Why did I clean the bathroom?

Today we found the best roadside stopping place ever. It’s at Tindered off the E22 in Småland, on the east coast of Sweden. While there’s a restaurant, a playground, a lovely lake, petrol, toilets and a flying fox, there’s also a small place a little bit like Norrby’s in Trollbäcken.

Okay, it’s not in a garden but it does have an amazing lakeside terrace area where you can eat sourdough pizza and drink a beer. This was our view.

It was our third stop on our way to Flerohopp, where we’ll be staying for the next two nights before heading for Trelleborg and the ferry to Germany.

It was a long drive and, on long drives, Mirinda likes to stop and walk around every hour and a half. While this is very good for Mirinda, it’s also excellent for the girls who, while they are excellent travellers, do like to stretch their legs and relieve themselves.

Of course, they’d had a chance to empty themselves on the duck walk while I packed the car. This was at around 09:30. Mirinda hitched them both up and I started to cram everything into Max, being as methodical as an experienced stevedore.

I’d already tidied a lot of the house, including cleaning the bathroom, thoroughly, first thing. I was quite proud of it actually. There was even a moment when I saved two skittish spiders.

They had spun a web behind the toilet bowl. I brushed aside the web and they both came scurrying out. I couldn’t quite reach them to offer them a hand so I bunched up a bit of kitchen towel in order to direct them away from where I was about to spray.

Having cleaned their side of the toilet, I moved to the other and there they were, charging along the wall. I repeated the towel action and, they headed back to their previous home. My satisfaction with having not had to kill the spiders was pretty high.

It was up there with the silly sink spider from last night that I had managed to coax onto my hand in order to deposit it outside.

Then, just before 10:00, the house was invaded by an army of cleaners. One man and about a dozen women who may have been Polish but could have been from anywhere, really. I had no idea they were turning up and, suddenly, I had to work around numerous people bringing cleaning equipment into the house while I was attempting to take stuff out.

It meant a rush for me to finish clearing stuff out and packing it in the car. I don’t like packing the car in a rush. It means I forget things or have to stop and start a number of times in order to get it right. It was very annoying.

When Mirinda returned from the duck walk she was even more annoyed than me. Which, oddly, is good. When she gets annoyed in these situations, I tend to calm down. This then makes me calm her down and everything returns to a sort of emotional equilibrium.

Just before we left, we had to use the loo, one last time, and asked the cleaning woman if we could interrupt her bathroom cleaning activities. I noticed, while using the facilities, that she’d done a pretty thorough job. Including in the spider corner.

Later, I told Mirinda the spider story and the fact that I was concerned that the cleaning woman would have obliterated them. Mirinda agreed, saying she was pretty liberal with the chemicals. I did wonder why I’d bothered.

It was quite a sad farewell to our little home, almost in the woods. Mirinda took a final photograph before we headed off. It’s amazing how much the view has changed since last October.

All thought for the arachnids were soon banished as we headed off towards the 73 in order to avoid the Stockholm tunnels that had thrown Linda for a wobbly on that first night here. Every time we head off, we go via the 73. I can’t give Maxine the sat nav instructions until we’re well on our way towards the main highway south because she loves the tunnels.

A location I’ve created just for this is a rune stone. It sits by a driveway, just beyond a quarry in a heavily wooded area. We have missed the actual stone every time. Until today that is.

Given it was a final time, we had to make it count. We both yelled “STOP!” and managed to get a photo of the huge standing stone before getting back in the car and continuing our journey.

Speaking of Maxine, she has suddenly developed the habit of calling all turns either ‘half left’ or ‘half right’ regardless of the angle. It’s rather disconcerting. And inaccurate a lot of the time.

Having satisfied our lust for the runes, we set off once more.

At our first rest stop, a man and then the woman he was with, both went off to a small woods for a leak while Mirinda went up to the actual toilet. I put this down to the Swedish love of the great outdoors rather than laziness.

There was also a chap on a ride on mower, sending grass seeds everywhere. Which meant that, as we headed back onto the road, Mirinda sneezed about 38 times. On the other end of the spectrum, the girls enjoyed a sausage from the garage which, while lovely at the time, did cause Freya a bit of a frantic need for water as we drove through Söderköping where the traffic slowed to a crawl for quite a while.

In fact, Freya started clawing at my arm in her desperate need for water. I managed to pour some into the dog water bottle that Nicole bought us at the puppies bar-b-que so many years ago. She was instantly happy. Freya I mean, I can’t vouch for Nicole’s mental state. I guess the sausage dried poor little Freya out a bit.

We pulled up shortly afterwards, in the car park of a pizza place, in order for them both to get out of the car and wee on everything. They then settled back to sleep as we hit the road again, the traffic having eased some what.

Eventually, after driving for over five hours, we arrived at our accommodation for the next two nights. It’s a massive house (it sleeps 12) in the absolutely silent village of Flerohopp where I unpacked Max and we settled down for a bit of a rest.

A little later we went and bought some milk in the nearby town of Nybro.

It was a long and exhausting day. For all of us.

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