'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 28 September 2018

A Swedish Recycling Depot

Near Malmö, we popped in to see what the Swedes do with their rubbish.  I took photos mostly for my daughter, as she and I are very interested in sustainable living, and, preferably, ZERO waste generation.
I don't know the words, but you can see how many different recycling categories there are. 

It was appropriate that afterwards, back on the road again, the next photo I took was a wind generator. Roy said the noise can be quite bothersome for people who have to live nearby.  Some liken it to a Chinese water torture or a dripping tap - whoosh ... whoosh ... whoosh ... whoosh ... all day, every day and all night too.
However to just see them as one whooshes silently drives past in a car, I think they are rather stunning.  Especially against the bright blue Swedish sky.  Incidentally, someone told me that's where the flag comes from - the yellow wheat and the blue sky. Makes sense. Except wiki doesn't mention this but tells me blue and yellow have been used as Swedish colours at least since King Magnus III's royal coat of arms of 1275.  Perhaps King Magnus was inspired by the blue sky and the yellow wheat.

I promise I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to this photo.  Isn't the colour AMAZING?? 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Vikhög, Sweden.

Also on the coast, only about *5 km (3 miles) from Barsebäckshamn, is the even smaller wee fishing village of Vikhög. There is a sheltered tiny marina, and a few houses (about 100 residents), and a walk along the coast.  I loved the wildflowers. I could live there!
Oh, if anyone knows the names of any of these plants below, even a guess, I'd be grateful.

* To drive it is closer to 12 km, as the road goes inland and then back out to the coast again.

Here you can see the location of the Gillhög passage Grave, Barsebäckshamn, and Vikhög. 
The dashed line is the walk we went on.

On the walk.  

Suddenly I gave up the idea of living at Barsebackshamn and instead imagined this place came up for sale for a song and I bought it and lived here instead.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Making of an 'Earthbag' Bedroom.

My post about the passage grave in Skåne made me think about how it might be possible to build a dwelling in a similar way - by using the materials to be had around.  There are no stones in this area, but plenty of dirt... add plastic (which I don't really like, but let's forget that bit for the moment) and you have: A new little house! 
This construction journey video is just wonderful on many levels, not least that of the relationships strengthened.

Monday, 24 September 2018


It's only three km (about 2 miles) from Gillhög (the ancient passage grave) to Barsebäckshamn, a little fishing village on the south(ish) Swedish coast that looks straight out towards Denmark and Copenhagen.  A village has been here since the 1400's, and it was once a very busy fishing port.  Now it is mostly recreational fishing. There's a long pier made of granite and if you are lucky, you'll be there when the hollyhocks are showing themselves off to mutual advantage against the little fishermen's houses.  I love the way the windows are at just the right height to look straight in.  In another life I bought one and set my long trestle table just inside and painted all day with the windows wide open in summer, so people passing could look at my progress and talk to me as I worked.  

'Caught Anything?'  'Not yet!'

If you look hard you can see in the distance the marvellous new bridge that goes between Sweden and Denmark.

Denmark is over that way. I think the wonderful radiance in the sky is caused by the sun 
bouncing off the relatively calm Öresund (the Strait between Sweden and Denmark).

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Gillhög Passage Grave, Skåne, Sweden.

In an area of the flat wheat-growing Skäne region, there is a small gravel road, and at the end of it, a smallish mound.  You notice this as you approach, the rest of the land being so flat, but it could almost disappear if the area were forested. Also calleHofterupsdösen (for the Hofterup locality), Gillhöp is a small man-made tomb/ cave which is accessed by a narrow low six metre (6 yard) passage. It was constructed of stones, large ones being laid for the walls and even on the top for the roof.  I have seen these kinds of graves in England too. This one is likely to be about four thousand years old. 
They are usually communal graves, and are used over and over again, sometimes over considerable time spans, even hundreds of years.  Sometimes when they are opened, it is discovered that the bones have been sorted into types, so the individuals they belonged to are 'lost' and muddled up. 
This one had few flint tools, some beads made of amber, and some pieces of broken pottery along with the bones.

So, how do you like my hat?

Hand showing scale.  Some of the stones are new, part of the recent restoration.

From inside the main chamber, looking back to the entrance tunnel.

One end of the main chamber.  

Back into the sunshine and on the road to the coast.
 Tomorrow: Next stop - the little coastal village of Barsebäckshamn.

Friday, 21 September 2018

South Sweden.

When I was in Costa Rica two years ago I met an interesting man who was, like me, also photographing insects. 
However, unlike me, his was a life-long passion which has taken him to many places, and especially and repeatedly, the Amazon basin.  He happened to be a Swede, and as we had been communicating occasionally, I took him up on his offer to stay a few days.  We had a busy two days exploring some of the south of Sweden.
But first, let me show you the amazing 'sandwich' that was waiting for me when I first arrived off the train, tired and hungry, at his place.

Isn't that the most beautiful sandwich in the world?  It was cold and so fresh! 

The skies in the south of Sweden were rather wonderful too... They had an amazing and remarkable luminosity I have only seen once in my life before (in Taranaki, New Zealand).  

This was the next day on our way to a stone-age burial chamber. I will post about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Have you Met the Procrastination Monkey?

A funny look at the way and the why we keep putting things off... well, something I certainly do!

So, who is at your wheel right now?

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Rest of the Days in Central Sweden

2018 midsummer in Sweden: Hot, clear, vivid, bright days with endless lake-reflecting sunsets that seamlessly drifted like orange bush fires into dawns to begin day all over again.
I closed my eyes with pink and orange trying to creep beneath the lids, and woke to the same colour.
The family swam in the lake, we made bread and cakes and salads, bbq'ed and ate together during the long evenings, watched the deer silently step out of the cover to graze, ate early blueberries in the forest, heard the falcons scream, and saw the eagles soar.

And, blissfully, if prosaically, I took lots more photos of insects: