Archive for June, 2014

June 30, 2014

It was a wonderful experience to go to Gamla Linkoping (the old town of Linkoping), where heritage buildings have been brought in and re-built with every possible care. There are several museums, housed in these old buildings, that visitors can walk into. In the whole area, many people who are in period costumes walk about; and today, when the local newspaper was pushed into the mail slot, I found out a bit more about two musicians whom I met there.

Here’s Jacek Malisz, with his accordion:

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And here’s Lasse Strom (er, that “o” should have an umlaut), with his “Strohfiol”, which is a violin with an amplifier:

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And here they are, playing together.

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Jacek’s accordion, he told me, was over a hundred years old. Lasse was very much more witty; he had a “spiel” of dialogue ready for the tourist that I was. He told me how the basic element of the violin had been integrated with this amplifier (it was made of aluminium) for the better carrying of the sound, in the days before microphones and loudspeakers (and, indeed, electricity) were in place.

“Do your children also play this?” I asked him. “No!” he said emphatically. “When a child learns an instrument, it’s cruel for everyone else around to hear it!” “But your parents somehow put up with the noise of *your* learning,” I laughed; and he laughed with me. “Regarding music…one of my daughters has a ear,” he said, and I nodded sagely, understanding about having a ear for music. Then, of course, he added, “The other one has TWO ears!” and laughed happily at having cracked a good joke!It was my turn to laugh with him!

I am trying to get the link to the newspaper article about them (it appears in the “Summer” supplement to the June 25/26 issue of “Linkopings Posten”). , if you could help me, I’d be very grateful, I’ve not been successful yet!

With the help of Google Translate, I’ve learnt that the two musicians have been playing at Gamla Linkoping for the past 32 years, but this is going to be stopped soon…sorry, I couldn’t wade through the entire article, typing it out on Google Translate!

Life, and letting go……

June 28, 2014

I am Sweden for a few weeks; when I went around a jumble sale yesterday, I had no cash whatsover, and even if I had some, I knew I would only be accumulating junk that would be of no use to me or the person I am staying with. This allowed me to go around the sale area without buying anything.

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Coming back home, I mused upon the fact that this is a metaphor for my life, too. If I lack the cash (the ability to get attached to something) I can go through life enjoying everything without getting too attached to it, bringing it “home” and being lumbered with it….

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At the jumble sale, I had a credit card that was not accepted. I accept that I do need some money….some attachment…to get me through life…but how can I ensure that I will have only the really important attachments? At the jumble sale, the decision was taken for me, but in life, I will have to make these decisions…and my mind is too fickle, too caught by what is glittering and meretricious, and I squander away my peace of spirit for “baggage” that only weighs me down….

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After my divorce, when KM moved out of the house, he was kind enough to have the apartment painted before my return. He’d packed a lot of bric-a-brac away, like the Swarovsky crystal, my collection of Ganeshas, the life-like miniature vegetables I bought in Dakshineswar….and I have never bothered to unpack them, since I returned (this was in 2012.) I actually feel the relief of not having to dust and clean them regularly….I have learnt, therefore, to shed *some* baggage. But the journey of learning to let go, is still very long….

Interesting sculpture…and roundabout dogs….more questions! Linkoping, Sweden, 230614

June 27, 2014

As I came by bus into Linkoping, I caught sight of this very large hoop adorning one of the roundabouts:

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I caught sight of a statue (life-size) of a dog, placed looking askance at the hoop, as if to ask, “What should I do?” only when the bus sped past.

But a few days later, when PC and I walked down to Biltema and the IKEA shop, I was able to get a much better picture of this dog-and-hoop, and here it is:

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You can clearly see the dog looking at the beautifully-balanced hoop!

Trying to get more information about this sculpture, I googled the following words: “roundabout dog sculpture linkoping sweden”…and got

this very interesting link

about roundabout dogs!

