April 30, 2010

Flashback Friday: "Sugar Baby Love".

Today I will share with you my favourite candy music. Or feel good music if you will. Just like we turn to chocolate and comfort food for pleasure from time to time, likewise I do have a few compilations on standby to savour when I feel like something sugar sweet. If I could taste sound, this one would taste as sweet as cotton candy.

And the title of course fits the sentiment very well - "Sugar Baby Love" was the debut single of The Rubettes. Released in 1974, it was the bands one and only number one UK single, spending four weeks at the top of the chart in May 1974.
I was only a baby myself then, still the harmonies sound so very familiar. If it should be bubble gum pop, then this is my pick.
Happy Friday everyone.

April 29, 2010

My "Second" Eyes.

When I was fourteen, I started to squint when watching television. The Swedes subtitle all the foreign films and I found it difficult to read the small text below each scene.
Very shortly after that I got my first eyeglasses.

Although I did not directly hated those things, I still wore them only when absolutely necessary, such as during classes in school and at home. Thus I spend my teenage years in a constant state of squinting and quiet oblivious to my surroundings. I appeared most likely rude in my interactions with people, as I simply did not see anyone until they were in my very proximity. In a certain way I got used to be living in a world of my own, where I felt almost invisible; I could not see, thus I felt unseen too.

When I was twenty, I got contact lenses and have been wearing those ever since. Even today, I only wear glasses in the evenings and on weekends. I still have all my old frames stowed away in a drawer. When I took the pictures below I was laughing when seeing my very first ones; they look so large and almost ancient. As the years passed, the frames got smaller. Luckily, the prescription never changed.

All eyeglasses I ever owned have survived all my moves and relocations. In contrast to all my other possessions, I always knew where they could be found, no matter where I lived.
My second eyes. I guess I must care for them more than I think.

April 27, 2010

Ice Cream Memories.

As the days grow warmer, the small stands scattered all around the town open for a new season of ice cream business.
Who doesn't love these cold delights, that taste so good on a hot summer day. I recall times when ice cream could only be ordered in ice cream parlors, candy stores or cafes. This was before the presence of large supermarkets and stores that carry frozen groceries year around.

I have a lot of fond memories tied to ice cream. Most of them include delightful moments in my childhood, such as buying my very first scoops when I was six years old or walking home with my father after purchasing a multi-coloured ice cream and singing a home made rhyme about it. And later from my teens, enjoying a vanilla soft ice cream, dipped in chocolate, on the way home from a day at the beach with my family.
Nevertheless, the first significant memory takes me back to my early childhood and to my grandparents in the grand old city of Prague. Every summer, when the school was over, I stayed in this picturesque city with the parents of my father during a few weeks. The recollection of this time is one of the most precious memories that I carry with me today.

Much of the days were spend in the company of my sister and my grandfather (or děda, as he was called), who was an avid photographer. It is through his eyes, and that of his lens, that I saw the city and learned much about its majestic history on long walks we often took. The highlight of many of these strolls was a stop in a small cafe, just below the stairs to the Prague Castle. Here my grandfather would buy us a soft pistachio ice cream in a waffle cone. Not a chocolate or vanilla, or any fruity taste, but pistachio, which one might assume to a be strange flavour for a child. But it was not. At that time in my life I had no idea that this flavour came from pistachio nuts, which I did not get to taste until much later in life. Even today as I write this, the memories come streaming back so freely and I can recollect with such an ease the scents and sounds of the old city and the way the green coloured cream would melt on my tongue.

Unfortunately, I did not get to experience my grandparents, none of them, as an adult. Today all I have are snippets of vivid memories, that I cherish, as I revisit them in my mind. Often I wish I would be granted a chance to spend just a day with my grandfather, who I have been told I very much resemble. Many of his traits and interests reflect my own.

Perhaps even my love for nature and interests in photography are passed on from him. The longing to see and capture the world around me through a camera lens might very well have been born on those long summer walks in Prague. During those precious moments in time, while I strolled along side my "děda" on the old cobbled stone streets, with a pistachio ice cream in my hand.

About this photograph: Unfortunately, I do not own one single picture of my grandfather, even though I know some exist in my family's keeping. He loved being the photographer, thus rarely appears on any pictures himself. This one of me, my sister and my cousin was taken by him in August 1972. I am the one on the left, my sister is that little one on the right. Even though my grandfather is not present in image, I know he is present in spirit, as he is the one standing behind the camera.

April 26, 2010

The Silver Tree.

Our birch tree is finally almost in full "yellow" bloom. Not even the snow and hail last week could slow down its progress. In fact, the buds at the base of the catkins, which will give rise to new leaves very soon, are now obvious.

I can sense that the sun is very important when it comes to the birch. Some of our trees are ahead of others; this seems to be all depending on their position and exposure to the vital rays. I have just recently realized, that there are many different kinds of birch trees. In fact, some do not display that characteristic white bark, that makes our Scandinavian birch stand out among other trees found in the North. It can therefore be easily distinguished from other kinds and is named the Silver Birch.

As this past weekend was sunny and warm, the change in the images below is more obvious (please click to enlarge). There has been some rearrangement of our garden furniture, but besides that, the birch appears more yellow than brown and a green hue is now visible almost on all the bushes. Cherry tree bloom is imminent and even though not obvious from the pictures below, the first birch tree pollen fills the air.

April 24, 2010

The Time Of Anticipation.

As April leans toward its end and the sun climbs higher up in the sky, spring is reaching its culmination. This at least according to the calendar.
In reality, it is only truly beginning.

After a week of a weather full of contradictions, including even hail and snow, today is sunny, but chilly. It feels as if winter is still present in the air, her icy breath ever so palpable in the wind gusts.

Still, upon closer look, it is obvious that a new season is gaining hold over our landscape. Today I discovered the first wild flowers in bloom. The meadows are full of daisies and violets and just next to my house, the first dandelion could be found basking in the sun, its yellow crown so significant of late spring.
Most of the bushes are now covered in a gentle green hue and cherry tree bloom is imminent.

As we reach the point of no return, while April turns into May, even here the culmination of the season will become ever so apparent. Thus the time of anticipation will begin.

April 23, 2010

Flashback Friday: "Nothing To Loose".

Even though the movie "The Party", starring Peter Sellers, is not one of my favorite ones at all (mostly as I at times find some of the comedy to be a bit infantile and annoying), there is one particular scene in the film, which I adore. It features the serene Claudine Longet, a French singer and actress, in a beautiful performance of "Nothing To Loose", composed by Henry Mancini.

Claudine did enjoy success on the music popularity charts in the 60's. Her 1967 debut album, Claudine, peaked at #11 on the Billboard pop albums chart in the United States. Sadly, in 1976 Claudine was convicted for misdemeanor negligent homicide in connection with the death of former Olympic skier "Spider" Sabich, with whom she was romantically involved at that time. After this personal tragedy she has maintained a private profile.

In any case, the compilation below is very soft and tranquil. Her fragile, feminine voice, as she sings in English, yet her words so saturated with a heavy french accent, give the harmonies and lyrics an inevitably sensual and dreamy feel.
Hope you enjoy it too.

April 22, 2010

The Colourful Wanderers.

Do you remember visiting a circus show as a child? The season of the circus has started in Denmark. In my town, from now on, a large green area just next to the sea shore will for months to come house colourful tents, exotic and less exotic animals, acrobats, beautiful women and clowns. Different companies will establish here their temporary homes for a few weeks, bringing entertainment and excitement.

I pass this spot every day on my drive to work and just this week, circus ARENA has parked all its red and yellow wagons in a semi circle, surrounding the large plastic construction, draped over poles, decorated with shiny neon lights.

It is the same every spring. The circus appears out of nowhere; one day the spot is pristine clean, the next day, as if it grew out of the ground over night, there it stands, a fairground in all its magnificent glory. The circus always arrives in the stillness of the night and the tent is erected during the quiet hours of the dawn. It takes skill and incredible sense of order to get everything ready in a timely, organized fashion.

The history of the term circus stretches back to Ancient Rome. Influenced by the Greeks, it was a building for the exhibition of horse and chariot races, equestrian shows, staged battles, displays featuring trained animals, jugglers and acrobats.
I have often wondered how it feels to be working in this traveling show. Being confined to a small caravan for months at a time, finding oneself in a different location every few weeks. Having to work hard, often in a foreign country, for most likely not a very large pay. Living a nomads life, trying to raise children in an environment that is always changing, offering very little solitude or security.

But then again, it is a life filled with the promise of adventures ahead at all times. With no boring routine to spoil ones days, when anything is possible. A certain sense of freedom, where possessions are scarce and company always cheerful. When family is extended and where sad seclusion is removed. Friends are never far away and laughter always present. When hard work is rewarded by the exciting faces of children, who watch ones every move with astonishment and awe.
Maybe it is a life one can truly envy.

April 20, 2010

Slightly Postponed.

The picture here to the left is taken on the 22th of April last year, that is almost exactly a year ago. It depicts the early flower of my birch tree, so called catkin.

If you look closely at the image, you might even notice some fresh new leaves present in the background. The fun fact about this photograph is the incredible difference, if one would capture the same image today. This year the birch trees barely have any flowers in bloom yet. Not to mention any leaves.

The nature is about three weeks behind its normal progress. Considering that last year our winter was very mild, our spring was ahead of itself. At this time in 2009, my surroundings had a significant green hue and many trees were in bloom, including the cherry trees.

Thus it will take a while before trees and plants catch up and in fact, I also start to feel the impact of this delay. I long to finally see some green leaves, like never before. Every day as soon as I wake up, I look out of my large windows across my garden, trying to see if any progress has taken place since the day before. And I guess even though this progress is very slow, it is there, in the very minute details.

Even the birch tree update below (one day delayed, sorry about that) will show it, if one looks more carefully. A week later, the new view looks almost identical to last week. Still, after closer examination, the bushes to the right on the new picture display the first, albeit tiny green leaves (please click the below to enlarge). Likewise, the buds of our lovely cherry tree (to the lower left) have significantly grown.

Arming myself with patience, I am hoping that as the sun grows stronger and shines longer by each day, this progress will become more obvious.
After all, good things come to those who wait.

April 19, 2010

Ashes In The Sky.

Even though I dislike being aboard an airplane, I still like to watch these sleek, sophisticated machines in the air above me. Particularly on a summers day, as I leisure in the afternoon sun, gazing up at the blue sky, while the silver objects move close to the speed of sound above the earth, painting the sky in white vapor. I often wonder where they are bound, as I envision the people aboard, wondering who they are and where they are headed.

Last Thursday, as I got up and opened my window, I saw an airliner moving silently above the sunrise. It was a clear, sunny morning and the white contrail against the deep blue was so smooth, yet so strong, as the belly of the craft reflected the rays of the first sun. I was so mesmerized by this sight that as it disappeared above me in the rooftop window, I ran into the living room, watching it reappear in my view, until I lost sight of it, as it moved fast in a southwestern direction. It was perhaps an transatlantic flight.

A few hours later, the airspace above Denmark was shut down, grounding all flights, simultaneously in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden, due to volcanic ash in the atmosphere. This shut down spread within a day or two to to the rest of Europe. That plane I watched in the morning was most likely one of the last ones in the air.

The Icelandic volcano has certainly caused havoc across Europe and even the world. Not just concerning the air transport, but in its turn affecting business and in the long run, even the economy.
And apparently it has the power to affect our summer.

The volcano in question is called Eyjafjallajökul. It is actually a name of a glacier that covers the active volcano as a cap. The volcano has been active since Ice age, with most recent eruptions on 20th of March and the later on April 15th, spewing a column of ash into the air, as much as 8,5km tall.
If the volcano eruption persist, and perhaps causes other, more powerful volcanoes nearby to erupt, the presence of ash, or rather sulfur dioxide can effect the weather and make for a much cooler summer.

In 1783, an eruption of another volcano on Iceland called Laki caused a massive destruction. During eight months boiling lava and toxic gases were spewed into the atmosphere and an estimated 20-25% of the population on Iceland died in the famine after the eruptions ceased.

The eruption however effected the entire northern hemisphere.
An estimated 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide were emitted, which caused a thick haze to spread across western Europe, resulting in many thousands of deaths throughout 1783 and the winter of 1784. The fog was so thick that boats stayed in port, unable to navigate, and the sun was described as "blood coloured". The meteorological impact of Laki resonated on, contributing significantly to several years of extreme weather in Europe; storms, hail, cold summers, extreme winters, all resulting in failed crops.

An expert interviewed on Danish news recently claimed that if the volcanic activity persists, perhaps causing other volcanoes nearby to erupt, our summer can be effected. We can experience plummeting temperatures and even snow.
I choose not to believe this as it seems a bit out there, if you know what I mean. After a record cold winter, to have an absent summer is simply unimaginable.

I am not sure what the eruption has in store for us, nor am I willing to contemplate that at this point. But the ashes in the sky made for one spectacular weekend sunset, as seen below.

