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?
Living on Hönö you have to get used to it being windy pretty much all the time but today was one of those unusual calm sunny days. Luckily one of my Fb friends saw it coming and asked for company kayaking. I jumped at the chance! We convinced one more person to join us and I got to borrow one of his kayaks. I have only paddled once since the course I took(who my Fb friend ran) and it really didn’t go so well, started with falling over just getting in the kayak. Today went much better(probably because I had two experts with me) and I actually managed the whole day without falling in!
We started our trip from Hälsö and paddled for about 3 hours with a little coffee break on a tiny deserted island. It was absolutely gorgeous. Blue sky, sunshine and no wind. Still parts of the journey felt a bit nervy, we had waves from boats, currents and after a while my body got pretty tired but on the way back I managed to relax and take in the fantastic scenery. My two companions where both much more experienced, one brought his dog along and the other ended up transporting a chair(!) we found on a beach.
Of course at one point the dog ended up on the chair, on top of the kayak on the water…
It was a great day and great evening with feasting on fresh crab that my husband received and cooked while I was away.
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/
So I decided to make the most out of the day and started off with running down the harbour. It was breathtakingly beautiful. I spotted a seal(if you look closely at the top left picture you might see it…)! I know there are tonnes of seals just a bit further out from the harbour but still get childishly happy overtime I see one. After the run I got my swim clothes and cycled down the beach. It was so still, not one person around and the water temperature was actually warmer than at land. We’ve had frost at night now the last couple of nights but still 10°C in the water. For lunch I bought some prawns and a crab claw from the fish shop. The crab was freshly cooked and still warm, yummy! I had a conversation with the fish shop owner about why most islanders are such chickens when it comes to swimming, they only do it in a pool or when they go on holiday in Thailand. She told me it’s because most people in the old days couldn’t swim. There was a fishing boat outside Knippla(one of the surrounding islands) in 1800 something that sank. 6 out of a crew of 8 drowned, the only two survivors couldn’t swim so they held onto bits of the boat to stay afloat while the others swam for shore, got tired and drowned. Herself hadn’t been in the water for 5 years!
After a few hours I started to feel a bit frozen so I went outside and did some digging. Not easy with the whole flower bed full of chickens. I put all geraniums in winter storage and planted pots of tulips fro spring. My plan is to bring them into the barn at night when they start to flower so the deer doesn’t eat them. Although, if the deer doesn’t eat them the chickens probably will but it’s worth a try.
Oh and the rain, yep it came, just as I planted my last bulb.
The Heritage cottage(or however it translates) had an open house so I paid a visit. It’s a collection of very old houses kept like a museum. One part is for tools, barn equipment, an old classroom, a grocery shop and a lot more. Sadly they are having trouble finding people to help look after it but I think it is so valuable to carry it on for the future. All the small buildings are very low to the ceiling, I’m not that tall but bumped my head at least once. Luckily my son who is almost 2m tall wasn’t born in that age! You really get a feeling of how it was living in that age of time, what clothes they wore, how they slept and did their cooking etc. Such a lovely place, I will definitely try to help out in any way I can in future. They have courses in how to bake proper Hönökaka and sometimes have open house. They have some frames with hair art, this is something I had never heard about until a couple of years ago watching the antiques show on telly. It’s such a weird thing but I’ve understood that it was quite common in the days, a bit freaky I must say. But it took a lot of willpower not to bring the lovely old school poster of chickens back home…
As usual I haven’t had much time to spend in the garden but today I made an exception. There are loads of butterflies around! Especially under the pear tree, feeding on the juices of all the pears fallen on the grass. I am so happy about the yellow flowers. They used to grow in a flower bed at the back of our house (then it was my grandmothers house). There were also loads of nettles and a helpful relative dug everything up and let the grass grow. I’ve missed them ever since and a year ago I asked an old lady down the road what her flowers were called, since she was the only one with those kind of flowers. Next day she rang my door bell and gave me a whole bag of plants. I planted them back where they used to grow and now they are thriving! My gran also used to have a grand collection of geraniums and I’m trying my best to look after them but apparently the chickens share my love for them….
Photo by Sibylla Törnkvist
Palladium print by Christer Törnkvist
Exhibition at the library, part of The art wave
Home smoked salmon and hubby bread
Glass by Rosita Ståhl
Preserves, postcards and photos by me
So the summer ended in an art bonanza. First The Artwave, when all artists on Hönö and surrounding islands open up their studios or homes. I shared my gallery for the weekend with a very talented glass artist but we hardly had time to see each other, on the Saturday we had a few hundred visitors! The weather on Friday when we set up was abysmal with torrential rain storms but the rest of the weekend was lovely. We sold lots of cakes and home made preserves and photographs on top of that. Then a couple of weeks later an exhibition with two photographers from another part of Sweden. They both do analog photography and a lot of the same techniques that I use. Great photographs and a lovely weekend! My husband smoked salmon and baked sourdough bread, I think I’m addicted to smoked salmon now, and we sold out most of the cakes on the second day. We were very generous with the opening times and I thought we would have to take turns or read books but the weekend past very quickly. On the last day it was more quiet and I took the opportunity to photograph my fellow photographers. Always nerve wrecking to photograph photographers but I hope I passed the test.
Christer and Sibylla Törnkvist