Thursday, 28 April 2011

In The Summertime.....

J and the rest of the generation gang are off at the beach today. Our daughter, LVP, thinks it very funny that she's going to La Rochelle (followed by Isle de Rey): as apparently do most of her old schoolchum/facebookey buddies. When at school, learning French, one of the texts they used - Tricolor - had many references to the town and its facilities. She's rather looking forward to having a fun day out, looking out for the Biblioteque, La Marie etc., - you get the idea, I'm sure!

J also spoke to our old neighbour, Monica, in Sweden yesterday on the phone. Spring has arrived in time for them to have had a lovely Easter break with temperatures in the high teens and 20s during the day. Still dipping towards freezing overnight; though the snow has now gone, save for on the highest hills, she assures us.

Probably looks a bit like this now on the local river, Ångermanälven, Junsele,  a few Kms from  our house:

Sweden is often like that. Snow and cold one day followed by sunshine and warmth the next. When the warmth arrives, unfortunately, so, too, do the biting bugs. Horseflies the size of Nicholas Soames, Mozzies in their thousands, gnats. Wasps. Hornets. Long-snouted weevils. They just seem to arrive with the good weather, making it a bit miserable at times, if truth be told.

Here it's blue sky, temp about 20 at noon, with a light, chilly breeze at times today. We have discovered loads of unpleasant looking (is there any other?) bugs when digging the garden: they are burrowing things of one kind or another, and scuttle out of sight with considerable vitesse when uncovered. We've looked through some insect books and 'googled' but can't identify them.

Here's a (sorry about quality!!) pic of one. Anybody any idea what they might be?

About 2 to 3 cm long, bulbous lightly hooped body, large blackish head and what appear to be wings, they have small tunnels in the grass where they also seem to live/take refuge. We wonder if they might be Doryphores/Colorado Beetles in a sort of larval stage? Any ideas???

Hamish has almost got the hang of the swimming lark, apparently. He certainly seems to be enjoying it and is most enthusiastic about it. A good sign and a useful attribute. Both J and LVP are good, strong swimmers. I'm pretty hopeless, having only mastered it - if that's the right expression, which is doubtful - within the last ten years.

Up in our nearby town they have a marvellous water tower. It sort of  resembles a metallic upside down onion set! :

The Grandsprog is most taken with its other-worldly appearance. I told him it was the landing craft used by Doctor Who when he last visited the area: not sure that he was taken in by this explanation, though. Who was it said, 'You can fool all of the people......'?

We had cakes with tea yesterday afternoon. J and LVP brought back the goodies from our local boulangerie. And lovely they were, too!

They know how to make an appetising pastry hereabouts:

And.....just as I'd given up on Charlie returning. He turned up, unrepentant but seemingly glad to see Jack and I again. Purring wildly, demanding cream and tucker, before heading out again to do what cats do best:

He was back at about 05:10 this morn with a loud bellow to make sure we all woke to admire the peace offering he'd brought for us - the usual mouse - which he then promptly demolished on the floor at the foot of the bed! Little booger! Not a thought for the worry he'd caused me!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

No, I Can't Forget This Evening.....

Last time on here I had a pic of a Salamander, which I incorrectly labelled as a lizard. Apparently not. Salamanders are not lizards, they're amphibians/newts. But whatever they may be, they remain interesting and colourful. I almost trod on a bright-green Gecko this afternoon. perfectly camouflaged in the grass behind the house, I didn't spot it until it took off, fast, from just below my foot and into the undergrowth around the base of the Mulberry tree. I tried to find it again, for a piccy, but was damned if I could either see it or rouse it to further movement. It's presumably torpid for now, basking in the warmth of the full afternoon sun - as should I, had it not for the fact that I was turning over another veg plot to complete the double-digging, and keeping an eye on our latest arrivals. It's about 20 degrees today, sunny with a welcome, refreshing breeze from time to time, much the same as yesterday  - which was a bit hotter - and as anticipated tomorrow.

Yesterday, we all piled into the car and went off to a local market.  As soon as we arrived at the site, we were met with the unmistakable squabbling of ....Ducklings and Chooks!  So, at last, we managed to get our hands on a couple of point of lay Hens:

Not the clearest of shots, but normal for me. They're busily engaged scrabbling in a pile of turves for bugs. So best left to get on with it.

