Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Watching the Birds

The temperature has dropped quite a bit over the past few days, from over 30°C last week (and too hot) to around 16°C today (and a lot of sudden rain showers pouring down every now and then).

Yesterday afternoon offered a rare interlude of neither too hot nor too cold; and then I went for a walk into the city and back (for no special errand), and on my way home sat down for a while on a bench in the old cemetery, close to this little fountain.

After a while, I had the company of a white wagtail - female, I think. She seemed to be trying to figure out how to get to the water, but I think this pool is not designed for birds (rather the opposite). But she seemed to enjoy hanging around listening to the sound of the water anyway - just like I did. And as I know that there is water to be found elsewhere in the cemetery*, I just enjoyed watching her. *(In the past, I used to wonder why all the taps where you fill the watering cans around the cemetery are always left leaking a little... But then as some point in time, I figured it out!)


After a while, she got bored with just sitting, and went to explore a stone with an inscription nearby. The text is a verse from an old hymn. If she can read, she'd probably appreciate it.

"As the bird enjoys the light of the day, so shall I one day enjoy entering the kingdom of light, while listening to the sound of harps playing and angels singing, and watching the dawn of eternity."
(free translation by me)

 I also met an "old friend": The magpie without tail feathers.

I've posted about this bird before, and then thought it must be moulting. Checking now, I almost can't believe how long ago that was - back in mid April! I have seen this bird a few more times since then - always on the ground - and have had to retract my moulting theory. It still hasn't got any tail feathers. Maybe it lost them in a fight or something?? I don't know; but it seems the cemetery has served as a safe place for it, as it has managed to survive so far.

By the way, if anyone is wondering what happened to my Blue Tits (nesting in a vent in the wall of my building) - so am I! Not long after I had posted about their comings and goings to feed their hungry little ones, I noticed one day that it was very quiet... Obviously they had taken the opportunity to move out one day when I was not looking - perhaps on some early morning. Exactly how they went about it, to get the young ones out of there on their very first flight, I'll never know! 

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Too Hot

This week has continued to be too hot (see previous post), with temperatures up over +30°C, and no wind. And the temperature indoors has kept on rising every day, too. (Phew.)

Today I went for a slow walk into the city around 10:30 am, to buy fresh strawberries from a market stall in the square. I kept to the shadow as much as I possibly could, but actually even the river looked dusty!

This afternoon, a weather front with thunder, rain and a drop in temperature finally came in, though... Most welcome! :) 

Now trying to get some fresh air into the flat before bedtime!

Weekend Reflections

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Home Sweet Home

The Midsummer weekend here has been "up and down" with a mix of sun, rain and thunder, and varying degrees of humidity. In my neighbourhood, quite a few people besides myself seem to have been spending it at home; which in turn means it tends to get noisy, especially in the afternoons and evenings, with all the windows and balcony doors kept open because of the heat, people talking, and kids out playing etc. 

I find a bit hard to cope with the afternoons sometimes, as in hot summer weather that's neither the best time of day for me to be out, nor to stay in - and I can't really think of a third alternative! (And of course, this year, the corona situation adds to the frustration for everyone.) On the other hand, the morning seems the best time for me for anything and everything from sleeping in, being lazy, reading, going out, sitting on the balcony (before the sun hits) - and for cleaning and cooking and doing computer work etc indoors. As I'm not exactly an early bird by nature to begin with, that means my active time of day is rather limited (between late breakfast and lunch!) And the rest... Phew, well, never mind! (Today I managed to fit in a nice nap while heavy rain was drumming away on my windows, though. And with the rain, no need to keep thinking that perhaps I should be out instead...)

This morning (seems like a long time ago now), I woke up with fragments of a dream lingering in my head - and thought I might blog about that later. Now is later, but of course now, my vague recollections of the dream seem even more fragmentary and blurry. Copying the photo of the bird houses from my camera to the computer reminded me of it again, though, because I know it was all somehow to do with "home" - and including some feelings of frustration. However, I can't really recapture the dream itself now, and only vaguely some of my thoughts while thinking about it back in the morning.

For one thing, the audio book I'm listening to at the moment is Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher. It's a 'coming of age' story set in Cornwall before and during WWII. A young girl (Judith) is left behind at a British boarding school while her mother and baby sister go to Singapore to join the father working there. The war means Judith cannot travel to visit or join them later as intended either. She had two aunts in Britain but her main substitute family becomes that of a classmate of hers, living on a big estate. I haven't finished the book yet (it's a long one - 40 hours as audio!) so not sure yet where it will end. Sometimes I'm finding it a bit long-winded, but here and there it does make interesting points - like about family, friends and what else equals "home" to us, but also how we are affected by various crises, both on personal and national level (like the War, back then - and, reading it just now, also bringing to mind the pandemic which is now the Enemy to all of us, where ever we happen to live).

I know that this morning, I also had more thoughts in my head connecting to this, but now I can't recreate them. I think some were probably to do with other people's blogs I'd been reading, too. I think a lot of us have been struggling a bit extra with coming up with ideas to blog about while being ''@home" more than usual this spring! Alas, it seems that having time on our hands does not necessarily mean also feeling inspired and creative...

Friday, 19 June 2020

Skywatch Friday - Midsummer Eve

♫ Where have all the people gone?
Gone to the coast or countryside, everyone... (?)

I'm guessing the few of us left in the city are those who still stubbornly insist on keeping Social Distance! ;)

Last weekend, Sweden lifted restrictions about travels within the country. (For a while, we've been 'strongly advised' not to travel further from home than 2 hours by car.) Gatherings larger than 50 people are still forbidden, though, which means all usual public midsummer festivities have been cancelled. For this weekend, I'm guessing the problems with too many people getting together anyway will be bigger in the coast side towns than here in the inland. 

