Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Canoes on the River

Last Saturday, I went for a walk along the river in town, and suddenly there were canoes everywhere... I haven't got a clue what was going on, but some of the paddlers did not seem very experienced... And they were wearing fancy costumes, too!







I'll soon be off on a little adventure myself, although hopefully not quite as adventurous as this. My brother will be arriving here tomorrow and then we're planning a little trip. Not very long or far. But involving some places not previously seen on this blog. 


...See you in a while, crocodile!...





Saturday, July 22, 2017

Postcard for the Weekend: Bridges

Postcrossing card from China (Shanghai), July 2017

In the dark, I can't tell if those roads/bridges are crossing water or land... An impressive piece of engineering, indeed - but I can't say it tempts me to go there.

Weekend Linky Party:

Friday, July 21, 2017

More Lake Reflections


More photos from the same lake as last week. These are from my second visit, the next day (which was last Friday). On that day, I only spent one hour there, but that was still time enough to explore the narrow little peninsula of woodland sticking out into the lake from the beach. (See map below. The path around the peninsula is only about 400 m altogether.) The photo above is from out on the point. The ones below were taken along the path there and back. 


 Mainland to the left of the bay, peninsula on the right
- red dotted line marking the path.


 



 



  
Back on the mainland - peninsula to the left.


Linking to:

SkyWatch Friday 

   Weekend Reflections

Monday, July 17, 2017

Three books I listened to in June

Dragon Airways Audiobook 
Dragon Airways
  • Written by: Brian Rathbone
  • Narrated by: Fred Kennedy
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins 

Publisher's introduction:
Dragon Airways - One way or another you're going to fly.
Emmet is a boy with special needs and unusual talents. His ability to sense magic makes him valuable to both sides of the war. Fleeing those sent to capture him, he and his sister board Dragon Airways, not knowing friend from foe. Some betray him; others risk their lives trying to save him. Never would he have guessed the impact an aging dragon would have on his life or the adventures they would have together.

I'm afraid this fantasy story failed to really capture me. It was a cheap buy, and of course it was the dragon that attracted me... ;) However, I found the setting of this story a rather strange mix, including air balloons and air ships and propeller air crafts and dragons (used for transport by humans as well - equipped with a saddle or cabin rather like what you may have seen on  pictures of elephant rides in the Far East). And of course there is War going on, and magic involved; but I never really seemed to get a grip of who was fighting whom or why (although I suppose that could be said about most wars and power-struggles in our own world too). 

Upon further investigation it also turns out, of course, to be the first book in a Series. And by an author who has written several more fantasy series that I never heard of. Can't say I feel tempted to explore further any time soon. Perhaps it is one of those series that works its magic better on younger readers - I can't really say.

(There is tough competition in the world of fantasy... I guess not every writer can be expected to wave their wand/pen as masterfully as J.K. Rowling...)


The Bookshop on the Corner Audiobook 
 The Bookshop on the Corner
  • Written by: Jenny Colgan
  • Narrated by: Lucy Price-Lewis
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins

I found the title and cover art of this book (and audio book) a bit misleading, because while it does involve a bookshop, it is not situated on a specific corner. When looking up some facts about the book and author afterwards, I find that the same book has also been published under the title The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After. 

The main character, Nina, is a librarian who is very good at pairing a reader with the perfect book. When the library she works at is closed and she is left unemployed, she ends up buying an old van and turning it into a mobile bookshop out in the countryside. There are of course a few male characters involved in the plot as well, to keep up the search of the happy-ever-after factor...

An easy read/listen; and sometimes that's what one wants. It didn't really have a "wow" factor for me, though.

A list of other titles by the same author doesn't tempt me to put any of those on my list any time soon either: ... The Loveliest Chocolate Shop In Paris, The Little Beach Street Bakery, Meet me at the Cupcake Café ... I can't help but suspect a rather high risk of repetition!


Good Omens Audiobook 
 Good Omens
  • Written by: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins

Publisher's Summary:
The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. Put New York Times best-selling authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett together...and all Hell breaks loose.

