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Sunday, October 16, 2016

New database

There is a new database out that is very interesting. We have been waiting for it for quite a while. It's digitized Swedish-American newspapers from 1850 and on to about the 1930s. Coverage varies a lot. The database is hosted by the Minnesota Historical Society and it's free to search here: http://www.mnhs.org/newspapers/swedishamerican. I have spent many extra hours at work this past week to search this database and I have found many clues, both for my own research and other's. I was able to find information about an early emigrant for a colleague. I noticed that this database is also good for finding information about events in Sweden because these Swedish language newspapers quoted the Swedish press. We have very few or really no databases of this kind in Sweden, so this can be used for locating very local news from the 19th century. The actual text is interpreted with OCR software which makes it easy to text-search (even though it sometimes gets it wrong, it's a marvelous tool). I found several news items from my hometown, some were about house fires, auctions and the renovation of the church in 1948. Pretty amazing to find that in an American-based newspaper.

At work we waited for the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It turned out to be a rather surprising choice this year, Bob Dylan. Nevertheless, it took three minutes before the first book about Dylan was requested from the stacks. It's the same thing almost every year.

This weekend I made a visit to the nearest mall to get groceries, basically. There were high winds and I didn't dare to go on any longer trips. I have also spent a lot of time with the above mentioned research, because this new database has made me dig up several old cases.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Lots of shelving

The second work week was even more straining than the first. I had to do double desk duties, two storage rounds and on Friday afternoon I went with a colleague to the storage again to do some much needed shelving. We are constantly lagging behind with shelving. It is incredibly boring and we all hate it. The only good thing about this was the discovery of four missing books in the technology section. We have also had a service done to the electronic shelving system and now the shelves are much better to deal with. We had a lot of problems with it, the shelves got stuck and we often couldn't retrieve all the requested books.

At work many of the people on my floor had been ordered to move their offices. The exact reason for this has passed me by, but I heard the order came from the management and it was not negotiable. I am one of few people that didn't have to move. This past week it was pretty chaotic with lots of people carrying their desks(!), chairs, computers and work materials to other rooms. It will take a while to learn where everybody has their new offices.

This weekend I was pretty tired and didn't do much. I went to the local grocery store and then made my own pizza for dinner. I cheated and got a ready-made kit with dough and tomato sauce. I had tomatoes, feta cheese, chicken and bacon on it. In my opinion it turned out great. Over the weekend I have also done some reading. One of my friends has written a book about an old church near my hometown in northern Skåne. It was very interesting to read. He and the co-author had produced a very detailed account of the history of the church (which is believed to be from around 1200 AD).

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Back to work

I survived the first work week in quite a while. It wasn't a great shock to come back this Monday but it was still pretty tough. Lots of people came bringing tasks and questions for me and there were large amounts of emails to check. I had to drive the storage round twice during the week and also fill in for a colleague on vacation. One of the weirdest questions I got this week was if we could lend out 20 shelfmeters of nice-looking books for decorative purposes for a special event in late October. I think we can answer yes to that, but we have to discuss it a little bit more first.

This weekend I have mostly rested, but I spent a few hours of Saturday in Helsingborg. Had a nice lunch at a 1950's style cafe and then went to the mall. At home there is now heather in the flower box on the balcony. The tomato plant is still alive and I will probably be able to get another four tomatoes from it. We are preparing for the dark season here. It's about 15 degrees and the rain storms have started to come. I removed the balcony furniture and made some changes in my closets.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Trip to Amsterdam

I attended a meeting at work this Wednesday and while I was there I booked another trip. I went to Amsterdam Thursday. It's only an hour flying time but of course the waiting time is rather long. I arrived in late afternoon and took the train in to the city center. I walked down the main street and did some shopping pretty soon after getting there. I got a top at C&A, which is a rather cheap clothing store (it's also in Germany). The souvenir shops sell all kinds of things relating to typically Dutch items, for instance clogs, windmills and tulips. I walked to the hotel further south and checked in. The standard was acceptable and I got a good room facing the back of it, so it was quiet. I rested a short while and then went out for dinner. I ended up at Hard Rock Cafe, which turned out to be situated close by the hotel. The hickory ribs and chicken combo was very tasty, and it was the first time I had that at HRC. On the way back to the hotel I bought a waffle with chocolate. The bakeries seem to have many incredibly sweet goods to sell there.

Friday I got up early and walked to the Rijksmuseum. It opens at 9 and I got there a few minutes later. It's a newly renovated museum with some famous paintings. One of them is the Night Watch by Rembrandt. It's a very large painting, guarded by two people in uniform. I was particularly interested in the 17th century paintings and looked at some by Ruisdael, Vermeer and others. I also walked through the other galleries with 17th century dolls houses, Delft porcelain, old coins, furniture and many other paintings. It was a huge museum and I couldn't see all of it. What I did get to see was interesting, though. I walked further south to a market street and spent most of the afternoon looking at the goods for sale. It was everything from fresh fish, fruit and cheese to scarves, clothes, souvenirs and toys. There were three stalls where they had plus size clothes, and those stalls also had the stores behind, so you could try the clothes on. I bought some tops here, some of them at a very affordable price. On the way back to the hotel I had a meal at a pancake house, a large pancake with icecream and strawberries. Pretty good. At the hotel I rested for a while and then went back out again to look in some other stores. I found a shoe store with large sizes and was amazed by the 25 racks with my size, but sadly the shoes were not wide enough for me. My feet are both big and wide, which is a problem. In the evening I had a nice pizza with smoked salmon in a small and very noisy restaurant in the tourist area.

Saturday it was time to return home. I got up early and walked up the tourist streets to the train station. When I got there I saw signs saying the trains to the airport were cancelled due to construction work over the weekend. The instructions on how to get to the airport were not the best I have seen, but in essence I first had to take a train to another station and then go on replacement bus. So there was no bus service from the main station, which is remarkable considering the amount of tourists in Amsterdam. I'm glad that I'm used to travelling because I could figure this out. At the airport, getting through the security checkpoint was an ordeal, to put it mildly. The lines were very long and it was not a practical arrangement. I remember hating this airport already in the 1990s, when I had to change planes there to go to the US, and I'm sorry to say that it is still how I feel about it. It was not a pleasant experience. Of course the gate was as far away as it possibly could be also. I finally arrived back home in the evening, pretty tired. 

My visit to Amsterdam was rather nice but I was not impressed by much (Rijksmuseum excluded). I have been in a lot of cities and Amsterdam was not a surprise, since it resembled Copenhagen. The large number of canals made it difficult to cross over to the other side, if you saw a store you wanted to go to. The trams and the huge amounts of bikes made it a special place, and the night life seems to be very hectic. I can understand the appeal to some extent, but I think this was my first and only visit to Amsterdam.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week at the summerhouse

The day after I returned from London I went to the summerhouse. My sister and niece also visited. We had great weather, 25 degrees and sunny. I jumped into the ocean a couple of times, mostly because my niece insisted on it. It was not warm in the water but it was acceptable. We made some excursions: fleamarket, harvest festival in apple country and nature preserve with a small waterfall. We also picked mushrooms, painted the outdoor plantboxes and did some garden work. My mother and I did some volunteering at Furuboda, helping out at a music event. I also drove some visitors home late that night. Apart from this, I relaxed a lot in the sun on the deck. It was the last warm days of summer. It is now cooler, 18 degrees and cloudy.

After a very nice week at the summerhouse I went back home. I spent last weekend doing research at work. I got a new request. The people asking didn't know what had happened to their grandfather and thought that he had left the family under suspicious circumstances but it turned out to be a very normal death by tb in his 30s. It was somewhat of a relief, as people who go absent without giving a destination are incredibly hard to find in any records.

My father reported that the annual moose hunt in Jämtland went well. They got two moose.
Our Australian relative Brianna, who competed in the Paralympics in Rio, ended up just outside the medals. She came in fourth on the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 meters event. We couldn't see it live from here, unfortunately. But we are very impressed by her abilities and hope to see her in some competitions in the future, as she is only 18 years old. It's amazing that the infant girl I met in Australia back in 1998 is now competing in athletics at that level!

Friday, September 9, 2016

London trip

I have been in London for a few days. The number one purpose was to go shopping. I started from home Tuesday morning and went to the airport in Copenhagen. There were large amounts of commuters on that train. At the airport I happened to meet two colleagues; one was going to a conference in Zurich and the other one was going to Tuscany on vacation. I went to Gatwick, an hour and a half flying time. Then I continued on by their national train service to London Bridge, and changed to subway. I ended up at a mall in the outskirts of town. I got three tops at the plus size store there. Returned to the city center and walked along Oxford Street, the big shopping street. Didn't get much, only one tunic. I walked a great distance that day and was very tired when I got to the hotel. It turned out to be a slightly better hotel than I normally stay at in London. Everything functioned, to my surprise. The bed was a single bed and not what I'm used to but it worked. The breakfast was not worth mentioning. Even though it was included I didn't eat it.

Wednesday morning I took the subway quite far north. I ended up in a suburb that has seen it's glory days. But there is a plus size store there that I always find clothes in. Also this time, a long dress which was on sale. The only one left on the rack and it was my size. I couldn't believe it. I returned down to the city, near Liverpool Street. An area I haven't been in before. There was a handcraft market and vintage stores. Interesting but made no purchases. Had lunch at a diner, a chicken burger with mozzarella sticks. Very nice. Spent the afternoon at the British Museum. My first visit there. I saw the exhibits on Greek and Egyptian sculpture, Greek pottery, the Rosetta Stone and the built-up pieces of the Parthenon. The Rosetta Stone in particular was interesting, it's a large stone (similar to a runestone) which has three parts of text, Hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek. This meant that it was possible to fully decipher the Hieroglyphic script in the early 19th century. The stone is from 196 B.C.

I went back to the hotel to rest as it was very hot and humid, and I had walked far. Later in the evening I changed to the dress and went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. I had a relatively spicy pizza with chicken. Thursday I got up late since I wanted to avoid the rush hour traffic. I checked out and took the subway one station, intending to change there. When I got to the platform it said the next train would arrive in 16 minutes. An eternity in this day and age. There had been an accident. I was given an alternate route by the staff (which was very concerned about the passengers having to wait for such a long time), but I said it didn't matter that much to me. I finally got to the western part of London, Shepherd's Bush. There is a very large shopping center there, Westfield. There are several hundred stores. I knew of two stores with plus sizes, New Look and Evans. Made some purchases in both of them. After this my backpack was absolutely full. I spent part of the afternoon at the shopping center and then took the subway and national train to Gatwick. I was early because there was a train strike but I didn't notice anything of it. I spent the evening at the airport, looking in stores and having dinner (a very tasty Cobb salad). The plane was late to start with and it didn't get any better when the airport was closed off after an incident on the runway. We finally arrived in Copenhagen at 23.30. I made it onboard the last possible train and came home at 01.15.

In total I bought a dress, a pair of short pants, a swimsuit, a scarf, a long jacket, six tops and some souvenirs. It was an ok visit. It was surprisingly hot weather and that made it an ordeal, since I have to try the garments on. It's not more expensive for me to buy clothes in London, the prices (at least in the stores I go to) are about the same as home. But the plus size collections are more interesting than here. There is simply more to choose from in London.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Two excursions

It has been yet another long weekend at work to do research. I'm beginning to see the end of it. It's two interesting cases. I have noticed that the 18th century Småland records are sometimes very hard to decipher. It is certainly challenging but I learn a lot. This research meant my first encounter with workers at iron mills in Småland.

I did two excursions last week. I was in Ängelholm, a picturesque town on the northwest coast of Skåne. Didn't do much there, just looked in the nice shops. Got some salt licorice, which was very tasty. I also went to Tomelilla, which is in the southeast corner of Skåne. It took over an hour and a half to get there by train. There is a store that sells plus size clothes in the center of the village. It turned out to be an expensive visit. I got two tops there. Also went to the large discount store  and was surprised to see some racks with large sized clothes. Got one more top there and some candy.The local pizza place was pretty ok, had a chicken pizza.