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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Play Day at Furuboda

The dinner with my colleagues last Thursday was very nice. It was the second part of the annual bus excursion arranged by the social club. The others had been to a castle and a limestone quarry in northern Skåne, but I decided only to participate in the dinner, since I grew up near those places and have been there several times. The restaurant in Malmö provided an excellent selection of fish, meat, cheese and a marvelous dessert table. All in buffet style and of course you eat too much. There were six different cakes, fruit and candy for dessert and I tried five of the cakes... Very tasty.

Friday I went again to the summerhouse, and Saturday it was time for Play Day at Furuboda. It was the tenth time, and it is by now a big organization. Over 120 volunteers and 5000 visitors (a new record). The area was packed with kids and their parents. Everything was for free, the only cost was for food. The attractions included all sorts of games and sports, carousels, horse & buggy rides, hay trailer rides, boat rides, jumping castles, face painting, computer games, music making and performances by pop idols. The local police and fire department had presentations, and Pippi Longstocking and other children's book characters visited "in person". My mother helped out at one of the carousels and I instructed the kids (and some adults) going on the segways (an electric scooter you stand on). After six hours (including an eight minute lunchbreak) we were absolutely exhausted. But I cannot explain in words how fun it was to see the kids enjoy the day's activities. Several parents thanked me for being there, and said that this is an event they never miss.

The activities the following days were, for obvious reasons, not that extensive. We basically rested. My mother did paint the window frames of the house, but she did a little each day for three days, so it was not a big job. Apart from that we solved a few crossword puzzles. One visit to Åhus to get groceries also. Yesterday I returned home.

Today I visited my workplace, but only for a short while. I returned some books and then I walked another block to a newly renovated and extended building called Lux (means light in Latin). Five former humanities institutions have now moved there, and today was the grand opening. We got to visit the staff rooms, cafeteria, lecture halls and library. I got a guided tour of the library, which is on three floors with brand new interiors and book shelves (some compact systems). The furniture was all new (mostly in orange and black) and there were many places for the students to sit and study. I did notice that the shelf space was limited, and that might become a problem later. But it was a very nice place and I hope they will enjoy working there. Most of the former libraries used to be housed in old buildings without functional elevators, so this is a big improvement when it comes to accessibility.

A completely different thing - there is an election coming up here in mid September. The authorities send out the form you need to vote for parliament, regional and local government to all who are eligable to vote - several million people. This time they didn't proofread the form before sending it out. There was a significant spelling mistake on it. Because of this they had to send out a correction to everybody. A rather costly mistake, since postage is expensive here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Freedom again

Last week was the last week at work for several months. My colleagues were not that happy about it, but I have taken leave this fall to get some projects done. Most of them relate to genealogy. I have started on the book about Aunt Olga, but it goes slowly. I need to do more research and I think I will also have to visit the town in Halland province where she lived. There is supposed to be a painting in the museum there, which is of one of the ships her father and brother-in-law sailed on.

The weather has changed and is now very wet, windy and pretty chilly. It's only around 18-20 centigrades. It's a big difference and I have now been able to catch up on the chores at home. It was way too hot and humid before, so I did very little apart from working. I have also gone through my book collection and thrown out some of the books. I let my colleagues take what they wanted first, and then gave the rest on to charity. I think I have given about ten bags with various items to charity this summer. Despite this, I still can't fit all of my clothes into the wardrobes. It's the aim, so I will have to throw out even more.

This evening I'm going to a dinner with my colleagues and tomorrow I will travel to the summerhouse. My mother is still there, and this Saturday we have signed up to be volunteers at Play Day at Furuboda.

Monday, August 11, 2014

One more weekend at the summerhouse

Last week was pretty ordinary at work. I brought the new employee to the storage and she liked the cool temperatures indoors (17 centigrades). It was about 35 in the corridor outside our storage. I showed her around in both stacks.

Friday at lunchtime I took the train and a bus to get to the summerhouse. My sister and her family were still visiting, but there were also some additions. My second cousin and his wife had arrived to spend some time with us. It was his wife who found me through a genealogy query on the internet, it's quite a few years ago now. We meet usually once a year, and this time it was our turn to host the visit. We started out by going to the ocean, and most of us jumped in. The waves were not as high as last time, but it was still fun.

Saturday my mother and I went with our guests on a tour of northeastern Skåne in their car. We first went to the fleamarket in Åhus, and then continued on to more fleamarkets in Kristianstad. We all made some small purchases, my mother got some clothes, shoes and a lamp, for instance. After lunch we headed out to an area east of town called Kjugekull. It's a natural reserve with hiking trails and it's popular to go rock climbing there. 20 years ago my sister and I ran the summercafé at the local museum at Kjugekull, and it was interesting to see what it looked like now. They have more space than we did, one more room. The ice-cream was pretty good. We walked on one of the trails and made it to the highest point 85 meters above sea-level. Not that high, but the view over the lakes and forests is wonderful. On the way back my mother and I were dropped off at a bus stop and our guests returned to their place in mid-northern Skåne.

Sunday my sister and her family went home again and the remaining two rested. My mother in the hammock and I in a deck chair. I returned directly to work this morning, a two hour journey.

The weather is cooler now, about 22 centigrades and much more tolerable. The extreme heat we have had caused many problems, both health issues and major fires and traffic problems. A gigantic forest fire is raging in Västmanland province. It started twelve days ago and is just barely under control now, thanks to rain. They have used enormous resources to try to stop it; 17 helicopters, four special water distributing airplanes (flown in from Italy and France!), military personnel, rescue personnel from all over Sweden and many volunteers have done their best to limit the damages. One person has died and 25 homes have been lost. Thousands of people are evacuated and have no idea if their houses will be there when they are allowed to go back again. A terrible situation.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekend at the summerhouse

Last week was more normal, both at work and at home. Sunday I did absolutely nothing, as I was very tired after my mother's visit. At work the only notable thing was the fire alarm went off Friday morning, and we had to go outside and wait for a while. The mat is being removed in a staircase, and that job yields a lot of concrete dust, so the fire alarms react to it. We knew about this and had only been waiting for this to happen. Apart from this, the weather is causing some problems at the library too. It's incredibly hot to work on some floors and we only do the necessary tasks. The janitor has by now bought almost 20 AC units to place in our offices. I got a second one today. Even though it's raining a lot right now, it's still very humid.

At home I continued to go through my cupboards, and threw out some old things I don't use anymore. I will give these things on to charity. Tuesday I did the laundry, and that was an ordeal because of the weather.

Friday afternoon I went to the summerhouse. My sister and her family are visiting also. We did the usual fleamarket round, naturally. Sunday it was again almost 30 centigrades and we couldn't stand it, so we went to the beach. We were not the only ones there - it was fairly crowded. It was great to jump into the ocean and we had large inflatable toys with us to play with (both kids and adults). A very nice afternoon, definitely. I decided not to go home in the evening and from what I can gather that was the right decision. There had been lots of trains cancelled due to lightning and fires on the west side of Skåne. Instead I crawled out of bed at 05.15 this morning to take a bus and a train to work. It took about two hours and it worked surprisingly well. But I'm pretty tired.

Today was the first workday for a new colleague in the stacks. It's a woman who worked here 15 years ago, and she remembered quite a lot from that time. But many things have also changed here, so we took the grand tour.