Lifestyle

Malaga murals

In Malaga, we stayed in a hotel near the bus and train stations —

And, as in many other cities, the area was a lot more run down

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Than in the centre of the city.

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I thought it had a lot of character

With its urban decay and murals –

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Some of them posed existential questions,

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While others just wanted

To give peace a chance.

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For more quirky views, please visit: Our World.


Joy

It’s always bitter-sweet when summer starts

Its slow retreat into autumn.

For those of us with short summers and long winters,

It’s often a matter of creating memories

joyful jump

And bottling up those intense moments

Of summer joy

So that we can spread some sunshine later on.

It brings to mind one of my favourite metaphorical quotes by Camus:

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Jump 2 copy

For more lovely memories, please visit: Our World.


The epitome of Swedishness

Every summer, many Swedes take a month’s holiday to relax and get back in touch with nature – and themselves.

They enjoy long light evenings in summer cottages with outdoor plumbing (and sometimes no electricity)  in the middle of the woods.

You may remember that we did this very thing two years ago when we hired some little red cottages out in the countryside.

We are repeating the experience this year – but in a little timbered cottage with an actual toilet (a dry closet) inside!

We got the keys to the house at the weekend. It was like visiting a fairytale cottage.

A few snowdrops waved in greeting while they enjoyed the spring sunshine.

A short walk away, there is a beach on the shores of a sea inlet.

Right now, it’s covered in snow and ice, but I can just imagine the sand and the sea, can’t you?

Oscar is guarding the wooden playhouse. The bigger house with the veranda (see photo below) is the guest cottage with room for four people.

The brown wooden building between the two is the guest toilet.

After all, even if you have indoor plumbing, there are some traditions you just shouldn’t change!

For more culture, please visit: My World.


Festive

Christmas is a festive season – no matter how humble the decoration.

(Here are some creative ones I found at the Botanical Gardens in Stockholm recently.)

A pile of fir branches decorated with merry red apples that match cheeks rosy from the cold is a wonderful sight.

Imagination can weave peppercorns into a bauble for the tree…

… While spicy oranges spread fragrance and joy.

But perhaps the most festive decorations of all are the ones created by nature herself:

A lovely snowflake, the tinkling laugh of a child, an icy tree lit up by the sun so that it glitters

To remind us of the fleeting magic of the moment.

Christmas Eve is the big day for those of us living in Sweden. I wish you all much love and wonder.

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.
~Christina Rossetti

For more stories, please visit: My World!


Snippets of life

People are fascinating, don’t you think? One week in November last year – before the snows came –  I had the pleasure of observing a range of wonderful characters on the streets of Stockholm, Sweden. It was a fantastic day, with the old cobblestones turned to shimmering gold.

And as I wandered the streets, I observed the following people:

Russian clown escapee? Very tall, gangly bone-thin man with the large black Cossack hat atop fly-away blonde hair and all-too short mustard corduroy trousers ending just above the ankles. Short enough to reveal a pair of elegant ankles encased in scuffed, comfortable-looking boots.

Waiter fashion victim. Oh baby-faced youth! You look as if you should be at school, dreaming about girls and video games instead of clearing plates at the local Asian restaurant with your Adidas nylon sports trousers so low down on your buttocks that the tops of your thighs would be showing if it weren’t for that deliciously long shirt you’re wearing.

Woman fashion victim. Brown buckled knee boots with sandy-coloured harem pants tucked inside. I wonder if we were really designed to have our crotches hanging around our knees?

I definitely need to get out more often! If only to gather more blog fodder…

To enjoy more of the world, please visit: My World!


Viking spirit

Do you remember when we went rowing with God a few weeks ago? And it turned out that the gods in questions were, in fact, two men dressed up as Vikings?

Vikings

Although dressing up as Vikings is not really a good way of describing their way of life.

They breathe, act and live as Vikings! For the older man that you can see at the front of the boat, Viking is a way of life. He has built seven or eight copies of a thousand-year-old Viking boat that was found here some years ago. Some of his boats, like this one above, are used to take passengers around the lake. Others are made exactly to scale and are seaworthy.

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Like this one, which I spotted half-hidden among the reeds. The young man (standing in the water in the first photo) has also inherited the adventurous Viking spirit. When I talked to him, they had just come back from sailing this boat to Finland. And their next adventure is sailing off to Russia.

