Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

A quiet afternoon strolling through Old Porvoo

In my travels, I’m usually happy to just get around the city that I’m visiting. There’s usually plenty to do around most urban areas — museums, markets, hangouts — and I get to know the local streets (on my folding bicycle) or local transportation. On my trip to Finland last November, I was feeling pretty burned out — even missing the outbound flight — and the dreary weather encouraged me to stay in the hotel and just work. (This was just before I figured out that I was having problems with my vision and would need a cataract surgery, so the whole situation may have foreshadowed that I was turning agoraphobic).

Usually, on one of the weekend days of my visits, Karlos and I usually take some time off, visiting Kiasma, or just having lunch and walking around the city — but we set a bad pattern on the last trip. In November, he first begged off going out because he was trying to meet a deadline in editing a book, and I then later begged off a dinner because I had to prepare for a lecture. Toward the end of that visit, we did get to meet for a nice dinner, but winter was setting in pretty early for other activities. I think that this trip is my eighth visit to Finland since 2003, but unusual in a strong probability for sunny weather and long days with light. I had suggested to Karlos that we might take the drive to Porvoo if the weather stood up.

We were lucky, and the weather was great. Porvoo is an easy drive — a little over an hour — east from Helsinki, or potentially a slow ship voyage along the coast in the summer. Porvoo was settled at the end of the 13th century — it has a history of being granted town status by the King of Sweden in 1346. (As historical context, Finland became a Grand Duchy of Russia in 1809, got its own parliament in 1906, and finally declared independence in 1917. It’s a relatively young country!) We started our walk at Porvoo Cathedral, which has had its current form since the end of the 15th century.

20060429_Porvoo_Cathedral.jpg

Karlos and I wandered down towards the old town centre, which has largely evolved to support the tourist trade with “antique” shops. The town seemed pretty quiet, as it’s early in the season for visitors. As we tried to find our way down to the riverside to see the shore houses — painted in red ochre to honour King Gustav III’s arrival from Sweden in the 18th century — we poked around some “antique” sheds. The inventory proved to more “used” than antique — but Karlos discovered a wooden stepladder in good condition that he says will fit well in his home.

20060429_Porvoo_shore_houses.jpg

We went into Restaurant Timbaali — an 18th-century house modernized as a series of dining rooms. The restaurant was otherwise unoccupied — it did seem early for the tourist season! — but was set with nice tablecloths, so Karlos and I decided to try lunch there. I chose fish dishes, and Karlos enjoyed the special appetizers — escargot with blue cheese sauce. (I’ve since discovered that snail farming seems to be a Porvoo speciality). After lunch, we walked west to the river, and then south into the new town. By mid-afternoon, the open air market was closing, so we walked northwest up to the Taidehalli (Art Hall), in a building original constructed as a Swedish elementary school in 1909. The paintings, done by a local artist weren’t to our tastes, so it took us less than 5 minutes to cover the three or four rooms. Karlos and I decided to just wander around the back lanes of Old Porvoo, looking at the houses.

20060429_Porvoo_houses.jpg

I’m really curious why the houses in Porvoo (and elsewhere in old Finland, and even Estonia) are painted these shades of yellow and green. It chould just be aesthetic, but maybe it’s also driven by the local choices for materials.

In all, it was a relaxing day in Porvoo. Karlos will be making at least one return visit again soon … with his van, to pick up his ladder!

(You may find more images of Porvoo on my home server, if it’s up!)

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on Coevolving

    • Humanistic Principles and Social Systems Design | Douglas Austrom + Carolyn Ordowich (ST-ON 2021-05-10)
      Douglas Austrom and Carolyn Ordowich shared some reflections developed jointly with Bert Painter (Vancouver, BC) on some draft humanistic principles, the three Tavistock perspectives, and a meta-methodology with Systems Thinking Ontario. Proponents of Socio-Technical Systems design refer back to the 1960s-1980s research of Fred Emery and Eric Trist of the Tavistock Institute. Calls to reinvent […]
    • Patterns and Pattern Languages Supporting Cross-boundary Collaboration | Doug Schuler (ST-ON 2021-04-12)
      Doug Schuler joined the monthly Systems Thinking Ontario meeting for a conversation about the potential for patterns and pattern languages to help address wicked problems on a large scale, via technology, loose coordination, and social commitments. Doug was exposed to the original A Pattern Language in the mid-1970s. It aimed to generate towns and buildings […]
    • Coexploring Systems Literacy, Peter Tuddenham (ST-ON 2021-03-08)
      Literacy has been proposed as an understanding of a small number of pervasive principles appropriate to making informed personal and societal decisions. Systems literacy includes an understanding of systems that influence you, and your influence on systems. Peter Tuddenham has been leading an initiative on Systems Literacy across a variety of systems organizations, particularly with […]
    • Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08)
      The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective.  The co-presidents were able to join us in conversation at a Systems Thinking Ontario session, remotely from Finland and Switzerland, at a significant time disadvantage. Many approaches to systemic design […]
    • The Systems Movement: Engaging Communities with Traditions and Diversity, Gary S. Metcalf (ST-ON 2021-01-11)
      To appreciate how systemicists worldwide collaborate, Gary S. Metcalf joined Systems Thinking Ontario for a conversation.  Gary served as president of the International Society for the Systems Sciences 2007-2008, and of the International Federation for Sysrtems Research 2010-2016.  From 2003 to 2018, he was a graduate instructor in Organizational Systems and Research on the faculty […]
    • Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change, Peter H Jones + Ryan J A Murphy (ST-ON 2020/11/19)
      While the term “theory of change” is often used by funders expecting an outcome of systems change for their investment, is there really a theory there? The November 2020 Systems Thinking Ontario session was an opportunity for Peter H. Jones (OCADU) and Ryan J. A. Murphy (Memorial U. of Newfoundland) to extend talks that they […]
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

    • Reformation and transformation (Ackoff 2003, 2010)
      In his system of system concepts, Russell Ackoff made the distinction between reformation and transformation in many of his lectures. Here are two written sources. From Redesigining Society (2003) … Systemic Transformation A system is transformed, as contrasted with reformed, when its structure or functions are changed fundamentally. Such changes are discontinuous and qualitative, quantum […]
    • Goal, objective, ideal, pursuits (Ackoff & Emery, 1972)
      While Ackoff’s definitions of goals, objectives and ideals have been republished (and rewritten) multiple times, the 1972 definitions were derived from his original dissertation work.  Accordingly, in addition to the human-readable definitions, some mathematical notation is introduced. — begin paste — OUTCOMES 2.30. End (an immediate intended outcome) of a subject A in a particular […]
    • Pure Inquiring Systems: Antiteleology | The Design of Inquiring Systems | C. West Churchman | 1971
      The fifth way of knowing, as described by West Churchman, is a Singerian inquiring system. (This fifth way of knowing is more colloquially called Unbounded Systems Thinking in Mitroff and Linstone (1993)). The book On Purposeful Systems (Ackoff and Emery, 1972) was derived by Ackoff’s dissertation that was controversially coauthored with West Churchman. Purpose can […]
    • Process-Function Ecology, Wicked Problems, Ecological Evolution | Vasishth | Spanda J | 2015
      Understanding Process-Function Ecology by Ashwani Vasishth leads to luminaries in the systems sciences, including C. West Churchman, Eugene P. Odum and Timothy F.H. Allen.
    • The Innovation Delusion | Lee Vinsel, Andrew L. Russell | 2020
      As an irony, the 2020 book, The Innovation Delusion by #LeeVinsel @STS_News + #AndrewLRussell @RussellProf shouldn’t be seen as an innovation, but an encouragement to join @The_Maintainers where an ongoing thought network can continue. The subtitle “How Our Obsession with the New has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most” recognizes actual innovation, as distinct from […]
    • Republishing on Facebook as “good for the world” or “bad for the world” (NY Times, 2020/11/24)
      An online social network reproduces content partially based on algorithms, and partially based on the judgements made by human beings. Either may be viewed as positive or negative. > The trade-offs came into focus this month [November 2020], when Facebook engineers and data scientists posted the results of a series of experiments called “P(Bad for […]
  • Meta

  • Translate

  • 
  • moments. daviding.com

    Random selections from the past year
  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal