Uppsätra is a croft in the Tyresö Nature reserve. Or, more accurately, it was a croft. Today there’s only a few blocks of hewn stone left to show where it was. Back in 1674, a farmhand who worked at a gunpowder factory, built a house and a barn. Around the same time there were 15 other crofts built in the area.
These days, there’s no buildings in the reserve. Apart from small, mysterious wooden structures with chimneys and wood stores. There are, however, miles and miles of well laid paths that once were roads through the woods, used and maintained by the crofters.
The part of the reserve we visited today is not far from the house, as the crow flies but, because of all the intervening lakes, is about a 15 minutes drive. Not that that matters. The first view of the lake was worth the drive.
Speaking of the lake, a man who lived at the croft in the 1920’s said that in order for him to go to school as a seven year old, he would have to row across two of them. And, when it snowed, his mother would have to make a path for him to walk along.
Apart from the fact that a seven year old would row a boat to school, it’s amazing to think that people were still living in such a seemingly wild place. Though, the woods have taken it all back given that all remains are blocks of stone.
The day was beautiful; perfect for a walk in the woods. And we were not alone in thinking it. A lot of people were also taking the air, jogging, walking, exercising the dogs. It was glorious.
Mirinda had a day off today. It’s part of her having a long weekend every week up till Christmas. This has come as a result of having no holidays all year and having to use them or lose them. It works out very well at this end of the year.
Today, having visited a new walking place, we followed it up with a visit to Tyresö Centrum where Mirinda had an appointment with an optician and I had a lovely chat with a woman in a bookshop.
I’d managed to find an Alice (in Swedish, obviously) and we got to talking about how she’d had a drink in the same pub as Lewis Carroll. She learned English in Oxford. I told her about seeing the secret garden when we were there. She then ordered a copy of the republished Tove Jansson Alice for me.
I sat and waited for Mirinda by a newly installed Christmas tree which she failed to notice. I guess that’s why she needed to go to the optician. It’s not exactly a small tree.
The other, very important, thing we did today was get a price for changing Max’s tyres to winter ones. It’s the law here in Sweden. From December 1, all cars need to have winter tyres. There’s a tyre changing place at Trollbäcken Centrum so up we drove.
We had a jolly good laugh with the guys in the office then a jolly good shock at the price. We said we’d get back to them. Camila suggested we park the car in a garage and get taxis everywhere.
It’s fair to say that I’ve missed having hazelnut syrup in my coffee then, today, after the tyre place visit, we went to Mirinda’s second favourite café. I asked for syrup and noticed they had hazelnut. This is the first time since leaving the UK that I’ve seen hazelnut. Obviously I had to have it in my latte. It tasted perfect.
But at what cost?
I read today that hazelnut production in Italy is dominating the countryside and making it into a massive great monoculture. Life is deserting great swathes of land as the ground turns sour and volcanic lakes fill with carcinogenic dust. Well done Italian agri-business.
So it seems it’s up to us to choose. Death by Covid-19, rising sea levels or Nutella.
Clearly I’m going to have to give up my hazelnut lattes.