We are here on a walk at Nämdö. The weather is great and we are looking to rent bikes later. This is a museum/church on the island.
Monday, June 29, 2009
So back to work tomorrow for me and back to the sunshine for the rest of the family...
PS. It will be sunny here in London, too. Hooray!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
I'm taking the 17:30 taxi boat and then it's public transportation overland (bus, subway, train) to Arlanda for a 20:55 flight back to London.
The weather is spectacular again today, we've had a solid week of perfect blue skies and warm sunshine. The forecast looks like more of the same!
I'll be back in two weeks for a long weekend and Sooz, Grant and Ollie will stay here, enjoying island life. Hopefully, Sooz will blog from here, but she and Grant might just be too busy having fun!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
We had a big pile of building scrap, of course, but I was astounded by the huge array of junk that people had to throw out. Furniture, appliances, boat anchors, you name it, people were toting it to the dock. Just like the size of the crowd at the midsummer meadow, the amount of stuff on the island is at odds with the isolation and calm we feel here.
Thankfully Nick and Grant made a number of wheelbarrow trips (and he and Tim did lots of sorting earlier in the week, too). The job couldn't have been done without them. Our pile is now about half the size, and it's mostly wood and paper, which we can burn in October.
There's another trash day in late August and I'd love to come out for that, we'll have to see if I can swing it.
Friday, June 26, 2009
That left us boys to do a few chores on Thursday afternoon/Friday morning and so we water-treated the bathroom floor, framed the windows on the little stuga, and oiled the teak furniture, among other tasks. Ollie was completely knackered from the day before and he snoozed heavily most of the day.
Nick, Sooz, and a whole lot of new stuff arrived successfuly today on the 3:30 taxibåt. The boys hauled some trash for me and then went swimming (!). Tomorrow is the big island trash pickup day, and it's also Janne's birthday. We'll have work in the morning and then hopefully a quiet afternoon.
FYI, both webgalleries have been updated today.
(In totally unrelated news, my favourite blog ever has restarted from a year's hiatus and I am completely thrilled. Check it out.)
It's too bad Grant knows only "Wacko Jacko" and not the artist he was. I'm playing "Thriller" this morning to try to educate the boy.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
- Sooz and Grant arranged for everyone to write me a birthday card here on the island, so when I went to the dock to pick up mail, there were tons of cards from friends and family, many of whom are frequenters to this blog, over 60 at least. It took me a long time to open and read them all.
- Being a gadget man, I got a Kindle from my mother and sister and a iPod stereo for the house from Sooz and Grant.
- Sooz gathered us all up for a 11AM mystery boat, and we were joined by Marg, Janne, and her son Callan (who I haven't seen in a few years, and is now sporting a fetching bohemian look).
- The eleven of us went to the island of Sandham and had a fantastic lunch in absolutely perfect weather at the famous Sandhamns Värdshus. Some of us boys went swimming in the bracingly cold water, and we all perused the yachts and other sailing shops.
- Late in the day, our own boat took us straight to Marg and Janne's. We fortified ourselves with a gin & tonic, and then all trooped back to our place for birthday cake.
- The evening ended with a slapstick tick removal process as Tim found one on Ollie. I wish I had a movie of all of us chasing him around with the tick pluckers!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Marcia is in the sky chair, watching the birds, and Sooz is making my birthday cake. Life is good.
She and Grant are up to something today, but I don't have a clue what it is. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
They finished around noon, just in time for our friends Jon and Anette to show up. We worked with them in Sweden 20 years ago, and now they live in Texas, a couple of miles from my old house (and I live in London, a couple of miles away from theirs.) Anette's Swedish and her family lives on Öland. They flew up from their visit for my birthday tomorrow.
The weather forecast looks great and we should have a really fun few days. Check out the midsommar web gallery.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I'm digressing about owls because Wille didn't make it today; he promises tomorrow early morning for sure. We amused ourselves with small projects and card games. The weather was kind of funny, with high haze making it cool. But the forecast looks great.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
It was a beautiful day today, clear, still, and sunny. We put jarn vitriol on the house, or should I say Rutger did. He loves painting, so he ran the sprayer and I masked the windows and doors. That stuff is insidious, though, just a drop turns the wood grey. We have a few drips in places they shouldn't be, so I will have to do a few touch-ups.
Willie comes tomorrow to finish up and I hope the big jobs will be done then so I can chill out over the upcoming week.
On a totally different note, I can tell there are many more people here during midsummer; there are voices all over from the paths and docks which I haven't heard before. It's still quite secluded, though.
UPDATE: More photos just posted on the web gallery.