Back in 1990, when this book was first published, this summary of its contents might have made me doubt that it would be "my kind of book". (?) I don't think I ever heard of it back then, though.
Since then, I have read (listened to) all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels (40+ of them!), and some of Gaiman's stories too; and with this one I didn't have to listen long before I felt pretty sure I was going to thoroughly enjoy it through all the breathtaking and surprising twists and turns, all the way to the end - whatever that might turn out out be! The narration by Martin Jarvis is also really excellent. 

As for "understanding" the story in itself, it probably does help if you are already familiar with (and like) Pratchett's kind of humour. But there are also two or three other "classics" that I think you should be acquainted with to fully appreciate Good Omens. First of all: The Bible - especially the first book of the Old Testament, and the last of the New Testament (i.e. Genesis and The Book of Revelation) Second (perhaps not as obvious): The William series by Richmal Crompton... Also a series of 40-something books, written between 1922-1970 - and with the main character being a mischieveous, but in his own way well-intending, 11-year-old boy. (The characters in the William series never age, even though the setting does evolve to be more or less contemporary with the time when each book was written.) I did read some of those back in my childhood/youth - and actually reread two of them not long ago (the first two, which can now be found for free as e-books). (Seriously - I would recommend having read at least one William-book before you read Good Omens, or else so much will pass you by...)

I won't tell you any more about Good Omens, except that after having finished it, I added it to my own private mental list of "Books that J.K. Rowling probably read before she wrote Harry Potter".

 

Through My Lens: Little Sparrow

On Saturday afternoon, I went and sat for a while in another of the town's many little parks; only a short walk from where I live, down by the river, where there is a little dam and waterfall.


I liked the view better before that high tower block (above) was added a few years ago... but never mind... The flowers are pretty, and the sound from the waterfall pretty much drowns out the traffic noise from the roads nearby.










After a while I got company: A little bird came and sat on one of those high trellises nearby. I couldn't see it very well with my bare eye from where I sat, but it looked small and kind of fluffy. And from the way it just kept sitting there, I got the impression that it was probably a young one, perhaps not all that used to flying yet. After a while I took out my camera and zoomed it in. It also gave me a chance to practice using the optical viewfinder on the new camera, together with the zoom. The bird didn't seem bothered by my movements. I thought perhaps it didn't hear the camera sounds because of the waterfall...




 
... But looking at the pictures afterwards I get the impression that it was watching me just as much as I was watching it!

After a while, another bird came along. It only stopped for a short while, but I got the impression that it was probably Mum (or perhaps Dad - I'm not really sure how they divide the childcare between them!). Anyway it seemed to be touching beaks with the young one, as if feeding it something. Alas, I didn't manage to quite catch that moment. But you can see in the photo below that for a while there were two. "Mum" soon took off again, though - while the young one remained sitting.



 


After a while I dared to get up and walk around to take photos from a different angle. The bird stayed where it was, but turned its head around to keep an eye on me...



I think it must be a young sparrow - what do you think? 

It must eventually have taken off while I went for a little stroll to the other end of the park. When I turned back, it had left.



Linking to Through My Lens

 Through My Lens

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Shadow Shot Sunday

It's raining here this Sunday... But never mind - I still have more sunny pictures from earlier in the week to share!

We're now leaving the enclosed beach area, crossing a bridge over the river, and going for a little walk  along a path with the river on one side, and summer cottages on the other. 

 No diving from the bridge, please!













Melampyrum nemorosum is an herbaceous flowering plant in the broomrape family, Orobanchaceae. It is native to Europe. In Sweden it is called "natt och dag" (Night and Day).


I was happy to find this beautiful flower growing here by the river. I'm not sure if it's really rare, but I've only seen it in one other place before that I can remember - and that is in a certain spot close to where we had our house (at the other end of the same lake). There I remember it even back from my early childhood, when the house belonged to my grandparents, and I sometimes walked in the woods and fields near the lake with my grandmother. It was still growing there a few summers ago (and hopefully still is!). 


Time to turn around - and on our way back, to look at bit more at the cottages on the other side of the path... I didn't go up close to any of them, though - not wanting to intrude on anyone's private space! 





 . . .


 Shadow Shot Sunday 2
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