Meet (me) A Local

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?

What to do?

So there’s been rain, storm and snow one after the other and then more of everything. What to do on this opposite of summer paradise island? Actually plenty. The last two weekends I’ve been to two exhibitions at the next door island Öckerö. One with a painter and a local ceramic artist, I just love his ugly fish! Also quite funny that most people compare them to the politicians running the islands… Last weekend a photographer had a vernissage. The exhibition was called Iphone diary and consisted of pictures taken with his mobile, the complete opposite to my work but I loved it. I would have like to buy a picture but realised I would never be able to choose so I opted for three of his little books instead.

Now there’s a very successful business man on the island and apart from starting up the biggest company on Hönö he’s bought the gym, the bowling hall, a restaurant and conference center and now he’s opened a cinema as well. Soon there’s no need for us to ever venture into “town”(which is what us Islanders call Gothenburg). It’s a great experience with red carpets, 50 seats and of course popcorn and stuff. Then the very best thing, no 1,5 hour travel home after the movie only a 10 minute walk!

Amazing voices and the Monday blues

IMAG6092 IMAG6100 IMAG6101 IMAG6114 IMAG6116 IMAG6121After a fantastic weekend it’s kinda hard to wake up to a normal day. Yesterday was the first time I had a music event in the barn/gallery. After months of planning and promoting my nerves were wrecked and I could hardly breathe. At first I was worried that no one would show up and then lots of bookings rolled in and I started freaking out about too many turning up. Turned out I could have saved myself from all the stress, the day was absolutely fabulous! The band was called Irmelin, a folk music trio from Sweden. They have toured all summer and this was their finale. Just the right amount of people turned up. Sitting in the barn listening to Irmelin singing old Swedish folk songs a’capella was a completely magical experience. Afterwards everyone had a second go at the “fika” table and mingled outside in the sun with chickens, dogs and children running around. It was the first music event in the gallery but definitely not the last!


IMAG0951 IMAG0946 IMAG0944 IMAG0943 IMAG0941 IMAG0929 IMAG0925Finally after months of collecting Christmas trees, with all possible means, the fires where built up. They start early in the morning and count the trees as they are brought out of hiding and stacked on a mountain. For the last months there has been kids in every corner, on bikes, on foot, in trashy trimmed Volvo’s and mopeds looking for places to hide and reveal trees. When you don’t see them around, at school time, there are still traces everywhere. The door to the wood shed left open, tiny footsteps on my new floor in the barn and pine needles in the streets. This year some of our guests for the evening brought children so we went down the beach where they had a child-friendly fire. No booze or bangers only responsible adults and responsibly set off fireworks. I brought my bike trolley full of wood and sticks from the garden. Got down there just as the sun was setting and all the kids where stood around the fire grilling marshmallows and running around looking for more things to burn. It was great and they had a wonderful time but I had to hurry back not to miss the big fire that we always go to. We set off to the mountain with firecrackers in one pocket and snaps in the other one. Snaps is strong Swedish flavoured alcohol. I had Västkustsnaps flavoured with rosehip, blackberries and sloes. Took us a while to find the right path up to the fire, mind you it’s pitch black out and surrounded by thorns, bushes, water and rocks but then we found some natives to follow. Before we’ve had to wait as late as 11pm but this year they lit the fires at 10pm. The sky filled with illegally lit emergency flares. Our fire is the smaller one at Hönö and it was very “clean”, apart from the sofa they put on there. From the other big fires at Hönö and Öckerö there was thick black smoke from car tires and oil being burnt. Standing on the mountain looking at the huge moon and feeling the blazing heat from the fire, looking out at all the islands, lights and people gives me goosebumps. Then as soon as the fire has burnt everyone goes home and carries on the party. Today is probably the quietest day of the year, apart from the church bells ringing.

Vibrant colours

Paintings by Kent Larsson

Paintings by Kent Larsson

DSC_0026 DSC_0029I find it interesting that out of the small population of our island, and the surrounding islands, there are a very large proportion of artists. In August during the Artwave (Konstvågen), artists and craft people open their studios, galleries and homes to the public. This year 93 venues! I’m exhibiting as usual but haven’t had time to give it any thought until today. Spent all morning doing much needed gardening and watering and then met up with some “town friends” for an exhibition down the harbour. The gallery called Ishuset(the Ice house) is such a beautiful place. It used to be where the fishermen filled up on ice for their catch but now it’s re-done and used for events. Some great paintings that reminded me of the vibrant colours of my garden(my new mobile make them way to brilliant but I’m sure I’ll figure out how to use it eventually) and lovely company with friends and the artist. A swim, then home, another swim and finished off with homemade pizza…aaaah a perfect mix of culture and seawater.DSC_0032