Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) ¬Bishop George Berkeley

Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo

In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.).
The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website or Amazon.




Landgoed Duin en Kruidberg (Velsen)

Landgoed Duin en Kruidberg (Velsen)

Landgoed Duin en Kruidberg (Velsen)

Landgoed Duin en Kruidberg (Velsen)

Landgoed Duin en Kruidberg is an estate in Velsen, North Holland.
The estate that stretches as a strip from Santpoort-Noord to the sea coast is part of The South Kennemerland National Park.
On the estate is the monumental country house 'Duin en Kruidberg which is used as a four-star hotel (a.o.).
The estate was created by merging 'Landgoed Duin en Berg' and 'Landgoed De Kruidberg'.
The estate turns north into the 'Landgoed Midden-Heerenduin' and south into the nature reserve 'Kennemerduinen'.



Made in China, by Armando Jongejan (2020)

Made in China, by Armando Jongejan (2020)

Made in China, by Armando Jongejan (2020)

Made in China, by Armando Jongejan (2020)

Made in China, by Armando Jongejan (2020)

In China I have a special interest, which was peaked when I saw mention of it pass on Facebook. It isn't my first book on China and it won't be my last. I have visited China a few times but never in the intensity to warrant a photobook of my work. Perhaps one day...
For now books such as these keep the dream alive.

Visiting China as a tourist, Armando used small camera bodies in a non-threatening way to capture the moments of everyday life which he encountered on his journeys.
He did not originally have a book in mind, but the very positive reaction to his images on Facebook made him think otherwise, and fortunately for all of us, the book began to take shape, and we now have to opportunity to see his work in print.

The photos show a quality which I lack: able to approach the people and get a smile on their face. The photos show people relaxing in the street, at work (often a particular craft), doing chores, preparing food, at the market, in conversation, children playing,playing cards or a boardgame, doing sports, in reverie, allowing close up portraits, et cetera.
Daily life in China on camera, so rich in diversity and people not adverse to having their photo taken like we see so often in the Western world.
Armando did a marvellous job, sharing so much of China and the Chinese; his photography is a joy to browse and a captivating window to another world.

The books contains 134 pages (30cm x 30cm), over 100 photographs printed on firm '160gsm Biotop paper'. There may still be copies available, contact him through Facebook.

Armando Jongejan (b.1960; Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands).
He studied photography at the University of Applied Photography after which he took on work as a freelance photographer. This resulted in work published in various magazines and books.
In addition, he also works on personal projects, mainly purposely on a particular theme.

He's created landscape photography and social documentary reports in Turkey, Belgium, Scotland, England, Wales, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United States and in the Netherlands.
This often entailed numerous trips to the same countries: between 1990 - 1996 Czech Republic and Slovakia were visited 10 times.
Armando's work has been exhibited several times in (photo) galleries, cultural centers and museums at home and abroad.

In recent years, 7 photo books by Armando Jongejan have been published: Egmondse dorpsportretten (1996), Van binnenuit (2000), Licht uit, deur op slot (2001), Een zoektocht (2004), Thuiskomen (2011), Monnikenleven (2018) en MADE IN CHINA (2020).
Some of these reports were exhibited during the FotoFestival Naarden 2019, Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (Foam) 2005, Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam - 2008, 2010 and in 2018. And in the Photography Museum of China, in Lishui.
Armando is also a member of 2 groups of the Dutch photography union: photojournalism and the BMK. In 2009 he was accepted as a fellow by the Royal Photographic Society (FRPS) from the UK.



Zheng He by Matt Buttsworth

Zheng He (b.1371 - d.1433 or 1435) was a court eunuch, explorer, diplomat, Chinese mariner and fleet admiral, during China's early Ming dynasty.
He was originally born as Ma He in a Muslim family and later adopted the surname Zheng, conferred by the Yongle Emperor.
Zheng commanded expeditionary treasure voyages to Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Western Asia, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433.
According to legend, his huge ships carried hundreds of sailors on four decks and were almost twice as long as any wooden ship ever recorded at the time.
As a favorite of the Yongle Emperor, whom Zheng assisted in the overthrow of the Jianwen Emperor, he rose to the top of the imperial hierarchy and served as commander of the southern capital Nanjing.

Zheng He was castrated as a boy at the palace court in Xian and castrated men were generally not very appreciated in China in the past, in spite of this he rose to a revered leadership as a general of an army as as an admiral of his fleet.

This book by Dr Matt Buttsworth details his youth (according to the book by then known as Ali Mustafa) in Kashgar ('The place where it all began')), how he lost his father when Chinese forces besieged the town he lived in. The book continues with his life among the eunuch at the royal court, his career in the army and at sea.

Zheng He was born Ma He (no mention in the book) to a Muslim family of Kunyang, Kunming, Yunnan, during the Ming dynasty of China, according to Wikipedia.
He had an older brother and four sisters. His sisters were married off to two lieutenants of the general, according to this book.
Ali Mustafa sees his name changed to Zheng He when he's taken prisoner and adopted by The General, he himself adopted as a young Jurchen nomad orphan by the commander of a Chinese cavalry column and (re)named Zheng Liu.
Zheng Liu teducats Zheng He in warfare on land.
I ended the book with the impression the author followed a simplified narrative of Zheng He's life and career.

A few notes from Wikipedia again-
In the autumn of 1381, a Ming army ('Chinese Imperial Army', numbering tens of thousands) invaded and conquered Yunnan, which was then ruled by the Mongol prince Basalawarmi, Prince of Liang.
In 1381, Ma Hajji, Zheng He's father (in the book named Mustaq), died in the fighting between the Ming armies and Mongol forces, his exact age (37 or 39) unknown as well as the exact circumstance, is unknown: the book describes a rather heroic but suicidal attack.

In his capacity as Admiral, Zheng He had an epitaph engraved in honour of his father, in the third year
in the Yongle era (01 June 1405).
There is no mention of such an event in the book, though there is mention that region of his birth is adressed for funding the fleet renewal.

When the old general Zheng Liu is summoned to the emperor's palace in Xian, the emperor Zheng Fang insists Zheng He stays behind at his court as a playmate to his son; he does not want the general to train further his adopted son and become a threat to the royal throne.
Wikipedia: Zheng He was castrated at some point between the age of 10 and 14 and was placed in the service of the Prince of Yan.
The book: Zheng He is obstinate, feels himself a prisoner at court and aggravates the prince Ju Chei, later the emperor.
He falls in love with Harvest Moon, but this ends in tragedy.

After the narrative of Zheng He rising to become a successful leader of the Ming army and developing economic skills for developing trade in Yunnan, he receives a new assignment ffrom the young emperor, which is designed to let Zheng He fail.
He is sent south to the headquarters to the Chinese fleet and ordered to search far and wide for the Lost Emperor.
Zheng He, only travelling with a personal regiment, cunningly avoids an ambush the emperor had set for him, but finds Longjiang devoid of any ships upon his arrival. China had no need to trade with other countries and the fleet was abandoned many years before his imperial orders.

While the emperor is distracted by army battles with the mongol Timur the Lame, Zheng He sets about his task to build a fleet. He allies with pirates, developing a shipyard in Guangdong and renewed trading along the coast.
Besides his ambition to travel the seas he still has that assignment to search for the Lost Emperor, as he cannot be found in China.
The book describes much animosity, started when they grew up together, between the ruling Emperor in Xian and Zheng He building his fleet.
Wikipedia describes the ruling at Xian's imperial court as a little more complex and Zheng He with different roles and representative titles for his sea voyages.

Viewed in terms of time, Zheng He's voyages to the Western Ocean was far ahead of European seafarers as Christopher Columbus (1451- 1506), Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) and Ferdinand Magellan (1480- 1521). Zheng He's first voyage was in 1405. This means that each 87, 92 from 114 years earlier than sailors such as Columbus (who arrived in America in 1492), Gama (who arrived in Calicut, India in 1497) and Magellan (which started around the earth since 1519).

The book describes two voyages in detail. Wikipedia has ' Zheng He travelling in 1424 to Palembang in Sumatra to confer an official seal and letter of appointment upon Shi Jisun, who was placed in the office of Pacification Commissioner.'
During one of these travels Zheng He sents his fleet back to Palembang, whil ehe sails with a few ships onward to visit Mecca and become a Haji.

Even before the voyages, according to this book, Zheng He falls in love with a slave girl and makes her pregnant: his castration had not been successful. To avoid the jealousy of the emperor, this relation is kept secret.

In terms of scale, Zheng He's fleet must have beenquite impressive.
Upon Zheng He's first voyage there are 62 large vessels and crews of more than 27.800 people.
On the 3rd voyage, there are 48 large ships with a crew more than 27.000 people.
On the 7th voyage, there are 61 large ships and its crew are 27.550 people.
Imagine the logistics of water and food for such a fleet to sail!

Brought home by Zheng He's fleet to China, among others were pearls, crystal, gem jewels, ivory, lion, giraffe, leopard, ingredients such as clove, frankincense, rhino horn, antelope horn, perfumes, spices, various types cloth and wood.
As a pious Muslim admiral Zheng He certainly take the initiative to spread the religion of Islam in countries he visited.
Zheng He's voyages were not intend to expand or conquer. In contrast to the voyage purpose of the famous European navigators. Visits by Zheng He and his crew always found a warm welcome in many countries, increasing trade for all parties concerned.

Back to the book.
The emperor is invited to witness the success of the fleet and accept the gift of an exotic animal (a giraffe), but in his jealousy forbids Zheng He to continue with his trading and sea voyages. Upon which Zheng He flees with part of his fleet and crew to Palembang and marries his wife there, who is again pregnant.
He then devices a plan to return to China alone and face the emperor.

While in fact, according to Wikipedia, on 07Sep1424, the Hongxi Emperor indeed terminated the undertaking of further treasure voyages but appointed Zheng He, in 1425, as the defender of Nanjing and ordered him to continue his command over the treasure fleet merely for the city's defense.
On 25Mar1428, the Xuande Emperor ordered Zheng He and others to take over the supervision for the rebuilding and repair of the Great Bao'en Temple at Nanjing, which He completed in 1431.

In 1430, the new Xuande Emperor appointed Zheng He the command over a 7th and final expedition into the 'Western Ocean' (Indian Ocean).
In 1431, Zheng He was bestowed with the title Sanbao Taijian, using his informal name Sanbao and the title of Grand Director.
Zheng's voyages were long neglected in official Chinese histories but have become well known in China and abroad since the publication of Liang Qichao's Biography of Our Homeland's Great Navigator, Zheng He in 1904.

Traditional and popular accounts of Zheng He's voyages have described a great fleet of gigantic ships far larger than any other wooden ships in history.
The most grandiose claims for Zheng He's 1405 fleet are entirely based on a calculation derived from an account written 3 centuries later and were accepted as fact by one modern writer but rejected by most naval experts.

One theory is that Admiral Zheng He died in 1433, during or shortly after the s7th voyage. Another is that Zheng He continued to serve as the defender of Nanjing, dying in 1435.
A tomb was built for Zheng He at the southern slope of Cattle Head Hill, Nanjing. The original tomb was a horseshoe-shaped grave. It is a cenotaph believed to contain his clothes and headgear. In 1985, the tomb was rebuilt following a Muslim style

While following a simplified narrative and written in amateur prose, as a first read on Zheng He I found it pleasant enough. The book by Edward L. Dryer, 'Zheng He : China and the Oceans in the Early Ming Dynasty, 1405-1433' could be the next step!





The Bay - tv-series

After dealing with the repercussions of her actions (having had sex with a prime suspect and thus suspended from active duty, at the 1st series ending), DC Lisa Armstrong is given the opportunity to step up when asked to assist a murder investigation in Morecambe.
Determined to ignore her ex Andy's unexpected arrival the night before, Lisa throws herself into the case and discovers a significant lead from her only eyewitness.

As the team press on with the investigation, Lisa and Med dig deeper into the family and discover not all relationships with the victim were amicable.
Following a dramatic turn in the case, Lisa and the team struggle to keep their heads in the game as they're forced to accept help from a new unit.
Meanwhile Lisa's boss, Manning is in a personal crisis and has trouble to keep a clear head at work.

The Bay is an ITV crime drama series produced by Tall Story Pictures, first aired in March 2019.
Morven Christie plays a detective sergeant (DS) family liaison officer called in, in the first series, on an investigation into missing twins from a family living in Morecambe. The name of the series derives from Morecambe Bay, which is on the west coast of England in the county of Lancashire.
This 2nd series of 6 episodes was originally planned to be broadcast mid-2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was pushed back to early 2021.