Quite a long way when all you have is a sail and some oars. I believe the hull is made of fibre glass rather than wood, but it is still a long way to go – just sleeping out in the open or under a cover on the bottom of the boat.

Who said Vikings didn’t exist? Long live the Viking spirit!

For more adventurous spirits around the world, please visit: That’s My World!


A little bit of nothing

Have you heard of the term moblogging? That’s short for mobile blogging.

I’m nothing if not cutting edge! Hard to believe I’m in the middle of nowhere.

Doing a lot of nothing.


Skinny dipping

Last week I was talking about nudity and wondering why it is so very taboo in some countries and considered natural in others.

Surely it is an example of walking a thin line between porn and nature? Between accepting our bodies and denying them? Between embarrassment and confidence?

Storm

Yesterday, I was with my 11-year-old niece who has come over for a two-week stay from England and the anklebiters, up at the little red summer cottages that we are renting.

After a sudden thunderstorm, the evening sun shone gloriously and we decided to take a dip in the evening warmth down at the nearby lake. After a while, a tanned, silver-haired and extremely tall Swede turned up with his young son. He looked surprised to see us, as if hoping to have the tiny beach to themselves.

“Oh, we’re going to go swimming,” he said. “We didn’t bring our swimming clothes, though. I’m going to swim anyway, so I hope no one will be offended,” he said firmly – but with a smile.

“It’s OK. We’ve got friends who often swim  nude at their summer place. And I promise I won’t look!” I said… although in reality I was thinking, “Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!” (And no – I didn’t take a picture!)

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The kids didn’t bat an eyelid and just carried on swimming and playing.

Although it did give my niece pause for thought…

“You could never do that in England. Sweden is so much better!”

It’s wonderful that people can be so natural and not at all self-conscious. It was, all in all, a lovely swim.

So – would something similar be able to take place in your country with so much grace and charm?


An apology?

Largen

Two kids and the dog

Azure blue skies, cotton wool clouds and a sun-dazzled lake.

These are the things that have been keeping me from you, dear readers!

It’s a tough life – but I’ll pull through.

Someone has got to go out there and make sure that nature is still there, and still beautiful.


Blog Fodder

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How I measure stuff

After my post with the recipe about scones and clotted cream, I got a lot of questions about.. erhem… cooking!

Please, dear readers! Get a grip on yourselves! You do remember my tale of little burnt cabbage, don’t you? Yes – the one where I thought you could actually boil something without using water!

I post a humorous look at scone making and I suddenly turn into a guru! Hang on a minute – hold onto that thought: I like it. Lady Fi the guru. Smacks of modesty, don’t you think?

I need to make something clear: as I told you in my post, I didn’t actually make the scones myself. I just told you how YOU could make them! That’s right: I have to live vicariously through you, dear readers.

My cyber pal with the sharp wit and the beautiful dog, Far Side of Fifty, had a whole range of questions. I think she just likes teasing me because she knows all about my culinary skills… After all, she made some kind of reference to giving me some blog fodder. Actually, I think she was referring to the food I make. Well, never mind. Let’s move on swiftly.

She wanted to know the following:

1. Who did I pay off to prepare the tea time pictures?

Google!

2. Is caster sugar like white sugar?

Yes. It’s a very fine sugar and we usually whisper sweet nothings to it as it is so fine: Oh, sugar baby, you’re so sweet! In the US, I believe you call it ‘superfine’ sugar.

3. What is clotted cream?

Well, you find some clots (a good place to look is politicians’ offices, for example), plonk them all in a big bubble bath – and there you have it: clotted cream. And if you don’t believe me, then you’re less gullible than I thought! Another explanation is that clotted cream is a very thick yellow cream that you get when you heat up milk and then leave it in a pan for hours and hours. For example, if you somehow forgot you were cooking milk and went off to play mini-golf all weekend, then when you came back, you would find lots of lumps or clots floating on the surface of the pan – not to  mention the smell of off milk!

Go to Google for the recipe of how to create your very own clotted cream…

4. How do you all measure that g and ml stuff anyway? Well, I use scales to measure grams. In Sweden, we measure millilitres and decilitres with measuring jugs and measuring spoons. (Yes, I went to all the trouble of photographing my measuring utensils for you, dear reader!)

guru

I’m exhausted. Being a guru is hard work.