Monday, 31 May 2021




Another of the new BIG pieces for the Borås 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


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


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!

Monday, 17 May 2021

An Efficient Start to the Week

Trying to make up for my out-of-sync feeling from last week, I decided to make a fresh start today by calling my hairdresser. Every time I've seen her over the past (corona) year I've been reminded of the Catholic confession ritual (as seen in movies etc): "Bless me for I have sinned, it's been four months since my last haircut..." 

Well, I was in luck - I phoned around 9:45 am, she asked when I wanted to come, I said any time today from 11 (or else another day), and she said I was welcome at 11. (It's a very small salon, and she works alone now and only takes one customer at a time, so I had not really counted on her being able to fit me in that quickly.)

So I went for another walk downtown, and passed through the park again. Another mostly cloudy day with a little bit of light rain now and then, but no wind. The advantage of the weather still being on the "cool" side is that we get to enjoy slow progress of all the spring beauty this year (rather than a big explosion of everything all at once).

Blue Horse and red tulips - beautiful combination!
Pink magnolia and cherry blossom trees

Getting my hair cut never takes very long once I'm there, so afterwards I decided to try a couple of other errands as well. As I had guessed, the shops also turned out to be less busy on a rainy Monday morning than when I was last in town (on sunny Friday for the Spring Market). 

What I felt I needed most was a pair of new walking shoes, as my old ones were getting rather worn. So I went to a shop where I know they sell the same brand. (I think there was one other customer in the shop, deep in her own meditations in some corner.) I went up to the shop assistant, pointed at my feet and asked: "Do you still sell these?" She said yes, led me to the right shelf, and informed me that besides black (as my old ones) they also had them in blue and beige. I said I'll try them in blue, and told her my size. I tried them on, they felt right, and I bought them. It all took about five minutes...

Left: Old shoe in black. Right: New shoe in blue.

The shoe shop is situated upstairs between two clothes shops - one has to take the escalator from the ground floor of one of those to get up there. When I came back down again, a pair of thin (viscose) summer trousers caught my eye. Pretty much what I'd also been thinking that I needed, and in a colour that would go with other things in my wardrobe... I grabbed a pair of medium size, and bought them (with the right to return them if they didn't fit). That did not take more than 5 minutes either. (And I won't be returning them, as they turned out to fit me comfortably enough - a loose fit rather than tight was what I wanted in this case). 

I had left home around 10:30 to walk into town. By 12 o'clock, I was back home again, my hair neatly cut, and with new shoes and trousers. 1½ hour well spent! :)

No "before" picture, but this is "after"!

Sunday, 16 May 2021

A Colourful Sunday Walk

Today was cloudy, with a certain risk of rain. I decided to go for a walk before lunch, as it was more likely to rain in the afternoon. I really only had in mind a turn around the old cemetery (where I walk almost daily). But the weather turned out so pleasant (no wind, and neither too hot nor too cold) that I ended up walking  back and forth on randomly chosen paths there for quite a while; and after that also down to the riverside. 

While walking randomly around the cemetery, I kept meeting another elderly lady doing the same thing. The fourth time our paths crossed, I could not help laughing and stating the obvious: "So we meet again!" She laughed too, and we exchanged a few words about it being a pleasant place to walk in, and we both lived nearby (she pointing in one direction and I in another). Then we continued each on her own way. Normally, stopping to talk to strangers is not really a habit of mine (and I suspect not of hers either) - but the way we kept meeting, it just seemed ridiculous to keep looking away every time! 

The flowerbeds of daffodils lining the birch tree avenue through the middle of the cemetery are still gorgeous.

This (above) reminded me of all the "spot the one that is different" challenges that seem to be eternally circulating on Facebook (like one A among rows of X:s) - often claiming that only 3% of the world's population will be able to find it within so-and-so many seconds. Astonishingly, most of my friends seem to belong to that world elite of geniuses (and sometimes even I) - so I don't think I have to explain this line of thought any further!

 You know I cannot resist water reflections!

Marsh marigolds, I think (zoomed in with the camera).

From the bridge, across the river and dam/waterfall, I also spotted some flowerbeds in bloom in the little park... That seemed worth exploring a bit closer!


