This blog goes on under a different name and new web address from January 2011. Please follow me...

Beyond the Lone Islands

Monday, 31 May 2010

Quotation of the Week (22/2010)


People said that you could fall in love at any stage in life – at eight, at eighteen, at eighty. And why not? The capacity to experience the other emotions did not wither; you could still feel anger, jealousy, distress and all the rest, however old you were. Love was in the same spectrum as these. And you could love anything, and anyone, whether or not the passion were returned.

Alexander McCall Smith, Espresso Tales

Picture: Detail from a fountain pool.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Wholly 2


In my previous post on this sculpture, Wholly, I mentioned that from one angle (which I had missed to take a picture of) you can also see a church tower behind it.  Sandra then said in a comment “see if you can capture the church through the wholly” - so I went back and tried. It is not possible to actually see the church through the sculpture. But here is the view with the church tower in the background.

19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (chapter 2)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

What’s the Point?



stabil = stable (a.)

One question I ask myself in contemplating some of our new sculptures is – what exactly was the point of acquiring the one above (recently bought), when we already had the one below?



gestalter - (n. plural)
figures, characters, shapes 

Personally I find Gestalter more interesting. It has a suggestion of striving to stay upright in spite of not giving a very stable impression at all.



Friday, 28 May 2010

Can You Tell The Difference?


Faithful followers of this blog know that I’ve been in art-inspired mood lately, because of an ongoing sculpture festival.

GB the other day picked up the thread in his blog with the post When Is Art A Con.

His story in turn reminded me of a classic Swedish art con:

In 1964 an art exhibition was held in the Swedish city of Göteborg. The work of a previously unknown French painter, Pierre Brassau, attracted much attention.

One art critic wrote: "Pierre Brassau paints with powerful strokes but also with clean determination. His brush strokes twist with a furious fastidiousness on the canvas ... Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer."

A private collector bought one of Brassau’s works for $90 (remember that was 1964, so meant a lot more money than today).

Not everyone was quite of the same opinion, though. Another art critic wrote: "Only an ape could have done this."

And yes - Pierre Brassau did turn out to be an ape. He was in fact a chimpanzee named Peter, living at a Swedish zoo.

Behind the prank was a journalist who had persuaded a zoo keeper to give brush and paints to the chimp. The purpose was to test whether critics could tell the difference between true avant-garde modern art and the work of a monkey.

What about you? Do you think you would be able to tell the difference? Here is your chance – a fun link I came across while checking up on my facts…   

An artist, or an ape?

I’m proud to say, I actually scored 100%. But I also have to admit that with one of them, I was initially in doubt…!

Wikipedia article
Time Magazine article

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bedtime Reading

What books do you have next to your bed right now?
How about other places in the house? What are you reading?

Next to my bed right now I have Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith. It is the second novel in the 44 Scotland Street series, which were first published as serial novels in the Scottish national newspaper The Scotsman. (Previously, I have read his books about the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - set in Botswana - and also some from his Scottish Sunday Philosophy Club series.) The 44 Scotland Street series is about the inhabitants of that address in Edinburgh (the street exists in reality, but not No 44). Originally written as a serial novel, I find it a good book for a bit of bedtime reading... The chapters are not too long and each one is sort of a story within the story. It's basically light-hearted and amusing, and not likely to cause nightmares! I have to say the character that fascinates me most is young Bertie, a little boy on an intellectual level far beyond his years - and with a very pushy mother, trying to make the most of that - while Bertie himself, most of the time, is really just longing to be allowed to be a normal kid. I can't say I find the neither him nor his mother very "believable" but I'm still amused. His name brings to mind Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster; and I would say McCall Smith's story has quite a bit of the same kind of spirit as Wodehouse's, even if set in another time and environment.

I also always have an audio book going and right now I'm re-listening to Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett; which is the 14th of his Discworld books, and part of the Witches-series. In it, he plays around with references to Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Stonehenge, Crop Circles and Elves, amongst other things...

Watching and Waiting


‘Hitman’ by Kent Karlsson

This sculpture is on loan for the summer exhibit and has been placed inside the bus centre building, with the train station in the background. Considering its name (and other recent events with other sculptures) perhaps a wise move to put it in a “safe” place! (My only complaint is that it wasn’t easy to get a good shot of it with the camera… because of the contrast between the darkness inside the building and the bright light outside.) 

I kind of like it. If I hadn’t read its name in the paper, I think I might have called it Time Traveller. The name Hitman gives it a more ominous feeling though…

“You can't own time, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it you can never get it back.”

