Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
In my goodie bag exchange - which I most probably will write more about later, since I feel all giddy and starry eyed-five-year-old-on-Christmas-Eve after unwrapping its wonderful, wonderful contents - was also one item of hedgehog. The soft kind. The squeaker toy kind. For one hairy loafdoggie.
I'm far from certain it was the most brilliant of ideas, from my poor ears point of view. One loaf extraordinaire on the other hand has found a new bestest friend. A friend that he protects with every fierce fibre of his muscular, rotund little loaf dog body.
To summarize this evening; human ears not very happy, poor hedgehog probably not too content with the welcome to Sweden-committee, one loaf doggie extraordinaire more than extremely pleased with choice of gift ~
After a long drive up to Edinburgh, during which we hadn't stopped for dinner, it was pretty late and we were craving nourishment. The friendly proprietor of the lovely B&B we had chosen pointed us down the street to a small hotel situated in this pretty residential area. She promised us that we wouldn't be disappointed.
I find that one of many good things about staying at B&B's in Scotland and England are that the proprietors' tips on food and restaurants are with few exceptions really very good, and as it turned out this place wasn't one of those exceptions.
Hotel Ceilidh-Donia was not only a pretty Victorian building but one with a friendly, relaxed ambiance and accommodating staff - including two adorable golden retrievers, that would be completely out of question due to health regulations at a Swedish hotel, sigh... -, even though we were late and hadn't booked a table. Since it was a lovely, warm evening we decided to have our dinner outside in the secluded garden area.
Cider first, then a look at the menu which offered various vegetarian dishes - places with such good judgment are of course always top notch establishments - since I missed my carrots and my beetroots at home I opted for the goat's cheese, beetroot and caramelized walnuts salad. It was an absolute spot on mmm-choice.
I'm no fan of goat's cheese in general, but this teamed up so very, very well with the beetroots, the rest of the carefully prepared salad - although less, much less of rocket please - and the delicious bits of caramelized walnuts. Oh what a great detail those were!
For dessert I had a nice sticky Highland toffee pudding - yes, I do like my sticky toffee pieces when on holiday in the British isles -
and M had a creme brulee, which was of course nothing remotely close to the heavenly sinful one but it made for a pretty picture at least.
A meal that was really lovely round off to a day spent too much in the car and an equally lovely this time around first food encounter of the Edinburgh kind. Needless to say I very much recommend a visit if hungry and in the vicinity of 14-16 Marchhall Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland, that's where you'll find Hotel Ceilidh-Donia
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Some of my favourite books were the Narnia chronology and later on of course The Lord of the Rings. Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" is one of my favourite reads (as a grown up) ever. I do like a bit of magic in my life as well as in my books, but I'm far from a great fan of the fantasy genre in general, mainly since I like literature that I can in different aspects relate to. Or if not that, so darn well and ingenuously written I get totally absorbed.
Fantasy literature just doesn't do much for me, and well, I somehow have a notion that too much of reading (only) literature like that stops you from dealing with the real world. Or perhaps that is just my fantasy playing tricks?
But I, like so many with me, couldn't help but being drawn to the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. Enjoyed the two-three first books, after that I was rather (over)full... Yes I can still definitely see the greatness and ingenuity in creating the characters, details and books, but seven of them - of which I can't tell one apart from another - is really stretching the perseverant patience of one Pia.
Frankly, IMHO they're not very well written. Granted it might have something to do with the translation - I share my books with non-English readers - perhaps they are brilliant pieces of fiction in English... But for some reason I doubt that. And even though they're (rather scary) children's books I did expect more of a snazzy lingua with all the haussing surrounding them. On the other hand, eloquent writing is perhaps not the foremost important thing in children's books?
To me the HP books are the children's books equivalent to (badly written) chick lit, rather full of cliches (genre or otherwise) and cheap jokes. Too many, less than well put, words to get to the finish line - and there are still six books to go. Kind of. I was adamant to finish the whole series though (of course) - and not only because they look great in my bookshelf and the Swedish cover paintings are lovely - but the last one took ages.
To be more exact, about one year. I have now finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and phew, I'm so glad to say goodbye for the very last time. Even if it was with quite an anticlimactic both lengthy and muddled ending - not to mention the silly epilogue of 19 years later, I found it to be a beyond words incredibly twerpy round off.
In one of the last pages of the last book I did however found a passage that I can very much relate to, and that was when Dumbledore said that the most suited for power are never the ones who have sought it, but the ones who suddenly have to take the lead and the mantle because they have to and find they do it well.
That is something that has always also been my impression of and opinion about people that wants to lead, the up-and-coming-bosses-to-be that gets all starry eyed in the prospect of being in power for its own sake. And no matter what they claim they most often do it to line their pockets at other people's expense. Hence they rarely if ever do it well. Especially since power corrupts.
So still, despite your flaws, it has been nice to have met you, Harry, you and your entourage of from time to too much time annoying traits.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Time flies, only a few months back there was blogpost number 900 in the World According to Undersigned, it almost coincided with the three years' blogoversary. And hey presto, now it's already number 1003!
