Saturday, February 27, 2010



It is rather surprising, that the ordinarily shy Swedes would be so intimate with strangers.
When you negotiate your way in an aisle, in a theatre or cinema, you turn your back to the person you pass.
If you live in England or America that is.
In Sweden you do the opposite. There it is, face to face.
When passing, you face the person you are passing and smile or thank if you are polite. This must appear almost inappropriate to foreigners and maybe an unwanted intimacy since there are not many inches between you.

I have thought about this and wonder if this could go back to Viking times and the way the Vikings were always on the lookout for danger.
In a Swedish skoal (a toast to drink) for example, you obtain eye-contact with the other person (s), and maintain the eye-contact during the skoal. This is said to have developed to make sure that no one was up to any mischief. Like murder.

A Viking would have sensed a definite risk in turning his back to someone else.
By turning your face to the person you are passing, you at least know that you will not be stabbed in the back.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010


The year 1907 seems remote: Queen Victoria has been dead for only six years, and two world wars and the great depression are yet to come.

Economists might remember The Panic of 1907, but some people, today, might remember 1907 as the year an American woman bought an estate in England, and the effect it had for garden lovers all over the world.

Mrs. Gertrude Winthrop an American heiress, bought the English Manor Estate Hidcote and her son Lawrence Johnston, a confirmed bachelor who served in the English army during World War I, settled here and spent 40 years developing Hidcote into one of the finest and most influential English gardens.
(Best to let The National Trust who was gifted the property in 1948, give a short history.)

It is interesting that it was an American who created this English garden treasure, and how it is an American photographer (UGAardener) who, more than any other photographer on the site FLICKR, has promoted English gardens.
He presents himself here.

His photos of Hidcote are excellent. Try clicking on the option "slideshow" for the best presentation. Below is the beginning photo of his set, the famous "Red Border" at Hidcote.
There are other gardens to visit. Check out his "Sets" and click on the garden you wish to see and use the option "slideshow" for the best presentation.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


When I saw this edition of THE STUDIO 1917, it struck me how people then (of course) did not know that the "Great War" as it was called then, would end in 1918.
And who could then foresee a flu (The Spanish Flu 1918-1920) that would kill almost 100 million people?

And how could anyone possibly imagine that after having fought the "war-to-end-all-wars", that twenty-one years later there would be another war, making it necessary to talk of The FIRST world war and the SECOND world war?

It makes one wonder what there might be in store for our generation?