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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Educational exhibit

Last week the weather was very nice and I made a few excursions. Tuesday I went to Copenhagen. The main reason was to see the exhibit on the White Buses at the National Museum of Denmark. The White Buses were Red Cross-vehicles that went from Sweden and Denmark to rescue Scandinavians from the German concentration camps in 1945. The operation was made possible after negotiations by Swedish diplomats. 17 000 people were rescued on these buses, not only Scandinavians but also Jews. In particular, a large group of Jewish women from the Ravensbruck camp were rescued. When these women arrived in Sweden, they were interviewed about their experiences. These documents are housed at the library I work at. The drivers, doctors and nurses that went with the White Buses were volunteers. It was very dangerous as the war was still going on. The exhibit was well done and it gave horrifying details about the situation in the camps you really didn't want to know. Very educational, and very necessary for the present generation to learn about.

Wednesday I made a stop at the library to use the technical equipment. My colleagues spotted me and gave some remarks, but they are used to seeing me even when I have vacation. Thursday was a long day. I had to do laundry at 7 in the morning and managed to get it done by 9. Went by train to Båstad, which is a seaside town on Skåne's northwest coast. I went there for a reason - this is where my great grandparents vacationed almost every summer for more than four decades. The place where they stayed was a well-known hotel, but it was torn down years ago. All that remained was a plaque with a photo of it. I walked along the beach, mostly in the water, and enjoyed the lovely weather. The schools have started so there were almost no people there. I had lunch at a cozy cafe and then walked past the church where my grandmother was confirmed in 1931. Had a look through the expensive shops with upscale clothes' brands and then decided on an ice-cream at the marina. The return trip was long, as I first took the bus to my favorite mall outside Helsingborg. I thought the views from the bus (following the coast south) would be nice and I was right. At the mall I didn't do much, only had an early dinner. Returned home by bus and train in the evening.

Friday I went to the summerhouse and got to see the results of the renovations. My mother was happy about the floors but not the wallpaper. There was nothing wrong with the colours, but the craftmanship was not done well. She has complained but I don't know if it can be fixed. Saturday it was time for the annual Play Day at Furuboda. My mother and I volunteer every year. She got a tough assignment at the cafe, selling cookies and ice-cream. I got an "easier" task helping out at the gocart event. My job was to put helmets on the kids who wanted to go for a ride, and then also get the helmets off. It meant that I knealed down a couple of hundred times that day. I could feel that very much the next day. But I have to say it was not so tiring as last year. It's a fun day with lots of activities for the kids and we are happy to help out. The rest of my visit at the summerhouse was spent mostly solving crossword puzzles or relaxing in the reclining chair on the terrace. My father stopped by one morning to let me listen to a recording my great grandfather made in 1951, singing a Swedish song. Someone he knew had a recording device. The quality was not good but it was interesting to hear his voice. The weather was very nice at the beginning of my vacation but now there are rainstorms and high winds. I returned home today.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Time for vacation

Last week at work was the last for quite a while. There is a fairly long vacation ahead of me. I tried to clear my desk and delegate responsibility to the others before I left. Last week I also managed to get an emergency appointment for a dentist, which was not easy. I was directed to a clinic outside Lund, but accepted it and it turned out very well. My regular dentist I have been treated by since the 1980s has retired and I know that I have to get listed at another place, but it's difficult to decide that quickly.

The summerhouse was renovated the past week and my mother visited me again. We spent an afternoon in Helsingborg but apart from that she has done excursions of her own. She went to Ikea again and ordered new bedroom furniture to be delivered to the summerhouse later.

Saturday morning we went to the fleamarket along the esplanade in Lund. It's where people sell their unwanted stuff. I found a new pair of jeans for 40 SEK. Of course it's a chance buying pants there because I couldn't try them on, but I was lucky this time, they fit me. Also got a new wallet. In the afternoon we went to visit an elderly couple who happen to be our neighbours at the summerhouse. Their permanent address is in Lund. We got some very nice waffles and enjoyed sitting on their balcony. After this, my mother returned to the summerhouse by train and bus, as the renovating was almost finished. Three rooms have new wallpaper, the kitchen has new tiles on the wall and a new floor mat, the wooden floors in two rooms have been resurfaced and there is a new mat in the hall. I haven't seen any of this yet.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Short vacation

The week at work was a little straining. I still have back problems but after a second visit to the chiropractor it's better. We were three or four people in the stacks this past week and I didn't have to work as hard as the previous week. We have already now noticed that the new students have acquired their reading lists for the upcoming semester. There are several repairs going on in the building and it's causing some distress. The main elevator is being cleaned and painted so we can't use it. One morning our computers were out after the power was broken by electricians doing some rewiring. It was difficult to get everything started again and one computer (which almost never gets shut off) took a long time to get running again - it had to install 23 000 updates first.

Saturday morning I took the train to Hässleholm and was met by my second cousin and his wife. It's a tradition that we meet over a weekend once a year. My mother also arrived by train half an hour later and we all went to a flea market outside of town, arranged by a sports club. It was outdoors and pretty big. My mother was the only one shopping, she got a top very cheaply. We had a meal at a newly opened cafe in the countryside. It had a theme that my second cousin favors - old American cars. It was a very nice place with decor from old gas stations and a large display of model cars. After taking the scenic route we arrived at their summer residence in the woods. It's her family farm and they have been remodeling it since they got it some years ago. The old farm fields have been planted with birches and spruce trees. Today we also toured the troll forests (high spruce trees and green moss make up a mystic setting, where the trolls lived according to the folk beliefs). We drove on the back roads and it was really nice to see something else than the highway. Returning to Hässleholm, we went for yet another flea market where we got some small things. We had discovered that there were massive train problems due to a power failure, so we decided to stay and wait until it was sorted out. We had lunch and then went to the local park. The ice-cream was good and the weather was great. Sunny and about 24 centigrades. We just relaxed and enjoyed the ambience. Three of us then managed to get onboard more or less the intended trains in separate directions. I went south, my mother east and my second cousin's wife went north (she had to go back to work). The visit was very nice, it was the first proper vacation for me.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Shopping weekend

The previous weekend, when I stayed at home and did very little, had consequences. I have had back problems since then. I went to the chiropractor and he did what he could but it was not solved right away. It's better, but the week at work was unpleasant. We were only two people in the stacks and calling in sick was not an option. The worst part was the daily storage round where you do a lot of lifting. We have been busy shelving at the storage and two collections of work material have also been relocated there.

The few reviews I have heard of the book about Arndt are positive. Just like I thought, his grandchildren didn't really know so much about his worklife. They were unaware of many things I have been able to dig up in the archives.

This weekend many stores had their final sales of the summer collections. There were offers of half price off the reduced price everywhere. For the past three days I have been to four different malls and found some bargains. A sleeveless top, a mat for the balcony, a scarf, sandals and some small things. Saturday I went to Ystad, which is a very nice town on Skåne's south coast. There were several flea markets and I visited the one in the square and a few second hand stores. I found two more eggcups for my collection (which has now outgrown its two shelves in the kitchen). One of my favorite clothing stores in Ystad will change owner and they had 50% off the entire stock. I got a pair of jeans there. Today I went to the closest mall. It's not really fun because they are repairing it and there are very few stores in operation. But there is a big warehouse selling building material and interiors. I wanted a new floor mat in the hall and I found one there. It is more than three meters long and it was pretty heavy to carry on the bus. Especially since I also got groceries and a few other things. Getting the mat in place was an ordeal. There was a book case in the way. I had to remove all the books and move it, clean the floor, put the mat in place, move the book case back and then put the books back again. But the result is marvelous.

It is now August and we can look back at a very rainy month. This was the first July in many years that I have had long pants and socks for work every day. The only exception was the first weekend, which was very hot and sunny.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Staff shortage

This past week most of my colleagues went on vacation. Starting Wednesday we were only two people in the stacks. This will continue also next week. It means that we will have to do the job of seven people. The number of requests is low but we have the hobby researchers that come in during the summer and they often ask for lots of books at the same time.  I have been to the storage a lot, both for retrieval in the mornings and shelving in the afternoons. The students we hired for moving projects have done one more small book move but are mostly engaged in database work. They sit and make corrections in the database. 15 years ago we moved many journals to storage but we were unable to change the location indicator in the database. I have for a long time asked for staff to do this manually, since this couldn't be done automatically. Many other things had a higher priority so it has taken a while, but this summer they will get it done finally.

The medicine I had to take for the borrelia made me tired so I haven't done much apart from work. I did deliver several bags of clothes to the charity shop, but not much else. This weekend the weather has been terrible with rainstorms so I have stayed at home. Generally, the climate has been good to work in, about 20-22 centigrades and often cloudy. Though really awful if you have vacation and planned on sunbathing. Many Swedes have gone abroad this summer because it has been a very lousy summer so far.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shopping trips and concert

Two book moving projects were finished last week. Most of the open collection journals we were supposed to move to storage have now been relocated. Some of the titles couldn't be moved because there is no place for them at the storage. The two students also managed to finish their big move of books to the lower basement. They have some small projects left though.

Last week I worked shorter days because my mother was visiting. She spent most of the mornings in my apartment doing some chores like mending clothes and attending to the house plants. Tuesday she went to Helsingborg and in the afternoon I went there too so we could go to Ikea together. She is going to renovate the summerhouse and she wants new furniture also, so she took measures and made plans. We also went to a second hand store at a mall, where she found brand new clothes very cheaply. Friday we went to a concert in Lund, it was Sanna Nielsen, one of the Swedish Eurovision song contest winners. That woman can really sing. It was a very nice outdoor concert. Saturday my mother returned to the summerhouse.

Last week I had to go to the medical center - I have borrelia (caused by a tick three weeks earlier). This was the first time there in many, many years. It was fascinating to see how things work in the health care system these days. I first had to see a nurse, then a doctor and then another nurse. I was there for two hours, but I really shouldn't complain, because they were very meticulous and did extra tests to rule other things out. I was asked if I'm allergic to penicillin and I had no way of knowing that. The only kind of medicine (apart from vaccine) I have taken the last 40 years has been ordinary pain medication. Anyway, I was given penicillin and the situation is better.

The book about my great grandfather Arndt is, believe it or not, finished. I printed it out last week. My father is going to see most of those relatives in a few days so he will distribute the book for me.

Today I went to a rather new fleamarket place outside Helsingborg. I had never heard of it before, I found it on a listing on-line. It turned out to be a large warehouse were people could hand in the items they want to sell, pricemark them and leave them on a designated shelf. It was a huge place and I wish I had discovered it while my mother was here, she would have enjoyed it very much. I found some nice plates and a small decorative tray.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book moving project

Last week the weather cooled down and it is now about 18-20 centigrades and cloudy. Not much of a summer, but nice to work when it is like this. I got a project of moving open collection journals to storage a kick-start and did little else last week. There were lots of staff members in the stacks so I could do something else. I started from the end of the collection, and I have now moved all the foreign language journals from Z to G. The biggest problem isn't moving them, it's all the changes you have to do in the database. Every volume has to be updated with a new sticker and a call number.

Friday afternoon we made an effort and five of us went to the storage to shelve. We are constantly lagging behind with this task. The situation got better, but it wasn't enough. 

My mother arrived here Saturday evening for a week's stay. Sunday we made a trip to the flea market in Malmö, where she made some bargains (shoes and a top). We also went to a mall, where we got some decorative items. The summer sales are on everywhere and since the weather was bad the mall was crowded. When I arrived back home from work today my mother had replanted most of my plants, cleaned the kitchen, gone grocery shopping and had been to a mall to get me new tea-cups, flowers and a few other things. I wish I had that kind of energy.