Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mat Hem

I wrote last year about the grocery delivery service, MatHem. They're big in the major cities in Sweden, and they branched out to archipelago deliveries last summer.

We decided to give them a try this year. They started island service on June 15, and Sooz made an online order from London that day for delivery yesterday afternoon. She was amazed at the range of goods available. When we first moved to Stockholm in 1989, the selections at the grocery store were limited, to put it mildly. Today, she's able to click on just about anything she could want and have it delivered! Amazing.

We bought a few groceries on our way out to Aspö on Sunday, and Sooz took stock of what we had at the house. She was able to alter her online order up until Monday evening, which was quite handy as we were able to fill in some grocery gaps we hadn't realised. We also added a bunch of heavy items like charcoal and bottles of tonic.

On Tuesday, we received a number of status messages from the delivery boat, and they arrived on our dock at 5PM loaded with all kinds of goodies—even a selection of ice creams, which is a rare treat!

Overall, we were quite impressed with the efficiency and professionalism of the service. It wasn't cheap: 295 kronor, although that's the same as 2 round-trip boat rides to Stavsnäs, so the price isn't that far off.

Sooz is worried about another potential cost, though. One of the things that makes life out here interesting for us is that it's a little bit hard. Having to think carefully about what you buy is very different to our lives in the city. It's a fun challenge to think through what to buy, where to buy it, how to get it to the house, how to manage our supplies.

With the ability to just click on a huge array of groceries and have them brought to us, that specialness goes away. What with the internet and HD television, and boat deliveries of ice cream, Aspö becomes more convenient, but perhaps a bit less special, too.

A few more ice creams will help me get over that feeling, though!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hello Again from Aspö

We've had a busy couple of days. Our bag didn't arrive with us Friday night so we didn't make it to Aspö until Sunday afternoon. We were able to have a great dinner with Marcia and Rutger on Saturday night, however!

Everything is fine with the stuga. I spent yesterday on a surprisingly complicated project to relocate the TV antenna. A tree was blocking the signal from its old location, so I decided to fix it properly and move it to another part of the roof.  That took the whole day of going up and down the ladder, and boy, do I feel it this morning! But all's well that ends well and our TV signal is much better. The weather yesterday was superb and it's looking decent for the rest of the week.

I't's the longest day of the year today- the sun rises at 3:30 and sets after 10PM. I found a cool solar graph for Stockholm. Today is the centre line:

The midsummer celebrations begin in earnest later in the week, so more to report on then!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

On our way tomorrow!

After work, I'll be hopping on a Norwegian flight for my usual Friday evening arrival. Sooz will be joining me; we had originally planned for her to come a couple days later to match up with our dogsitter's schedule.

However, that dogsitter fell through, so we have found an alternate plan. Ollie is going to spend two weeks in Essex with a family that specialises in posh puppies like himself.  So now, thanks to flexible Norwegian ticket pricing, Sooz is able to travel with me.

Our plan is to spend Saturday with Marcia and Rutger and then go to Aspö on Sunday noon. Stand by for lots of midsummer posts and photos!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Makita Batteries

I bought a nice cordless Makita drill with a pair of 18V Lithium batteries almost 6 years ago. Since then, I've added a cordless saw, sander, and planer to the system. I have been very happy with all of my tools. They're clearly well made, and I've had full use out of them every summer.

I had a bit of a disappointment on my last visit, however. Both of my batteries would no longer charge. I was not happy, seeing how expensive they are! But after talking to Olle and Janne, it seems that I was perhaps uncharitable. They've lasted over 5 years, and my pattern of using them a lot for short times and then setting for a long time in cold weather is hard on a rechargeable battery.

Substitutes for the original Makita batteries are available from many different suppliers at a much lower cost. On the other hand, if my battery fails, I'm totally without a power tool. So I compromised and bought one official battery and one aftermarket model.

I'll do my best to take better care of them in the future. I will also report how well the aftermarket battery holds up. I could save a lot of money over the years!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Internet access

I've written many times in the past about broadband internet access in the archipelago. Looking back, my hopes were high (perhaps too high) that I'd have a 100mb fiber connection by now!

Obviously, that hasn't worked out. A reduction in EU grant money has slowed the rollout. Nämdö, the biggest island in our archipelago, has been installed and is working well. However, there's competition among the smaller islands in the area. We will get there eventually; one year it will be Aspö's turn! 

However, I'm less worried about it than I was, for a couple of reasons. First is the news that Vattenfall, our electric company, is planning to take down the phone poles around the island and instead put the cables on the ground. It makes sense, as a lot of time and energy is spent each year looking for fallen branches. Many of the poles are over 40 years old and will need to be replaced eventually. Putting the cables on the ground will solve both problems. I think it will look nicer too.

Why am I mentioning the power company in a post about broadband, you may ask? The answer is that when the power cables are re-laid, it will be simple (and much cheaper) to add the internet fiber cable to each of these runs. Piggy-backing on the Vattenfall work should relieve me from having to run the fiber to my house myself.

The second reason is my current internet setup with is pretty darned good these days. I had my router on all winter, and I was able to peek into the house reliably. The speed is good enough to FaceTime back home, which fits my needs.

Once the fiber is available, I plan to get it for sure. But in the meantime, I'm connected to the internet just fine.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Lucky 13

Today is Ollie's 13th birthday. He poses here for his audience at one of our local pubs on his morning walk.

I've looked back at all of his posts on the blog. I've apparently used it as a bit of channel for my concern over the health of my furry boy. Sorry about that.

In the scheme of things, though, Ollie's doing pretty darned well. Thirteen is a decent age for a Corgi, especially one who's had a repaired back most of his life.

Ollie is slowing down quite a lot these days, but he remains a happy and charming dog, and we are blessed to have him in our family.