Category Archives: about

Scout camp

Orla has been at scout camp this week. Apart from the occasional sleep over this is her first time away from us and she is having a ball.

We went to visit today and she proudly showed us round the bog:Swamp

There was was a bridge over the swamp:

Bog bridge


There was a plank path through the swamp:

The path through the bog

We looked at the boats where there was also lots of swimming and jumping going on:

Boats at camp

We spotted a butterfly:


We went for a walk in the woods:

Return to camp

We admired the cooking tent:

Camp kitchen

She did some wittering and some whittling:

Whittling and wittering

She loves it.  Although her wellies are too small.




How Swedish broke my Typing

So we moved here in January and since March I have been learning Swedish.

It is a wonderful opportunity to learn a new language but what I didn’t realise is that Swedish would break my typing. What on earth do I mean? Well, I pride myself in not making many typos. If I do I spot them, sometimes ‘feel them’ as I type knowing I have made a mistake in the sentence I am on and know to go back and change ‘hte’ to ‘the’ again. (A common typo for me pre-swedish.)

Now, however I have three extra vowels to fit into that qwerty keyboard. It is not like in French or German (correct me if I am wrong) where there are still 26 letters in the alphabet and some have accents, umlauts etc added to the letter. No, here in Sweden, there are three extra vowels, making the Swedish alphabet 29 letters long with 9 vowels. (They sneak ‘y’ into the vowel category.) in a Swedish dictionary after ‘z’ there are three more letters – å, ä and ö.

On a keyboard it means squeezing those three vowels in just to the left of the usual letters. Look…


Extra letters

So what impact does this have? Well it means that my natural home position for my fingers now has to move to the left very slightly and my right little finger now has lots more work to do. And my touch-typing is knackered. Everything I type has to be corrected. I have tried switching back to the normal keyboard and that doesn’t help either as my brain knows I have to move my hands a little.

I am assuming, over time, I will re-learn but untoö then I will continue to male mistaked all over the place on the slightly narrower kets.

Touch-Typing: Broken

Typing on a Swedish keyboard has broken my touchtyping.

I used to be able to cope with the frequent swap between Windows and Mac keyboards, between desktop and iOS, and between EN-US and EN-GB. I’d swap from one to the other without even noticing the switch.

But since moving to a Swedish keyboard on my work machine (a Macbook Air), it’s all gone to pot. Not only is my touch typing (especially when I need non-alphanumerics like [~|}<) slow and unsteady on the Swedish layout, all my muscle memory on my home EN-GB Mac is stuttering.

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

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.