1. I wonder if Munguin likes blue wrapping paper.
2. Grizzy Bear at Brooks Falls, Alaska. Who needs Brussels Sprouts?
3. Norwegian lights.
4. Mandarin Duck.
5. Northern Fur Seal and an Arctic Fox.
6. Broody hen keeping kittens warm. Bulgaria, of course, where great things happen with animals.
7. An aerial view of Juneau, Alaska, and the Gastineau Channel from Mount Roberts.
8. Jeez, if you’d told me I was going to star on Munguin’s Republic, I’d have washed my face.
9. Sharing our Christmas dinner.
10. I suppose you could say I was the black goat of the family.
11. Bald Eagles in Alaska.
12. This is Howard. He’s the latest addition to John’s household, having been found wandering around looking hungry in Śrem.


The Pastimes of Munguinites

13. Tatu lives in Extremadura, Spain, and one of her favourite pastimes in walking her dogs around the local countryside.
14. Dave flies and takes photographs.
15. And Andimac draws … and collects empty bottles and cans which he knocks over (like skittles?)… It would be fair to say, he also takes beautiful pictures of nature, which he kindly shares with Munguin.


16. Who doesn’t like an Owlet?
17. Or for that matter a baby stoat (or Kit)?
18. USA, Alaska, Tongass National Forest, Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae) breaching in Frederick Sound.
19. For those of us the the Northern Hemisphere, this is a reminder of what is to come. It’s just around the corner, folks, so hold on in there.
20. Oh look. This one is from Munguin. Just as well we got him that caviar with white truffle shavings…

Thanks to John, Kay and to David, for the incredible pictures of Alaska. Also to Tatu, Dave and Andi for the contributions to the Lifestyle feature.

52 thoughts on “SOPPY SUNDAY”

  1. Juneau is the only US state capital not connected by road to the rest of its state. Access is by water or air only.

    A bald eagle landed in my back yard once. (I just always mention that when the subject of eagles comes up.) Some bald eagles migrate in winter, so there are eagle sightings in all of the lower 48 states in Winter. My eagle sighting was in February. He grabbed a fish from a neighboring pond and went on his way. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Beautiful photos. Reminds us of the wonder of nature.
      And Danny, I knew that fact about Juneau and it set me wondering if it is the only state capital in the world not connected by road to the rest of the state?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. In my experience, Dodoma, capital of Tanzania, is connected by road to various places, but only if you stretch your definition of “road”.

        Here’s a rather old article about Tanzanian roads – I’d last visited TZ in the early 2000s and the article dates to 2012 – and one can hope they’ve improved since then:

        Please note that I said “hope”, not “expect”, though I read that there has been at least some new construction.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Ha, that is how I remember the roads in Tz. A joke from the time i was there –
          How could you tell if someone was driving under the influence of alcohol? They drove in a straight line 🀣

          Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks Alex. Not sure about other world capitals, but I see that the large geographical area of Juneau has the distinction of being the only US state capital on an international border. Juneau shares its eastern boundary with Canada.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Not many people know this, but apparently, from a certain house in Juneau, you can look straight into the Kremlin’s war planning room.


      That bald eagle that once popped in to your place for a bite to eat didn’t know that one day he (or she) would be famous!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We have a surprising number of connections with Juneau. I had a Scottish mate in South Africa who’d moved from there after many years working on Alaskan pipelines. Two of his children were born there and he called his dog Juneau in commemoration (although most people took it for Juno).

        He came to SA to work on the Sasol oil-from-coal pipeline from the Highveld to the coast, so sub-tropical Durban was quite a change from Alaska. And from the Port Glasgow shipyards where he began his professional engineering career.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Ever since Alaska became the 49th state in 1959 (I have a 49 star, pre-Hawaii flag,) there have been efforts to move the state capital to someplace you can actually get to. Alaskan residents driving from the interior of the state for example cross the Canadian border twice to get to a Juneau ferry. (This is a problem for Alaskan residents, with the Canadian border closed by Covid restrictions.) Anchorage, the largest city in the state by population is located more centrally (around the Gulf of Alaska,) and would be a logical choice; but political infighting between Anchorage and Fairbanks interests have prevented that.

          BTW, although Juneau has only about 30,000 people, it is BIG in land area……larger than the state of Delaware, and almost as large as Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It’s also the only U.S. state capital on an international border. Juneau shares its eastern boundary with Canada.

          Alaskan cities DO spread out….in a state that comprises almost 1/5 (18% actually) of the total land area of the United States. Alaska is slightly larger than France, Spain, Germany, England and Scotland combined (but not quite as large as the total of five if you throw all of the UK into the statistic.) Anyway…..a seriously large state!

          Wiki: Almost 40% of Alaska’s population lives in Anchorage. The estimated population of Anchorage in 2019 was 288,000.

