Tuesday, 30 August 2022

A Ramble About Turning 67


Since a year or two Postnord (our postal service) only delivers mail two or three days a week: Either Monday, Wednesday and Friday; or Tuesday and Thursday. This year, my birthday happened to fall on a Monday in a Tuesday/Thursday week; which kind of extended my "celebrations" to last another day... As I just texted to a friend whose letter didn't arrived until today: Never mind, it will take me a while to get used to being 67 anyway! ;-)

Somehow 67 sounds much older to me than 66 - at least when applied to myself. Not sure why. One might think that the Big Change should have been at 65, as that's when I automatically went from 'early' (disability) retirement to 'Old Age' pension. But in some ways that was mixed with a feeling of liberation - because in many contexts, I found that being a 65+ pensioner meant less 'explanations and excuses' needed.

Strictly speaking, I suppose I could go on just calling myself 65+ for the rest of my life. ;-)

However, this year, a month or so before my birthday, I received an unexpected letter informing me that because I was now about to turn 67, I would be receiving an extra occupational pension from this month onward. Not a very large sum, but making a bit of a difference all the same. It just puzzles me that I can't recall ever having heard about this 'extra' pension until now. No one informed me about it when I turned 65; so I was convinced I was already receiving all the occupational pension I was entitled to. But it seems this addition comes from having worked where I did during a certain period of time (back in the 80s/90s). I was still with the same employer after that, though; so some political reform must have been involved as well. (I do know there has been one or two of those.) Ah well... I guess I must just be grateful that Big Brother kept track for me!

My actual birthday (yesterday) was a quiet affair, "celebrated" mostly on Facebook and Messenger, plus a couple of voice calls. To do something "unusual", I also chose that day to go and vote in advance for our general election coming up 11 September. (Pretty sure I won't be changing my mind!) My main reason to vote in advance was really that on the actual day, I'd have to go to a polling station  rather "out of the way" for me, while voting in advance could be done at a location closer to home, and probably with less queuing. And as yesterday was sunny but pleasantly cool (we seem to have left the heatwave behind now), I felt like walking into town anyway. So that's what I did, with just a minor detour to vote.

Then I went on to the bookshop downtown, hoping to find a couple of books that I had decided to buy for myself. (The remaining two in a trilogy of which I already have the middle one in hardcover.) Turned out they didn't have them, though - so I decided to go back home and order them online instead. (Probably cheaper, anyway!) I also wanted to buy myself some flowers - but found the bouquets in the city flower shop unreasonably expensive (considering they won't last long). So went for another detour to the supermarket, and bought myself two orchids instead (which will hopefully last longer).

And then some online shopping from home in the afternoon... ;-) 

Some more cards dropped in today... ;-)

Saturday, 27 August 2022

A Rainy Day

Oops. Seems a week has gone by without blogging... Not much happening. Some afternoons have again been too hot both for walking very far, or for spending much time in my study. I walked into town for minor errands a couple of times, but without taking photos. Today it's been raining for a change. Warnings issued for possible violent downfalls, thunder and flooding - but so far none of that just here. It's just been gently but steadily raining, straight down. I went for a half-hour "umbrella walk" after lunch, without getting very wet . Left the camera at home, but snapped a few photos with the phone.

At home, I've started tidying some drawers. One of those never-ending projects, as they always seem to untidy themselves automatically within a few weeks (or even days) - even if you could sometimes swear you've not even opened them since the last round of tidying! ;-)

Sunday, 21 August 2022

Water Day


It's been another hot week, also including thunder and rain showers in the afternoons. (And tossing and turning in the nights because of still too hot indoors...) But yesterday it had begun to feel (pleasantly) cooler again. It was the annual Water Day in our City Park by the river (Viskan), with a mix of events (like swim/boat races etc) and various environment information campaigns. I went for a walk into town in the afternoon to have a look around.


Among various local authorities and clubs, the political parties were grabbing the opportunity to be seen as well. (We have a general election coming up in three weeks...)


Kubb is a lawn game where the objective is to knock over wooden blocks by throwing wooden batons at them. [Wikipedia]


Raft race on the river. A short but "messy" affair...!


Walking back towards home I was (as usual) more fascinated with shadows, light and reflections in more tranquil parts of the river, though.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Harvest Time


In spite of going away for a week in July, I managed to keep my one 'cherry tomato' plant on the balcony alive - and have just harvested the first four fruits. Actually five, but one had already started to wither in spite of not even having turned properly red yet. So today I tried an 'orange' one for lunch (well, with my lunch...) Deciding that that one was ripe enough, I picked three more (of those in the photo) to have for (with) supper tonight. All in all there are only about a dozen on the plant (most of them still green). Considering the cost of the one plant back in May, and all the bottles of water I've been feeding it throughout the summer, I'm beginning to think: No wonder the price of tomatoes (and various other foods) at the supermarket keeps going up...

Saturday, 13 August 2022

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

 ... but here it is anyway...

We've been having a sunny week, and the Rose Garden in the City Park is in full bloom. These photos were taken on Tuesday, when the temperature was also rather pleasant for a walk downtown. The rose garden looked pretty much the same today - but it was several degrees (C) hotter. Too hot for my liking, really - but not much to do about that, except sit and have an ice cream in the shadow for a while before walking back home again (along the river, and in tree shadow where possible).

Thursday, 11 August 2022

All Clear


I just passed my annual health check-up - or, in this case, bi-annual. Last year I didn't get summoned to one; and considering all the chaos connected with the one in 2020, perhaps just as well. (In 2021 I just sent online requests to have prescriptions renewed.)

I've just been re-reading some blog posts of mine on the topic from 2020. They're full of illustrations and references to Alice in Wonderland, plus some quotes from 'Very British Problems'. Like:


(Very British Problems)

As you'll remember, 2020 was the first autumn of the pandemic, before the vaccines - and doctors did not really want to meet patients! (Probably the lab assistants would have preferred not to either, but as they've not yet invented a way of drawing blood via the internet, they had to!) The contact with the doctor that autumn was by phone calls. We'd never met in person, and Swedish wasn't his first language, which did not help. On the whole, I think it was more about him being disorganized, though - giving contradictory instructions, not calling when he said he would, not making proper journal entries - and then also not being there to follow up things he started (like changes in my medication). Anyway, for me it meant a month of chaos, getting worse before it got better...

So now, when summoned to a 'regular' check-up again, with yet another doctor I'd never met before - there were mixed feelings involved, and I kind of steeled myself for another 'combat'...

As usual, the first step was to have blood drawn for tests, a week or two before the appointment. So I did that, one early morning a couple of weeks ago. From back in 2020, I recalled getting told off by a stressed receptionist for unthinkingly walking straight in through the front door, which was held up for me by someone leaving. I should have stopped outside and called in from my mobile, and assured them first that I did not have any cold symptoms... (There was a sign outside saying so, but entering when someone holds up the door for you is kind of a reflex...) This time, I carefully stopped and read the sign - but now it just says that if you have got cold symptoms, don't enter, but call in first. To my surprise, the waiting room was all empty when I came in. And the receptionist (no idea if the same one as two years ago) was sitting at her desk. So I just walked straight up there, without first taking a queue ticket... Got another telling off, because in spite of there being no queue, I should have taken a ticket anyway!

Ah well, I got my blood drawn - and a bruise to last two weeks; but never mind...

Today, it was time to go back and meet the new unknown doc, and get the results. Compared to two years ago, the experience could hardly have been more different. This doctor seemed to be of calm and composed nature. He looked at his computer screen and said (without bothering about details) that all tests were fine. He then checked my blood pressure, and that was OK too. (Which my own cuff at home has kept reassuring me in between; but it does always tend to rise as soon as I set foot in a doctor's office. It did now too - but not too much!) He asked about my asthma (under control) and I told him I still had some unanswered questions about my allergy test results from two years ago. I explained, and he agreed with me that what I was wondering about (tree pollen) seemed not to have been tested for. So he ordered a new such test, which I got taken at the lab on my way out. (Different lab ass and only a small bruise this time.) I also asked for my various prescriptions to be renewed, and he said he'd do that. (I logged in and checked later this afternoon, and he had done that.) That was it. So I suppose that for now, I can just "get on with my life" this time!  (Phew!)

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Water Lilies



 Walking into town yesterday, I noticed the water lilies in bloom in the river. 

"It took me time to understand my water lilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them." ~ Claude Monet

Claude Monet - Water Lilies, 1903
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Now What?


Looking right...

Looking left...

Looking up, looking down, looking back...

When wondering what on earth to blog about now, after having finished my series of holiday photos, these photos of pigeons visiting my balcony just after I came back home turned up - and on closer inspection made me laugh, as they seem to illustrate my predicament...

I'll leave you looking at them, while I go and catch up with some other things I need to do!

Sunday, 7 August 2022

An Extra Holiday

On Friday, 15 July, my brother went back home to Karlstad again - without me. As a sort of transition, before he left, we went for a walk downtown - my usual walk along the river - and had lunch at the restaurant in the Park. Then walked back a slightly different route (seeing a bit more of the park); and when we got back, he logged out of his parking app (if you're wondering what he's doing in photo 3), stepped into his car - and was gone.  

Felt a bit empty at first after he left, after having spent a whole week together!

Three weeks later, I'm asking myself what I've been doing since I came back home... Feels like the answer is: Making the most of a one week holiday by afterwards spending three more weeks blogging about it!

The Upside of that (or Downside, depending on how one prefers to look at it?) is that I don't really have much else of interest to catch up with now - as blogging about three weeks of post-holiday blogging would seem rather superfluous... ;-)

I did have one Extra Holiday during those weeks, though - which also generated some Extra Photos:

On Thursday, 28 July, my friend E and I went on a one-day (or half-day) road trip to some touristy places out of town - but not too far away.

Our first stop was at an old mill that has recently been turned into a popular countryside café. We had lunch there, and as it was a nice day, were able to sit outside in their garden.

Our second stop was at Torpa Stenhus, a well-preserved medieval castle near lake Åsunden.

The first stone house was built around 1470 as a fortress against the Danes.The staircase tower was added in the middle of the 16th century. The castle has a well-preserved Renaissance interior  (we didn't go inside on this occasion, though - they only show the house on guided tours). The castle is best known as the home of the noble family Stenbock: Catherine Stenbock was the third and last consort of King Gustav I of Sweden, back in the 1500s.

View from down by the lake

There's a restaurant in this old barn; but as we had just eaten, we didn't go in there either.

Another popular destination nearby is Hofnäs Herrgård, an old manor. It's mentioned already in documents from 1526. The manor house burned down in 1924 but was rebuilt according to the old drawings. Since the 1960s the estate belongs to the City of Borås and is a popular recreation area, with a restaurant/café up in the manor house (we had tea/coffee there), a large park area, and a little beach down by the lake.

There are also little arts & crafts shop at both Torpa and Hofsnäs. I had not intended to buy anything, but we both enjoy having a look around in those kinds of shops... In this case, with the result of me falling in love with a little owl, who got to come home with me...


I put him on the window sill for the photograph, to give you an idea of his size. He's rather heavy and compact for his size, though - made of concrete, rather than ceramics.

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