>God knows why I am doing this now……..from northern Sweden, a few short weeks before leaving the country permanently to live in SW France, Dept 79. But it’s snowing again……and, if nothing else, I hope to escape the near constant snow that we have had this winter…….snow, snow och mer sno, as they might say up here. And the temperatures…….don’t even think of it. Minus 30 this morning. Bloody cold, makes yesterday’s meagre -25 seem almost attractive!
There is a wide-held belief that Sweden is a fine, sensible liberal democracy. Unfortunately, not true. For the most part, it is an unpleasant country, with illiberal institutions and greedy businesses that have no interest in customer care. The Ombudsman system is a farce, education and health services are crumbling, and our internet provider, when asked for the addition/inclusion of its much trumpeted VOIP internet phone service, quite simply refused to provide on the grounds, I quote: ‘you are not Swedish!’ The discrimination Ombudsman, to whom we complained, seemed to think this was perfectly acceptable! Extraordinary. Anyway, that’s enough of an anti-Sweedle rant for now! Good to get it off my chest.
Life here is, of course, something completely different: Snow lies around till May. WHen it goes, the ground remains frozen for some time. As a result – even with a glass-house – there are limits to what can be grown. We favour as much self-sufficiency as possible. Here, in Sweden, the 23 odd hours of daylight in summer can be a hindrance rather than a help, and with sandy soil in our hamlet, some crops don’t even hatch!
The village, a smattering of about 15 houses spread over a huge, forested area and surrounded by 50 lakes, is set in a nature reserve – designated for its unusual geological formations rather than flora or fauna, though these themselves are impressive: Brown bears; European moose; Lynx; Beavers; Eagle & Great Grey Owls; Black-throated Divers; Slavonian Grebe; Cranes etc. An interesting living backdrop to daily life.
I’ll try to import some pix of the area, but might find that troublesome. Tried and failed……Next time, maybe!