Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Time – No Blogging

I am struggling at the moment to find time for blogging and blog reading, so I will just report on the latest on the garden bird front. The other day a Greenfinch had flown straight into our glass patio doors and suffered more than a headache. He was as dead as the famous Monty Python ‘Norwegian Blue’, giving me the opportunity to get a very good close-up of his beautiful colours. If you click on the photo below to enlarge it, you can see the fine detail of the feathers. Quite stunning.

One bird that was very much alive, was this colourful Great Spotted Woodpecker. I first caught sight of him from the kitchen window, wondering what that red was hanging under the grease ball.

Then I hurried round to the patio doors and managed to get this shot before he disappeared. I cannot blame him for getting a bit tired in the old claws!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Am a Cheat

I am cheating with my Panasonic Breadmaker, or is it not cheating? Anyway, when you wake up in the morning to the aroma of newly-baked bread coming up from the kitchen, you know you are in for a good day. I have heard of estate agents recommending vendors put on the coffee machine before a viewing because of its alluring powers, but I say it would work equally well with a breadmaker, nice ‘n easy. Aaahh!

When I was younger (sounds sad doesn’t it?) there was a period when I used to bake all my bread completely manually. My son loved it and the bread did not last very long, which was the best compliment. However it was time consuming and in the end became too much, so I gradually started buying bread again. Then a few years ago I bought this wonderful machine, a Panasonic Breadmaker, which I found, after some research, was regarded the best on the market. And boy does it bake some lovely loaves! Perfect result every time. I have tried some German bread mixes as well but they were not always reliable, not consistent in output quality. When I stick to the Panasonic booklet’s recipes I always get fantastic results. Does it not look mouth-watering? Can you smell it?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

German Beard Championships

Just thought I’d post a scary-hairy picture I found in a Swedish newspaper. It put a smile on my face and I wondered, ladies, would you date any of these guys?

I'm afraid you will have to click on this covered photo to see the proper photo. I had linked the photo to the newspaper because they have some sort of linking service to MySpace, Facebook and blogs etc. And my link showed up in the paper, resulting in several hits, among them from a high legal institution. Just to be honest I emailed the paper to ask if it was OK to do what I had done, and I promptly had an answer saying no, no, no! So there! But the picture is only a click away. Have a look.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Buzz Around My Garden

Yesterday the sun was bright, the birds were singing and I had fifteen minutes to spare. So I went out into the garden and took some photos in Digital Macro mode, close-ups of some beautiful objects, kind of from a small animal’s perspective. Imagine yourself the size of a bumble-bee, click on the Smilebox and buzz around my garden!

Click to play Buzz Around My Garden
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Heavy Smoker’s Lungs

I just saw this in an online Swedish newspaper. There is an exhibition called “Bodies” touring the world. All exhibits are from Chinese donators and have been preserved using a very advanced method which leaves even nerves intact. Over four million people have seen this exhibition worldwide. Still fancy a fag?


I saw this meme on Carol’s blog and thought it looked interesting...

Ten seconds ago... I was reading blogs.
Ten minutes ago... I had a cup of tea.
Ten days ago... I was disappointed with the stand-in restaurant manager where we normally go on a Monday.
Ten weeks ago... I looked into swapping the SAAB for a Volvo. I’m not Swedish for nothing!

Ten months ago... I had the pleasure of having my mother visiting, and introduced her to our life here in
Ten years ago... I started on a course to become an Oracle developer after having been on a wonderful three-week trip to


Ten years from now... I'll be getting on a bit; I’ll be a septuagenarian with three (?) grandchildren.
Ten months from now... I might have finished my book project. (Oops, now I’ve said it!)
Ten weeks from now... I’ll be preparing for a visit by my brother, sister-in-law and their youngest daughter.
Ten days from now... I’ll be working all day, on a Sunday!
Ten minutes from now... I'll silence my stomach with an apple.
Ten seconds from now... I'll see if I can find a picture to go with this post.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

1st hit in Google search!

…and 2nd and 3rd and 7th and 8th etc. I wondered why I got so many hits from American teachers. It’s quite unbelievable really. It’s that girl Pippi Longstocking again!

I wrote about her not long ago and had some children’s drawings in a Smilebox together with a worksheet I had “made earlier”. I am a bit nerdy when it comes to statistics and like to see how people find my insignificant blog. Some are looking for info on the Rheinturm clock in Düsseldorf, others have found my angry “SAAB logo” (type in those words and you’ll find it on the first image page in Google), but Pippi is the clear favourite.

My top search hits on Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking comprehension – 1st in Google

Pippi Longstocking drawing - 2nd in Google

Pippi Longstocking comp questions - 3rd in Google

Pippi Longstocking comprehension quiz - 7th in Google

Pippi Longstocking comprehension questions - 7th in Google

Pippi Longstocking lesson plan – 7th in Google

Pippi Longstocking lesson plans – 8th in Google

All of these, and similar search words, find my blog quite easily. I have found that the books about Pippi are on recommended reading lists for elementary kids in the US, so that might explain the interest from what seems to be mainly young teachers. I assume they are young because they all spell her name using lower case letters. Young teachers these days, oh dear me! ;-) Or am I prejudiced?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Long Time No Post

My mind has not been so full of fruits for my blog lately, it has been busy elsewhere. But here I am. I have had time to read some other blogs though, and I noticed that one blogger friend had changed to the same template as I have. The colours were different as expected but she had also a big, beautiful picture in her header. I had a look in her source html, but it looked the same as mine, so I could not figure out why my fruit photo would not expand. In the end, after a lot of trial-and-error, I figured out that my photo simply was too small. So I found another one which I had snapped in France at a market, and now it happened! Some tweaking later I had a new banner spanning the whole of my 22-inch screen. I only hope it does not cause problems for people with normal screen sizes.

(Click to enlarge. See how thin the thread is!)

My oldest readers might remember that apart from many birds, we also get squirrels in our garden. I have posted video clips before of squirrels raiding the bird food. With the new bird feeder it is extremely difficult for our furry friends to steal from the birdies, or so I thought. Check out this young athlete, not only can he hang by his hind legs, he also manages to slide down the thin sewing threads that hold the two grease balls full of seeds. But can he get back up? Watch him in this minute-long video. The little rascal!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Back from Easter Holiday

It only goes to show one cannot trust the Easter weather. We never ventured out for a walk without the big umbrella and lots of layers to keep warm. The French countryside displayed everything from sleet and snow to glorious sunshine. Many mornings there was frost on the car, the wind sometimes nearly ripped the chimney off the roof and then there was a wonderfully warming sun occasionally. We had it all in a fortnight!

True to tradition we did as little as possible, spending our energy on walks, stoking the fire and reading, also known as ‘charging the batteries’. And we returned to Germany slowly along the northern coast of France, taking in places like Le Touquet, Berck-sur-Mer and Montreuil-sur-Mer, which keeps its name extension despite the fact that it is 500 years since it was a coastal town.

When I came back I had to check my visit stats, as one does, and was flabbergasted at the number of American teachers who were interested in Pippi Longstocking lesson plans. Is that classic, Swedish character part of the American curriculum? I am intrigued. I wonder how many American kiddies have been presented with a downloaded copy of that lesson plan? They are welcome to it, but if so, I wish their teachers had had the decency to say thank you in a comment!

I leave you with a Smilebox of selected pictures from our holiday.

Click to play Easter 2008
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