onsdag den 31. januar 2024

Colour24 ~ February

The colour of February is Graphite black.


Words for Wednesday :: Travel Log ~ 2 ~ Rejseberetning

This challenge started a long time ago. Now it has turned into a movable feast with Elephant's Child as our coordinator; and the Words provided by a number of people.

The general idea of this challenge is to make us write. Poems, stories, subtitles, tales, jokes, haiku, crosswords, puns, ... you're the boss.
Use all Words, some Words, one Word, or even none of them if that makes your creative juices flow. Anything goes, only please nothing rude or vulgar.

 It is also a challenge, where the old saying
"The more the merrier" holds true.

So Please, remember to follow the links, go back and read other peoples' stories. And please leave a comment after reading. Challenges like this one thrives on interaction, feedback and encouragement. And we ALL need encouragement.

-- ☭ --

The prompts for every Wednesday in January are provided by Elephant's Child, and made public at her blog.

For today we had these words:

Destined
Remarkable
Lure
Aware
Rules


And this picture she took at a Hyper Real exhibition in Canberra.

The picture reminds me of many of the despondent women, I met in the countries behind the Iron Curtain. I did not use any of the words, so I have an excuse for writing more.
This is a continuation of Travel Log 1  We're still in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Hungary. Our bus had broken down, and we were slowly travelling through said countries and Greece bound for Turkey and eventually through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to India.


We had to talk to people as part of our research. This was made difficult by the fact that only older people - specifically those who had completed primary school before 1945 - could speak anything other than Russian and their mother tongue. The 'old ones', roughly our parents' generation and upwards, spoke excellent German, many adequate French, and only a few English at a level that allowed for conversations on more than basic topics. 

In our studies before travelling, we had read that there was no unemployment behind the Iron Curtain, that people ate well and that children and young ones were well educated and everybody worked for a brighter future.

I couldn't really reconcile this with the queues at the soup kitchens, the lack of goods in the shops and much more.

For example, a lady on the train - she could very well have been a sister to the one in today's picture -  asked if we were from West Germany. After we explained that we were from Denmark, but that it looked a lot like West Germany, she asked us to come back and bring her knitting needles and crochet hooks. We had to promise to try before she let us go.

While we waited for the bus to be repaired, we were distributed to the other buses. We went shopping. As I said, we didn't know the language, so when we saw a queue we linede up - same as everybody else, but without being able to ask for what was available in the shop at the end of the queue. After queuing for umbrellas and fake wool suits, we learnt to send one up ahead and look what kind of shop it was.

Once inside the store, we queued up again. First in one queue to place our order and get a note with the price, then in another queue to pay and get the note endorsed, and then in a final one where we handed in the note and got the wrapped item. Guaranteed full employment, sure, but what a waste of time.

We also stayed at a cheap hotel for a few days while we waited. The reception desk looked like nothing I would ever let my guests see; half-dead weeping figs that should have seen some care the day before yesterday, the carpets were stained, and in the dining room the curtains were askew, and not able to bu pulled either way because the rods had come loose. We asked if they should be repaired, but were told that complaints were to be be written in the complaint book. We looked and saw that guests had been writing complaints about the curtain rods for at least three years.

The system in the dining room was also a story in itself. Behind a counter sat a lady, responsible for  signing our meal tickets before we could eat, but she was doing crossword puzzles or filing her nails or reading, and it could last a long time before she bothered to attend to us.

We wondered and puzzled over all this - remember we were told we were going to see a workers' paradise - but slowly we realised that the hotel, the shops and everything were state-owned, not just the farms and the land. That is, the people who worked didn't feel responsible, they had no incentive to being energetic, nice, service-minded or anything else. Just like the grocer-couple with their sauna told us. Everybody were paid their wages, no matter what, and they didn't get more if they did better, and they did not get fired either, except when criticising the system. All tips were also collected and went to the government, or maybe some fund. We saw the exact same thing happening on our researches in agricultural places and in factories. People did the bare minimum; things that broke were not repaired or were repaired poorly; and in general, no one cared about making things better. I think the yields of the highly industrialised Czechoslovakian farms were pretty much the same as in pre-industrial Denmark.  

We ended up adding a rather critical verse to our Red Star over Czechoslovakia song for our presentation. It earned us more points than we expected.

    Hang the red flag on the school building,
    Put the star of communism into our culture.
    Everyone keeps cadence, just like Franklin Bean*.
    Paper still can bend, but the system is rigid.

We sang a lot o this journey. Songs written by others and songs we made up ourselves. We made up songs like Tyrkie ingrediensi songasi (Mock Turkish meaning Turkish ingredients song), and We roll down the mountains, The Flea Song and then we sang The Bus Song - probably the most romantic and materialistic tribute to the life in a bus:
    One engine throbbing, six pistons beating,
    six tyres against dusty tarmac.
    In time with the farmers' goats and sheep,
    is it a world set apart?

(I'm sorry for once again giving only a word-for-word translation of the songs, and not making them into poetry)

- - - - - - -
* Refers to the 1990 Eponymous movie Wikipedia


-- ☭ --

    Vi skulle tale med folk som en del af vore undersøgelser. Det blev besværliggjort af at det kun var ældre mennesker - helt nøjagtigt dem, der havde afsluttet folkeskolen før 1945 - der kunne tale andet end russisk og deres modersmål. De 'gamle', groft regnet vores forældres generation og opefter, talte fremragende tysk, nogle hæderligt fransk, og et fåtal engelsk på et niveau der muliggjorde samtaler om andet end helt basale emner.  

    I vores studier havde vi læst, at der ikke var arbejdsløshed bag jerntæppet, at folk spiste godt, at børn og unde fik en førsteklasses undervisning, og at alle arbejdede  sammen for en lysere fremtid.
    Det kunne jeg i hvert fald ikke rigtig få til at passe med køerne til suppekøkkenerne, med det manglende udbud af varer i butikkerne og meget andet.
    For eksemplel var der en dame i toget, der spurgte, om vi kom fra Vesttyskland. Da vi havde forklaret, at vi kom fra Danmark, men at det lignede Vesttyskland, bad hun os om at komme igen, og tage strikkepinde og hæklenåle med til hende. Vi måtte love at forsøge, før hun slap os.
    Mens vi ventede på at bussen blev repareret, blev vi fordelt i de andre busser. Vi gik på indkøb. Vi kunne som sagt ikke sproget, så når vi så en kø, stillede vi bare op - lige som alle de andre gjorde det, men uden at kunne spørge, hvad der var at få i butikken for enden af køen. Efter at have stået i kø efter paraplyer og habitter af celluld lærte vi at sende en op og kigge efter hvad det var for en butik.
    Inde i butikken stod vi så i kø igen. Først i én kø for at afgive bestilling og få en seddel med prisen, så i en anden kø for at betale og få seddelen påtegnet, og så i en sidste, hvor vi afleverede seddelen og fik den indpakkede vare. Garanti for fuld beskæftigelse, javist, men sikke et spild af tid.
    Vi boede også nogle dage på et billigt hotel, mens vi ventede. Receptionen lignede noget, der var løgn, halvdøde stuebirke, der burde være vandet allersenest i forgårs, gulvtæpperne var plettede, og i spisesalen hang gardinerne og dinglede, fordi stængerne ikke sad fast. Vi spurgte, om de ikke skulle repareres, men fik at vide, at klager skulle skrives i klagebogen. Der kunne vi så se, at der var blevet klaget over de hængende gardiner i hvert fald de sidste tre år.
    Systemet i spisesalen var også et kapitel for sig. Der sad en dame, der skulle påtegne vores spisebilletter, før vi kunne få mad, men hun sad og løste krydsord, eller filede negle eller læste, og det kunne vare endog meget længe, før hun gad tage sig af os. Vi undrede os, men langsomt gik det op for os, at hotellet, og butikkerne og i det hele taget alt var statsligt, ikke kun landbrugene og jorden. Det vil sige, at dem der arbejdede, ikke følte at de fik noget ud af at være energiske, flinke, servicemindede eller noget som helst. De fik deres løn, lige meget hvad, og de fik ikke mere hvis de gjorde det bedre. Alle drikkepenge blev også indsamlet og gik til staten, eller en eller anden fond, tror jeg. Det helt samme så vi gentage sig på undersøgelser i landbruget og på fabrikker. Folk gjorde det absolutte minimum; ting, der gik i stykker, blev ikke eller kun nødtørftigt repareret, og i det hele taget var alle totalt ligeglade med at gøre det bedre. Jeg tror udbyttet af de højt industrialiserede tjekkoslovakiske landbrug var stort set som i det før-industrielle Danmark.   

Det endte med at vi lavede et temmelig systemkritisk vers til vores Rød stjerne over Tjekkoslovakiet-sang til fremlæggelsen. Det bragte os flere point end vi havde regnet med.

    Hæng den røde fane op på skolens mur,
    kommunismens stjerne ind i vor kultur.
    Alle taler kun om retning, kæft og trit.
    Papir kan stadig bøjes, systemet er dog stift.

    Vi sang i det hele taget meget. Både sange, andre havde skrevet og hjemmelavede sange. Vi sang "Tyrkie ingrediensi sangasi" (Vrøvle-tyrkisk titel) og "Vi ruller ned af bjergene", "Loppesangen" og "Bussangen" ikke at forglemme - nok den mest romantiske, beton-materialistiske hyldest til livet i en bus (Den har vi ikke selv lavet):
    En motor der banker, seks stempler der slår,
    seks dæk mod den støvede vej.
    I takt med bøndernes geder og får,
    er det mon en verden for sig?

tirsdag den 30. januar 2024

Poetry Monday :: Flight

Today's theme for Poetry Monday is Flight. Poetry Monday is a challenge, normally hosted by Diane at On the Border. But from Monday, January 8, 2024, Messymimi and I have conspired to keep the chair warm for her, as she's taking a break due to health issues. We will each set the topics for one month, I begin with January, Mimi is gong to tackle February, and so on until Diane returns.

Yesterday I was caught by a dizzy spell - neck muscles playing tricks, so nothing serious - but still not compatible with writing poetry. Hoping it's still Monday somewhere, I present the shortest poem ever:


Flight  - it means to run away
Return to fight another day

- - - - - -

Next Monday's topic: Basket

torsdag den 25. januar 2024

Words for Wednesday :: Travel Log ~ 1 ~ Rejseberetning

Dansk længere nede

This challenge started a long time ago. Now it has turned into a movable feast with Elephant's Child as our coordinator; and the Words provided by a number of people.

The general idea of this challenge is to make us write. Poems, stories, subtitles, tales, jokes, haiku, crosswords, puns, ... you're the boss.
Use all Words, some Words, one Word, or even none of them if that makes your creative juices flow. Anything goes, only please nothing rude or vulgar.

 It is also a challenge, where the old saying
"The more the merrier" holds true.

So Please, remember to follow the links, go back and read other peoples' stories. And please leave a comment after reading. Challenges like this one thrives on interaction, feedback and encouragement. And we ALL need encouragement.

-- ☭ --

The prompts for every Wednesday in January are provided by Elephant's Child, and made public at her blog.

For today we had these words:

Camel
Bone
Carving
Application
River
     And/or
Journey
Shock
Family
Crown
Colours

Today's writing is a little different than usual. Firstly, it's totally autobiographical, and secondly, there are memories from a not-so-nice time.
I haven't used the words in the order in which they were given, or indeed all of them, as I usually do.
These stories - which I hope to continue over the coming Wednesdays - have been lurking in my head for a long time. And some days ago I realised that most people I know no longer remember the days when the Iron Curtain was a normal part of everyday life. And that many young people have a glorified image of life behind the Iron Curtain.
That's why I've told small sections of this story several times to several different people. Now I had to write it down.


