Counting down to Christmas..
With the Christmas market coming up in the gallery only less than a couple of weeks to go I am super busy.
This is the busiest time of year for me but still find myself doing crazy things for free, like going swimming for a big travel company to take pictures. I am working on saying no to more things, and should work harder on it, but then every one of these meetings still give me something. Nice people and great memories(in this case quite painful ones).
I agreed to be photographed while going for a swim, which is something I do all year around, but then it was -can you you swim a bit this way and back? Can you go under once again? etc. More than 5 minutes in 7°C water and rain felt like an hour and it took all day to defrost but I’m still happy I did it and can’t share now but the pictures will looked great! (and yes it looks like it’s almost nighttime but that’s this time of year in Sweden for you)
Wow I realise I haven’t posted anything since Easter…which is a good sign I think!
This summer has been awesome, kept the gallery open every weekend and was totally taken by all the visitors I had. Both tourists and islanders found their way to the gallery and I sold out of jams, homemade cordial, fika(Swedish word for cakes and coffee) every weekend. My husband tried out making pizza and it was such a success we carried out the rest of summer and the last day sold out in one hour!
Not only work though, we had time for swimming, buying kayaks and enjoying summer.
Relaxing and gathering strength after Easter…we had a fantastic time! A little while ago we had an expert on trees out to look at our three christmas trees in my garden for a price suggestion. They weren’t pretty but I really wanted to keep them since my grandad planted them a very long time ago. He planted one for each child, he had four but didn’t plant one for the youngest before he accidentally drowned out fishing. During this year one of the trees died and the others looked dying. I would be very expensive to cut them down. I spoke to a neighbour about it and day before Easter three Christmas tree hunters(in my age) knocked on the door claiming to be tree experts and asking if they could take one of the trees as the centre piece for the big bonfire, how happy was I?? So they turned up in larger numbers on Easter eve morning, cut it down, dragged it behind a car and pulled it up the mountain!
I stayed for many hours watching everyone build the bonfire. All the trees that kids around the island had collected since Christmas where brought out in daylight and pulled up the mountain. It’s a huge family convention, kids from the age of 3 to adult help out and have a great time.
The whole tradition is not only positive, there are a lot of break-ins and fights but overall I think it’s fantastic and hope it carries on for many years to come. In the old days they put a lot of tar, led and whatever they could find that burnt on the fire which caused toxic fumes but now it’s mainly trees and this year they used oil from the chip-shops.
In the evening we went to watch it burn, 1319 trees, lots of people and an amazing feeling! The day after we returned and my tree was still there, kept upright by metal wires, still smouldering many hours later.
Recently the sea has been absolutely irresistible. Still a bit chilly in the air but we’ve had some fantastic sunny days. Last week I went running and the water was like a mirror(this is quite rare living on a windy island). I ended up swimming in my underwear, the jog back home wasn’t as nice but it was definitely worth it! Then the other day my daughter caught the swim-bug to. She’s not been in since December, then she stayed in too long and got too cold which put her off. Now she was braver than me and dipped her head as well, even after me telling her not to(or maybe because?).
Yesterday I went out kayaking. Friluftsfrämjandet, roughly translated Outdoor association, invites people to come along paddling every Thursday and I jumped on the offer. The weather couldn’t have been better and it was gorgeous. Hard work though, I’ve only done it a few times so there’s probably a lot to improve on my technique..it looks so easy when everyone else does it? We paddled for about an hour, stopped for “fika” and then returned while the sun was setting. So beautiful!
My last post was bitter snowy winter…guess I’ve been busy. Now we’ve had a wonderful spring for quite a while. Lot’s of blossom and sunshine! I am terribly late with planting this year but plan to catch up soon. Spent a day re-building my veg-patch frames. I’ve added a huge one and I’m planning to add more. The less lawn to cut the better…plus more veg for the vegan daughter. As always the chicks are such great company. We take our lunch breaks on the stairs and they first start with cleaning their feathers then stretch out basking in the sunlight. I’m having conversations with Maggie, our oldest hen, noticed recently that everytime I say something to her she replies with a purring noise so I’m keeping it up. Also trying to make Oggy the cat to say hello(“Cats who say hello” on Youtube..) but we’ve been at it for at least five years or so and he’s not making much progress..
This year I’m mainly planting spinach, spuds, flowers, zucchini and herbs but added a few things recently. Someone tipped me off about the Sponge-cucumber so I had to order a bag and strangely 15 more seed bags made their way into the order basket.
I have also maximised the time outside doing photography in the sun. I have so many old photography papers that would not be of good use in the darkroom so I’ve used them for Lumen photograms instead and today I made wet cyanotypes with spring flowers. If you would like to know more about the techniques please check out alternative photography.com.
Winter has come to the island! There was so much snow last weekend. I ended up showering snow until I had blisters on my hand, best work-out! I actually enjoy shovelling snow but by day two it wasn’t as much fun anymore.
This morning I had another visitor through the project Meet The Locals. Katerina from Greece came for a walk with me in the beautiful, wintery nature reserve. Luckily there was no wind. I usually take a longer tour and circle the reserve but today there was just too much snow. My poor guest ended up with snow to her knees and wet socks and shoes as a result so we went back to my place for hot tea and cake. I so much enjoy these visits! So far I’ve had guests from India, Singapore, Scotland, The Netherlands, America and now Greece. It’s always great to hear about life in their countries and also to see my island through their eyes. I did bring my analog camera along today but we were too busy talking to take any pictures(not counting the mobile then). I always offer to take my guests swimming but Katerina politely said no, think she got cold enough anyways…
This month has been so random. Rain, snow, wind, still days and above all…so many fantastic sunrises and sunsets. I’ve really gotten back into running and swimming in whatever the weather. Such a luxury living on an island!