Having found some Hens, Black Rocks, we think - we've certainly had similar back in Wales many moons ago - we went off to get some unpastuerised, lait cru, milk from the local cow:

This a large plastic cow used to promote a local dairy farm's raw milk dispensing machine by the roadside:

At one euro a litre, it's not bad value and much better than supermarket treated/pastuerised milk, in our opinion.  The machine even Moos morosely as it squirts out the white stuff!  Tis also handy on, say, Sundays or in the evenings when all else is closed. You can - and I have - nip up to get milk at any time of the day or night. Very useful contraption, to say the least.

The other night, Sunday, I think it was, we had a ripping storm here. Charlie eventually came indoors, ate a little then wanted back out. I tried to block and lock his cat-flap to prevent him leaving. He was not most impressed, despite the driving rain, thunder and amazing sheet lightning. Eventually, however, he bashed down the barricades and took off And that's the last I've seen of him. He hasn't been back since then, not even for a snack or to simply say 'Hello', as he would normally do.

He's a very strange cat in that he only likes Jack and I, generally speaking.  Even J is only tolerated by him on sufferance. He has no time at all for our daughter  - a cat-lover herself -  and certainly not the noisesome presence of  the Grandsprog.  So I'm very worried about him. He'll not find it easy to socialise with other people or animals, I fear. In addition, he knows no Frogspeak - only Ingloid and Sweedle! I keep calling his name loudly all around in the steadily diminishing hope that he'll return. I just don't know where to start looking for him here. I've tramped around a bit with Jack in tow but haven't caught so much as a whiff of his presence. I hope he's okay and finds his way back soon. I adore him and miss him sorely. In addition, he's due his Rabies vaccination update in a few weeks time. So, if he were to turn-up after the due date, there could be a significant problem!! Fingers crossed, I suppose.

J, daughter and Hamish have all gone off swimming today. The Grandsprog is learning to swim and seems to be enjoying himself. J hopes he'll be swimming basically by the time he returns home to West Wales in about one weeks time.  I'm staying put at home, tapping away on here, and keeping an eye out for Charlie, calling his name from time to time. Must be worth a try..............

Monday, 25 April 2011

I Don't Like Mondays.....

Easter almost gone, designated trash already. We had a bit of a blow last night. Storm clouds gathered, followed by torrential rain and thunder. The inevitable fireworks came close on their heels, lighting up the sky all around. J loves stormy weather, especially lightening.  So she was out under cover of the porch with her wine in hand, 'oohing and aahing' away to herself, quite merrily.  It certainly cleared the air a bit. Unfortunately it didn't start until just after I'd laboured around, watering the garden plants! Tis always that way, I fear!

This morn was a bit cloudy and a chill in the air, now passed, and we have settled back into lovely warm weather again. I'm going out to dig a few more beds so J can plant more Peas and Beans. Those interred so far, have come up fairly well. We've lost a few Beans to the bloody Mulets - as was expected - but the Peas appear to have escaped unharmed to date and are thriving. All most satisfying and promising.

Charlie took Easter to heart and contributed his own Easter Bunny, found by Hamish in the back garden yesterday morning:

At least he eats the damn things - normally!  This time he ate only the head and one leg, for some reason - possibly the fact that he appeared in the bedroom at about 04:00 and scrunched his way through a mouse before returning to the chase!  A real Easter Bunny - poor mite - fortunately didn't phase Junior much at all.

He was perfectly content to emulate Charlie and munch his way through his own offerring a few hours later:

While pottering around in the garden yesterday, our Brit neighbour, Frank, called over. He's been roped in to video the latest instalment of Doctor Who for the Grandsprog - and daughter - and brought it over for us, together with a lovely green and black polka-dotted Salamander lizard:

The lizard was in fine form and crawled around his hand for a bit before he took it off to release it again. He caught it in his bedroom, an unusual visitor.

Now, I must return to the garden, the spade and the fork. The digging awaits. Personally speaking, I prefer the knife and fork - I'm more of a dab hand with those, to be honest!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

I've Been Everywhere, Man.....

Been an odd couple of days, really. Weather variable but dry.  Easter now upon us. The French do
'do' Easter  (as they used to say in Wales) - Paques. The shops have been full of Eastery bunnies, chocolate eggs and, of course belly-bursting seafood, for which they have a particular penchant on public holidays. Great, heaving trays of Oysters, Mussels, Langoustine, Prawn and Sea Snails are everywhere. And most tempting they are, too. Although the Bulot - Sea Snails - are a bit like chewing on old tyres, for my money.

