Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Boat Accident

I talked to Janne Friday morning instead of Thursday evening. Turns out he was at an end-of-season dinner on Nämdö with a whole bunch of his fellow island builders. He and Lennart boated home around 10 PM.

The next morning, Janne's phone started ringing. There had been an accident north of Nämdö, not far from the southern tip of Aspö, around 1AM. A good-sized boat had run aground at high speed. Two men were killed, and two injured. Although the names of those involved have not been released, Janne fears one of the men was his tablemate from the dinner.

A sobering reminder of the perils of the sea. A news story in English is here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Electricity's done

I had a quick chat with Janne this morning and he said Göran has finished his work. The electrical company still has to make the drop to our house, but all the work to enable its connection is done, and Janne expects it to be made before we arrive.

Göran put a couple of simple lamps on the outside of both houses, so as Janne puts it, "you can find the houses in the dark." Seeing how sunrise is at 7:40 and sunset 5:24 when we're there, he has a good point.

(Trivia: On Christmas Day, sunrise is at 8:46, and sunset is 2:49. Ugh.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Driving to Sweden

We've a bit of a lull until Göran arrives next week for the electricity, so I thought I'd post about something we've been thinking about for a while.

Next summer, we plan for Sooz and Grant to spend 6-7 weeks on Aspö, and 3 weeks for me at least. Of course we want to bring Ollie, too, so we're planning to drive from London. It allows us to load up the wagon with fragile stuff, take the pooch, and give us our own car while in Sweden. Public transport is excellent, but it's not the best when you have a dog and a lot of stuff with you.

There are a bunch of possible routes, but dogs aren't allowed on the longest ferries, so it looks like a hop through the chunnel and overland to Sweden either via the Öresundsbron or on a ferry to Göteborg and then cross-country. Either way, it's two full days and about a thousand miles. Imagine how many blog posts that trip would generate!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Talked to Janne again...

...and he has recovered from the cold he's been suffering from. The weather isn't great on Aspö right now; Janne is hoping for the 'Indian Summer'.

He has sent in the official request for our electricity drop. It looks like it will have to be provided from a greater distance than I thought, as the poles bordering our property are high-voltage lines. But the good news is that I pay a flat fee, even if the electrical company has to do more work. Göran will set up the electrical box and finish the inside of the house next week. Janne thinks it's still likely that all the work will be done by the time we return on October 20.

He's also going to order the Cinderella for us through his account at Fredells, and bring it up to our house later this month. I talked to Johan and he said that ordering through them was fine.
With electricity and a Cinderella, we'll be all set for our trip back next month.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Update from Wille

He called me from the boat back from Aspö and said that he was all done, at last. There are only two small things to followup on:
  • The door frame on the little house is 120mm wide but the house walls are only 78mm thick so the frame is too wide
  • He can't figure out how to do the bunk beds from the wood that is supplied
He's going to talk to Stefan tomorrow about those items. Otherwise, the roofs are done, the deck is turned over and stained (he says it looks great), and the electrical wires are pulled through.

The plan is for Göran to come and do electrical work late next week, and then Wille will return with his floor-finishing colleague to treat the interior floors in early October. If all goes according to plan, we'll be set for our kitchen install on October 21 (after we all see Mikael play for Djurgården against Linköpings HC on October 18, of course.)

I asked Willie if he was sick of our little island, and he said the opposite, that he'd miss it. He's become friendly with Tony and Janne and all the boat captains. I can see that; he should be a politician!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A boat

Rutger and I talked in the past about going halfsies on a boat. I've been so busy with the house-building, I hadn't thought about a boat at all lately.

But he called the other day with news that a friend of his was selling his boat next spring and it seems like a good deal. It has a 60hp motor which is enough for water-skiing, which pleases Grant. I don't know much more about it (or much about boats in general) but will look into it. The price is right, especially if we split the purchase cost. The boat in question is shown above.

I will talk to Janne and Tony in detail when we're over to Aspö next, because I'm not fully clear on where and how we would keep the boat, both in terms of docking in the summer, and storage in the winter. And of course I have a lot to learn about maintaining a boat and especially navigating Swedish waters. But it does sound like fun!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Fireorb returns

I had posted about this fireplace almost 10 months ago, and kept the contact info for the company. I called them the other day and talked to Andrew, who is a nice guy and a Cubs fan to boot. (He's much more confident about their chances this year than I am.)

Anyways, we talked about the issues of shipping to Sweden, specifically customs duties, VAT, and the like. He said they've sent many to Scandinavia. I told him I fancied a white one (as pictured) and he tried to talk me away from the white, as they only fit into certain interiors. Hmmm.

UPDATE: Andrew has given me the name of a contact at a local architectural firm to take a closer look at an installed unit or two. I'll report back.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ruukki roofing

Next year, we will have to replace the roof on our houses. Today we have a few layers of tarpaper which I'm told will last one winter, max.

One of the houses Janne built recently used a Finnish roof system which has nice vertical lines that would match our house nicely, as seen in the photo to the left. The company, Ruukki, has a webpage with details about their roofing systems.