UPDATE 2: Just saw a big owl fly by. Marcia says they're rare to see these days. She and Sooz also saw a snake earlier, which Ollie missed completely.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
We're all lazing in the sun now and will soon head over to Marg and Janne's for a midsommer evening.
More photos soon, I promise.
PS. The sun rose at 3:30 today and will set at 8:55.
UPDATE: I was wrong. The sun rose at 3:30, but it set tonight at 10:09.
Friday, June 19, 2009
We all enjoyed a lovely lunch of lemon chicken on the deck, and were then off to the Waxholms dock to watch the parade of boats as they circled the island. Next was the gathering at the midsummer meadow, and a surprising number showed up; I didn't think the island held that many people.
We met a few neighbors there, and Ollie was stroked by a dozen children. Then back for a lazy afternoon; as of this writing, Marcia and I are the only ones awake!
Lots more photos in the midsommar webgallery.
Marcia, Tim, and Rutger all arrived at noon, and Marg and Janne stopped by around 6, so we had a nice full cabin!
I got a cool tool box as an early birthday present from M&R, and I happily filled it up this afternoon.
The shower and the Cinderella have been working great, and the washing machine is good, too, although we have to balance it as it's been walking all over the floor during the spin cycle.
The little stuga (referred by Rutger as the "love shack") is all cleaned up, although the fresh ceiling is dripping sap onto the sleeping couple. (Insert joke/pun here).
It was fairly cool and rainy yesterday afternoon, and this morning looks unsettled, who knows what weather we'll have for the big celebrations this afternoon...?
More photos will be up soon and I'll try to post more later.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I spoke to Anders, and he said everything was done, but there was a problem with the water pump yesterday, and the plumber was there this morning to fix it. He hadn't heard back from him, so he's assuming all is OK. And Wille sent me a text just now, saying he was still at work at the house and he will call later. Fortunately it's a beautiful day today, so work should be progressing well.
Lastly, I called the båt taxi people to reconfirm our boat tomorrow; I'm glad I did that, because they had me down for Friday, not Wednesday! Fortunately, we fixed that, so all is well now.
I've also started a new photo gallery; the 'midsommar' link is up on the right of the blog, too.
Getting to the car was so flipping complicated, we were holding the line up getting out so we just threw everything in as fast as we could. I think that could have gone a liiiiitle bit better. None-the-less we are all fine and set to get to Marcia & Rutger's around 3.
Sent from Grant's iPhone
Monday, June 15, 2009
This is our cabin. As you can see it's pretty small but it is very nice. It has a bathroom and a small window and a tv. The boat looks very nice and we are about to go out to shop/dine. We should depart around 7 and arrive at 7 to Göteborg. So 12 hours but we will sleep almost all of it.
Sent from Grant's iPhone
Grant and Sooz
Wille is coming out tomorrow, just to run things close! But he's bringing a couple of helpers so the day should be all he needs.
Marcia donated plasma this morning and then we've been shopping for household supplies. We also visited her vet to get a prescription for snakebite treatment. She thinks it's a good precaution because quick treatment is important should Ollie meet one of our local snakes.
flying past us in their cars on the motorway. The GPS is telling is
that we will get to the Kiel dock at about 2:40 our time. All is well
and we are looking forward to the boat.
Grant and Sooz
Sent from Grant's iPhone
Grant and Sooz
Sent from my iPhone
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sooz and Grant report good weather and a lovely dinner at Marcia's parents in Holland.
Tomorrow, Marcia and I go shopping, and Sooz and Grant and Ollie drive to Kiel for the ferry. I will have a builder's update from Anders and Wille, so stay tuned.
Grant and Sooz
Sent from my iPhone
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Grant and I cleaned out the car as best we could. There are about 3 billion corgi hairs in Sooz's car and we got maybe a billion of the loose ones.
Looks like a 5AM start for the land portion of our trip. Stay tuned for an early AM post tomorrow...
So I took a look on the internet for historical data. First I had to calculate the actual date of the midsummer holiday, as it's set as the Saturday that falls within June 20-26. (It was on my birthday in 2000 and 2006; this year, it's early; the 20th.)
Then a look on www.wunderground.com gave me the Stockholm observations on the appointed Saturdays this decade. The results were:
- Average high 18.6C/66F
- Average low: 12.6C/55F
- Rain: on 5 of the 9 dates
NB: These are Stockholm observations and the weather is different in the archipelago, although I think the general trend is correct.
Friday, June 12, 2009
- The plumber is all done. Woo-hoo!
- Anders is going to install the Cinderella tomorrow.
- Göran couldn't come up this weekend to do the electricity for the plumbing and bathroom, so Tommy is having his electrician in on Monday.
- The sink and cabinet will be picked up from Bauhaus this weekend, and installed early next week.