Today (Midsummer Eve), all the shops in Borås city are closed all day, and probably restaurants and cafés as well.  I'm glad I thought of going for a walk into town yesterday morning as well, as I then managed to buy strawberries from a temporary market stall in the square. They cost a small fortune, but never mind. (After all: Somebody planted them and watered them, somebody else -perhaps- picked them, someone transported them into town, and someone spent a hot day standing there selling them. And I get to eat them!)

Now I'm hoping for a cloudy afternoon, and that noisy neighbours choose to go somewhere else. (We're still in a heat wave here and on sunny afternoons, it gets too hot both indoors and outdoors.)

Happy Midsummer, World - and be careful out there...
(I'll be at home, washing my hands!)

SkyWatch Friday

Monday, 15 June 2020

Seeking Shadow

A huge oak tree in a park 10-15 minutes walk from where I live.

I got an email yesterday from someone who was worried because I hadn't posted on my blog for a few days. In case anyone else is wondering too, perhaps I'd better put in a couple of photos with a few words to reassure you that all is well! We've just been having a bit of a heatwave, and it's been too hot to spend much time at the computer, that's all.

On Friday, I also had a visit from and old friend since 40+ years and her husband. (He's an old friend too by now! but it was her I knew first.) And 10+ years since we last met "in real life". We've been keeping in touch via Facebook, though, so it didn't quite feel like all that long ago... Or perhaps it did... Or not... It seems to me that Time keeps getting weirder and weirder the older I get!!!

Anyway, I got a surprise message only the day before, saying they'd be in my town the next day and could we meet? Taking corona restrictions etc into account, we ended up having a picnic outdoors where I live. (Conveniently, benches and a table in a quiet spot literally "around the corner" happened to be free.)

Looking at the photo that my friend's husband took, some lyrics by Paul Simon come to mind for me now...

Old friends
Old friends
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends

Can you imagine us
Years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy 

Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears

Time it was
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you

From 'Old Friends' by Paul Simon

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Wayside Magic

Today I decided to take a walk on the outskirts of my end of the city (i.e. the opposite direction from towards the city centre). There too, for a little bit, I can more or less follow the river. On the other side of the combined footpath/cycle path there is a big road, though - so the area is not really as wild and rural as it will appear in these photos. But the camera is a magic tool, and can be of great help to ignore what you wish weren't there!

As the saying goes: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...


 Through My Lens

Monday, 8 June 2020

Rhododendron and Azaleas

Such a burst of colour this time of year in our parks and gardens - and cemeteries! The rhododendron and azaleas above all grow in the cemetery close to where I live, where I often go walking.

Our World Tuesday

Friday, 5 June 2020

Exploring (Weekend Reflections)

Today it's been raining all day, and I've been staying in - mostly doing "nothing". That's not a complaint. Nature certainly needed a good watering; and after a hot sunny week I could do with a relaxing day of just staying in and listening to the rain as well... 

The photos below are from last weekend, when on a random walk into the city, I ended up going to "explore" a block that in the past used to be a textile industry estate, but which has recently been renovated and updated. Some years ago, the main building temporarily housed (among other things) the city library for a while (while the building where that usually resides was getting refurbished). But more recently it has been this old factory's turn to get a facelift. I think it's probably still mostly offices in the old part, but they're also building new flats in the neighbourhood, so it's going to be a more mixed area than before.

Anyway, on this Sunday it looked quiet but also accessible to closer inspection (on the outside) - so I took the opportunity.

I like how they have kept the old characteristics on the building, like this bay window, and the entrances.

 Kontor means "Office" and I suspect this was also originally the entrance to the main office of the old factory.

 That glass wing with the staircase is certainly of later date, though!

A surprise to me was that there was also a passage through to the other side of the building which I don't think was there (or open to the public) before - leading out to a wall with a mural painted a few years ago, but which I've only seen from across the river before.

Now I was able to get views from there to the other side, instead!

They really have done quite a lot over the past decade or two to make it possible to walk along the riverside in the city. (When I moved here to live 34 years ago there were very few places where the public could get close to the water.)

Seen from another point of view, back in the beginning of May.

 Weekend Reflections

Monday, 1 June 2020

Comings and Goings

In some Swedish newscast recently, it was said that more people than usual here have been getting pets lately - since the corona-related 'social distancing' rules for humans. Not only dogs to take walking, but also small ones like birds and hamsters. (They interviewed one pet shop owner who said they had actually completely run out of hamsters...)

Personally, I've never really been a "pet person"(?); but at the moment, I have birds. Well - I don't really have them. We're just very close neighbours. Mr & Mrs Blue Tit have found their own place to live, and we just share a balcony rail. Which I used to call "mine", until they started to use it as their landing strip/runway - except when I'm out there, in which case they often make a sudden sharp turn and try a different, probably more difficult approach to reach their own doorstep. Which is here:

At first, I just watched them through the window, and noticed how often they seemed to land on almost the exact same spot on the rail every time, only to take off again seconds later. In the beginning, I could only guess; but then one afternoon when I was sitting out on the balcony for a while (and sitting very still), I was able to collect evidence. Their nest is in a vent on the wall next to my flat; and the main entrance seems to be the second slot from the bottom.

Hi kids ... Mummy's home! (...or Daddy, I'm not sure who's who...)

Just checking to see if anyone is watching me before I enter...

Even though I've seen them do it often enough now, it still seems like a magic trick to me. The actual disappearing act is just too quick - not only for my camera, but even for the human eye. 

They don't usually stay in there very long though - just to deliver food to the little hungry ones inside. Then they set off out again.

Wait for it...

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