Sunday 3 November 2013

I am Taking Over

Yes, you read it right!!!
I am talking over.
In this case the "I" is Esther.
Since Ron has his own blog in which he projects his feelings and views on subjects and he hasn't written here in quite a long time, we decided ( yes with mutual agreement) that I am taking over this blog and going to make it my own.

This means of course that you are going to see some changes around here. Like in background, personal info and that kind of stuff. But most of all a different kind of writing.

For quite some time now I didn't feel comfortable with what was actually written in this blog. It felt like only summing up what we did and nothing more.
Now that's going to change, I will start talking about things that go round in my mind, how I look at things here in Sweden and the differences between Sweden and the Netherlands.

Of course I will still tell you about what we do over here in the Northern Lands, but from a whole other perspective.
Hope you will all stay and keep reading


So this is me saying: " welcome to MY blog."
Wishing you all happy reading. 

Sunday 30 June 2013

And so much to see and learn......

For instance what is there to find in our own garden. Since we moved in here late october, we had absolutely no idea what kind of plants and other stuff there was to find. Now, in our first spring here, we are going to find out. And it sure has been an exploration. Just to give you an idea of what we found in late may, her are a few pictures.
Lots of Forest anemonies (vitsippor)

we're not sure what these are.... but beautiful

The blossom in the Bird Cherry tree (hägg) 

Lilly's of the valley, thousands of them

these small primroses start out like this.....
....and turn into this at the end

This Soring Pasque Flower (mosippa)
is threatened with extinction
Of course all these discoveries must be taken care of, just like the "gras". Ron started to try to mow the lawn so to speak. But he soon found out that the lawn is more like made of moss then gras. This sure does't make it any easier, especially if you can only do it with an oldfashioned handmower. That's the only safe way, since we don't now what more we can find in our lawn, thinking about rocks and stones. But with a little help from Sven, he came a long way.

Combined forces
One very important thing Ron also made was a fireplace. It is that place where sit down to relax, grill a little, brew a little campcoffee or just sit with a can of beer and let our minds linger.

family hobby...carving

Sven is learning quite a lot these days, and certainly not only in school. The kids found a fishing rod in the little gardenshed. Since Sven already had one, given by his friend Tristan when they were visiting us the year before, they decided to go out to the lake and try to fish. Not so very much later Annalena came home very excited, Sven caught a fish, we need a photocamera. So down we went  with the camera, and indeed....... he caught a fish
Very  proud of himself, as he should be, but didn't really know what to do now. So I told him he had to kill them, maybe stunn it first by hitting it on the head. Since that posed a bit of a problem,  the fish being very slippery, he just took a knife and cut of the head. Without even blinking with his eyes.
A couple of days later, when the weather was a little better, Sven and Elsa went to lake and tried again.  Soon, 5 minutes to be exact, Elsa came to get us. We had to come and watch, he already had caught two fish. when we arrived, he was just putting new bate on, he threw the line, and ........ yet another fish was caught. So in 10 minutes he caught 3 fish.

3 times in a row
 Of course, just like Ron, he had to learn how to clean a fish. Since this is no real meal for a human, we decided these fish would make a nice catmeal. Once again I showed how you should clean a fish and then, under my watchfull eye, Sven tried it himself. And like his dad, he was a quick learner. In no time he cleaned both fish and then served them to our cats, Kareltje and Eddie, who absolutely didn't refuse at all!!!

 And last but not least we had a wonderful family day in Leksand, but I leave it to Ron to tell you about this. So here are his also to be read in his own blogg The Trying Woodsman

And as an icing on the cake I want to tell about an event we visited last sunday; the medieval fair in Leksand.

