Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Sunflower

 


Yesterday I bought this small sunflower at my supermarket. It was only ~35 cm ( ~14" ) high including its original pot. At home, I re-potted it in a somewhat bigger pot, which I then put in this basket and put it out on my balcony. It will be interesting to see if it grows really tall, or if perhaps it remains a "dwarf" variety. 

The last few days we've been having (in my opinion) "nice and cool" summer weather here - by which I mean not too hot neither outdoors nor indoors (but also not cold, nor very rainy).

Now they say that we can expect another heatwave coming in for the weekend, with like 33°C on Friday (or into the 90s in °F). Way too hot for my liking, as that will soon turn my flat into an oven with nowhere cooler to escape to. So I can't say I'm really looking forward to it... What I will never understand is why our weather-people on TV insist on always reporting forecasts about really hot weather as "good news", looking pleased about it!

Perhaps the Sunflower will enjoy it, though? (That remains to be seen!) 

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Rhododendron & Azaleas

 




The rhododendron and the azaleas have been amazing these past couple of weeks. Beginning to fade away now (after a hot period followed by rain), but the photos above were taken while they were in their prime. The massive hedges of purple rhododendron are found in our town park. The pink ones grow "right on my doorstep"; and the azaleas in the old graveyard where I walk almost daily. A blast of colour to get summer started!


Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Smoke, Sticks and the Sound of Stones...

 Remember the Curtain of the Sky from one of my previous Art Biennial posts? 


Sadly, that only got to stay up for about one week - then someone set fire to it... đŸ˜¢ 

All that remains is the blackened framework left empty in the middle of the bridge...


A new sculpture for the biennial also got broken and thrown into the river (I learned from the newspaper) - it was one I did not happen to find on my previous walks through the park, so have no photo of it. Possibly that one can perhaps be restored (?) But the curtain was unique as it was made from fabrics donated locally. 

The wooden "megaphone" in the river is still standing (or floating) , though, and this time I went out to it and too a photo from the inside as well:


It's got little lamps inside it, so one should probably also go and look at it at night. (As it doesn't get dark here until really late in summer, it's unlikely that I will, though.)

Looking up from inside it, there was nothing but BLUE to be seen this afternoon!
 


In another corner (or whatever) of the park, there are three smooth (but fake) boulders placed in a triangle - and making weird noises! While I still remember where to find the video editor on my computer, I decided to make another movie including the Sound:


 


 

Our World Tuesday


Monday, 7 June 2021

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Art is in the Air

 

Walking back downtown from the church and art museum (recent posts), I got a good view of art hanging in the air over this street. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the photos are all from a beach in some foreign country - I forget which.

 


 


Friday, 4 June 2021

Turn on the Sound

Now I hope I've managed to convert my video from the Art Museum to "Blogger format" - with sound and all... (Thanks to Sandra for reminding me about the how-to procedure in a comment to yesterday's post!)
 
 

Would you like being alone in a big museum, with these sounds as your only company?? ;-)

Thursday, 3 June 2021

More 'Deep Listening for Longing'

On 1 June, Sweden took a small step towards lifting some of the corona restrictions we've been living with for a while. So far, mostly to do with adjusting some rules about how many people may be allowed to participate at various kinds of events (depending on indoors vs outdoors, sitting vs standing, the size of the venue, etc etc). I haven't kept up with all the details, but for one thing I know that there have been no church services over the past year or so, as they count as public gatherings, and no public gatherings of more than 8 people have been allowed. But now up to 50 will be allowed in that context. 


Today, I decided to go and have a look at some of the indoors art involved in the ongoing Art Biennial (with the theme Deep Listening for Longing). 

Besides our Art Museum, I knew there were also supposed to be some art on display in the nearby church (the biggest church in BorĂ¥s, from the early 1900s). I decided to go there first, as I recalled also seeing somewhere that there would be short "lunch concerts" there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But should it turn out that 50 other people had had the same idea, I could always just go across to the museum instead.

I arrived at the church around 11:45. There was exactly 1 other person inside when I entered - I think probably a church warden -  and she disappeared out of sight almost immediately. So I had the whole huge church all to myself.


The art on display for the biennial consisted of these mystic coloured "clouds" painted on glass (or perhaps plexiglass). How much you see of them varies with the light and from what angle you are looking at them - and I guess that is probably "the point" (?)

 

I sat down for a little while in "silent meditation", waiting to see if there was going to be any music. At 12:05 the church was still empty and silent, though, so I decided to leave - not really sure  I had got the concert dates right.

I went across to the Cultural Centre (besides the art museum, the building also houses library and theatre). On a wall outside there is a new mural. As the town is celebrating 400 years this year, I guess it's supposed to represent our history even if I wasn't able to make out all the details. (It started as a market town in the 1600s, later came industrialism etc.)