          Juneau Area: (partly truncated in foreground):
          I think that the flat area to the East is where a proper state Capitol building has been proposed, to replace the downtown Juneau office building that now serves as the state house.


          Liked by 1 person

          1. Juneau does seem like a rather large village by comparison with Anchorage.

            It’s one hell of a big state.

            Did you know that before they sold it to the USA, the Russians tried to sell it to Liechtenstein. No really, they did:

            Alleged Russian offer to the House of Liechtenstein
            In November 2018, a documentary by Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen claimed that the Russian tsar had first proposed the sale of Alaska to the Prince of Liechtenstein in 1867 and that it was only after the prince’s rejection that Alaska was offered to the United States. German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported similar claims in 2015.[36] The information was vividly discussed in Liechtenstein, and media first portrayed it as a rumor. However, some days later, Prince Hans-Adam II wrote a letter to the Liechtensteiner media in which he assured that the alleged purchase offer was not a rumor and that it had been repeatedly discussed within the princely family. Moreover, he optimistically declared that archive searches might bring about so far lacking historical documents proving the offer to be real.[37][38] (Wiki)

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Tris…..I’d never heard that amazing story about the offer of Alaska to Liechtenstein. I’ll bet that Hans-Adam is much annoyed that the offer was rejected. Alaska had gold and oil, so there was big money to be made. I wonder if a sale price was discussed. American Secretary of State William Seward paid $7.2 Million for it in 1867, and it was called β€œSeward’s Folly” in the press. (Also β€œSeward’s Icebox,” and a β€œpolar bear garden.”)

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Tris……Yes, perhaps the wily Liechtensteiners recognized the problem. Especially during the cold war when Russia would have liked it back. A strategically crucial military position from which the Soviets could have dominated North America.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. They didn’t get to be probably the richest per capita country in the world for nothing. Hans Adam himself is the richest monarch in Europe. Makes old Liz look like a proper pauper.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. And Hans Adam also enjoys playing politics. When it looked like the voters might not change the constitution of Lichtenstein the way he wanted, he threatened to leave the country and move to Austria. The people freaked out and voted in the constitution he demanded. The Liechtensteiners’ PROPER reply of course was to bid him adieu and not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out. πŸ˜‰

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Yes, the problem is that he would have taken his extraordinary wealth with him… And going form the highest per capita income to …well, very little, probably didn’t suite them.

                      As it goes, he’s a fairly decent guy… not like the idiotic pompous prats of Britain. He wanders around Vaduz and sits in cafΓ©s and drinks with locals.

                      I mean if we could get rid of Liz and the Leaches, it would be great. If we had a bloke like him, I wouldn’t much mind.

                      Same with the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish lot.

                      Liked by 1 person

        2. PS John……..I’ve heard from a family connection who worked on the Alaska oil pipeline that pipeline workers are rather well compensated for working in far flung locations with often challenging working conditions.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Indeed, Danny. Bill would tell wild tales of ridiculously high stakes gambling when there was nothing else to do when snowed in, And when they thaw came, it was a wild rush to the mall for more expensive watches, jewellery, and whatever money could buy. Site parking was full of sardine-tin vehicles squashed flat by the weight of snow so replacing with th latest up-market models was a top priority, cash on the nail.

            Liked by 3 people

      2. Yes Tris, Sarah Palin did seem to have such a wondrous ability to see Russia. Her Alaska Russian connection seemed to be the sum total of her experience in international affairs.

        It is ironic how my Missouri bald eagle sighting made the bird famous through Munguin World Media. Pictures really do not do justice to those birds. Roughly the wingspan of a B-52 I’d say. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL…

          I suspect what Ms Palin was seeing was into her neighbours kitchen window. She just thought it was the Kremlin.

          Those hockey moms, huh? What ARE they like?

          Your eagle is the most famous in all the world!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris…..And more fame to follow. My back yard Missouri eagle sighting will certainly come up every time that eagles are mentioned.

            Remember back in the halcyon pre-Trump days, when we thought that Sarah was the most stupid and dangerous politician that America could ever produce, and we were SO concerned about the prospect of her being the VICE President?

            No end to political irony! πŸ˜‰

            Liked by 1 person

            1. She seems almost sane by today’s comparison, Danny.

              But yes, I remember that interview she did that we laughed like drains about, where she couldn’t mention one single newspaper she read… and said that she could see Russia out her back window … and that she would have a good relationship with the Queen.

              What was a sensible man like John McCain thinking?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yes Tris, McCain was far down in the 2008 election campaign polling, and he needed a high-profile stunt……like a female running mate from the far north… help in his race with Obama. Unfortunately she was insufficiently vetted. I do think that my favorite insane Sarah Palin comment was the one you referred to about how if elected VP, she would work closely with Queen Elizabeth on Iraq war policy. πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Spectacular, amazing scenery in all three (the last two were the same). Thank you, Marcia and thanks for all the films you’ve included this year when none of us could travel anywhere different.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks Marcia for the videos. I love the views of the Juneau, Alaska area……a small city with a geographical area larger than the US state of Delaware. A reminder that tourism is big business to the Juneau economy, with the tourists coming in on the cruise ships which ply the scenic waters of the “Inside Passage” to Alaska from Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia.

            And I loved the eagles. Someday I’ll tell you about the eagle I saw in my back yard in Missouri. πŸ˜‰

            Liked by 1 person

  2. What smashing photos. Glad to see the orangs reinstated to the first and last pictures. I’m a bit envious though, they got more Christmas presents than I did. Many more. Loved the duck – it was stunning. and the latest menagerie in Bulgaria. Howard looks sweet and the kittens looked confused πŸ™‚

    The lifestyle photos were great. I do love a good walk, I’m envious of Dave’s flying ability and Andi’s drawing skills though not his liver…

    Very cheering and – looks for Ed – life affirming.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. They got more than I did too.

      Munguin said he was going to buy me something but, in the end, he couldn’t find whatever it was in the right colour for me… so he didn’t get anything. Still, we had the pleasure of watching him open champagne, wine, truffles, chocolates and other goodies. Fair made your mouth water before you got on with the tasks of the day.

      Howard is a wee cutie.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Photo #3 of #14 is Lochranza I believe. Lovely place, very dark this time of year though, the sun’s behind the mountains for most (all) of the day in winter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dave will confirm, or not, No 14, SoP, but No 3 is supposed to be Norway… according to the interweb thingummy. However, it has been known to be wrong!



      1. Following after Mr. Pigeon, #2 of #14 looks awfy like Dornoch links, with Embo, and it’s execrably named ‘Grannie’s Hielan Hame’, in the background.


  4. The denizens of Schloss Freeman express their great gratitude to Mr. Munguin and his faithful retainer and factotum Dr. Tris Price-Williams, man o pairts and dogsbody, for their great labours in the reaffirmation of life in the face of that annus horribilis 2020, which has been without a doubt extra shitty.

    With great perspicacity and magnanimity, Dr. TPW has delivered us from doldrums, blues, sloughs of despond, brown studies, dule, and waefu fisnomies, not least by the liberal application of orangutans, who are often as much fun as barrels of monkeys, and always warm the cockles.

    The remarkably awful but nonetheless remarkable year 2020 has also seen independence become the settled will of the Scottish people, who are obviously right because most have them have now come to agree with me. There is no silver lining without a cloud, I always say, and as clouds go COVID and the Westminster regime are dirty, great and thunnersome.

    By this time next year, Scotland will have decided to become an independent nation again, cry “God for Nicola, Scotland and St. Andrew!”, as William Shakespeare, in the unlikely event he were still alive, might probably not have put it, but blithe we’ll sing and hail the day that gave us liberty, as Robert Burns did.

    Along with an awful lot of people I will be glad to see the end of 2020, but am comforted to know that a surprisingly awful lot of people are a lot worse off than I am. Those of us who are still alive, anyway. As a Russian pessimist might say, next year could not possibly be worse. (A Russian optimist would say “Oh yes it could!”, but we’ll draw a veil over that, as so many of us, lacking the necessary internal fortitude, tend to do over those bits of reality that upset us.)

    I wish us all a happier new year, health, wealth, and early vaccinations.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mr Munguin is pleased to accept Professor Freeman’s kind remarks, but is slightly concerned that the Butler/Chauffeur/Not Very Handyman gets such a mention. Struth, all he does is make the coffee and source the champagne…along with a little bit of cleaning, gardening and other ancillary duties of a lowly nature. Hardly worth all that fuss.

      Anyway, Munguin would like everyone to know that editorial decisions are entirely in his own flippers.

      Let’s hope by this time next year we are indeed an independent nation or at least well on the way thereto!

      Early vaccinations for all… That’s Munguin’s Presidential agenda.


      Liked by 2 people

    2. I may be wrong but No 17 looks like a Pine Marten to me rather than a Stoat. Was fortunate to see some of these lovely creatures many years ago near Fort William.


  5. Here is another story about an unlikely annexation. It does not exactly involve Liechtenstein, but the Principality does get in the way a bit.

    After the First World War, when all sorts of borders were being redrawn, there were moves for Vorarlberg, Austria’s most westerly province, to become a canton of Switzerland.

    Needless to say, it all fell through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fascinating. Middle Europe is really interesting.

      If you can put up with the ads and the slightly creepy narrator, this is interesting about that area…


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