A 3rd and final series will begin filming in summer 2021. Christie decided to leave the show following production on the 2nd series, sad not to see her returning..
On 15Feb2021, Marsha Thomason was cast as the new lead, DS Jenn Townsend.
I assume Lisa's kids and mom won't return as well, quite a bit of the drama narrative will see an upset. We'll wait and see.

www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/- - -/the-bay-season-2



Zilveren Camera 2020

Zilveren Camera 2020
The winner: 'Piet Franssen overlijdt aan Corona' by Kees van de Veen

Zilveren Camera 2020

Zilveren Camera 2020

'The Zilveren Camera' is the most prestigious prize for photojournalism and documentary photography in the Netherlands.
Every year, professional photographers with Dutch nationality (residing in or outside the Netherlands) and photographers established in the Netherlands with a different nationality can submit their work.
Photographers who submit for the Silver Camera competition can indicate, when they submit, whether they also want to compete for various special prizes which are awarded.

Unfortunately there was no exhibition to visit this year, for the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Hopefully we get a raincheck later this year.

I got the impression that things went a little out of control for the organizers of this award.
Their website has no English text, which I find strange for "photographers established in the Netherlands with a different nationality can submit.."
Also, anno April 30th 2021 one can still submit by link the vote for the public award 2020.
I tried contacting them through their website to purchase the brochure, but there was no reply.
And I tried to contact the PhotoQ Bookshop for the brochure, by email, again no reply.
It seems like they all went into hybernation during the lockdown..?




Tulips Experience Amsterdam

Tulips Experience Amsterdam

Tulips Experience Amsterdam

Tulips Experience Amsterdam

Tulips Experience Amsterdam

Tulips Experience Amsterdam

Last monday, I visited the Tulip Experience Amsterdam, which is located at an active bulb company in the middle of the Flower Bulb Region of The Netherlands.
Due to pandemic restrictions (Covid-19) we could only visit the showgarden this april 26th.
The outdoor show garden has 1 million tulips (with over 500 different varieties from Damen's Flower Bulb/DFB own tulip farm!).
It was a pleasure to photograph them and take in the stunning colours: a magnificent imprint on the retina!

More photos on flickr.com



Hidden, tv-series ('Craith'), season 2

Some three years have gone past since I saw Hidden, season 1.
In this series DCI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) and her sisters mourn the death of their father, in the first series his care was a cause of disagreement between the three of them. Now the disagreement is about disposing their father's personal things.
And in the first series the wife of DS Owen Vaugh (Sion Alun Davies) was pregnant, now their relation is under strain because of the newly born baby; a murder inquiry plays havoc to the hours Owen works.

So, series two..
Blaenau Ffestiniog (a town in Gwynedd, Wales), now nine months later.
An anonymous phone call leads DCI Cadi John and DS Owen Vaughn to the corpse of an old man who has been decaying for weeks in his bath. Nobody seems to have missed the old man, not even his estranged daughter.

Cadi and Owen look into the dead man’s background and discover there are reasons behind his reclusiveness.
The narrative follows two schoolkids. Connor shares his guilty conscience with Mia, about Geraint Ellis, and she convinces him that the old man deserved what happened to him.
Lee is the 3rd party in this small band. He drives around in a Saab 90 of his brother who has a temporary driving ban. Mia is related to Lee, both are in a dysfunctional family.
Connor has moved into the small town a year ago and his mother is glad he's made some friends; she does not know they have a bad influence on him.
Connor was the one who made the anonymous call to the police that led to the discovery of the old man's decaying corpse.

The community gathers to mourn the passing of Geraint Ellis, but previously they all ignored him for unsubstantiated allegations that Mr Ellis, a teacher, had improper relations with a student (Karl Lewis, an older brother of Lee). Mr Ellis took early retirement, gradually fell in isolation while his family also avoided him.

Some night, Mia and her friends visit an old ruin with a dark history. Mia draws Connor closer to her because she feels Connor is about to confess to the police.
Karl Lewis admits, while questioned by Cadi, that the accusations he brought against Ellis were false. Cadi turns her attention to Mia, whose false testimony led to Karl being picked up for questioning.