I went to the International High School. The thirst for adventure and the desire to travel were my main motivational factors, and then the atmosphere of belonging, of being safe, and having a place in the bigger sceme of things. These were people you felt you could trust.
     The first time at the school was euphoric, I was finally part of a community, we sang and drank endless amounts of tea. We studied for driver's license together, and as I was one of the first to pass the theroretical part, I continued studying with the others until everyone had passed sometime in October! I memorised the theory, including the difficult part with hydraulics and vacuum brakes.
    There was a "go home" weekend every third weekend. I don't remember much about them, but I do remember the feeling of coming home to school. The guitar music, the songs, and the hot tea in the dining hall after the cold bike ride from the station warmed me to my bones. Even though after a while we were divided into two groups - the ideologues and the rest of us. You had to watch your words when an ideologue was around, so most of the time we sat in small groups with those we trusted around the rooms.
    Fortunately, in my group there weren't many ideologues. There was one of the other groups that was really bad. The worst of us was probably one of my roommates, Anniken. Most of the others were pretty "normal" - and had a thousand different reasons for going there.

    We got our driving licence, read about the countries we were going to visit, brushed up some languages, repaired the buses, packed, and were ready for the big journey. On a sunny day in October, we finally left. We said our goodbyes to parents, siblings and friends who had come to see us off. We travelled through the GDR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, etc. to experience the communist paradise.

It didn't seem very paradisal to me. It was as if the colours of life were gone. In Prague, which was otherwise a beautiful city, there were still bullet holes in the walls from World War II and people were queuing for a meal at the local soup kitchen. We went to the Revolutionary Museum, which was in an old mansion, but we didn't see the Charles Bridge or the Tajn Church or any of the other beautiful things.

What I tell you in this chapter applies to Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and to some extent Yugoslavia. Czechoslovakia was just the country we spent the most time in, so most of the examples are from there. In Yugoslavia, things were a bit better. People were more optimistic, more active. Tito's manoeuvring between the US and the SSSR gave more wiggle room and thus hope to the people.

Red Star over Czechoslovakia  (a song, we wrote - literal translation)
Czechoslovakia is a country in the east,
we crossed the border, time has turned into autumn,
We croosed beautiful mountains, but then we got no further.
When we reached Prague, our dear bus broke down.

There is a lot of industry in this country.
The farms are big with many big machines ...

As the song tells, one of the buses broke down when we reached Prague and there was a big fuss to get it repaired. The local ČSAD (bus lines - still existing today) workshop was unwilling to lend us any tools to repair it - the bus had broken down right outside the workshop, so it wasn't like we had to go far with the tools. In the end, a West German couple on a family visit ended up helping with the repairs.

While some of our group struggled to repair the bus, the rest of us went on "investigations". That is, we travelled on a local train with wooden seats and were dropped off in small towns along the line in threes. We then had to be at the station again the next day at the same time. My group went to the local grocery store and found a German-speaking, motherly-looking lady who very insistently invited us to the sauna when we started questioning her about political issues and daily life in Bulgaria.

Inside the sauna, she told us that she and her husband had built it themselves, so there were no microphones. And then she went through the system from A to Z. It killed all initiative by cancelling private property rights, it destroyed families with mistrust and espionage. And so on and so forth.

-- ☭ --

Dagens skriverier er noget anderledes end de plejer at være. For det første er det totalt selvbiografisk, for det andet er der minder fra en ikke så vidundelig tid.
Jeg har heller ikke, som jeg plejer, brugt ordene i den rækkefølge, vi har fået dem, eller den alle sammen.
De historier - jeg håber at fortsætte de kommende onsdage - har længe ligget og luret i mit hoved. Og forleden gik det op for mig, at de fleste jeg kender, ikke længere husker den tid hvor jerntæppet var en normal del af hverdagen. Og at mange af de unge har et forherliget billede af livet bag jerntæppet.
Derfor har jeg fortal små afsnit af denne historie flere gange for flere forskellige. Nu måtte jeg så hellere få det skrevet ned.


Jeg tog på Den Internationale Efterskole. Eventyrlysten og udlængselen var de to største faktorer, og så trygheden. Der var folk det føltes som om man kunne stole på. Den første tid på skolen var euforisk, jeg var endelig en del af et fællesskab, vi sang og drak uanede mængder af te hver aften. Vi læste teori sammen, og da jeg bestod som en af de første, læste jeg videre sammen med de andre til alle havde bestået en gang i oktober! Jeg kunne teorien, også den svære del med hydraulik og vacuumbremser udenad.
    Der var hjemrejse-weekend hver tredje weekend. Dem kan jeg ikke huske ret meget fra, men jeg husker følelsen af at komme hjem til skolen. Guitarklangene, sangene - for vi sang virkelig meget - og den varme te i salen efter den kolde cykeltur fra stationen varmede helt ned i tæerne. Også selv om vi efter et stykke tid deltes i to grupper - ideologerne og os andre. Man skulle vogte sine ord, når en ideolog var i nærheden, så for det meste sad vi i små grupper med dem vi stolede på, rundt omkring på værelserne.
    I min gruppe var der heldigvis ikke så mange ideologer. Der var en af de andre grupper, der var virkelig slem. Den værste hos os var nok en af mine værelseskammerater, Anniken. De fleste andre var ret "normale" - og havde 1000 forskellige grunde til at gå der.

    Vi fik taget kørekort, studerede de lande, vi skulle rejse til og lidt sprog, sat busser i stand og pakket. Så var vi klar til den store rejse. En solskinsdag i oktober tog vi så endelig afsted. Vi tog rørende afsked med forældre, søskende og venner der var kommet for at vinke. Vi rejste ned gennem DDR, Tjekkoslovakiet, Jugoslavien, Bulgarien osv, for at opleve det kommunistiske paradis. På mig virkede det nu ikke særligt paradisisk. Det var ligesom farverne i tilværelsen var væk. I Prag, der ellers var en smuk by, var der stadig skudhuller i murene fra 2. verdenskrig og folk stod i kø for at få et måltid i det lokale suppekøkken. Vi var på revolutionsmuseet, der lå i en gammel herskabslejlighed, men vi så ikke Karlsbroen eller Tajn-kirken eller nogen af alle de andre skønne ting.
    Det, jeg fortæller i dette kapitel, gælder for Tjekkoslovakiet, Bulgarien, Ungarn, Rumænien og til dels Jugoslavien. Tjekkoslovakiet var bare det land, vi brugte mest tid i, derfor er de fleste eksempler derfra. I Jugoslavien var det hele lidt bedre. Folk var mere optimistiske, mere aktive. Titos manøvrering mellem USA og SSSR gav mere frihed og dermed håb til befolkningen.

Rød stjerne over Tjekkoslovakiet (en sang, vi skrev)
Tjekkoslovakiet er et land i øst,
vi tog over grænsen, det var blevet høst,
over flotte bjerge, men så var det slut
da vi nåede Prag var motoren kaput.

Her i landet er der meget industri.
Gårdene er store med maskiner i ...

    Som sangen siger, gik en af busserne itu, da vi nåede Prag, og der var stor ståhej med at få den repareret. Det lokale ČSAD-værksted (busselskabet) ville ikke på vilkår låne noget som helst værktøj ud, så vi kunne reparere - bussen var gået i stå lige uden for værkstedet, så det var ikke fordi vi skulle langt væk med værktøjet. Det endte med at et Vesttysk ægtepar på familiebesøg hjalp med reparationerne.
    Mens nogle stykker sled med at reparere bussen, tog vi andre på undersøgelse. Det vil sige at vi tog med et bumletog med træsæder og blev smidt af i små byer langs vejen tre og tre - i treere blev det kaldt. Vi skulle så være på stationen igen næste dag på samme tid. Vi gik til den lokale købmand og fandt der en tysk-talende moderligt udssende dame, der meget insisterende inviterede os i sauna, da vi begyndte at udspørge hende om politiske emner og dagliglvet i Bulgarien.
    Inde i saunaen fortalte hun at den havde hun og hendes mand selv bygget, så der var garanteret ingen mikrofoner. Og så gennemheglede hun ellers systemet fra a til z. Det dræbte al initiativ ved at ophæve ejendomsretten, det ødelagde familierne med mistillid og spionage. Og så videre.

mandag den 22. januar 2024

Poetry Monday :: Teachers

Of course we have teachers in school, but elsewhere as well.
In my neighbourhood lived a man called the watchmaker. Either he just went under my radar as I was a child, or he was very shy, or worked very much, because I never remember seeing him around. He was known for writing songs to the yearly Revue in our town (Revues in Denmark are/were more satirical, political and funny than daring). His songs taught me much of rhyme, metrics and so on.

In my youth many poets and writers lived 'normal' lives, and were poets on the sideline, and often under a pen-name. The author of today's poem The Evensong Bells are A-tolling. was more of a public figure. He ran a newspaper, was co-editor of another and owned a  theatre. This does not prevent me from only discovering him recently - he died in 1899, so I might be excused.

For many years I thought many of his songs were old, anonymous pieces, maybe because he sometimes recycled old folk tunes or modern instrumental pieces for his lyrics. But for this one he actually wrote both words and score.


The evensong bells are a-tolling.
The snow gently falling, the days short and dark
The nun in the chapel sings praise like a lark.
In the cloister the roses are growing.
The knight in a jousting was wounded and bled,
His cheeks were so pale and his tunic all red.
The evensong bells are a-tolling, a-tolling.

The knight in the abbey must stay into spring
The nun tends his wounds and she prays while she sings.
In the cloister the roses are growing.
She prays at his cot, gently easing his plight,
Alone in the chapel she weeps out of sight.
The evensong bells are a-tolling, a-tolling.

The flowers were blooming, and everything grew
The knight had his horse saddled up, bade adieu.
In the cloister the roses are growing.
He rode from the abbey with songs of renown.
The nun in her cell quiet sat, not a sound.
The evensong bells are a-tolling, a-tolling.

The flowers are wilting, the leaves turning brown.
The knight in his keep let his wedding be known.
In the cloister the roses are growing.
The nun picks the roses, the last to be found
Binds them to a wreath, for the bride as a crown.
The evensong bells are a-tolling, a-tolling.
Lyrics and music: Erik Bøgh (1860).
Translation: MotherOwl 2024



The Danish original:

 Hør klokkerne ringe til ave
Og sneen den føg så vide om jord,
men nonnen hun sang i det hellige kor:
Der er roser i klostrets have.
Og ridderen kom fra den blodige leg.
Så rød var hans brynje, hans kind var så bleg.
Hør klokkerne ringe til ave, til ave!

Og ridderen blev derinde til vår,
og nonnen ham plejed' og lægte hans sår.
Der er roser i klostrets have.
Hun bad ved hans leje så mangen en bøn,
hun bragte ham trøst, men selv græd hun i løn.
Hør klokkerne ringe til ave, til ave!

Da løvet blev grønt og fuglene sang,
sig ridderen atter i sadelen svang.
Der er roser i klostrets have.
Han jog gennem lunden med jublende røst,
men inde i cellen sad nonnen så tyst.
Hør klokkerne ringe til ave, til ave!

Da blomsterne visned' og bladene faldt,
hans bryllup på borgen man fejrede alt.
Der er roser i klostrets have.
Men nonnen hun plukked' de sidste, hun fandt,
til bruden, den glade, i krans hun dem bandt.
Hør klokkerne ringe til ave, til ave!

Erik Bøgh, 1822-99, var som forfatter, komponist og meddirektør
for Kasino i København en flittig leverandør af lystspil og vaudeviller.
Desuden var han redaktør af Folkets Avis og medredaktør af Dagens Nyheder.


- - - - - -

Upcoming topics:
January 29: Flight

February 5: Basket
February 12: Toes
February 19: Spice
February 26: Ants

søndag den 21. januar 2024

Sunday Selections :: Clay Brown 2

Colour of January -- Januars farve


Just a few photos from today -- Bare et par billeder fra i dag.

The tunnel at the station filled with water - again! And then the frost came.
Notice all the different things keeping people out. First plastic tapes were hung up, they were stretched, pulled off and people played in the ice filled tunnel. Then came the plastic chains, people climbed over or under. Then the red/white boards, same happened. Then the 2m. high fences were put up ... why remove the old ones?

Tunnelen ve stationen blev fuld af vand -igen-igen! Og så blev det frostvejr.
Tunellen blev afspærret med rød/hvide plastikstrimler. Dem hev folk i stykker og gled rundt i tunellen. Så blev der sat plastikkæder op, men dem kravlede folk da bare under eller over. Så kom brædderne til, også rød/hvide. Det hjalp ikke. Så til sidst tilføjede de et to meter højt hegn ... men hvorfor dog fjerne de gamle afspærringer?

Romantic wall with ivy and graffiti

En smuk efeu på en graffitifyldt væg

Bær på den samme væg

Berries on that same wall

tirsdag den 16. januar 2024

Drage-dag :: Appreciate a Dragon Day

Som altid bringer Mimi @ Messymimi's Meanderings en liste over ting, der fejres i dag. Deriblandt er Værdsæt en drage-dag. Det er lige noget for mig. Der optræder mange drager på denne blog: Legodrager, drager i bøger og i tegneserier, ægte drager, stempler og meget andet godt. Drager har endda deres helt egen label her på bloggen, så tryk bare på DRAGE, hvis I har lyst til at læse mere om Uglemors mange drager.

-- 🀄 --

As every day Mimi @ Messymimi's Meanderings brings a list over more or less obscure happenings today. Thanks!

According to her list, today is Dragon appreciating day. MotherOwl has a penchant for dragons. On this blog, we have seen lego-dragons, dragons in books and in comics. Susan has met a dragon, and MotherOwl has several dragon shaped things at home. Dragons even have their own label on this blog. Chose  DRAGE, (Dragon in Danish) to see them all.

Her er en drage fra mit billedarkiv. Jeg kan ikke huske, hvor jeg har brugt den, men den er da flot nok til at fortjene et gensyn.

-- 🀄 --

This is a dragon from my Blogger picture archive. I do not remember where I used it, but I think it's pretty enough for a revisit.

mandag den 15. januar 2024

Poetry Monday :: Requirement

Today's theme for Poetry Monday is Requirement. Poetry Monday is a challenge, normally hosted by Diane at On the Border. But from last Monday, January 8, 2024, Messymimi and I have conspired to keep the chair warm for her, as she's taking a break due to health issues. We will each set the topics for one month, I begin with January, Mimi is gong to tackle February, and so on until Diane returns.

Requirements? The old Pandaren in World of Warcraft says it perfectly: "Family. Friends. Food. These are what matter most." But that's not a rhyme. So I did my best here:

Requirement is what we need -
House, family, something to eat.
And tea or coffee, something sweet
without them life is hard to meet.

Requirement is what we need
And all the daily, dreary deed
And valorous, heroic strife
are both requirements for life.

Requirement is what we need
a tree to plant, to sow a seed.
The large and small of everyday
Is all we need to do and say.

- - - - - -

Upcoming topics:

January 15: Requirement (today)
January 22: Teacher
January 29: Flight

February 5: Basket
February 12: Toes
February 19: Spice
February 26: Ants

søndag den 14. januar 2024

Sunday Selections :: Clay Brown

The colour of January is Clay Brown. Is clay brown? Here it is a bluish grey.
-- 🎨 --
  Januars farve er lerbrun ... er ler brunt? Her er det blågråt.


I set out to prove that Clay Brown need not be boring.

We have been treated to a period of cold weather. Really cold with temperatures only just above freezing and really cold (-15 C) during the nigthtime. I love this. I love when winter is winter and I look forward to more snow promised tomorrow.

Here some photos from the last week and a half.

-- 🎨 --

     Jeg har sat mig for at bevise at lerbrun ikke behøver være kedeligt.
     Vi har haft en herlig, vinterlig periode i den forgangne tid. Kolde, klare dage og endnu koldere nætter. Jeg elsker det! når vinteren er vinterlig, og jeg ser frem til mere sne og frost i de kommende dage.
     Her nogle billeder fra de seneste 10 dage.

Frozen walnut dye  --  Frossent valnøddefarvevand


Fieldfare, eating the fallen apple -- Sjaggerne spiser vore nedfaldsæbler


Frosty leaves, mostly beech --  Frosne blade, mest bøg


More frosty leaves --- Flere frosne blade


Even more frosty leaves --  Endnu flere frosne blade


Ivy in the frost -- Frossen vedbend


If you need an excuse for not cutting down everything in the autumn, in my opinion hoarfrost is the perfect excuse.

-- 🎨 --

Hvis man skulle have brug for den perfekte undskyldning for ikke at klippe alt ned i efteråret. synes jeg bare rimtåge er lige i øjet.

Our old apple tree with clematis in the frost -- Vores gamle æbletræ med klematis i frostvejr.

Bronzefennikel i frost  --   Bronze fennel in the frost.

Teasels in the frost  --  Kardeboller med frost

Some weed in the frost  --  Ukudtsplante i frostvejr

-- 🎨 --

My view Friday morning  --  Min udsigt fredag morgen


Lidt kongelig ... A Little Bit Royal

I dag abdicerer dronning Margrethe, og prins Frederik bringer endelig orden i kongerækken ved at blive Frederik X. Der er ikke meget festivitas over ceremonierne her til lands, en underskrift fra dronning Margrethe og en udråbelse af Frederik X som konge - som Mette Frederiksen står for - er alt, der behøves.

-- --

Today Queen Margrethe abdicates, and King Frederik X and Queen Mary ascends to the throne. The ceremony is simple and sparse. A signature from the Queen and a proclamation by the prime minister Mette Frederiksen is all it takes.

Dronning Margrethe II - Queen Margrethe II

Kong Frederik X og Dronning Mary

Disse billeder ertaget fra kongehusets officielle hjemmeside
hvor de ligger til brug i anledning af tronskiftet.
De er taget af Per Morten Abrahamsen © (Dronning Margrethe)
og Hasse Nielsen © (Kong Frederik X og dronning Mary).