What can I say about it..... It was sunday, wonderfully sunny, temperatures around 20, so..... crowded!
But what an absolutely wonderfull daytrip it was! We have been to a number of similar fairs in Holland with castles, knights in shining armour, fully equipped footsoldiers, canons, the whole circus. Did we expect that here too? No not really, since the middleages here were different from mainland Europe. We also knew that Swedish fairs and markets are not as elaborate as Dutch ones, but afterwards I can say that many a Dutch fair could learn a thing or two from this one!
There were knights, but not in fullplated, shining armour, which makes sence, considering Swedish wintercircumstances. They mix badly with metal and human skin. The knights here wore more wool and leather. The focus of the fair lay with crafts! And that what I was looking and hoping for. The kids had their knights, horses and a few orcs to interact with, the Mss. could feast her eyes on a lot of jewelry, both medieval and gothic/fantasybased and I saw lots of leather, woodworking and even hidepreparation and flinktknapping!
A visual impression;
There were a number of blacksmiths present and I am amazed with what they made, given their tools. I had hoped to be able to find a strikersteel to go with my flint, but did not find any. There weren't that many usable items anyway. Apart from a few vikingcloakpins and some cutlerysets, the vast majority was focussed on decorational items or items for indoor use, like candleholders and such.

I really loved this ingenious, yet basic lathe. A footpedal connected to an axle in the middle and going up to the tops of the sticks. The man treaded down, making the axle spin and the sticks on the sides pulled to rope back up again, causing the axle to spin in the other direction. Treading down again etc.... cutting the wood with each downward tread.

This women was working a beaverpelt, flesh and membrane still attached! It was hard work, but this pelt would make a fantastic hat or mittens! Other women had other skins and pelts in various stages of working. You can see and feel those if you wanted to, but most bystanders commented with an "eeewww"-like respons....

At the end of the day I found this guy, tucked away between other, larger stand. You can see his entire stand in this picture. Unfortunately I could not spend much time there. Those who have spend a day with kids on a fair in warm weather know why. He had a lot of beautifully knapped blades, arrowheads and other objects and as he was talking to another bystander, he showed how he did it in an almost casual way.

"You take this piece of stone and a piece of antler and then *peck* you knock a piece of....."

As said there were many stands selling leatheritems, ranging from necklacestrands, to pouches, boots, shoes, underarourgarments... the whole range. Some were basic and simple, some were..... a bit more elaborate! 
But there was one item that stole my heart!!!

There were also numerous stands selling woolitems, such as medieval clothing, garments, sheepskin and even backpacks. Unfortunately these stands tended to be quit crowded.....
All in all I was very pleasantly surprised with this fair. For me the sheer volume of craftsmanship and the high standard of it, was very welcome. In size it was a quit large fair with dozens of stands and people in appropriate clothing. But one of the things that surprised me most, was the level of  thinking that had gone into it all. There were a good number of foodstands, all with more or less appropriate food, prepared in a non-modernfashion, meaning open fire. The food we had was certainly good! The only downside was the lack of possibilities to acquire drinks, which on a warm, sunny day like this, would have made a lot of difference. I also noted the absence of certain things we often ran into on similar fairs; modern conveniences. meaning no stands with modern types of food or beverages, no electrically powered icecreamstands (there was one, keeping its cream cooled with iceblocks!) and next to no plastics to be seen anywhere! There was one stand selling some plastic weapons, but even these had a sort of wooden look to them. Even the cutlery you got on the foodstands was cardboard for cups and plates and wood for knives and forks!!!
And there was no litter to be found anywhere!!!

What did I get out of this day? One satisfied wife, 3 satisfied kids, with one being happy she chose this instead of her children's birthdayparty one satisfied me, being glad we went out and enjoyed a sunday as I think we should.
The loot for this day? A large leather hairpin from beautifully worked leather and bonepin, 3 thick leather bracelets for the kids, with their names stamped into them and for me another item I have been looking for for quit some time..... A woolfelt hat!

Ron signing off.....

And just because I like this view, I'll share it with you as well
Signing off, saying Good Night

Saturday 29 June 2013

May means......many things to do.....

