Made it back from Spain with no problems, save for the security guy at Malaga airport being curious about the contents of my hand-baggage. It contained loads of odd, kitcheny bits and bobs. He took one look at the contents and just waved me on. This is often the case at Malaga; a few years ago we were allowed through and on board with a load of spike thingies - part of a tent-peg thing - which was positively weapon-like!
J is now in UK, en-route to see the daughter, LVP, and Grandsprog, Hamish, in West Wales for a few days. LVP - and us, too, if truth be known - is greatly relieved that Robin Gibb is making a steady recovery from his recent near-death, hospital experience. She is very fond of him and was most upset by his illness and possible demise.
Ironically, here in the frozen North the temp is currently running at 21 degrees in the sunshine whereas in Wales it's raining! I was hoping for some sunny warmth this week. On the train back from the airport I saw a newspaper headline saying Sweden was about to benefit from the high temps they are apparently getting in parts of Russia - this is often the case, especially in summer. I was particularly pleased with this because I was able to read the article even though it was in Svenska/Swedish!
The birdlife continues to change with the latest additions being the Curlews, which arrived whilst I was in Spain, and are now as wonderfully vocal as ever; that marvellous, rippling-trilling is, for me, one of the sounds of early Summer/Spring. A flock of Fieldfares has also set up shop in the still, bare Birch trees: these birds are in fact known as Björkträst - Birch Thrushes - up here. They have a singularly grating song and certainly merit no awards in the birdsong charts.
The Whooper Swans are regularly vocal, especially when whooping past overhead in pairs, and we saw a pair of Golden Eye Ducks a few days ago on one of the lakes behind the house; a few Black Grouse (there are usually dozens of these, we've counted up to 40 of them in the trees around the garden) and Common Cranes/Tråna (pronounced Tronnaa hereabouts) making their usual, unmistakable racket in the fields around the house:
We're looking after - or rather, I'm looking after, as J's in UK - our German neighbours dog, Alex, for a week or so. He's off to Tashkent to meet a woman he - needless to say - met online! We wish him well, but do wonder at times. His dog is a Hamiltonstovare, a Swedish hunting breed, very powerful and willful. It often escapes - it can open and close doors!! - from his place and takes off into the forest for 24 hours or so. As a breed, they are apparently known to be difficult but reliable in that they invariably find their way back home - eventually. Roger's rigged up a steel line - it eats through anything else - and it is sort of anchored outside in the garden with a cage thing etc., inside the hallway of our old cabin/Bagarstuga:
Alex, having a nap in today's sunshine:
Sadly, our neighbour Monica's horse died just before I set off for Spain. It was over 20 years old, so had a good innings. She was very upset, of course. It used to fall asleep while standing and would sway as its head lowered steadily before jerking back into wakefulness. One day, it simply fell down and could not get back up, so Håkan had to do the dirty deed. They were fortunate that the ground is already softening - early this year - and could therefore dispose of the carcase on their land:
There are now more Brits in the area, too. A real surprise. We came across them when off hunting for wine at the inane Swedish State monopoly in nearby Ramsele. This house was for sale last year and it appears that a Brit has moved in:
They are not far from this lovely, secluded hilltop cabin:
That, in turn, overlooks this view:
Charlie and Rocky are getting on fairly well these days, playmates as much as anything else, always keen to get out and about - especially now the snow has largely gone, in Rocky's case:
To cap it all, after running J to the train yesterday - the best way to travel within Sweden, where first-class is often as cheap as second, and boasts huge, genuinely comfortable, reclining seats, free internet connection and power supply, free coffee/tea, biscuits/cakes and fruit juice and mineral water, and newspapers throughout the journey - and even passable food, if booked in advance, at realistic prices - I found a shop selling two of my favourite cheeses, Stilton and Fourme D'Ambert, unbelievable and worth supporting.
An older style Swedish locomotive. These are still widely in use, though not on the airport run we take, where they have super-fast, sleek silvery things instead:
This is the same kind of train seen on this You Tube vid. I still can't simply download a vid-clip from YT with the new Blogger. 'Tis a prize pain. Instead it gives me a variety of utter dross, presumably because Google's making money out of promoting some stuff, stuff, stuff: