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Monday, June 29, 2015

Midsummer and fleamarket

Midsummer Eve was spent at the summer house with my mother and two of her friends. It was too cold and rainy to do anything else than sitting inside the entire weekend. We had the usual meal with herring and potatoes, with some boiled eggs.

Last week was very busy. My mother and I arrange a fleamarket at Furuboda every year (though last year we had too few items so it was cancelled). This year we had plenty. So many things were left unsold because people didn't see all of them. It was really crammed with stuff, both on the tables and on the floor. My mother and I were there five days in a row to sort things, put up signs, hang paintings, arrange books in rows and try to sell it at two occasions. We were 23 volunteers at the main salesday on Friday. We were all exhausted afterwards but at the same time it's a fun project. The proceeds go to Furuboda's summer camps for disabled children.

My sister and family arrived Sunday evening, just in time to help celebrate my mother's birthday today. Some friends were invited also for a delicious salmon meal and homemade birthday cake. Afterwards I got a ride to the train and arrived back home this evening. I will work at the library from tomorrow until mid August. Just as the weather forecast predicts sunny and warm weather (it has been very miserable so far with heavy rainshowers and cold winds)...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fun workshops

Last week at work I arranged two workshops on biographical material. In essence, I forced my colleagues to do genealogical research! Not in their own families, though. I gave them basic info about famous 20th century Swedes and told them to find that person's parents and grandparents. I provided weblinks and booklists and showed them basic search techniques. In my opinion they did very well. Some were very ambitious and located more details than I asked for. Several of them thought it was fun! And so did I!

The other tasks at work were not so exciting. We have a project involving weeding the reference collection and we wanted to know what books are actually used. We asked the visitors to put the used books on carts instead of back on the shelf. I had the worst week so far, I wrote down the titles of over 100 books and then shelved them properly. It actually seems like the collection is more in demand than we initially thought, which is a good thing. The rest of the week was spent trying to do as much as possible before the summer. I will work for the most part, but several projects require the assistance of colleagues, so we have had many meetings recently.

Today was the first day of the summer pass, which enables you to travel everywhere in Skåne the entire summer. I did remember to buy a pass in time. Today was also the first day with summer routines at work. Honestly, it could have gone better. Somehow we forgot to retrieve books on the third floor of the stacks... Remarkable. And rather embarrassing. We were few staff members today, but that really is no excuse.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mouldy books

I had to drive the storage round twice this week. At the same time I did a project. We are going to move many of the journals from the open collection to the stacks. Before we can do that we have to check if there is actually room for them at the different call numbers. It was a long list and I didn't have time to check all of them, but with the help of the other colleague involved in this project, we got a complete list by the end of the week. I would say we can move back 80% of them to the stacks.

We discovered some water-damaged books at the new storage this week. There was a leaking pipe two years ago and apparently we didn't notice back then that some books had been affected by the water. Now I had to remove about 15 books that looked awful - black mould was growing on them. There is no way we can save them, they will have to be thrown away. Touching mouldy books would really require a different type of gear, but I didn't know what to expect so I didn't have any gloves. I normally don't have to handle "bio-hazard" material...

Saturday was the national holiday but I only noticed that because the library was closed. I had to find something else to do and chose a visit to my favorite mall. It was crowded and not as nice as other times. I had lunch at Ikea and then bought a jar of cloudberry jam. Today I was at work like usual, but this time I did research for someone else. I got a request from a man who will give his wife her family history as a birthday gift. To 75% it was very easy because those ancestors lived in the same parish, but the remaining 25% will be difficult because they originated in Norway. There will be at least two empty boxes on the ancestor chart and that bothers me very much.

The weather here is a little out of the ordinary. It was the coldest May in over 50 years. It has changed now and it's around 16-18 centigrades in the daytime, but I wouldn't say it's warm. It's not a pleasant start of the summer season.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Guided food tour

The week at work was not as busy as the previous one. The number of requests is lower at the end of the semester. I attended five meetings, had desk duty for the last time in many months, went to a medical institution to look at a book collection we will take care of and attended a party for a retiree. The last thing was the most fun.

Thursday afternoon I made use of the last event ticket I got for my birthday. It was a guided tour of the indoor food market. It's rather small and I expected it to be a short tour. I was slightly wrong. It took us 2 hours and 20 minutes to eat our way through the entire market, while we listened to the entertaining guide. We got samples of food everywhere. We started at the fish dealer and he offered fresh oysters. I hesitated, but then decided to try it and survived. At the other places we got seafood wrap, chicken, sushi, thai food, sausage, mushroom soup, cheese and cookies and chocolate for dessert. All of it very high quality. It was marvelous food, I especially liked the soup and wrap plus the desserts. Most of us made purchases.