May begins with Annalena being knighted. Over the past few weeks they have specal lectures at school on  knightly behaviour and how they can convey that to others. Since all in her class passed the tests given, they were going to be knighted by no other than King Arthur (he was English allright) himself. Lovely to see and well thought out it all was.
I dub thee to Knight of Stora Skedvi

Certificate, special bracelet and her knightshield
A couple of days earlier I talked with our old good neighbours Johan Berglund and his lovely Annica, because maybe Johan could deliver roadgravel for the parkingspace we needed to create down in our garden. He jumped in the phone and arranged a load for us, to be delivered probably on monday, but might also be friday...
It turned out to be friday, and turned out to be a bit of a problem to get it delivered to where it was supposed to be. Becuase they came with a truck with trailer. The trailer load was for us the truckload for someone else. There the truck with trailer could not go over our little dirtroad, we had to find another place to unload our gravel. After a period of thinking, the only solution Ron and the truckdriver could come up with was the busstop. It had enough room without it being a hinder for the few (like 4) busses that come during the day.  In the weekend that followed our neighbours came to the rescue once more and helped transporting the gravel load by load with their tractors.

All we have to do now is digging out the parking space, and fill it up with the gravel....... all 20 tonnes of it.

Ron has not been feeling too well lately and suspects an inflammation in his airways. Having delt with this before he didn't  want to go to the doctor, because he would only be pumped full with pills, something he absolutely despises. Since I am a Reiki master he asked me if I could treat him with that. Of course I was willing to help him. So every evening I treated him with a portion of energy, which was soon to be named a microwavesession by him. This led to some very strange conversations sometimes...... but all in all it did  work, together with his own body fighting he conquered his illness just in time for his job interview (more about that later)

My sister was going to move and had a few items we could have, so me and my parents went over there to take the stuff off her hands. We ended up with a bigger freezer, backpacks, snow shovels, grascutter and some other items. My parents amongst other things with two garden furniture sets. Since they still had an other one they got from us a couple of years ago, my mom thought it might be a good idea to return that one to us, now that we have a house of our own again. And so it happened that after twelve years, our first little garden set returned back to us

Somthing that came along with it was a big trampoline we may borrow from my parents. Since there were no grandchildren coming  to celebrate their holiday with them, they thought we might put it to better use then they themselves could......
the first ones on were........ the cats
Elsa had been asking to learn how to carve in wood. We promised her, just like the other two that she would get her knife when she turned seven. And it was almost that time, she just wanted to learn before she got her knife. So, after a lot of asking, daddy finally sat down with her and learned her how to do it safely, just a couple of days before her birthday.
She's using my old Mora scout, the one I got back in 1984.
We bought that one here, in Mora.

Still....... the box with bandages is at close range.........

Since the weather is good we spend a lot of our time outdoors. When I'm not working that is. Being outside in our own garden enjoying the wonders of nature al around us.
Also the first BBQ is a fact. Not that it was a big event, just a couple of sausages and a flintasteak with a nice bowl of salad. But boy... did that taste good...

Then slowly but surely the schoolyear goes towards its end. And that means schooltrip for sixgraders, meaning Sven in our family. And they had two! The first was to Stockholm on may 16th. And this mama was suddenly promoted from cleaning lady to pedagoge, together with two other mama's. Funny how it always turns out to be the mama's who follow along on these trips. Early in the morning we sat down in the bus and went of to the Big City. First stop was one hell of a big tower called the Kaknästornet. We were going to go all the way up to watch out over the whole city. Beautiful view and some crazy windowwashers hanging on ropes way up there.........and a little cafetaria with lots of mummsssss

Not Good, Not Good.........
Next stop was the Vasa Museum, not about the man Gustav Vasa, but about the ship the Vasa, wich sank on it's maiden trip, way before the Titanic did. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding between busdriver and teacher we had only 45 minutes there and had to wait for a guide as well. So we didn't see much. But it was nice nonetheless.
a smaller replica of the original
Unfortunately after that the battery of my photocamera shut down permanently.
The last and most lovely part of the trip according to the kids was  Gröna Lund, a big amusement park with lots of rollercoasters and stuff. Since one of the kids did not follow along with this schooltrip there was freepass (free acces in all rides) to win for one of the mothers. And I was the lucky one. we also got food coupons and an entranceticket. Time to go and find the child within again...... not that that posed a big problem. On our way to the entrance, a poster caught my eye. It made me realize we were there a week early.........