Then Cadi is informed that another body has been found at a remote petrol station outside Blaenau Ffestiniog. Suspecting the worst, she issues a warrant for Mia's arrest, but all efforts to trace her fail.
Deep in the mountains, the search continues, before Cadi and Mia finally come face to face.
The sad truth about the murders begins to emerge, with two innocent people killed and three young lives destroyed.

'Hidden' (initially broadcasted in the Welsh language as 'Craith') is a Welsh television drama serial, first broadcast on the Welsh language channel S4C in January 2018.
This series should not be confused with the 2011 crime drama tv-series, also named 'Hidden', starring Philip Glenister and Thekla Reuten.
The Welsh spoken parts and sceneries reminded me of another series, 'Hinterland', also an excellent crime drama series.
This series stars Sian Reese-Williams as DI Cadi John, an experienced investigator and ex/ Army. She moved to the little town to participate in the care of her father (in the first series), a retired police officer with North Wales Police. She follows in his footsteps.

A very entertaining series, interesting narratives and filmed on fascinating locations.

Myblog 2018Q3



Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng
Li Zhensheng and his parents (top left). They lived at first in a brick-and-stone peasant house with a
dirt floor, one room - no electricity, only gaslamps. No running water, only a village well, 2 kms walking.

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng
Li in his office holding his Rolleiflex - 17 July 1967

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng
Photo right page: Li at Mao's birthplace

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Red-Color News Soldier - Li Zhensheng

Li Zhensheng (Lǐ Zhènshèng; b.22Sep1940 – d.June 2020) was a Chinese photojournalist who captured some of the most telling images from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (a.k.a.the Chinese Cultural Revolution).

His employment at the Heilongjiang Daily, which followed the party line, and his decision to wear a red arm band indicating an alliance with Chairman Mao Zedong, allowed him access to scenes otherwise only described in written and verbal accounts.

His 2003 book Red-Color News Soldier exhibits both the revolutionary ideals and many of the atrocities that occurred during the Cultural Revolution.
The Heilongjiang Daily newspaper had a strict policy in accordance with a government dictate that only "positive" images could be published, which consisted mostly of smiling revolutionaries offering praise for Chairman Mao.
The "negative" images, which depicted the atrocities of the time, were hidden beneath a floorboard in his house before he brought them to light at a photo exhibition in 1988.

A private museum, dedicated to Li's life and work, was opened in 2017 in Sichuan Province as a part of the Jianchuan Museum Cluster.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was one of the most catastrophic political movements of the 20th century.
Photo-journalist Li Zhensheng managed to preserve over 20,000 stills, 400 of which are presented in this collection and which capture and explain the turbulent events of the period.

An excellent review (by John Gittings) of this book can be read on TheGuardian.com¬
'Red-Color News Soldier' - by Li Zhensheng (320pp, Phaidon, £24.95)

"No one has heard before of Wu Bingyuan, a Chinese worker executed with a bullet in the back of his head during Mao Zedong's cultural revolution, but this review of the book should really be dedicated to him.
We know something about the top Communist party officials who fell foul of Mao, were targeted by the Red Guards and were driven to suicide or left to die of illness. We know next to nothing about the ordinary victims, men and women who defended their ideals against the Maoist dogma or simply refused to conform to the hysteria.

Wu was one of those, a technician at the Harbin Electric Motor Factory who, with a colleague, wrote a pamphlet called Looking North.
It was interpreted by the authorities as criticism of Mao's hostile policy towards the Soviet Union - China's northern neighbour - and the punishment for this "counter-revolutionary" act was death.
On April 5 1968, the photographer Li Zhensheng took a set of official pictures of Wu's execution, along with that of his fellow technician and six 'ordinary' criminals.
The eight were sentenced to death at a public trial, placed on trucks with placards round their necks, driven to a cemetery, forced to kneel and shot before a large crowd.

Similar events happened all over China and (minus, in most cases, the public execution) still happen today...
But Wu made a small heroic gesture that Li's pictures have rescued from anonymity. When sentence was first pronounced, he looked at the sky and uttered one sentence: "This world is too dark." Then he closed his eyes and kept them defiantly shut till he had left the dark world.