“A roundabout dog (Swedish: rondellhund, originally Östgötsk rondellhund, “Östergötland roundabout dog”, a pun on västgötaspets) is a form of street inThe roundabout dogs started appearing in Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden (and were therefore originally called: de östgötska rondellhundarna), after a sculptured dog that was part of the official roundabout installation Cirkulation II (English: Circulation II) by sculptor Stina Opitz had been vandalised and later removed. The original dog had been made of concrete, and Stina Opitz was planning to make a new version of it after the vandalism, when someone placed a homemade wooden dog on the roundabout. The dog was given a concrete dogbone by another anonymous artist. Soon after the media reported these developments, roundabout dogs started appearing in various places around the country.

Peter Nyberg (maker of the first ‘Rondellhund’) of Linköping told tabloid Expressen that his dogs were intended to “mock the state-employed artists, who get so much money to make sculptures that we can do just as well ourselves”. In some smaller towns where there were no roundabouts, dog sculptures were placed in ordinary intersections with traffic islands.

The Swedish artist Lars Vilks made a drawing depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog. This was published in a Swedish local newspaper in July 2007. It provoked accusations of blasphemy from some Muslim groups in the Middle East. (See Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy.) The 2010 Stockholm bombings are considered to be sparked partially because of the cartoon.”

That was certainly something to make me think…. I read on:

“In April 2007 Bjorn Andersson started building roundabout dogs in his workshop south of Stockholm. His mission is to keep rondellhund at Philanthropic Street Art level and to give a moment of enjoyment to all people traveling by car. His dogs have traveled the world to places in the USA, in Australia and in the UK.”

How surprising! The wiki goes on further to say:

“In 2009, similar dogs started appearing on some of the roundabouts in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshirestallation, that began occurring in Sweden during the autumn of 2006, and continued for the rest of the year with sporadic occurrences since then. The phenomenon consists of anonymous people placing homemade dog sculptures, typically made of wood (or sometimes plastic, metal or textile) in roundabouts (traffic circles). Occurrences were reported all over Sweden, and the phenomenon also spread to other countries, such as Spain after it was mentioned on Spanish television (PuntoDos). Swedish tabloid paper Expressen even placed one at Piccadilly Circus.”

The dog I’ve photographed is not a wooden dog in this sense, and now I am unable to understand if the hoop was placed there first and the dog “added” as part of the “roundabout dog” theme, or whether they do belong together.

So…in the process of finding out more information on the net, I seem to have opened up more of an enigma! I wish there was someone in Linkoping whom I could ask..I’m afraid the language (and the fact of most sites being in Swedish and not translating too well) IS proving a barrier to learning a lot about what I am seeing around me.

Meanwhile, The Booda is growing up….

June 26, 2014

Here are a few pics clicked by AM ….whether it’s video games or board games, our little fellow is involved…..!

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The audio is coming from this side, Amma!

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Well, here…is he going boating or sumin? I dunno!

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I’ll be seeing him and his sister soon….looking forward to that…!

Linkoping Cathedral, 200614

June 26, 2014

After looking at the Midsummer’s Eve celebration, I realized that the

Linkoping Cathedral

was not very far away, and we walked till the beautiful green-blue spires were near:

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It was breathtaking to watch the main spire looming up into the sky:

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The stained glass windows looked majestic from outside:

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Through them, I could also see the effect of the stained glass as it would be if I entered the cathedral:

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Here are two of the stained glass windows from the outside:

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The side view of the Cathedral:

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Some of the tall windows have been damaged,but the damage has been left wisely alone for the most part.

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In just a few places, some refurbishment has been done:

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A detail of the weather vane:

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detail of the trellis work:

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The awesome main spire:

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The Diocese nearby:

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How ironic that the school (Gymnastik) nearby incorporates the word “nastik”, which means “atheist” in Sanskrit!

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Each entrance was imposing:

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This was the main entrance:

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The doors are, predictably, solid:

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So are the locks (yes, the Cathedral was locked)

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The walls are imposing against the sky:

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The Museum was closed, too, when we reached:

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Right next to the Cathedral is the Linkoping Palace:

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The Linkoping flag has a tiger on it, which was very appropriate to someone from India!