Just one week later my favorite band ( and not to forget also a favorite of Sven) would play a gig here at the park. Now we had to settle for another swedish band called Ansiktet. More like a highschoolgirl favorite......
But let's not dwell on that, let's go in and have a party. And we did. Tag-along mama and good friend Linda had prepared me for what was going to come. And boy did we have fun!! We let go of our kids, they wanted to go by themselves. A little hard for me, since Sven had never been to such a park before, but hey, if you love 'em, you got to let 'em go. So I did.  And me.... well I tried just about everything i could, even the Eclipse, a brandnew high up in the sky carousel, which not only goes round but has seats that swing in all directions. The other moms did't wanna go, but I just had to. So after I found Sven again, I asked if he would mind going on a ride with his mom. He thought it was cool, and so we went up together. And it was wonderful, not scary, but wonderful. I could look out over the whole city in the sunset, wind going through my hair, having a laughing son by my side. How cool is that. I think it's quite cool, but it was also very cold, high up there at the end of the day.

After this highlight it was time to leave the park and head back for the bus and the way home. You might think the kids would be exhausted and would fall asleep soon. But not this happy bunch, they were alive and kicking, well most of them were.
At some point I actually was the only adult awake.........
With the return at the schoolground I took two more kids in my car and took them home upp till their front door. Sven and I got home at  about half 2, I'd say in the middle of the night..... soon to fall asleep after a very succesfull day.
picture from Högbo Bruk website
The week after they went on thier second trip, this time I could not go with them. They went to Högbo Bruk, to be a little like apes, swinging between trees. Only they had securitylines and stuff ( a very comforting thought I must say). Sven had, yet again, the time of his life.  They stayed over for the night, which was more a problem for us at home then it was for him. We are just not used to the fact that our son is not sleeping at home. The girls like to sleep over at friends, but somehow he never does that. So it's very strange to walk in to his room, late at night before I go to sleep and not finding hím there.......
Both Schooltrips were absolutely new things for Sven, and I told him that if there were things he didn't want to do, he should not do  them. No need to try to be the cool guy if you're not.
But this mama learnt very quickly that her little boy is not a little boy anymore, and sure as hell is not afraid of trying new things. Hmmm,...... wonder where he's got that from.....

Wednesday 22nd was a nervwrecking day, especially for Ron. He had applied for a jobb at the new IKEA in Borlänge along with 5100 other people. He was one of the 300 lucky ones to get invited for a jobb interview and that would take 3,5 hours.  He set off with a good vibe and when he got home, he still had a good vibe. Allthough it had been tough, beginning with a groupdiscusion, 2 personal interviews and to top it all of roleplay. But he thought this was the best jobinterview ever, especially since it all had to be done in Swedish. Now he had to wait, within 3 weeks he would get his answer. If he got an email, he did not get the job. If he got a letter in the mailbox, he would be welcomed in the IKEA family. They had to fill 183 in personell. With his 10 years of experience at IKEA in Holland, 2 very good references within that same company and his will to take on new challenges, we thouht his chances were quite good.
How big was the desception when a week and a day later he got a very unpersonal email, saying that he did not get a job.

He send back an email with the question why he didn't get the job. Just to find out what he could do to improve himself. The only answer he got was: "we just had to make a choice", or in other words, (and that is our own interpretation of this) "we don't want to tell you"  
One really starts to wonder what the hell one has to do to get a job. Ron has been trying to get a job since we moved here, just like me. And after so many job applications, always the same negative answer, IF you get an answer that is.

Back to square 1 and start all over again..........

Friday 28 June 2013

There's music everywhere.........

To begin with the morningchoir with an aweful lot of different birds, that starts  very very early in the morning. We can enjoy their different sounds all through the day when they, mostly the males, are trying to find a mating partner. We have several little birdhouses in trees and one after another has been taking in use. Now we only have to try to keep the cats away from them. but they seem to go more for mice then for birds. Maybe because the catch is easier and more plentyful.

one of the many couples forming these days
The birds are so numerous in sort that we can't keep up identifying them. Which has become some sort of game between Ron and the kids. It really is wonderful to hear all these different birdsounds. Something we never had in the Netherlands. The only "music" we heard there were the cars racing by, planes flying over, screaming weedsmoking neighbours, dogs barking, and the radio from another neighbour with defenitely another taste in music than our ...... what a difference.

Then out of the blue on a fridaynight, 5 minutes after I got home from work, my beloved friend Linda calls. If I had plans for the day after,..... uuhmm not really. if I would like to follow along with her to Stockholm and see Rock of Ages...........
I looked at Ron, got an understanding look and answered...Hell Yeah!!!
She was the lucky one that won tickets on the Hammerfall Facebookpage. The leadsinger from Hammerfall, Joacim Cans, plays one of the leading characters in this musical. Unfortunately her own hubbie could not tag along and suggested she'd call me.....

So on saturday morning we dressed up to go a day out on the town and drove off to big city Stockholm.  Just in time we got to the China Theatre in the towns centre, got our tickets and sat down on our seats. Which happened to be one of the best places in the theatre.
Rock of Ages is a musical in which a story is told through (hard)rock songs from the past. A wonderfull mix of music and comedy we got to see, with some seriously unbelievabely talented people. One well known song after the other. You just can't sitt still and not sing along. Just wonderfull
We had fun allright......

And after the show we even got to meet up and say thanks to Joacim Cans, complete with hugs......
A shame really that the happy mood one is in after such a wonderfull show, almost leaves you the instant you have to pay your parkingticket...... SEK 395 for 3 hours and 56 minutes ( for those thinking in euro's that's 45 whole euro's right there).
A bit of a downer I'dd say.

More music going on, but on a whole other level. The wife  of one of my choirfriends  (also being the mother of another close friend of ours) died. The request of the husband was, to have as many choirmembers as possible attending the funeral service to give his wife a service filled with song (psalm in this case) because she loved that so much. Knowing how much his wife meant to him, and having the honour to have known her and see those two people together, still so much in love after s many years, I could not deny that request. And what a wonderfull service it was. So much more personal than what I am used to in Holland. Even though it is hard to sing beautifull once you're overcome with emotions, I did my very best, along with all the other choirmembers that showed up. I'm sure she was listening high up in the sky ..........

And how full of contrast life can be.
In the evening of that same day me and my friend Linda were supposed to be going to yet another musicfilled show. A movie in Falu Folketshus, organised by Rockstad:Falun. Queen: A Hungarian Rhapsody. Starting of with a short documentary on the band, followed by a full concert of the band in Hungary.

Unfortunately Linda called just before we were supposed to go, she couldn't come along because of  the fact that her son didn't feel too well.
So I set of for a night at the cinema by myself, since the tickets were ordered and payed for .......and I couldn't think of anyone else who wanted to go on such short notice. Queen is just not Ron's cup of tea so to speak..

I must say I had a good time. The movie was wonderfull to watch and listen to, with all the great songs one could ask for. Yet again, sitting still and not singing was out of the question. And that goes quit well if you have plenty of room beside you, since I had one empty chair on one side and two empty chairs on the other side........

What I simply don't understand is that people pay for tickets to a movie like this, and then don't even try to enjoy it. Instead let's gossip about just everybody we know on a decibellevel that everybody around us can hear it. And on top of it all, they can't seem to drag themselves away from their smartphones and Facebook...... Highly annoying and irritating, I must say.
But somehow the movie was that interresting that I managed to shield myself against this stupidity, and sit back and enjoy..........

Still the music wasn't over. There still was Förkläd Gud to be done with the church choir, together with 2 other choirs and an orchestra. Even though I didn't manage to take part in a lot of practise evenings (due to schooltrips and some other musical stuff I had on my agenda) I decided to give it a go. Of course we had to be there well before the churchservice began, in order to have a last little practise. I then found out that we would also be singing For the beauty of the Earth (För all Jordens Härlighet). I did not practise that at all!!!
Nonetheless it all went smooth and personally I think it was a great concert. I went out with a wonderfull feeling after we got a standing ovation from the public. One of the few times the church was full.......
It is not that I have a thing with the man upstairs. I just love to sing, and  with this choir I can do that together with people I know from my own community, and we have Fika!!! every choirevening.....
And when we do sing about God, or how you want to call him or it, I just think of my own "God", which happens to be Mother Nature.

