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!
I’d like to say that I’ve been all over Hönö, the island I live on, but the other day I was shown a place that I’ve actually never been to(for what I can remember). So amazing and now my new favourite place. We have a large nature reserve with fantastic nature and I visit frequently on my guided walks, on my own, for a run or for photography.
It’s so easy to get stuck in habit and take the usual paths. This “new” area is apparently very popular with people doing bouldering and I can see why. There are huge boulders and small caves. The rocks are covered in moss and so are the trees growing in shelter of the wind.
I tried out my new camera given to me by a friend at xmas and developed my first pictures of the new year. Some real keepers! It would be perfect for wet plate photography but just carrying all the equipment up the mountain would be a days work.
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!
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.