Tuesday, 31 December 2013

"The latest fashion on the streets of Paris" (1908)

A trendy Parisian lady in 1908

Fashion trends in Paris were closely watched in Sweden already in the early 20th century. The weekly Hvar 8 Dag published this picture in one of its 1908 issues with the caption: "The latest fashion on the streets of Paris".

Monday, 30 December 2013

The Power of the Wind

The power of the wind is clearly visible in the neighbouring nature reserve here in Hittarp. After the latest storm a couple of weeks ago, there are tens of fallen trees, which - if they do not obstruct paths - will be left untouched.

I have passed the pine below hundreds of times on my walks in the nature reserve. It was quite a sturdy and healthy looking tree, but still it surrendered to the storm force wind blowing from the Sound side:

Birches seem to have adapted better to the forces of nature. At least those located close to the beach grow in a way that can take quite a lot of stormy weather:

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Images from Helsingborg's Northern Harbour area

The Northern Harbour is one of my favourite locations in Helsingborg. There are quite a few pictures in my blog from this area - and here are some more, which I shot this afternoon:


Esa-Pekka Salonen - A Conductor with a Great Sense of Humour

Salonen - conductor with a good sense of humour

"Finns place great value on words, which is reflected in the tendency to say little and avoid 'unnecessary' small talk. They are better at listening than at talking."

From "The Guide to Finnish Customs and Manners" by professor Olli Alho

Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen confirms what the professor wrote:

It is OK to take your time. Being a Finnish person, things can be quite slow so it took me seven years to talk to my wife for the first time. We've been married for 22 years now, so it was worth the wait.


The quote is from the BBC page "Esa-Pekka Salonen: 10 tips to becoming a conductor".

Salonen could have added one more tip: A good sense of humour (which he always has displayed)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sacred water from the river Jordan exported to the US in 1905

Armenian businessmen pose together with an orthodox priest and a police constable (?) in front of barrels filled with sacred water from the river Jordan, which were to be exported to the US in 1905:

In December 2010 it was reported that the export of sacred water had resumed after a pause of 100 years:

For the first time in almost 100 years, Jordan is resuming the export of consecrated water from the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been baptized, officials said Tuesday.
The export of sacred water from the Jordan River came to a halt with the defeat of the Ottoman Turks, who controlled Jordan and other Middle East countries before the outbreak of World War I.
For much of the past century, the area on the eastern side of the river has been a military zone.
"Jordanian firms have been qualified for the bottling and packing of consecrated water from the baptism site," said Dia Madani, chairman of the Baptism Site Board.

Container ship Mito Strait on its way to Hamburg

The container ship Mito Strait (148 m x 23 m) was today on its way to Hamburg, just when the sun was setting above the Danish coast:

The Christmas tree after Christmas

The Christmas tree looks nice also after Christmas:

The Last Night of the Proms 2011 on BBC HD channel last night

Conductor Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in front of the audience in the Albert Hall.

One reason why I always look forward to the Christmas season, is that the European television channels include so many fine classical music and opera performances in their programme schedule. In addition to the great live broadcasts - e.g. from Vienna, Dresden, Berlin and Venice - there are also many rebroadcasts of older favourites, like the Last Night of the Proms 2011, shown on the BBC HD channel last night.

What a great evening, with the young conductor Edward Gardner in charge of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Chorus and the soloists Susan Bullock (soprano) and Lang Lang!

Particularly I enjoyed Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, and Britten's wonderful arrangement of the British National Anthem.

Soprano Susan Bullock was quite a sight when she sung Rule Britannia!

Edward Gardner was the youngest conductor since Henry Wood to conduct the Last Night of the Proms.

The "father of the Proms", Henry Wood.

There is no audience like the audience on the Last Night of the Proms!


Just in case you are interested:

The 2014 Proms Season launches on 24 April
and the booking opens on 17 May.

A photograph of Tsar Nicholas II and his family together with officers of the Semenovsky Life-Guards Regiment

In its 16 September 1906 issue the Swedish weekly Hvar 8 Dag published this photograph of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, posing together with officers of the Semenovsky Life-Guards Regiment.

The commander of the regiment, general Min (marked as number one in the picture) was assassinated the day after the photograph was taken. Of course, we all know what happened later to the Tsar and his family.

The Semenovsky Regiment was the second oldest guards regiment in the Imperial Russian Army. In December 1905 the regiment had participated in the quelling of the armed uprising in Moscow.

Tsar Nicholas II (marked with 2) and his family together with officers of the Semenovsky regiment. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna holds the Tsesarevich and heir apparentto the throne, Alexei Nikolaevich.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Church of the Old Swedish Fishing Village of Viken

The church of the old Swedish fishing village of Viken is beautifully located close to the sea:

The Church of Viken was built in 1825. A new "wing" was added in 2013.

The church seen from the other side.

The old vicarage.

The old cemetery at Viken.

Houses in Viken in "Christmas Dress"

Both old and new houses in the historic fishing village of Viken are nicely decorated for
the Christmas season:



Thursday, 26 December 2013

A Christmas Doll House

What a wonderful Christmas doll house somebody has created in the village of Viken!

An artificial snowman in Sweden

No white Christmas this year here in southwestern Sweden. However, if you are inventive enough, there is excellent compensation for the lack of snow:

An artificial snowman in Viken.

Another picture of the welcoming snowman.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas on the Sea: Finnish container ship Aila in Øresund on Christmas Eve

Spare a thought for the crew of Finnish container ship Aila - and thousands of other crews - who spend their Christmas far away from their loved ones:

Container ship Aila in Øresund this afternoon. Aila is on her way to Teesport, where it is due to arrive early in the
morning on December 26.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!
Soon the sailing season is here again!


Monday, 23 December 2013

A children's playground by the sea in Domsten

Not a white Christmas this year. But the children's playground by the sea in Domsten is open:


I added an image of the beach in Domsten, which during
the summer months is a popular part of the children's playground:

Christmas at the Manor

The Kulla Gunnarstorp manor (or castle, as it called in  Sweden) is the "Downton Abbey" of our neighbourhood. The beautifully located manor enjoys a spectacular view over Öresund. Although the owners most likely do not have quite as many servants as Downton Abbey, I am quite certain that their Christmas will be as filled with traditions as the one shown in the famous television series.

At the Kulla Gunnarstorp gate

A slightly different angle, where you can see the manor better.

The Kulla Gunnarstorp horses will most likely enjoy their Christmas outdoors, with a spectacular view.

The Gala Opening of the Mariinsky II on ARTE: Ah, Those Mariinsky Ballerinas!

As part of its Christmas programming, the ARTE television channel last night brought us the opening gala concert of the Mariinsky Theater Second Stage, which took place on 2 May this year.

The concert, which featured such mega stars as Plácido Domingo, Rene Pape and Anna Netrebko, and of course the host Valery Gergiev, was a stunning display of music and dance on the highest level.

However, the ones who made the evening truly memorable, at least for this "reviewer", were the Mariinsky ballerinas. To me, they are the essence and the beauty of the Mariinsky tradition:

Yekaterina Kondarouva

Yekaterina Kondarouva

The Mariinsky Children's Chorus was another of the evening's highlights:

And, of course, Boris Godunov in all his splendour:

Evgeny Nikitin

Still another highlight: The Song of the Volga Boatmen
Bass Mikhail Petrenko and the Mariinsky Chorus