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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Many years ago, in a small village somewhere in north Sweden. My grandmother, still in her late teens, bumps into an acquaintance of hers who is waiting at the bus-stop. They start chatting. The neighbour is on her way to a nearby Folk High School.

My grandmother has just finished two years of practical studies for young women. She has worked for a wealthy family in a bigger town, but she is not ready with learning. She enrolls in the boarding school and who does she not meet there but her future husband,  my grandfather….

After completion of their studies and a January wedding, they are off to their new temporary home. My grandfather is studying to become an engineer, my grandmother works at a nearby store. The small apartment  that they share with my grandfather’s brother, also a sprouting engineer, soon becomes an obvious meeting place for the entire class.   Despite their meager student budget, there is always enough for a treat.treats

And that is how I have always known them. Hospitable and warm. Ambitious yet down to earth. Ready to enjoy the good things in life from a delicious home-made meal to a  skiing holiday or a trip to Morocco, Crete or the States…

They built their lives during a time when studies and work qualifications really had a value. My grandmother raised three children and then decided she was ready for a new challenge. After three years of evening classes, she got herself a high-school exam in finances and embarked on a career. She was able to retire from a responsible position at a big insurance company. A true later bloomer.

xtrainrideMany years later I take the train on a regular week day to visit them.  Age and life have taken their toll, but they are still what they have always been to me – great role models.

Parents represent comfort and acceptance, but grandparents give you perspective.  They can lead by example at a different level  because of that one generation time-buffer that makes the difference.

ulrikaeleonoraParents, don’t get me wrong.

Although I am fully aware of my parents’  short-comings and the things I would do differently, I still feel that I will never be as good a person or parent as they are. So if I ever have children, wouldn’t I naturally want them to look up to my parents and love them as much as I have looked up to and loved my grandparents?

Paradoxes and truths of life.

I believe that people, animals and things all need their fair amount of Tender Love & Care.

Acquiring is exciting. Maintaining takes consequence, endurance, patience. Just think about it: even pampering oneself does not always come that naturally. It requires some discipline and training, although you know it will pay back in terms of peace of mind.

I am inspired by my sister’s new-found passion of giving TLC to everyday objects. From boots and bags to pieces of furniture, she cleans, waxes, impregnates, lacquers. And what was worn out, dull or scarred by time, comes out of her hands as good as new. Perfectly applicable exercises of mindfulness.

Sadness Theory

This is a good and short video on how to polish your shoes, made by modernbutlers . The butler in the video is polishing a pair of shoes he has had for about 36 years. That’s amazing!

// Kolla gärna in den engelskspråkiga videon ovan där man på 5 minuter får en genomgång över hur man ska polera och vårda skor. Jag upptäckte även en video på svenska. Videon är från Davidsons skomakeri i Uppsala som visar hur man tvättar en skinnsko på djupet:

Detta är lämpligt att göra när skinnet är skadat av salt och smutsen har trängt in i skon.

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I was first introduced to the concept favourite as a child when a great-aunt referred to her son’s attire by pointing out, “This is his favourite t-shirt”.

These days my favourite cloth articles include a colourful scarf and  a woolen cardigan that cost me around four euros each second-hand, and a cypress-green blouse unearthed from some suitcase.

favouriteThey all match my new fair-trade bracelet from People Tree (Fair Trade and Sustainable Fashion) that I received as a present from my cousin.

Superficial but true.

 

Tampere is one of those places I would have difficulties describing, despite the fact that I have been there several times now and in different seasons.

Maybe it is because I am always picked up, shown around, and dropped off so that my impressions of Tampere have morphed into a quaint virtual collage of images and memories.

Among my latest (2014) experiences I shall count some Friday evening relaxation at the Rajaporrti public sauna, which is housed in a charming old building in Pispala. After the steambath-like sauna, sneaking out to the courtyard to mingle all wrapped in your towel is a must.

rajaporttisaunasaunacafeAfter days of inverted daily rhythms, Saturday called for some good hang-over food. Not that I drink, but still, some days are like that. Every cell in you crave for something consistent that will satisfy your taste buds and appease your spirit. The vegetable fry-up at Ukko Metso was exactly what I needed. Complemented by excellent service and a rustique interior.

ukkometsoThe weekend closed with some culture. A Sunday afternoon visit to the Sara Hilden Taidemuseo for an expo of Ellen Gallagher. Enough activity for a grey day. When walking out, the contours of the 168 meter-high Needle of lake Näsi were imprinted against a blue, misty background.

needleAnd of course, no city-trip  is complete without a visit to a nice café. The fake cappuccino at Kaffila was as good as placebo coffee can get.

kaffila

Regardless of my special relation to Tampere, one thing is certain. I get the feeling that it is a place liked by its inhabitants.

And that, I guess, makes for a description good enough.

Last day of 2013. Spent at a summer cottage by a lake of the Finnish country-side. October weather minus the rusty colours.

lakeview

vindspel

A late breakfast, some minor shopping at the nearest village, a stop by the spring for some drinking water. Carrying in water from the lake and stacking wood for the sauna. An eight kilometre walk and  late lunch.

orange

The body and the spirit  softened by the steam of the sauna,  löulu, in the pitch-dark evening while  the outdoor fire is sparkling. Fireworks decorating the sky across the water.

Candle-lit dinner for four, with baroque music in the background playing on the radio.

nydinner

And so, the new year finds us outside, with a glass of bubbly, decorated with blueberries. 2013 was a pretty good year… However, 2014 is ahead of us, like a blank piece of paper, like fresh new sheets, like a body cleansed by the merciless steam of a sauna.

iltarauha

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Buttercupgoeswest

Buttercup is a newborn and we are taking her on a 5000 KM journey from Ahmedabad to Kanyakumari

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts