August 31, 2014

Moore, Roger Moore

Figured I needed a picture of the man for this post and thought:
I´ll draw one! Oh, the arrogance... 
I have a soft spot in my heart for Roger Moore. To me, he is the ultimate Bond, as he did the role when I was little. He is the reason I was also very fond of Pierce Brosnan, who is the Bond since most like him. Not that I don´t adore Daniel Craig, you understand, but he is a whole different sort of creature.

I have seen very little else with Roger Moore, "The Persuaders", one episode of "The Saint", and one film where he played some colonel or other. I don´t suppose he is the most gifted actor that ever lived, and he seems to suppose so, too. Just read this interview, I get the impression that he is such a very nice man. Would love to have dinner with him!

August 27, 2014

New Shoes

Last week, I started feeling my Achille´s tendon. Not pain, exactly, more like fatigue. I figured my shoes - trainers - were going and immediately went to town to replace them. I was right: having one old shoe and one new shoe on, the difference was obvious. It can be so tricky with trainers, they look like they are practically new, but if you have walked a long way, the sole can be completely down-at-heel. 

As I bounced home in my new shoes, I convinced myself that I should really wear these everywhere, not just during working hours (3-4 hours, six days a week, during temperature-above-freezing season). Really, it would do my feet a world of good, and I should make an appointment with myself to have the shoe replaced annually. Every 24th of August: Go to Stadium, buy new shoes. If only the shoe wasn´t so ugly. Ok, not exactly ugly, but on a different aesthetic scale to mine. There is no choice of colour, you just have to go with what they´ve got, if you are particular about the fit, which I am. Fit is everything, as far as I´m concerned. 

My solution: to knit a scarf in the same colours as the shoe. It made the yarn lady laugh when I came in and pointed at the shoe. Well, I am quite happy about the way my scarf is coming along. Considering I have walked about in the husband´s old cast-off suit trousers all summer, I feel my style is turning towards Katherine Hepburn´s. An old Katherine Hepburn. Oh well. As long as I keep away from skateboards, I will be fine... 

August 24, 2014


Shopping, in the 50´s.
You would never guess it, but the fact is that one of the malls downtown - Shopping, aptly named - is the oldest shopping mall in the world. It was designed by Ralph Erskine and opened in October 1955. The oldest mall in the USA, where you would expect the oldest mall to be, is the Southdale mall in Minneapolis, which opened in 1956. Imagine that.

It makes sense to have an indoor market street in a climate like ours, and Shopping has had many followers: Strand, Smedjan (the smithy), and there were a few other ones that have since been replaced with large stores instead. Sadly, many small shops have closed when the big chains like H&M, Lindex, Stadium, etc, have moved in. Also, we have a big shoppingcentre in the outskirts of town, Storheden (= the big heath or moor), with ample parkingspace and where you can buy pretty much anything you can think of to a much better price. Changing fashions have also made some stores disappear, like the longest lasting tenant in Shopping, Agda Pettersson, who had a miliner´s shop that even I remember (it closed in 1997). No one wears hats anymore, at least not like they used to. Agda Pettersson wasn´t in Shopping from the beginning, she took over after Betty Bjurström, a scandal beauty/former actress from Stockholm (confined to a wheelchair after having been shot by her jealous Italian husband!) who tried to sell silk ties for 80 kr (a LOT of money in those days) with the slogan "Dare to be Beautiful".

Maud Adams, very young Luleå-girl.
On the topic of beauty, Maud Adams, local Bond girl (still has a flat in town), did her very first fashion show in Shopping, and it was the place where she hung out with all her friends. This photo with her outside the mall was very important for her career as a model. In 2005, after a thorough renovation and restoration for Shopping´s 50th anniversary, she came home for the re-opening ceremony.

The stationer´s shop on the site before Shopping was built.
It was quite a happening when Shopping was opened the first time. Something like 20.000 people came to see it on the first day. To the kids it seemed like science-fiction, unlike any kind of house they had seen before. It had everything: shops, restaurants, cafés, a cinema, hairdressers, bank, postoffice, newspaper editors, travelagents, butcher´s, tobacco. There was really nothing you couldn´t get here. The Royal Music Corp began with "Pomp and Circumstance" by Elgar and finished with "Colonel Bogey" by Alford. Imagine the mood! Later on there were "cocktail rhythms" played by a band called the Swing Stars. People got lost, became dizzy, and some just didn´t want to ever leave. On that first day, more than 15.000 postcards (with a Shopping motif, naturally) were sent from the post office.

Erskine´s drawing of his Shopping vision.
The architect Erskine was born in England and came with his girlfriend to Sweden in 1939, with just bikes, a rucksack and a sleepingbag. They were pacifists and stayed in Sweden because of the war, started a family and remained. His first house was Lådan (the box) which he built for his young family. It is famous in Swedish architectural history, now held in trust by Arkitektur- och Designcentrum (museum of architecture and design). He designed a lot of famous buildings in Sweden, and one of his last projects was Greenwich Milennium Village. His first ideas for Shopping were much more extensive, with parking houses, flats, and a kind of indoor market square for temporary market stalls. He wanted to create an updated version of the old medieval square, a place where people would naturally gather for social reasons, instead of an entirely commercial shoppingmall.

There has been an exhibition about the history of Shopping all summer, and I bought an anniversary book from 2005 on sale. The pictures and most of the facts are from the book, except this last one I took of the entrance to Shopping this very afternoon (shopping for new shoes). A few more stories have been built, with flats, and there is a parking house in the adjacent block, so perhaps it is closer to what Erskine intended today. He really was before his time, it still feels new and daring.

Super-Creative Knitting

A knitting-animation. Now I have seen it all... Really, this is lovely.

August 23, 2014

A Friendly Face

So, it´s July and I come walking from town when I see this idyllic image: a guy with his fishing rod, a leisure boat coming towards him in the background. I got my camera out and when I started shooting, the guy hears the shutter. Oh dear, I thought, perhaps he doesn´t take kindly to being photographed. On the contrary, he did the exact same gesture as that guy in the canal boat in Birmingham! People don´t usually react to me like that, and now two guys in three weeks?

I have heard so much about people reacting badly to being photographed and at the library in Birmingham a librarian came up to me and said I could absolutely not take any photos with children in them. I assured her I was only interested in the architecture, but she didn´t look happy. (It was an odd feeling for me, to be taken for some kiddie stalker!) And some countries have laws against street photography. Considering how many people photograph everywhere, all the time, that must be a law difficult to uphold.

It´s impossible to photograph in a public place and completely avoid getting people in the frame. Actually, I like having people in the frame, as their presence is part of the experience. The English public seem to think their presence in my photos make them bad photos, and duck or back out whenever they see a camera and even apologize for being there!

I always try to pick photos for the blog that doesn´t show people´s faces, either being turned away or in the distance. Except my own, of course, but that´s my choice. Some friends say they don´t mind being on the blog, and that´s fine, some even see it as some kind of promotion of what they do, and I like to be supportive of that. It can be a tricky balance. If I´m unsure I ask beforehand. This guy, I proclaim The Friendly Face of Luleå in Summer.

August 21, 2014

York City Wall

The first thing we did when having arrived in York this summer, was to go for a walk on the medieval city walls. I walked half of it last time I was there, so we did the other part, and the husband was quite happy with that, as it provided us with an excellent view of the Minster and some absolutely lovely gardens. A couple of the hotels even advertised to the wall-walkers, and we almost succumbed to the promise of Afternoon Tea. However, we charged on towards the Minster and the town. Perhaps we shouldn´t have...

Walking the wall is a great way to get a feel for the city, I think. It is comfortable walking (unless you have a fear of heights - not that it is very high) and you pass quite a few museums and sights of interest. Like old Roman ruins, which are under the foundations of the wall, and the whole city, in fact. The Romans were here, and several of the Emperors stayed here for long periods of time, making York the ruling capital of the whole Roman Empire! Konstantine, of course, has his statue in front of the Minster.

Starling that I managed to capture quite nicely in spite of the wide angle lens I had on.  The colours are spectacular!

Roman walls.

Not sure when this dates to, or what it´s for.

One of the city´s main gates, Monk Bar.

Going inside Monk Bar.

Monk Bar from the wall.

Lovely gardens.

Their Afternoon Tea on the lawn looked really nice.

The Minster from the wall.

I am sure I posted photos of this guy before - he is soo cool!

The Central Hall

I saw this really grand looking, but derelict building in Birmingham. The Central Hall, it is called, and some research has told me that this used to be a Methodist church. About a hundred of these were built all over England between 1880 and 1945, for the Methodists to provide both entertainment (films, theatre, concerts) and services to the working classes, to keep them away from alcohol. They were deliberately designed not to look like churches. You can see the whole building better on its Wikipedia site.

Only 16 are still used by the Methodists. This Hall in Birmingham used to house a night club. It is Grade II listed, which means it is particularly important and of more than special interest to the country, and you can´t do anything you want with it, even if you happen to own it. Now it stands empty, but according to an article on BBC news from a couple of years ago, they are thinking of turning it into flats. I wouldn´t mind living there!

August 15, 2014

Watch display

The only piece of jewellery - that isn´t really jewellery at all - that I wear these days, is a watch. I have aquired quite a sweet little collection in the last few years, most of them mechanical, which feels nice, both from an environmental (no batteries) and aesthetical perspective; I love the old styles. It all started with me wanting a pretty watch for my ballgown and finding nothing in the stores that I liked. I ended up buying a very cute vintage Elgin, and whops! I was on a slippery slope of watch obsession. I have since recovered and stopped buying, but not before I got eighteen of them, a perfect watch for every occasion.

Emla Smycketräd
However, I am not using all of them as much as I should, and that´s because I have them in the wrong place: at my dresser in the bedroom. The watches I wear actually end up in the kitchen (I take them of when I start making dinner), by the phone, where the shoppinglist and written reminders also lives. Too often when I leave the house, I just end up wearing the watch that I find by the phone when I pick up the lists I need. So, I decided to keep all my watches there.

I was thinking of some kind of jewellery tree, there are some very pretty ones out there (and I might still get one some day, I really like them), but for now I decided to be thrifty and use what I had at home. Which was a clothes hanger from the dry-cleaners and some steel wire. I also had a bag full of s-hooks, which pretty much nailed it.

Ok, all of them aren´t pretty: I have one for work, one for outdoorsy activities, one with vibration alarms (great for travel, when you want to get up early but not wake the other person in the room, or when you just need to be reminded and don´t want to announce it to whomever you are with - love that watch). One is at the watchmaker´s for repair, and two need new batteries (which I will probably remember now, when I have them in sight). I am quite happy with this solution, for now.

August 14, 2014


Much of English history is also the history of the Industrial Revolution. This is where it started and along with it came the need for easy transport of large loads over long distances. In those early days, the 18th Century, roads as we think of them today didn´t exist. Not to mention lorries, trucks, etc. The natural solution was boats, and a canalsystem covering pretty much all of the country. By the 1830´s, the system had expanded to around 6.400 km (4.000 miles)! The boats were drawn by horses as late as the 1950´s, but diesel-engines were also in use towards the end. By the 60´s, all transport had moved to the road and the canals were abandoned by the industry, instead adopted by holidaymakers and history entusiasts. These days, you can hire a canalboat and spend your holidays cruising through England in a very leisurely manner.

We have done some lovely canal walks on our trips, and once were even invited onboard to have a look at one of the boats. Cozy, but oh so cramped! Imagine in the old days, when the skipper lived on board with his family, and most of the boat had to be filled up with coal or whatever he was carrying! We saw a film not many years ago, "Young Adam" with Ewan McGregor, in which the story takes place onboard one of these boats. Claustrophobic, as I recall.

In Birmingham this summer, we visited the Gas Street Basin, and walked for a few kilometers along the Canal Walk, which was restored in 1996. We were even lucky enough to see a boat coming through the locks.

You can find more information here, and Wikipedia has a few articles as well.

"Road" crossing.

This is the usual division of labour (indicated by our observations): the man steers the boat and the wife operates the lock.

Onlookers give a helping hand.

I love how the guy gets his photograph taken while closing the gate!

I wouldn´t mind having a balcony over a canal. So peaceful in the middle of the city.

Boat people are a friendly bunch - this guy insisted on being photographed.

Underneath the railway tracks.

August 12, 2014

Trinket Art

Lately, time seems to have conspired to go forward without me. It´s been six days since my last posting and I feel like I should beg forgiveness, as if I had sinned. An over-active sense of duty, no doubt.

Tiden är rund I (= time is round)
I have made a couple of visits to the art gallery at the Culture House this summer, but there is not much on display right now that speaks to me. Much is by Denise Grünstein, and if you want to check out her work, it´s here. Quite a few of those photos are on display in Luleå right now. I don´t know why I can´t get into it, but there it is.

I was a bit more charmed by Anna Sjons Nilsson´s exhibition of textile art, figurines and wallhangings/collages. It is full of humour, and it´s fun to look at the details; you are bound to find stuff that is probably lingering in those drawers chock-full of miscellaneous stuff that almost everyone has, I´m sure. Or maybe your grandmother had them. I like recycling, and this is a great way to do something interesting with things that would end up in the trash eventually.

The entire collection makes me think about how the things we have also reflect what´s on our minds. Clocks, tools, money, jewellery, etc. There is a leaning towards the female, the woman´s world. The whole expression feels very feminine, but not feminist. Like the work of some crazy granny. I looked the artist up, she has her own, very pretty, website (which shockingly many artists don´t), and I see she is born in 1954; granny-territory, for sure. She also makes textile patterns.

Sorry about the quality of the photos. All I had was my phone camera, and it sucks.

Yarn reels.

Frukost i det gröna (= luncheon in the grass)

Money, money, money, och en liten slant (= and a little coin)

Världen är så stor, så stor (= the world is so, so big; from an old Swedish nursery rhyme about "little Lasse")

Vårt dagliga bröd (= our daily bread) and Ofelia.
Ofelia (from the exhibition souvenir card)

Detail from Ofelia: buttons, brooches, embroidery of all kinds.