So I had the yearly exhibition in the gallery/barn for the Island Art Wave(Konstvågen). 100 artists open up their studios for the public. As usual I tried not to stress it before the weekend but ended up being super stressed. It paid off though and I think we had record sales on the Saturday! A lovely weekend with great people, sold many pictures and lots of “fika”(coffee and homemade cakes). We doubled the amount of smoked salmon and sourdough bread but still sold out on the first day!
The weather in Sweden has been extreme, it didn’t rain from May until this Monday. On Sunday there was a huge fire at one of the other islands, Björkö, in our end of the archipelago. Luckily it was put out in a few hours with the help of islanders, fire department from Gothenburg, ships spraying water and 4 helicopters water bombing the area. Luckily only a garage burned down and a few houses got zinged and smoke damaged by the fire, no persons got injured. Then today it got really windy again, a warm wind, very strange clouds and I had a message from my mum saying -Don’t go swimming!! Apparently the water had suddenly receded, sinking the water level about 1.5 meters and it all came back again within 5 minutes. Crazy! When we’ve been on holiday in England we have been warned about the tide but in Sweden it is unheard of, the water might change slowly over night but like this??
So we skipped out on swimming today but luckily we had an amazing swim yesterday evening. So many beautiful memories to save for a cold winters day…
Finally I’ve done it. I have been so embarrassed, being an islander and never having been Vinga. Vinga is a very famous (well in Sweden that is) lighthouse built 1890. We can see it from our favourite beach. It’s famous because of this Swedish troubadour called Evert Taube who grew up on the small island while his dad looked after the lighthouse. On our way there we got to hear lots of other stories and a great deal of history from our skipper Bosse. He told us about Napoleon hating the islands and banning all trade with England, he pointed out the exact spot a German submarine that sank on the same day the second world war ended and we got to see a whole bunch of seals.
When we arrived at Vinga we walked up to the lighthouse and got to climb the stairs to the top. What an amazing view! There was an Evert Taube museum but we bumped into some very cute goats running freely so we skipped the museum.
On the boat trip back to our island Hönö, Bosse told us more stories and pointed out where all the islanders disappear to when the tourists come. So funny! Of course I know that lots of people go out with their boats and most of our Airbnb guests have pointed out that Hönö is so empty of people, now I recognised all the faces on the cliffs/nature beaches we went passed. Next year we are definitely getting our boat in the water.
So after my “hard” working week my daughter was nagging me about camping and I felt like I was very prepared after sleeping on a beach for a few nights. This blog is mainly about the islands in the Northern archipelago outside Gothenburg but as we ended up on another island I will make an exception. We took the bus in to town, an hour on the train and then 40 minutes on the bus and ended up on Tjörn.
Once there, in Skärhamn, we rented a bike and as it turned out you could borrow an electric bike for free. They only had one so we ended up taking turns which worked out really well and the electric bike was so much fun!
The only thing planned was going to the arts park called Pilane and then sleeping in a wind shelter. We soon realised the island Tjörn is really big comparing to Hönö… So we cycled to Pilane, took about 1.5 hours. An awesome ride, some by the road but mainly across fields and cows and horses.
Pilane is so simple but amazing! Basically it is just a big field and mountain with sculptures but fantastic sculptures in the middle of nowhere. It was so hot so to be honest we didn’t see all the sculptures instead spent most of our time laying in the shade of the big giant head.
Then cycled back to Skärhamn, well we did a small detour, looking at the map thinking there was a wind shelter close by but turned out to be a camping site. We soon realised the shelter on the other side of the island would take hours to get to and decided on a nature reserve which turned out to be a block of flats(or maybe possibly I read the map wrong). So anyways ended up on a small sandy beach in the middle of Skärhamn, waited until all the kids and families left, then made dinner with our new gas burner kitchen thingy.
All we had was a couple of sleeping bags but the day was so hot I thought it would be enough. My daughter fell asleep heavily, snoring away, but I think I stayed awake until at least three waiting for moped gangs and serial killers to attack.
At 5am we were both awake, freezing and everything was damp. We moved around to the sunny side and left as soon as the local food shop opened. It was a great adventure but next time we will bring tents and camp in a less populated area. Pilane was amazing though and we will make it a once a year thing because they change the sculptures every year. A must see!
