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A Trip Down Memory Lane

February 1, 2019

I should be writing about my move, about my new home… but first I need a moment to remember and mourn all the places I’ve ever lived.

Well. Not quite all of them.

I don’t remember the first place I lived, as a baby. My memories start in Little House, though when we left it, I was too little to remember much of it. Eating chives in the garden, climbing a tree with my father, herbs drying in the attic… I remember the garden better than the house, and that only in disconnected images. The last I remember of that time is a vague feeling of being in the car with my father, in the dark, moving our beds to our new home.

I was too little to miss it, too – if I was sad when we moved away, those feelings have faded along with the memories of living there.

a blonde toddler, dressed in white, is standing by a redcurrant bush
There are no photos of the things I remember, and I don’t remember any of the things my parents took photos of.

Sour Cream Street I remember better, the heavy wooden furniture in the dining room, pelargoniums and passion flowers on the balcony, all the places I played, in the apartment and in the yard with my friends. The smell of geraniums on the balcony, and pulling on the tendrils of my mother’s passion flower… climbing the pine tree, creeping around in the thicket we called the Witch’s Forest…

I don’t miss that place as such, either, but I guess I do miss being small enough that the pantry was big enough to play in, young enough to build houses out of mattresses and curtains, free enough to wander around the neighbourhood with my friends…

I just realised that I don’t remember what all my toys were called. I still have Brummbär, though without the blue dress now, and leaning on his shoulder is Knautschi, and the doll behind my head was called Heidiho, but the rag doll? The brown teddy? The elephant? No idea.

I guess that was what hurt to leave behind when we moved – my friends. Well, one of them and her sisters had already moved away by then, an insurmountable distance of twenty kilometers… I laugh about that now, but when you’re ten and wholly dependent on your parents (and when you’re too scared of telephones to call even your best friend) that might as well be half a world away. (And then my other friend and her sister moved 600 km away and to a different country, so our group was well and truly torn up.)

I remember walking down towards the parking lot with my mother and my brothers, with my backpack filled with my treasures, on our way to House on the Hill.

But before I think about that place, I also want to give a honourable mention to the Old Garden, where we never lived, never even spent a night, but it still figures prominently in my memories of those years. That was where I started to learn how to grow vegetables, but also bravely defended some stinging nettles against my father, because “the butterflies need them!”

(“Oh!” said the neighbour, when my father informed him that this is why he was not pulling out the last nettles next to the vegetable patch. “You have butterflies?!”)

For all my brave defense of the nettles, I don’t actually remember seeing butterflies or caterpillars there.

The Old Garden would be a place worth missing, but since we got another, even larger garden after that, I never did.

February Calendar Picture

February 1, 2019
Grey rocks in the foreground, dry reeds in the right side of the picture and the rippling blue water of a lake to the left. In the background, the opposite shore with green lawn and bare trees
Ausee, Luftenberg, Austria; March 2017

A Snowy Walk

January 26, 2019

Every once in a while (not nearly often enough), I still find time for fun things.

Lots mistletoe (Viscum album)

I mean, it’s debatable how much fun it is to walk around in the cold, or to have to take my gloves off to take photos, but when I do get the rare chance to go for a walk, I have to take it. Especially since it means exploring the area around our new home.

More mistletoe, probably on white willows (Salix alba)

I have several posts about this new home, and about the move, that I’m trying to write, but, well… time, or rather the lack of it…

The Innbach, looking towards the Danube

We live pretty close to the Danube now, but it has been surprisingly difficult to get to it, because the Innbach, a much smaller river, runs pretty much paralell to it, and it took us a while to find a bridge.

The Danube, at last. To the right of the little island, the Innbach flows into the Danube, and behind the island, we could just make out the castle of Ottensheim through the falling snow.
The Innbach again, looking upstream this time.
Random fields on the way back.

January Calendar Picture

January 1, 2019
Botanical gardens, Linz, Austria; January 2017

Am I back? I don’t know. I would like to be, for a variety of reasons, but I don’t know yet if it will actually work.

A Tiny Book Review for a Tiny Book (Quidditch Through the Ages, by J.K. Rowling)

October 7, 2018

For eight years, I kept up my “In Honour of September 1st” Harry Potter posts.

And this year… I did read a book. I did intend to post.

But I am so exhausted this year, and I just… have nothing to say about sports, even when they are fictional.

I always enjoyed reading about Quidditch matches, but Quidditch Through the Ages just did not work for me at all, and I don’t know whether the fault lies with the book, or with my inability to turn off the part of my brain that says, “This is not realistic at all.”



I don’t know where I am going with this project. The Tales of Beedle the Bard would be up for a reread next year, and I know I enjoyed at least one of the tales, so I am looking forward to that, but after that? I was thinking I’d continue with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the movies, including the Fantastic Beasts ones, but… I am not really excited about that idea. Especially with all the criticisms of JKR I’m reading lately.

I’ve always said, “I’m a Harry Potter fan, not a J.K. Rowling fan”, when people expected me to follow her to whatever else she would write afterwards, and I’ve always said, when people complained that the series would end after seven books, that I thought it was a good thing. And I certainly wish she had let it end there…

So I’d probably be happier if I let this project end, and pretended nothing after The Tales of Beedle the Bard exists.

In Honour of September 1st: Last-Minute Hogwarts Homework [Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by J.K. Rowling]

September 1, 2017

Every year, I reread a Harry Potter book and post about it on this date. And every year, I promise myself that next year, I won’t leave it so late, I’ll read the book earlier and write the post earlier, so all I need to do on September 1st is publish it.

And every year, I forget about it again, and September 1st sneaks up on me and it’s a mad scramble to get everything finished.

This year has been the worst so far – I actually only remembered about it late last night and threw Fantastic Beasts into my bag to read on the train to work and during lunch and on the train home. Thankfully it’s a short book, so that was enough time.

And I’m sure there were quite a few Hogwarts students today finishing their holiday homework on the Hogwarts Express.


I wasn’t going to buy the new edition, I swear. I don’t need duplicate books. Not even if there are a couple of new beasts in the new one.

… but then I was in a bookshop, and I had just passed my final exam, and I deserved a reward, and there were no other even slightly tempting books in the shop, and it was pretty.

Honestly, though, I think the original edition, with Harry’s and Ron’s scribbled notes, was more fun to read. Although the new one does have very pretty illustrations, and I might take out my coloured pencils at some point and hope I actually manage to make them look better, not worse, by colouring them.

Beyond that, I’m not sure what I think about the book.

There’s a part of me that wonders when this book was written, within the Wizarding World – it must be decades old by the time Harry is in school, and I shudder at the thought of using textbooks that are decades old.

And another part of me thinks about the many posts I’ve seen on tumblr, complaining about Rowling’s portrayal of the American Wizarding world, but I’m not even going to think closely about that, because I’m not going to let one of my favourite fictional worlds become tinged with other people’s bitterness.

And a part of me wishes the descriptions of the beasts were longer and more detailed, and a tiny part of me wishes the creatures weren’t so utterly crazy and improbable (I have been spoiled by authors trying to write realisitc dragons, I’m afraid, which makes two-legged fish and evil blankets a little hard to believe.)

But then a much larger part of me is still entertained by rhinos that make things explode and rampaging hedgehogs, and bogie-eating fluffballs (and yes, I know they are called Erumpents and Knarls and Puffskeins) and I’m glad they are a part of my life and my bookshelves.

(Also, yes, I’ve seen the movie, but it’s been many months, and  movies stick in my mind even less well than books do these days, so no comments about that. Maybe once I run out of books to reread, I’ll rewatch the movies and comment on those. But that’ll still take until 2021, and that’s if I even manage to keep up these yearly posts, with the new challenges waiting for me in the future.)


And Today – Happy Witchwood Crown Day!

June 27, 2017


I wish I could post a picture of my shiny new hardcover, but alas, it is not here yet, and I don’t know when it will be.

But happy publication day to The Witchwood Crown anyway!

Being one of the first to know it would be written, and playing a tiny part in making it the best book it could be, will always be among the things I’ll be proudest of. Think of me when you read the foreword, and know that the one thing that I could drag myself out of my depression hole for was to rant about the impossibility of berry-picking in March.