Thursday, 30 March 2023

This and That


Crocuses in a sunny flowerbed in the neighbourhood on Tuesday afternoon. 

Since then we've had more snow coming - and going - and just now coming again... The weather this March has made it a real challenge to keep track of where we are in the calendar. I only realised today that Easter is coming up already next week! - I had totally forgotten about that!

Some people seem determined to get the "barbeque season" started whatever the weather, though - I just took these photos from my window! It's 7 pm, snowing, and +1°C (33.8F). Makes me wonder what on earth they're cooking for which the electric oven in their flat wouldn't be a better choice, in this weather...! (There's a woman involved as well, and by now three umbrellas - one just to cover the food or whatever, on the table. And lot of smoke from the fire, and quite windy, too...)

Myself, I managed a short umbrella walk earlier in the afternoon before the temperature dropped so low that the rain turned to snow. 

Before that, I experimented with vaccuming the flat while listening to Spotify music in my new wireless earbuds. If I park the phone on the chest of drawers in the hall in the middle of the flat, that works... :)

Another task started is to delete duplicate photos from my Google Photos archives. I never quite understood why GP made double copies of nearly everything from my old phone - but I suppose it's because I kept moving photos from the phone itself to be stored on the memory card instead. And then GP regarded it as a 'new' photo and copied it again. (This is just photos taken with my phone, mind. Most photos used on my blogs were taken with separate cameras, and they're not involved in this.)

With the new phone I'm determined to get better at sorting "along the way"... (Ah well. At least one can always try to start new routines...)

8 pm: Darkness has fallen. The outdoors table is empty. The couple and their food (cooked, burned or raw, I don't know) have disappeared indoors. Only the grill (with the lid on) is now to be seen - left to cool off, I suppose. 

For my own part I think I'll settle for a cup of hot cocoa and a sandwich for supper, while watching an antiques show on TV.



Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Making Progress...

Getting acquainted with my new phone is still taking up a lot of my time - and I keep oscillating between frustration and revelations... ;-)

Out on a short chilly walk on Sunday (just my usual turn around the cemetery for exercise) I had my first attempt at shooting some outdoor photos. Or so I thought. Turned out when I got home that what I had actually done was shoot some very short, shaky and blurry videos (of things not supposed to move!). 

Being used to actually pressing a physical button to take photos (even on my old phone), I guess I probably pressed the "screen button" on the new phone too hard...

Yesterday was sunny (even if still rather chilly), and a better day for outdoor photography. I managed a few shots in and near the park downtown; and then at home also experimented with creating collages. Some crocuses had shown their face again after the snow-shock that must have buried them the other day; and I spotted a couple of more unusual ducks among the usual mallards in the river.

I think they must be goosanders (Lat. Mergus merganser, Swedish: storskrake)

The white ones, bottom right, are snowdrops with snow dropped on top of them... (The crocuses were in a sunny spot, the snowdrops in a shady spot.)

- - -

Some of my other experiments have been related to sound rather than images. The new phone turned out to have no headphone jack; so the day after I bought the phone, I decided to also invest in a couple of new wireless (Bluetooth) earbuds. They don't even have a cord between them to keep the pair together... So far I haven't dared use them outside the flat! ;) They're surprisingly comfortable, though.

The photo on the left is a shot from my TV screen today (watching an episode of Foyle's War). Just as a reminder how far technology has come in the past 80 years or so...!

You turn them on/off and change volume etc by tapping on the earbuds themselves. I've still not quite mastered that art... Sometimes if I want to increase or decrease the volume, I manage to turn them off instead. Or suddenly an automatic voice cries "GAMING MODE" in my ear...  It seems I'm also supposed to be able to answer a phone call by a tap, if I happen to be wearing them when the phone rings. (That still remains to be tested.)

Getting the earbuds also inspired me to look into how to transfer music to the phone from my laptop (where I have pretty much all my old vinyls and CDs saved as mp3-files). Grasping how to do that turned out another headache. I'll just sum it up by saying I tried things more than one way without success... Finally, yesterday, I somehow managed to transfer two (2) albums, though - still hadn't got a clue why only those two (out of several more attempts) were successful!

