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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Midsummer weekend

It took two and a half hours to get to my mother's place. The bus from Kristianstad was delayed already from the beginning. Lots of people were going to Åhus, the nearest beach is there.

It has been a wonderful weekend. Perfect weather in my opinion. Warm, but not stifling hot. Fairly sunny, with some clouds. I relaxed in the folding chair on the deck for a while. We were really quite active. We (my mother had two friends visiting also) walked to the beach several times (very cold water), we participated in the quiz walk arranged by the home owner's association (we didn't win) and we rode bikes to the forest to see how far the blueberries had developed. Friday, Midsummer's Eve, we watched the folk dancers perform some of the old Swedish dances, with complicated movements and turns. The costumes were very pretty, but must have been very hot - most of the fabric is wool. When they had finished the performance they invited the kids to join them in "Små grodorna" [Little frogs] and other easier dances around the maypole. In the evening we had the traditional food. Pickled herring, eggs, potatoes, sour cream with chives, crisp bread and cheese. Ice-cream and fresh strawberries for dessert. Very delicious.

Both Saturday and Sunday we had lunch at Furuboda. Pretty good food also there and it's a buffet, so you always eat too much. This afternoon I returned home by bus and train.

This upcoming week I will work two days and then go back to my mother's place. It's time for the annual flea market at Furuboda (it's on Friday) and she is the main organizer. There are more items than ever before, so it's going to be hard work.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pretty bad cold

I was right. I have had a pretty bad cold the entire week. Nothing to stay at home for (no fever), but I have worked shorter hours and have avoided the heaviest chores. Another colleague is also sick (the same thing), but the weakling has been at home all days this week. It's a man.

Starting this week the library has shorter opening hours. This gives us more time to do other things. We have started on more projects; rearranging collections, moving collections, and making lists of certain books. Most of these projects have to take place in the storage facilities, because that's where the messy collections are. Not fun at all, but necessary.

It seems like the summer weather has finally arrived. It's rather warm, about 20 centigrades, and sunny. This is the time when I start to think it's generally unpleasant. I can't stand hot climate. I hardly ever take vacation in mid-summer.

This upcoming weekend is the Midsummer holiday. We have Friday off, so I'm going to visit my mother on the east coast this evening after work. The bus now goes all the way down to her village, so she will not have to come and get me in Åhus. But the trip (train+bus) is going to take two hours.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Royal wedding

Saturday was a big day for the crown princess Victoria of Sweden. She finally got her prince - Daniel. They were married in Stockholm and everything was broadcast live from early morning until after midnight. There were 500 000 people in town to cheer as they rode in horse carriage through the streets afterwards. Even I, who am not that interested in royalty, watched a fair bit of the ceremony on TV. It was a magnificient wedding, without a doubt. The greatest thing was that it was very obvious that they married for love. Not always a given thing in royal circles. It was reported that the guests had a great time and the last ones left at five the next morning. It must have been quite a party.

My own Saturday morning was spent shopping. I don't think anyone is surprised at this. I started at the flea market in Lund and then took the bus to Malmö. I had heard of a store that sells beads and other items to make your own necklaces, bracelets etc. It was a very busy place. The woman in front of me in line bought beads for over 1300 SEK. That's a lot. I bought clasps for my mother, and didn't even spend one tenth of that amount. I went to some more shops in town, but there wasn't much else of interest, so I went back home to watch TV.

Sunday I went shopping again, this time in Helsingborg. There is a trunk fleamarket on Sunday mornings, and it was the first time I was there. Quite far to walk from the station and I didn't get much - a Tupperware bowl. Then I took the bus to the mall at the opposite end of town. I hoped that the stores with plus sizes would have a sale, but only one of them did. I got some small things there and then went back home again.

This morning I woke up with a sore throat. Very annoying. It's still sore and I guess it will turn into a bad cold or something. I'm consoling myself with chocolate ice-cream, but it helps very little.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer sales

Monday morning my mother returned home, and I went to work like usual. I was a little tired, but not too much. My colleagues enjoyed the candy I had bought in Germany. It has slowed down at the library now. It seems like most of the students have left town. The scholars, however, are still here. They challenge us by asking for rather obscure material. At the end of the semester we have lots of returns, but this year we have had a better situation than other years. We are in sync with everything, actually. There is of course a list of about 18 summer projects we have to do, so we will not be idle.