~Harvey MacKay~

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

To Give Or Not To Give Away


On 19th June, Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria is getting married to her “man of the people” Daniel Westling. The Crown Princess is also Duchess of Västergötland (which happens to be the province where I live), and after the marriage, her husband will be given the title Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland.

The media have been having glorious days ever since the announcement of the engagement in February 2009.

Lately, there has been some discussion about the choice of wedding ceremony. Unlike the British/American tradition, the common practice in Sweden (going back a long way) is that bride and groom walk into the church together as equals. In this case, the Swedish royal family is insisting that King Carl XVI Gustaf lead his daughter to the altar and hand her over to her husband.

The criticism from the Church as well as many others can be summed up in these words which I found in a web article:

Precisely because this wedding will be watched by millions of viewers, choosing a ceremony that reduces the woman to the role of a commodity being transferred from one owner to another is not a private matter. And precisely because it is a public affair and because we’re talking about the marriage of a crown princess aged over 30, a woman who is one day to assume the responsibilities of head of state, it doesn’t look good if she can’t walk into the church on her own.

Basically I agree but I can’t say I really care enough to make a big deal out of it. (Or did I just do that?)

Our local newspaper today again almost had me choking over my morning cup of tea:

Another matter the media has delighted in reporting and discussing is the tradition of municipalities and provinces giving wedding gifts to the royal couple; and what should be considered an appropriate gift.

Some municipalities choose not to give anything at all. They think the royal family is rich enough to buy their own bed linen or whatever. (They’re probably right about that.) Some try to find a gift connected to their own local industry (getting some advertising benefit out of it). Some I think have chosen to go with a symbolic gift to some charity project.

Guess what our town just decided? To give them a wedding gift, but keep it! Moreover, to give them something we already bought before we decided to use it as wedding gift. It can hardly even be said to be new any more, since it has already been broken and repaired…

Yes. We are giving them the sculpture “Cloned Frogs on Gala Dress”… *

But it’s really just a gesture, since we’ll be keeping it here. (Exactly where, I don’t think has been decided upon yet!)

The chairman of the local government committee says to the paper that he thinks the fact that the sculpture is a dress may represent our textile industry profile. Well, I guess it might... But then he adds:

“Besides, we all know what happens if you kiss a frog…”


In Swedish, our word for “frog” (groda) is also used to denote a verbal slip or blunder…


*The Never-Ending Story about the sculpture Cloned Frogs on Gala Dress:

A Dog May Look At A Frog (15 May)
Biting the Grass (15 May)
Frogs Going AWOL (17 May)
Don’t Climb What You Can’t See (18 May)
Updates (19 May)
Sweetlove and Cloning (20 May)
Wholly Uncovered (22 May)

Forget Me Not

Wednesday 26 May, 2010Birgit_drawing by HN_1931

Between the pages in my mum’s childhood photo album, I found these pictures that her father drew of her. The one above he sent as a postcard to some friend or relative who obviously later gave it back to my mother.

Biggan 1930_2  Another drawing of her as a baby

I recently found the photo album at my dad’s house and took it home with me.


With it, I also found a note pad with memories connected to the photos, written down by mum back in 1979 (when she was 49). It seems she got the idea to do that after sorting through other old photos (I guess in connection with the death of her mother-in-law) and finding that many of those had little to say to the next generation, when not accompanied by names and dates.


In my mother’s opinion, “one 50 year old letter often says more about someone than lots of photos”  


I haven’t had the time (concentration) to sit down and look/read through the album and notebook properly yet, but  I intend to.

One year ago today my mum’s life ended. Born on 20 February 1930, she got to be 79 years old + three months and a few days.


One year ago?? Time behaves strangely, sometimes, mixed up with memories...

Some words from the song by the Beatles pop up in my mind: “Oh Yesterday came suddenly…” 

But forgotten I have not.


Today’s post at my Picture Book blog has the same title as this one: Forget-Me-Not. But different content: It is about the little blue flower by that name, and some legends connected to it.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


The other evening after a thunderstorm had passed by, I looked out my kitchen window and saw a rainbow in the sky. I went across the flat to the balcony, and from there I saw the other end of the bow.

So I grabbed my camera (and a jacket, because it was still raining) and went outside to see if I could catch all of it.

It turned out that from the edge of the football field, I could see the whole bow, stretching from one end of the open field to the other… But I could not catch all of it in one photo. I doubt that even with a tripod I would have been able to put a full panorama together. (I don’t have a tripod.)


When I tried to walk further away from it,  fence and trees and buildings got in the way.

So I had to settle for taking pictures of parts of it. But I stood there quite a long time just watching… I can’t remember ever seeing an unbroken bow quite as impressive.


For quite a while, there were even two bows. A double rainbow has reversed colours in the outer bow. The darker space between them (I just learned) is called Alexander's band (named after the Greek philosopher who first described it).


In Greek mythology, the rainbow was considered a path between Heaven and Earth. Iris, goddess of sky and sea, was the personification of the rainbow. As the sun unites earth and heaven, she linked the gods to humanity and acted as messenger between them.

In Chinese mythology the Goddess Nüwa used stones of different colours to repair a slit in the sky.

In Hindu mythology, the rainbow is the bow of Indra, the God of lightning, thunder and rain.


In Old Norse Mythology, a rainbow called the Bifrost Bridge connects the realms of Ásgard and Midgard, homes of the gods and humans respectively.

In Biblical Mythology, the rainbow is the sign of God's covenant with Noah and his descendants, that “never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood”. (Genesis 9)

In Sumerian/Mesopotamian mythology (The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest known works of literary writing),  the rainbow is the jewelled necklace of the Great Mother Ishtar (goddess of fertility), that she lifts into the sky as a promise that she will never forget the days of the great flood that destroyed her children.


In Australian Aboriginal mythology, the Rainbow Serpent is a common art motif. It is seen as the inhabitant of permanent waterholes and is in control of life's most precious resource, water.

In Irish folklore, a pot of gold is said to be hidden by leprechauns (a type of fairy) at the end of the rainbow.


The End of the Rainbow is in fact a place impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which depends on the location of the viewer. When walking towards the end of a rainbow, it will move further away.


I decided to also do a Rainbow post in my Picture Book blog today, showing a few pictures a bit bigger and with the black background. In that post, you will also find a short note on the colours of the rainbow.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Quotation of the Week (21/2010)


Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.
~ William Shakespeare ~

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Whirling and Twirling

DSCN6004-1 Tornado

This one I like. It appeared at our travel centre (trains and long distance busses) a couple of years ago. Then for some reason unknown to me it was “gone with the wind” for a while. I missed it. Now it is back! To stay, I hope.

Our town is known for its textile industry; I think this sculpture connects to that as well.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Wholly Uncovered

2010 05 223_Wholly-sign

This is what was hidden under the canvas on the photo in my Tuesday post. I suppose it might tempt a few climbers, but I doubt it will attract quite the same attention as that red dress with the frogs on it.

In some article or interview, this sculpture (Wholly) was called a Masterpiece. Personally I don’t think I can say this one really evokes very strong feelings with me either way. I find the title rather clever, though. Especially considering that from another angle (why didn’t I take a photo of that?) you can also see a church tower behind it. (Following my train of thought? wholly – whole – hole – holy)


The froggy dress, by the way, has been made “whole” again, and so have the dogs. Not only that: They’re back in the park! With security guards around the clock. So that way they are “covered”… At least over this weekend (the festival).

They have put the dogs further away from the dress this time. Perhaps they think that will make it look less like a playground?

2010 05 224_dogfrogdress

The giant poodle with its head screwed back on, and brand new bushy tail. I realize now that the tail was missing already when I took my first pictures of it.

Today we had really good weather for a walk around town looking at sculptures. (I will be showing more of them in future posts.)

It was the first day of the year that felt like summer. I celebrated by buying a burger and chips and diet coke to go, and consuming them sitting on a park bench. Don’t do that very often but it’s one of the simple pleasures that put me in a summer holiday-touristing kind of mood…

Speaking of Wholly Uncovered - this little side-event was probably not planned by the Culture Committee: 




My guess – stag party, or something like that!
(MÅL means Goal. Start was on the other side of the river; the whole thing took only a couple of minutes.)

Thunder and Lightning


I did not attend the official opening of the sculpture festival on Friday afternoon. The clouds were gathering around noon…

And then Thor threw his hammer again.


Thor’s hammer

In Old Norse mythology, the god Thor rode through the heavens on a chariot pulled by two goats. Thor was known for his quick and hot temper. Lightning flashed whenever he threw his hammer Mjollnir ("crusher") which would return to his hand again after being thrown.

Thor was foremost of the gods to the common man and widely worshiped. Hammer shaped amulets were worn about the neck well into the Christianization of Scandinavia. Molds have been found which contain both cross and hammer shapes, side by side. His name occurs in numerous place names; and also lives on in one of the days of the week: Thursday. (Swedish: torsdag) Thor is associated to the Roman god Jupiter, the German god Donar, and the Anglo-Saxon god Thunor.