When I was asked I hesitated a bit, me work nights? I am so tired in the evening, working nights seemed a bit unreal but I am so happy I said yes. There is a film being made, planned to be shown on cinema 2019. It’s called “The Spy” and the film is based on real story, a Norwegian actress who turned into a spy during the second world war.
One week they filmed on Hönö, they built a cottage and a jetty on one of the beaches and my job was to watch it along with all the equipment whenever they didn’t do any filming. Watching a house on the beach on an island in summer(getting double pay nighttime), I don’t even know why I hesitated!? My first shift started at 10pm. I had been told to not touch anything in the cottage so I put my sleeping bag on the floor and placed myself outside to watch for unwelcome visitors. When the sun set the mosquitoes started swarming and I had to move inside. Around midnight it was well dark outside and I heard voices, my heart started beating a bit faster… Some guys, sounded french(as it turned out, they were actually from the film crew and Belgian not French), walked by and sat on the beach for a while. I didn’t want to go outside in case I scared them so I moved my flashlight around a bit to show that someone was in the cottage but they either didn’t see or didn’t care.
In the end I must have nodded off for a while because I woke up and it had just started getting light around 3am. Only 5 hours left… I spent most of the time just watching the birds, thinking, crocheting and reading.
The day after I was very sleepy but restless and couldn’t help myself looking forward to my next time in the cottage.
I also spent a day there, went home and did a night shift starting at 2am, that was magic. I wish I could post videos in this blog, the sound of the birds waking up around 2.30am just before sunrise while the big full moon reflected in the dark water, it’s something I’ll never forget.
Now they are done filming on this location, the house is still there and I wish they would leave it but I’m sure they will take it down soon. Looking forward to the movie airing next year, even if all they filmed probably will be cut down to less than ten minutes.
I’m not allowed to post any pictures of the house but here are some of the scenery and a link to more information about the movie: https://variety.com/2018/film/global/trustnordisk-boards-jens-jonssons-ww2-set-the-spy-exclusive-1202808246/
I was invited to the local Island heritage centre to join in an arts/crafts market. Luckily only down the road so it was enough to pack my bicycle trolley with pictures. I decided this time to not get stressed before hand and only show what pictures I already had(partly because it’s summer and also it was my birthday) but of course couldn’t help myself to make some new wet plates and cyanotypes. There were about ten other art&crafts people selling everything from paintings to woven carpets, but I actually didn’t have time to take pictures or have a better look at their things because of a steady stream of visitors.
Everyone hade a table to put their things on, me selling photographs it gave me something to think about. I ended up cutting some wood into pieces, getting inspiration from a menu on a wooden stand at a restaurant a few days before, to stand my plates on. It worked really well! I especially liked the one for the Ambrotype where I made two scores in the wood and put a black plate behind the glass plate. A very nice day, looking forward to next year!
Today I took a beginners course in kayaking. Now I only need to learn how to drive a boat(get the boat in the water) and build an outdoor kitchen with an oven and smoker and I’m done with this summers bucket list. We met up this morning in blazing sunshine, got instructions on land, “fika” then set out to paddle. We learnt how to paddle, stop, turn, paddle backwards and more “fika”. As the finish of the day everyone had a chance to try to “save a friend!. I was the first one to put my hand up. I still have this very big fear of the ocean even though I love it. That’s one part of why I swim all year around, I like to conquer my fears. First try I felt really nervous actually turning the kayak over but as soon as I’d done it once the fear disappeared. Second I over turned and got back into the kayak without any help and as soon as I got in I leant too much the other way and fell over again! Apart from that I was surprised how steady the kayak was and am now all set to buy a couple for the family. I am very happy I took the course to get all different techniques in. You really use so many muscles! Not just the arms but back, legs and stomach. I’ll sleep very well tonight that’s for sure.
Morning run in the glorious island nature, before school and work. So many wild flowers! It’s like a postcard every way you turn. Todays run was a bit heavy going after a period of slacking but we made 5km at least(with some walking). Then what can be better than to finish it off with a dip in the sea? The water temperature is still nice and cool, around 15°C is my guess, so you get that refreshing feeling afterwards. It kept me going all day!