This collection of photos, taken by Li in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang, where he worked for the official Communist party newspaper, is unique for a simple reason. Although the post-Mao Chinese government has labelled the cultural revolution "10 years of chaos", it still tries to suppress any real inquiry into the countless human tragedies it caused. More...




Feniks by Deon Meyer

Deon Meyer - Feniks (EN: Dead before Dying). Mat Joubert #1.
This is Deon Meyer's first book, written in the late 1990s. It is a stand-alone of sorts, since there isn't a Joubert #2, but other characters such as Benny Griessel reappear in future books.

Someone in Cape Town has chosen a conspicuous murder weapon: a century-old German handgun, with ancient bullets that tear through flesh and bone creating large and cruel holes.
Three men who have nothing in common are found murdered. The string of vicious killings pushes the city toward panic, pressure from the media mounts.
Captain Mat Joubert is left scrambling for answers in a case that might be his last chance to prove that his life's slow spiral will not pull him under.
Joubert's team have a new boss, who introduces new rules on performance and health. Obesity and/or booze is a definite no-no.

Captain Mat Joubert is still grieving over the death of his wife, a colleague in the police force, almost
3 years ago. So when he is called to investigate the murder of a businessman, shot with a century-old gun, he's also forced to consult a therapist to deal with mental health issues.
She encourages him to diet, give up smoking and do sports. He takes up swimming.
While trying to crack the case, two more men end up dead, both with the same weapon as the first victim.
But a motive or even a faint connection between the three of the victims is seriously lacking.
It doesn't help that while tracking down the serial killer, there is also a bank robber on the loose that is hitting various banks across the Cape.
Are the killer and bank robber the same person?

Captain Mat Joubert is an interesting character, who has some redeeming qualities, but he is preoccupied with his crumbling self esteem and spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about sex, especially when there is a single female in his presence: his therapist, a serial killer consultant and a young woman only 18 year old, the daughter of his neighbor.
There is much more sex than what I came across in later books by Deon Meyer. It did not bother me much.

It was interesting to see him grapple with his life starting to fall apart and striving to regain some control over it. It was also interesting to see how, even though he is extremely flawed, he does look out for his friends, especially Benny Griesel who has a drinking problem.

Deon Meyer was born in the South African town of Paarl in the winelands of the Western Cape in 1958, and grew up in Klerksdorp, in the gold mining region of Northwest Province.
After military duty and studying at the Potchefstroom University, he joined Die Volksblad, a daily newspaper in Bloemfontein as a reporter. Since then, he has worked as press liaison, advertising copywriter, creative director, web manager, Internet strategist, and brand consultant.

Deon wrote his first book when he was 14 years old, and bribed and blackmailed his two brothers into reading it. They were not impressed. Heeding their advise, he did not write fiction again until he was in his early thirties, when he started publishing short stories in South African magazines.

In 1994, two years before this book was pulished, he published his first Afrikaans novel, which has not been translated.All later novels have been translated into several languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian and Bulgarian.




Killing Eve, series 2

Killing Eve - season 2

After a series of events, the lives of a MI.6 security operative and an assassin become inextricably linked.
Eve Polastri is reeling from her act of violence against Villanelle and doesn't know whether she left her dead or alive in her apartment. Eve is still very much the investigator and certainly not a field operative used to violence.
A paranoid and severely injured Villanelle manages to get herself to the hospital for treatment. She even manages, after a brief respite in a hospital, to make her way to England.
Carolyn approaches Eve with an opportunity. Eve doesn't dare to tell her she about her violent encounter with Villanelle in Paris.
Villanelle finds a Good Samaritan to take her in, but he isn't all that he seemed to be.

Carolyn introduces Eve to her new team, her old team was disbanded. The focus is no longer on Villanelle, but on a suspicious death of the CEO of a data tec giant.
After the discovery of another dead body, Eve and her new team make a break in their case, having discovered a link with a series of accidental deaths and disappearances; the son and daughter of the dead CEO are prime suspects.
The son has something (a weapon?) for sale to the highest bidder, it could mean a danger to national security. Coralyn frustrates Eve by a hidden agenda and finds Konstatin rissen from the dead!