Number 1000 turned out quite befittingly to be another special day (something I didn't realize until a few days after the fact). So the blogpost was kind of celebrated, even if not by own merits. Dear blog with posts, the above cake (which was absolutely delicious) was eaten also in celebration of you reaching the 1000 post mark. I hope you had the best of days.
Now over to another day of celebrating the colour red ~
The red foursome this week consists of one red man walking, just because people wearing clothes in gorgeous red - instead of these drab and completely uninspiring black, navy, grey, beige outer garments everywhere you look in Stockholm, Sweden... - makes me happy.
Despite those drab looking coats, clothes and outfits colourwise, Swedes do like their red cars...
... and of course our red houses, that come in many shapes and forms.
And yes, the trees around here, there and everywhere are still as much photo inviting as they have been for some autumn time now. Some more than others.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The company was founded in 2005 after a meeting of the Rotary Club in the small industrial town of Sandviken - about two hours drive north of Stockholm - and the fragrance design centre plus shop is situated in the industrial community yet rural Högbo outside Sandviken.
They work with six - so far - major fragrance families, which are wild strawberries (not very surprisingly, my absolute favourite!), honey vanilla, birch apple (lovely fresh, sweet and wonderful), cloudberry jasmine (not a nice one), lingonberry rose (gorgeous scent) and blueberry lavender (too much lavender). There are also three additional fragrances which concentrates on perfumes, white jasmine, patchouli and cedar lime, the latter two being men's fragrances. None of which I find very appealing.
Money from October sold products in the pink lingonberry rose series contributes to breast cancer reasearch.
Most of the six major fragrance families comes in soap, body butter, body lotion, bath salt, shower gel and body splash. Some also comes in the shape of scented candle, shampoo and conditioner, travel kit, body scrub and perfume.
Not the cheapest of brands perhaps, though right up my alley as far as quality and philosophy go. The only product I have my serious doubts about, hence haven't invested in, are the body splashes. Measly bottles and the scent seems flighty. When it comes to splashes for body nothing whatsoever seems to beat the Bath & Body Works ones, neither in quality nor price...
In the shop adjacent fragrance design centre you can have a look by yourself or get a guided tour on the making of perfumes and fragrances. IMHO not the highlight of the visit, but I did like the waterfall-glass installation which did not only look lovely but also produced a both very soothing and invigorating sound.
The company is blessed with a gorgeous website which I'm totally infatuated by. Inexplicably only in Swedish though, but even if one can't read the text it's just a very pretty place to be - head there if you want to experience something relaxingly lovely (and have an interesting read in Swedish). Don't forget to have the sound on. Click on "Våra produkter" and then on the different fragrance families to get some really sweet glimpses of the perfect Swedish summer, nature and countryside.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I like my place in the sun, I like my grass, I like my fluffy pillow, but when it's the time of the year to turn back the clock I like my laundry basket best of all. It's comfy, secluded and of the perfect shape. I don't care one bit that some grumpy, old - yes, she is, add one year now - human complains about hairy laundry and the basket falling into pieces - huff and puff, she could have gotten a basket in a perfect shape from the beginning a k a Agnes-shaped. Hobbledehoy, away now, my nap time is far from over.
This weekend's Halloween edition of catblogging is kindly hosted by Amar and Luna at catsynth, head over there for the party, that is if you prefer action over sleeping ~
For cat lovers - especially LBC ones - which of course includes anyone human the least bit sane..., there's also a very interesting, and sad, read there, about black cats. Do read. And do appreciate cats, no matter what colour, as well as other animals, as the most amazing, loveable, adorable, quirky beings they are.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
This is what became of the fifth primoriginals pendant and since this is most certainly (and strangely) a study of shiny, black Waldemar on wheels, showing off some of his many special skills, this necklace - as opposed to the previous two - is definitely staying.
Waldemar is completely content about such a wise decision.
So am I.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I'm all too well aware of the fact that this household suffers from a serious case of spectacle wearing book worming, but really, did that stupid human have to turn LBC, shiny perfect me into one unbelievably dorky looking four eyes? This is completely undignified and not even remotely acceptable. She even had the audacity to cackle. A lot. I'm seriously concerned about the sanity of this residence. Can't help but think that revenge is going to be both sweet and savoury, all at once.
As some might have noticed I rarely write a resume or tell details about the storyline, since I think that can possibly spoil the read. For resumes I suggest a read of the book's back cover, an online bookstore or possibly the author's website.
I'm more interested in conveying my impressions of the quality of writing - best ever, brilliant, decent, good enough, average, bad, boring, lousy, crap, oh yes I like my adjectives -, the ingenuity of the plot, the mood it put me in, how easy or non easy a read it was, was it worth my time and energy or not - if it wasn't I most probably didn't even finish the book - and most of all, do I recommend it, wholeheartedly or semi-heartedly or definitely not at all - since there are some heartbreakingly overrated and bad written pieces of letters put into words, into sentences, into chapters and hey presto published as books out there...