April 17, 2010

My Cherry Laurel.

Today is a windy, chilly spring day. Clouds are moving across the sky with incredible speed and being outside is anything but pleasant.
This is in such a contrast to yesterday, in fact to the whole week, which was sunny and relatively warm. Typically, as soon as weekend arrives, the weather shifts.

The skies are covered by clouds, but devoid of anything else. The air space is completely clear and has been over 48 hours. Due to the presence of volcanic ash in the atmosphere, almost all airports in Northern Europe (Denmark included) are closed and all airplanes are grounded. This is the largest shut down of airspace in Europe ever.

I decided that today I would prune my Cherry Laurel. This beautiful shrub is my pride and joy. It lines my front patio, a beautiful, serene spot where the morning sun offers tranquil moments while I sip my morning coffee.
It consists of four plants - two planted in the autumn of 2004 and two additional ones in spring 2005. They were barely 40 cm long at that point and has since then grown beyond recognition. I love these evergreens, that are luscious and green year around. Comes May, they bloom with fragrant white flowers.

Unfortunately, the hardest winter on record has severely affected this resilient plant. In March I noticed many leaves were turning brown and by last week this frost damage became very palpable. This is to be expected, as we had subzero temperatures for months at end this winter.
I remembered with joy the beauty of the cherry laurel just a year ago. It was at it's most magnificent, the growth was tight and strong, the plant was extremely healthy. Today it looks week and fragile.
I trimmed it back quiet drastically, particularly the oldest plants, hoping that this will spur its growth once again, making it as stunning and striking as it was last year.

April 16, 2010

Flashback Friday: "Blue Eyes".

The first time I heard of Elton John (now Sir) was in 1983 when he had a major hit with "I Want To Kiss The Bride". I had no idea who Elton was, nor did I know then that he has been an active musician starting two decades prior.

Since then, his numerous compilations has been topping the charts, but none has really manged to capture my heart the way that "Blue Eyes" has. From the 1982 album "Jump up!", the song went to #1 on the adult contemporary chart, becoming John's sixth chart-topper on this list.

I am not sure why I love this piece so much; perhaps as its lyrics somehow always manged to speak to me in one way or another.
Or perhaps because I always imagined this song being sang to me...

April 15, 2010

Vernal Evening Sky.

As the month of March moves into April, the evening sky outside my windows offers a gallery of natural works of art, unlike any other made by man. While the sun ever so slowly sets over the western horizon, I have the privilege to see it vanish in the most glorious way ever imaginable.

Spring and autumn sunsets are my favourite by far. Even though there is nothing like the fiery midnight skies during Midsummer, when the white nights rule the North, the vernal sunsets are enchanting in vision and light. Whether the sky is dramatic, covered by dark clouds, or artistic, painted by strokes of colourful water vapor, or whether it is pristine and clear - the shows taking place outside my windows are spectacular every time.

Below a selection of the sunsets I have been lucky enough to witness over the course of the past few weeks.

April 13, 2010

The Concept Of Fear.

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear".
Nelson Mandela

Fear. That unsettling feeling in the pit of one's stomach, that unexplainable emotion that overcomes us at different points in our life. And which will rule us for a moment or longer, as we feel saturated with sadness or aggression. Bringing us to the bursting point and at times plunging us into the dark abyss of our minds.

We can feel different kinds of fear; fear of being hurt, emotionally and physically. Fear of changes, fear of abandonment, fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear of not being accepted or loved. Fear of loosing control, fear of being ridiculed. Fear of loosing someone or something. Fear of the future. Eventually fear of death.
And perhaps of life itself - the worst fear of them all.

We grow up with fear as an emotion. Some will claim that we are born fearless and only learn to display fear, as we sense it from our parents. Of course, as we grow older, unpleasant experiences lead us to harbour fear for certain situations or events.

A small dose of fear is actually good. It is indeed vital. Some people suffer from a rare condition called "Hypophobia". This means that they can not recognize danger and have no sense of fear. Individuals that experience this disorder are not afraid of anything, which can eventually lead to devastating decisions or choices. However, exaggerated or an irrational fear gives rise to phobias, which can impact our lives in the most haunting ways.

I know that my own fear, or the feeling of anxiety has certainly risen with age. Sometimes I envy my "young self", almost admire her at times. That young girl that packed her bags and flew half way around the world to the unknown. Without an ounce of fear, only an adventure in mind. Who never lost sleep or worried about the future, left problems in the dust and stuck by her ideals, never accepting that which was wrong, feeling empowered by her conviction.
Today she is only a distant memory.

I have developed a few phobias over the years, my fear of flying being the main one. I have also noticed that I dislike enclosed spaces and at times crowds of people, situations that make my heart race and my adrenalin level to rise.
I can lie awake late at night, woken up by a slight wind breeze, as strange and unnerving thoughts enter my mind, consuming my whole being, making me afraid. And making me wonder, where are the times when my sleep was heavy and undisturbed.

I guess ignorance is bliss. Not knowing the danger, not having anything to loose makes us brave and daring as young. Later in life, when we closely considered the consequences of every change, when every step counts and when making the wrong turns comes at a cost, we grow more cautious and we become more weary.

I have at last surrendered myself to the fact, that I might never be fearless again. As the summer of my life nears its end, I seek tranquility and stillness. Sometimes I long for a change, as I reevaluate my achievements and sometimes I still feel the calling of adventures ahead. And perhaps when my gut tells me they feel right, I might give into them one more time.

Today I know that fear is a constant that will be present in my days - in one form or another - for the rest of my life. It will rule my consciousness occasionally and at times, it will be justified. However, some fear has to be conquered, as life lived in fear is only life half lived. Playing it safe at all the times is futile as after all, we never know what tomorrow brings.

I have realized that as I grow more afraid with age, I also grow - in a certain way - more courageous.

April 12, 2010

Return To The Birch Tree.

Slowly, the nature is waking up after its winter sleep. The yearly cycle of our trees is just about to begin yet again.
Some of you might remember the small series of photographs I posted over the course of last autumn, depicting - or following - the loss of the foliage of a majestic birch tree in my front yard.

This progressive photography is I guess not completed yet, as the season of spring is missing. I am very intrigued by the idea of progress, whether this progress is man made or natural. I love to watch the seasons change, the transition of buds to leaves or flowers, the growth of plants and trees. To document the alterations in foliage of a tree is absolutely rewarding, as the changes are almost always visible within a few weeks.

Thus every Monday I will post a picture of my beautiful birch tree, depicting the changes in images, taking you back from "bare to green". Already now, the tree has visible buds of it's imminent flowers, that will be in bloom very shortly, bringing us the first pollen of the season.

April 10, 2010

April Awakening.

Today is a simply gorgeous day. A glorious spring day, when the nature is celebrating the return of life, as it renews itself, gaining energy from the warmth of the vital sun.

Even thought the air is cold, the northern wind has brought dry air and pristine blue skies. It feels as a true onset of the summer season is no longer a distant, at times unreal destination.

I removed my garden furniture from its winter storage this morning, making my front, east facing patio much more inviting suddenly - a perfect spot for a morning cup of coffee. In the process of restoring it back to its rightful glory and place, I noticed that April has brought a true awakening to my surroundings. Daffodils are now in full bloom at last and all the bushes and trees are displaying the first buds and shoots.

In a few weeks, the first green hue will cover all the shrubs, signifying the culmination of the spring season.

April 09, 2010

Flashback Friday: "The NeverEnding Story".

Today I dedicate my Flashback Friday compilation to my sister for her birthday. Thus I am taking you way back to the mid eighties, when wild hair ruled the fashion and pleasant melodies the ether.

I decided to revisit the main theme song from a famous cinematographic masterpiece of a fairytale. Entitled "The NeverEnding Story", the main track with the same name is performed by Limahl. It received constant airplay in 1984, topping the charts all over Europe. Even today those pristine harmonies take me way back to my late teens, when my sister was my greatest confidant and my best friend. When everything was still new and fresh, magical and fairy-tale like and we were ready to conquer the world.

Happy Birthday to my little sister and Happy Friday to all of you.

April 08, 2010

Violet Dawn.

Finding myself - yet again- widely awake yesterday at the crack of dawn, as the birds welcomed the daylight, I decided not to go back to sleep. Instead I left the comforts of my warm bed in order to enjoy an extended, laid back morning, turning my dismay into a lovely, simple pleasure.
As I opened my bedroom window, these images of an extraordinary reward met my gaze.

The sky was painted in every shade of violet and purple, fading into cranberry red just above the horizon, where a round, fiery sun was rising. A rare sight indeed.

Sunset views are common at this time of the year, even though they never seize to amaze me. Every time I see one, I stand in awe. Getting a glimpse of a sunrise is though extraordinary.
Why? In winter and late autumn sun lies ever so low over the horizon, barely visible. In spring and summer, it rises early in the morning, while I am sound asleep.

Thus my recent insomnia was a blessing in disguise. I was gifted with a view of a violet dawn.

April 07, 2010

Passion In A Cup.

Considering my recent post about Chocolate, I thought I would dedicate one to a another wonderful addiction of mine.


This rich and bitter, yet so smooth, aromatic and almost seductive drink is is my drug. I used to drink coffee with cream, but after I have became the owner of a new, wonderful appliance; the Senseo; I take it black only.

With Senseo, I have finally left the coffee cave of the primitive human and joined the modern coffee drinking world. In fact, it was a Christmas gift from very good friends and although I had my doubts at first, I am now a true believer in this technology. Making a cup is the easiest thing each morning and it never tasted this good.
Drinking coffee has become not just luxurious, almost clandestine pleasure, but being very cost effective, the most guilt free one as well.

April 06, 2010

The Song At Dawn And Dusk.

Yesterday night I woke up when Batcat nudged my face in search of some affection. As he settled down next to me on the blanket, purring loudly, drifting into a heavy cat sleep, I found myself - to my dismay - wide awake. It was still dark and I assumed it was still early in the small hours of the morning. As I tried the best I could to fall asleep again, I realized very soon my efforts were futile. I realized this as soon as I heard one faint distant chirping in the darkness outside my window. One look at my alarm clock confirmed my fear; indeed, at five am, the dawn was imminent. Within ten minutes, the chorus of birds started with full force as the velvet blanket above me in the roof top window grew into a hue of silver. Falling asleep with this orchestra in the background was now impossible.

This episode made me seriously ponder this question; Why do birds sing at dawn and at dusk, at least why is their singing so much more palpable at these two distinct times of the day?

In Scandinavia, this chorus of birds can take place as early as 3am in June, when the white nights rule the North. Even though beautiful and so significant of life, this song can also be terribly disturbing. Particularly if one happens to be awake at the crack of dawn, which is really only late at night and the penetrable music is inevitably suddenly there and impossible to escape from.

Believe it or not, it was almost impossible to find a solid, scientific explanation to the "early morning, early evening singing". And this was not due to lack of scientific papers, multitude of them out there studying this phenomenon.

Some sites online list the most obvious reasons; birds sing at dusk and dawn, as that is the time of the day when there is the least amounts of interference from other environmental sources, such as people and cars. The noise of the modern world winds down and rises with the sun. Birds sing to establish their territory, to tell other males where they are (and to beware) and to inform the bird population what they are all about. It is also a means by which they attract mates. When they sing at dusk or dawn, their singing can appear to be coming from a much closer proximity, as it travels more freely, thus confusing their predators. A very interesting fact to note is furthermore that even though the songs sound much all the same to us, each individual bird has a particular tone, which distinguish it from another bird of the same kind.

April 05, 2010

Gentle Spring.

Easter is slowly reaching its end. I have enjoyed the holidays and the short, but absolutely vital break away from work and the virtual world. The weather has been as mixed as one traditionally expects from the month of April. Almost a true cliché in fact; anything from hail and storm to a beautiful, warm sunshine.

The onset of a new month brings renewal in our nature in a very obvious way. Gone are the frosty nights and the sun grows stronger and more majestic by each passing day. It has added over six hours to our daylight. This means we are half way through the light increase before reaching the shortest night of the summer solstice.

My patio is changing as well. I did the first significant gardening of this year, taking care of my shrubs and bushes, trimming away dead branches of clematis, making it ready for its new season. I planted a few yellow pansies and multi-coloured violets, which add further life to my west facing patio. My daffodils are still only barely in bloom while crocuses are reaching their peak and slowly, the stalks of tulips and hyacinths are pushing through the soil.

This past Saturday the winds changed. A chilly breeze from east brought dry air and with it a pristine, bright sunny day. The first true spring day.
My terrace, completely shielded and drenched in sunshine became a tranquil oasis for the first time this year. As I sat on my sun chair covered in blankets, breathing in the fresh air and relaxing in the warmth of the sun, I relished in all the gentle beauty of spring that surrounded me in colours and scents. The life so palpable everywhere made me smiled with amusement as I recalled the massive snow blanket that used to cover this same spot just a few weeks ago.