with a kind, soft, musical laugh. 'Is there a country up among the stones and mortar of the roof?'
'No,' said Puddleglum, struggling a little to get his breath. 'It's in the Overworld.'

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (Chapter 12, The Queen of  Underland)

SkyWatch Friday
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