Sunday, 29 July 2018

One Tower, Two Spires and an Ancient Standard Measure


Our next stop after Värnamo was the parish church at Rydaholm (see map at the bottom of the post).

The church was built in the 12th century. Originally, the tower was only half as high as now. In the 14th century it was completed with the two spires we still see. 

In 1793 the nave and choir of the church were reconstructed and enlarged; but they kept the tower with the two spires, which is the most unique feature.


According to old tradition, the church is built in west-east direction, with the altar to the east.



The altarpiece was made in 1865, but the picture of Christ in the middle is from 1960.


The pulpet was made around 1830.


Turning round and looking at the organ.


Along one wall, I noticed this ‘grandfather clock’ – in my experience, not a very common object in churches.

At a side entrace to the church, they have like a small museum; displaying among other things a replica of an old iron measure rod. Aln is an ancient linear unit that was used in Sweden in the past. The standard aln measure from Rydaholm (just under 60 cm in the metric system), is known to have been used in that area since the 12th century, and it became the norm used throughout Sweden when the unit needed to be standardized (in 1604). It remained the national standard until replaced by the metric system towards the end of the 19th century.


‘Aln’ is supposed to mean the length of a man’s forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. But in that case it seems to me that the measure must have been based on very tall man with very long arms, as my brother (waving hello to you from the picture) is far from short!


The golden angel and the cross with the crown of thorns were formerly placed at the altarpiece.


Old carved something… (not sure what!)

Skärmklipp Rydaholm

Rydaholm is located at “B” on the map

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Visiting the Past in Värnamo

After lunch at The Inn (see previous post), we went for a walk to Värnamo’s Museum of Local History; situated in a park named Apladalen = Apple Tree Valley.

On the way to the park, we passed a couple of other houses that caught my eye.


No idea what the story behind the impressive sculpture in this garden may be, but I do think the house was No 3 on that street…


And this was No 5!


Walking a bit further, these typical old-style wooden fences hinted that we were probably on the right track…

DSC03667 DSC03684


Outside the main museum building in the park, there is this group of carved wooden sculptures, illustrating an old folksong about a couple – farm hand and farm maiden - who exchanged rings (got engaged) at the Värnamo Market, but were too poor to get married straight away. So they agreed to meet in the same place again in six years time. In the meantime, they each saved all the money they could; and after six years they met again, and still wanted to get married. But then the town ‘sherriff’ appeared and made an announcement about a currency devaluation; which meant that the young couple’s savings were still not worth anywhere near as much as they'd need to buy a piece of land and set up a home of their own. And so the song ends with a repetition of their promise to each other – to meet once again at the market in another six years…

(The couple in the song are called Per and Kersti. According to the back of a postcard I bought, the name of the sculptor is Harry Weidmann.)

It’s a poignant story for the general situation in Sweden back in the 1800s, when a lot of poor people ended up leaving Sweden to emigrate to America. We were reminded of this part of our history several times during our trip, so I’ll be getting back to that topic in future posts as well.

Meanwhile, here’s me next to the unhappy couple.
(As you can see, it was already very hot!)



I think this must be the back of the main museum building; an old vicarage.


DSC03676 DSC03678



Old painting/wallpaper


A more contemporary exhibition on the fairy tale theme of “trolls” in various sizes and shapes


Old vehicles on display in one of the barn buildings


Friday, 27 July 2018

A Geography Lesson and an Inn to start the trip

The provinces of Sweden (Sveriges landskap)

Sweden has 25 provinces which no longer have administrative functions, but are still bearers of historical legacies and cultural identification. Dialects and folklore follow the provincial borders than the borders of the modern administrative counties (län).

The province where I live is Västergötland; whereas the administrative county or region Västra Götaland also includes Dalsland, Bohuslän and part of Halland.

We also have a traditional broader division of the country into three areas. Götaland (blue on this map), Svealand (yellow), and Norrland (beige/brown).

Don’t worry, I won’t take this confusing topic further… Winking smile Really just wanted to show you the map, to give you a visual image of where our trip went this year:

From the middle of Västergötland, south-east through the province of Småland, to the city of Kalmar on the east coast; which is connected by bridge to the island of Öland. And back through Småland again via a different route (north-west). (I tried marking the route on Google maps but I give up for now, not getting the result I wanted. It’s too hot to struggle further with that today…)

Our first stop in the province of Småland was Värnamo, a town of around 19 000 inhabitants that traces its history back to a village in the medieval age. Here we had lunch at Gästgivargården, an old inn in the town centre. (Its name basically just means The Inn.)




2018-07-16-3 Värnamo Inn

Sunday, 22 July 2018

I’m Back


… from my one-week holiday trip with my brother through the Swedish province of Småland over to the east coast and the island of Öland (connected by a long bridge to the city of Kalmar on the mainland).

We arrived back home (my home) yesterday (late afternoon-ish), and spent last night summarizing all our various impressions from the journey. This morning after breakfast, Per set off back to his home. He sent an email that he got home safely, so all is well.

We’re in luck that today has been a day of somewhat cooler winds and weather (around 23’C in the afternoon– while earlier in the week close to or even above 30’C). We’re supposed to get back to the really high temperatures again in just a day or two (and the rest of the week, and who knows for how long) – but even a temporary break is welcome, and gives me a chance to let some fresh air into the flat after having been away for a week. I even put on a top with 3/4 length sleeves today! - after wearing only tank-tops and the very thinnest and widest and loosest of my trousers the whole trip! (No jackets, sweaters or umbrellas etc packed “just in case” ever got used…)

The weather was hot and dry all week. In the north of Sweden, several large forest fires are raging – to the degree that we’ve been having extra fire fighter staff as well as equipment flewn in from several other European countries to help, and yet in some areas they’ve still had to just concentrate on stopping the fires from spreading (letting the area in the middle just burn down until there is nothing left to burn).  On the maps shown on the news we’ve been able to see that there have been fires in the south-east, too; and yet, miraculously, we seem to have managed to plan our own travel route so that we never even saw smoke. (Which makes it all seem strangely surreal when watching the TV news in the evenings and mornings at the hotels.)

What we did see, though, was nature in a state of drought very unusual for this time of year – looking more like autumn than summer in many places, with grass all yellow, trees with all brown leaves like in autumn (but weirder), and water levels in the rivers etc also very low. In the midst of all this, we’ve been driving through forest areas as well as visiting idyllic tourist sites in both countryside and city; also including lots of well-kept old wooden buildings.

A few random photos to whet your appetite… I’ll be taking my time blogging about places or themes one at a time in weeks/months (?) to come.


From one of the many old homestead museums we visited.
Keeping in the shadow whenever possible was wise strategy this week :)


A farmhouse, an old chapel ruin and a typical stone wall on the island of Öland


This photo, also from Öland, primarily to show you one of all the trees with all brown leaves that we saw (the one to the left has no leaves at all, but I suspect that may not be all due to the current heatwave)…


View from a walkpath on top of an old town wall in the city of Kalmar.
The red brick building in the background is Kalmar museum.


A courtyard at a museum in Eksjö – a town still full of picturesque old wooden houses (see also the picture on the tray in the photo of my ‘souvenirs’ at the top).


A stubborn sunflower growing out of really nothing but dry dust and dirt on a building site

The very first thing I had to do when I got home yesterday was to give “first aid” to all of my potted plants, both indoors and outdoors… My geraniums needed some serious emergency “surgery” (cutting off lots of yellow leaves) but I’m hoping they’ll survive and recover. The strawberry plants on the balcony looked like they’d given up as well; but sprang back to life surprisingly quickly when they got water.

The second thing I did was to plug all the cords back in that I had unplugged before leaving (in case of thunder); and then to make sure to back up  a thousand holiday photos from my camera, both to the pc and to an extra memory stick. (You think I’m exaggerating? I’m not!!!)

Today I’ve been having a lazy day, resting my (rather sore) feet, and basically just unpacking the clothes that need to go in the washing tomorrow…  And (much more fun!) all the postcards and other souvenirs bought in various tourist shops along the way. (See photo at the top of the post.) I don’t usually buy a lot of “things” when travelling, but as this trip took us through a part of Sweden known for its many glassworks, it was hard to resist! Besides postcards, I ended up buying something at each of the four glassworks we stopped at; and a few other things as well. (I’ll get back to them “in context”.)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Need to Vent


Two months ago, I wrote a post entitled A Breath of Air; mentioning the installation of a new ventilation system in my building back in May, leaving us with “no air” during the first abnormal heatway setting in just then – and the relief I felt when ventilation was finally back on. As far as I can tell, it has been working fairly well since then – of course it’s still been an extremely hot summer, which means we don’t escape feeling that indoors as well. But having lived in this flat ten years now, at least I was able to say that in spite of the really extraordinary weather situation, the indoors climate was probably somewhat better than previous summers. That is, until

Not sure exactly which day I started to notice – it may have been a gradual revelation towards the end of last week. At first I just blamed the weather (and supposedly everyone else does, too); but gradually since Thursday or Friday, I started getting aware that there must be more to it. Like, way too much condensation on the mirrors in the bathroom if I took a shower in the evening before going to bed, and the towels not drying over night either… The nights were hot and stifling too – in spite of open windows and my own table fans going all night at full speed too. But in the mornings it was a little cooler, and sometimes I fell back to sleep, and when I finally got up, the ventilation in the bathroom was definitely on, whirring away as usual.

I think it was Friday night that I started to get seriously suspicious, noting that the ventilation was definitely off in the late evening and over night. However, in the morning it was back on again, and working all day on Saturdayuntil late evening, when it went off again. Then came Sunday, and that whole day the air stood still and it felt really hot and oppressive. At lunch time I noted that the kitchen fan wasn’t working either. (I ended up skipping hot food!). I was going to phone in an error report on Monday morning when the office opened – but then the ventilation was back on again?! - both in the kitchen and in the bathroom. So I thought they must have fixed it…

Until… Late evening, it was off, again, and remained off throughout the night, again. Tuesday morning, however – back on, again. But then I called to make an error report, even though unable to be very specific. (“It’s been on and off and on and off and now it’s on again…” How does one make that sound convincing??) The man answering said he’d tell someone to have a look at it. (And maybe they did; but of course in the daytime it was working just fine – so…)

Tuesday night… Yes, you probably already guessed: It went off again! Another night with “no air” – but on Wednesday morning, of course – back on again! I took a deep breath and called the office again. Different person answering the phone this time. I tried to explain and said that it seemed to me that there must be some timer setting on it, and was that on purpose? (If so, I did not think it a wise choice…) She called me back later and reassured med that a/ ventilation is meant be “on” around the clock where I live; and b/ apparently someone had been to check on it that same morning - but had not (of course) found any fault…

That afternoon, I had the laundry room, and while down there folding my laundry etc, I was looking at the booking board, and listening to the noise from the drying cabinet… And it suddenly struck me that the laundry room is in use from 07:00 in the morning until 21:00 in the evening, but not over night, and not at all on Sundays… I’ve never tried to use the room outside the given time frames myself, but I’m pretty sure they must have it on timer to prevent that from happening…

Of course, in the evening, the ventilation in the bathroom (and kitchen) again stopped some time after 21:00 (it was definitely off at 22:00). And on Thursday morning, it was back on again shortly after 7:00. I called again to report this. Unfortunately, this time it was a third person (younger female) who answered the phone, and I couldn’t really tell if she understood what I meant when I tried to explain my growing suspicion that somehow the timer setting for the flats had got changed to be the same as for the laundry room… (Not being a technician myself, alas I have no idea exactly how the system works.)

Obviously they either ignored this idea or still failed to find and/or correct the fault, because last night, the ventilation again went off just after 21:00, and back just after 07:00 am this morning (now I was checking the time more exactly, to be sure). So today, Friday morning, I called again… This time I think it was the same guy answering as the first time I called… He sounded unimpressed (I wouldn’t be surprised if by now I’ve become a “oh no it’s her again” at that office) but said he’d forward the message to the maintenace technician…

As on weekends there is only an Emergency number to call, I’m kind of dreading the upcoming Sunday… On weekends, there’s only an Emergency Number to call. (Like for Flooding or No Electricity – but no mentioning of No Air problems…)

Now excuse me. Have to get on with my holiday packing… One item that goes right to the top of list of Forget-Me-Nots just now is my little USB-fan!

(Photo at the top chosen just to illustrate that it’s still Too Hot…)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

From Middle Earth to the End of the World


Basically it’s been another week of Too Hot (for my liking) - and very dry and dusty. Last night we had a bit of thunder and a rainshower, and this morning the air is still feeling a little fresher… But according to weather forecasts we’re headed straight back to hot and dry. (Possibly some more random thunder somewhere - but who knows)…


To be able to sort out where I’m standing in this photo, you probably have to know my city. Mix of reflection and see-though wall at our Travel Centre… I’m on the pavement outside, the wavy bench is on the inside!

It’s indeed very easy to get confused at this spot, in more ways than one, by the way. Yesterday, I ended up going on an unplanned trip to The End of the World, because I happened to step aboard the wrong bus. (19, 20… I totally blame the heat!) I realised the mistake within 30 seconds or so, but then it was too late, as the bus was already turning out onto the motorway. So nothing for it but to “enjoy” a tour of the gigantic desert-like industrial area where we were headed – much larger than I ever imagined… (I’ve never been round it all before.) Felt like something from a science fiction movie, and made me realize that I live in a rather cosy little bubble, usually.

180709 Västra Viared

Photos taken with my phone through the bus window at the End of the World (i.e. where the bus turned and – thankfully – went back into the city again).

I decided to look upon the adventure as practice for an upcoming roadtrip with my brother again next week. Even with basic plans mapped beforehand, one does usually also happen to take an unexpected turn somewhere. (Especially when making the basic plans from maps and guidebooks dating from the previous century… Relying on apps and GPS to help with the final adjustments to the Real World!)

Discovery, Dundee

A postcard that arrived a couple of weeks ago from a penpal in England.

If posts are scarce over the next couple of weeks, just assume I’m off discovering something or other. (Hopefully there will be photos to prove it later.)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Lakeside Revisited

It’s Too Hot again! (29 C ~ 84 F)

Yesterday it was still a little cooler (only around 20 C ~ 68 F), and I took the bus out to the beach/lakeside in the afternoon.


Someone might argue that hotter would be better for the beach. Not for me though. I’ve never really been a “beach person” (as in sunbathing) - and even less so nowadays. (For one thing, it seems to be so far down to the ground these days; and so much acrobatics involved in getting back up again.) What I prefer to do when visiting the lakeside is to just stroll around a bit with my camera – for which I really prefer 20 C rather than 30… (I know, because I tried both!!)

On my post So Fast (21st May) there was some discussion about the identity of this tree: apple or cherry?


I went back yesterday to check, and I think we have an answer:


The berries are very small – but so were the blueberries (bilberries) that I found out on the woodland peninsula.


2018-07-02 bålbär 3

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such tiny ripe blueberries before. (Hadn’t the light happened to fall on one, I probably wouldn’t have seen them at all.) No doubt the looong period of dry hot weather this spring and summer is to blame. Even over the past week with somewhat cooler temperatures, there has been no rain. (Farmers are also seriously worried about their various crops, by the way – and some have even had to send cows to slaughter because there won’t be enough hay to feed them all through winter. There have also been many forest fires all over the country; and around here, I can’t recall ever having heard the sound of emergency vehicles so often as I have over the last couple of months – I think almost daily!

On the whole, the greenery just along the river still seemed to be thriving, though.



The ferns have now got company from willowherb. Well – those often do seem to thrive even in dry places. We also call them “navvy rose” here as they often grow along the railway banks.

DSC03600  DSC03601 

I was also keeping a lookout for these flowers (below), wondering whether they would be in bloom yet – and yes, they were:



Melampyrum nemorosum
In Swedish they are called “Natt och Dag” = Night and Day. These also grow at the northern end of the same lake, in the neighbourhood of where we had the House. I remember them from childhood when I went for walks with my grandmother down by the lake; and they are still growing in the same spots as back then. (I think I mentioned them in some post last summer, too: I was so happy to also find them at the southern end of the lake area.)

The water levels in the river are probably running a bit low:




But still obviously deep enough in the middle for small boats!

Still felt quite warm enough to have an excuse for treating myself to an ice-cream when I got back to the ice-cream kiosk by the beach… Ooops, that photo is on my mobile… Never mind, here is very similar ice-cream photo from the Town Park on Saturday…


Back in April, when trying on my summer clothes after getting them out of winter storage, I was fully determined that my diet this summer was not to include ice-cream… well, not much, anyway… possibly on Special Occasions… (like an Exceptionally Warm and Sunny Day…)

That was before we accidentally happend to get the Spain’s summer weather instead of our own; and no one could have guessed how very many Special Occasions that would turn out to involve!

(In spite of all the ice-cream, it seems I have still managed to walk off a couple of winter kilos, though. A few items of clothing even got taken back from the pile I was thinking of giving away… Which means my wardrobes are overfull again! – lol)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...