Friday, March 25, 2016

T-Minus one week!

Seven days from now, we'll be in the air on our way to Stockholm. Sooz is taking Ollie to his old dog sitter in Ascot, and I'm meeting up with her to take Norwegian Airways after work.

We will take the late afternoon boat to Aspö on Saturday, so we will have time to shop on our way to Stavsnäs. We'll be having dinner with Annika and Olle that night. We can't wait.

PS. Happy Birthday to Grant!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cost of Living Index

I found a fascinating interactive chart at the Economist website.

It shows the current cost of living in a number of world cities, using New York as the baseline.

Singapore retains its #1 spot as most expensive. London is 6th, just ahead of New York at 7th.

Copenhagen is 8th, but I was surprised to see that Stockholm has fallen all the way to 42nd! Much of this is the strength of the dollar. Looking at the chart for five or ten years ago gives a different story.

I had quite a lot of entertainment looking at this chart, and I hope my dear readers will enjoy it as well.

Friday, March 18, 2016

A small house in New York

I saw this New York apartment on Dwell recently.

Two things caught my eye, first that the house was about 600 square feet, the same size of our own stuga.

Second was the quote: “seldom-needed stuff (luggage, winter clothes) is stashed in the higher cabinets. ‛Believe it or not, we have empty cabinets,’ says the owner. ‛There’s space for everything.’”

Our own house is exactly the same way. A combination of lots of IKEA cabinets, and not owning too much to begin with, leave lots of free space!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Frans is the winner!

It was another fantastic Melodifestival finale last night from the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

The hot favourite, Frans, won with his "If I Were Sorry," which is posted in last week's entry. It was different from most of the other entries— no fancy staging, no backup singers or dancers, no pyrotechnics or light shows. We'll have to see how he does in the big show with such a simple song.

There were plenty of other highlights from the show. First off, we got to watch it from a local pub with Marcia and Rutger and a packed crowd. That made it a lot more fun!

There were plenty of other highlights too. Måns performed "Heroes" in an acoustic version, and with a replacement for his laser-generated children:

My other favorite bit was the return of "Linda Woodruff" of the European Broadcasting Union (who's really Sweden's own Sarah Dawn Finer):

I have to say that SVT does a fantastic job of putting on a live show. Not just last night's finale, but to hold six live semi-finals all over the country every Saturday is quite the feat. I'm sure they will pull out all the stops for the Eurovision finale in May!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Melodifestival: Halmstad

Last night was the 'second chance' show, this time from Halmstad. (I had to look it up; it's on the western coast, between Gothenburg and Malmö.)

The format was new. Each of the eight acts were pitted one-on-one against each other. Four duels, four winners through to the final.

Much to Sooz's pleasure, Samir and Viktor made it through to the final show. It is a catchy tune, but watch the video all the way through to understand just why she likes this duo:

The bookies have put Frans as an early favourite. I thought this song was a bit droopy at first, but it is growing on me:

Next Saturday is the big final and we'll be watching live at a local pub. The best news is that Marcia and Rutger will be visiting London this weekend, and they'll be joining us for the show! I feel a little bad that my Swedish friends come to England and I make them watch the Melodifestival, but they're good sports and I'm sure it will be a fun time.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Making plans for Ollie

I had written that, during our April visit,  Ollie is going to be with his old dog-sitter, Ethie, in our previous neighbourhood of Ascot. 

It turns out that we may not be able to do the same this summer, as Ethie is pretty booked up around the summer dates I'm able to be off work. 

I looked into the possibility of taking Ollie with us to Sweden. It turns out to be surprisingly inexpensive for him to join us on our Norwegian Air flight. The import rules for his moving between the UK and Sweden are also straightforward. We'd love for Ollie to be with us all summer, and we know he was happy out there last time. 

But things are a lot different now. Ollie will be 13 by then and he can't get around as well as he used to. There are a lot of steps and uneven ground around our little stuga, neither of which Ollie likes much any more. He also doesn't have much stamina, so he couldn't, for example, walk all the way to the Waxholms dock. We worry it may be too stressful for both him and us to have a good summer in Sweden.

The other option is a new dog sitter. We've had a trial run with a young lady whom Ollie seems to love. She may be able to stay in our flat while we're away. That makes things easier and simpler for Ollie, and so less a concern for both of us.

I haven't totally given up on the thought of our furry boy being with us, though! I'll share our thinking on this as we make our summer plans.