The MI6 team makes a pact with the devil in order to get information from The Ghost, a competitor assassin of Villanelle, who has been discredited in criminal circles.
Villanelle uses her unrivaled infiltration skills to immerse herself in the world of a new target.
Eve may have worrying competition for Villanelle's affections. Villanelle stalks persons around Villanelle, including Niko, Eve's husband.

Jodie Comer................Villanelle
Sandra Oh...................Eve Polastri
Fiona Shaw.................Carolyn Martens
Kim Bodnia.................Konstantin
Owen McDonnell ........Niko Polastri
Sean Delaney..............Kenny
Kirby Howell-Baptiste...Elena Felton
Harriet Walter............Dasha
Edward Bluemel......... Hugo
Danny Sapani..............Jamie
Gemma Whelan...........Geraldine
Henry Lloyd-Hughes...Aaron Peel
Nina Sosanya..............Jess




Aviation slides binned.

Made a bit if a step, not to say a leap, today: binned all my aviation slides labelled 'trade / exchange'.
Ceased trading at least 15 years ago, and haven't touched any of my slides in my collection for at least 10 years.
Can't be bothered to find the time to sort them (military jets versus propliners versus civil aviation, versus helicopters, et cetera) and so away they go.
It was a good time while it lasted, every male probably has it in his genes to collect something.



Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin
Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin

Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin

Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin

These parks are specially designed by C.P.Broerse. De know-how of Mr. K.Landwehr, who was then the manager of the 'heem farm', has proven to be of great value for the development of 2 colorful 'enchanting' parks.The Heemparken together have an area of about 12 hectares in the northwestern part of Amstelveen.They are located obscured on both sides of the Amsterdamseweg.
Broerse and Landwehr tried not to imitate nature in the parks, rather to perfect it.
With plants they painted a new landscape, a landscape in which the knowledge and beauty of existing Dutch landscapes is contained.
The oldest part, the Braak, was built in 1940, the youngest part, the last part of the Dr. Jac.P.Thijssepark, in 1972.

Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin

Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin
Swallowed whole..

Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin
(Wilde) Kievitsbloemen (Fritillaria meleagris; EN: snake's head fritillary)

Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin

Heemparken Amstelveen, botanische tuin



Frago, season 4

Fargo, series 4

This is the 4th season of 'Fargo', an American black comedy-crime drama tv-series created by Noah Hawley which premiered in 2020. It consists of 11 episodes, a rather odd number.
The show is inspired by the 1996 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, which was written and directed by the Coen brothers, starring a.o. Francis McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi.

As an anthology, each Fargo season possesses its own self-contained narrative, following a set of characters in various settings and eras, albeit in a connected shared universe.
The initial film Fargo was situated in Fargo, Minnesota. The tv-series stayed initially in Minnesota, North- and South Dakota. This 4th season is set in Kansas City, Missouri (in November 1950) and follows two crime syndicates as they vie for control.
The link with Fargo is made briefly, with another criminal outfit.

This 4th season has an excellent performance by Chris Rock, as a leader of a black crime group, fighting the Italians with mob connections.
As with the original film, each episode begins with the superimposed text:
"This is a true story. The events depicted took place in [location] in [year]. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred."
It is only one example of the unique 'Fargo-humor'... The characters in the cast are almost cartoon-like, and a mix of over-the-top violence and seriously black humor. As is quite common in US series, there is a lot of swearing.
The racism in society of those days is not to be laughed at, though..




Beck, season 8

Based on the crime novels and characters created by the Swedish writing couple Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, the popular Beck series stars Peter Haber as the Stockholm-based, crime-fighter Police Inspector Martin Beck.
Initially his sidekick was Mikael Persbrand (as Gunvald Larsson), later followed by Steinar Hovland(a tole by xxxx) and in Season 8 we see Alex Beijer firmly leading the crime unit.
We see less and less of Peter Haber, in Season 8 he looks death in the eye for a tumor has been discoveren in his brain. We learn (a little) more about Alex, what happened to her in the Middle East.
In S8 we get a glimpse of Steinar, who has returned to Norway for his child, but he misses the police work in Stockholm. Will we see him return?

The conniving police boss Klas Fredén continues to play his intrigues, trying to oust Martin Beck, even tries to convince Alex Beijer to make him a scapegoat in a mired investigation.
Meanwhile, Alex has taken on a new detective in her team (to replace Steinar), but Josef is a bit of a loose canon.

Series 8 (2020-2021)
#1 "Undercover"
#2 "Beyond Reasonable Doubt"
#3 "Death in Samarra"
#4 "The Prodigal Son"

In Undercover, the murder of a boy leads Beck's team to a drug network.
Klas Fredén has been working on an undercover operation in this network for a long time.While he doesn't want to jeopardize his investigation, he gives team Beck (led by Alex Beijer) permission to continue their murder investigation.As a result, Beijer and Fredén constantly clash with each other.
Martin Beck hovers in the background, still in his supervisory capacity, but more and mor epreoccupied with serious health issues.

In The Fall Guy, a macabre discovery in the trunk of a car appears to lead to a cold-blooded killer.But is that really true?

In Death In Samarra, a Nobel Peace Prize candidate is brutally stabbed to death in central Stockholm.One of the witnesses worked with Alex when she was in the Middle East. This is the episode that we get to understand more about Alex, when we see the burn scars while she looks in the mirror.
"Why are you so cold, so distant?", asks Josef.

In The Prodigal Son, a jawbone is found in the middle of a forest. If the rest of the body is found, it turns out it belongs to Viktor Eklund, who has been missing for five years. Incest plays a role here.

Will we see Martin Beck return? The closing scene of the series shows Beck being wheeled into the operating theatre for a life threatening brain surgery...
I found surprisingly few reviews of Beck's season 8 in English, IMDb wasn't even up to date for this 8th series!

www.scandinavischleven.nl/zweedse-serie-beck/ (NL)



A Sonf For The Dark Times

This is the 24th Rebus novel (or the 26th in the 'franchise' if one includes the two standalone novels featuring Malcolm Fox). I've read them all and am indeed a fan of Mr Rankin's writing, so forgive me when I am not entirely objective.

I am glad that after the two standalone Malcolm Fox novels, Rebus was reintroduced again as his 'rogue qualities' are so much more appealing than the rather civil servant characteristics of Malcolm Fox.
We also meet with Siobhan Clarke again, in a sort of stand off coöperation with Malcolm Fox, and 'Big Ger' Cafferty who conspires to compromise Fox.

'A Song For The Dark Times' is a very good novel, but the inevitable seems ever closer for John Rebus.
He has now moved into a ground floor flat because his lung problems (COPD) preclude climbing flights of stairs.There are still a lot of boxes to unpack, including the ones for the uncolved crimes. While this may hint on future Rebus novels, there are other signs of a generation coming to an end: Rebus’s loyal Saab begins to pack it in and Cafferty sees his 'Realm of Crime' under threat by ambitious others.

There are two crime stories here, one with Clarke and Fox in the main naarative and one with Rebus on a murder inquiry up north, where his daughter Samantha is the main suspect of the murder of her parner Keith.

Obviously, the question arises: are these cases in any way connected, and if so, how? Rankin sets multiple hares running, and the various suspects and causes zig-zag just like a hare on the hill.

I particularly like how Rankin details the relationships between all involved, the weary coöperation between Clarke and Fox, Rebus chasing the investigating DS Robin Creasey from Inverness, the difficult relationship Rebus versus his daughter Samantha, Rebus and the pub owner May Collins, et cetera.
A rusty pistol on display in the pub plays an import part, a link to the WW2 prison Camp 1033 near (also fictional, area round Tongue) Naver where Samantha and her daughter lives.
Keith was obsessed with research into the POW's there and the murder then for which the wrong person may have been convicted. His research was uncomfortable for those who lived through the camp's existence and continued to live in the area.

I did find the narrative of Rebus' investigation and the plot of those involved in the days of Camp 1033 (fictional, though such POW camps did exist in Scotland) rather blurry and unclear.
But Rebus acting in his usual mischievous and roguish ways was again a great joy, getting entries and answers by hinting at still being a policeman, thus rustling many feathers here and there.
We hope for more!

Btw, nice to see Canadian singer/songwriter R. Dean Taylor mentioned...

www.scotsman.com/arts-and-culture/b- - -song-dark-times




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Created: 08-APR-2021