This Tuesday the summer pass on the trains and buses was introduced. It's a card for the entire Skåne region and it lasts for two months. The card I normally get is only valid between Kävlinge and Lund, so other travel is usually limited during the year. Apart from using it for regular travel to and from work, I also make excursions to other places. I started already the first day by going by bus after work to the second hand store in Åkarp. I found some Swedish style souvenirs there. Then I continued on another bus three stops to the big mall at Burlöv. There the stores had started the summer sales (it's early, they start next week normally). I found a pair of jeans at an affordable price, and also two tops.

Wednesday afternoon I was in Malmö. I visited my favorite store there, Gray's. It's a store that sells American style food, candy, and memorabilia. I got some chocolate bars. One jewelry store had everything half price off, and I got a necklace and matching bracelet.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trip to Germany

Last Monday I received a publication in the mail from the Göinge Historical Society, containing different articles. It's their annual publication with articles relating to the history of that area (northeastern Skåne). The travel diary of Nils Nilsson, my relative who emigrated to Australia in 1909, was transcribed in it. Also with some details about his family and photos. I was involved in the process of putting it together, but most of the work was done by someone else. I read the diary again, and it's really amazing that he was on this journey for two months with wife and four small children.

Last week was student graduation week for the high schools. There were quite a lot of noisy teenagers in town, waving flags and singing that "school is out". There were parties and balls in town also. Several times I saw young women in ball dresses taking the bus at 7.15 AM home from the party.

Wednesday evening my mother came to stay here over night. Early Thursday morning we drove to a bus station near Malmö. We were going on an arranged bus trip to northern Germany. This was my mother's birthday gift from her daughters. We were 43 passengers, mostly elderly people from Skåne. We went over the bridge to Denmark (it was the first time my mother had done that - it has been there for ten years)! Further down to Rödby, where we embarked on the ferry to Puttgarden (45 minute crossing time), and then on to a small town in Schleswig province for lunch. It was a quick stop also in another town, Mölln, with houses in medieval style. We arrived at our hotel in the evening. It was a small rural town named Fallingbostel. There were sheep grazing outside our window, and chickens in a field in front of the building. Very nice place. Dinner was three courses; asparagus soup, chicken stew and raspberry mousse. Very tasty. In the evening we went kegel-playing. Kegel is similar to bowling, but the bowl was smaller. It was the men against the women, and it was a tight game. We had to play one extra round to get a winning team - the men won. It was great fun.

Friday morning we went to Lüneburg, a town further northeast. We visited the salt museum there. Lüneburg was a Hanseatic town and had for a long time, 950 until 1980, been exporting salt. The water from the ground contains 26% salt. In the early days they extracted it by heating the water in leadvats, which meant that the workers died from poisoning usually before 30 years of age. A tough job.

After the museum tour, our guide Malin took us on a trip in the center of town. There were many old buildings made of bricks with wooden frameworks. We also visited the Johannes church. The ground had become unstable because of the salt works, so the tower was leaning two meters. My mother and I went for lunch at a restaurant where the waitress didn't know one word of English. It was kind of interesting because it meant that I had to practice my German. I have spoken it on very rare occasions since I learned it in school more than 20 years ago. It seemed to work out though, because we got what we ordered - fish and potatoes. Very nice meal and also affordable. After some minor shopping in the touristy shops, we went back to the bus. At departure time one person was still missing, and it created some problems when seven people went out to look for him. He came back by himself 30 minutes later (he lost orientation in the town), but then one of the seven couldn't be reached (no cell phone). We got an hour delayed there, but we had a margin. In the evening there was yet again a three-course meal at the hotel; broccoli soup, a meat dish, and jello for dessert. My mother got a mushroom casserole. Very nice.

Saturday morning we went by bus to the other side of the town. There was a stable at an inn, where they had horse and carriage tours. We were about 20 people who went on a carriage, drawn by three large horses. We went out in the fields, they grow a lot of potatoes there. We stopped by at a sheep pasture, and the driver let his bordercollie out into the field to round up the sheep. He ran very fast and managed to get the sheep moving in whatever direction he was told. Impressive. We continued on the carriage to a natural preserve. This area is a part of the Lüneburger Heide, a large heath. Most of it is farmland now, and the only areas with genuine heath are preserves. We went for a walk on the heath. It was sandy soil with heather, juniper and grazing sheep. We had lunch outdoors, goulasch soup. They had forgotten the asparagus soup for my mother, but when the rest of us had finished, the chef came with it in his car. We returned to the stable and went on the bus again to another nearby town. We visited a bee keeper and he gave a short lecture on the history of his business and showed us old beehives made of straw. We also bought some honey products there. The dinner in the evening was tomato soup, three kinds of meat, two kinds of potatoes, chanterelle sauce, with icecream for dessert. Delicious. No risk of starving on these trips.

Sunday we checked out and left at 9 in the morning. On the way to Lübeck we handed in the bus company cross-word puzzle we had solved (it was difficult), and to our surprise we won the prize - a small marzipan pig. We arrived in Lübeck just before noon and Malin gave a short guided tour. It was yet another picturesque Hanseatic town with old buildings in different styles. We had lunch at Niederegger, which is really a marzipan shop. They also have a café with a large selection of cakes. We had a ham lunch and then we made some purchases in the store. We made a short visit to the museum, where we learned that Niederegger was founded in 1806. They export marzipan to 35 countries and is one of the largest manufacturers. There was an apprentice sitting in the museum, making small figures of colorful marzipan. It really is a handcraft. In the afternoon we continued north, and made it on to an early ferry (Malin rushed to the ticket office and back). It was the same way home, Puttgarden to Rödby and then through Denmark, over the bridge and on to the bus station. My mother and I made it back to Kävlinge at about 8 PM. It was a very nice trip, we had a good time and got to see beautiful places.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weather changes

The warm weather stayed until Sunday. It has been very pleasant. About 20 centigrades and sunny. When it gets warmer in July (?) it's too hot to even think. Today the rain has poured down the entire time, though. Very strange weather this year.

The sunny weather inspired me to get some strawberries in the market. They were not Swedish, it's too early still. But even so, they tasted really good with chocolate icecream and whipped cream.....

This Saturday I started at the flea market (got some Tupperware items), continued at the market in the square (got apples and carrots), and then spent the afternoon at work (to use the computer). It's a rather practical routine, because I can get fresh vegetables from the market and place them in the kitchen at work, to have with the lunches the following week.

Sunday was mainly cleaning and laundry day. My mother is coming to visit again and part of the apartment wasn't presentable. Sunday was also our national holiday, sometimes called the Swedish flag day. I didn't notice it that much. There were some programs on TV with music and speeches.

It might take about a week before the next entry gets written here. My mother and I are going on a weekend trip on Thursday. More details later.....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Picnic in the park

There are still lots of returns, but we are managing so far. The time has come when the scholars are requesting more material than usual. They don't have time to do any research during the semester, because they also teach. When the summer comes, we get more visitors in the manuscript reading room and they ask for a wide variety of materials. Some of it very difficult to find. Like the book by Ovid someone wanted today. After hours of searching it was clear that a librarian (over 200 years ago) had made a mistake cataloging it. We had two copies of the book, both of them bound in volumes with other items as well. I need to know what the first item of the volume is, otherwise I can't locate the book. For some reason, the librarian had forgotten to state that on the catalog card. Luckily (for me), the Royal Library had the same book bound the same way, so I found it. But it was very tricky.

Speaking of books, I have started to make an inventory of my book collection at home. Only the ones dealing with emigration to North America. I have about 200 books on that subject. I noticed last weekend when I was at the second hand book store that I really can't remember what books I already have.

Yesterday evening the social club arranged a picnic with a boules tournament in the city park. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, because it was the first sunny day in a long time. We had bagels and drinks, and then we played boules on the gravel walks. It was quite fun, even though we were equally bad at it. It took a couple of hours to get a winning team (three guys from my library), and they were awarded a colorful salad bowl each. It seems like we had managed to arrange yet another successful event, and we will probably do this again next year.