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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.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Educational week

As a part of the reference collection project four of us walked a few hundred meters to the humanities library to talk to the librarians. They had recently moved their books and had been forced to downsize a lot, turning five different reference collections into one. They had also changed the call number system to Dewey, which we still haven't made any decisions about. It was interesting to see how they had done it, even though their reference books make up less than a tenth of our collection.

Wednesday the social club at work arranged an event many of us attended. One of the last Holocaust survivors came to talk about her experiences. Her origin was in Poland and she had survived walking from there to northwestern Germany and then spent several months in a death camp. Aged 90, she still remembered dates and places, names and faces. She had just made a return visit to Bergen-Belsen, which was liberated by the British forces 70 years ago this April. She said that her body was present but her mind was still back there. It was the first time I had heard anyone talk about these things in person, and it was just as horrible to hear as you can imagine. She talked non-stop for two hours and 20 minutes with the audience in full attention. Very, very educational.

Thursday was the big spring party day for the students and just as I thought there were no visitors in the manuscript reading room. I sat there guarding an empty room. Friday was May 1st, traditionally the day when politicians give speeches and there are labor union demonstrations. I did not attend any of it. Saturday I was at work for a few hours and then I made use of one event-ticket I was given for my birthday. It was a guided city walk, the theme was Women in Lund. It was the first time they arranged it. We got to hear about the wives of professors, housekeepers of prominent persons, women photographers, doctors and authors and a few more. The time span was 1300-1950, so a pretty wide scope. It was quite interesting. The guide even said she had been to my library to do research for it!