Somewhere in between, it also occurred to me to explore Spotify (music streaming app). Wow... Somehow I've been under the impression that the free version of this app would also involve lots of unwanted ads and interruptions. (Perhaps in the beginning it did?) But I find now that it does not! And so easy to find old favourites... And once I started marking those, the app started making automatic playlists for me, and bringing up even more suggestions that I hadn't thought of... But you can also listen to full albums. (I bet some of you are laughing at me now. You probably knew all this since like forever.) Anyway, I got spellbound for hours yesterday afternoon, just exploring this whole world of old/new  music... Conclusion at the end of the day: No need to have tons of music files downloaded now - only perhaps a few, if I also want to be able to listen offline sometimes.

Still... Always unsatisfied with unsolved mysteries, today I returned to the problem of how to transfer music from the computer - and think I managed to figure it out. Somehow, after the two successful downloads yesterday, I must have broken off the procedure and failed to start over correctly. Like it seems essential that I turn on the phone first, before connecting it (by cord) to the computer... Never mind the rest of the steps, as it probably varies between devices anyway (which apps are involved etc). Suffice it to say that I have now also downloaded a limited number of my own albums for "offline" listening. 

However, in the process, I've probably also developed an addiction to continue exploring Spotify...

Sunday, 26 March 2023

A Snowy Start to Spring...

... and more updates on the Phone/Computer Situation



Today it was time here in Sweden to change our clocks to 'daylight saving time' - or as we usually call it: "summer time" (sommartid). I still have several that need to be reset manually, and I did that before I went to bed last night. (Probably forgot at least one, because I nearly always do. But if I did, I haven't yet discovered it!) 

When I looked out of my window this morning, the view was far from summer-like, though. It's snowing again! (Still going on when I write this, hours later...)

It's been a strange week, very much dominated by the Phone and Computer Situation.

The Good News is that my SIM card arrived by post on Friday afternoon. Inserted it into the new phone, and abracadabra, my old phone number was back in use - including the account balance attached to it. Not, however, my contacts - so I had to enter those manually. Which made me realise that these days I probably don't actually have a valid phone number for a whole lot of old friends any more - as, like myself, many have chosen these days not to have their number listed as searchable online any more, and FB/Messenger has taken over as the primary way of staying in touch... 

Having my phone number back on my phone also allowed me to re-establish the all-important 'Bank ID' (as mentioned in previous post - almost as essential here these days as having a physical ID card). Phew!

On Friday, "with fingers and toes crossed", I also started the process of moving vs. copying all photos stored on my laptop to an external hard drive. I did have copies of most old stuff before, but still wanted to make sure I got a fresh back-up of everything, as I also needed to permanently delete some stuff from the laptop now. This procedure literally took all day, and I kept checking on the progress frequently, to make sure the laptop did not seem to be getting overheated. It did not, though, and it managed to complete the task without any major problems arising. (Phew!) We're talking of ALL my digital camera photos (going back to my first digital camera from 2006) and also all edited versions + all scanned and 'photo-copied'  and downloaded images (including lots and lots of both new and old postcards + copied old photos from family albums). 

On Saturday, I continued to also transfer/copy Documents, plus all my collected Music and Audio books (other than the Audible ones, which are thankfully safely stored online).

So now, knowing I have a fresh back-up of everything 'personal', I feel I can relax a little about the computer situation. Besides Windows' protests about lack of storage space for important updates earlier in the week, I do also have another "issue" with the laptop though - which means I'd still better start looking into finding a replacement a.s.a.p.

 Yes. It's sort of "coming apart at the seams" (reminding of my old phone after the battery overheated). I did notice some time ago that the 'mouse' part had risen a little - but it still worked then, and I always use the laptop with a separate keyboard + 'roller mouse' anyway...

However, it has got worse; and the 'click' function on the laptop no longer works at all now. So looking into getting a new laptop popped right up to the top of things to do next...There are a lot of things to consider, though, so I don't want to be too hasty about it. (And no need to be, now that I know I have personal files safely backed up.)

Meanwhile, I'm not letting the computer work "unsupervised"; and have also taken the extra precaution of not only turning off the laptop itself when I've finished, but have also added an extra "switch" to the wall socket...