An advantage to Ruukki is that, once the roof is measured and ordered, it is easy to install with hand tools (well, easy for Janne, anyways.) My plan is to install this roof next summer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Talked to Wille

He's been back at home, dealing with a water problem at his own house. But all is fixed now, and he's on his way down to Aspö later this week to finish off the roofs on both houses.

His colleague will be able to do the sanding, lut, and oil on our floors. The plan is for Göran to do the electricity in late September, the floor to be done in early October, and for us to do the kitchen in late October.

Also Janne told me the grey water system has arrived, and Olle will bring it to our house. That should get installed within the month, too.

Wille also told me that Mikael has been signed to Djurgården's first team, which is great news. We hope to see a match when we're there in October.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A text from Rutger

Apparently IKEA called him today because I received a text that said "1,311 packages, 850 kg, 5 cubic meters going on the wheelbarrow".

I wonder if the helicopter is available that day??

Water testing

Both Wille and Rutger told me that the kommun would test our well water. I took a sample last week, and it was pretty yellow when I bottled it, although it still tasted and smelled fine. One reason for testing is to see if a filter is recommended, and if so, what kind of filter. Janne says there are many types, and installing one is no problem.

I just sent an email, all in Swedish, to Värmdö kommun to inquire about testing. Let's see if I have any luck with my inquiry!

UPDATE: After reading Marg's comments, I decided to take a different tack and have ordered this kit. My goal is to have a general sense of our water so we can decide if we want a filter, and if so, what kind. I hope this kit will do the trick; if not, it wasn't that expensive.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Energy Ball

A bit of a digression, but I found a Swedish company selling windmills for home use. The economics don't work out very well for us, at least for now, plus I'm not too sure about the wind available at our house, given our location. The website I found this on is worth a look, though.

Sooz is home

Sooz is safely home, with her bag full of pepparkakor and many catalogs of various descriptions. She showed me the furniture she ordered for the kitchen. For those of you who like the names IKEA gives everything, the chair is Gilbert, and the table, Docksta.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Electrical installation

We decided to put the main outdoor fuse box for our house on the back wall of the little house. That keeps it out of the way, and is in fact closer to our electricity drop. We had to wait until the little house was up before we could have the electrical company come out.

Now that the little house is up, I tried calling Göran, the electrician, this morning, and either misdialed or spoke so poorly he couldn't understand me. Janne came to the rescue and called him, and Margaret reported back that "Janne spoke with Göran, he (and 3 or 4 helpers) will be out on Aspö Tues-Fri the week of 22 September...apparently they've got your house plus 2 or 3 others."

So we're still on track for our October visit.

The bathroom door

After some discussion, we've decided to leave the door as installed. Apparently, changing it is difficult. Stefan pointed out the drawing did show it properly, but he did offer to send out a new door at a discount. Sooz decided not to mess with it, at least for now. We may still be able to change the door--or at least how ours is installed-- at some point in the future should we want. I am disappointed in myself for missing this.

We talked about a lot of bathroom stuff, specifically what sort of treatments to put on the walls and floors. I've decided to leave that for now and to think a bit more about just what to do with the bathroom walls and tile before we make any decisions.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sooz busy on Friday

Sooz and Marcia chased down a bunch of details today. She met with Wille and they talked about the floors (among other things). Stefan sent along a photo of his house, whose floors are treated with lut (a kind of lye) and white oil, as we had discussed with Wille and Rutger previously. We're going to do the same on ours, we're not yet sure who will do the lut and the oil, maybe Wille, but he's going to do the sanding for sure. Willie will also put a protective varnish on the outside decks so the stay that nice fresh pine colour.

She and Marcia also shopped for door handles, small appliances, etc., etc., and we have a good idea of what and where to buy stuff in October.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sooz's new kitchen

A big day for Mrs. Langford. She was at IKEA for over 8 solid hours, but she finished the day by placing the order for the whole kitchen, plus beds, a table and chairs, and our bedroom furniture. Impressive.

She made some adjustments (pictured here) with the help of a great kitchen planning assistant. The plan is for an October 14 delivery to the depot for delivery a week later to Aspö. Overall, a very successful day, with more details to follow.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update from Sweden

I talked to Wille. He's stuck being alone again this week; Mikael is in a hockey tournament in Linköping, and Mats is unable (or unwilling) to come down to help. So he's a little frustrated, working hard, and things are going slowly. He is also having problems with changing the swing of the bathroom door, he's going to confer with Janne and Stefan tomorrow.

And I talked to Janne, too. He's still suffering from his cold, although the weather is good there. He has ordered the grey water system. In fact, he's ordered four for various homes, which gives us a collective price break. My neighbor, Olle, is getting one, and he's in charge of receiving them on the dock. He and Janne plan to install these systems pretty soon.

And lastly, I spoke to my darling Sooz over at Marcia's, and she is having a relaxing evening, getting ready for the exertions of a massive IKEA purchase tomorrow.

Sooz is on her way Stockholm, where she'll spend the next couple of nights with Marcia & Rutger and her days at the local IKEA, finalising the order for the kitchen and bedroom furnishings.

She'll also meet with Wille to talk about the floor finishes, and also find a lock and handle for the front doors on both houses. I'll post updates as I get them from the shopping floor.