Let’s spring out of winter with a few more photos from my GBG365 archive. As I wrote last autumn, the shift from one season to another can happen slowly or quickly. My point then was that, generally speaking, the shift from Swedish summer to autumn is gradual, at least in this part of the country. But on the opposite side of the year, the shift from winter to spring can go with lightening speed. Not every year, it’s true. Sometimes winter’s grasp is tenacious. But when it relaxes, everything changes very quickly.
I took all the pictures in this post in Gothenburg in March or April, mostly in 2013 and 2014. In all the galleries, click on one photo to view all the pictures full size.
Ice on the river
The first spring (2013) that I took pictures for my daily photoblog, Gothenburg’s river was frozen till quite late. I took these photos of men drilling through the ice to create fishing holes on 19th March at Sannegårdshamn. A year later, and ten days earlier in the year, the river was ice free. On the 8th March 2014 I snapped this angler fishing off the end of a pier not more than a few hundred metres further downstream. I was particularly happy about the angler’s blue and yellow scarf, which complements the colours of the Götheborg East Indiaman, in winter dock behind him.
The picture with the Wire Church in the Lindholmen basin comes from later in March in 2013. It shows the ice is still present, 8 days after the ice fishing expedition, but now it’s clearly breaking up. The ice disappears last from the water in the old wharf basins along the Göta River. The currents tend to drive drift ice in from the river and the water in the basins is still, so the ice doesn’t melt for a long time. Not till the sun is strong and constant enough.
Signs of spring
In March as the days grow noticeably longer and vårdagjämning, the spring equinox, approaches, Swedes look out eagerly for signs of spring. The next gallery starts with a rope gang of kindergarten children out in my local park. They’re wrapped up warm because it’s still cold. I took these the same day in 2013 that I took the picture of the Wire Church. I don’t know, but I guess the kids are on the look out for signs of spring. Like the first tussilago, coltsfoot, one of the first flowers to open around here. This first one, just peeking out to see if it’s OK on 8th March 2014. The second, already open, is from 6th March 2012.
A later sign, a sign that spring is well and truly here, is when the vitsippor, the wood anemones, open. Suddenly the leaf litter under the still bare (though budding) trees is scattered with these little white flowers. (As it is now as I write this.) In people’s gardens, still while many trees haven’t yet put out leaves, magnolias are in bloom. This spray belongs to a tree in the little park beside Kronhuset, one of the city’s oldest buildings.
You don’t see butterflies till after the first flowers, but that doesn’t stop you looking. I found this battered, once decorative metal butterfly on gravel near a tenement block on 27th March 2013. The companion piece is my first butterfly photo from the following year, 29th March 2014. It’s a citronfjäril, a “lemon butterfly”. I think it’s called a brimstone in Britain.
In winter, light is brief and dull, spring makes a huge difference. When I was publishing a daily photo, winter was the period of drought, spring the first relief. There was more light, and people came out.
The little girls in the first picture were in a school class, enjoying the sun and gossip at Järntorget in the centre of town. I took this photo on the same day as the fallen butterfly in the previous gallery. Another sign of spring, perhaps, is the lady cleaning her bicycle in the street. This comes from Kvarnberget in the centre of the old town. A year and a month earlier, in March 2013, it was still cold out, but people were already gathering to meet in the café/bar of Posthotellet on Drottningatan.
My other interior here is from the 12th April open day at the new City Hall in 2014. The municipal administration moved into the renovated former city court house and opened the building in celebration. My mother-in-law used to work at the court. She was keen to see it in its new guise, and show it off. Family party – photo op!
The mannequins eavesdropping on the mobile phone conversation date from March 2014. The boy mannequin trapped in his glass box on the Avenue is advertising something to do with Chalmers Technical University, judging by the patch on his sleeve.
There is a huge amount of building going on in Gothenburg. There has been for years and it will continue, no doubt, till the apocalypse. It does provide some interesting photo motives though. Here a wheeled box with two building workers is winched up the side of one of the Gothia Towers hotel buildings at Korsvägen, the reflection of the Liseberg gondola wheel curving over them.
The passed boot
I took this next sequence in the centre of town at the very end of March in 2014. A child’s rubber boot, abandoned, alone and ignored by all the other footwear passing it by. Well, it struck me as funny…
Copper ships in the setting sun
And to wind things up, one of the photos I think is one of my best. The Stena Line ships sailing from Gothenburg to Denmark and Germany are painted in white. But in the golden light of the setting sun (later the same day as the passed boot sequence) they shine like burnished copper.