*A flash of lightning, followed after some seconds by a rumble of thunder is, for many people, the first illustration of the fact that sound travels more slowly than light.

*Lightning is approximately one kilometer distant for every 2.9 seconds that elapse between the visible flash and the first sound of thunder (or one mile for every 4.6 seconds).

*A flash of lightning and a simultaneous sharp "crack" of thunder indicates that the lightning strike was very near.

Friday, 21 May 2010

BTT: What's a Useful Book?

What’s the most useful book you’ve ever read? And, why?

Most useful? Hmm...  I've been reading for about 50 years by now, and different kinds of books have been useful in very different ways...

*The first that comes to mind is the Bible. I must say I have used that a lot over the years. There is no other book I have in so many translations; and it has been helpful from many points of view: in understanding myself, other people, God (hopefully), religious beliefs, history, culture, and references in other books by other authors... On the other hand: Other books and people have also influenced my interpretation of the Bible! The most important "other author" that way for me is probably C.S. Lewis - his fiction as well as theology.

*There are a number of Swedish authors whose influence have been important or "useful" to me when it comes to understanding the history of my own country. One series of (four) books that may be worth mentioning in international context is The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg (written in the 1950s), about a Swedish family's migration to Minnesota in the mid 19th century. These were among the first "adult" novels that I read in my early teens.

*A series of books that proved "useful" to me in the 21st century is the Harry Potter books. First, listening to them as audio books helped me through some bad times when I had to spend a lot of time just lying on my back. Later, discussing them with other people on an internet forum also inspired me to read and reread and discuss a number of old classics, and to get into the habit of googling and reading up on all kinds of odds and ends referred to. You could say these books kept me entertained and inspired at a time when I really needed that kind of distraction and brain exercise. It also played its part in later getting me to move on to blogging. (If anyone is interested - some of my reflections on the HP books I have tried to collect in a separate blog, Through My Spectrespecs.)

Other kinds of books I've found useful, even if I can't claim to have read every page in them:

*Dictionaries (lots of them).

*My old school atlas from 1964, even though political borders and names have changed quite a bit since then. I do have updated ones - and now of course there is also the internet. But the old one still represents how the world was first presented to me. Sometimes I return to check something.

*The first cookbook I got (probably from my mother?) when once upon a time I moved away from home. I have later ones, but for some things I still return to the old one.

*Lately I've made quite frequent use of my Flora to identify wild flowers and trees. This came with increased interest in photography, and blogging!  

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Sweetlove and Cloning

DSCN2083-1 DSCN2083-1DSCN2083-1

Picking up where I left off yesterday

Today’s paper offered another interview with Belgian artist William Sweetlove, creator of the sculptures ‘Cloned Frogs on Gala Dress’ and three giant dogs, which were vandalized last weekend in connection with an outdoors exhibition in our town.

It turns out that Sweetlove (I can’t get over that name!) really claims to be all PRO cloning (not only of sculptures). My eyes kept getting wider and wider as I read on:

WS: “With global warming there will no longer be enough grass for all cows. My solution is that we create a really big breed of dog and clone that, as food for the cows.”

“So cows should eat dogs?”

WS: “Yes, that is my message. But of course you could clone other animals as well, fish or frogs. Or vegetables if you wish. And you could make other animals smaller so that they don’t need so much food. Like  elephants and giraffes the size of chickens.”

“Don’t you like dogs?”

WS: “I love dogs! I have one myself, a big dog named Wizzy. But a dog is really just an animal like any other.”

Does it have to be dogs?”

WS: “The good thing about dogs is that they are omnivores, they’ll eat anything. But you could use other animals as well. Goats for example.”

The sceptical reporter also checked with Sweetlove’s representative in Sweden:

His message is that cows should eat dogs in the future. Is he having us on?”

No, he is being serious.” 

I also learn that the sculptures are made of plastic. According to the artist, because he considers this to be recyclable material.


Another article in the web edition of the paper says that the sculptures will not be put back in the park, but in the yard in front of our temporary library and theatre. There are gates to that yard which can be locked at night, so that sounds like a good decision. (Well – better than the park.)

The same article informs me that we’re stuck with the froggy dress (i.e. the town bought that one) but the dogs are just here for the festival. The dress might be put indoors after the exhibit, even if that was not the original intention.

I have to say I’ll be glad to lose those giant dogs. I found them repulsive to begin with; and after reading about the artist’s views on cloning, even more so. The dress sculpture I still find more interesting. I would definitely not like it back in the park, though, or in an open square in the town centre – it’s much too RED. Actually I think it’s enough to have seen it once. One is not likely to forget it. If we have to keep it I think the foyer of the art museum is probably the best place for it.