For EC, River, Cathy @ Still Waters, Sue Elvis, and all you lovely people Down Under, this is a one time opportunity to listen to the Writer - he'll go live in The Briefing Monday and talk about Queen Mary.

lørdag den 13. januar 2024

Sankt Knud bærer julen ud

      Nu har jeg hele to steder i dag læst om Sankt Knud og at i dag - 13 januar - er den dag, julen ender; både hos Messymimi og hos Myyrätohtori på Suomalainen Päiväkirja. (Musedoktoren fra Finsk Dagbog - hun skriver på tysk).
     Så kom jeg i tanker om det citat, der er opslagets overskrift (Blogger er begyndt at kalde det 'opslag' og ikke 'indlæg' - det er faktisk en forbedring).
     På grund af min vellykkede galdeblæreoperation,stå vores juletræ stadig inde i stuen.
     Det tager jeg så som et vink med en vognstang til at få afpyntet juletræet og få det ekspederet udenfor 😉

-- 🎄 --

Twice today I was reminded that January 13th is the day of St. Knud, and the last chance to put away the Christmas tree. Those two are Messymimi and Myyrätohtori @ Suomalainen Päiväkirja (Mouse-doctor @ Finnish Diary, written in German).

We have an old saying: "Sankt Knud bærer julen ud" - the title of this blog post - it rhymes (as you can see) and means Saint Knud carries out Christmas.

Because of my gall bladder surgery (a success - HUGE thankful) the Christmas three still stands in our living room, decked in all its beauty.

I'll choose to see this as a nudge from the universe to get that tree out of our living room 😉

Lige et par billeder -- 🎄 -- Some photos.






... så skal det bare bæres ud
... now it only has to be carried outside

onsdag den 10. januar 2024

Words for Wednesday ~ January 10

This challenge started a long time ago. Now it has turned into a movable feast with Elephant's Child as our coordinator; and the Words provided by a number of people.

The general idea of this challenge is to make us write. Poems, stories, subtitles, tales, jokes, haiku, crosswords, puns, ... you're the boss.
Use all Words, some Words, one Word, or even none of them if that makes your creative juices flow. Anything goes, only please nothing rude or vulgar.

 It is also a challenge, where the old saying
"The more the merrier" holds true.

So Please, remember to follow the links, go back and read other peoples' stories. And please leave a comment after reading. Challenges like this one thrives on interaction, feedback and encouragement. And we ALL need encouragement.

-- ☸ --

The prompts for every Wednesday in January are provided by Elephant's Child, and made public at her blog.

For today we had these words:

Memories
Thanks
Running
Grave
Collected
    And/or
Clover
Regrets
Marvellous
Enchanted
Clock

I continue my tale of the apprentices, the strange locket from a sea monster and an old sailor.
As usual I use all Words in the order they were given.


Fiona and Veronika were given the job of trying to pick the old sailor's memories. Thanks to their daddy bringing some beer and asking the crowd in the meadow where the nets were hung from poles for drying, cleaning and mending, they found out that the old sailor was sick at home. They bought some flowers, and as a second thought some frozen soup and went visiting. He was in bed with a bad cough, and Fiona pulled a chair up next to the bed and sat down. Meanwhile Veronika had the water running, scrubbed sink and pots and had the soup boiling in a very short time.

The old sailor sat propped by pillows while Veronika fed him spoonfuls of the hot soup and good bread.

He slept for a short while, and then woke, lucid and ready to tell his tale.
"It was a dark and stormy night," he began, making the sisters smile. "We had to anchor up out of the harbour, near the wood with all them windblown trees. We took the lifeboat, more like a big dinghy, to the shore, as captain was certain the boat would capsize before the night was over, but it did not, it was a good boat, the old Cormorant. The winds were cold and blowing the sea-spray at us, so we walked. We thought it was far, as we sailors do not like walking. Somewhere along the way we found an old grave, weathered and worn, but fear inducing to the superstitious crew. One of the men collected pebbles from the grave, and put some on the tombstone and some in his pockets. We walked, stumbled on through the stunted forest and in the end we saw the light of a small door or window from afar. We followed it and came to an inn. It was surrounded by a garden, the strangest garden I ever say. Patches of clover grew around it, all filled up with four leaf clovers. I tried to warn the others, but they were frozen through, as was I and Captain. We spent the night at the Yellow Cormorant. Finding it a good omen that the name of the inn was almost the same as that of our ship. The inn was full, despite its remote placement. We sat down and made merry with the customers.

We paid the bill later, but no regrets," the old sailor said. He dozed off and the girls sat quietly, waiting.

"Where was I?" he asked, when he awoke again.
"At the Yellow Cormorant," Fiona said. " Listening to the tales of the sailors there."
"Oh yes. One of them I remember best of all. He was old as time, maybe he just looked old to us young 'uns back then. White hair, blue eyes, ruddy, weather-beaten face, kind of like carved in wood. He told a tale of a marvellous trip, to an enchanted land, through the maelstrom there. He showed us a coin, pure gold, heavy and big. Later that night he gave it to me for safekeeping. He said that he had seen the Klabautermann and death was coming for him."

The old sailor sank back on his pillows and said: "The old clock still hides my precious treasure." He drew a deep breath brining on yet another attack of coughing and continued in a winded voice: "Now I need to sleep. Your company and soup have don me good. Kind girls please leave me alone."

Fiona kissed the old sailor on the cheek, and they left for home.  

Next day they read in the paper that a neighbour had visited the old sailor in the evening, to feed him again, and that he had died during the night.

... to be continued

tirsdag den 9. januar 2024

Challenges to be kept or not ~ 2024 Musings

The turning of the year as always have me thinking ~ Challenges? Why? How many? Which ones? And so on.

For the last many years, challenges have come and gone on this blog and in my life in general.
Some I liked, some not so much. Some were fun, some were not.

This past year has been an ungentle year. Record amounts of rain, closing of 'my' supermarket, health issues, family worries, ... I heard the saying "waiting for the other shoe to drop", well for me 2023 was a centipede. Much - among those my family, this blog, all kinds of fun challenges, my garden, oh so many things - have been suffering from my lack of energy and joy in anything. I hope both returns with the gall bladder surgery behind me and the returning of the sun.

And as for the (blog) challenges, this pretty day is a fine day to reflect a bit. Which ones are keepers, which ones are not?