 
When I entered the art museum, another odd experience awaited me: it turned out that here too, I was the only visitor at the time. So was completely free to just wander around as I pleased. I know I've been "almost" alone in this museum a few times before; but with this exhibition it felt extra weird, as most of the various installations also involved sounds - which overlapped and followed you around from one hall to another. So while you were listening to one thing, you could also suddenly be hearing for example a creepy laugh coming from another room... A bit bit extra spooky when you're there all alone!

This (above) was one of the major sound installations. I tried to film a video of it with my camera, to include the sounds. But Blogger won't accept it and just now I can't remember how to adapt it to a format that will work. (I think I've done it before but I've so rarely worked with videos that I forget from one time to the next how to do it! If I figure it out -again- I'll post it some other time.) 

 Some other exhibitions one might also ponder about a long time without getting any wiser.


Looking out on the real world. (No idea what's in the bottles!)


One room had a theme focusing on women and housework.
 
This figurine is the size of classic ornaments of ballerinas and shepherdesses etc...

It may have been because I was all alone in the museum, but one thing that came to mind for me was that the experience of walking around this exhibition was not all that different from the internet - only "3D" and bigger!

And just as I often do when sitting at the computer, I also kept thinking that maybe I'll go back for a closer look at this or that "later". 

(As there is no entrance fee this summer, I very well might. But who knows...)

Monday, 31 May 2021

Megaphone

 


 

Another of the new BIG pieces for the BorĂ¥s Art Biennial, which started this past weekend - a wooden pavilion on a platform in the river, entitled Megaphone. You are welcome to go out on it, and perhaps sit there and talk, it seems... Whether everyone will then also hear what you say, I don't know!!

Linking to

 Through My Lens 291


Sunday, 30 May 2021

Four (Audio) Books

 

The Night Gate by Peter May (2021)
Narrated by: Peter Forbes (13:06 h)

The latest thriller by Peter May belongs in his "Enzo Files" series (featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, living in France). I've only read one of the others in that series before, but don't think that matters all that much. The book starts with a death in present-day times (with covid lockdown and all) which turns out to be linked to events back during WWII. While sorting out the details, the story takes us to wartime London and the Outer Hebrides as well as Berlin and France. One of the true events in the background is that in connection with the German occupation of France, valuable paintings from the Louvre (including the famous Mona Lisa) were moved (by the French) to a secret hiding place, so as not to fall into the hands of Hitler & co. I follow Peter May on Facebook, and before the publication of this novel he gave some video presentations of it there, and also mentioned that one of his sources of inspiration was that one such hiding place was where he himself now lives in France. I enjoyed the book and I think it's one I might return to and listen to again. The audio narration by Peter Forbes is excellent as always. (I think he has recorded most of Peter May's books; or at least the ones I've listened to before, like the Lewis trilogy.)

 

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow (2020)
Narrated by: Carla
Mendonça (18:10 h)

In general, I'm not a huge fan of other authors attempting to write sequels to old classics; like the books by Jane Austen. But someone recommended this one, and I got curious, so decided to read it (or listen to it) - and am glad that I did. In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet is the middle sister (of five), and very much a background character - so much in fact, that I have to confess not even remembering her at all. (Had anyone asked me, I would have said there were only four Bennet sisters: Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia and Kitty. I've gone back to P&P to check though, and yes, Mary is mentioned.) I guess Janice Hadlow (author unknown to me before) thought Mary was worthy of more attention, and a story of her own - and I actually think she did quite a good job of it, while still keeping quite close to the spirit of the original story. 

Having finished this book, I now find myself going back to read / listen to the whole original Pride and Prejudice as well - and I'll not be too surprised if after that, perhaps I'll want to reread this one again, trying to sort things out in my own head!


 

The Forsyte Saga (1-3) by John Galsworthy
Narrated by: John Williams (42:35 h)

I'm still a member at Audible - I keep thinking maybe I should resign for a while, and just catch up with a number of books I've collected but still haven't found time to listen to; but then new ones keep popping up that I really want, and... - Ah well, anyway, last month, I happened to find this massive audio book (42½ hours) included in my membership free to listen to for members (but should I quit my membership, it would disappear from my library). I'm guessing that many of my blogging friends around my own age probably remember the old TV-series - I'm talking of the 1967 black & white one, not the one from 2002-03. While I listened to original novel now, it was the characters from the 1967 one that I kept seeing in my head. I do think that first TV series must have kept rather close to the novel. It was probably also the first long TV series of that kind that I ever saw. In 1967 I was 12 years old and we only had one TV channel in Sweden! Since then I've also seen it repeated a couple of times later in life. I can't remember having read the books until now, though. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audio book now. (Mostly listening at night, I did fall asleep to it every now and then... But with a familiar story it's not too hard to rewind and get back on track... I always set a timer!)