And to top it all off...... we got great reviews in the newspaper....... have a go and try to find me in one of the pictures in this article ( a little help, it's a small picture, click on it :) )

Sunday 23 June 2013

April is here.....

And we survived our first Swedish winter on our own....
Our moving here late in the year meant we had no time to prepare properly, especially with firewood. That meant we had to drive to my parents on a regular basis in order to get some. We had to drag the wood uphill, bag by bag and Ron then had to split it first and store it inside, befor we could even use it. All this limited our ability to properly heat our house, making it feel chilly more often than that it was nice and cosy. Luckily we are not people who like to have our homes heated like an oven. Many here do, as we noticed when we got to other people's homes for cleaning there. 24 degrees was no exception, and is no fun to work in either.
The upside on this was that we regularly had excercise in the open air and that we were thankfull for every piece of wood we loaded into the heater. This warmed us from the inside out as well.
The kids have developed a special fondness for sleeping under real wool blankets. Annalena and Sven likes to sleep under them even without sheets. They love that scratchy and warm feeling the wool provides, as does Ron.  I don't like the scratchy feeling and do need a sheet between me and  the blanket. Which of course does pose a problem, when two people share a bed..........

But finally spring has come for real. After an extended cold period. As we understood it, average temperature for the last couple of weeks was much lower than usual; about 10 degrees colder. We also had a lot of strong, eastern wind and that, combined with dry snow, makes for some unpleasant weather.

For next winter we have a lot more time to prepare properly. Starting with firewood. Luckily we have a good neighbor called Ingemar and he still had some wood lying around. Good birchwood, dried for at least two years. Since they have no use for it anymore we could take it of their hands for a fair price. And so we did. only we had to wait a little while before we could relocate the stuff because of the fact that the pallets were still frozen to the ground, but once they were loose, with the help of another good neighbor Håkan, the pallets were relocated to our side of the "fence"

comes in handy when the neighbor has the right machinery
With the weather improving daily, the kids are out more as well. Since Annalena is a very good treeclimber, little sister Elsa  wants to be that as well. But being the "little" sister does make it a "little" harder. Especially when the branches are actually too high to reach. But she is persistent, very persistent..... and thuss

Since spring is really here, it is also time for the villages springmarket, Vårmarknad, which will be at april 27. I booked a table and of course I need to have something to put on the table. And Annalena wanted to help...... so we set the table for an afternoon of felting. It would be Annalena's first work so let's start with something easy, a simple little shoulderbag. Of course, stubborn as she is, she didn't want to keep it simple. It had tot have different colors on the in and outside. As you wish young lady..........

We are still waiting for her to finnish what she started. One day we will be able to show the endresult. Don't know when but someday.....

We also finally found a solution for Ron's hobby. He didn't have a decent place to sit down and start building his military models that he finally got his inspiration back. But since we moved our wardrobe ( you know, the place where you hang  your coat when you come in) down to the basement, we had two spare closets in the hall upstairs. With a little modifation we turned that into a nice buildingspace for Ron, with a folding table. 
in use..........
and cleaned up
Another thing we decided was very necessary was a haircut for all the kids an myself. The last time we had that was just before we moved to Sweden and done by our lovely friend Marielle. She was sorely missed up here in the north. I tried to a bit of haircutting myself, but we all agreed that was not a succes. We never thought a haircut could be so expensive. But after a little searching and comparing we found a hairsalon not to far from where my workcompanie's office is in Falun, with a more appropriate pricelevel. I made a phonecall, booked a time for all four of us (Ron does his own "haircut" ) and of we went. It all went smooth and fast (probably because there was no hairwashing included.... little did we know) and with a lot less hair we walked out again, even cheaper than anticipated. That's always nice.
and after........
Sorry,  I'm not in the picture, but somebody has to take the picture..... right.....

Unfortunately we haven't been so lucky with cars. One car after another broke down, one way or another. Since neither Ron or I are handy when it comes to cars, we always had to ask my dad if he could help, since taking them to a garage was way beyond our financial limits. My dad however isn't the youngest of lads anymore. Lying down on the frozen floor in freezing temperatures isn't  the best thing for his body. We had been searching for a solution, but hadn't found one yet. My dad, having bought a new car quite recently, tried to find a solution as well........ and found one, at least he  thought so. We sat down for a talk and he explained what he had done. It all came down to us to decide, whether we wanted it or not and how much we could spare per month. My dad and me went to Rolf Ericson Bil in Borlänge, where I took a look at completely new car, a Dacia Logan, wich they'd had in storage for while. I made a test drive through the surrounding area, testing every possible type of road....... meaning not only the asphalt, but going a little off road as well. I returned the car a lot less clean then it was when I left the garage .......
After that, we sat down to talk and see what our possibilities were. It al ended with me buying the car, hoping that this would be the end of our car-misery.

One week later I could pick the car up and drive home, feeling quite relieved.
nice view from and at the house, 
I know,..... it's not a fancy, modern styled, aerodynamic car, but.... it's a practical car that serves the whole family. Lots of space (comes in handy with jobbrelated transports as well as when you go camping with a family of 5) , 3 threepointbelts in the back, so all our kids are safe and cheap in terms of fuell. I learned from Annalena that this was called a "Skåpbil" in Swedish, meaning "Closetcar". I must say it deserves the name, we transported a complete kitchen cabinet in it with room to spare for groceries ........

At the end of the month it was time for the second preliminaries of Schack 4:an for Annalena's class. This time the trip went to Borlänge. Again a whole schoolday of playing chess. Annalena grew kind of fond of the game. The only problem at home was that her big brother obviously didn't follow the same rules as she. Which often resulted in a fight, in which they accused each other of foul play. But this day there were no problems of such kind, there all fourth graders had learned the same rules.  And succesfull they were, once again. This time they ended in second place, meaning a direct ticket to the State Finals, to be held on the first of june in Västerås. So the little lady came home with yet another medal and a big smile on her face.

On the 27 it was time for the Spring market on the towns square. Annalena and Elsa both wanted to join me and help me... they said.
So we packed  the new car, not even a quarter full, and went downtown (downvillage more likely....) After I found my table, I builded up with  a little help from Annalena. Elsa already found some of her friends and was nowhere to be seen anymore. After a slow start the first half, it all worked out pretty well for me in the end. The only thing I learned, not only today, but also from the few markets I did  the last year, was that I really needed to get my own table.  We'll see if i can find myself a good one before the next market is coming up. 

The last day of april has its tradition here, locally called for "Majbrasan", but officially  called Valborgsmässoafton. (for explanation in English look here). Since there was nothing special organised in our own little village, and we had quite a lot of excess wood and gardendebris, we decided to have our own little Majbrasan, in our garden.
In the Netherlands they had completely other things on their minds. This was the day Queen Beatrix was going to step down and leave the throne and crown to her son Willem Alexander. For the first time in I don't no how many years the Netherlands were getting a King again. 
So while all our Dutch friends were watching how their ( and actually still our) country got a new king, Annalena and I were baking muffins, to be eaten when we lit the heap of wood.
The weather was not really what we had hoped for, but hey... it's still april......
Around eight that evening we thought it was wise to set the heap alight. All three kids had the honor to do that.

Soon it all went up in flames, giving off an amazing heat. I always find fire very intriguing and can't help but looking into the heart of it, where it's at its most beautiful....... in my opinion that is. 
our little heap

 But as said, we did have somethingg to eat to go with all this, so Annalena ran back into the house and came back with this......
And that tasted really good.
April has been an eventhfull month. I finally got my 75% employement, which makes things a little easier, financially. Ron is still without a job, so that is about all we have. With only child benefit to raise the  amount a little. But so far we managed to get by every month and even found money to spare to buy a little extra furniture to  our house, wich is also still incomplete. Most of our swedish friends just don't understand how we do it, but then again when  I look at the way they're spending their money..... I can't understand that either...
All in all we are happy with what we've got, and appreciate every little extra we get along the way.