Keepers &
Not Keepers:

Words for Wednesday - Link - hosted by Elephant's Child, and a perfectly enjoyable writing Challenge.
Poetry Monday - Hosted by Diane (but Mimi and I take over for now) Link to Diane and Link to Mimi - Poetic fun.
IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) - Link - A question to answer every first Wednesday - can do!
Sunday Selections - Link - good photo fun. I will participate in the coming year, but maybe not every Sunday.
A to Z Challenge* - very stressing but still fun ...  it might just be that anti-streak-imp roaring his head again, I suppose. I might still do a light version without signing up. I bit off a great deal more than intended with my ancestors, but it was fun and a good learning experience.

Colour of the Month - Link - it just did not work out as intended, I would have liked to post at least one Sunday Selections each month with the monthly colour. It simply did not happen. Maybe I'll continue in a slightly changed format ... time will tell.
Fredagsfrustrationer / Friday Frustrations - A way to vent my grumpy so that it does not pervade the whole blog. This too has been suffering lately - and the grumpiness spreading as a result -  but it's going to stay.
Tirsdagstips / Tuesday Tips - Suffering, but not abandoned.
Birthdays - of people known and not so known, mostly poets and writers. I like to cite and celebrate.

Duolingo* - Link - studying Japanese, and a couple of other languages, this way is good fun. I'll return, as this has been suffering, and try to keep it up.
Wordle* - and many more such letter-games. I just like this kind of games. They have also been suffering

Simple Daily Drawing* - Link - with great sorrow I saw this simple challenge morph into something bigger, not simple any more, but demanding, encompassing many more areas. I would really like to tell the crew behind SDD to Keep it simple!
InkTober & InkTober52* - InkTober 52 is discontinued, and the InkTober proper has turned too much into an Instagram event.
Doodlewash* - Link - As already told I'll try this drawing challenge instead. It seems to be old and well established. I'll just try and post my drawings at my drawings blog as I have not quite grasped the Doodlewash concept.

I also found a new drawing challenge:
Sketch Your Day
Use one random drawing prompts to record something from you day. From Artists Network. I think I'll try this one out first, as it is less alike to SDD Later I might add Doodlewash, r jus try this concept. 

Write, Edit, Publish - Link - which I stopped following last year, has ended their challenge. I'm sad to read this for totally egoistical reasons, as Olga Godim published wonderful bi-monthly stories using these prompts.
___________________________________________________________________________

* Many of these Challenges are centered around maintaining a streak (participating on a consecutive series of days) the longer, the better.

For such Challenges I regularly skip a day on purpose so as not to accumulate long streaks. Because keeping a streak in any Streak-oriented activity stresses me.

I know I'm strange this way and that this streak-business keeps many people focussed, but I really, really hate it and wish that I could opt out of it being counted.

News, Thanks, and a small Bother

First of all a HUGE THANK YOU to everybody - regular readers and those just popping over - who wished me well, sent prayers and good vibes my way. Today I feel like I am going to survive being "perforated" (Keyhole surgery is the right term, thanks EC). I'm still  ... wobbly ... I think is the best word, but I can stand erect, walk around, even stretch with care, so mending is absolutely happening.


As a direct consequence of feeling better, I began cleaning my blog - easy, sedentary job - and noticed that the background was still Advent time's Jesse Tree. I put up a snowy landscape instead which is most fitting since the snow still lies here, and we're treated to something as extraordinary as clear, freezing and even sunny weather. This is my favourite winter weather.

But after having changed the background - and I touched no other settings! my date header did not have its usual transparent background. Thinking back, I remembered this happening every single time I have changed my blog background for a very long time.

Before I corrected it, I took a screenshot. It looked like this:

Does any of you know why this happens and maybe even how to prevent this from happening?

mandag den 8. januar 2024

Poetry Monday :: Winner

Today's theme for Poetry Monday is Winner. Poetry Monday is a challenge, normally hosted by Diane at On the Border. But from last Monday, January 8, 2024, Messymimi and I have conspired to keep the chair warm for her, while she's taking a break due to health issues. We will each set the topics for one month, I begin with January, Mimi is gong to tackle February, and so on until Diane returns.

Winner? When I cannot find out what to do with the topic, I find all the words rhyming with it and make them into more or less meaningful rhyme. That's also what I did today.

I'm still healing, still not feeling my best, even if I do see progress, I'm too impatient, and think I should be back to normal -- preferably yesterday. So please bear with me.


You can't be a winner
if you're not a beginner.
But a winner
can be a sinner.
Or thicker or thinner.

I will be a grinner
and maybe a winner
if  I turn into a spinner
and make a nice dinner
The satisfaction is inner!

  - - - - - -

For January the topics are as follows:

January 8: Winner (today)
January 15: Requirement
January 22: Teacher
January 29: Flight

lørdag den 6. januar 2024

Colour24

The Colour24 Challenge will stay. Sorry to be late for the first Words for Wednesday.
The relevant Colour24 of the month will be (is already) posted as the lowermost gadget in the rigth hand sidebar. 

onsdag den 3. januar 2024

A Short Break and Hope :: En kort pause og håb


Med dette smukke billede af månen over min landsby som pausefisk, beder jeg jer om gode ønsker, positive vibrationer og forbøn. I morgen, den 4. januar skal jeg endelig have fjernet min galdeblære.

Jeg håber at vende tilbage snart i en ny og forbedret version.

-- 💕 -- ⚓ -- 💙 -- 


This pretty photo of December's full moon over my village has to serve as my Taking a break-aquarium. Tomorrow, Thursday 4th, is hopefully the day I'll have my gall bladder surgery. Please send good vibes, positive thoughts and prayers my way.

I hope to be back soon as a better me, hopefully.

Words for Wednesday :: Updated with IWSG January 3

This challenge started a long time ago. Now it has turned into a movable feast with Elephant's Child as our coordinator; and the Words provided by a number of people.

The general idea of this challenge is to make us write. Poems, stories, subtitles, tales, jokes, haiku, crosswords, puns, ... you're the boss.
Use all Words, some Words, one Word, or even none of them if that makes your creative juices flow. Anything goes, only please nothing rude or vulgar.

 It is also a challenge, where the old saying
"The more the merrier" holds true.

