Challenges

This year is coming to an end … twelve days left now. This WordPress challenge was a great idea and it has meant a lot on many levels. I’ve connected with people I wouldn’t have met without it. It’s been tough, at times, to come up with topics, hence there have been many crappy posts here.

As I’ve written about before here, December 31st will be my last post in this blog. January 1 I’ll go back to Blogger and my newly set up blog Colder Weather. I will not take part in Post-a-Day 2012. I will go on posting the same way as I’ve done here, but without the pressure of posting once a day.

I will probably lose readers, and that’s sad, but I really like it over there.

This post is inspired by Marge, over at Inside Out Café. She wrote today about a few other challenges that are out there, and a few more appear in the comments section. There’s a lot of fun stuff to take part in if you’re up for it.

The year before this WP-challenge, I took part in Photo-a-Day, and failed miserably … twice, even, so I doubt I’ll do any challenge at all next year. I’ll just keep purring along to the beat of my own drum.

A friend back home has started to take daily walks around town …basically to feel better, I think. Anyway, he sent me those lovely pictures of my town and I’m sharing them here with his permission.

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Where Streets have no Name

namnlosagrand

No, this is not about the U2 song. This is a street sign in my hometown of Härnösand, Sweden.

NAMELESS ALLEY.

I honestly have no idea about the history behind this choice of name but at least it’s kind of … original.

Namnlösa Gränd is in an area that actually was saved from the tearing-down mania that seemed to rage  through Sweden, and probably other countries in Europe during the 60’s.

One little part of our beautiful town was saved. Many other parts, that I do remember, were torn down to make place for rather dull, stereotyped buildings. Even the old hotel, which was really beautiful.

I left Härnösand a little more than six years ago, and before I left I didn’t own a digital camera. Besides, I didn’t have any great interest in photography. We did get a digital camera at work, which I borrowed a few times and shot pictures of my cat.

Now … with my newly won interest for photography, and also because I’m not there anymore … I often think of all the buildings and streets I would have loved to shoot.

The other day, I heard that U2 song, which led me to think about Namnlösa Gränd. I googled it but didn’t get any good hits – I’m not really sure if it is an official street name that is approved by the city council but that doesn’t really matter. It has been there for as long as I can remember.

Got this bright idea, that I could ask my friend, Elisabeth, who now is on my Facebook list, to go there and shoot a picture of the sign and the little alley itself. Elisabeth is a friend, with whom I’ve sort of renewed contact with … her being on Facebook has made my whole FB experience much more positive. I wasn’t much into it before.

She didn’t even know about Namnlösa Gränd, so this was a win-win situation LOL. Now she knows and I got the pictures!

 

namnlosagrand2

 

This whole area where this alley is located, is called Östanbäcken. It’s a small area, with a few, likewise small, streets in it. As I google it right now, I’m surprised that not more is written online about it because it’s of great, historic interest.

These old, wooden houses, date back to  after 1727. That was the year when a big fire devastated the city. One of the streets … Telegraph Alley can actually be found in an old map from 1699.

This area is in the very center of town, and it’s a quite amazing feeling to just walk around a corner from the busy street life in town, and enter Östanbäcken … you feel like you’re taken aback to a different world … a different life.

The name … Östanbäcken would translate to Easterbrook. There’s a subterranean brook in Härnösand, hence the name … it’s located east of this brook.

 

 

1:st of Advent

Härnösands Domkyrka

This is the Sunday, when the churches in — otherwise very secularized — Sweden, are filled to the last seat! It’s become a tradition, I think, moreso than a religious/spiritual experience. I’m waiting for Swedish television to put out the broadcast from my own church back home in Härnösand. It has undergone a total renovation and today’s the ‘grand opening’, which was being aired on national TV. Not in real time, though.

Most people will light the first of four candles this morning. After the service, they will most likely have coffee and saffron buns. There are certain candle holders for this. I don’t have one here, but I made one in Photoshop back in 2006.

 

 

If you were to drive around in residential areas in Sweden today, there wouldn’t be many windows without a star hanging there … like this [not my photo]!

Personally, I think that people just like this feeling of recognition … it’s always been this way, the same psalms in the church that we know by heart … and so on. I know people who openly state that they don’t believe in anything at all, but still …. they do these decorations, and many of them probably go to church … and that is alright too!

 

 

Going home

It’s all confirmed … after nearly eight years, I’m going home to visit in September!

Booked the airline tickets online yesterday … that was a first, but it worked like a breeze. Icelandair.

I’m all excited about this and it’s all I can think of right now. Will fly from Halifax, NS to Kastrup in Copenhagen, Denmark. Noticed last night, that I’ll get ten hours to spend in Reykjavik on Iceland! That’s so cool and unexpected! I could never have imagined that I’d get to see Reykjavik in my life! Just hoping their volcano — Eyjafjallajökull — will keep cool and that there won’t be any #ashtag in Twitter 🙂

To begin with, I’ll spend time with my niece, who lives not too far from Malmö. That’s in Skåne — a part of Sweden I’ve never been to, so that will be wonderful. Then on to Stockholm, to see a very dear friend, whom I haven’t seen in real life since 1987. She’s originally from Melbourne, Australia, but has lived in Sweden for quite a few years now.

All that, before going up north to my hometown of Härnösand, where I’ll spend the major part of my trip.

Will bring both my camera [of course] and tripod … and take all the pictures of people and places that I never took before …because I was never into photography until about two years ago. Naturally, this laptop will come with also, so that I can post as soon as I have WiFi access.

 

DVD Player

A friend sent me two pictures of my hometown, Härnösand, and I’ll put them in here. They’re taken from up the hill where there are ski slopes and a resto. This is overlooking the city itself, and the next one, in the opposite direction. They have nothing to do with this post, really.

A couple of weeks ago, Gerry decided to watch some old Matlock episodes on DVD because there was nothing on TV. I’d bought the whole series from Amazon for him. The first one started and the quality was lousy, to put it mildly. Dark … the colors totally off — they were all strangely red in their faces when you could see the people at all.

I was upset that I’d paid so much for that crap but it was over a year ago. Either way … he put in a different DVD, not from the Matlock series, and the same phenomenon occurred. We figured something must be wrong with the DVD player, so we bought a cleaning kit. Ran that several times …. nothing improved. The phenomenon with the darkness and too much red persists.

The DVD player is more than five years old. Two days ago, in a store, I saw a DVD player f or $29.95 and we thought … thirty bucks… what the heck — can’t go wrong there!

Installed the new one, put in a DVD … and what do you know?! SAME PROBLEM!!!

Now we’re at loss! I don’t know what to do … I don’t know anything about TV-stuff … that’s not my kettle of fish!

It obviously has to do with the TV-set itself, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’m always frightened of going in to the menus there — I feel I have NO control over what I’m doing and could easily mess it up so bad so that I can’t get it back on the modem again.

When you’ve grown up in a little place like Härnösand here above, you know people of almost any profession you could think of … TV included 🙂 but not so here. The new DVD-player can go back to the store … it’s only been a couple of days and we still have the receipt. Question is how much energy to put into this … Gerry has been carefully considering one of those new, flat screen, TV-sets …  Apparently, if we were to get one … the only thing we’d have to do is to call Bell and they turn on the HD. No box required.

Even though Saint John now is wired for fiber optics, we here, in this building, will have to wait for ages before we get it, but that doesn’t really matter in this case. HD would be neat …