Saturday, January 30, 2010

Door Opening

As you can see in this photo, the front doors were snowed over. I had to tromp around to find the shovel so I could clear enough space to be able to get into the house.

It got me thinking as to why Swedish doors open outwards. My house here in England, and in fact, all the houses I've lived in, have exterior doors that swing into the house.

A bit of internet research, and I have my answer. The main reason is that an outward-swinging door is space efficient; there's no room taken up inside the house for the door's movement. Given that homes in Sweden are fairly small, about 83 square meters on average, saving interior space is important. (The Commonwealth Bank of Australia issued a report on home sizes around the world. Click here for an interesting read).

An outward-swinging door only works, of course, if there is a safe space to swing the door into. Such a door wouldn't work in a corridor, for example. Although an outward-swing door is much harder to kick in, the hinges are exposed, so they must be treated both for the weather and to prevent tampering. My hometown lumberyard in Minnesota has a good chart of door swings and nomenclature.

The most space-efficient door is a sliding type, which we have in our bedrooms. Very little room is taken up whether the door is open or not. However, these doors are hard to seal completely, which is why they aren't used for exteriors, or places where privacy is important, like a bathroom.

I did put the shovel in a much easier to find location should there still be snow when we visit at Easter!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to Blighty

Home again after an uneventful trip from Stockholm. Arlanda sure is dead at 10 o'clock on a Sunday morning!

Although it made for a long weekend, I'm glad I went. It was good to see the house and confirm for myself that all was well. Olle and Annika came over to say hello; they said there was a big snow storm on New Year's Eve and bright sunshine the next day. I bet that was beautiful to see!

Still, though, this was my first experience with our island in the snow. I've posted a few winter photos in a new webgallery.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My second vlog

Margaret asked for more video, so here's another. Sorry this one is temperature-based, too, but that is the main reason I went out to the house.

My first vlog


Aboard the M/S Vindöga

I had an uneventful drive in Marcia's car down to Stavsnäs. There are lots of people like me on the boat, loaded down with little bits and bobs for their homes. The harbor is pretty iced up, I'd say about 3 or 4 inches thick, and the boat makes a heck of a noise as it scrapes over. Even the open water on the way to Aspö has an inch or so of ice, which doesn't make any scraping noises, however.

More as the day progresses.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back to Stockholm!

Writing this now from my favourite spot in Marcia's kitchen. The trip from Shanghai was uneventful, thanks to Air China. It was interesting to fly over northern China and Russia, chasing the sunset. For a good 5 hours, this was my view out of the window, a rosy sun on the horizon and barren snowy landscape below, hour after hour.

China was interesting, I met a number of my colleagues and it is an exciting place to be. But I hadn't realised the depth of censorship there. Besides the internet blocking, I didn't see a single western magazine or newspaper the whole time. Strange.

Tomorrow, up early and out to snowy Aspö. I'll be bringing my MacBook Air (of course), so watch out for blog posts in situ.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


From the internet connection in my hotel in Beijing, I can't access my blog, or update Twitter, or watch a You Tube video.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Going to Aspö next weekend

I'll be making a quick trip to the house next Saturday to give it a health check. With the super cold weather recently, I want to be sure the water and heat are OK. I hope to get some good snow photos, too.

My journey will be the long way around as I'm off on a business trip to Shanghai and Beijing. But instead of returning to London Friday evening, I will go to Stockholm instead and spend the night at Marcia and Rutger's, returning to London Sunday in time to watch the FA Cup!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I found this cool chart of isläge, (ice conditions) from the Swedish Hydrological and Meterological Institute. It shows the extent of ice in the Gulf of Bothnia. Click on the image for a full size rendering of today's ice, or this link for the latest document.

It looks like the area around Aspö is still clear for navigaton, although Waxholmbolaget operates ice-breaking boats in the winter.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We've bought a TV for the house

I know it seems to go against the grain a little bit, putting a TV set into our quiet little stuga, but we've been thinking about it since our experiences this summer. As busy as we were, we still watched a number of movies and the SVT news on our Macbook.

I found a nice Toshiba TV/DVD combo player on eBay, it's only 22 inches, so large enough to watch comfortably, but not too big. It's also white so it should fit into our decor pretty well. It'll receive the main channels digitally for free, and we can add pay channels easily should we wish.

We're going to mount it on the outside of the bathroom wall, aiming towards our couch. I found a sophisticated wall mount, which allows us to move the TV in all directions. We can keep it pretty flat against the wall, high enough to be out of the way, but pull it down and forward for viewing. I should be able to run the power and antenna cords back behind the kitchen cabinets, making for a neat installation.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Inconvienent Truth

As of right now, it's -14°C in Minneapolis (with snow); -2° in Dallas; 13° in Leesburg; -4° in London (with snow); and -9° in Stavsnäs (with snow).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter house photos

Ronnie trekked over to our little stuga the other day and put these photos on his facebook account for our enjoyment. It was no small task; the snow is deep and it's been as low as -18°C (0°F) this week. I hope our little heaters are still doing their job!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The World Junior Hockey Championships

The first post of 2010 is about hockey, with the world junior championships being held in Vancouver.

Last night, the USA beat Sweden in an upset, and will now face the Canadians in the final tomorrow night.

It's safe to say that Wille and I have been exchanging a few text messages this week...!

UPDATE: The USA won the gold medal, beating Canada in a 6-5 overtime thriller. Sweden also won the bronze, crushing the Swiss 11-4.