The official opening of the sculpture festival is tomorrow afternoon. Whether I’ll attend depends on the weather. This afternoon we had thunderstorm and torrential rain lasting for hours… The sculptures will be there for the summer. I intend to take photos of them all in due turn, but not all tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 19 May 2010



1. An update on the sculptures:
Today’s paper does not say where the missing sculptures have gone (see previous post), but I take it they’re in some kind of Statue Animal Hospital, waiting for surgery. The article mentions that new ‘parts’ are on their way.

By parts, I suppose they mean more cloned frogs. Because it turns out that’s what they are. They interviewed the artist, and he says “The gala dress is nothing without the frogs, because that’s my message, cloning of animals to satisfy world hunger”. Eh? From the article, I could not make out whether he is in favour of cloning or against it!

So I tried to google him: William Sweetlove. (Really?!) And oh yes, cloning is obviously his theme. As for cloning his own sculptures, he is obviously for that. Even after visiting his home page, I still feel unsure about “the message”, though…

According to the newspaper, what he is not in favour of is people ‘interacting’ with his sculptures: “I am against people playing and climbing on works of art.”


2. A personal update:
After a three months break I’m allowed back in the rehab pool for the rest of the year (twice a week), starting tomorrow.

They close for five weeks in July, but it’s still five weeks until then. I think it will be good for me. Two mornings a week may not seem much of a routine; but apart from the physical benefits of  the training as such, it also helps give a structure to the week.

Today we’re having a whiff of summer here but the forecast predicts lower temperatures again next week. May/June weather is very unpredictable. You may find yourself freezing one day, sweating the next.

I wonder if it would be possible to clone a perfect weather day? And if we managed to do that – would we still find it perfect?


Photo: From a visit to the Zoo last year. I don’t think those fish were cloned, but who knows.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Don’t Climb What You Can’t See


I wonder if they’ll ever get it right?

Now there is a sign:


Please note that it is forbidden to climb the sculptures. Thank you.

But the sculptures have been removed.
The two dogs as well as the froggy dress.

All that remains is the outline of the dress sculpture on the lawn... 

Previous related posts:
1. A Dog May Look At A Frog
2. Biting the Grass
3. Frogs Going AWOL

On another spot in town, I found this:


I’ll have to return when it’s been uncovered.

Alien Invasion


Sorry - I don’t know its actual name, I just had to come up with a post title.

It’s another sculpture that someone considered a valuable contribution to the so-called sculpture festival the town is hosting.

This one has been in the paper, too, because cyclists were afraid of being beheaded by it. (It was invading their space, you might say, because sharp parts of it stretched out over the cycle path.)


I was considering publishing these pictures in black-and-white, but decided against it, because then you wouldn’t see the actual grayness of it...

With this one, I’m not sure anyone but perhaps the artist would really notice if some part of it was broken off and thrown in the river (referring to yesterday’s blog post) …


Monday, 17 May 2010

Frogs Going AWOL


Guess what? Someone decided to “set the frogs free” and throw them in the river…


… and, to quote Alice in Wonderland, that dress is looking “curiouser and curiouser”…!

2010 05 17

I read about it in the paper again this morning. As I was going into town later I decided to walk by the park and have a look at the damage with my own camera eye. No kids climbing on the statues today (well, if nothing else that will be harder to do with half the frogs gone). But there was a man circling around them as I approached. I’m pretty sure it was the art museum manager (his picture was in the newspaper the other day). I waited until he left to take out my camera…

In today’s paper they interviewed someone from the Town Culture Committee. He says: “We have to ask ourselves if this kind of sculpture should be put in a place like this. Maybe something a bit more solid would be better...” 

Again… excuse me, but… Duh!

By now I’m interested to see if any of the sculptures will still be left in the park on Friday, when the official opening of the sculpture festival is supposed to take place.


Previous posts about these sculptures: 
1. A Dog May Look At A Frog
2. Biting The Grass

Quotation of the Week (20/2010)


“I have proved by actual trial that a letter that takes an hour to write takes only about three minutes to read.”
~ Lewis Carroll ~

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Clematis Progress


Feels a like a miracle after the long hard winter to see my clematis on the balcony bursting out into lots and lots of flowers!



I’m even more excited because this plant has a history. Click the link to read what I wrote about it last summer.

I know I have some readers with a very keen eye for detail, so in case you wonder about the different leaves at the bottom, those are false. (One is supposed to protect the part near the roots from the sun.) And the plant on the left is a geranium which has spent the winter indoors in a window, and has just been moved out.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin