Monday, June 26, 2006

Midsummer

On Friday we went to Magnus' summer house (below) in Hunnebostrand on the West Coast to celebrate Midsummer. Midsummer is a celebration of the longest day of the year and is probably Sweden's biggest festival. It is celebrated on the weekend closest to the Summer Solstice on the 24th June.

Magnus' summerhouse was built by his great-grandfather and it is the 3rd time we have celebrated Midsummer there.





It is traditional at Midsummer to dance around a Midsummer pole decorated with greenery and flowers. We didn't have a Midsummer pole to dance around so instead I followed the other tradition and made a Midsummer crown...




After lazing around in the sunshine we ate a traditional Midsummer meal of pickled herring, prawns, fresh potatoes and dill, meatballs, beetroot salad, cheese, bread and strawberries, washed down with some disgusting Swedish schnapps while we sang drinking songs!





After dinner we went across the road to the local football ground and played a few games of football - luckily each of the countries represented (England, Sweden, Australia and Italy) had made it through to the second round of the World Cup, so there weren't too many arguements!




Below: Lilly, Marina, Andreas and Stretchie

Below: Ken, David and Charles

Below: Charles, Daniel, David and Magnus



The photo below was taken at about midnight - it never really gets dark in Sweden during the summer and Midsummer is the lightest day of the year.




Having a sing-song in the evening!



The following morning in preperation for the Sweden/Germany game, Andreas shaved 'SWE' into the back of Charles' hair! It seemed like a good idea until Sweden lost 2-0 later in the afternoon and were knocked out of the World Cup!



To see more Midsummer photos click here

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Volvo Ocean Race

Yesterday we went to watch the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race come into the harbour in Gothenburg. The round the world race is 31,000 nautical miles (57,000 km) and takes 8 months to complete! 7 boats took part, but the Moviestar crew had to abandon ship as thier keel broke and their boat was taking in too much water. One of the crew members from the ABN AMRO TWO boat was swept overboard between New York and Portsmouth and sadly died too.

The company Daniel works for, Semcon, had co-designed part of the Swedish Ericsson Racing Team boat, so they had organised a big company day out to watch the race. We had a great spot up on the cliffs by the side of the finish line to watch the boats come in, sunbathe and eat a giant picnic.



The winning boat of the final leg (2nd overall) was the Pirates of the Caribbean/Disney boat. The crew sailed up to the finish line (just a few metres before the bridge) brandishing cutlasses and wearing eye patches!

The racing boats were followed by a huge armada of security, police, military, sailing and motor boats, plus a few brave people on jetskis!



After watching the first 2 boats cross the finish line we headed over to the other side of the harbour where Semcon had laid on a huge party, with drinks, a band and a big prawn buffet. As we sat outside eating we finally saw the Ericsson Racing Team Boat coming into harbour in 5th place, both in the final leg and overall ranking.


Nothing like a bit of cheesy dancing to round the night off!




Happy Fathers Day!

Dad,
Happy Fathers Day! Sorry I can't be there to celebrate with you,
but looking forward to being back home next month!
Lots of love, Helly xxx
(Photo from May 2004, when Mum and Dad came to stay)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rock climbing!

There is quite a steep rock face on the other side of the road opposite our flat, and this evening when I loooked out of the window I saw this guy climbing along it! He had no ropes so when we came back after watching the football (England/Trinidad and Tobago 2-0) we half expected to find him sprawled out on a car bonnet!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lipstick, parades and football!

Last Thursday I had a work training day in the building on the right, which is known as Läppstiftet (The Lipstick) for obvious reasons! It is an office building with a cafe and viewing point at the top, but sadly the cafe was shut so I wasn't abale to go up and take some photos of the great view over the harbour. Next time...




On Friday I was back in Trollhättan working, but did manage to see some of the graduation parade. It was to celebrate the students gradutation from gymnasium (high school) and they ride around town on the back of trailers decorated with banners and branches, pulled by tractors! The students wear white gradutation caps, with a band of blue and yellow, the colours of the Swedish flag. The parade tradition dates back to when this would have been the last time students saw each other before going to take part in their military service, but as military service is no longer compulsary in Sween its now just to a chance to celebrate (and get drunk!)




As this was our first proper weekend in the flat without any moving or unpacking involved we were very lazy! Summer has finally come to Sweden so we spent most of the weekend wandering round our new neighbourhood and sitting in the park. On Saturday we also met up with some friends to watch the England/Paraguay (1-0) and Sweden/Trindad and Tobago (0-0) World Cup matches. Both matches were equally uneventful although I did notice that when I watched the England match I cheered in English (come on/nooooo!) and then cheered in Swedish during the Sweden match (kom igen/oi/neeeej!). My other observation was how polite the Swedish fans were, politely clapping when their players missed a shot, compared with the English shouting and swearing!! We'll have to wait and see how polite the Swedes are next week during the England/Sweden match!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Back again!

The internet is finally up and running after our move - yay! The flat moving went smoothly enough, with us only needing 3 trips back and forth in the van - although the last trip ended at 2.30am! We put the last of our empty boxes in the attic last night, so all that is left to do now is hang the curtain poles and some pictures and we're all done!
We've had a busy 10 days since moving, the highlight of which was my birthday last week! Daniel bought me a new digital camera to replace the super-unreliable one I've been using up until now! I had the day off work on my birthday so wanted to go out and about to try out my new camera but sadly it rained all day, so all I managed was a few photos of the lovely birthday dinner Daniel cooked!





Were we back home in England this weekend for Daniel's nephew and godson Harry's Christening.


After the church service we spent a lovely day in the sunshine celebrating in the garden, which ended up with a big water fight! Below: Daniel's nephew George and his friend Matthew.



Above: Ellie, Daniel's neice and Harry's big sister.