Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Sometimes the ads are so boring, impersonal and seem to be taken from a Personal ads phrasing-collection, option A. But who knows, maybe phrases like walks in the woods, evenings in front of the fireplace, cooking, sailing, well-trained and fit, good-looking, kind and love children are the ultimate ones for getting loads of replies from other love-starved seekers?
If I was searching for love in the personal section of the local newspaper, I sure wouldn't go for that. I'd look for the thought provoking ones. The ones in which you might detect a hint of personality, a hint of layers, a hint of something, someone worth knowing and exchanging thoughts and ideas with. And I'm sure that someone would be capable of writing a more interesting personal ad than a fit, wood-walker with a passion for sailing and fireplaces.
Some ads are just rather repulsive, others completely sad. Both somehow can leave a feeling of I really should answer and state my opinion on the matter. But instead I just hope the senders get all they deserve in life...
Some ads are just hilarious, completely unique and well-written, interest-rousing and probably makes a very good beginning of a book. One day...
So what of interest, if any, did I find in today's newspaper? And I'm skipping the completely uninteresting, the majority, ones, the ones with bad grammars, too many, and end up with these;
Father of three children looking for a new girl. My children think I work too much and that I need someone that makes me slow down - um, I wonder if that should be considered charming and appealing or possibly too much work...?
Beautiful, whole-formed nurse looking for older financial independent man who can stabilize my economy and future - yes I know, it actually says whole-formed and not well-formed, makes one wonder if there's such a thing as half-formed women too? And well, the words nurse, older man with good economy at least stir my imagination...
Frenchman with houses in Sweden, France and Spain is looking for a cultural woman to share his life - that one will most definitely get a lot of answers...
Man who likes trotters seeks woman who likes animals, trotters and cosy evenings at home - another imagination stirring one...
Single guy seeks female 35-55, you can most definitely be overweight or immigrant - somehow this one does leave me with a very sad feeling...
I'm especially fond of the ads searching for someone you've lost contact with or have seen on town, in the supermarket etc, like;
I saw you at the subway 22/7 between 3-4 pm. I got on at station Odenplan, you had a large mug and got off at the Central station - ok, but who are you behind the ad, male or female, and is it a man or female you're looking for? Purely statistically, how many people with large coffee mugs in their hands can be found at the subway...
And this one is my happy favourite this time around;
Blond amazon with a magic smile, frontmost in the no 2 bus, July 17th, 5.45 pm. You wore a pink blouse and had princess feet in flowery sandals - I so hope you find eachother!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
About 60 kilometres west, slightly north of Stockholm you'll find Alsta Trädgårdar/gardens - a little, or not so little really, oasis in the middle of nowhere. A personal garden created, in an old nursery, by a landscape gardener.
The Alsta gardens give you a relaxing and inspirational experience for all senses. You can buy plants - at nice prices, although I'm not all that impressed by the overall quality of the plants... - and creations from different craftsmen. Like furniture, silver, paintings, fabrics, jewellery, pottery, books and stationary etc.
There are also arts and crafts exhibitions held in the greenhouse. And if you want to not only feast your eyes on ceramic food, you can get something light to eat in the delightful café. If the weather permits you can enjoy your coffee outdoors. And if not, relax indoors either in the café or in the grapehouse.
I had every attention to be a good little gardener and keep it like that, and of course improve it. But as I've said before, I am the truly, madly, deeply the black sheep in my family of green fingered ones, so those intentions have since been up for reevaluation several times... But plans are made to be changed! Period.
I've planted and seeded countless flowers, plants and herbs over the years. Some of them have been a success, most haven't.
Some, few, of the feline members were more than inclined to use the trees to reach the sky. They most certainly didn't get any further than the tree tops. But that's more than enough. And even if the trees in question were rather unhappy to still be alive, it was no fun, at all, to be forced to cut them down... A couple of tuijas and a cherry tree.
I'm not very interested in conifers in my flowerbed, so I did get rid of them almost immediately. I wish they could have gotten a new home elsewhere, but they didn't. They were sent to conifers' heaven.
I threw out the huge compost barrels, they really didn't fit in and well, recycling in all its necessary glory - I don't want to have barrels of mould in my own, smallish garden.
I got rid of the butt ugly wash stand and planted what was to be a huge hosta there instead. I prefer to have my vagrant camp-corner more discreetly placed under the veranda roof. I hate ugly wash stands and hanging your laundry out to dry in plain sight.
Even if this is a perfectly view-free garden, I really very much hate the sight of a wash stand in what's suppose to be a green oasis, an area for contemplation and afterthought.
I'm not very interested in keeping order and looking after a plot of vegetables, and those darn blueberry bushes never really liked it there. So it became a part of the lawn.
And yes, under the lilac hedges is the main place for the eternal feline rest.
I do have a book in which I planned to write down every little thing I planted, every little thing I changed, if the invited green guests liked the nursing ethics or not. I rarely remember to do that. Sometimes I'm just pleasantly surprised about what decides to reappear the next year. Or not.
Years with a hefty amount of rain - like this one - keep the garden looking all green and delightful. Years with just too much sun, and a very small amount of rain, the lawn gets all dried up and dull, the flowers never really reach their ultimate look for the season.