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Was this some kind of sundial? I couldn’t make out, and there is no mention in the Wiki:

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Here’s PC, clicking it, too:

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The road with the old coach houses:

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The Cathedral as it reaches up to touch the summer sky:

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It’s very frustrating not to be able to get enough (in English) about this beautiful building and its environs…translating everything from the Swedish is a frustrating job!

Midsummer’s Eve, Linkoping, 200614

June 25, 2014

Though I’d asked Prashanth in the morning, he mistook the midsummer’s eve Maypole dancing to be taking place on the next day; at about 4pm, he realized his mistake, and we set off to the place where it was taking place.

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Here’s a video of the dancing that he took last year:

And of the music:

Though the dancing had finished, the maypole was still up:

We saw the Love Pavilion:

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There was a small stream:

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There was a pretty wooden bridge across it:

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Perhaps this gentleman was going over his memories, with that reminiscent smile on his face?

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There were plenty of flowers blooming:

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this Silverpil tree (Salix alba)

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had some beautiful bracket fungi:

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It is the custom on this day to wear crowns of wildflowers:

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But that doesn’t mean one can’t be in touch with modernity!

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The birds were there, too!

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There were some Vikings around:

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Some kind of game with wooden skittles was being played:

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I looked at some pretty old architecture:

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This is the Stora Hotel:

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Here’s coffee… by George!

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I loved this window:

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This one is from 1912!

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With some serpentine touches:

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Some shop windows looked inviting:

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So did this art gallery (it was closed, of course)

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Of course, the Tourist Bureau was closed, too!

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Let me close with this flower (probably a Columbine?)

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we then walked towards the Linkoping Cathedral…but that’s the next post!

The Community Laundry System, 190614

June 24, 2014

Since PC told me there was a free community washing and drying area, I’d asked him to book it for a date after I’d arrive, and show me how to do it; I could then do the laundry in my free time as long as I was visiting (my standard operating procedure whenever I sponge off someone for any length of time.)

I was very impressed by the system, and its checks and balances.

Every member of the community is given a lock bearing his/her flat name and number, with a set of 2 keys that will open that lock only.

The door to the community washroom is a master that can be opened by the house keys of each
resident.

Here is the laundry date-and-time “locking” grid, inside the community wash area:

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The horizontal rows are the time slots, 6 am to 11 am, and 11am to 4pm, and the last two rows are the “parking” for the locks. the vertical columns are the days of the week.

There are two wash/dry rooms: T1 and T2. Depending on what one wants, and what is free, one can “lock” one of the slots on the grid. On that day, at that time slot, the wash/dry room that you have selected is yours for the entire 5 hours. (Five hours? Yes, there is a reason for this. Several loads are sometimes washed and dried, and so one has the exclusive use of the room for this extended period of time.)

There are two washing machines, and an electric dryer as well as a “blow” dryer…a “hot cupboard” in which clothes can be hung on a washline and have hot air blown through them. When we used the washing facilities, the electric drier did not work, and while I was waiting for the superintendent to send someone (it would only be after 9am and we had the slot from 6 am!), I hung some clothes on the aluminium poles and switched on the dryer cupboard,and it worked marvellously (and without the creases that tumbling in a hot air dryer produces.)

Washing may take a minimum of half an hour, and drying takes a minimum of two hours.During this process, one can put one’s own “laundry” lock over the room lock, and go home; no one else can them open the room. One can use the iron board or the roller press, too.

When one is done with the whole process, one comes out, and takes one’s lock home, along with the finished laundry, or uses it to “lock” another slot on the grid at a later, convenient time.

I do not know what happens if the 6 am to 11 am person is late getting out of the washing/drying room or coming to unlock it….does the next user come and wait impatiently? I hope there is a leeway for a few minutes! (Because of our problem with the dryer, our loads overshot the time, but I was there a few minutes before 11am, and requested the next user to allow me to use the dryer, which he did.)

I also do not know what happens if someone “locks” a certain slot but does not use it.

But all in all, it seems like a well-planned, organized way of ensuring both enough time for washing, drying, and ironing, and prevention of pilferage during the process!