The dandelions are in bloom, too.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

One Day At A Time

It's been an out-of-sync kind of week. For one thing: Spring arrived, then took a step back, then moved forward again, then suddenly threw a massive violent thunderstorm with rain and hail at us, then surprised us with a sunny smile again - only to change its mind once more and pour more water on us today... Not all easy to keep up! 

Thursday (with rain and thunder in the afternoon) was Ascension Day, which is still a public holiday here, in spite of always falling on a Thursday. A bit odd really, as most people nowadays probably don't even know why we celebrate it (even though its name in Swedish is really a lot clearer than both Easter and Pentecost, as it does literally refer to "the day Christ went up to Heaven"). - In the morning, I read a post on Facebook written by the arch bishop of the Church of Sweden, Antje Jackelen. She quoted a comment she had had about this holiday last year (when we were in the beginning of adjusting our lives to various corona restrictions): "Is this the day we celebrate that Jesus started working from home?" and she went on to develop that theme a bit. (Quite a clever take on it, which wouldn't have made half as much sense in 2019; but feeling very contemporary in 2021, with most of us now used to relying more on other kinds of communication than physical meetings.) 

On Friday (sunny), I got up a little bit earlier than usual, as I had an appointment at the hospital for a routine breast screening. (I think these check-ups work basically the same in Britain; and probably in many other countries as well.) I had decided to take the bus there, and perhaps walk back. It would have been my first bus ride in 15 months. However, it did not take place, because I got a text message on the phone that the appointment had been cancelled because of a "stoppage",  and I'd get new invite later. (I think "stoppage" is the best translation of the Swedish word used. I interpreted it as a technical problem, but I'm not quite sure.) Anyway, it meant that quite unexpectedly, I suddenly I had a "free" Friday with no plans at all.

The sun was shining, the air fresh after the rain, and my local newspaper told me that there was going to be a mini version of the traditional spring market in the town square. (B.C. - Before Corona - the spring market used to be a Big event, taking up not only the whole square but also several of the nearby streets.) So I decided on a walk downtown, just to have a little peek. I didn't have the camera with me, but snapped a few photos with my mobile.

The town park was clad in lovely shades of fresh spring greens.

In the square there were a few market stalls giving a "whiff" of Spring Market, but really nowhere near the traditional B.C. atmosphere. (See for example a post from 2015)

I think more people were really attracted to / tempted by the nearby shops surrounding the square. So was I; but I know we're still in a bad situation here with the virus (still too many people in intensive care in the hospital etc). I bought some socks at one of the outdoors market stands, though (one of my spring market traditions). I also went into one clothes shop very briefly to buy a pair of leggings (petrol green), to go with some existing tops in my wardrobe. But further "browsing" for summer clothes will have to wait a while longer.

On my way back home, I passed through another part of the park.

My first ice cream will have to wait until a day when there's no queue! But I was happy to see the white magnolia tree on a sunny day in all it's glory.

So far, not much to complain about, you may be thinking. I agree. The "out-of-sync" feeling didn't really hit me until today, when for one thing it was raining again, and for another, the washing machine in the common laundry room turned out to be broken when I came down to do my washing. Also a kind of "stoppage". (The machine would not open, it seemed to have water left in it, and the problem could not be solved by turning it off and on again). I reported the fault and re-scheduled my booking; it was a bit of extra nuisance, though, since I had already had to postpone my washing this week because of other out-of-sync things. 

Ah well. Now today is almost over; and tomorrow will be a new one!


Monday, 10 May 2021

Spring Has Sprung

Today, for the first time this season, the outdoors temperature rose above the indoors temperature (and it wasn't even very sunny). I saw the numbers on the thermometer, but my brain refused to take it in, and failed to translate the fact into what clothes might be suitable for a walk. Although I did choose a thinner jacket than my winter coat (which I still needed only a couple days ago), even that proved too warm.

I did not go very far; but soon noticed that I wasn't the only one surprised by the sudden change of temperature. These ladies, for example, were also obviously over-dressed...

A sea-gull swimming in the river seemed perfectly happy, though.


Some wood anemones still in bloom down by the riverside.

Daffodils in the old cemetery, doing their best to make up for being late... (We associate those with Easter here, the Swedish name for them is "påsklilja" = Easter lily.)

And in the little playground park close to where I live, the cherry blossoms are out.

Through My Lens  

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