After I had listened to the whole audio book, it struck me to also check for it on Kindle. Turns out it's available there as free e-book, as well as in several very cheap editions. (I bought it for $1.05, but then also found it for 0.00. Ah well, I'll survive that...)

If you're not familiar with the story, it spans over three generations of a "commercial upper-middle class" family in London, starting in the Victorian era during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. It's a lot about their relationship to money and social status, but also deals the general developments within society during that time - and not least the changing position of women. 

 

 

The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear (2021)
No 16 in the Maisie Dobbs series
Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy (10:27 h)

This is the latest book in the Maisie Dobbs series, many of which I have reviewed before on this blog. (Write 'Winspear' in the search box of my blog, and you'll find them.) Maisie is a private investigator in England/London. The first book (Maisie Dobbs) is set in 1929, when she sets up her own business, ten years after WWI. Her background story is introduced there but also gets repeated and added to in all the following books. My feelings for the series have gone up and down a bit over the years. I got a bit tired of them for a while - but have kept on reading anyway, and on the whole I think it has got more interesting again with the later ones, set during WWII (and Maisie also getting involved in some international affairs). Undoubtedly, the author does put quite a lot of effort into getting historical background and atmosphere right.

Friday, 28 May 2021

The Curtain of the Sky

Sunny today, and with the very worst of the tree pollen explosion hopefully over by now (?), I decided to go for a walk into town to check on how they were getting on with preparations for this summer's Art Biennial, which will be officially opened tomorrow. 

One of the installations already in place (and hard to miss!) was this one:

(Same curtain seen from the other side)

A brochure I got sent home informs me that this textile installation was made from blue clothes donated by people living here, and is supposed to connect to our town's history as a centre for textile industry and design. (I'm thinking the bigger pieces can hardly have been "clothes", but never mind...)

The Art Biennial, with the theme "Deep listening for longing" will be going on all summer, until the end of September. It will include both new and older works of art (and some sculptures relocated to new places). As I have no plans to go travelling this summer either, I'm looking forward to at least having this local event to explore (and blog about). 

Walking through the park today, I also could not resist snapping another photo of the blue horse and carriage - still together with the red tulips (cf a similar photo 11 days ago). (Spring this year really has been a very slow affair compared to most years, with all the spring flowers lasting a lot longer than normal!)


 

Linking to

Weekend Street/Reflections # 18

 

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Allergies


The photo is an old one, as I've not been in the mood to be out and about much this week. The thing is, since my 'efficient' Monday morning (see recent post), I've been pretty much knocked out by pollen allergy - related to a sudden explosion of birch pollen (we're having a particularly bad year for that, it seems), combined with the grass season starting up as well. On top of all it turned out I did not have any cortisone spray at home. I'm usually well prepared, but last year I actually did not need the extra cortisone, but got through that season okay with allergy pills + asthma med + natural salt water nose sprays. Now, quite suddenly - no end to the sneezing and swelling and itching...

On Tuesday, I was still not sure how bad it was going to get. On Wednesday, I had several loads of laundry to do (after the one washer in the common laundry room being broken the week before); not easily combined with also going out on errands. (Luckily, at least I did get all the washing done problem-free this time, aside from not feeling well myself.) 

On Thursday morning, after another bad night, I took the bus into town (to a pharmacy) and back. It was the first time in 15+ months (since corona) that I took the bus anywhere! But now I thought of all the trees still busy spreading pollen that I'd have to pass if walking...

To my relief, the non-prescription cortisone spray I bought did prove pretty efficient against the itching, even if it's a bit of a gradual process. I'm still feeling rather exhausted; but now (according to weather forecasts) hopefully looking forward to a rainy week ahead to make things better... (Something one does not say all that often!)


Paul Simon - Allergies (YouTube)

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Celebrating 5 Years with Duolingo

 

I'm celebrating 5 years of daily Spanish lessons at Duolingo.com

(Spanish)

You who have followed me through these five years know that along the way, I have also dipped into several other languages - some for repetition (German, French), some because they were already somewhat familiar (Norwegian, Danish, Dutch); and some just as a challenge to see how the brain would cope with something totally different (Welsh, Turkish, Russian). My latest addition to the last group is Finnish, which was introduced on Duolingo last summer. (Although Finland is a neighbouring country, Finnish is of totally different structure/origin than Swedish.) While I'm unlikely to ever learn enough of any of those last four languages to be of much use in direct communication, I still feel it's taught me a fair bit about languages in general. And I do feel rather proud of myself for having kept up my "streak" of daily Spanish lessons (+ more) through five whole years now . I would not have dared guess that when I started!

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