Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Tuesday morning!

We’re enjoying a lazy morning, so this seems an opportune time to update my readership (such as it is).

Since we had Marcia’s car, we went to the brand new ICA grocery store in Gustavsberg and loaded up the larder. I mentioned last October that we saw a new ICA being built, and it looks like it has opened pretty recently. It’s great, a nice new store that Sooz judges is twice as big. But we both miss the charm of the smaller store it replaced.

Our boat pilot from Stavsnäs was Daniel, the jazz musician we’ve had in previous summers. He told us he lives on Runmarö with his family. He has two kids, 8 and 10 years old, and they go to school on the island in a class with 9 others. It sounds live a very different life; there are cars and a few roads on Runmarö but it is also pretty isolated. When the sea ices over, the only way on and off is the twice-daily Waxholms boat. On the other hand, winter makes great skating weather; Daniel and his kids skated around Aspö just a couple months ago!

We dumped our goods at the dock and carried the first load up to the house. Everything was in shockingly good shape. Olle’s turning on the radiator took off the chill, and the house was damned neat and clean for having been left nearly half a year.

The only snag was that our wheelbarrow was flat. This is the second spring we came home to a disintegrated tire. I’m going to have to find a new type of tire! This meant I had to make a number of overland trips, and it wore me out, to be honest.

However, Sooz cooked up the ingredients I carried into a nice supper and I was re-nourished pretty quickly. I also set up our new super-whizzy Dyson fan and it made short work of making our home nice and cozy.

We slept great (as usual) and now it’s a quiet day of puttering around. Thanks to Pharrell Williams, Sooz is into Daft Punk now, so I’m entertaining her with their back catalogue on my iPod. It is great fun, but I don’t think we’ll attract the moose with French house music!

I’ve posted a few pictures, and will have more up through the week.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A sunny Sunday morning

Good morning from the sunny suburbs of Stockholm. After a fine transit through Heathrow, Rutger picked us up so we were home in great shape Friday afternoon.

Rutger took me to a new home store on Saturday, and I found my favourite Cuprinol stain for our deck in a 10 litre bucket for a great price. I bought it because Marcia is loaning us her car, so we can pack it up on Monday. (I sure would not have dragged that on the bus!)

Our plan is to get lots of heavy stuff now (stain, water, Coke, beer, etc.) so we have less to take for our summer visit, especially since Sooz will likely heading out before me. The expiry dates on everything we've bought so far is October or later, so we'll be covered for this season. I've also booked our own boat for noon, so we can shop in the morning and take a leisurely drive to Stavsnäs.

The weather has been great, and the forecast looks decent too. More news tomorrow!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

We're on our way!

Thanks to the miracle of satellite wifi, I can report we've just left US airspace. We will be in Sweden soon!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Skatteverket

Our 2013 taxes arrived last week in the familiar dark blue plastic envelopes, the second of our Swedish mailings here in the USA. The good news is that our tax is still zero; the bad news is that, as best as I can tell, this is the last year they will be so.

New construction has a 5-year tax break, and this year is the fifth since building began.  The next five years should be at a reduced rate, and I believe we'll be charged about 3700 kronor for each of those five years. In 2019, I'll start paying the full rate of around 7000 kr yearly.

Of course, who knows what the tax code will be like by then???

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our arrival draws near!

We'll be on Aspö a week from tomorrow. Right now it's sunny although still a bit cold. No snow or ice, though, according to the Sandhamn webcam.

Sooz asked Olle if he could turn on a radiator this weekend to take the chill off for our arrival. I'm like my dad; I hate turning up the thermostat unnecessarily! But I can see her point, we're there only for barely 6 days and it takes a full day to warm up. So I am glad Olle did us that favor.

We will be packing today. As usual, all the bits we've accumulated over the months add up, and we end up schlepping a box across the ocean. But at least it's one box. I remember when Sooz's station wagon was packed to the gills!

PS. Happy Birthday, HRH Elizabeth!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Eurovision austerity

My friend Kenji, a fellow ex-ex-pat, sent along this article from the Wall Street Journal explaining how Sweden is leading the way of lowering the costs of holding the contest.

There has been a bit of an 'arms race' to hold ever-grander spectacles, which can be ruinously expensive to smaller countries.

It's a good read, and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Internet progress

My second mail was from Nilla Söderkvist, our secretary for the Nämdö fiber association. I have been posting about the project to bring very fast broadband out to every home in the Nämdö archipelago.

We have crossed a significant milestone this week; the Nämdö Fiber association has been officially incorporated, and each interested citizen has been asked to pay in a stake of 2000 kronor to become legal members of the association. I've paid mine already!

The first installations will take place on the big island of Nämdö itself, hopefully this summer. It seems to me that Aspö would likely be next, given its size, and the number of interested parties. But I'm just speculating. It does seem likely we will have broadband within the next summer or two, and I am looking forward to it a great deal!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lots of mail!

As April arrives, so begin the stirrings of life on the archipelago, or administrative life, at least. I recently received three mailings of great interest.

First is the official summer guide for 2013, sent via e-mail to us residents, but also available on Aspö's home page.

Two dates caught our eye, as both fall during our planned summer visit. July 17 is a jewelry making seminar held by Margit Roxell, a resident of nearby Ladholmen. Sooz is interested in that. Who knows, maybe she can start a new career with a bit of instruction?

More my speed is a Burgundy wine tasting the evening of July 20. Organized by local sommelier Naima Agnaou, we'll be tasting a red, a white, and a sparkling wine, followed by a bit of dancing on the midsummor meadow. We're looking forward to both events.

I also received two other pieces of Swedish mail, but we'll save them for our next post.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Filmjölk

I've posted before about my love for filmjölk, a specific type of Swedish soured milk. It is my breakfast favourite out on the island. I even went so far as to culture my own.

Now it appears that I don't have to make my own any longer, as my local store sells "Swedish style filmjölk".

It's close to the real thing, perhaps a little tart. All I need is Swedish style Muesli and I can have an Aspö breakfast every morning!

Friday, April 5, 2013

T-minus three weeks

All things being well, we should be landing about this time three weeks from now. We are starting to pack a bit; we've been stacking all the things we've been collecting to take to Sweden in a spare bedroom for the past 5 months. As usual, it becomes a much larger pile once it's all assembled!

The weather is still quite cold. Next weekend's extended forecast (April 13/14) is only about 5°C. I'm not anticipating a huge rise in temperature, so it's gonna be chilly when we get there! Good thing our Dyson fan has arrived safely at Marcia's house.