Bad Footwear: Sorted

Moving our lives here has been in 2 stages:

  1. Moving us as people, along with what fits in our small car and/or hand-luggage
  2. Everything Else. This is coming in a shipping container some time in the next month.

So the clothing and personal items we have are very much minimal, but just enough to last us for up to 6 weeks.

Vacuum Packed clothes - coats I think
Vacuum Packed clothes – coats I think

Fitting stuff into the car was helped by vacuum packing a lot of fabric items, including clothing and bedding, but was still limited. In my case, it included exactly two pairs of shoes, only one of which is appropriate for office wear. This pair of shoes therefore has been undergoing very hard wear, and was getting on a bit anyway.

The outcome has been a number of problems:

  1. I’m slipping all the time, unless I’ve got shoe-spikes (effectively elasticated crampons) fitted. Fine when on a lakeside walk but no use on snow-clear city streets or indoors/on public transport. I’ve only fallen once, but it’s been pretty hairy a few times on slopes, including the one down to the bus stop.
  2. The shoes are getting rapidly trashed. I already have holes in the heels, and the salted gravel used as anti-slip cover on roads and pavements have got in and make a lovely rattling sound. And yesterday as I got home, I felt an annoying lump in my right sole which turned out to be a hole into which two stones had forced entry. A hole in the sole in snow sounds like a recipe for a wet foot to me.
Dr Marten 2976 Chelsea Boots

So it was with some relief and not a little joy that I picked up a parcel from the post office this morning containing a brand new pair of Dr Marten 2976 Chelsea Boots.

As our Swedish friends tell us:

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

They’ll need breaking in a little, but bad footwear: Sorted.
Continue reading Bad Footwear: Sorted

Transport observations

TBana stops have sheltered bike parking. The surprisingly sensible & good bit: they have powered tyre pumps.

In rush hour at TCentral (Stockholm’s rail/TBana hub), subway trains are so close running that following trains are a metre or less from the one before. It’s almost a continuous single train.

The concrete of the TBana tunnels between TCentral & Östermalmtorg have taken the form of the shuttering used in construction that they appear to be lined with grey planks.

Sunday Walk, Hässelby Coastline

Repeating last week’s Sunday walk, but with a working camera. Primus and Secondus were refuseniks, so just Lucy, Tertia and I.

This week, though, the ice on the lake has frozen. We saw people out on the ice, perhaps testing it for thickness and safety.

Well earned reward

Walking home

Continue reading Sunday Walk, Hässelby Coastline

Achievements Unlocked

Having a week of achievements.

I finally made it along to IKEA and bought all the things. My lovely colleagues back in Scotland had given me an IKEA voucher as a leaving gift and it was time to spend it. I would have loved to have bought one amazing thing and say that that was what I bought but actually we needed lots of little things.

So thank you guys, you helped me buy… Slats for DD’s bed, a coat hanging thing for DD, a clothes hanging for Martin, a duvet cover for DD, a sheet for DD, an angle-poise desklamp, a new light fitting for the office, door signs for DS2, lovely glasses and mugs, straws, paper, pens, scissors and of course the essential tea lights. We still have some things left to buy, mainly big things (a bed, a sofa-bed and some bookcases) but I think we are almost there.

We are still waiting for delivery of our containers, so we are living minimally. It is mostly okay until you think where is… and realise it is somewhere between Scotland and Sweden. Very frustrating. I arrived with two skirts and one pair of jeans. Manageable I thought.. But I simply cannot find the jeans. They have vanished. So I have had to go to H&M to stock up on clothes to accommodate my ever expanding waist line. (More on that another time.)

PersonalNummer Registration

Today we took the kids out of school for the day and visited the tax office. Forms were filled in, boxes ticked, passports, marriage certificate, employment contract and birth certificates copied. This is all so we can get our personnelnummers. This number is key to Swedish life. It is a bit of a cross between your NHS number and your NI number and it used for everything… Opening bank accounts, applying for a travel pass, applying for child allowance, health care, dental care, buying a mobile phone, applying for membership of the library or the local sports club, getting an IKEA family card… Seriously this number is used all of the time. We still have another 3-4 week wait before we finally get them. Then Martin and I can apply for ID cards so we won’t need our passports on us.

After that we went to the shop to stock up on food and milk. We seem to be going through gallons at the moment. Considering getting a cow! Home for lunch. After lunch I explored the chimney and found the evasive flap and its handle. It is extremely stiff though so will have to get Martin to look at it. I can totally see how the house filled with smoke. The hole is tiny without the flap being open!

Then, while I was on a roll, I looked at the downstairs TV. It claims to have two HDMI inputs but in reality it only has one. So I have unplugged the Apple TV, for now, and plugged in the XBox. Cue, happy boys!

The other thing that happened today is I picked up a parcel containing 15 UK to EU plug converters. We had two with us and I looked at them at the airport and they were £25 each! I bought some off UK Ebay for about that for 15 including shipping. So now we can plug in all the things.

Things still to achieve

  • Register with midwife (did I tell you that bit?)
  • Get DS1 into school – ongoing….
  • Test the sauna – although I will only be able to watch
  • Find a good knit night – I have three to test next week 😉

Continue reading Achievements Unlocked

Svenska Vänner: Telecoms Advice Wanted

Dear friends and fellow geeks

I’m looking for some experience and advice for a home broadband and TV provider.

Here’s what I’m looking for (essentially matching what we had in the UK but with more speed!)

  1. Good speed – 100Mbit/s is apparently supported at our address in both directions
  2. No port blocking or policy restrictions — I run a server for various bits and bobs including email
  3. Ideally, a fixed (or very slow changing) IP address
  4. Either a NAT router/modem that I can log into and disable DHCP (as Bad Things happen when my server isn’t providing DHCP), or a simple ethernet out where I can use my Airport Extreme as the router. Either way, I want to have the LAN network running the 192.168.0.xxx range with no device restrictions (as we have a constellation of devices to connect) and all external traffic directed to the server.
  5. First FaceTime Session
    First FaceTime Session
    Not at all worried about Voice Telephony – we use mobiles and various video conferencing services (Google Hangouts, Apple FaceTime and Skype) rather than have a house voice number.
  6. TV package that has some UK/English language channels, and definitely GoT!

I believe we have both ADSL and Fiber to the house.

Family Sunday

Our first Sunday in Sweden as a family. We decided to shake off the cobwebs and go out and explore.

We all wrapped up well with hats, scarves, gloves, coats and boots and off we set. We decided to head for the lake. Stockholm stands on Lake Mälaren, the third largest lake in Sweden. It is very close to our house and we soon found our way down to it.

Such beauty is hard to describe. The way the water dripping off the rocks was forming ice stalactites and icicles was gorgeous. The partially frozen lake allowed ducks to walk right up to the boardwalk we were heading along leaving their frozen duck prints across the ice. The tall reeds had balls of translucent ice just above where they grew out of the water. The sky was clear, yet it snowed. Peering over the boardwalk we could see icicles hanging below the boards and under the low branches of bushes and trees.

I would share photos with you only it was so cold I think my iPhone has frozen! We are still waiting for it to defrost.

As we headed around the lake we came to a large, stately house called Riddersviks Gård. Every Sunday there is a cafe open there serving tea, coffee, steaming hot chocolate and a selection of gorgeous fresh cakes. Two hot chocolates, three glasses of milk and a selection of cakes later we headed back out into the snow taking the short route back to the house.

Once home Martin and I heaved furniture around and swapped DD’s bedroom with the office. Lots of reasons for this move and I think she is pleased with the change. We are certainly pleased with the new look office.

Martin then decided to give the log fire a go. Oh dear. The house filled with smoke and we ended up having to open doors and windows to get rid of the eye-watering smoke. We are not sure what we have done wrong so have emailed the landlord to hopefully find out.

Once we had got rid of the smoke we settled down with pizza and ciabatta and watched a film together. All in all a great family day, now just to get them to bed…
Continue reading Family Sunday

Snow Day 7


The snow arrived in Sweden last weekend, having kept away all winter so far.

This is the view from our kitchen window with a few light flakes falling this morning.

Amazingly I’ve so far not managed to fall on my bum, despite wearing office shoes with next to no grip as all my better shoes have’t year arrived.