Skating on thick ice

Today, we walked into the café on Notholmen and Emma went straight up to this fellow and said hello. Not only this, she also put her front paws on his leg to say hello properly. He gave her a good stroke and pat. Mirinda was shocked. This is not normal Emma behaviour. She decided he must be The Doggy Man.

According to The Doggy Man, he has the same effect on old people, children and women as well. I think it might be his eyes. He had the most beautiful pale blue eyes I think I’ve ever seen. Also, his personality. He was very likeable. Though I didn’t see any old people putting their hands on his leg and waiting for a pat.

That wasn’t the only surprise in store for us today. One of the three musketeers was sitting outside enjoying fika with a female friend.

Mind you, even he paled into insignificance when the hovercraft turned up.

There was a lot of noise and carry on under a tree on the far side of the island. A small crowd was gathered. We joined them to see what the buzz was. For a buzz it was. We arrived to find this…

This hot little number belongs to the Sjöräddnings Sällskapet or volunteer lifeguards. They are the water rescue people of Stockholm – like the RNLI in the UK. They’ve been going since 1907. The volunteers, not the hovercraft.

Actually, they have quite a few hovercraft in the organisation. As well as boats, helicopters and various other water craft. The hovercraft, though, are particularly handy if you have to go from water to ice to land. Which is what this one did today. Actually, I’m guessing the water bit. But we definitely saw it on the ice.

It was very exciting as it headed off again – I shot a video of it but, as sometimes happens, I didn’t press the button firmly enough and video there was none. Though, as Mirinda said, we experienced the moment in real life instead. Kind of like the goats in trees that Nicktor and I swear we saw in Marrakech.

A man standing next to me remarked that the hovercraft was a very rare sight. Just as rare was the fact that we were standing on the Baltic Sea at the time.

Mirinda was a bit concerned that the ice would crack and we’d be plunged to our icy deaths. Another man assured her that as long as she walked where everyone else had walked, she’d be fine. He gauged that the ice was probably about a foot thick. It was perfectly safe.

The fact that a whole bunch of people were racing dune buggies on it then motor bikes lent it an air of safety as far as I was concerned. Not to mention the hundreds of other people out enjoying walking all over it.

Having spent every weekend here visiting the island, it was amazing to walk out onto the water and view it from offshore. Notholmen has given us so many glimpses into this new world. We grow fonder every week.

I’d remarked on our way across the bridge above, that there wasn’t as many people around as I’d expected. Almost every weekend we encounter growing crowds, so I’d guessed that a dip was inevitable. That was before we walked out onto the frozen sea.

The crowds were there, wandering, walking dogs, sledding their small children, skating, even hang gliding. It was almost as if an Ice Fair had just sprung up out of nowhere. I was surprised someone hadn’t set up a frasvåfflor stand. I reckon they’d have done a roaring trade.

Having got over her initial reticence, Mirinda soon began enjoying our unexpected trip on the Baltic. We both did.

It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.

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