In the great tradition of Scotland, I did curry. You can never have a enough curry, I'm oft heard to say - too oft, according to J!

I had to return unexpectedly to the UK earlier this week. It was a real flying visit. Eurotunnelling under the channel and back on a shuttle about five hours later.  J had been feeling very unwell in London, having picked up a horrendous chesty infection thing from the grandsprog in Wales. Rather than sit miserable in the capital, however, we thought it would be more relaxing for her to come back out here. So.....I drove over to collect her. We also had some stuff in London that we needed out here, so it meant we could kill two birds with one stone - a macabre thought and saying, if ever there was one!

I set off from our local village, three Kms away at about 13:30 and arrived in Islington, North London, at about 04:00!

Here's the local village:

In the event, I got myself hopelessly muddled en-route through France. My map was about ten years out of date, and the Frogs are, of course, forever changing the circulatory systems, creating EU financed ring-roads, bypasses and roundabouts at the drop of a beret. Having set off reasonably well, I went wrong at my first major town (Cholet) when I missed the turning for Angers on the Loire and then tried to remedy it from my long-gathered knowledge of French geography. As a result, I basically zig-zagged, West to East to West etc., up through the country to Calais, where I arrived about four hours later than planned or expected! Still, it was a sunny day and I did see some parts of France that I'd previously missed!

In one small town in the Suisse Normand, Pont D'Ouilly, I think it's called, I managed to knock over a line of those huge white plastic things they use to cone off major roadworks. It was most satisfying rolling along to the whump, whump, whump of them as they toppled heavily into the roadwork excavations. Luckily, there were no workmen around at the time, though I'm not sure what the cars following must have thought.  The town itself, is a lovely little gem of a place and looks well worth a visit at a later less, stressful time. Have a look on GMaps - it really is a splendid spot, rivers, weir, etc., set in the midst of some glorious Normandy countryside.

I left Jack and Charlie home alone, with plenty of nosh and water. Charlie with a cat-flap could escape, Jack could not! Both were fine on my return the following day, so no problem there.

All stretch now.......

When I reached Blighty, I again got hopelessly lost.  Missing my turn-off on the M20 in Kent. I careered on into Essex, of all places, on the dreaded M25, of all bloody roads.  Much of the motorway was closed for roadworks, with exit junctions shut down. Not particularly helpful - especially as by that time I'd been driving for about nine hours and was becoming a tad tired. When I eventually managed to rectify the situation and got into London - or its outskirts - I made countless muddled mistakes and ended up in parts of East London I'd heard of but knew nothing about.

This made it all very difficult cos I couldn't visualise where I was most of the time and therefore was also unable to imagine how the various boroughs/areas connected to their neighbours or where they might be in relation to parts of the city that I know! A potential recipe for disaster. And it was. Nevertheless, I can now say I've been to Bow (three times), Bromley, Bromley in Bow, Stratford, Hackney, Mile End, Stepney Green and many other parts of the city! Hopefully I won't be revisiting most of these, however. Eventually, I spotted a new landmark on the skyline that I recognised and from which to get my bearings. The Shard - a monstrous glass tower alongside London Bridge. I therefore recrossed the Tames southbound, U-turned and recrossed it northbound and simply followed a route I knew would take me up to Islington, where I was headed. All in all, I arrived about five hours later than expected by which time J was a trifle worried and had made enquiries with police etc., both in France and London about accidents etc involving a Swedish registered car! I think I crossed Old Father Thames no less than four times in the course of my peregrinations: Dartford Crossing; Blackwall Tunnel; London Bridge, twice!

Oh, yes, and just to cap it all: the car began to overheat for some unknown reason about fifty miles into the trip and the rear silencer box fell off a few miles shy of the Channel!!

It was simply a nightmare journey. I now know why so many people have GPS/Sat Nav gear. I'm even tempted myself!

The return journey was fairly straightforward. With a better, more up to date map and J navigating (she is a Geographer with a passion for map reading) it was pretty uneventful and took about four/five hours less to complete.

Now, J is off at Limoges airport collecting the daughter, LVP, and the grandsprog, who are over for a ten day break.  I think there's a small easter egg hunt planned for this afternoon sometime. That will keep Junior happy and I can take part by slurping on a bottle of Rosé while scoffing some Froggy things like cheese and bread etc. So I'm hoping for a relatively pleasant day. After the awful drive earlier in the week, I could do with the rest and time to de-stress a bit!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Another Season, Another Reason.....

Another fine day, it seems, in prospect. The locals have decided - or certainly the local Brit expats -  that Spring HAS ARRIVED!!!!

The basis for this decision - forgetting the weather and daily temps -  is largely predicated on immigrant bird-life:  the Swallows are here; the Hoopoes are both throaty and visible; Cuckoos are noisy - if not particularly visible - unless you know what they look like, and spot them regularly, of course!

Cuckoos do like to remain anonymous whenever possible. Many years ago (35 - ouch!!!) we lived on a hillside above the Welsh village of Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons National Park.  In Spring and Summer, we had a resident (as far as this is possible) male Cuckoo that perched on our washing post thingy every morning, just below, and directly in line with, our bedroom window.  While perched it would chirrup steadily and noisily, as is the breed's wont.  So we came to be fairly familiar with these extraordinary and generally extraordinarily secretive birds. As a result they remain one of our favourite species, despite the bad press they  - rightly?? - receive!  For those unsure as to appearance, when in flight they look a bit/lot like small hawks ( the Hobby is a useful comparator)  and, as a bonus, they frequently chirrup en route between perches, and generally just before take off and landing in a different spot. This makes identification on the wing fairly easy. In my experience, they also seem to enjoy sitting on warm, tarmac roads on summer evenings, soaking up the heat, presumably.

Our neighbour, Frank, explained a few days ago that a group of garrulous birds ( five, I'd counted and observed) noisily flying around were a group of Cuckoos - four males in pursuit of a solitary female.  At least, that was the theory. Having witnessed this pursuit I knew he was wrong, but didn't have the heart to explain to him that the birds were in fact Jays - an altogether different kettle of fishy things.  He added that the odd noises the birds had made - nothing like a Cuckoo, and a decidedly strange sound - was an unusual mating call of the Cuckoo. An interesting theory, but sadly incorrect.  I may be no professional ornithologist but I have had an interest in birds for - frighteningly perhaps! - almost fifty years! Maybe I should have corrected him  for future sightings! A difficult call.

Whatever, the local expat community might think, the Nightingale population clearly think it's Spring: every evening they warble away loudly, all night, it seems to me - or at least until I'm asleep; though they seem to be still wittering in mid-eve when I wake for that dreaded night pee! Ah...the costs of ageing!

Many Brit birders would almost kill for the chance to hear these birds sing of an eve, but I am not enormously impressed.  It's fine, as far as it goes -  a bit like enjoying Des O'Connor or Frank Ifield, say. A scary indication of age there! Of an evening/night, I prefer owls, as it - perhaps perversely - happens. Altogether more interesting animals.

Got more Aubergine plants this morning:

 And - at last - some Chillis (Piment piquante):

  Also a batch of Celery, Lettuce,  and some Geraniums. J likes to have Geraniums around the place in summer. So, I thought, why not?

Will now have to decide what - if anything - to do with the damn things!   The Geraniums can go into a windowy box thingy - keeps them out of my way, if nothing else, and there's a box out back.  The Aubergines can stay put for a day or two before I pot them on. The Chiilis will have pride of place - can never have enough, as far as I'm concerned. The Lettuce is more of a problem.....God knows what to do with those!

We keep the Aubergines in large pots cos of the dreaded Doryphores: Colorado Beetles. They are rife down here in summer and cause great damage very quickly. Plastic pots with an out-turned, curving top rim are fairly good at defeating the little boogers in their attempts to scale the heights:

I also needed to have a copy of our Spanish house key cut. It's a bit of an oddity, long and thin. We first asked the local key-cutting guy about this a week ago. He said he'd order the necessary blank. I went in to enquire midweek and it still hadn't arrived: 'Demain, demain, demain,' he insisted. Being of a more sceptical mind, I didn't bother trying the next day, leaving it instead until today. The response was, as feared and anticipated - start again with a new order being made for the correct blank. He had some blanks but they were marginally too short. I've given up on it. I'll just send off our sole remaining key to the estate-agent with a note of explanation and trust her to take good care with it.

When we were living in Sweden, we virtually never locked the house. It was just not necessary for most of the time.  It takes a while to get used to locking up again whenever we venture out - especially for any length of time.

Spoke with J this morning. She has a bad chest infection and heavy cold, which she thinks came from the Grandsrpog in Wales. Argghhh.....a Welsh cold!! One of the worst known to humanity. She's taking fairly heavy antibiotics - which she normally hates and eschews - in the hope all will be well by next weekend, when she is due to return to France with the Grandsprog and daughter in tow.

J with Hamish, enjoying the view in full-blown summery Sweden:

And the view is one worth admiring:

And here's another typical, summer forest view:

And this thing is something I always admired:  It's a floating cabin. Usually it had another sort of open-decked attachment with it. It is motorised, with a BBQ, tables and chairs etc. Fully kitted out for that summer evening getaway. Out to the middle of the lake for fishing, drinking, eating and even sleeping. A great idea:

And this was often the early evening scene from the Azotea/covered terrace of our Spanish house:

And finally: Charlie playing silly boogers:

Friday, 15 April 2011

Woke Up This Morning Feeling Fine.....

Well, not too hungover, at any rate. Another bright, sunny morning. A slight chill in the air, but generally speaking, pretty acceptable. Still some sub-zero nights in Sweden, it seems. Still snow around too, though it is steadily going. Should be clear by mid/late May!

An early morning haze over one of the local lakes:

Spring: looking towards Fun City from the Ångermanälven (Ångerman River):

The problem up there is that when the thaw sets in, as it has/is at present, everything drips - from rooves, eaves, everywhere it can basically. It then freezes overnight leaving every surface coated in a glistening cover of ....well...... ice. Walking around becomes a bone-threatening challenge; slithering and grasping for support becomes the norm. It's quite extraordinary. And dangerous.

On one memorable occasion, I found it nigh impossible to walk back up the slight incline from the road to the house front/porch. In the end, I simply gave up the unequal struggle and, getting down on my knees, crawled back up the slope to the house - much to the puzzlement/amusement of our neighbour Håkan. I had been on the heavily taxed, overpriced, vin rouge beforehand, mind you.

Charlie spent most of the night indoors, curled up asleep, on his blaketty thingy, at the foot of the bed. Unfortunately, before dropping off for the night, he inadvertently, dropped something off. On the bed, on the duvet, near my pillows:

Ixodus ricinus

I don't know about you, but I can survive perfectly well without Ticks. This was of the  common or garden sheep variety. It had obviously been with Charlie for a bit and I'd failed to spot it. It was fully bloated, sated on the wee chappies blood. Horrible things! Luckily it had fallen where it was in clear sight, so I was able to dispose of it before it became tempted by my own sanguinity! Needless to say, I checked around in case any cousins had joined it. All was clear.

Not a great piccy, again I know - but I couldn't figure out how to use the zoomy bit. It's a relatively new camera. That's my excuse anyway. Or one of them, at any rate.

The Aubergines still look a bit sad for themselves. It definitely looks like frost damage (unless anybody out there knows or suggests different). But....when could it have happened?:

And everything else looks unharmed:

Peppers are fine and thriving:

Toms and cucumber, also doing well (despite my interest in their well-being):  

I will certainly get another couple of Aubergine plants at tomorrow's market; looks like we might well need them. And they'll do so much better than our current, apparently frosted variety.

The Quince is looking splendid right now, in full bloom:

The Pear (or is that an Apple?) alongside it is looking not too bad either.

Whereas the Mulberry still has a way to go; only now in sparse leaf, but the promise is there:

And as for the Peas. My tender ministrations - ie. singing nightly, crooning and preening and watering and nurturing them looks like it might yet pay off:

Last year my rather haphazard Pea plantings actually worked pretty well, with a surprisingly - at least to J -  good harvest being obtained from both they and the Beans, I'd also scattered in an extremely loose/louche way. So what can go wrong this time, I ask? Of course this means that I must now clear and dig and prepare more beds for more seed planting, to ensure a spaced crop harvest later. Booger! Booger! Booger!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Sunsets I've Galloped Into.....

Been a few days since I was on this. Lethargy seems to be developing here in the Poitou Charentes. They do say it's laid-back, and they're not kidding!

The first of the wee Peas I planted about 10 days ago have begun to raise their heads, pushing through the soil surface in a delightfully, Spring-like shade of green. The Beans on the other hand appear to be taking it a bit slower - no doubt being laid-back, like the locals they are.

The Aubergines don't look too healthy - it looks like a touch of frost damage on a few of the leaves; strange, cos we've had no recent frosts that I know of.  I'm keeping an eye on things, though - which is generally in gardening matters akin to the kiss of death!

Charlie has suddenly - and unexpectedly - become rather homely in his habits. Most evenings he shows up shortly after sunset and chases Jack around the house a bit before deciding that it must be bedtime and disappearing off on his ownio upstairs. He does slip out in the night, I know, and he brings back regular night feasts. Yesterday, he broke with that habit.

Charlie as a youngster:

Where's mine, then?

I was out getting a few bits and pieces down South a way.  On my return, it was evident that Charlie had been tucking into a mouse on the bedroom floor in my absence - the usual internal bits he always leaves behind were neatly piled together; it was almost as if he had swept them together into a satisfyingly tidy heap before departing, on the prowl, no doubt, for more.

I may have found some Hens on my travels yesterday afternoon/evening. A couple of Brits who are selling up and moving into a mobile-home and taking to the road for a year or two told me I can have their three hens - two Warrens and a Rhode Island Red - when they leave later in the summer. I'm not sure I can wait that long, that's the only problem. Still, it is progress of sorts, I suppose.

I potted on the rest of our plants - four Toms, a cucumber and a pepper. They all look relieved. Their roots were just beginning to show through the bases of their original pots, so it was needed. I'm off to get a few Courgette plants (can't cope with more, otherwise you tend to be over-run by galloping Marrows that nobody else really wants) on Saturday morning at a local market, so I might buy another few Aubergines as a back-up plan.

I found a lizard this morning wandering around by the front-door, inside the house. I don't think Charlie brought him, cos he still had his limbs and tail. They invariably dump the tails when under attack, which then twitch wildly on the floor, usually successfully fooling and distracting Charlie while the little creatures make their get-aways:

Not the best pix - as usual - but he seemed to blend well with the old tiled floors here.

Early yesterday afternoon there was a splendid specimen on the garden wall, visible from the kitchen window, basking in the sun. Needless to say, when I went to grab a camera, it booggered off. It was a beautiful, lime-green Gecko. About 10 inches long, it was a perfect match for the new, young Spring grass surrounding it. Easy to see how difficult it would be to spot normally and how effective its camouflage colouring is. When we lived in Andalusia, in the Sierra Nevada, Alpujarra hills, we had a resident Gecko that lived on the kitchen ceiling. Gordon was a big specimen and coloured perfectly to blend with the traditional polished slate and chestnut-beamed  Alpujarranian ceiling. Given the bloody flies down there in summer, he was a most welcome guest.

I met an odd couple a few days ago in the village. A Canadian and a Finn. It was their Finish registered car, parked alongside our Swedish registered one, that first caught my attention. They are here for a few weeks holiday, breaking their journey from Spain to Finland, just South of Helsinki. They were equally surprised to meet a Scot with a Swedish car in a backwater French village. They have advised me of a half-decent restaurant nearby which I will definitely try out when J returns from London for Easter.

She is returning with our daughter from West Wales and grandsprog, for whom I was instructed to buy a chocolate Easter bunny from our local boulangerie. There are actually three boulangeries in the village, all of them seemingly thriving, which can't be bad. The one we use is also, however, one of those mouth-watering patissier types, with a marvellous selection of cakes and tartlets. He is also something of a chocolatier, too. There is always a tempting range of hand-made chocolates on display, and his Easter collection of Bunnies, Chickens, Frogs (appropriately, perhaps) and Eggs are made from a mix of dark, milk and white chocolate:

Here it is - expensive, but the quality/craftsmanship shows - even in the OTT wrapping!

I've been struggling with my, already rusting, Swedish today. There are countless forms to complete for the estate agent who we hope will sell our house for us. All are in Swedish. All require a dictionary and a lot of thought. Tiring, in their way.  The Germans have been buying into Sweden recently. Indeed, even in our somewhat remote region in the North, there are a few families and two houses in our hamlet/village are Kraut-owned. This is not too popular with some of the locals, and our nearest neighbour is afraid that another German will purchase our house.  Indeed, so concerned is he that he has offered to buy our place - but at a silly price, which we have no intention of accepting. We have been most generous with him, trying to reach a compromise with him in which we keep our Bagarstuga:

And he has the main house:

So far, he has failed to shift. So we are going ahead with an agent. I secretly hope a German offers to buy it. It might teach him a lesson. Swedes can be so greedy!

The one thing that we both miss down here in the balmy South is the sunsets. The night skies are pretty good, impressive, but not as much as Swedish night skies, that's for sure:

And that Midnight sun. It really does exist:

Midnight in Långvattnet - a typical end to a pleasant summer day.