A photo from 4th December. I haven’t been out much this week since Monday. The weather has been less photogenic since then! Still some snow on the ground, but mostly slush on the roads. And none of the white stuff left on the trees at the moment. (That could all change again over night, though. One never knows!)
Friday, December 15, 2017
Monday, December 11, 2017
Woke up to the sound of the snow plough this morning…
Went out for a little walk later on - to post some more Christmas cards for abroad, and to take some photos while the snow was still fresh and clinging to the trees. (Yes, well equipped with anti-slipping devices on my boots, and two walking poles to hold on to… The latter making it not all easy to also handle a camera! But I stopped here and there for photos.)
Sunday, December 10, 2017
From a walk along the river yesterday. A calm and sunny day in between storm and rain - and snow.
This morning, I was surprised to find a white world outside my windows again. Probably enough to make a snowman, had I felt so inclined!
This guy, however, is inside a display window in town. He keeps lifting his hat to passers-by – but alas my camera failed to quite catch that.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Stormy and rainy outside today… I’ve been mostly ignoring the weather, though - staying in, and making gingerbread biscuits/cookies…
Back in my working years (in a previous
life century) I often used to take a day off this time of year to bake for Christmas. Then followed a lot of years when, because of my neck/arm pains, I had to avoid all recipes involving manual kneading and tucking of dough, and lifting of heavy baking-plates. I think it wasn’t until last year that I had a go at making my own gingerbread biscuits again. But then I managed to successfully adjust my recipe for a smaller batch; and so I decided to try it again this year. Feeling quite pleased with myself at the end of the day. There’s really nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread/cake/biscuits to cheer up a rainy winter day! ; )
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Maria’s generous theme for this week is “Anything You Wish”, which suits me to a tee, as some cards landing on my doormat this week were reminders of holiday traditions in other countries – from American Thanksgiving, to Dutch “Sinterklaas”.
A llama came trotting from Ginny in the U.S. with a ‘special delivery’ and note of thanks.
And from Jarina in the NL came a couple of cards to do with the Dutch tradition of celebrating the arrival of St Nicholas already in mid November (See Wikipedia article: Sinterklaas), leading up to gift-giving celebrations on 5th/6th December (St Nicholas Eve/Day) rather than on Christmas Eve (the 24th, as in Sweden) or Christmas Day (as in Britain or the U.S.).
Well – I always did have a sneaking suspicion that it must be stressful for Santa/Tomten to make it all happen in just one night, all over the earth... So quite relieved, really (for his sake) to learn that evidently, he’s always been sensible enough to spread the traditions out a bit.
From what I now understand, he comes by steam boat from Spain to the Netherlands. Then he goes around that neighbourhood of Europe on horseback. I’m not sure how he then prefers to travel up to the North Pole to collect his flying reindeer… (Here in southern Sweden, he often comes on foot!) But I guess if he’s managed before, he’ll probably pull it off it this year as well.
Any information you may have on the topic may be given in comments below!
In the Netherlands, they leave hay for Santa’s horse in a shoe by the fireplace.
And here Sinterklaas is checking the famous Book, to see all you said and did over the past year. (Possibly, he now just uses Facebook instead. What do you think?)
I also received the first Christmas card, from a penpal in England who is always early with hers. With all those other red traditional uniforms in London, I guess Santa would blend in rather discreetly if he needed to do some extra shopping on his way up north…
Now for the next couple of weeks I’ll be pretty busy writing my own cards to get them sent off in time… Hm!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
(Maisie Dobbs #12)
Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear (2016)
A Journey to Munich (2016) is the 12th novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s series about private investigator Maisie Dobbs. The story in this novel is set in 1938, just before WWII. My review(s) of some of the previous book(s) in Jacqueline Winspear’s series about private investigator Maisie Dobbs can be found here. My opinion about the series has varied a bit from one book to another. Along the way, I have sometimes felt that the background story took over too much, and went off in directions that caused problems for the author as well for the reader. However, with this book, I felt that both Maise and the author seemed to be kind of “back on track” again. While we are still getting filled in on background details in Maisie’s life, the focus in this book is on her current mission, involving a journey to Nazi Germany as an agent for the British Secret Service, under assumed identity as the daughter of a British subject held prisoner in the concentration camp at Dachau near Munich. The German government has agreed to release the prisoner, but only if he is handed over to a family member. His real daughter is dead, though. But the Germans don’t know that… So the question is, can Maisie do a good enough job of pretending to be her? I found the story interesting and well told. For me perhaps also a bit extra interesting as I once visted the memorial site and museum at Dachau myself (on a tourist journey back in 1990).
(I read the book on Kindle in September 2017.)
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Cash Cow by Nina McGrath **
A free Kindle book that I read back in August.
If not for Australian place names mentioned, I would have taken for granted it was American, as (to me) it has a definite ring of “Hollywood housewives”. The main character, however, is a young woman struggling to keep ends meet, and desperate to get a job to keep an aggressive debt collector at bay. She is offered a job working as a nanny for a wealthy Sydney couple, the Kings. She soon finds out that she is not the only nanny, but one of three, paid to look after … I think it was four kids. Always at least one nanny on duty, around the clock. Simone does get rather attached to the children along the way; but her employers, the parents, turn out to be a real handful - and the working conditions highly questionable. It’s also a mystery how exactly the Kings are able to keep up the affluent lifestyle that they do.
All in all a “light read”; and the outcome kind of predictable, even if some twists and turns along the way contribute to making one keep on reading. Sometimes I felt nearly as frustrated with Simone and her fellow nannies as with their employers. But at the same time, I guess the story does reflect some of the traps one may easily fall into when young and inexperienced, and desperate to get one’s first job and earn some cash.
I might recommend it to someone thinking of going abroad to work as “au pair”…
Saturday, November 25, 2017
The last Saturday in November here means that it’s time to turn on the Christmas lights in the city. As usual there was to be a ceremony at 4 p.m. including a brass band and a torchlight procession from the town park to the main square; where the Christmas tree has already been up for a few weeks, but without the lights turned on. It was a grey and dull day, but around 3:15 p.m. still not raining, and not too chilly or windy. So I decided to walk into town to check out this year’s decorations.
Of course(?), 15 minutes later, when I was well on my way, the sky opened, and rain was pouring down! However, I decided that there wasn’t much to gain by turning around. I had an umbrella, and the parts of me not covered by that would get wet either way; so I might just as well continue into the city centre and take the bus back home from there. I did not stop to watch or join the procession from the park to the square, though… But I managed to snap a few shots of already lighted decorations on my way to catch the bus. Heavy rain, twilight, and mobile phone camera managed with one hand only (needed the other hand to hold the umbrella!)… So no top quality night shots. But you’ll get an idea of the atmosphere – and some wet street reflections.
New decorations (the archways) on a bridge over the river; reflected in a very wet pedestrian street.
This is overlooking the river. Not really easy to tell what’s street vs river in these photos!
Friday, November 24, 2017
Postcrossing card from the Czech Replublic, April 2017
CZ-1158648 / “Book in an ancient library”
Postcrossing card from Germany, July 2017
”Woman lying on a bench reading” (1913)
Painting by Swedish artist Carl Larsson (1853-1919)
From Jarina in the NL, January 2017
Ill. by Fiep Westendorp (1916-2004)
From GB, December 2016
Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Another mural from the No Limit street art festival in September.
Work in progress above…
… and then I went back to see the result a few weeks later.
Artist: Lakwena (from London)
The link goes to an interview I found online, where she talks about her art as a “contemporary expression of worship” and “the importance of words and how much power they have”.
Friday, November 17, 2017
CN-2123514 (Maxi card – Watermelon)
Postcrossing card from China, February 2017
The Strawberry Fairy (by Cicely Mary Barker)
Postcrossing card from Lithuania, October 2017
Refreshing reminders of summer in the midst of grey and rainy November