Closed up petals

Both our phones predicted rain and snow for today. Both our phones were half right. The rain didn’t stop all day. The sunshine and warmth were relegated to mere memories as the rain fell and chill winds blew. And when I say ‘chill’ I mean barely reaching 3°.

My walk to the bus stop was not particularly picturesque. Unless you’re a duck, I suppose.

Speaking of the wind, it was a great relief coming home with a full trolley. At the start, I had a hard time keeping the empty trolley from blowing away. Mind you, it was a bit of a trade off because, having a heavy, full trolley means a slower walk home.

I was almost home, slowly dragging the shopping behind me when I heard a woman talking on her phone coming up behind me. I’m often amazed at how people can keep up a phone conversation for longer than about five minutes and this one went well beyond that.

It wasn’t until she drew level with me that I realised it was my wife having, what she calls, a Walk ‘n Talk with Sarah at work. Apparently, the dogs had realised it was me from quite the distance and Mirinda had had to hold them back as they strained against the lead to reach me.

Walk ‘n Talk over, it then transitioned into a speaker call in the living room cum office while I unpacked the shopping. Then, Mirinda having rung off, we headed up to Norrby’s for our usual Wednesday lunch.

While the chairs and tables remained outside, they were unoccupied. There was a necessary shift to inside by everyone. It was definitely preferable to having rain drips diluting the fisksoppa.

I noticed, walking home, that the little white anemones have all closed up, like little umbrellas. I guess they’ll now just wait for the return of the sun to spread their petals once more.

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Beating Bill Gates

Mirinda has a theory that things seem more prevalent once you discover them. For instance, it was only after we’d discovered Cornelis that we realised we’d been hearing his music on Radio Sweden. Or the fact that petrol stations have distinctive though not necessarily indicative, signs. The first time I saw a cuddly teddy bear head I had no idea it was advertising petrol. Now I see them all the time.

Anyway, today it was as if everything was about the longevity of relationships.

Take, for instance, the story of Martin and his girlfriend. They both met and started dating. Then the plague happened, and they were forced to live together and have been for eight months. Fortunately, they share a lot of the same interests. Things like boating, fishing, riding electric bikes up mountains, keep them together.

Also, the differences. They seem to disagree on a number of things and neither of them is particularly backwards at coming forwards.

Martin explained that, normally a relationship takes a while to form. There’s the dating, seeing each other once a week then this grows a bit then, maybe after a long period of ‘getting to know each other’ it might be time to move in together. But, he said philosophically, they didn’t have this luxury. The fact that his girlfriend has a massive boat helps.

Then, of course, I woke this morning to the news that Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage. This spurred many jokes on Twitter regarding Bill suddenly being available on dating sites. Like this, from Shappi Khorsandi.

Then there was the announcement that, finally, after like forever, a mother’s name will be included on British marriage certificates. Apart from the obvious fact that they should be, it’s going to make research a lot easy in the future.

And, of course, the whole reason why we heard so much about relationships today was because we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Ha, that’s one in the eye for you, Bill Gates! I reckon the present for 30 should be money and Bill can give us $30m. Or we could call it prize money.

To celebrate (our anniversary, not Bill and Melinda’s divorce), we had fika at Norrby’s (where we met Martin and his girlfriend) then lunch at Kumla Herrgård where we went for julbord last December.

Lunch was lovely, and we were even remembered by one of the waiting staff, a particularly beautiful Finnish woman. Mirinda reckoned it’s because they probably don’t get a lot of Australians to lunch.

At one point, while Mirinda was at the buffet, another waitress told her she’d been married for 32 years. I guess there was a little bit of hubris along with the mustard dressing, salad and tapenade.

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Replacing the burned out factory

This evening we took our constitutional around the Duck Walk. I wanted to see how the new building work was coming along (where the factory burned down) as well as the lake, so, when Mirinda gave me the choice, I chose it. And, as well as the building works, we met a lovely family by the lake with a remarkable poodle.

They are temporarily living not far from the lake while waiting for their house to be built. Today they had sold their own house; handing the keys over was a bit sad, she said. Their new house, he said, is being built about 100 metres from the old one. So, not that sad.

She’s Swedish while he’s an Italian from Rome. Their daughter is Swedish and their son was born in Edinburgh, where they had lived for 15 years.

We talked about architecture and the father said, apart from a few bits of Stockholm, there wasn’t really a lot of architecture of note in Sweden, but he had grown up in Rome which pretty much trumps most places for architecture.

Their poodle was remarkable. He was black with white leggings and the most amazing eyebrows. He’s a Parti Poodle. As the mother said, they can’t show him because the purists won’t allow him to compete. I reckon that’s a good thing. He’ll be a lot happier.

Oddly, while we clucked and cooed over him, Freya wasn’t keen. She actually snapped at him, something I’ve never seen her do before. He was ten months old, so maybe she just doesn’t like Parti Poodle Puppies. Emma, on the other hand, was very happy to say hello.

We had a lovely chat until she had a phone call from 90 year old grandad who was waiting for them outside their temporary accommodation. They dashed off. We followed them shortly afterwards and then met the 90 year old grandad as well, passing the house and recognising the poodle.

I dare say that Mirinda will stop and say hello whenever she sees them now, given she takes the Duck Walk almost every day. Mind you, we wouldn’t call it the Duck Walk if we had only just arrived and this was our first time.

Where have the hundreds of ducks gone, Mirinda wanted to know. It’s true. The giant flock has been reduced to about four. And a couple of Canadian geese.

In the meanwhilst, the building work has started in earnest.

There is no longer any sign of the burned down factory (I wrote about it back in November) as two big diggers prepare the ground for foundations and underground pipes and cables. Town houses are being built instead of the factory.

I managed to find them online. You can buy one at 2,095,000kr (£178,996). It’s a pretty handy spot, but I reckon they’re a bit small for us. Also, a bit too contemporary. Here’s the artist’s impression:

Gudö åväg 4B- Lgh 8

Besides, as I said to Mirinda, if we lived in one of these, every time we walked down to the lake, we’d have to walk passed all the beautiful houses further down the street. No, that would never do.

As we neared the house, I found another football sticker. Unfortunately it was stuck around a pole, which makes for difficult photography. Still, you can make out what it says.

And it seems to be saying that Bajen fans are graffiti artists. Bajen, as I noted the other day, is the nickname for Hammerby Football Club. They are from Södermalm.

Bajen is credited with bringing the English football chant to Sweden, back in 1970. Fortunately they didn’t bring the violence. They did bring a samba band to the stands in 1982, which would have been a lot of fun.

And, I discovered, Joel Kinnaman is a supporter. I didn’t even know he was Swedish. He has led a fascinating life. His Wikipedia entry is here.

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Another pleasant Sunday

Today we found our own, local rune stone. After seeing our first one last week at Skansen, and Tommy telling us of the ones near them, I did a bit of a search and discovered there was one at Tyresö Slott. And, given we’ve been going there almost every weekend since we arrived in Sweden, we thought it only proper that we find it.

As you can see, Emma was overjoyed about it.

Translated into English, the runes read ‘Gunnbjôrn had raised … may help (his) spirit better than …‘ Gunnbjôrn is not that common a Swedish Viking name. According to a baby names meaning website I found, it’s a boy’s name and means ‘fighting bear’.

Here’s a close up of the runes, so you can read them for yourself.

As for location, it sits behind the Pilgrim Centre just beyond the church at Tyresö. I wonder if it’s merely a coincidence that it’s also on the edge of the cemetery.

Of course, we’d been to the Café Notholmen where we’d had the usual extremely pleasant brunch and chat with Evelyn who asked about our Bridges of Stockholm tour. She was a bit more convinced about it when we explained it was not about the bridges apart from going under them. I did say she should go, so she could tell us if the Swedish commentary was as funny as the English.

The park at Tyresö looked beautiful. I said to Mirinda that it was amazing to have seen it through the closing stages of Autumn then all through Winter and now in Spring. In all seasons, it has looked beautiful.

As the photograph above shows, it was a gorgeous day and a pleasure to walk around.

While we were going anyway, we had to vacate the house today, because Camilla wanted to show around a prospective buyer. Mirinda had been wondering about coming back here but, I guess, that’ll not be possible if she sells it. Camilla has assured us that we are safe for as long as we want to stay. Which is very handy.

Given we were having visitors, sort of, I spent the morning tidying up while Mirinda took the girls to the woods then Skyped with Bob. Fi was not available today.

Then, later in the day, just before bed, we watched the next episode of Vikings. Obviously.

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Bustin’ bubbles in meatball mayhem

Meatballs for the People is a restaurant on Södermalm. It’s an excellent concept. There’s a list of possible dishes (ramen, curry, traditional Swedish, risotto, etc) and a list of possible meatballs (wild boar, deer, lamb, moose, etc). You order a dish and select the type of meatballs. As simple as that.

We decided to eat at Meatballs for the People today as we wandered around the older and trendier bits of Södermalm. We took the usual two buses into Slussen and started from the station, heading up and round the cliff edge…though not before having the very important fika first.

This café serves a brilliant cardamom bun and, glory of glories, hazelnut syrup. As we sat and enjoyed our morning repast, Mirinda read out the history of Södermalm in order to prepare us for our exploration.

Södermalm means South Island and grew up as the population of Stockholm expanded in the 17th century. A bit of urban planning saw lots of little red wooden houses being built for, primarily, the working classes. That is until July 19, 1759 when the Great Stockholm Fire reduced a lot of them to ashes.

It was decided that houses should no longer be built out of wood and so bricks and mortar (and the ever present rocks) would become the building materials.

As the arrow of time dashed across the sky, so Söder gradually changed. Mostly from social reformers like Anna Lindhagen (1870-1941). A politician and suffragette, Anna looked at the living conditions of the poor workers on Söder and decided they lacked proper food. In 1906, along with Anna Åbergsson, she created the Association of Allotment Gardens in Stockholm, enabling the poor to, if nothing else, grow fresh vegetables.

Incidentally, the association is still active today. It’s had a few name changes but, essentially, it still serves the people who need it the most.

Anna’s sculpture looks out over Stockholm, next to the perfectly sited Fjällgatans Kaffestuga where, obviously, we stopped for a beer and cake. Well, I had a beer, Mirinda settled for a coffee. The wind was a bit bitey so we sat inside.

The café has been there since 1968 and boasts having the best view in Stockholm. I can’t dispute that. Perched on the edge of what amounts to a cliff, you look across the water to Gamla Stan, Skeppsholmen and Djurgården. I bet it’s well crowded in the Summer.

A lot more crowded than the smallest theatre in Europe which we walked passed at the beginning of Fjällgatan. The theatre, Dur and Moll, seats 20. I don’t know how big the performance space is but most of the performances are one performer telling the story of Stockholm. Obviously, it is temporarily closed as it would be very difficult to maintain social distancing in such a small space.

We had just come down Fjällgatan having visited Cornelis in his park.

Having discovered Cornelis Vreeswijk during our time away near Nora, we have become big fans. We’ve downloaded a lot of his songs and regularly play them over meals and just because, really. He was a most excellent troubadour. Having heard of his statue, we obviously had to visit it.

A highlight of the day, apart from Cornelis, obviously, was the Katarina Kyrka. Ironically, Cornelis is buried in the churchyard. I say ‘ironic’ because we didn’t know until we were back home. Obviously we’ll have to go back now.

Apart from the bodies in the churchyard, it’s a beautiful church which has been destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times.

Originally built in 1695, having taken almost 40 years because of a chronic shortage of funds, it burned down in 1723. It was rebuilt almost immediately. Then, in 1990, another fire gutted it, leaving only the exterior walls. It was rebuilt (again) this time taking five years.

According to Mirinda’s guidebook, they managed to find a load of builders who could use the same methods as the original church builders rather than using 20th century building technology. Because of this, it still retains a lot of the look and feel of the original baroque church.

Whatever the reason, it looks quite magnificent.

But, having visited a lot of Söder, we eventually stopped for our traditional linner at the aforementioned Meatballs for the People.

While we sat thoroughly enjoying our meatballs, mine was wild boar in ramen, two big groups decided to join us. Totalling 14 people, the waiter had a hard time evenly distributing them around the restaurant. Because you can’t have more than four sitting together at a table, he had them dotted all over the place.

This didn’t deter them as they intermingled, swapping chairs and tables, standing around chatting and, generally creating mayhem as the waiter busted the plague bubbles down to smaller and smaller groups. We couldn’t work out where the two groups came from. The common language was English but, when they weren’t talking to the waiter, they spoke another language I didn’t recognise.

It was great fun. And the food was fantastic. Brilliant idea, wonderfully realised.

The photo above was taken when we first arrived and we were sitting at a window seat. We eventually moved to the table where the women are. This was also taken well before the mayhem began.

All up, it was a marvellous day, though I shouldn’t forget the giant ice creams we had.

The ice cream parlour boasts that if you’re nice, they’ll give you extra large scoops. I’m afraid we were far too nice and were given a couple of litres of ice cream each. And the trouble is that the ice cream was fantastic, so you couldn’t not eat it and, unlike most food, it’s not like you can leave some for later. We solved the quandary by sitting outside and eating them.

I could go on, but I won’t. It was a great day. I’ll just leave this post with a photo of my wild boar meatball ramen.

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Valborgsmässoafton

Today, 75 years ago, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden was born. Unlike QEII, today is his actual birthday. The reason QEII has a made up birthday is because her actual birthday (April 21) is considered too cold for a parade. King Carl’s birthday is April 30 and it gets colder here but I guess that just proves that the Swedes are a lot hardier than the Brits.

Of course, last year, and now this one, there was no parade here because of the plague so, King Carl had a quiet celebration. We raised our glasses to him as, I’m sure, did many Swedes tonight. I even made a special Greek dinner. Not that that had anything to do with the King.

I’d decided at the beginning of the week to try making the legendary mousaka; the dish that takes me almost four hours; Mirinda’s favourite.

Because I forgot to turn the oven on and because I didn’t buy a baking dish, it didn’t work as well as it usually does. Though, to be fair, Mirinda did have seconds and, to quote her “I wasn’t even hungry!” So, I guess it wasn’t THAT bad.

For my part, it felt like I’d wasted almost four hours. I could have done a rush job in about an hour, and it would have tasted the same. Funnily enough, whenever we ask each other what we miss about Farnham, my top answer is always, “My kitchen.

Still, I did discover two new stickers this morning, so that’s something, I guess.

First up is this big gorilla.

We hate Gnaget, We hate Bajen!” is what the big, fanged gorilla is singing. Gnaget is another name for AIK as Bajen is another one for Hammerby (HIF). I think that the gorilla represents Djurgården. AIK, Hammerby and Djurgården are all Stockholm teams in the top flight of Swedish football. I guess it’s like Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs in London.

The second sticker is not about football.

Not Enough is a Swedish record label that seems to just produce punk albums. They like the same kind of music that Nicktor does. Which makes me think I wouldn’t like more than a few isolated tracks. Their website is here.

And that was it for this Walpurgis Day and Night. Or, as they say in Sweden, Valborgsmässoafton.

Oh, and happy birthday, King Carl, from a couple of New Swedes.

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A tiny, joyful sign of Spring

Mirinda had an exhausting day full of conference attendance and meetings today. It was one of those badly organised days when someone, somewhere decided it was a good thing to put things too close together. I, of course, just had to keep quiet while in the house. So, it was a good thing that I vac’d the stairs first thing.

I bought a small hand held vacuum cleaner online which arrived yesterday. I bought it primarily for Max because the girls were gradually filling the back seat with sand. What I hadn’t realised was that the front footwells were filling up with grit. It was like the Dolomites down there.

Little hills spread around the pedals, sharp edged ridges across the top of the mats, loose scatterings of scree covering everywhere else. It was like the remains of a retreating glacier.

Well, the little hand held vacuum cleaner worked a treat. With both sand and grit. I soon had Max looking more like a car and less like a disused quarry. As opposed to the builder’s yard next door where the hills of dirt are becoming mountains. They will soon block out the sun and, much better, block out the builder’s yard next door.

Weatherwise, it was the perfect day. Sunshine and blue sky. In fact, it was the perfect day to sit out on the terrace with a cup of coffee and throw the tennis ball for Emma to bring back in order for it to be thrown again. Which, essentially, is a description of Emma’s perfect day.

The ground around the house is gradually becoming a carpet of little white flowers. You can almost see them in this photograph. To the right and flowing, like a stream, across the slight green rise.

I think they’re some sort of anemone but, then, what I know about flowers could fit in a thimble which has already been filled with sand. What I do know is they are definitely a joyful sign of Spring.

The flowers don’t seem to concern Emma as she charges across them and, to be fair, the flowers don’t seem to be that bothered by Emma. Though they look small and delicate, they are actually quite hardy.

While not chasing the ball, except when she can annoy Emma, Freya had her usual, and very important, great explorations of the garden. Sniffing out whatever it is she sniffs out and chasing pesky squirrels.

Not that she did that very often. She also spent a lot of time sitting on my lap. She really is a comfort dog first and an explorer second.

And, to top off a lovely day, I made my first creamy pepper sauce to go with two lovely steaks from the butcher, for dinner. The sauce was declared a success. The steaks were, as usual, superb.

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It’s the squeaky wheel that gets oiled

For the last 40 years, the North Stand at football team AIK’s home ground, has had a reputation for being loud. If you want to sing, it is said, this is where you go. It sounds a bit like the East Bank at Aldershot. Unlike the East Bank, there’s a bar at the North Stand, AIK though it is only for season ticket holders.

The reason I’m writing about the North Stand at AIK is because I spotted another football sticker on a roadside cabinet this morning.

Looks like it might be very much like the East Bank.

Speaking of being loud, something rather embarrassing happened to me today. I was about to catch the bus home from Tyresö Centrum when I suddenly remembered I had to get something from Clas Ohlson. I wheeled my trolley down to the end of the centre, and it suddenly developed a squeak.

It wasn’t a subtle squeak. More an incredibly irritating, high pitched, ear shattering kind of squeak. The kind of squeak that turns heads for miles around. In fact, as I entered the shop, every head did turn. As well as buying the masking tape that I’d gone there for, I now needed to buy some oil.

In the UK or Australia, I’d go and buy some WD40. No such luck here. I searched in vain. There was nothing even remotely like WD40 anywhere. I was at the point of going and asking someone at the counter (a sure sign of male defeat) when I spotted a row of little bottles standing next to small tins of metallic colour paint.

The label on the bottle above is the victim of its own contents. However, it says ‘Symaskinolja’ and Symaskinolja was not a word I was familiar with. To be fair, that could be said for almost all Swedish words. However, it looked and felt like oil, so I grabbed my phone and used the Translate app. Symaskinolja means sewing machine oil.

Back in the days before WD40, you’d use sewing machine oil for all manner of squeaks. I guess the reason you used sewing machine oil was because pretty much most family homes had a sewing machine and, therefore, a little bottle of oil. I remember using mum’s in the past for various things. I recall it was very good for tin snips.

I grabbed one of the bottles and took it to the counter, trying to ignore the looks of pity and disgust as the wheels on my trolley screamed out in despair. I held the little bottle aloft and, with a great shaft of golden light beaming down upon my right hand, I declared that their suffering was about to end.

Actually, I sheepishly made my way to the counter and put the little bottle down saying, “That’s what this is for,” in response to the sales assistant’s look of sympathy. I was glad to see it was the same woman from last week who commented favourably about my hat.

She asked me where it was. I said the sun wasn’t out today, so I’d reverted to a cap. She said “Not a cape?” To which I replied that I’d look a bit silly in a cape. She then ventured that if I had a cape I’d be able to fly like Superman. I did concede that that would be a good reason to wear a cape.

Back outside, I made my squeaky way to the nearest free bench and applied a goodly amount of lubricant to both wheels. The problem was fixed immediately, and I silently wheeled the trolley home.

And, finally, in response to absolutely no queries at all, here’s a photo of our road after being cleared of all the grit, as written about the other day.

Such a joy to walk home on.

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When Max went full circle

As most people who know me would tell you, I’m not a big Apple fan. I don’t like the closed environment and the lack of user control. However, today I was very surprised when I heard on the news that the newest operating system update for Apple has Facebook in a bit if a tizz.

The problem for Facebook is that this new update contains code which reduces the amount of personal information that Facebook can obtain from users. This is because Apple believes too much personal information is being exploited while Facebook defends the need by saying it allows better ad targetting.

Once updated, your iPhone or iPad will ask if you want an app to access your information. While I realise that most people will just say ‘yeah, sure, I don’t care‘ as they give away what little of their lives is still private and help feed the AI which will one day rule us all, I feel this is certainly a step in the right direction and I have nothing but praise for Apple. And that’s something I never thought I’d ever write.

In the meanwhilst, here in Sweden, we went full circle. Back in early December, and in compliance with Swedish law, we ordered and had fitted four winter tyres on Max. And, today, we had them changed back to our old ones.

The same guy, Micke, served us and we had a jolly chat about the weather and how expert he is at predicting the possibility of snow. He has one customer who comes in every winter and asks him when the snow will start. This was because the first time he came in he asked and Micke answered that there’d be about 30 centimetres of snow the next day then nothing for a week then a lot of snow to about half a metre.

Of course, Micke was half joking, however, it happened exactly as he predicted and now the customer always asks him for weather advice.

Sadly, though, because of the plague, Micke wasn’t able to go skiing this year. He usually goes to Austria every year but, for the last two years, has had to make do with cross country rather than down hill.

In a reversal of last December, Max was driven onto the ramps, raised and unshod. He was then reshod with his old boots. It was all very painless and, actually, quite pleasant. For us as well as for Max.

His winter tyres will now remain in the tyre hotel until they are needed again, when winter returns. Micke showed us the ‘hotel’ and one of the fitters told us that Max’s winter tyres were right up high in one of the stacks. Mirinda asked if they ever get the locations mixed up. Micke grew sombre, nodding his head. “Then we have to go along and look at every tyre number until we find the right one. It is not good.

While I’m on the subject of going full circle, I noted yesterday that a sticker on a street side cabinet which, inexplicably displayed what appeared to be a smiling sperm drinking a glass of beer has now been hidden by a new sticker, this time one depicting a man with a cigar.

Putte Kock (1901-1979) played football, ice hockey and bridge. He was very good at all three. He played football with Allmänna Idrottsklubben commonly known as AIK. Then, once his playing career was over, he started coaching Djurgårdens IF Fotbollsförening or DIF. DIF and AIK were strong rivals. Like Aldershot and Woking, I assume.

Given we seem to have a few DIF fans in the vicinity, following the blitzkrieg of DIF stickers a while ago, I can only assume these same fans stuck this one on the cabinet.

This could be because DIF Ladies are playing AIK Ladies next Sunday.

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Do not fear the stone penis

Today, a Flickr bot proved that AI is in the process of telling us what artworks it’s okay to look at. The artwork is on public display, in a public place, overlooking a street on Gamla Stan. I have added a lot of art to my Flickr account and this is the first time I’ve received one of these:

I’ll add the actual photograph at the end of this post in order for anyone reading this post to prepare themselves for the danger.

It’s not the fact that the ‘photo safety level’ was changed – as if a photograph could hurt anyone – it was the fact that a bot has now become the arbiter of what is safe to look at. It rather proves the direction in which society is heading as prescribed by Yuval Noah Harari in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. And it is truly scary.

Moving away from the more insidious reaches of the Internet, today I witnessed the final stage in the snow infrastructure in operation. Today was the day the grit was recycled.

I noticed, as I walked down to the bus stop this morning, that half the roads were wet. I don’t mean half of all the roads but, rather, one half of each road, divided down the middle. I thought this was odd but, then, didn’t really think anymore about it until I reached the roundabout.

Heading into the roundabout were two big yellow trucks. One was carrying a big tank of water. It had four nozzles at the back and it was this truck that was wetting the road. The second big yellow truck, however, was the amazing one.

The second truck was a big open backed, tip truck type affair. It was pulling a machine behind it that resembled a wood chipper, only a bit bigger. Underneath this wood chipper machine was a series of wire brushes, angled upwards. As they spun, the grit was forced upwards.

At the top of the wood chipper machine, grit was spitting out of the top of the chute where wood chips normally appear. The grit was then piled high in the back of the truck. Once full, the wood chipper machine would simply be attached to another, empty, truck.

In the meanwhilst, the full truck drove off to dump its load of recycled grit at a nearby, council run, grit bin. Though not the small green or orange plastic jobs you often see in the UK with GRIT written on them and generally full of inconsiderate litter. No, the grit bins here are quite big.

Then, finally, a vehicle with a massive, angled brush at the front, scrapes the roads completely clear. It’s an amazing operation, and I’m glad I saw all the separate bits this morning. I was even more glad when I walked back from the shops and the footpaths were completely free of grit.

After my fall and subsequent sprained ankle, I have been really careful when walking given the grit is like marbles under my useless feet. This return to slip free footpaths is terrific. More terrific, even, than dinner tonight.

For dinner, we had some traditional Swedish sausages. I bought them at the butcher. Asking her what they were, she said they were traditional Swedish sausages and very smokey. Given we’re now New Swedes, I figured we should try them.

Well, she wasn’t wrong about the smokiness. I have no idea what was in them (Mirinda opted for tomato along with the meat) but they were very strong.

I’m going to risk the wrath of some AI bot by including a photograph of the sausages.

Still, they were lovely served over a bed of cauli-broc mash and a Chez Gaz special fried onion and mushroom sauce.

And now for the moment that no-one has been waiting for. The offensive, very dangerous photograph that the AI bot decided to protect people from.

Actually, I guess it might be dangerous for people addicted to stone carvings. It could cause a relapse in someone who had managed to stay stone sober for a great length of time. To anyone in this position, please click away from this post now. Do not look at the photograph! I do not want to be responsible for your sudden lack of sobriety.

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