Friday, 3 July 2015

Swedish summer

We Swedes love to make fun of our weather, and particularly in summer. You frequently hear sardonic jokes like "I love Swedish summer, in fact it is my favourite day of the year!", and the weather is a given topic of conversation, much like in England (and probably everywhere else too, I've always imagined!).

Last week I spoke to a friend who had just returned from a few days in Krikwall on the Orkney Islands. Hardly a place known for its dry and sunny weather. I played there myself a few years ago (in March!) and distinctly remember the icy cold winds and the horizontal rain and sleet. The Orkneys are home to some of the oldest archeological sites found in all of Britain, and it has always fascinated me that people chose to come and live in such a hostile climate (where there are no trees, so you don't have any wood to build houses from or to burn if you get cold!) that long ago, when clearly there would have been plenty of space in much cozier places to settle down. Maybe they enjoyed a good challenge?

Certainly, some the dark grey/brown season that we call early and late winter can be quite a challenge in Sweden. At least on the mind. This is probably part of what blows up our expectations of summer, sometimes quite out of proportion. So far this summer has been a lot rainier and colder than a lot of people had hoped for. Gardening-wise this has not been altogether bad news and we have seen more beautiful flowers in the meadows and for a longer time than I can remember ever seeing. Having said that, the greatest benefit of a wet-ish summer is... this!

Yes indeed, the gold of the woods that we call chanterelle mushrooms is starting to appear, which is a very exciting prospect for a mushroom fanatic like myself. I have always claimed that my fondness for mushrooms is ingrained in me genetically as my mother is from Poland. Whether that is true or not, I have always loved picking them, and nearly always loved eating them. These days I am fortunate that my dear wife loves picking mushrooms but is not that keen on eating them, which means lots more for me!

Either way, if the weather has been a bit grey earlier, right now we are experiencing some of the most beautiful summer days imaginable, see the picture above. A good day to have a PARTY, I reckon!

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