This weekend I spent some time at work to write on the book. I have most of the text, so the job is mainly to edit it and rearrange the paragraphs. The book will probably be around 80 pages. This weekend I also managed to squeeze in visits to two different malls. The results were one tunic and hygiene products.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Balcony flowers

The week at work was rather varied. Several meetings, like usual. Apart from the normal routines, I have made preparations for a workshop in June, I was asked to evaluate a library service and I unpacked two boxes with microfilms. I spent the weekend at work to add the information I found at the Vadstena archive to the book about Arndt. I didn't quite finish it, mainly because my dear mother called and asked how to operate the TV remote control. A very difficult thing to answer if you don't actually see it in front of you, but after a while I found the instruction manual online and finally she could get the channels back on the screen. Speaking of TV, Sweden actually won the European Song Contest in Vienna yesterday. Impressive. My mother and I did see the Swedish contest live back in February where the final winner participated.

Locally, the biggest news is the opening of a new grocery store. I have been there and the reviews are mixed. It has a slightly higher price range than the other main grocery store and only time will tell if they can all survive. In favor of the new one, it's closer for me and has a fresh deli with personal service.

There are now some flowers on my balcony. My mother shared some of hers and then I got one more here. Blue and yellow ones in the large box and a pink one beside it. It looks pretty nice. The spring weather is rather cold for the season and it's way too early to spend any time on the balcony.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Research in Vadstena

After a complicated four and a half hour trip by three different trains and one bus I arrived in Vadstena Tuesday at noon. I went there to do research at the Regional archive. They have the Swedish Match company archive. The entire Swedish Match archive consists of more than 1000 shelf meters of material. I had "only" requested 51 volumes, containing correspondence, clippings and staff files. It was incredibly interesting to read the correspondence between my great grandfather and his bosses. They discussed everything from importing chlorate and oranges to currency exchange rates and taxes. It's evident that keeping up the normal trade during World War II was close to impossible and they tried to find other suppliers than European ones. Several of my questions were answered by this material. I have found out exactly when he was employed (Nov 11, 1919) and what his salary was (at least some years). After the financial crash of 1932 he was laid off for technical reasons (they couldn't fulfil the statutes of his contract). But he was employed again, with another contract and a considerable pay cut. Others weren't so lucky. Many people lost their jobs at that time.

The archive closed at 8 p.m. that day and I was there until then. The only restaurant I could find was a pizza place, so I went there for a meal. I stayed overnight at a B & B, which was very nice. Old style house with winding stairs. The next morning I made a visit to the abbey church, which is a very large church from the 15th century. It holds the relics of our most famous nun, Saint Bridget (1303-1373). Vadstena is a very picturesque place, but I didn't see much of it as I had to go back to the archive. After one more day of research I was pretty tired and my hand hurt. I had written 32 pages in my notebook. One bus ride and three train rides later I arrived back home late in the evening. It was definitely worth the trip, I have found so many new details about my great grandfather's life and work.

Thursday was a holiday so I got a chance to rest after the archive visit. I spent some time in front of the computer to search for more information about certain things I had read about in the files in Vadstena. Friday I worked, which was rather stressful as we were only three people in the stacks and the other two had desk duty also. In the afternoon I went to the summerhouse. My mother has now moved down for the season. My sister and family were visiting. We did some chores, but also played with the kids and did some minor shopping (my mother wanted to plant flowers in the garden, so we got some). There had been new cabinet doors installed in the kitchen and it looked very nice. My mother is planning on getting new flooring and wallpaper also.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mummified bishop

Last week was fairly busy at work. This entire spring has been unusual when it comes to the number of meetings I have had to attend. I'm a member of several task forces and it's just incredible how many meetings I have been to the past few months. I'm booked almost every day. The most interesting thing that happened last week was something else - a visit to the History museum's storage. Last fall they opened a coffin where a mummified body from the 17th century was placed. It was the bishop of Lund, Peder Winstrup (1605-1679). He was the bishop there even after the Swedes won the war with Denmark and Skåne became Swedish. He was the one who suggested to the Swedish king that Lund should have a university. The museum curator told us that it's thanks to Mr Winstrup we have a job. The university was founded in 1666. His body was well preserved for being so old. It was remarkable to see it. We were given a thorough lecture about the bishop and his life, along with details of his health. They had run him through a CT scan and found that he had had dental caries, tb and gout. His body is a unique opportunity to study the living situation for the people in Lund at the end of the 17th century. The investigations will continue for quite a while.

The weekend was spent shopping at two different malls in the Malmö area, but the results were meagre. A scarf at a second hand store and two tunics. Today I had taken time off to go to Malmö city archive. I did research there occasionally when it was in another building, but they have since moved into a much better place. It's much more modern and easy to access now. I went there to look at a personal archive handed in by an in-law to my great grandmother's family. I knew there would be some information also about them, but it turned out that I already had those details. It was still interesting to see it, it was family history research done about 100 years ago.

Tomorrow I'm going to yet another archive. It's a much longer trip and I hope it will be worth while.