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.
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!
The last few weeks everything has centred around getting my Christmas market ready. This year I tried staying open for two weekends but sadly the weather wasn’t on my side. Rainy and windy, not many people dared to venture out to the island. Although, we still had a great time!
My theme this time was a different xmas market and I think that’s definitely what we had… First weekend I invited a tattoo artist, I got my first tattoo ever and the oldest customer also had her first one, she’s 78. I sold my analog photographs and invited a local to sell his fantastic lamps made out of old cameras. On top of that of course we had homemade cakes for sale and my husbands spicy Indian Daahl soup with freshly baked sourdough bread. We sold out of Nam Prik Phao(Thai chili marmalade) and xmas mustard. I made one quite spicy but the favourite was sweet, full of flavour, a bit of brandy and sooo nice!
The second weekend I invited a band to play, my son and students from his music school, to play acoustic xmas songs, it was so perfect in the barn. They were great!
Yesterday we got a Christmas tree from the harbour. My husband stood guard outside while I made space for the tree in our living room, apparently some kids started the big traditional hunt already(which is really not fare and totally against the rules) and someone got their tree stolen from their garden day after they bought it. If you are interested in what the Big hunt is all about check this link out: The big hunt is on! or read more about it at Easter!
We signed up for an exhibition about a year ago and now the date is coming up very rapidly! The exhibition is made of pictures or any kind of art made with the nature reserve Ersdalen in mind. There are actually two nature reserves on Hönö but Ersdalen is where you get a mix of wild water, woods and amazing rocks.
So we went for a jog and took loads of pictures. My daughter has a plan to draw from a snap of the mobile(of a beer can…?) and I will of course do some kind of photo but haven’t decided what technique yet…
I have been so busy in the darkroom now though, which I’m very happy with! The last few days I’ve used up almost a whole pack of photo paper and almost my whole stack of film, it’s a good sign! I need to be very productive for the Xmas market coming up.
I am in this project created by West Sweden Touristboard, called Meet The Locals. The idea is that anyone can register and visit a Swede(or actually it can be an Italian, English man or else living in Sweden) doing stuff that Swedes do like bake buns, cycle, pick mushrooms, go on a grafitti tour or any of the other 28 activities.
I take my visitors on a walk, talk about how it is to live on the island and how it was in the old days. I also go swimming with them if they like, it’s not a have-to(but I do make clear that I will think less of them if they don’t) and so far about 50 % have dared the water. Very brave!
It is such a nice project. It’s voluntary and I don’t charge anything, although I might in future but always worth the effort. So far I’ve had visitors from Scotland, USA, India, the Netherlands and Singapore. I learn so much every time, things that are not always obvious until afterwards, subtle differences and sometimes of course big ones. Just the way we see things in life, religion, culture, modesty, marriage, politics, freedom of speech etc. It’s also nice to share my life on the Island of Hönö, since it’s the most beautiful place in the world, with someone and also to see it through someone else’s eyes.
Next time I go abroad I will definitely try to find a similar concept, what better way is there to get to know a place than being shown around by a Local?
My daughter ordered a t-shirt online and somehow the parcel got sent to Björkö, one of the other 9 islands surrounding Hönö, so we thought why not make a day-trip out of it?
She wanted to go running, it was so windy we took my moped there, crossing on two ferries and 45min later arrived at Björkö harbour. Björkö is actually really close, if we had the boat in the water we could have gotten there in five minutes. Picked up the parcel and Lo and behold! They had the vegan ice-cream she wanted to try all year! So we had ice-cream in the sun down the harbour, warm like a summers day when out of the wind. We decided to let the ice-cream melt a bit in our bellies and went for a walk with my camera. We found so much to take pictures of, I kicked myself not bringing more film and spent my phone battery(mainly on photographing swan butts and jellyfish). After the walk we got really hungry and decided to go back home to cook but of course we couldn’t pass the sheep/pig/hen cooperative!
We last visited a year or so ago, then the hens were in a yard but now they ran free and had quadrupled if not more! No sheep around but the pigs where basking in the sunlight and the mud. On the ferry we decided on three recipes to cook(vegan of course, since my daughter turned at xmas) and getting back we realised we’d forgotten all about running(well maybe I didn’t forget…). All in all it was a fantastic day, Björkö is so nice and feels good to have made the most of these last Indian summer days.