The trees of Omberg

Do trees have personality? You bet, especially somewhere like Omberg ecopark.  Åsa and Lasse kindly took us to the shores of Lake Vattern yesterday for some sight seeing and a picnic.  The flowers were an absolute treat at Vadstena where we visited the Lustgården (Hortus Paradisus) in the abbey grounds.  Then we were met by millions of wild flowers at Omberg: especially blue, white and even pink wood anemones.

Lots of pictures were taken of the flowers but it was the trees that revealed their presence.

MyCOE/SERVIR East Africa: outreach seminar (Linköping University)

Last December’s MyCOE/SERVIR fellowship workshop in Nairobi has already been the inspiration for new research work at Rhodes University that integrates geographical technologies with field-based research.

Kate and I are presenting a seminar at Linköping University’s TEMA-Vatten today (and at Northampton University next week) that looks at extreme weather events in the Sneeuberg Mountains of the Karoo in South Africa because these destructive floods are becoming increasingly severe. Our seminar examines the new rainfall information which we have collected and compares this with satellite-derived precipitation data accessed using the Giovanni data portal.

Here’s our presentation (21mb file):


Evenings with rainbow

At sunset on Friday and Saturday it was cold with clouds and rain.  But there was a narrow letter box of clear sky between the clouds and the horizon so as the sun slid down we were treated to some lovely light draped softly on the trees and barns.

I grabbed my camera and ran out in my indoor clothes to catch the diffuse colours before they faded to much – and returned wet with cold hands and feet.  Here are the results.

Gamla Linköping (the old city)

On the other side of the paddocks outside our room, beyond the horses and the open air museum, is a stretch of woodland.  We’ve been meaning to go across for a while but waited for a sunny day to get out and explore.  On the other side of the woodland lies Gamla Linköping – the old tradesman’s quarter of town – which is like a living museum now.

It was a Thursday afternoon in April with Spring barely on the horizon which meant that it was really quiet, only a group of elderly people (not us!) being taken around on an excursion.  So it was easy to browse around the lovely shops, chat to the store owners and do some shopping.  We stayed away from the chocolate store though! It reminded us of the handicrafts museum in Turku (Finland) where we spent a happy morning at the end of our exchange programme with Finland Futures Research Centre.

The place was also really easy to photograph, even with my mobile phone!  Next Wednesday is the May Day holiday and we plan to go to the open air Symphony concert which is held in the main square of Gamla Linköping – let’s hope for more sunshine and a temperature of above 10 degrees.

Walking in the spring sunshine: Sörmland with Jan and Janet.

We were very lucky: last weekend was sunny.  Jan and Janet hosted us for a country weekend at Hundby (near Gnesta in Sörmland) where there are lovely walks to be had, photos to be taken and excellent hospitality.  We got out for four good walks in our two days: including Sunday morning at 5.30 for the fresh early morning frost (it was minus 5 …..) with a flask of hot coffee.  The birds were making lots of noise all weekend. Swans, geese, cranes, and skylarks were all telling you it was Spring though there were only a few flowers (scylla, snowdrops) and hardly any buds on the trees.

So we spent most of the weekend chatting outside as we strolled through the rolling farmland, forest and lakes. The ice was only just breaking up as you can see and there were plenty of snow patches around.  We even got to see the northern stars ….

Bikes everywhere: Linköping University Valla campus

When you walk up the rise and on to Valla campus your first impression is bikes, bikes and more bikes.  There must be several thousand on the campus and they congregate outside Kårallen (the student’s centre).  What a difference to Rhodes University where there are maybe a hundred or so – and how this must benefit the health of the students and the environment.  Making the environment a part of everyone’s education at Linköping University has been in the campus news recently. Also the University’s goals to reduce energy use, paper use, short haul flights ….

Every LiU car will run on non-fossil fuels or electricity by 2015 at the latest, and there will be more bicycles for hire for use at work.

All makes makes you think a little about our own goals and priorities in South Africa.

The cyclists and the bikes make a lovely theme for this little photo essay …..