- Wille will be there this weekend, too, to finish up and carrying the washing machine.
Things may not be done well in advance, but it's looking pretty good they'll all be done in time.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Anyways, he agrees with Margaret's comment about the unceasing rain so he's waiting until the weekend to come back out to finish up. He has about a day's worth of work outside and maybe a half-day's inside so there's still time. He knows we are all out on Wednesday and sees no problem with completing if he can have just one dry day.
He also has our washing machine and will hook it up, since the plumbing will be done by then. Wille also reports that we'll have good weather for midsummer, which would be great! As Anders said, "keep our fingers pressed"...
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We'll be very close to the wire- we have only a week left- but Anders still says we'll make it by our arrival next week.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The main point is we'll have only what we bring with us, so if we need a bandage, or sunburn cream, or allergy tablets, or any of a dozen other things, we'll have to had thought of it and brought it along. Of course, we can always run to the neighbors for help in a pinch, and there's the air ambulance for serious stuff. But we want to be well supplied for daily life, and therefore we've been doing lots of shopping and keeping inventories of all our supplies.
Ollie is part of this too; he's had his anti-tick medicine, and I have a contact for a local vet, and a back specialist in Stockholm, just in case.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Grant, Ollie and I leave a week from today; we'll head over to France via Eurotunnel, then make our way to Holland where we'll spend the night with Marcia's mom and dad, Jan and Tonny Van den Kieboom. Then it's off again Monday morning up through Germany to the port of Kiel, whereupon we will board the overnight ferry to Gothenburg. Then on Tuesday we'll make the final push across Sweden to the Wilhelmis! Rollin' rollin' rollin' RAWhide!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Our ace in the hole is the Cinderella. It's there, it runs on electricity that's already installed, and all it needs is to have its exhaust pipe put up. So there's no reason the toilet shouldn't be working. (For those interested, an English user guide is here.)
Bottom line: as long we have the toilet, we can live with outside water. Many houses on the archipelago don't have inside water (or inside toilets, for that matter). So we can handle the worst-case scenario. I still think we won't have to, but it's good to be prepared.
Friday, June 5, 2009
However the plumber is coming out next week; I had hoped he'd have been there today. That work should still take only a day or two at most, but now we're cutting it close. Then we still have to get an electrician out. Even though his task is simple, it still has to get scheduled.
Anders still tells me there's enough time to be done with everything by the 17th... but I am now officially nervous.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The plumber is still planned to come later this week, and the delayed sink and cabinet should be delivered to Bauhaus this weekend. One thing not yet firmed up is the electrician, who will need to do a bit of work in the bathroom for the cabinet light and towel rack, and more importantly, the final connection of the water equipment.
Göran provided all of the circuitry and wiring to connect that equipment, so it should be a straightforward job. I put Anders in touch with Göran, and he has his own electrician, too, so I think we'll be all right in getting that done. But it isn't actually scheduled just yet, and I'll be happier when it is.
Lastly was the washing machine, which Anders had ordered but was having trouble finding the time to get to the warehouse. So I called Wille who will come to the rescue and pick it up this weekend, and bring it out to the house on Monday when he's there next for his finishing-up.
As Anders said, "things should be OK, but keep your fingers pressed."
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
UPDATE: I just now talked to Anders and he said a lot of the tiles are up on the walls and everything is going well today.
The concrete pad underneath the house is completed, ready for the plumber to arrive later this week to install all of the machinery, which consists of an air tank to provide water pressure, a hot water tank, and a control system to automatically refill both tanks from the well whenever water is used. There's also a heating system to ensure the well and tanks don't freeze. (We didn't add a filter just yet; in fact, the water was running clear and sweet when I ran the pump yesterday.) Lastly, Janne has finished the grey water system, so it should just be a matter of plugging everything together and then we'll have running water!
Wille's work is also moving along. He installed the wood panel in place of the white one we had in the kitchen, and finished off the kitchen cabinets nicely. The garderobes are mostly done, only needing the doors, and they're looking good, too. He'll be back Wednesday to put the ceiling and insulation in the little house, finish the skirting, and complete a few other bits and bobs.
We'll be out two weeks from Wednesday and it'll be tight to get it all done... but I am still fairly confident.
It's also been 6 months since his surgery, and that's significant because his recovery is now officially over. Since my last post in March, he's continued to improve. Even in the past few weeks we've noticed the return of little behaviours that had been missing, like sleeping on his back, for instance.
(I've noticed improvements in my own behaviour, too, for example, I'm no longer worrying about him constantly!)
He still gets tired more easily, and his back legs remain a little wobbly, but he is 99% Ollie again. I'm tremendously thankful for that.