On a beach in Sweden

I think it’s very important to try local foods. Wherever we’ve been in the world, we make an effort to taste weird stuff. Because of this, today we had our first taste of the legendary, pickled herring.

I was in a supermarket in Ahus (which keeps looking like Anus on road signs), buying supplies for our first week. Naturally I was drawn to the big fridges full of small jars labelled Sill. I was quickly confused. There were lots of types. I tried looking up the types in Google Translate but my phone had no signal.

I debated which one to buy. After a bit of pointless deliberation, I settled on a jar of löksill from the strangely named ABBA company. Boy, did I hit gold. (Incidentally, when I told Denise about the herring, she reckoned it explained why ABBA was no longer releasing songs given they were too busy pickling herring.)

We had some with lunch and it was love at first bite. We will be eating more pickled herring.

Shopping was fun. The first hurdle was getting a shopping trolley.

The Swedes are famously cashless so I didn’t bother getting any. I approached the trolley park and guess what? They require a 5kr and 10kr coin to release them. This was a problem because I had to do a big shop.

My solution was simple. There was a pharmacy next to the supermarket and there was an ATM next to the pharmacy. I took a swadge of cash out and bought Mirinda a pair of tweezers in the pharmacy. This required a bit of miming of me plucking my eyebrows. Say whatever you like about my miming, but it worked. As the lovely, patient lady handed me my change, I asked if I could get coins for a trolley. She was happy to do this.

I returned to the trolley park and entered the supermarket.

I had to guess what a lot of things were but, basically, it was not a lot different to being in Waitrose. Just with foreign names. Apart from being astonished at the cost of lamb steaks (over £50 for two) it was all pretty similarly priced to the UK. I soon had a trolley full and collected Mirinda and the girls from a handy café (next to the ATM next to the pharmacy), loaded Max, and we returned to the house.

Apart from testing the local chemist, today was basically a rest day, spent mostly buying food, relaxing in the house and visiting the local beach.

Sweden is proud of its coast and, if the local beach is anything to go by, they are rightly so. Beautiful white sand, stretching away for miles in both direction. The steely grey Baltic Sea continually lapping at the shore.

The girls went crazy; running around like crazy things, having the time of their lives. After the last few days of change and stress, they were letting everything go, being more dog, giving vent to their freedom. It was wonderful to see. Hopefully, it will also tire them out a bit.

We were a bit worried it would be cold so Mirinda dressed appropriately.

It was not cold. It was wonderful.

Mirinda had a couple of online calls to make, so we headed back to the house where we, eventually, hunkered down for the night.

Today, this happened

In the October 19, 1858 issue of The Colonist, a New Zealand newspaper, it was reported that the Nelson Literary and Scientific Institution had announced their intention to procure larger premises. They were announcing a meeting of all members to consider the matter in early November.

The Colonist had been set up in 1857 by residents of the New Zealand town of Nelson to give a voice to someone other than the wealthy landowners. It was clearly doing something right because it lasted until 1920 when it was bought out by a rival paper.

The Nelson Institute, as it became known, had been set up in May 1841. It was set up to be a “…civic centre…consisting of a well-equipped library, a museum of history and ethnology and a philosophical society to promote intellectual development.

The original premises were originally a dress shop, used by Mrs Cooper. She is one of the women in the photograph below. Presumably the one standing on the step.

When the Institute took over, it had a collection of just 700 books, all donated. They were waiting on more to arrive from England. It didn’t take long for the successful Institute to need more room.

It moved firstly in 1861 as a result, no doubt, of the meeting of all members mentioned in The Colonist. The Institute remained here until 1906.

The only reason they left the above premises was because it burned down. This could have been a complete disaster but crowds of people raced over and managed to salvage a lot of the books and artefacts held at the Institute.

Undaunted, a new, purpose built, concrete building was erected.

And, it’s still there. There are regular lectures and the library is extensive. Discussion groups are encouraged. This seems to be in direct violation of one of the rules which prohibited conversing or reading aloud. I can’t say whether the other rules regarding lying down and spitting are adhered to but I think they probably are.

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