Saturday, 29 October 2022

"All Things Bright and Spooky"

This year (in spite of skyrocketing electricity bills) our City Park has been decorated with some "Bright Art", to brighten up the dark winter months (from Halloween until after New Year). As today I was out after lunch (around 2 pm), I had not really expected them to be lit yet; but some of them were. I suppose I should go back some late afternoon in twilight to see the full effect. But for now, here is how I saw it today.


I missed the sign for this one, so don't know what it's called. But it comes with spooky howling sounds in the background...


(Saving some more photos of "nature's own art" for another post.)

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Indoors and Outdoors


This is the geranium (or pelargonium) that I rescued from the balcony last week, before the first (and so far only) frosty night set in. It seems quite happy to be back indoors - and I am quite happy, too!

Meanwhile, the weather outdoors is back to milder, but grey and rainy. I've been out for daily walks in the neighbourhood - but "nowhere special". 

Gardening staff in the cemeteries are having a busy time of year - getting rid of fallen leaves, and decorating graves before All Saints' Day (celebrated here the first Saturday in November).

My maternal great-grandparents' family grave in the old cemetery - with extra "fall decorations", courtesy of the nearby maple trees... ;)

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Broken Tooth, New Government, and First Frost

Another week gone by... (I wonder how many blog posts over the years began with that very phrase?) 

On Tuesday, I had a dental appointment; and much as I suspected, it turned out an old crown was broken, and needed replacing. (It came out as soon as the dental hygienist gently poked it.) It will be a similar big job as with another tooth back in spring - I know "the drill" by now... (ha ha) So here I am with a temporary filling, and needing to be inventive with my meals for a while again. Got a lengthy (1 hr) appointment at the end of the month for "preparations", and then I'll have to wait a couple of more weeks or so for the crown to be made, and another appointment to have it fitted... 

Well, to look on the bright side - it's autumn, and a good season to try out soup recipes...

Tuesday was also an Important Politics Day, and besides my visit to the dentist's I spent a good deal of it in front of the TV, as it it was the day our new Swedish government was introduced (the result of negotiations between four parties that have been going on since the election back in September). 

Regeringen 221018

The new prime minister is the rather short man in the middle (Ulf Kristersson). Basically, the new government consists of representatives from three right-wing parties, with a fourth large one lurking in the shadows behind them. (I.e. with no official representatives in the government, but pulling quite a few strings anyway. Not least when it comes to stricter migrations politics.)

In what ways they will live up to their promises (or threats, depending on the point of view) remains to be seen. (Like so many other countries we're still in a situation of nearly half the population having wished for a different outcome of the election.)

Wednesday was laundry day for me (as it often is). It was also a sunny day for a change (after a number of rainy ones), so between turns to the laundry room, I continued with winter preparations on the balcony: like wrapping the wooden bench out there in a tarpaulin. I also took in a couple of geraniums - one of them about to bloom. (Crazy plant/s... They've had all summer, and choose not to produce flowers until the end of October!) Good thing I did, because that night we did get the first frost. (Which killed off the remaining painted nettles; but I had counted on that. I have more of those indoors.) Continued my "autumn cleaning" of the balcony on Thursday afternoon (which was also sunny). The strawberry plants are rather hardy, though, so they'll be up for a while yet. (Before it gets seriously wintry, I'll put them in hibernation beneath the tarpaulin-covered bench.) I also went out for two walks: Before lunch to the supermarket for a few "extras" (as it was the week between my online-order weeks); and again in the afternoon, "just for a walk" (and some photos).

Man made Leaf Blowers competing with the forces of Nature this week!

On Friday we were back to grey and rainy (and a bit milder). I seemed to spend a good deal of that day messing up the kitchen by making soup from whatever I could find in the fridge that might suit the purpose. I did follow a basic recipe for carrot soup that I found online, but as usual I didn't have all the suggested ingredients, or the right proportions of them, so exchanged this for that and that for this... The result was a carrot-onion-ginger-potato-red lentils-chicken bullion concoction. Frozen in portions and might be improved by some actual pieces of chicken thrown in when I heat it up... (No photos. I had my hands full!)

Today, another grey day, catching up with a bit of this and that (including blogging).

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

'Something Wicked This Way Comes' (Book Review)

 Something Wicked This Way Comes (Greentown Book 2) by [Ray Bradbury]

Something Wicked This Way Comes*
by Ray Bradbury (1962)

(*from Shakespeare's Macbeth: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes".)

Ray Bradbury (American author, 1920-2012) is perhaps best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451, and some other science fiction/fantasy books. My own personal favourite by him ever since back in my teens is Dandelion Wine * (1957), though - inspired by the author's own childhood, and a quite charming "summery" coming-of-age book. (The link goes to a blog post of mine from 2020, when I reread/ listened to that one as audio book.)

When a cheap Kindle offer of Something Wicked came up for me recently, introduced as a sequel to Dandelion Wine (as it's set in the same fictional town - Green Town, Illinois), I should probably have gathered from the title that it would be a darker story. But somehow, when I started reading it, I forgot about that. Will Halloway and his friend Jim (both 13 on the verge of turning 14) seemed to have quite a lot in common with Douglas Spaulding & co. from the first book; and for the first few chapters, I just put the partly sinister atmosphere down to the boys' vivid imagination, nighttime, and upcoming Halloween...

"First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. --- it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bed sheets around corners. But one wild dark long year, Halloween came early."

That year (I don't think a specific year is given, but in the late 1920s or so), on October 24, a carnival arrives in town in the middle of the night; and both boys sneak out (as they were obviously in the habit of doing now and then) to have a look. They see some weird things, and find the atmosphere quite spooky - but then who wouldn't, when one is 13/14 and sneaking out in the middle of the night seeking adventure...

I'm not sure myself exactly when in the book I started to realize that things were really getting too spooky to just be coming from the boys' imagination. It may not have been until Will's father (janitor of the town library) begins to take them seriously as well.

Anyway, it gets worse before it's over. Not easy to quite pin down the genre; but a sort mix of surrealism, fantasy and horror - with obvious themes of good vs evil, and pros and cons (and longings and fears) of youth vs old age.

If you enjoy spooky tales at Halloween time, you might want to try it. If you're not a fan of that genre, I'd recommend you stick with Dandelion Wine, though.


A few more quotes below. The man does have a way with words!!!

"Three in the morn, full wide-eyed staring, is living death! You dream with your eyes open"

"The merry-go-round was running, yes, but . . . It was running backward."

"Yet he knew that, during this night, unless he lived with it very well, he might have to live with it all the rest of his life."

"Nothing extraordinary about me except I’m fifty-four, which is always extraordinary to the man inside it."

"Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know, is bad, or amoral, at least." 

"We’re more afraid of Nothing than we are of Something. You can fight Something. But . . . Nothing? Where do you hit it?"

Sunday, 16 October 2022

Squirrel Nutkin

Every now and then, on my walks around the old cemetery, I come across Squirrel Nutkin. (There's probably more than one; but not able to tell them apart, I call them all that! - after the story by Beatrix Potter.) Usually, they disappear out of sight before I have a chance to get the camera out. Yesterday, I was lucky, though -  I caught sight of him from a distance, stopped, managed to get the camera out silently and discreetly, zoomed in... And got a whole series of shots before he disappeared too high up the tree for me to follow. So pretty;  and in shiny new winter fur coat, I think! :-) 


Some more photos from the same walk. Autumn in progress..

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

1000 Postcrossing Postcards


I just registered some incoming Postcrossing postcards, and noted that I've passed the impressive number of 1000 sent, 1000 received... 

I joined 15 May, 2013 - primarily because when going through my dad's study after he died (2011), I found lots and lots of still usable stamps, and decided that the most fun I'd get out of those was to send them out into the world! After I ran out of free stamps (+ postage kept going up, up up...) I've cut down a lot - but I'm still a member, and on 1st October I sent off a few to celebrate World Postcard Day. 

Here are the four incoming from today, that helped bring my statistics up to 1001 received:

From Spain - written in Spanish

From the Netherlands - written partly in Dutch

From Finland - written in Swedish 

Another one from Finland - written in English

Thankfully, none of the Finnish cards was written in Finnish! ;-) 

Should perhaps add that as for Spanish and Dutch, I have added those to my language profile on Postcrossing, so have only myself to blame!

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Autumn Surprise


These plants (coleus / 'painted nettle') have been spending the summer out on my balcony. Recently they surprised me by sprouting blooms. I didn't even know they could! I can't recall that the ones I've had indoors have ever done that. Not sure if that's because indoors I don't let them get that tall, or because they don't get as much light there. I've never tried them outdoors until this year. But they're very easy to take cuttings from, and  I had more of them than I wanted indoors back in the spring.

(The green plant on the right is a geranium - which I expected would bloom if I put it out, but it did not!)

Saturday, 8 October 2022

First Week in October

October has started out wet, windy and unpredictable; and yet the first week seems to have blown past very fast.

Last Saturday, 1 October, I went for a walk into town in the afternoon and half-attended the inauguration of a new 'plaza' along the river. (I say 'half' because I arrived late and left early...)

Stopped here and there to take photos...

Approaching the new 'plaza' along the river. It has been named 'Post Office Place' (Swedish: Post-torget) because the building next to it used to be the post office. It hasn't been for years, though, as nowadays post office services are spread out to small shops who-knows-where all over town; and if you ask someone on the street where the nearest one may be, they'll most likely have no idea, and refer you to Google. (I wonder how many future tourists will end up disappointed when not finding one by the Place bearing its name?)

If any explanation was given why the new piece of art adorning the Post Office Place is a philosophical wolf speaking English, I was too late to find out!

But with a restaurant or café on the ground floor in the old post office building (the yellow one on the right), I suppose it will probably be a nice Place in summer.

I didn't linger there long on this first day of October, though, as it started raining again!

Monday, 3 October, offered nicer weather on my afternoon walk:

(These are Rowan trees.)

Tuesday was another grey day, but without rain - for which I was thankful, as I had then booked an appointment at the vaccination centre "across town" to get my 5th covid jab. Getting across town by bus is still complicated, as they're still working away at redesigning the former central meeting place for the buses in town. (Feels like they've been at it for ages, at the rate of one cobble-stone per day...) 

So like last time, back in May, I walked from home to the railway station (15 min), waited there for a while (10 min), got on a roundabout bus (10 min) to a place not "too" far from my destination; finishing off with another walk from there to the actual place (10 min). Beginning to feel like "routine" now... 

The vaccination place is close to the shopping malls in that part of the city, so afterwards I also looked in briefly at four different shops for minor errands. As it wasn't raining, I also decided to walk all the way back home. On the way, I passed by the university building, and snapped some photos of the new mural there. I recently showed one photo of it in a post from the Textile Museum (in September); but walking past the whole length of it, one gets a better idea of the complexity involved in painting it:

On Wednesday it rained all day, and I also felt rather tired from the day before (and the vaccination itself, perhaps). I had the laundry roomed booked in the afternoon, but besides that (two loads of washing), I didn't really do anything else.

Thursday view from my window

On Thursday I went for a walk to the Supermarket for a few things. On my way there, it was windy, but didn't rain. On my way back, though, it did...

On Friday, much the same story, except then my walk went into town for a quick pharmacy errand. It didn't rain on my way there... But it did on my way back!

Today, Saturday, I've been out twice - but both times briefly. In the (late) morning, I thought I might make it to the recycling bins and back without getting wet. But before I was even half way there, it started pouring down. At the bins, I and two men out on similar errands did quite a complicated little rain dance trying to sort the contents of our bags into the right containers, while simultaneously juggling umbrellas!

In the late afternoon when I looked out of the window, the rain clouds seemed to have gone away. The sun was shining in through my living room windows, and I could see clear blue sky on both sides of my flat. So I decided on another little walk. I didn't even take an umbrella, because when I left home, and for the first five minutes, the sky looked like this:

Then, out of nowhere, it suddenly started to pour down again, the sky back to all grey! Nothing for it but to just turn back home again - and take a hot shower, and get changed...

Coming back out of the bathroom after my hot shower - there was the sun was again warmly shining in through my living room windows, as if wondering what I was making such a fuss about!

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