Saturday, 14 July 2012

Moments before the thunder and the rain

This photo shows the moments before before it started thundering and raining tonight.  

And this is about 20 minutes earlier, when the Maltese registered dry cargo ship Wilson Tyne passed by. The 111 x 18m ship is on its way to Mjolkevik

The MSC Magnifica passing by in Øresund

This is the MSC Magnifica passing by tonight at about 7.30 PM. The 293 x 36m cruise ship is on its way from Copenhagen to Kiel.

Tractor nostalgia - the Zetor 25

The other day a farmer in my neighborhood, who has an imposing collection of vintage tractors, demonstrated one of his treasures, the Zetor 25 - a tractor which once was quite popular also in the Nordic countries.

That such a quality tractor could be manufactured in the former communist Czechoslovakia clearly shows that the old industrial roots from Austro-Hungarian times have played - and still play - an important role in the region.

Here is brief history of the Zetor 25:

Zetor have been producing tractors since 1947, their first model being a two cylinder four stroke diesel powered "Model 25". Standard features included 6 forward and 2 reverse speeds, independent braking, and a differential lock, which was rarely seen on tractors at the time.
Between 1945 and 1961, Zetor made modifications to the Model 25, and also announced a more affordable tractor - the Model 15. The Model 15 had a 15hp 1 cylinder diesel engine. Zetor also sold a Model 25 A, a more modern, comfortable version of the 25, and a Model 25 K, which was targeted at crop farmers who worked on flat land and wanted more ground clearance.
Production of the 25 A and 25 K tractors ceased in 1961. 158,570 units were built of the model 25 
I was quite impressed by the present Zetor company´s modern productions facilities in Brno, when I visited the factory in connection with their 60th anniversary festivities in 2006.


Here is another favourite tractor from times gone by, the classic Massey Ferguson - maybe tho most popular model during my childhood years:

Friday, 13 July 2012

Patricia Petitbon - A treat from the French musical patisserie

Patricia Petitbon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra at the Gulbenkian Foundation  in Lissabon

Last night there was a live broadcast from Aix-en-Provence of Mozart´s The Marriage of Figaro on the Franco-German ARTE channel. It was again one of those performances which one prefers to listen to - not watch. (Like so often happens nowadays, the opera had got the "modernizing treatment", making it impossible to watch).

However, the orchestra, the choir and the soloists, particularly the lovely Patricia Petitbon as Susanna, were all outstanding.

Petitbon, this delicious treat from the French musical patisserie, was - at least for me - the highlight of the ARTE evening. In a brief, but all the more convincing program, recorded at the Gulbenkian Foundation hall in Lissabon, broadcast before the opera, Petibon was able to show in just two Händel arias (Tornami, a vogheggiar and Ah!, mio cor from the opera Alcina) how a world class singer is able to mesmerize her audience.

Hopefully the entire Lissabon concert, in which Patricia Petitbon performed together with the superb Venice Baroque Orchestra, will soon be available on dvd and blu ray!

Here you can listen to Patricia Petitbon and the Venice Baroue Orchestra performing Ah!, mio cor:

The Kulla Gunnarstorp windmill - the oldest "Dutch" type mill in Scania

One of my most pleasant "neighbours" is this beautiful old windmill - the Kulla Gunnarstorp mill. The mill, which was built during the years 1792 - 1798, is said to be the oldest existing "Dutch" mill in Southern Sweden. However, for some reason, it was not before 1809 that the Kulla mill was officially inspected and taxed. 

It was the countess Amalie Sparre, owner of the nearby Kulla Gunnarstorp castle, who decided to build the mill, which replaced the old water powered mill nearby. The planning and construction work was done by the German master builder Georg Soffel

The boat shaped cap is a special characteristic of the Kulla mill. Most remaining windmills in Scania have an onion shaped cap. 

The last millner, Nils Persson, operated the mill until 1950. In 1962 the mill was donated to the Kullens hembygdsförening, a local preservation society, which has later completely renovated it. It is now a beautiful historical monument of times gone by. 

The Kulla mill - like all the other museum mills in Scania - is each year open to the public on the Day of the Mills


I added pictures of two other nearby wind mills, also maintained by Kullens hembygdsförening.

The Bräcke windmill
The Farhult windmill

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Clouds over Kronborg

No wonder that cloud formations have always fascinated artists - they are fascinating creatures that never repeat themselves. John Constable was of course the great master in catching the fleeing moments when the sky was decorated by clouds of outstanding beauty, but many others have been quite skilled in this difficult art, too.

This evening I tried to catch the nice clouds above Hamlet´s Kronborg castle in Elsinore with my camera:

The Swedish merchant fleet now - and 90 years ago

Rederi A.B. Nordstjernan´s M/S Buenos Aires (1920, 5641 gross tonnes)

The Swedish merchant fleet comprised 375 vessels on 31 December 2011, according to official statistics. This is the lowest number since the present type of  survey started in 1961. It represents a net decrease of 22 ships, due to 27 removals and 5 additions to the fleet. 
The total size of the fleet was 3.8 million gross tonnes, which is a decrease by 6 % or 247 000 gross tonnes compared to 2010.

Swedish shipowners meeting in Malmö in 1902. Their present day collagues are fewer  -  and probably  meet in  less grand halls. 
Just for comparison, a little more than 90 years ago (1921) there were 2790 Swedish commercial ships with a total of 1 174644 gross tonnes. Among the altogether 1600 (!) shipping companies, the largest with regard to number of ships, was Rederi AB Svea with 89 ships. The Dan Broström shipping companies were the largest as to gross tonnes (142174 gross tonnes and 40 ships).

This map shows the Swedish operated transocean regular shipping routes in 1920

Here are the newest ships in some of the Swedish shipping company fleets in 1920: 

Rederi AB Svea´s S/S Hjalmar Blomberg, launched in 1920 (2325 gross tonnes)
M/S Elmaren, Rederi A.B. Transatlantic (1920, 5808 gross tonnes)
S/S Lübeck was Hallands Ångbåts A.B´s newest ship, although not very new, as it was built already  in  1894
Svenska Ostasiatiska kompaniet´s newest ship was S/S Sumatra (1914, 5414  gross  tonnes)
Ångf. A.B. Nordsjön´s S/S Gustaf Adolf (1920, 1061 gross tonnes)
Rederi A.B. Teutonia´s S/S Teutonia (1904, 417 gross tonnes)
Ångfartygs A.B. Nornan´s S/S Gylfe (1914, 552 gross tonnes)
Ångbåts A.B. Bohuslänska kusten´s S/S Göteborg (1891, 416 gross tonnes)
Svenska Amerika-Mexikolinjen´s M/S Stureholm (1919,  4599 gross tonnes)
Förnyade Ångf. A.B. Götha´s S/S Orania (1919, 1873 gross tonnes)
Svenska Rederi A.B. Öresund´s S/S Hälsingborg (1912, 668 gross tonnes)
Rederi A.B. Svenska Lloyd´s S/S Hibernia (1920, 2500 gross tonnes)

(Source: Svensk Sjöfart, Aktiebolaget Hasse W Tullbergs förlag, Stockholm 1921)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Cunard´s ocean liner Queen Victoria in Øresund

Cunard´s stylish ocean liner Queen Victoria tonight sailed through Øresund on its way from Tallinn to Zeebrügge. Before Tallinn the 293 x 32 m QV had visited St. PetersburgHelsinki and Stockholm on this cruise. The ship, which was launched in 2007, has cabins for 2014 passengers and a crew of 900. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Elvis in ARTE´s "Summer of Rebels" series

Elvis in the "68 Comeback Special"
The Franco-German television channel ARTE has again saved my summer - particularly on grey and rainy summer days, which there have been quite a few of so far. Last year ARTE run a series of specials with the theme "Summer of Girls". This year they are introducing the "Summer of Rebels", which opened with the unforgettable Elvis "68 Comeback Special". What a treat!

If you did not have a chance to watch and record the special last night, you can always buy the dvd. It is well worth the investment!

Here is a sample:

Next Sunday ARTE will show another "must see" Summer of Rebels program: "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison".

Namibia´s new research vessel RV Mirabilis in Øresund on its maiden voyage

Sport fishers in front of the Kronborg castle watching Namibia´s new fisheries  research  vessel  RV  Mirabilis  pass  by on its maiden voyage

The brand new Namibian research vessel RV Mirabilis yesterday passed Helsingborg/Helsingør on its maiden voyage to its home port Walvis Bay

A Danish sailing ship meets the Mirabilis in the Sound

The STX Finland Rauma shipyard delivered the 62,4 x 14.3m to the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources at a flag-changing ceremony on June 28: 

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, last week took delivery of the 'RV Mirabilis' fishing vessel in Finland.
The ministry's research team will use the vessel to ensure that correct vital data is collected to guide the ministry in decision-making.
The 35-million Euro (about N$350 million at the current exchange rate) vessel was bought through a combination of an interest-free loan from the Finnish government and the Namibian government's own resources.
The NB 1378 RV Mirabilis is a versatile vessel, equipped with a Dynamic Positioning System or DPS, and is 62,4 metres long and 14,3 metres wide. The tasks of the ship will include monitoring fish stocks, sorting, processing, freezing and storage of fish, as well as the collection of biological samples from the seabed and water quality research and analysis.
Other tasks envisaged are the control of fishing off the African coast and meteorological research. The RV Mirablis provides accommodation for 44 crewmembers and research personnel.
Read the entire article here

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Mein Schiff 2 and Costa Fortuna passing Helsingborg

Tonight two of this summer´s "regulars", the Mein Schiff 2 (264 x 34m) and the Costa Fortuna
(273 x36m) passed Helsingborg in the Sound. It was a beautiful Nordic summer evening, so no wonder that there were lots of people on the sun decks, particularly on the Fortuna ....

Mein Schiff 2 was on its way from Copenhagen to Kiel, and the destination for the Costa Fortuna was Geiranger in Norway.