Whereas a mobile phone is usually "on" 24/7, the battery in the laptop really shouldn't have a chance to get overheated all by itself.

Friday, 24 March 2023


Testing something I haven't tried before: Writing a post from my tablet using the Blogger app. The reason: I may find myself needing to do that, because I think my laptop is about to give up on me too... A Windows update just failed because of not enough storage space... I'm now trying to move some photos to an external hard drive. I have waaaaay too many photos and they take a looooong time to move... 

So I need to get a new laptop as well, I just hope the old one will give me time to sort it before it quits! 

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Update: Day Four

It's Day Four after my old phone suddenly died on me. (Yes - an incident dramatic enough to start a new "calendar"...) If you read my previous post you already know that I spent Saturday evening and most of Sunday searching online for a replacement, but finally managed to pre-order one at a store in my town where I wold be able to pay for it when I went to pick it up. 

So on Monday, around 11 am, I set out on this errand. It had rained earlier in the morning but the rain had stopped by the time I had to go out. I have about 15 min walk to the station, from where I took a bus "across town" (another 15 min or so). I had received instructions to go round the back of the huge store to pick up my parcel. Never having gone through this procedure before I felt a bit lost, but I found my way there all right, and there was no queue and no problems. Then I went back to the main entrance and into the store to ask if they also had some shell/cover to to fit the new phone. They did, and a good sturdy one too. (Just looked it up online and find it described in English as a "smart full body protective shell stand holder cover"...

I was able to catch the next bus back (buses 30 min apart on that line), and then walked back from the station again, so the whole errand didn't take me more than around 1½ hour.

So far, so good. Meanwhile, however, I'd also found out (already on Sunday) that my old SIM card was the wrong size for the new phone. I was able to order a new card with the same number to be sent to me, but I still haven't got that. As we only get mail delivered every other weekday now, and it didn't arrive today, my next chance is Friday... Can only keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best! (I.e. that they really do send it directly to my postbox, and not to be picked up... Because they usually inform about that by text messages these days; and as my phone is not working, no such messages would reach me...) 

Left: My new phone - Samsung Galaxy A33 5G
My old phone - Sony Xperia Z3 (from 2014)

While I can't complete the set-up of the new phone without the SIM card, I did nevertheless start the process already on Monday afternoon. Got the phone charged, connected it to my WiFi, and got started on trying to get acquainted with how to download apps etc. Phew... I continued with this all day yesterday, and almost felt my own brain having a melt-down in the process. Everything seemed to be in a different place than on my old phone, and as soon as I had managed to find where they'd hidden things, or figure out how to do this or that... it all seemed to slip right back out of my memory again, so that with the next app I had to start from scratch once again...

I've struggled on, though, and by now I think I've managed to recreate most of the apps from my old phone, and get them sorted in an order with which I feel vaguely familiar... 

The all-important Mobile Bank-ID one can't be recreated until I also have the SIM card, though. (I could go on quite a bit more about that but I'll skip that for now.)

As can be seen from the photo above, the new phone is somewhat bigger than my old one - and also a bit heavier - so feels a bit clumsier to me, but I suppose I'll get used to that. You can also see that it has no less than four camera lenses on the back (+ flash +one front camera). I've not yet had time to explore the camera functions much - I just snapped a few shots of some new plants I bought yesterday:


A Saintpaulia (African Violet), for my living room window, and a small yellow kalanchoe for my ceramic Easter rooster (which I had since before).

And a bigger yellow kalanchoe for my kitchen window.

After having installed my Audible app on the phone yesterday, I also found myself impressed with the sound from this new phone. I've not yet tried it with music, but I'm sure it will get along very well with my audio books...

I'll hold off more "reviews" until we get a bit better acquainted!

Sunday, 19 March 2023

The Death of a Phone


I've spent this weekend grieving the death of a faithful servant - my Smartphone. It did not have to suffer long, but its last few hours seemed rather a struggle. Or at least they were to me! After having served me well for 8½ years or so, yesterday afternoon it suddenly refused to be woken up from its slumber, and was also obviously suffering from quickly rising temperature. (It was not connected to the charger at the time, so I have no idea what exactly it was struggling with.) I moved it to a safe place (the kitchen sink) and managed a quick operation to remove its SIM card and memory card. A few hours later the phone had cooled down - and when I tried pressing its button one more time it granted me one last "look" - just to inform me that its battery power was now 0%. And then it stopped breathing.,,

I did not dare try resuscitate it again, because in its last struggles with the overheated battery, it's backside seemed to have expanded and almost come loose. 

So: Rest In Peace, old friend.

I then spent the next 24 hours (except a few hours sleep) trying to sort out various problems related to getting a replacement. Like: What do I want? What's available? Where? At what cost? And at how much trouble? (And in between also: Who do I need to inform about the number of the deceased phone being out of order for time being...)

At first the task did not seem impossible, as I had other devices for the internet, and for text messages an even older spare mobile (with a different number, on a different size sim card), and for phone calls also a "landline" phone (via my fiber optics cable). 

The major difficulty arose today when I had got as far as having decided on a replacement - but it turned out impossible for me to order it online, because whatever company and payment method I tried, they required my "mobile bank ID" to confirm. (I don't know if you have the same hassle in other countries.) And my "mobile bank ID" was, of course, on my dead phone...

At long last, I thought to check yet another company. Turned out they did have a few of the desired object in stock locally, and would allow me to pre-order to pick it up myself and pay for it at the store. So a bus trip (+ a bit of walking) "across town" is on my agenda for tomorrow...


Thursday, 16 March 2023

Other Birds (Book Review)


Other Birds: A Novel by [Sarah Addison Allen] 

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen (2022)
(Read on Kindle)

(I bought and read this book because I've read and liked previous books by the author.)

Sarah Addison Allen writes books in the genre of "magical realism". In all the books by her that I read before, the magic was strongly related to food. In this one, I find the food factor less dominant, even if it can still be noted in certain details.

Zoey Hennessey has inherited an apartment that belonged to her dead mother, and comes to Mallow Island to take possession of it. It's one of five condos in a building called Dellawisp - named after a special kind of bird, native to this island (and found nowhere else in the world). To add to the sense of mystery, Zoey also brings with her an unusual bird of her own. (To everyone else, it just looks like she's bringing an empty bird cage, though...)

The same night that Zoey arrives, one of her neighbours dies. This neighbour turns out to have been a hoarder; and the owner/manager of the Dellawisp hires Zoey (who is looking for a job) to help clear out her apartment, while also looking for a potentially valuable manuscript that is supposed to be hidden somewhere among all the hoarded piles of paper in there. 

While taking on this task, Zoey also gradually gets to know the other neighbours - all with their own stories and secrets. Sometimes there is a thin line between the present and the past, and what is "real" or not. Some of the chapters in the book are also "ghost stories" - told from the perspective of people who are no longer living - but none the less still "hanging around", so to say... and in various ways still affecting the lives of those they left behind. 

While this may sound strange, at the same time the book actually feels quite down to earth - dealing with themes like loss and grief, and how everyone struggles in different ways to work their own way through all that. 

Sarah Addison Allen also most definitely has a "a way with words", and I found myself quite frequently stopping to ponder over, and mark, key phrases and passages.


"Stories aren't fiction. Stories are fabric. They're the white sheets we drape over our ghosts so we can see them." (Quote from a fictional book within the story.)

"Birds are supposed to be messengers between heaven and earth."

"There are lots of things we can't see that are real."

"There were only two times in a person's life when a family secret should be revealed... at the very beginning, or at the very end."

"It is love, even if you're not loved back. It is."

- - -

SARAH ADDISON ALLEN is the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Lost Lake, First Frost and Other Birds. She's sold millions of copies worldwide and her books have been translated into more than thirty languages. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

My Moomin Mugs

In comments to my previous post I was asked to post photos of all my Moomin mugs. As my collection is no larger than nine, I did not find the request too overwhelming...

 I took some photos this morning while there was good daylight in the kitchen. 

The texts I got from Arabia's website (i.e. the manufacturer); see link at the bottom.

Muddler & Little My

"Muddler is a restless and absent-minded collector who lives in a coffee tin. He keeps all the buttons that he finds, but is hopelessly careless with his collection. He forgets things and loses stuff almost all the time."

"Little My is one of Mymble's children. She is the smallest and most energetic. Little My always decides herself what she will and won't do. She isn't bothered by a mess, and she is so small that she fits into a pitcher or kitchen drawer between the whisks and spoons."


Snufkin & Moominmama
is a gentle vagabond who plays his mouth organ and loves to fish. Moomintroll is his best friend and Little My is his stepsister. Snufkin wears a green hat and wanders the countryside wherever his fancy takes him."

"Moominmamma is a gentle mother who cares for others. She never reveals the secrets that she has been told. She makes sure that the Moominhouse is safe and feels loving to both her family and to visitors."


The Ancestor
"The fascinating, mystical Ancestor is small and hairy. He moves only at night time, and doesn't speak at all. He lives in the Moominhouse salon, behind the oven. He keeps on decorating the house by turning paintings upside down."


"Adventure Move" (The Comet) + "Spring Winter"

Adventure Move (Snorkmaiden, Little My, Mymble (My's sister), Moomin and others )
"The Moomins run away from a comet and bring only the absolute essentials along with them. The comet floats in the air and gets bigger every day, and looks like it will hit the ground very soon."

Spring winter (Snufkin, Moomin, Little My)
(My comment: Moomin trolls usually hibernate in winter - while Snufkin prefers to go south for the winter, and comes back in spring. One winter, Moomin wakes up early, while there is still snow on the ground. Little My is awake too; and a squirrel plays a role in the story.) 


Moomin Valley

(Summer. Moominpappa in the black hat + several other characters.)



"Moominpappa is very proud of the Moominhouse, which he built himself.
Guests are always welcome and the doors are always open, even at
night-time. Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomintroll live in the house
and are its permanent residents. Others come and go as they please."


You can find all Moomin mugs here:

"Arabia’s Moomins are turned from stories to ceramic illustrations by designer Tove Slotte. She has been drawing Moomins onto Arabia items since the beginning of the 1990s. The designer draws inspiration from Tove Jansson’s original illustrations."

My own "collection" started with the Muddler mug, which was a present from my friend G (who recently passed away) - either for Christmas or some birthday. Not sure what year. I thought the Muddler looked a bit lonely in my cupboard, so I got him Little My as companion, and I think I also bought the Moomin House around the same time. Then other friends gave me the Snufkin and Moominmamma mugs, I think for my 60th birthday. And the other four I've bought myself on different occasions after that.

The Moomin House has become my Water Mug, which means it's always on my kitchen countertop or draining board, never in the cupboard. The others I use for tea and I tend to vary which mugs I use the most from season to season. :) (I drink tea 3-4 times/day)

Monday, 13 March 2023

Weather Report and Copper Kettle


My Moomin mug for snowy days

My blog seems to have basically turned into a weather report lately; and I'm afraid I haven't got much else to offer today either. I haven't set foot outside my flat all day. During the night we had more snow falling; but no sooner had the snow plough been round in the morning than it turned to rain instead. Heavy rain is still falling, and strong winds rattling my windows as I write this - but the lawns are still all white. Remains to be seen whether the rain will turn to snow again in the night, or if it will keep on raining.

On a sunny day last week, I noticed the copper kettle in my kitchen window casting a copper-coloured shadow/reflection (not sure what to call it!) on the white window frame, looking almost like fire:

The copper kettle once upon a time belonged either to my grandmother or to her sister; I can't quite remember now. Possibly even to my great-grandmother before them. And by now I've had it for at least 30 years (or more) myself... It's my only copper object.

The Moomin mug is comparatively new. I have nine of those, all different. There are lots of different ones, and they're very popular among collectors. Some are rare, only having been produced in limited editions. I don't think any of mine belong in that category though. I'm also not really "collecting" them - I don't have room for that! So I just have enough to represent a number of different seasons and "moods"... ;-)

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Broad Road vs Narrow Path

Walking around the cemetery today, I have to confess that for the most part, I chose the 'broad roads' over the 'narrow paths'...


Friday, 10 March 2023

And It Kept Snowing...


Friday morning ~ 11 a.m., after a snowy Thursday and night...

Linking to Weekend Street/Reflections #111 

 * * *

It was no exaggeration to say earlier in the week that "winter is back". (Cf my Monday and Wednesday posts.) We've had more snow this week than all winter before!

A massive snowfall combined with strong winds started coming in on Thursday afternoon. It was still snowing when I got up this morning; and no snow ploughs were sighted in the side streets around here until around 10:30 am (when it had stopped snowing).

Lots of traffic chaos reported, and buses and trains cancelled etc. No worries for myself, as I did not have to go out. But difficult for all those who have to go to work... (And not all jobs can be done from home!)

▲ Thursday afternoon ~ 17:45 ▼

Friday morning ~ 08:05▼

In the afternoon,
with the temperature above 0°C, some paths that had been ploughed were almost bare again, and I ventured out on a short walk after all - with my weekly "delivery"  to the recycling bins...

Weather chaos not over yet... More snow may be expected tomorrow, and also next week.


Thursday, 9 March 2023

An Abandoned Book

 The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith


I gave up on this audio book about half way through. Skipped forward to the last chapter, and felt no regret for having done so... Then used my right as Audible member to return a book that proved not to my taste, and got my 'credit' back to use on another one instead.

In this case, I would have done well to read more reviews before I bought the book. But I'd read the previous ones in the series, and appreciated those enough to be curious about this new one too... Looking at more reviews written by others now, I find those to vary a lot, though; and I'm afraid I must agree with the critical ones.

If you're still curious about this book, I suggest you try it in text - not as audio. I bought it as audio myself because I happen to be in a subscription period with Audible at the moment (there was another book recently I wanted, and one or two more of interest to me coming up soon) - and also because it's a very long one. 

However, at the centre of the mystery in this novel is a computer game; and what I had not caught up on beforehand was that this means the story includes lots and lots of in-game or Twitter conversations between a horde of @-pseudonyms (also using  #hashtags). The murder case detectives Strike and Robin are working on involves digital spying - i.e. spending a lot of time participating in a game in digital disguise, following text conversations between players and trying to work out who is who, and relationships between them. And all this, in detail, we as readers are forced to listen in on as well...  I'd probably find that tiresome enough even in text, but it's definitely not a book suited for being read aloud - with every name pronounced in front of every sentence [(@X to @Y etc] to clarify who is saying what to whom; even if just exchanging curses (lots of those!) or "lol". Bits and pieces in between (with the detectives "in real life") sometimes did raise a bit more interest for me; but finally it just came to a point where I felt I couldn't stand another 17 hours or so of "twitter chats", and couldn't care less who might be who in the end. (When I jumped forward to read the final chapter before I quit, that was really just to check how it ended for detectives...)

Quotes from some other reviews on the Audible website:

"Robin and Strike parts are as solid as ever. However - huge parts of the book are filled with soulless, superfluous, and plain horrible Twitter gibberish."

"Great story well narrated but the endless twitter feeds and moderator channel chats were tedious and hard to follow on audio." 

"Repeated name tags on and on and on… truly irritating…"

"Too many game references for me as an older listener."


Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Let There Be Light

Still wintry here. Woke up to more snow today - but also, unexpectedly, sunshine. So although I had been planning a staying-in day, I managed to sneak in a short walk before lunch anyway. I was expecting an electrician to come and have a look at a couple of faulty switches in my kitchen, but he was not due until after 1 p.m. 

Looking out through my window around 8 a.m.

A brief walk in the cemetery around 11:30

Football field of untouched snow. (The pink spots in the sky are from pointing the camera right at the sun - not seeing a thing myself...)

* * *

The electrician came as promised in the early afternoon. He changed the light switch on my cooker hood - and let me understand I was far from the first tenant for whom that switch on that kind of hood (installed not all that many years ago) had broken... The other one I'd had problems with was a wall switch to the lamp over my kitchen table, which had been "moody" for a while (sometimes I've had to press it multiple times for the light to come on). He took it apart, muttered a bit, and said he didn't have the right kind of switch to replace it with in stock... So he put it back together again - but that seemed to be magic enough, because now it seems to be working as it should again. So we agreed to leave it at that and I'll call again if the problem reoccurs. (I should perhaps add that an advantage of being a tenant is that I don't pay extra for these kinds of repairs. So I'm happy as long as it works and there's no danger involved - which he assured me there wasn't.)

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