Meanwhile, I find wheels….230614

June 24, 2014

Yes, I know I have plenty of Linkoping posts to catch up on, but a couple of days ago, PC and I had been to “Biltema”, where he buys a lot of cycle stuff. I’d looked at a folding bike (with longing) and at the price tag (with revulsion…at 2190 SEK, the revulsion was strong!)

Yesterday evening, PC came back and said, “We are going to Marvin’s place to buy his folding bike for you!”

It appears that Marvin, a colleague and friend of PC’s, is no longer able to cycle due to health issues. He is a dimunitive Indonesian, and so we went off to his place, hoping that the price tag would not be too high.

I fell in love with the cycle (I really don’t cycle long distances, so I don’t need a geared bike; with my fear of falling, often justified, I need a cycle where the saddle is low to the ground.) and PC pumped up the tyres for me, and I did a few rounds with a very gleeful expression on my face, thinking to myself, “Now don’t grin like an ape, the price will go UP!” but quite, quite unable to stop doing so.

And my grin nearly met at the back of my head when PC told me that Marvin was quite keen to LEND me the bike, instead of selling it to me. I very nearly hugged and kissed the poor guy, and only stopped myself from doing so at the thought of the heart attack he might have.

PC got this picture of me on the cycle:

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We came home, and PC has lent me one of his three helmets, and excuse me, I am off to Roxen Lake now! I’ll get another pic of me with the helmet, all right and proper, this evening, when PC gets back from work.

Sweden is a DREAM for cyclists, with its dedicated cycle paths, perfect weather at this time of year, and wonderful green areas to cycle through. OOOOOH, how did I get so lucky! Thank you, Prashanth !

Update: now you can see me APH…All Properly Helmeted!

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Alas, this morning, the vertigo that I suffer from (and which has attacked after a long gap) resulted in a fall, and cycling is off for at least a day or two….

A walk in Linkoping, 170614

June 24, 2014

We started with the Linkoping Station.

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Where the trains went to and fro busily:

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where the amount of lumber being transported on one train was awe-inspiring:

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PC ( Prashanth Chengi) was getting ready to click, too!

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This sculpture looked as if Casper the Friendly Ghost and his friends were having a picnic there:

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Here;s PC with the station in the background:

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I clicked this

EURASIAN TREE SPARROW:

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and this

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD:

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But that was when the (European, not Eurasian!) buildings caught my eye:

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this is not a black-and-white photo!

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The same place, later in the dusk:

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Some smaller touches were lovely, too:

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What does this design mean?

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I don’t know the story behind this statue:

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I wish telephone manhole covers were always this interesting!

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Sometimes, the best fashion is no fashion at all:

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Magnet Madrass? 😀

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this funeral parlor was right next to the Income Tax office!

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I agree, bingo can be rotten, especially when you have ONE number left and everyone gets all the prizes before you:

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Cobblestones are quaint, but they ruined the wheels on one of my suitcases!

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Dusk falls only by about 10.30 pm:

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Prashanth treated me to dinner at “Yogi”:

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He had prawn Biryani, but the thought of the bill was apparently enough to prevent him from smiling:

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But he smiled when I reminded him that we were celebrating his successful completion of both Halv-vattern (150 km) and the full Vatternrundan (300 km) on successive weekends!

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We walked past this lovely seat on our way home:

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Eurasian Tree Sparrow feeding young one, Roxen Lake, Linkoping, 210614

June 21, 2014

As PC and I walked to Roxen Lake, I suddenly saw this beautiful sight…a

EURASIAN TREE SPARROW

was feeding its young one.

The Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus) is a passerine bird in the sparrow family with a rich chestnut crown and nape, and a black patch on each pure white cheek. The sexes are similarly plumaged, and young birds are a duller version of the adult. This sparrow breeds over most of temperate Eurasia and Southeast Asia.

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This sparrow feeds mainly on seeds, but invertebrates are also consumed, particularly during the breeding season.

Adults use a variety of wetlands when foraging for invertebrate prey to feed nestlings, and aquatic sites play a key role in providing adequate diversity and availability of suitable invertebrate prey to allow successful chick rearing throughout the long breeding season.

Parents, as my friend Hema says, are the same the world over..doing a lot to ensure the survival of their children!

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Here’s a short video I took: