Let me just start with saying I know very little of Norse mythology and what I do know comes from either Marvel Cinematic Universe or the TV show Vikings. But at least I’m aware that Yggdrasil is a mythical tree that connects the different realms, or worlds.
So obviously I don’t walk around looking for trees that look like Yggdrasil. I do, however, photograph trees and it was this one that reminded me of something.
This tree grows in Abney Hall Park. As I said in before, Agatha Christie used to spend time there, visiting her sister and brother-in-law. Now, on first sight, the Queen of Crime doesn’t appear to have much in common with Norse mythology, but bear with me.
This a page from the novel The Hollow. (no spoilers ahead)
In this scene, Henrietta is reminiscing about a country house, Ainswick, where she used to stay during school holidays. She’s talking to her second cousin Edward, who is now the owner of Ainswick. And she remembers there was a big oak tree that she named Ygdrasil!
When first reading The Hollow, it was actually the very first time I have come across the name Yggdrasil, though I had no idea what it was. I thought Agatha made the word up–I suppose she presumed her readers would know–but for some reason the name stuck in my memory. Until I finally learnt what Yggdrasil was and I was like, ooooh, so that’s why Agatha Christie named that tree in The Hollow that!
It’s so sad that the tree in the book was struck by lightning. [Insert teary emoji. Or Chris Hemsworth.]
So, if Agatha Christie drew inspiration for her books from Abney Park, could she have been thinking of this very tree?
Like, it looks pretty old. It was probably there when she was there. I know when I saw it I immediately thought of Henrietta in The Hollow.
Of course, there are millions of trees like this all over the world and Agatha travelled a lot and it may not have been an actual tree that inspired her, she just needed a sentimental moment between Henrietta and Edward. I realise all of that. It’s fun to think about though.
Okay, Bjorn, I just said it looks like Yggdrasil, not that it is Yggdrasil.
What do you think? Tell me in the comments!
One more thing…
The mythical Yggdrasil was an ash tree, the tree in Agatha Christie book was an oak. I don’t know, botany not being my subject, what kind of tree the one in my photos is. If you do, I would be much thankful if you could let me know in the comments box.
More brutalistic architecture today; this time a canteen of an office building. I was thinking of the canteen in George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in 1984, though that one was underground.
The lunch queue jerked slowly forward. The room was already very full and deafeningly noisy. From the grille at the counter the steam of stew came pouring forth, with a sour metallic smell which did not quite overcome the fumes of Victory Gin.
This was also the place where Winston and Julia arranged their first date, over spoonfuls of stew.
Today, I’m pleased to present number Twenty in my Gloomscapes series.
To mark this occasion, I have decided for something less gloomy, maybe even a bit fun–and a dialogue from my favourite YA dystopian series.
“Think about it. People used to ride that thing. For fun,” says Will, shaking his head.
“They must have been Dauntless,” I say.
“Yeah, but a lame version of Dauntless. “Christina laughs. “A Dauntless Ferris wheel wouldn’t have cars. You would just hang on tight with your hands, and good luck to you.”
We walk down the side of the pier. All the buildings on my left are empty, their signs torn down and their windows closed, but it is a clean kind of emptiness. Whoever left these places left them by choice and at their leisure. Some places in the city are not like that.
~Veronica Roth, Divergent
The world in the Divergent series is a city divided into five factions. The above mentioned Dauntless are one them. They’re the brave ones; Abnegation are the selfless, Candor the honest, Erudite the ones that value knowledge and Amity are the hippies. Then there are the factionless, who don’t fit into any faction and live on the fringes of the society. I’m a definite Erudite myself, though I think the Dauntless are the coolest ones.
My native language, Slovak, and English. At school I did German as well as English and later I learned a bit of Spanish but I forgot a lot as, living in UK, I don’t have the need to use any other lingo. I’ve always liked languages, who knows maybe one day I’ll speak another one fluently. Though nowadays knowing a different kind of language would be more beneficial–a programming language.
What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?
I’m reading Robot Visions, a short story collection by Isaac Asimov. I’ve blogged about Asimov before, he’s one of my favourite authors.
I’m watching a few things. American Gods on Amazon Prime, The 100 on TV and I just started Narcos on Netflix. I must mention the last series I finished watching and enjoyed immensely was Parks and Recreation. I think it must have been one of the best things on TV; funny as hell with a meaning behind it and characters that I now miss like old friends.
I’m not listening to anything in particular because my taste in music is all over the place at the moment. I’ve been listening to some Beatles as I recently visited the museum in Liverpool but otherwise I mainly listen to new-ish stuff. Though last week I searched for Ode to Joy by Beethoven on my Amazon Prime Music app and listened to every version they had. I was overjoyed about the result of the French election and Ode to Joy is an EU anthem and I’m basically Euro-trash and I’m not sorry about it.
My eating habits have much improved from the past, but I still eat too much junk food and chocolate. Also it turned out I had high cholesterol so I swapped my breakfast bacon sandwich for avocado on toast.
What was the last photo you took with your phone?
What is your favourite time of day?
Evening and night. I’m a night owl.
Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
What am I grateful for from last week? I guess Eurovision was alright. And you know, just being alive and healthy and all that. And the world looking more green.
There’s always weekend to look forward to if nothing else. And some pictures to take!
In this week’s photo challenge post, Ben posts a photograph of a donut, a cup of coffee and a glass of sparkling water, but tells us not to limit ourselves to edible stuff–but this is exactly what I’m going to do, even though I don’t normally blog about food or post pictures of food.
Let me introduce you to my favourite breakfast. Bacon sandwich + a cup of black coffee = heaven. For me bacon sandwich is the second best thing in the world (the first is pizza). But there is more to this shot.
We hear of things typically British and we hear of things typically Continental European. Nothing more essentially British than a bacon sandwich, I’m sure you agree. On the other hand, coffee is continental, whereas the Brits like their tea.
Best of both worlds then. Imagine if referendums never existed, we could have breakfast instead of Brexit. Sigh.
Speaking of which…
A very Belgian private detective with his very British sidekick.
For this Valentine’s Day, let me talk about about my favourite fictional couples (or, as is the fandom term these days “ships”).
Originally I was planning to post just one photo for Valentine’s–a shot of two figures from my favourite series with a simple card in the background–but a comment I made on this Goodreads Facebook post inspired me to expand it a bit more. At least this gives me an opportunity to blog about my favourite things.
The Couple That Gives Me All the Feels
Jon Snow and Ygritte (Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire). Equally good in books and in TV show. And the only love story that can truly melt my cold, cynical heart.
The series has a lot of memorable quotes, such as All Men Must Die (which inspired my blog’s tagline) and Winter is Coming and–You know nothing, Jon Snow. She’s the one with the common sense, he’s the one with the formal education. She teaches him about the Wildling ways, he shows her castles.
If I could show her Winterfell… give her a flower from the glass gardens, feast her in the Great Hall and show her the stone kings on their thrones. We could bathe in the hot pools and love beneath the heart tree while the old gods watched over us.
~A Storm of Swords
It was not meant to be, but I like to think there is an alternate universe where they stayed in that cave. And there is–Kit Harington and Rose Leslie are dating in real life.
Here’s the photo that I mentioned earlier:
Not Your Typical Couple
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist from The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (the Millennium series). But not together as in together.
Lisbeth is one my most favourite fictional characters ever. She’s a brilliant hacker and she kicks ass. And she always look out for the vulnerable and the abused. I don’t ship her with Blomkvist in the normal way, instead I like to think of them as BFFs with benefits slash partners in crime. Besides, Blomkvist is a womaniser and Lisbeth is too much of a free spirit to settle down.
It was absurd to pretend that he did not exist. It no longer hurt her to see him. She opened the door wide and let him into her life again.
~The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest
In the English version they are played by Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. I once saw a comment on YouTube video of the trailer saying “Lisbeth Salander is so badass, James Bond is her sidekick.”
The Couple That Should Have Been
Jo March and Laurie, aka Teddy Lawrence from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, who ended up not together because the author threw a tantrum.
Then do, for god’s sake. Ugh.
I recently read Little Women for the first time in English. I love Jo, but I’m not a fan of the book. Some passages made me want to throw my (quite new) Kindle against the wall and it’s not because of the obvious mismatching of couples. It’s the constant preaching. Dog forbid you want to have fun once in a blue moon or a day off work… but I’m not here to talk about that.
If readers and Alcott’s publishers wanted Jo and Laurie to marry, there was a reason for it and that reason was that she wrote them that way. Apparently Alcott meant for Jo to remain single but the publisher was against it, so okay, 3/4 through he story Alcott introduces some German professor or other who would become Jo’s match but why, why oh why oh why OH WHY pair Laurie with Amy? Amy, that frivolous little shit that burned Jo’s book? Gosh, I hate her. She should have died instead of the loving, kind Beth.
Some fans say that Laurie was too immature for Jo. But he could have grown up, done something with his life and then come back and try asking her again. Like, character development, you know.
I can somewhat accept Jo with her professor but I will never be able to accept Laurie with Amy. Ah, what the hell, in my mind he never stopped loving Jo.
Forever and Ever and Ever…
Of course, it’s got to be them. The One True Pairing–OTP.
Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables series.
Poor Gilbert, though. It took years of suffering and almost dying for her to finally realise he was the one for her. The romantic hero she had dreamed about since her childhood didn’t belong to her life the way Gil did… and turned out not to be very interesting after all. Gilbert may not have written poetry but he could make her laugh, he comforted her. He got her.
There was nobody else–there never could be anybody else for me but you. I’ve loved you ever since that day you broke your slate over my head in school.
~Anne of the Island
There was that time in Anne of the Island when Anne’s bosom friend Diana secretly entered Anne’s story into a competition for the best story featuring a baking powder Rollings. Diana simply took Anne’s story Averil’s Atonement, which failed to get published in magazines, added a line or two advertising the baking powder and sent it–and the story won the prize. Twenty-five dollars, which must have been a lot of money then. Anne felt very ashamed because she thought it meant, how we would say now, selling out. So when Gilbert came to congratulate her and she confided in him and told him she was afraid that her fellow students at Redmond will tease her for it, he had this to say:
The Reds will think just as I thought–that you, being like nine out of ten of us, not overburdened with worldly wealth, had taken this way of earning a honest penny to help yourself through the year. I don’t see that there’s anything low or unworthy about that, or anything ridiculous either. One would rather write masterpieces of literature no doubt–but meanwhile board and tuition fees have to be paid.
Contrast this with Jo March’s professor who got all superior over Jo’s silly stories. Jo wrote them to earn some money and thus help her family, the point that completely escaped the educated professor. (Maybe that’s why he’s penniless in his forties.) What’s interesting is, when Anne rejects Gilbert’s first proposal, her feelings are very similar to what Jo goes through when she says no to Laurie. At least one writer with initials LM knew how to satisfy her readers!
Boys Love Boys
Barca and Pietros from Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
I know Spartacus is not to everyone’s taste but I loved it. It has everything; profanity, violence, nudity, sex. It makes Game of Thrones look like a weak tea.
From what I’ve seen on Tumblr, another gay couple from Spartacus: War of the Damned, Agron and Nasir seems to be the more popular one but I prefer these two. I was rooting for them so much and they had such a tragic end.
I do what I must, Pietros. I’ll return soon.
Girls Love Girls
Look who I just remembered:
Xena and Gabrielle. Friends? Sure, they were friends. That’s how it started.
Quote by the Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless:
Now it wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was “Nope, they’re married, man.”
You know what, I changed my mind. I think Xena and Gabrielle are my OTP after all.