It's muckin' afazing that they decide to stick around for yet another season, and give it that certain fluff, lush, thriving, irresistible look of a garden hosted by yours truly, with a Master's degree in Non-green fingering.
My favourite plant of them all is most definitely the larger than large clematis - a survivor from the previous gardener of the mansion - who every year keeps getting larger and larger and embed a large part of the garden with the most delectable white flowers. It really takes care of itself in the most gorgeous, exemplary way. And every summer I'm proud to be its host for yet another season.
Friday, July 27, 2007
The birds were in charge, I'm not sure I agree on this being the best way of posing, but they were adamant. Really.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
As I wrote before I didn't embrace the province, despite many merits, but I still think there are many interesting things to see and do while there. And I do love all the plentifulness of handicrafts and not forgetting old, traditional methods while producing great design there.
handprinted fabrics - which I vividly remember from both grandmother, old aunties and from my own home. And many of the very same patterns are still being produced! - can be found at Jobs Handtryck (Handprint).
I've always found these fabrics to be great gifts for sending abroad, as well as having myself of course. Since everything is carefully printed by hand it's also rather expensive. But so very beautiful, colorful, vivid and wonderful! The prints don't only come in fabrics my the metre but also in handbags, rucksacks, chairs, slippers, wallets, trays, coasters, vanity bags, children's clothes etc etc.
The prices still high, but considerably less so than in a "fancy" store in the city, when visiting the small factory outlet in Dalarna. I always get all starry eyed and salivating when looking at these fabrics, seeing all the wonderful things one might do with them... But I mostly settle for smaller items in the end *good girl*
Siljan. Apart from Jobs Handtryck, you'll find several other interesting things both historical and designwise.
Leksand you'll find the beautiful manor and gardens of Hildasholm - which I wrote a bit about here - and also quite a magnificent church with intricate, beautiful details.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Sometimes this feeling can be turned into something good, it's exciting and it'll definitely be transformed into something thought provoking and mind evolving, something to treasure, something that'll make you grow.
Sometimes it's quite the opposite, even if it's really difficult to actually pinpoint the exact reasons for getting the feeling of inconvenience and I-want-to-go-home-blues, you have it and you're stuck with it for the rest of the journey no matter what.
I can totally understand getting the feeling when travelling abroad, to a place with a whole other way of seeing things. The culture, manners and habits are, if not out of this world at least out of your realm of the world. The part you know and understand, and hopefully feel really at home, comfortable and relaxed with.
The reasons for the feeling isn't as easy to grasp when it happens in you own country. While away for the weekend or possibly a longer trip of some sorts, you might find that this is really different to what you're used to. The way people conduct business, the way they dress, the way they walk, the way they talk, look at you, interact - it's like another country. And not in a good sense.
The only things that are alike are the chain shops and ATM:s. Other than that, a foreign country that makes you feel completely uncomfortable and out of place, even when speaking the same factual language (with dialectal differences).
Some times you share the experience and the feeling of slight alienation with others and possible travel companions. Others the feeling is all yours to handle and live with.
Having that feeling when people rave about a place, a country, about it's beauty, experiences, people, food, town and country, gives it a new degree of discomfort.
Perhaps you can see the beauty of the place in a purely objective way, if you step out of yourself for a moment or two. But you'll never feel comfortable, never embrace it fully, never rave about it to others. And the homesickness never take a step aside.
It might possibly be a question of having too much time to watch, think and analyze every little detail. But on the other hand, when you fully embrace a place, a country, you rarely do that without also seeing the flaws.
It's the ambiance, the combination of details and the fact that nothing, no one, no country, no city is flawless but with its very own style and personality, cityality, countryality *Practica Pia times two* pros and cons that makes one embrace it/him/her in full.
I have a friend who'd always lived in the Stockholmian suburbs and being used to the huffs and puffs in city life. After uni, work took her to small towns and suddenly she was different. Different in the way that she felt really uncomfortable when in Stockholm, everything went so fast, the way they served lattes in cafés, the way people went shopping, the public transportation system. Everything she did had a feeling of awkwardness and discomfort. All of a sudden comfort equalled small town.
I wonder if living in a city, and it doesn't have to be a larger than large city like London, makes you feel more comfortable in another big city in another country, than in a smalltown, a village, in your own country? Myself I think so, I mostly feel comfortable in cities, no matter where they're situated, but I can feel so terribly out of place in a small town. The feeling of Scotty-beam-me-up can get really intense.
Oh my, the ramblings of feelings became a bit drawn out... What I was meant to be writing was that our recent trip to Dalarna was rather disappointing, because of many of the above mention feelings of being so out of place. Yes, I can objectively see why many people find the province a lovely and delightful piece of countryside as well as historically interesting.
There are many artistic craftsmen and old small scaled businesses in that province, many of whom you can visit in open workshops as well as buy all sorts of peachy things. The typical way they build their houses and the way they decorate them is just delightsome. It's very rural, very provincial, very old fashioned in parts.
Things that do sound very sweet and appealing on paper, and in pictures. But guess what. I could never shake the feeling of being a city cat amongst rural ermines. And I'd swap it for walking down the streets of a Yorkshire- or Scottish village anytime...