The content of this book post will be mainly about three pieces, two fictional and one travel book. All very different in both plots and writing style. The starter will be the award winning Swedish novella. Novella it might be, an easy read not. But still worth it, in a somewhat mood lowering, slightly depressing way it does give food for thought and mind.
The name of the book is Stundande natten /Imminent Night by Carl-Henning Wijkmark and it's a story about and ageing actor in hospice care thinking about past life and his own imminent death. It was beautifully, somewhat tensely written, with a placid sense of humour. But also, not surprisingly, anxiety-ridden - thus not something I recommend as a light read before sleeping. I also think there were some loose ends that would have been better to completely omit from the book or tie together.
I had never heard of this writer before I learnt about him winning this Swedish literature prize called August priset (The August Prize) and I can honestly say that it's far from always I find the winning books to be good reads or well written, but some of them have been truly amazing reads and quite a few are some of my all time favourite books, like
Carl-Johan Vallgren; Den vidunderliga kärlekens historia (yes I know I keep repeating the name of this book as a mantra, but it really, really is that incredibly good...) - translated into the somewhat incredible title The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-reading Monster Hercules Barefoot - His Wonderful Love and His Terrible Hatred
Kerstin Ekman; Händelser vid vatten - translated as Blackwater
Majgull Axelsson; Aprilhäxan - April Witch
Book two is initially also about a man who gets deadly news from his doctor, but from then on everything is handled in a irritatingly silly and lighthearted way, written in a somewhat simpleton style just begging to be made into a movie. It might have been a lousy translation into Swedish, perhaps it's a piece of fine literature in English, myself I just found it quite annoying and not at all as endearing and sweet as many (including my mother) seem to think. I liked the little red bird part of the book, other than that the so called humour felt stale with ingredients from a manual. The ending was thrown together and way too neatly wrapped. Which is a pity since the plot itself could have been made into something quite wonderful.
IMHO, from this book one gets a quick, easy and far from satisfactory read, A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg. I did like the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, seems like her stories is fit for the screen but certainly no literary masterpieces.
Third book was a really lovely read with in parts, for me, a very high rate of cognition. From an author I hadn't heard of either before she was mentioned in a TV-show, Jenny Diski. The book is "On trying to keep still" about her misadventures as a reluctant author of travelogues.
This snazzy writer is funny, poignantly apt, the book is full of both self-pitying as well as a self-distancing irony and thought provoking observations. From New Zealand, to the English countryside to the very north of Sweden, the cold, dark, snowy Lapland. I'm so looking forward to begin reading another book of her, already in my-to-read-heap. But it has to wait its turn yet some time...
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
For this Ruby Tuesday I have high flying red objects as well as the more earthbound on four cute wheels.
There are red picket fences in the middle of Stockholm city and there are delightful reddish encounters of the hairy Highland cattle kind in the suburbs.
Monday, October 20, 2008
For various reasons I'm not particularly fond of motorbikes or bikers. There's one exception to this non-fondness though. And that's when the bike is handled by a more senior citizen. Men and women in their past middle age are often of course more prudent and safe drivers, but what's most striking is that they always seem to be so happy and content to the fullest enjoying this way of using the roads. Having found something that brings them great joy and fulfillment.
I discovered these three very non-grumpy men the other day and managed to sneak a photo of them - I find the guy in brown leather and a fancy moustache going on to be rather adorable, in a father Christmas kind of way. He also sported a matching and very nice bike when it came to looks, whilst the other two drove something boringly modern, drab and plastic looking. Which made me come to this empirical and scientifically well supported, sound conclusion - matter of taste in the world of senior bikers is a fancy moustache thing.
Perhaps it's just me, but I somehow get the impression this autumn is showing an oranger - yes, that's definitely a word - side than ever. Everywhere I look I see orange, not yellow, not red, but that lovely mood enhancing shade just in between - ah, isn't it delightful...
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I'm not much of a dishcloth buying person, especially not very costly cloths for cleaning purposes only. Hence I have no idea how good or worth the money (60 SEK) these particular cloths are. But every time I pass them in craft shops the idea that they'd make nice gifts - of course in pair with something else because I wouldn't want to imply that the gift receiver could do a better job at cleaning - swirls intensely.
They come off like sturdy, eco-friendly, colourful niceties (26 colours available!) that makes cleaning a dash bit funnier. I might be wrong regarding the eco bit, since cotton most often sadly isn't as natural and environmental friendly as one was brought up to think...
But the Swedish company, Iris Hantverk (Handicrafts), behind the design seems like an interesting one. They design, make - handmade by visually impaired - and sell lovely crafts in their main shops in Stockholm - shops that scream spend, spend, spend when you look at the window displays... - as well as abroad. For more information, see website
Saturday, October 18, 2008
~ Just because they showed such lovely luxuriance and unexpected inner city perseverance on these latitudes middle of October, these sunny beauties get their very own post. Due to frost last night I fear they might have moved to greener pastures by now though ~