So Please, remember to follow the links, go back and read other peoples' stories. And please leave a comment after reading. Challenges like this one thrives on interaction, feedback and encouragement. And we ALL need encouragement.

-- 💭 --

The prompts for every Wednesday in January are provided by Elephant's Child, and made public at her blog.

For today we had five food related sayings:

Too many cooks spoil the broth
The apple of my eye
Pie in the sky
Not for all the tea in China
Spill the beans

-- 🍞- 🐟 -🍎 --

"Not for all the tea in China" - I always loved this saying, and I would be sorely temped by that offer. For me the saying is old fashioned in a good way, cozy, and warm. I love to drink tea and eat cakes. and today, January 3rd, is a great day for doing so.

Why? Because today is the 132nd birthday of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. And for me his Hobbits encompass all that can be subsume under tea-time.
Today I'd like to tell - as is my wont - of one of J.R.R. Tolkien's poems. The Lonely Troll. It is published in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil under the fictional authorship of Samwise Gamgee.

This introduction is taken from Tolkien Gateway:
The Lonely Troll is one of the main characters in Samwise Gamgee's playful nonsense poem, Perry-the-Winkle. This was a very unusual Troll: He wanted friends, he did not steal, drink beer, or even eat meat, and most amazingly of all, he was a very good cook. The Lonely Troll lived in the hills of Faraway ...

The Lonely Troll is a very long poem, all of 16 verses. I selected only six of the verses, giving a short abstract of the missing parts, but if you want to read all of it, I'm sure it can be found somewhere in the nooks and crannies of the WWW if you do not own a copy of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

Verses 1 & 7-10 & 16 of The Lonely Troll.

The Lonely Troll he sat on a stone
and sang a mournful lay:
"O why, O why must I live on my own
in the hills of Faraway?
My folk are gone beyond recall
and take no thought of me;
alone I’m left, the last of all
from Weathertop to the Sea."

[...]
The Lonely troll then goes to the Shire, but scares everybody away, only not Perry-the-Winkle, a brave and friendly Hobbit
[...]

The old Troll sadly sat and wept
outside the Lockholes gate,
and Perry-the-Winkle up he crept
and patted him on the pate.
"O why do you weep, you great big lump?
You’re better outside than in!"
He gave the Troll a friendly thump,
and laughed to see him grin.

"O Perry-the-Winkle boy," he cried,
"come, you’re the lad for me!
Now if you’re willing to take a ride,
I’ll carry you home to tea."
He jumped on his back and held on tight,
and "Off you go!" said he;
and the Winkle had a feast that night,
and sat on the old Troll’s knee.

There were pikelets, there was buttered toast,
and jam, and cream, and cake,
and the Winkle strove to eat the most,
though his buttons all should break.
The kettle sang, the fire was hot,
the pot was large and brown,
and the Winkle tried to drink the lot,
in tea though he should drown.

When full and tight were coat and skin,
they rested without speech,
till the old Troll said: "I’ll now begin
the baker’s art to teach,
the making of beautiful cramsome bread,
of bannocks light and brown;
and then you can sleep on a heather-bed
with pillows of owlet’s down."

[...]
  After returning home, well fed and happy, Perry-the-Winkle won't tell where he's been, but a Hobbit aptly named Peeping Jack had seen him ride the Lonely Troll's back to the Hills of Faraway.
  The other Hobbits them went there to also partake of the Troll's cramsome bread and fulsome tea, but were sent away by the Lonely Troll.
  Perry-the-Winkle on the other hand, was invited to visit the Troll every Thursday to learn his culinary arts and have tea with him.
[...]

The Winkle a baker great became,
as still is said in song;
from the Sea to Bree there went the fame
of his bread both short and long.
But it weren’t so good as the cramsome bread;
no butter so rich and free,
as every Thursday the old Troll spread
for Perry-the-Winkle’s tea.

 - - - - - -

Today is also the first Wednesday of the month. Time for the monthly Question from the Insecure Writers' Support Group
January 3 question: Do you follow back your readers on BookBub or do you only follow back other authors?

My answer
: Blank stare. I do not know what BookBub is.
  But then I do not do much on social medias of any kind. I do have a FB account, but I only seldom go there, and post once in a blue moon  - and then only in groups for very specific interests like weaving, soaping, plant dyeing, gardening and so on. Same goes for IG, where I just 'like' photos posted by family and friends.
  Blogging is my poison.

mandag den 1. januar 2024

Words for Wednesday 2024

Where will the Words for Wednesday prompt appear in 2024

JANUARY: Elephant's Child will provide the prompts on her blog.
FEBRUARY: lissa has offered to provide the prompts. They will appear on her blog.
MARCH: River is providing the prompts on her blog
APRIL: Elephant's Child will provide the prompts on her blog.
MAY: David M Gascoigne is providing the prompts and they will be at Elephant's Child's blog.
JUNE: Hilary Melton-Butcher is providing the prompts and they will be at Elephant's Child's blog.
JULY : Charlotte (MotherOwl - me) is providing the prompts here.
AUGUST: messymimi is providing the prompts on her blog.
SEPTEMBER: River is providing the prompts on her blog.
OCTOBER: Sean Jeating is providing the prompts which will appear at Elephant's Child's blog.
NOVEMBER: Alex J. Cavanaugh is providing the prompts again and they will be
at Elephant's Child's blog.
DECEMBER: Wisewebwoman is providing the prompts on her blog.

Poetry Monday :: The Future

Today's theme for Poetry Monday is The Future. Poetry Monday is a challenge, hosted by Diane at On the Border. But today, January 1, 2024 is Diane's last time hosting Poetry Monday, for the time being, as she's taking a break due to health issues. Messymimi and I have conspired to keep the chair warm for her. We will each set the topics for one month, I begin with January, Mimi is gong to tackle February, and so on until Diane returns.

I wrote two short poems for today. One Elfje and one Haiku. Both touching the uncertainty of the future.


Future?
Tomorrow and
The next day
A long, long row.
Uncertain!

The future is filled
With hope and anxiety.
Let us live today!

- - - - - -

For January the topics are as follows:

January 8: Winner
January 15: Requirement
January 22: Teacher
January 29: Flight